Sunday, 31 August 2014


The Doctor's body count rises, as does my enjoyment of Series 8.

I used to believe that there was no such thing as a ‘good Dalek story’, only a ‘bad Dalek story’. Daleks are boring! They arrive, they exterminate, they lose – they survive! That’s the formula for almost every single Dalek themed story in Doctor Who barring very few exceptions. Asylum of the Daleks for instance tried to do something different with the pepper pots and they succeeded – partially. I say partially because Into the Dalek succeeded entirely! 
But first, if you haven't already, catch up here with REVIEW - DEEP BREATH
"Put on a good show boys. Fans are expecting lots of random red shirt killing today."

Let’s not kid ourselves, some of this episode felt like Dalek (the story, not the species), but that isn’t much of a concern. Fans seem to want lots of grunt red shirts to be exterminated just because we don’t get a lot of exterminations these days. Killing a bunch of people whose names I don’t even know…don’t even remotely care. However, given that this story seemed to balance the senseless killing fans want with a very intriguing plot which is what I wanted without spilling anything, I’m willing to accept the former. That is not a bad Dalek story; that is a story Dalek story. 

If you talk about the pacing for the episode, it was utterly brilliant. I’ll be honest, at times I felt like it was going too slowly – only in a sense that we wouldn’t have enough time to flesh out the climax, but I was wrong. The pace is perfect. Enough time for the intros, picking up Clara, introducing Danny. There were lots of good parts in the middle and an almost heartbreaking ending. Love that! No Rushed Episode Syndrome here. That is not a bad Dalek story; that is a good Dalek story. 

"You will ignore the blatantly rude comment I just made and fall in love with me. In three, two, one..."

Onto Clara…what an insensitive bitch! “You shoot people and then you cry about it afterwards.” Are you f**king kidding me? That is her idea of being funny? Even if you love Clara to bits (which I don’t btw), you have to admit that she was really rude and insensitive to Danny there. I mean at first I thought the kid in the class room was being rude until I realized he was just being curious. As a kid, I don’t imagine you get to ask that question every day. But Clara’s quip about it really hurt me. Every episode, she's turning more elitist. Worse still…slapping the Doctor? Let me just get this out of the way: I HATE DOUBLE STANDARD: FEMALE ON MALE ABUSE! I hate the idea that when circumstances call for it, it is alright for a woman to hit a man in anger/frustration. When it's played for laughs or some kind of comedy, it's a lesser offense, but this was not comedic in the slightest. The moment she raised her hand in violence, the last bits of Clara Oswald died in me. She is now just Clara-Sue. Don't make sport of shit you don't understand. That is not a good Dalek story; that is a bad Dalek story. 

Clara-Sue (see, I told you that’s what we’d be calling her from now on) did have some honestly good bits that didn’t involve flaunting her plot bending powers. Her defense of the Doctor for one thing. The mad/right bit was lovely. I also appreciate her answer to his “Am I a good man?” question. I remember when I first saw the promotional clip of it, I didn’t like it, but now I do. Since the Doctor asked her to be cold and considered, I appreciate the fact that she didn’t even try to tell a white lie. The ending scene with her providing some comfort to him for at least trying to be a good man was all that really counted actually came close to bringing a tear to my eye. So Clara-Sue’s personality seemed to be a bit of a mixed bag for me in this episode. That is not a bad Dalek story; that is a good Dalek story. 

"You have a gun. I have coffee. Who do you think will win this fight?"

I really liked the Doctor in this episode. Not that I didn’t like him in the last, but he just gets better and better. I still miss about 10% of what he says thanks to that accent, but no biggie. Peter Capaldi was fantastic in this. His incarnation’s quirks and habits are slowly showing. From the very start with him telling Journey Blue off and making her ask him nicely to help was epic. Made even better by the fact that she was pointing a weapon at him. As was his pension for nicknaming people. Rusty? That was hilarious. Ladies and gentlemen, Doctor number 12 is the Nicknamer! He showed us that he is evolving into a more callous and cold individual with him ‘murdering’ that one soldier and defending it by saying ‘he was already dead’. I can just see the fan outrage right now. To those people – stuff it! That is not a bad Dalek story; that is a good Dalek story. 

"I am not a good Dalek. You are a good Dalek."

I also appreciate the climax of this episode with the Doctor trying (and failing) to create a good Dalek. But I’m sure everyone pulled a face when that Dalek replied it was the Doctor that was the good Dalek, not it. That bit killed me inside. It is so true to certain degree as evidenced by numerous scenes during this episode for instance, and I like the fact it's a cloud that will now be hanging over the Doctor’s head. It is a terrible thing to say - being compared to a Dalek. Good or bad. That is not a bad Dalek story; that is a good Dalek story. 

One hiccup that stood out during this story was the obvious: Why didn’t the Daleks simply blow up the Aristotle from their BIGGER spaceship like they did to Journey Blue’s fighter during the pre-credits instead of going through all the trouble of boarding and slow-killing everybody? Was it for the fans who wanted to see a couple of red shirts die? I know the Daleks hardly ever shoot the Doctor point blank when they get a chance, but I was under the impression that they didn’t know he was on the ship, so why not just blow it up remotely. Plot induced stupidity. That is not a good Dalek story; that is a bad Dalek story. 

"All your budget belongs to us. Daleks are the masters of the BUDGET!"

It seems I was wrong about the budget. The CG is still spectacular! It feels like the whole budget was used up on this episode. Proof that Doctor Who is mainstream baby! We’re two episodes in and the CG already looks like the budget equivalent of a whole season. I doubt anyone complained about the very Star Wars space fighting going on during the pre-credits. I didn’t and heavy SCI-FI usually puts me off. That is not a bad Dalek story; that is a good Dalek story. 

"All it takes is one look and you know that this guy is going to be spectacular!"

Lastly, let’s talk about Danny Pink. An ex-soldier who appears to be suffering from a kind of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I’ll say it right now, he looks and feels like a really traumatized character. From his reluctance to answer if he has ever killed someone to being asked if he has ever killed anyone who wasn’t a soldier, I could tell I was going to like him a lot. Those questioned looked as though they burned right into his soul. From the look on his face, the answer to both these questions should be pretty obvious. War is hell and a lot of us (me included) don’t always realize just how much. A nice parallel to the Doctor considering both have fought wars and suffered the aftermath of those conflicts. However, given that Doctor 12 seems to have developed a particularly prejudicial dislike for soldiers, I'm not sure what to expect from their future interactions. That is not a bad Dalek story; that is a good Dalek story. 

Next week’s episode looks like it will be a filler episode. Not really looking forward to the whole ‘Robin Hood’ story, but then again, that’s what I said about Into the Dalek! 

Rating this episode: 9/10. The score should speak volumes coming from someone who ‘used to’ find Daleks boring. More Dalek stories like this please!

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