In the second episode of the eighth series of Doctor Who, the Doctor and Clara go inside of a Dalek. Literally. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.
I don’t think I get all that excited by Daleks these days because I don’t know how much more Doctor Who can do with them. They’re such a quintessential antagonist that they’re both untouchable and repetitive in a sense. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it means that the writers have to really try to make them frightening, scary, intriguing, or compelling for me to take notice.
Bravo, Doctor Who. This was a great attempt at that.
I think that this continues the exploration of the Doctor’s morality that we’ve been seeing in the last series and “Deep Breath,” so I think that you could easily compare this to “Dalek” in the first series of new Who, too. It takes place after the introduction of a new reincarnation, it features the popular villain, and it asks increasingly uncomfortable questions about the nature of good and evil. It’s also a great chance for the show to update the canon for Daleks because we actually get to see inside one in a way we never have before.
LET’S DISCUSS THINGS.
Into the Dalek
There’s one thing here that doesn’t really make all that much sense to me. Why exactly did not a single person think that fixing the Dalek would actually “cure” its goodness? Granted, I did not think of this myself, so TOTALLY FAIR THAT NO ONE ELSE DID. But surely a damaged Dalek that’s behaving weirdly is doing soâ€¦ because it’s damaged? I guess I didn’t really understand why the Doctor needed to go inside of the Dalek. I suppose it’s not all that vital at this point because the set-up isn’t as important as the delivery.
And holy hell, THIS IS SO COOL. The inside of the Dalek is a mechanical, claustrophobic nightmare, made a billion times worse by DALEK ANTIBODIES. What? What? WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO US? But it makes sense that a Dalek, still a living creature, would have some sort of internal system much like our own immune system to protect it. We also get confirmation that Daleks feed off of protein, which they get from DEAD BODIES. Real cool, y’all, and totally not DISTURBING AS HELL.
So, this episode makes us ask if it’s possible for a Dalek to be good. It’s a bit strange to think that these people heard a Dalek insist that it wanted to kill all other Daleks and then concluded, “Well, this is now a moral being.” It’s a bit of a stretch, but I think that within the context of this show’s Dalek mythology, I get why this happens. It’s made a lot more clear once we learn that Rusty â€“ the Doctor’s nickname for this specific Dalek â€“ witnessed the birth of a star. From that event, they reasoned that such beauty was good, and anything that wanted to destroy that beauty was bad. Yes, it’s a very simplistic moral equation, but given that Dalek’s are so single-minded, it’s sensible that Rusty would then want to devote themselves to the destruction of all Daleks.
Am I a good man?
But does that make a Dalek good? And for that matter, where does the Doctor sit within this kind of moral landscape? I’m glad that this show is asking these kind of questions and doing so with a lot more honesty than I’m used to. When the Doctor links his consciousness with Rusty, we’re reminded of his longstanding hatred of the Daleks. But it’s not just hatred that Rusty experiences; it’s darkness. What kind of darkness, though? I imagine it’s the same darkness that influenced the Doctor to use Ross’s impending death as a means of escape. It’s the same darkness that inspired him to leave Clara on her own in “Deep Breath.” I think it’s fair to say that Twelve is a lot more cold than any of the recent incarnations of the Doctor. But what does that mean? Where does that lead?
I don’t know that the Doctor is a good person anymore, and I’m guessing that’s the central question of series eight.
HI HELLO WHO ARE YOU, YOU ARE AN ENDLESS RAY OF SUNSHINE AND ONE OF THE MOST ADORABLE CHARACTERS TO EVER GRACE A DOCTOR WHO EPISODE. WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE FRIENDS? I ALREADY SHIP YOU WITH CLARA, WHO I AM HAPPY TO REPORT IS GETTING AN ENTIRE LIFE OUTSIDE OF THE TARDIS THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE DOCTOR. BUT ANYWAY, LET’S CONTINUE TALKING ABOUT HOW CUTE YOU ARE. HAVE YOU LOOKED IN THE MIRROR LATELY? DO THAT. REPORT BACK TO ME. YOU’LL NOTICE THAT YOUR FACE IS SCRUMPTIOUS AND PERFECT AND I WANT EVERYTHING GOOD TO HAPPEN TO YOU BECAUSE YOU DESERVE IT.
The video for “Into the Dalek” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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