The 13th Doctor – New Year Special 2021 – “Revolution of the Daleks” – A Look Back at Past Eras to Connect to the Present

Captain Jack Returns in "Revolution of the Daleks", First Look & Poster |  Doctor Who TV

“Revolution of the Daleks” is an episode that has a lot it needs to accomplish and overall I think it succeeds in doing so. Chibnall is once again working with a large cast and he mostly succeeds in giving them all development and moments. The threat is also great in this one too and this is a special that develops most of the characters really well. Suffice to say, without going into SPOILERS, this is one worth checking out.

The episode was directed by Lee Haven Jones and written by Chris Chibnall.

The story begins with the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) trapped in prison as Daleks are presented as a National Defense force for the British government leaving the Doctor’s companions to face this threat.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The Prison and Breakout – The Doctor’s prison is really fascinating. All the prisoners are separated from each other in an asteroid and can only see each other for brief moments of time. The prison showing the history of the show since the Eccleston was on display too as we see a Weeping Angel named Angela as a prisoner, Bonny and Clyde who are an insane Ood couple and a Silent to name a few. Knowing these are all still out there and that the Judoon see them as a threat was a nice touch that establishes some level of order in the Galaxy outside of Gallifrey and it makes sense that they’d target the Doctor. I’m honestly curious if the ones behind the prison are The Shadow Proclamation. I hope that gets explored next season. In the end Jack Harkness (loved him being back) breaks her out after getting put in the prison and it taking 19 years for him to get to outside her cell. The breakout is intense but works and seeing the Doctor and Jack play off each other again is so much fun.

Confronting the Doctor – The Doctor was gone for 10 months (Though in prison for a lot longer, a decade is referenced at one point) and the companions are hurting. Yaz pushes the Doctor and Ryan keeps the Doctor at arms length through the episode. In all of this we see the Doctor facing her

The Dalek Drones / Dalek Reconnaissance Clones – The main threat this episode are clones of the Recon Dalek that were created by the man behind the Drones created for Robertson and the Prime Minister. In the end they take control of him and clone an army that is taking over the world and needs to be stopped. The plan the Doctor comes up to stop them with is by bringing S.A.S. / Death Squad Daleks who kill on mutations of the Dalek species. The plan is brilliant but I hope some of the clones survive as their black armor and deeper voice gave them a distinct flavor among the Dalek threat. As far as we know though, the Death Squad Daleks did kill them.

The S.A.S. Daleks / Death Squad Daleks – The whole idea of a the Death Squad Daleks killing all mutations to keep the Dalek Race “pure” is so very fascistic Dalek. These guys are a great threat too as we see how easily they outmatch the Drones and quickly end that conflict. In the end it is their hatred of the Doctor that gets them as they get trapped in the other TARDIS from earlier in the series that is sent into the void, ending them.

Jack Harkness and Yaz – Jack is there to help Yaz deal with the pain of feeling abandoned by the Doctor, as he was. They have a great dynamic as she calls out his need for compliments and he helps her accept that however much time she has to travel with the Doctor is what matters as not many people get that opportunity. Barrowman is bringing his A game here and I loved him throughout the episode.

The Doctor – One of the running themes in the show is the Doctor resestablishing herself in the identity of the Doctor. 10 and 11 did in their regeneration episodes, Capaldi did at the end of his first season and now we get that here with Whittaker, basically taking that what she learned on Gallifrey doesn’t matter that who she is and always has been matters more. I really liked this and it was cool seeing her balance between extreme attachment to her companions and her distance she keeps with folks (still with Jack Harkness to some degree). This is probably the best 13th Doctor episode yet.

Graham and Ryan’s Good-Bye – Graham and Ryan’s good-bye is one of the gut punch moments of the episode. I knew it was coming as it had been all over the press but the way it was done mostly worked. Ryan reestablishes connections with friends (That we met prior season) and talks about wanting to fix things at home. This leads to Graham deciding to leave too as he doesn’t want to miss Ryan growing up. Losing two companions leaves the Doctor speechless and Yaz telling her that, “It’s okay to be sad.” This was great writing on Chibnall’s part.

