Doctor Who Recap: “Into The Dalek”
Welcome to my obsession. Massive spoilers ahoy. All the recaps are here.
We left off with the Doctor asking Clara very nicely to stay with him. Also there’s a weird lady in a garden. Into The Dalek opens on a massive battle between daleks and humans. One particular human named Journey Blue (best name ever) is about to have her ass blown up, but instead the Doctor materializes the TARDIS around her at the last minute.
She reacts like anyone would, she freaks the hell out and pulls a gun on him. The Doctor acts… rude:
Blue: “Where’s Kai [her brother]? How did I get here?”
Doctor: “I materialized a time capsule exactly around you and saved your life one second before your ship exploded. But do, please, keep crying.”
What the fuck, Doctor? Friendzone much? Hey so I saved your life but your brother died and also you have no idea who I am and I could also be trying to kill you which is a safe assumption since you’re at fucking war but you OWE me gratitude. Fucking what?
He proceeds to make her say please before he’ll return her to her ship. Like he’s her dad after she’s late for curfew or something. I dunno, I just think he’s being a massive ahole here.
My thoughts on this were basically that all emotion that Matt Smith embodied so well, the barely contained well of sorrow and rage that he covered with silliness and light, has come busting the fuck out. He’s mean, and he’s not taking any kind of shit from anyone. Even people who don’t deserve it.
This theory gets backed up when they materialize on her ship.
Doctor: “Dry your eyes Journey Blue, crying’s for civilians. It’s how we communicate with you lot.” I
get it but you’re still being a asshole, Doctor.
The head of her command ship rolls up and threatens to kill the Doctor because no one can know the location of this secret ship. Journey tells the leader (and her uncle, apparently) that he’s a Doctor, and they decide to let him live so he can see to a patient.
On the way to this patient, they cruise by a machine that can shrink things just like Innerspace (okay Fantastic Voyage but whatever I’m an 80s kid). They then reference the movie. I laugh. The patient, to no one’s surprise, turns out to be a dalek. Cue credits.
We return from the new credit sequence which I still like to another soldier, giving some kids some orders. It looks like a boy scout thing.The soldier is kinda hot, especially when he rolls out in the next scene all dressed up like a teacher. Turns out he’s Danny Pink, the new recurring character we’ve been told to expect.
There’s a beautiful scene here, which I will not do justice. He’s teaching kids maths (they say maths across the pond), and someone asks him if he ever killed someone. Then when he redirects back to maths the kid asks if he ever killed someone he didn’t mean to. Before the kids are dismissed we see that Danny Pink has started to cry, a few tears running down his face. I feel feels. The kids mostly feel uncomfortable.
Clara and Danny meet. Everyone keeps implying that Danny is a lady’s man but he keeps saying “no I’m really not,” and “yes, I did read all weekend.” It’s adorable. Clara puts her foot in her mouth by making a flip comment about war and morality, and he thinks she knows he cried in class earlier. She asks him out to a “thing.” He tells her no, and then a scene ensues where we see him kicking himself in an empty classroom for saying no and she busts him. It’s amusingly awkward and also deeply touching. I am in for Danny Pink.
Also he has a coat very much like Captain Jack’s. Nice.
Side note: HOWEVER. I am so irritated that Clara only got one damn episode to be her without any kind of man complication. She was so great in the last ep and now she’s got a love interest brewing. I want her to be a person without a dude attached to her hip. Meh.
In any case, she heads into the supply closet and there’s the TARDIS, and the Doctor asking for her help. Actually, he kind of demands it, and then says some things that I think are supposed to be teasing but come off as really mean. Again. She just ignores him, and that I like. Also he’s brought her coffee–the same coffee he was supposed to fetch 3 weeks ago. So that’s nothing new. He doesn’t apologize though, and that is new.
Just as I’m thinking what the FUCK, he gets very serious and gives her the sad puppy dog Doctor eyes and says “Am I a good man?” She can’t answer. I can’t either. SO HERE FOR THIS. He’s like opposite Smith, guys. He’s all fucked up on the outside with a soft center.
