12 Great Moments From Into the Dalek
Mark McCullough picks out twelve faves from the second episode of Series 8.
Note: Episode spoilers naturally!
Now that our journey Into the Dalek is over, it is time to reflect on twelve memorable moments along the way:
The Daleks Approach
When we think of Daleks the word EXTERMINATE is not far behind. The problem is, it has been a while since we actually seen the Daleks utilising their most fearsome ability of ruthless killing. This scene was particularly effective as it showed them do so with ease. Credit has to go to the director for the way in which the Daleks advanced without breaking formation or changing the speed they moved. What this served to do was present the Daleks as an unstoppable force which dispatched any resistance. In all honesty this is probably the only scene where the Daleks have scared me. Another contributing factor was the reactions of those facing the Daleks in providing the audience with a source for empathy. A simple yet chilling scene.
Danny and the Desk
Another scene which is made better by the way in which it was presented is Clara’s introduction to Danny Pink. Danny’s initial awkwardness serves to ground his character and make him seem a little more real. The way the camera cut between the conversation and Danny thinking about what he should have said is very well done and has perfect comic timing. Even more comedy is added to the mix as he is unaware that Clara is watching him. What is evident in the scene is that Coleman and Anderson share excellent chemistry.
Rusty kills the Daleks
Something about this scene just really made me smile. Seeing a Dalek as a force for good and betraying its own kind was great if only for the novelty factor. In truth that’s probably all there is to it, the feel good factor. Again the direction is top notch as we see the Daleks completely taken aback and caught off guard by Rusty’s attacks. You can almost see them stall for a second as they are unable to process what is happening. A possible complaint about the scene however could be that it was a little too easy for Rusty, although that doesn’t have a huge impact on things.
The Doctor Rejects Journey
It has been a while since anyone has asked to travel with the Doctor after meeting him, usually if they do something happens to prevent them doing so. With Journey this was a rejection by the Doctor based purely on the fact that she was a soldier. He even admires he character which makes it all the more a blow to her. Why I have selected this scene however is for where it sits in the grand scheme of things. Surely it doesn’t bode well for the Doctor’s reaction to Danny when and if he eventually finds out about him.
The Pre-title Sequence
The episode opened with an epic scene of a small fighter ship under fire from a vastly superior Dalek ship. This immediately sets the sense and gives the episode a sense of scale and danger. Then we get a glimpse inside the ship as its brother and sister team flee for their lives before the ship blows up. My gut instinct was that it was only a scene to establish a sense of threat for the Daleks. So it came as a pleasant surprise to have the Doctor save Journey. However it was an even bigger shock that he was only able to save her and not her brother. This led to a particularly interesting exchange with the Doctor which showcased the very alien aspects of Capaldi’s incarnation. In short: a brilliant pre-title scene which established a lot for the episode to build on.
The Doctor confronts his greatest enemy, (but is it a reflection of himself?). The first thing of note is the nice little cameo of clips from the Series Four finale. A feature of Smith’s tenure as the Doctor was his epic speeches to his enemies; this scene is probably Capaldi’s equivalent. How do you reason with pure evil? The Doctor makes an attempt at it by sharing with Rusty his memories. Of course being a Dalek Rusty focuses on hate which causes him to redirect his anger to his own kind. The beauty of this scene is that it shows that some is not defined by one aspect of their personality and different people can interpret things in alternate ways. Just because the Dalek seen the hatred does not reflect that the Doctor is filled with hate. It was also nice to be able to place the dialogue from the teaser trailer and for it to come together in such a magnificent scene.
Danny the Soldier
Not strictly relevant to the scene, but I feel I have to say that I love how Danny’s character has been handled so far, he has been given a lot more depth in his initial appearance that I suspected he would. My favourite scene with featuring him was the classroom scene where a student asks if he has ever killed a man, obviously seeking a reaction from Danny. (Coal Hill looks like it has really nasty students.) When this doesn’t get a reaction he asks again if Danny has ever killed someone that wasn’t a soldier. Credit has to go to Samuel Anderson who is able to convey a glimpse at a trouble past through only a tear and the tone of his voice. If Danny is like this throughout the series, then he is sure to be a favourite.
“Am I a good man?”
A scene which occurred quite early in the episode, a possible reason for this is that the Doctor was still questioning himself following his recent regeneration. The more likely explanation however is because it was the undertone of the entire episode. This meant that it was in the back of the audiences mind allowing them to judge for themselves based on the Doctor’s actions within the narrative. Capaldi and Coleman executed the scene perfectly. As a refresher for the audience the point is addressed at the conclusion of the episode as well. The difference is this time Clara gives an answer which states it is who you try to be that counts.
“You are a good Dalek”
By the time the Doctor and Rusty get a proper opportunity to talk, the main threat of the episode has passed and the pace has dropped significantly. It is my opinion that this works strongly in favour of this scene. With the Doctor lamenting that his plan did not come off he concludes that there can be no such thing as a truly good Dalek. Rusty’s reply is a simple one, that the Doctor is the good Dalek. At first this may appear as an insult, but if you reflect on the true meaning of this it a compliment. The idea of a good Dalek was one who seen the beauty in the universe and acts as a champion for life (“life prevails”). In fact this one line is a subtle answer to the Doctor’s earlier question. Yes, he is a good man, but sometimes his hatred gets in the way of that. In fact I would go as far as to say it is a scene which makes you question the entire episode. Is it Into the Dalek? Or would Into the Doctor be a more apt description.
What have we learnt?
Not strictly one moment, but a series of short conversations between the Doctor and Clara that go really far to develop their relationship further and give Clara a chance to shine. The first scene is one where she introduces herself as the Doctor’s carer. This is proven to be the case later when she convinces him that a situation is not as bad as he had first feared. We later get to see how much this means to the Doctor as he commends her ability as a teacher and he comments how he should pay her. After a turbulent start to their relationship in Deep Breath it is great to see that they are now on better terms.
Gretchen sacrifices herself
With what we had seen of the Doctor so far, it is admittedly a starting to become a little hard to trust him, which is why this scene comes at the perfect time. To see a character prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for him goes a long way to restore our faith in him. The question “Is he mad or is he right?” is as much to the audience as it is Clara. The obvious conclusion was that he is both, and this is not enough to convince Gretchen who then asks “Is it worth it?” The Doctor’s reply is enough to convince her do so, which again alludes to the darker aspects of Twelve’s character. In all, this is a great moment, even if the heaven scene feels like it was inserted with a shoehorn. The entire scene becomes more poignant in retrospect given that her sacrifice turned out to have little impact.
My favourite scene from the episode is the one where Ross dies. If I were to ask you how many of you expected the Doctor to save him, I’d expect a majority would have said yes, myself included. This is exactly why the scene worked so well, we have become so accustomed to the Doctor trying to save everyone, so to see him manipulate the situation of someone’s death to his own advantage was a shock to the system. A line about how one life sacrificed for the sake of the others is not something I expected from his character. This juxtaposition between twelve and his predecessors who always strived to champion all life with less of a valuation of his own. One thing is for sure, this Doctor is certainly going to keep us on our toes.