Okay:

The Human Villains – We have a corrupt Prime Minister Jo Patterson who uses the Dalek Drones that Jack Robertson (A Trump analogue American Businessman from an earlier episode who stole the Dalek casing from “Resolution”). She’s seemed to be based off Teresa May as the Dalek Drones are made to be tanks to put down protests. The analogue of Daleks as the tool of the State for oppression is really well done and we see a cloned Dalek manipulate that to take control. Basically the human villains work and Robertson isn’t as annoying as he was in the Spider episode. In this there was a level of humanity given to each of the human characters, though they never reached the level of compelling.

The Cons:

Death of a TARDIS – This is a small detail but we learn TARDIS’s are living things much earlier in the series and one of them is just used as a weapon to die and bring the Daleks down with it. I wish the Doctor had got a moment with the TARDIS, even if she can’t remember it as it’s life and sacrifice deserved some recognition. We get her “home” moment when she returns to her TARDIS, so I wish this one had got even a little thing like that too before it died.

Graham’s Lack of Development – Graham is just along for the ride this episode and it is a shame. He is trying to be a part of the adventure but is most of the time ignored and critiqued by Ryan and it is only in his leaving with Ryan that we see him come up with the idea of them solving problems on Earth as a duo. This ending worked but I just felt bad for Graham for the majority of the episode. He deserved more to his story to make his leaving matter more.

This was a great episode. It certainly had it’s problems but even the villains weren’t completely annoying even though they were playing to a “Doctor Who” type (Corrupt politician and greedy businessman). In these cases it was the performances and little details that made them work. Really my biggest issues were a TARDIS’s life not being recognized (though it taking down a Dalek threat was really amazing) and Graham being forgotten for most of the script. This is a great example of what can be done with a special and how they can be used to recognize past shows and companions and making it relevant to the present. Because of this, I can’t wait to see what next series brings.

Final Score: 9 / 10

The 13th Doctor – New Year Special 2019 – “Resolution” – Forgiveness and Family Explored

Watch Doctor Who: Resolution | Prime Video

With the new New Year Special coming out for “Doctor Who” I figured it was a good time to go back to the first New Years Special we got last year and with it a chance to share my thoughts on Chibnall’s run so far. First, this is a good episode and is worth seeing. It does tie up the arc of the 13th Doctor’s first season but you get enough context from the text that you don’t need to have seen it to know what happened prior. For this reason it very much works as a special. Where it doesn’t work is Chibnall’s tendency to add too many characters to his scripts and important ideas getting dropped. I’ll get into what I mean there in the review. This is well worth checking out though if you’re a fan of the show.

“Resolution” was directed by Wayne Yip and written by Chris Chibnall.

The story follows a Dalek being discovered on a digsite as it attempts to gain back it’s power as the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions seek to stop it.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The Premise – The idea of a single Dalek being strong enough to take out humanity is pretty cool and it establishes just how powerful they are as a threat. We learn it took 3 armies to defeat and divide the Dalek in the first place, but even then all it took was one part to regenerate the other parts and all it needed for that was light. The stakes are high and the Dalek is good at being one-step ahead and having back-up plans.

The Characters – The characters are one of the stronger parts of “Doctor Who” as a show and that is very much on display here. The characters who get development are compelling and they are the ones I’ll be talking about here.

Lin – Lin is one of the archeologists who discovers the remains of the Dalek on the digsite and her arc is getting back her agency when the Dalek uses her as a weapon to kill people and to rebuild it’s armor shell. She does a good job of capturing the terror of being controlled by a Dalek and saving herself from the Dalek’s control.

Graham – Graham is the glue of the Chibnall run as he is someone both Yaz and Ryan can talk too and he has empathy that we don’t always get from the Doctor. This comes out big time here too as he shows Aaron (Grace’s son and Ryan’s Dad) that his mother kept all his things and that she considered him what she wanted to be remembered for. It is a touching scene with them and showed that even though they may never consider one another family that they can still be potential friends. Bradley Walsh is one of the best parts of the Chibnall years.