He takes her back to the sick dalek, and we discover that this dalek hates all daleks for some reason. He wants all daleks to die. Everyone starts talking about this one dalek being “good,” and I’m confused because how is wanting to annihilate an entire race qualifying as good? Call me old fashioned, but killing /= good to me.
Clara introduces herself as the Doctor’s “carer.” She reminds me of when Donna watched 10 take out the entire race of spider people that one time. I hope against hope Clara keeps being a little like Donna. This Doctor clearly needs a moral compass because his is fucking broken. However, even he cannot resist a trip into the inner workings of a dalek who has a morality malfunction.
So of course, the Doctor, Clara, Journey Blue and some redshirts climb into the shrinky machine.
Side note: There’s a bit in here about having to be mindful to breathe while being shrunk, because if you don’t you might explode like a lasagne with plastic over it in the microwave. Quoth the Doctor, “Don’t be lasagne.” I saw a post go by on Tumblr where someone said that breathing seems to be an underlying theme in the new season. Interesting, right?
The tiny crew goes into the dalek (there it is) through the eyestalk, which is apparently filled with viscous blue fluid. I always assumed it was an LED. First stop for the crew is the dalek’s “memory banks.” In silly Doctor Who fashion, the inside of the dalek looks like an old school sci fi space ship with lots of accordion tubing and blinky lights on the walls. It’s supposed to look like a fusion of machine and organics, but mostly it looks super silly. This is not a complaint.
We learn that the “cortex vault” of the dalek suppresses anything but hatred in them. Kindness and compassion are extinguished here.
Doctor: “Imagine the worst possible thing in the universe, then don’t bother because you’re looking at it right now. This is evil refined as engineering.” T
he daleks are the only race the Doctor has no compassion for. Ironic he’s going on and on about a lack of compassion, isn’t it?
So one of the redshirts shoots grappling hooks into the dalek and the “antibodies” come and vaporize him. We all knew this would happen but here’s the interesting bit. Right before the guy dies, the Doctor tosses him something to swallow. Everyone assumes the Doctor is saving the guy, but it turns out to be a way to track his remains through the dalek. He doesn’t appear to feel any remorse about the redshirt’s death at all.
Journey takes offense, go figure. The Doctor blows her off–the guy was going to die anyway and now he’s saved the rest of them by landing them all in the dalek’s stomach (in gooey, gross fashion). Everyone in here is dead, since the daleks apparently eat people for protein. Ew. People juice.
Journey turns to Clara–should she trust this sociopath? Clara says yes, and also please try not to murder him. The Doctor finds a literal bolthole to use as an escape hatch from the stomach. He can’t figure why no one laughs at this joke. He tells Clara she’s built like a man. I can’t get over how rude he is to her, especially. it’s like he is now saying out loud everything he’s ever thought. This could go very badly.
Eventually they get the bright idea to ask the dalek why he hates other daleks now. He says he was floating in space and encountered the birth of a star. He confesses that he realizes that no matter how many stars the daleks destroy, new ones will always be born as well. Resistance to life, he says, is futile (and this trekkie finds it good). You can watch the Doctor’s hope rising as he hears a dalek talk about something besides exterminating all life for the first time. It’s really pretty neat.
The crew climbs to the “heart” of the dalek and discovers a radiation leak. The radiation has been poisoning the organic bits of the dalek. The Doctor closes up the crack with his sonic and seems… happy. But of course, ten seconds later the dalek starts killing all humans again because he’s no longer poisoned. Whatever beauty he saw in the universe is re-suppressed in that cortex vault and all he knows is evil again. The Doctor is put out. So are the people the dalek vaporizes.
The Doctor goes on a rant about how daleks are evil and now we’ve learned there’s no changing that. He’s obviously devastated, and hopeless, and angry. Clara, who is gorgeous, slaps his stupid sociopathic face. No, Doctor, we didn’t learn that all daleks are evil. We learned they can change. Without her, he would have missed it because he was so consumed by his hatred of daleks.
