Doctor Who recap: 'Into the Dalek'

The Doctor has to enter the insides of a Dalek to discover how it has turned good.
Ep. 02 | Aired Aug 30, 2014

THE DALEK RETURNS The Doctor faces off against his archenemies once more.

Ray Burmiston/BBC

Back on her command ship, the brusque and brutal behavior of the other soldiers clashes with the Doctor’s own casual outlook, causing more tension between the two parties. If Blue was raised in this kind of environment, it's no wonder her way of saying thanks is so counterproductive. It’s quite clear that this incarnation of the Doctor cares much less for soldiers than his previous incarnations and his constant understatements of their duties and actions keep reinforcing the condescending perspective he initially showed Blue. Because he is identified as a doctor as opposed to the Doctor, the soldiers introduce the Doctor to the object that will be the focus of the episode in a moment that would jump out at any regular Doctor Who viewer: a captured Dalek.

The show then cuts to modern London where new schoolteacher and former soldier Danny Pink is grilled by a particularly pugnacious student on whether he has killed anyone who was not a soldier, a question that causes the otherwise strong-willed teacher to shed a tear and quietly dismiss his class. He is later introduced to Clara, who was already teaching English at the school. Her usual biting sense of humor stuns Danny when she teases him about the general idea of crying after soldiering, not knowing about the earlier incident. This causes Danny to try and flee from the encounter, but Clara’s remarkably fortuitous stubbornness wins out and they both arrange to go on a date later in a charming exchange that only Clara could have really pulled off.

Clara goes into the supply room and comes face to face with two coffees, held to her face by the Doctor. It seems that the coffee he went to get at the end of the last episode took three weeks and a whole country to arrive. The Doctor, who has been remarkably stoic and cool since the episode started, lowers his guard to Clara and shows off his vulnerable side as he asks her a deeply important question: "Am I a good man?"

He reveals to her the object behind his dilemma when he tells her about the Dalek. Any regular viewer will immediately spot the mirror between this episode and the Ninth Doctor’s famous "Dalek" episode. The explosive utter hatred of Daleks that Nine displayed in that episode is shown again by Twelve as he refuses to help the Dalek, saying "Die all you like. Not my problem." That is, until the Dalek says that all Daleks must be destroyed. This stops the Doctor right in his tracks and the flame of his hatred is instantly quelled. The Dalek has apparently discovered beauty when it watched a star being born and realized that resistance against life is futile—that life will always find a way.

NEXT: Into the abyss

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