Ryan – Ryan has some great development this story as we see him deal with the dad who was never in his life and eventually come to forgive him and accept the regrets that Aaron feels that drive him to be better. Tosin Cole gives so much emotional depths to the scenes he has as we see his anger become empathy for his dad and how they have the chance to grow together during the episode.

Aaron – Aaron is a character driven by regret. He didn’t come to his mother’s funeral and he has been out of his son’s life for a long time. This episode is him doing what he can to try to put his life back in order and heal the bridges burned. “Resolution” handles it well as his mistakes are never dismissed or made okay, but the chance for new starts is the theme and his conversations with Graham and Ryan demonstrate the changed man he is at this point in time.

The Reconnaissance Dalek – The Reconnaissance Dalek is such a fun and scary threat. This is the first time in a long time we see how dangerous a Dalek can be outside of it’s shell and this being is clever and dangerous. We see it take out a military strike force and outsmart the Doctor a few times. It is only defeated in the end by it’s inability to control a human mind and I found that really well done. This is probably the best Dalek threat I’ve seen since “Asylum of the Daleks” as far as the new “Doctor Who” series goes and in the timeline of release dates. It was great seeing that level of threat again.

The Doctor – Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor is great in this. In this we see how personal her vendetta with the Daleks are and her bluntness. She calls out Aaron for not being there for Ryan and is also rooting for people through it all, even bringing up to the Dalek how humans defeated the worst of the humans through history and that is what makes them unstoppable. We also see her cleverness too as each of her wins over the Dalek come from using what information is at hand or her technology to defeat the Dalek in the end.

The Cons:

The Three Custodians Plot – Three different armies from around the world defeated the Dalek in the 9th Century. After they went their separate ways with a part of the Dalek to guard and keep safe. The one in England died before finding his place. We see the guardians who know the story pop up when the Dalek reconfigures from the light but they never show up again. This felt weird to dropped and that it would have been better if they hadn’t shown up at all as they don’t help against the Dalek in any way.

Tell versus Show and Pacing – The first 20 minutes are a bit slow and it takes a while to get going after the Three Custodian Backstory. This I would say goes to Chibnall can often get “Tell over Show” in his scripts and this one is a shining example. The great thing is it picks up once the Dalek is revealed to be controlling Lin and the Doctor’s quest to stop it.

Cluttering of Characters / Little Character Development – We have a bunch of characters so quite a few get no development or scenes this episode. Mandip Gill’s Yaz is there to talk on the phone and help the Doctor pick people up and Mitch who has feelings for Lin that Lin returns is there just to worry about her and reveal that she was alone at one point. I wish there were less characters in these stories sometimes as Chibnall can do a good job at developing characters he focuses on.

I am looking forward to “Revolution of the Daleks” and am curious to see the direction the Chibnall era takes. All his companions are good, it is just there are too many of them in the story that at least one person remains underdeveloped or they just end up being a plot device. I hope the next New Year Special that is upcoming doesn’t have that problem as when he has a cool idea like the Reconnaissance Dalek, it can lead to a lot of cool and interesting ways to show drama and story.

Final Score: 8.4 / 10

Top 5 Favorite Doctors in “Doctor Who”

New Doctor Brings New Doctor Who Logo, Insignia With Him | WIRED

     “Doctor Who” is a show whose strength lies in it’s ability to reinvent itself as the Doctor is an alien who can regenerate into a new form on each “death.” Each of these deaths brings with us an era and arc to the show. Making this list is one that I’ll probably have to re-do in the future as this is a show that hypothetically could go on forever, for as long as there are stories to tell with each new regeneration. This list is also incomplete as though I have watched many episodes from the Classic Era I have not seen everything and for the first two Doctors so much was lost over time so their stories remain incomplete. I’ve also not included books or audio-dramas and am only including my experience of the Doctors from the show. I don’t hate any version of the Doctor as each of them does bring something unique to their performance and explores an aspect of who this Time Lord is. I want you to know context of this list going in for that reason though you will find that I have favorite Doctors in both the Classic and Modern era and would not be surprised if the list changes in the future, especially since the 13th Doctor’s story does remain incomplete as well. This list is obviously my opinion but it is a glimpse in what appeals to me in the stories of this fascinating character of the Doctor. So without further ado, here are my Top 5 Favorite Doctors of “Doctor Who.” I’ll list episodes that highlight why I love them too.