Journey is furious, and plans to blow the dalek from the inside (killing the team inside of course). I love Journey–she’s brave, and strong, and passionate. She’s also willing to listen to the crazed jerk who keeps getting her friends killed and doesn’t seem to care, as long as he makes sense. She’s cool. This episode, I suddenly realize, featured three women and three men. I hadn’t even noticed until now because the soldiers are more like soldiers than men or women, and I feel super proud of the show for a minute. They don’t always handle women characters well, but they did today.
The reason this comes to my attention is that the other redshirt, a woman named Gretchen, decides to sacrifice herself to the antibodies so everyone else can have a fighting chance to change the dalek back to it’s moral self. The Doctor promises to do something amazing and name it after her which makes me feel better about him. Clara and Journey head for the brain, the Doctor heads for the organic eyeball squishy bit.
Gretchen doesn’t make it. Instead, she wakes up in that freaky heaven with Missy. They have tea. We all wonder what the actual fuck.
Side note: if this place is filled with everyone who dies because of the Doctor, it had better be as infinite as the TARDIS because that’s a LOT of people.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the patient dalek has let a bunch of other daleks on the ship and humans are blowing up left and right. Clara climbs into the dalek’s brain and starts hitting various bits. I *think* the implication here is that she’s acting as a conductor, moving electricity to dormant bits of the dalek’s memory and allowing him to remember the star being born and all that beauty he saw. It seems to work.
The Doctor gets the bright idea to hook up the dalek’s brain to his own, allowing the dalek to see the universe the way the Doctor does. Not the best plan he’s ever had. The dalek sees the diviinity of the universe, the Doctor’s love for life. It’s great for like five seconds. Then, of course, he sees the Doctor’s deep and abiding hatred of the daleks. It sees his rage, now bursting forth from him with every catty comment about Clara’s appearance and shitty disregard for a dying redshirt. The dalek turns good, then it turns deadly for other daleks. It hates the same way the Doctor does. It says “Daleks are evil. They must be exterminated.” It goes on a dalek killing spree. It’s really pretty awesome.
Side note: There’s a bit of dialogue from the Doctor here I really like. When the dalek sees his hatred and takes it on, he begs it “no, please, there must be more than that.” When the dalek says “the daleks must be exterminated,” he says “Of course. Because that’s what you do.” I’m 99% certain he’s talking to himself here. Ouch.
Cue convenient skipping of sequence where they somehow get the people out of the dalek. No idea how that happened, they’re just out now. The dalek asks the Doctor why he isn’t happy about his victory over the daleks. The Doctor says “this isn’t victory. Victory would have been a good dalek.” (And I’m on the couch going “THANK YOU what did I say? Killing all daleks isn’t morality, FFS.”)
dalek: “I am not a good dalek. You are a good dalek.”
SICK BURN. Daleks are the best at burns.
The dalek leaves. It does this cool little “peace out, bitches” thing you just have to see to understand how sweet it is.
The Doctor heads back to the TARDIS without saying anything to anyone. Clara runs after him. Journey runs after them both and asks the Doctor to take him with her. He refuses. He tells her she’s brave, and kind, but most of all she’s a soldier and he’s not down with soldiers. He leaves her there.
He returns Clara to her supply closet at school. After she pops out she runs into the still-attractive Danny Pink. He’s confused about her choice to change clothes in the supply closet. He asks her if she has a problem with soldiers, but she isn’t the one with a solider problem. She has what appears to be a soldier solution brewing. (Still annoyed about the whole “Clara needs a boyfriend” thing.)
And that’s it. Next week… Robin Hood.
I’ve always thought the Doctor is sometimes morally adrift. Just think of the power he wields, and the decisions he has to make on the regular. The toll it’s taken is really showing through. The fear that the eyepatch crew had of him sure seems legit right now.
(screencaps from http://kissthemgoodbye.net/)