Warning this does contain SPOILERS

5) The 9th Doctor / The Ninth Doctor

The 9th Doctor gives us the best complete Doctor story in the Davies era of “Doctor Who.” This is a Doctor reeling from all the lives he’s ended during the Time War and is haunted by survivors guilt and PTSD. His arc involves him learning to trust again through his relationship with Rose as well as facing his demons from the Time War when he confronts the Dalek Emperor and refuses to kill them again. He shows that he stands for life when at the beginning of the show he is far more willing to kill. We also get to see his pure joy when he is finally able to save lives during World War 2 and he is the Doctor who introduces us to the wonderful Jack Harkness. It is really his facing a single Dalek in “Dalek” that changes him the most and that is through Rose’s compassion that makes him the man who refuses to kill in his final episode. Christopher Eccleston gives us so much depth with this Doctor and I’m grateful we got this season with him. He truly was fantastic.

Episodes I’d recommend: “The End of the World,” “Dalek,” The Empty Child,” and “The Doctor Dances.”

4) The 4th Doctor / The Fourth Doctor

One thing I love about Doctors is how alien they are and the 4th Doctor is easily the most alien out of all my favorites. Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor is the only one to have a Time Lord companion in Romana and is comfortable being away from people. I think this is a reaction to the 3rd Doctor’s attachment to humans as often when the Doctor gets too attached his next incarnation will detach and could leave people abruptly and never show up again.  This is Tom Baker’s Doctor who could do an entire episode without a companion but also had many companions over his long run, with the most popular being Sarah Jane Smith. I enjoyed the Sherlock nature of this Doctor as he was crafty and often had to make the decisions alone as in the end he is the one who could have ended the Dalek threat before it began. His choice like the 9th Doctor illustrates his compassion though. At the end the day the Doctor is the one who saves lives and that is what drives the 4th Doctor the most beyond unraveling plots and the discovery of new things. It was tough to choose between him and the next Doctor on this list but in the end the next Doctor had more episodes I enjoyed and it was the limitations placed on the next Doctor that put him higher. The 4th Doctor had full reign from the Time Lords where the next one did not.

Episodes I’d recommend: “Terror of the Zygons,” “Genesis of the Daleks,” “Revenge of the Cybermen,” “The Deadly Assassin” and “The Brain of Morbius.”

3) The 3rd Doctor / The Third Doctor

Next we have one of our more human Doctors. Jon Pertwee’s 3rd Doctor is a Doctor exiled to Earth so the majority of his adventures are him without his TARDIS. This was as strength as limitations came to define just how excellent this Doctor is. This was a Doctor who had to count on UNIT and people and because of it revealed the flaws of humanity. This Doctor also traveled and dressed in style. When I think about the Doctor and his drive for peace 3rd is one of the first who comes to mind as he attempts to broker a peace between the Silurians and humans but UNIT destroys the Silurians anyway. He also felt strongly unlike the 4th Doctor as when his companion Jo leaves his sadness is what defines that leaving as he quietly exits the room. This is the Doctor who introduces us to Brigadier and Sarah Jane Smith who would be part of this show after his regeneration. This is also the Doctor who gave us the original Master and from that, there constant playing off each other and complicated relationship.

Episodes I’d recommend: “Spearhead from Space,” “Doctor Who and the Silurians,” and “The Dæmons.”

2) The 10th Doctor / The Tenth Doctor

One of the most common things you hear when you enter the “Doctor Who” fandom is who is your Doctor. Which Doctor introduced you to the show and is the reason you are a fan? For me that is David Tennant’s 10th Doctor. “The Impossible Planet” and “The Satan Pit” was the story that introduced me to “Doctor Who” and I was hooked after that. What defines this Doctor is his facing of the impossible and compassion for humanity but also his extreme arrogance. Like the 9th Doctor he was defined as “Last of the Time Lords” and that survivors guilt is really what is behind his arrogance and compassion. This is a Doctor who believes he is always right and can be almost villainous as “The Doctor Triumphant” when he is willing to change time because he can. David Tennant brought so much depth and nuance to this role and gives us not only an arrogant Doctor but when who full of loss and vulnerability. He loses his companion Rose who was his friend and love and hurts the companions who come after in his selfishness. He is also running from his mortality and death as when he is forced to regenerate for the first time he stays himself until he is finally forced to move on. This Doctor gave us one of my favorite companions Martha, who he was unfair too as she was his way to get over Rose and also introduced us to Torchwood, Harriet Jones, Donna Noble, Mickey Smith and one of my favorite character, River Song. The 10th Doctor also faced off against the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Davros, Rasselon and the Master for classic enemies and further explored the complicated relationship with the Master. Tennant truly owned this role and I appreciated how defining he is of the Davies era of “Doctor Who.” He was many peoples’ first Doctor and I’m glad he was mine.

Episodes I’d recommend: “Blink,” “Army of Ghosts,” “Doomsday,” “Human Nature,” “Family of Blood,” “Utopia,” “The Sound of Drums,” “Last of the Time Lords,” “Midnight,” and “The Waters of Mars.”

1) The 12th Doctor / The Twelfth Doctor

First place was the most difficult for me to choose as really the top 4 Doctors listed (3, 4, 10 and 12) are extremely close together for me. Each of them has their pros and cons but I really consider the top 4 to really be the perfect examples of the Doctor for myself. So, why did I choose Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor as number 1 if David Tennant’s 10th Doctor was my first Doctor? The reason behind it is because the 12th Doctor has the better story and changes over the course of his time on Moffat’s run. Capaldi’s Doctor has much of the detachment of Baker’s 4th to the point that Clara is the one who he uses to care because initially he cares mostly for puzzles and the big picture of saving the world. He had Nardole and Bill as original companions. This Doctor was the professor and even taught at University and would open many episodes like lectures. For some famous enemies he faced off against there was the Master, Davros, Rasselon, Daleks, Cybermen, Ice Warriors and Zygons. To this Doctor humans matter but all life in the galaxy matters so like the 3rd Doctor he is able to shine a light on the selfishness of humans and call it out where he sees it. He is also defined by his time during the Time War and because of this will always seek peace and the saving of others. He does with the Zygons and humans. His arc also goes from him not wanting to connect with his companions to having many and even having Missy (the current incarnation of the Master) as one. For how much he tries not to care he cares the deepest and unlike his past incarnations he isn’t running from what he did during the Time War. He instead uses the lessons from the Time War to save lives wherever he can and seek peace wherever possible. This is the Doctor who is the thinker, the one who can monologue can carry an entire episode on his own with his own inner monologue. No Doctor was able to do that before or has done it since. For these reasons, Capaldi is my favorite Doctor.

Episodes I’d recommend: “Listen,” “Into the Dalek,” “Mummy on the Orient Express,” “Dark Water,” “Death in Heaven,” “Last Christmas,” “The Zygon Invasion,” “The Zygon Inversion,” “Heaven Sent,” “The Husbands of River Song,” “The Empress of Mars,” “World Enough and Time,” and “The Doctor Falls.”

    I’m curious to hear who your favorite are. These were mine and I can’t wait to see what other stories are told in this amazing universe.

The 12th Doctor – Series 10, Episode 1 – “The Pilot” – Horror Meets Wonder With a Great New Companion

   I’m worried about how the rest of the Series 10 and Capaldi’s run as 12 will go. Moffat and Gatiss ran “Sherlock” into the ground and there is enough time for him to do the same for “Doctor Who,” as for “Sherlock” it only took about 1 1/2 Seasons to do so. Right now he’s starting out strong though! I really enjoyed “The Pilot,” it captures all the beautiful adventure, horror and wonder that comes with the best of “Doctor Who” and sci. fi. time travel exploration. So, before I get into further depth, this one is worth checking out.

   The episode was directed by Lawrence Gough and written by Steven Moffat.

    The episode involves the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) lecturing at a college as a Professor until Bill (Pearl Mackie) a fish and chips cook is pulled into his life when he notices her at all of his lectures listening. She is soon thrown into the unknown though when her crush is taken over by a mysterious puddle, pulling her and the Doctor together as they try and stop the alien from taking away Bill.

The Pros: The World – The world is fantastic as we get to see the Doctor take up the role of professor, a role he clearly enjoys as both 1 and 10 have both done it at different times in the human world as have other incarnations in the extended universe of the Doctor. This love of knowledge and sharing it is part of what makes the series so inspiring and great and it is on display by having it all take place a college with a woman (Bill) who is not even a student sitting on lectures because of her desire to learn.

Nardole – Nardole is still with us after we picked him up at “The Husbands of River Song,” and through the last special too. Matt Lucas is great at being the awkward loaf who is fearful but can find courage (helps the Doctor trap some Daleks in the episode) and calls out the Doctor on his blind spots. He’s very much the Doctor’s assistant in this so I’m curious to see if his role will be explored further, I’m not quite sure why he’s sticking around.

Bill – Bill is an amazing companion (don’t mess this up Moffat!). She is down to Earth, has a desire to learn and doesn’t let lack of money stop her, she is alone in many ways and that loneliness ties to the Doctor in how they connect as their desire to learn and for connection is key. It is her reaching out to her crush that leads to the alien targeting her. She is strong and stands her ground too when the Doctor attempts to wipe her mind as she helps realize how messed up that is and that the adventure was her first happy memory in a long time.

The Doctor – The Doctor has gone from not just the protector of humanity but also helping them learn about time travel as the lecture we see him doing at the beginning is him teaching about the meaning of TARDIS. In this way he is helping humanity thrive and become the force they are in the future. His arc is realizing that his past mind wipes were him being selfish, leading to him not wiping Bill’s mind and choosing her to be his companion as she helps him see things differently and realize and correct his older bad habits.

Okay: The Antagonist – The antagonist is the weakest part. It is sentient oil puddle that is also a space ship as it takes Bill’s crush as the Pilot and tries to take Bill as the passenger. It can some how warp through time and track the TARDIS and what it actually is is never fully explained. I liked the play on Ring type horror it did with anything it mimicked being wet and dripping water but felt it needed to be explored more. It could have easily been tied to the Waters of Mars, which would have really made it a horror story.

  This is a strong start to Series 10 and I’m really hoping it stays that way as Gallifrey and Clara being ruined last season almost made me stop watching the show. Gallifrey needed a good story tied to it and Clara’s choice to die should have been respected. She had so many great good-byes that got canceled out. I don’t want Bill or the 12th Doctor to suffer the same fate. They deserve better and hopefully Moffat can end as strong as he started.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10 Antagonist is the weakest part.

The 12th Doctor – Series 9, Episode 2 – “The Witch’s Familiar” – Compassion and Complicated Relationships

DoctorWho-TheWitchsFamiliar-Missy

       “The Witch’s Familiar” gets a lot of things right, though I found the first part of this arc superior since it felt like more was at stake, there are some things that happen at the end that take away the tension and a lot of the really cool actions that had happened before…not to the extent that it completely does away with those great conversations and character moments, but it does detract from them creating a lesser story in regards to this episode.

     The episode was directed by Hettie MacDonald and written by Steven Moffat.

Spoilers ahead

      The story involves Davros telling the Doctor he is dying and the Doctor being alone and being given the choice to end the Daleks once and for all. From here is given another choice as he and Davros talk of themselves and their relationship. Elsewhere Missy and Clara go undercover to rescue the Doctor from the Daleks.

The Pros: Missy’s Story – Missy gives a backstory on how the Doctor escapes immortal androids by using their own tech against them. It’s cool and explains how the Doctor always wins because he expects to win and it is when he believes himself in a corner that he begins playing all his cleverness to the fullest.

The Sewers – The sewers are the Dalek Graveyard as they can’t die so they just rot there for an eternity filled with hate. It’s creepy and wonderful and it’s interesting how the Doctor uses these dying Daleks against the ones above as Davros had forgotten about them and that regeneration would affect them too.

Davros –  Julian Bleach does a fantastic job as Davros, lending him humanity as he admires the Doctor’s courage for looking out for his people and takes advantage of the Doctor’s compassion to get regeneration for himself and the Daleks, though in the end he misses the details such as the sewers and the rotting Daleks there who have no loyalty to those above at all. He is the most human Davros so far and this is the only time Davros has felt like a good villain outside of “Genesis of the Daleks.”

Missy – Missy is wonderful in this and is a twisted Doctor with Clara as they work together and she uses Clara as a canary in a pit, a Dalek to kill Daleks and finally attempts to trick the Doctor into killing her until after when the Doctor tells her to run she approaches the Daleks from a place of power showing that they’ll probably work with her. Michelle Gomez owns the Master role and I’d watch an entire series of just her plots and adventures at this point. So glad she’s sticking around.

The Doctor – The Doctor is shown to be both compassionate (refuses to kill the Daleks and describes compassion as the greatest disease) and shares his isolation with Davros as they are both cut off from their people. In the end he does what the Doctor does too as he uses Davros’s own plan against him turning the undead Daleks in the sewers against those on the surface and his anger when Missy almost tricks him into killing Clara who is once again inside a Dalek (“Asylum of the Daleks” being the first time). In the end he is able to teach the Daleks the inkling of compassion too after he saves a young Davros on the battlefield and tells him of the importance of mercy and that sides don’t matter. This pays off as Daleks do have mercy as part of their vocabulary.

Okay: Clara – Clara is just kind of there, Michelle Gomez devours most of her scenes as Missy is a much more interesting character and Clara is never able to really compete. She if anything feels like an audience surrogate in the episode.

Okay/Con: Questions – Do the Daleks have regeneration now? What’s going to happen to Missy? What will happen to Davros? If the Daleks have regeneration how will they change? Will the prophecy of the Hybrid warrior go anywhere? Will the Daleks hunt for Gallifrey since the Doctor told Davros it is back? Why did the Doctor think he was going to die if all along he was playing the Daleks? I’m doing con because if these questions are dropped this season as has happened in regards to Moffat before, this overall season will go down.

The Cons: Knew It All Along – The weakest part of the episode was that the Doctor and Davros were just playing each other, this took away from the amazing conversations they had and how they found humanity in one another. In the end Davros just wanted regeneration for the Daleks and the Doctor used this to turn the undead Daleks in the sewer rotting against their counterparts above…these two things took away from the moments as it was one long con on both their parts similar to the Doctor in “Time Heist.”

   This was still a really good episode, largely for the conversations and the Missy and Clara Team-up and really any scene with Missy…but it did fall apart at the end and there are a lot of questions, which Moffat does not have a good track record of answering well. This is still a really good Dalek episode and a favorite “Doctor Who” episode, but it doesn’t reach it’s full potential in regards to Davros and the Doctor, which brings it down.

Final Score: 8.7 / 10

Final Score for the “Davros Arc”: 9 / 10. Solidly great but brought down by the final reveals.

The 12th Doctor – Series 8, Episode 2 – “Into the Dalek” – Of Soldiers and the Soul of the Doctor

Into the Dalek

 

“Into the Dalek” feels the like the sequel to “Dalek,” one of my favorite episodes back in Series 1 where a Dalek was changed by Rose’s DNA and the Doctor is forced to confront his PTSD from the Time War and his Dalek prejudice. I’ll get into more details in the assessment, suffice to say I was impressed though with this episode.

The episode was written by Steven Moffat and Phil Ford, and directed by Ben Wheatley.

The story involves the Doctor and Clara going inside a Dalek in order to help it, since it is the only good Dalek in the Universe. From here the story unfolds as more of Clara’s life at school is revealed and the story of the rebels fight against the Daleks and the Doctor’s relationship to his past and the Daleks.

WARNING – Spoilers ahead 

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The New Intro – Lots of clocks and time…the music also fits the theme of the show during the introductory credits. Also introducing us to Journey Blue (our face in the Resistance against the Daleks) by the Doctor saving her after she loses her brother and takes him to the injured Dalek is a great hook.

Danny Pink – I’m glad this guy is going to be a reoccurring character and possibly a new companion. The man is a soldier who is dealing with PSTD from the war he fought in and is Clara’s colleague. He loves reading and dislikes how everyone judges him before getting to know him. He has an awkward relationship with Clara as she brings up his past and jokes about him crying after killing people. Samuel Anderson brings a lot of depth to this role and I can’t wait to see more.

The Rebels – Whether it’s Uncle, Journey Blue or Gretchen, none of the named resistance get wasted. Uncle is there to help Journey through helping heal the Dalek (Rusty) and fighting the enemy Daleks when they board the ship. Gretchen sacrafices herself to help the Rusty find his soul through Clara and the Doctor’s help and Journey Blue defends and fights for them all the way, as well as making the choice to trust the Doctor. They are a great group of characters.

Inside Rusty – From the anti-bodies that are like tiny Dalek eye sockets, to the mixture of metal and organic…the inside of the Dalek is done well and really creatively. It’s a shame “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS” didn’t receive this much effort and creative thought.

Rusty – Rusty is the Dalek who Clara, Gretchen, Journey Blue and the Doctor are shrunk to go inside of in order to help it heal. He is the Dalek who found beauty in life and with it an extreme hatred for the Daleks. After he is healed he represses his memories and summons the Daleks to aid him until Clara, Gretchen, The Doctor and Journey help it get the memories it repressed back. The Doctor than tries to get it beyond hatred of it’s own kind but cannot find anything but hate for the Daleks in the Doctor’s mind so embraces it to defend the rebels before going back to continue the hunt against the Daleks.

Missy – Appears again in “Heaven: after Gretchen sacrifices herself. I’m curious where this is going, so far she’s collecting characters…for what purpose remains to be seen.

Clara – Get’s fleshed out as a person…we see her relationship to her colleagues and students and why she is a teacher. She helps teach the Doctor to look beyond his ego and his limited scope of physical healing and is the one who gives the Doctor the idea of trying to change Rusty back to good through his memories and to make him truly good. She’s honest with the Doctor and more than a plot device, I love it. Why couldn’t we have got this Clara last season? Jenna Coleman deserved this great level of writing much earlier.

The 12th Doctor / The Twelfth Doctor – The 12th Doctor is once again fantastic. We see how his ego and prejudice blind him to the fact that Rusty (the name he gives the Dalek) beauty and he scoffed at it…and when he does get over his assumption it is too late as he has held hatred for all Daleks for so long that Rusty once more latches on to that and becomes the War Doctor of old. He is now a weapon against his people living in self hatred…much like the Tenth Doctor, the War Doctor and the Ninth Doctor to different degrees. It is tragic and fits the theme of the season. Because of this the Doctor doesn’t want soldiers with him, he realized he still carries the war still so close and doesn’t want to have to kill again. Capaldi shows the layers of this, and still having a sense of humor along the way.

Okay: The Daleks – The Daleks are there as a force of nature, but there is nothing to show them as unique, you can’t even tell command positions…they are all just golden. Still an awesome threat in this episode but rank is part of what made the Daleks unique. There wasn’t enough, “I OBEY.”

Con: The Doctor’s Pep Talk to Rusty – It was a great pep talk but how it was directed was kind of awkward. The Doctor is staring right at us, which was meant to be dramatic, but after a time kind of comes off as funny.

Boyfriend – Once again annoying. Stop telling us that Clara has a crush on Danny and that it might be mutual and let it unfold on it’s own. Good God, The Tenth Doctor and Rose had more subtlety.

This episode is worth watching for sure. One of the better Dalek Episodes and a good exploration of the Doctor and Clara’s characters. I’m hoping we see more of the Daleks and Rusty and that Missy isn’t just dropped. Stop having the myseterious woman appear unless she actually gets fleshed out. Madam Kovarian didn’t get any fleshing out and could have been an amazing antagonist because of the mysterious set-up. Moffat you need more than mystery, please deliver this season. This was an amazing episode though and one of my favorites.

Final Score is 9.6 / 10