(Image courtesy of David Catterall)
The carry over from the Matt Smith years continues with the Doctor in the beginning of his journey only to have to pick Clara up from school before dashing off to face down the pepper shakers of doom.
The ole’ Daleks are back! Ha za! No more Skittle colored Daleks to be found! No Devros. No Emperor Dalek. No eye stalks coming out people’s heads. No creep factor that was Asylum of the Daleks. Instead, we do actually go to the most dangerous place in all the universe.
Taking place on a human ship hiding in an asteroid belt from the Daleks, the Doctor rescues, Journey Blue played by Zawe Ashton just as her space ship is about to be blown up and returns her to her uncle, Col. Morgan Blue played by Michael Smiley on board the aforementioned spaceship, Aristotle and is greeted by an imprisoned Dalek that cares.
Meanwhile, Clara is introduced to Danny Pink played by Samuel Anderson, a former soldier who from most reports will be another companion this year. Danny isn’t dragged along this time and is left for most of the episode so the Doctor, Clara, Journey and 2 red shirts can be micronized into a Dalek to see what’s wrong with it.
Yep, it’s Doctor Who meets Fantastic Voyage (which oddly enough hasn’t been remade, yet).
The interior of the Dalek is a fun set piece. It may look like people climbing through a big computer. But anything with roving eyes that act as anti-bodies is pretty creepy cool. It feels more real than the dungeon set piece from Deep Breath.
The Daleks and the Doctor may have been enemies before but since the Time War it’s gotten worse. Once the Dalek’s problem is fixed it goes back to the same ole’ Exterminate routine and the solution to the problem works until the Doctor goes one step further and we get a similar problem to The Fourth Doctor’s situation in The Face of Evil. Kids, never imprint your 900+ year old brain onto anyone, m’kay?
The conclusion feels foreboding enough and one might wonder if the Doctor’s hatred will cool because of this or if two angry people are going to their separate corners of the universe only to come back for a rematch.
Capaldi continues to handle things well. He’s a bit sharp around the edges which is both good and bad. His treatment of the red shirts and women in particular does need a bit fine tuning to say the least. Most of the time he’s great then sometimes you have to wonder why the writers typed that in.
Thankfully he’s surrounded by strong women this episode and more than once gets slapped and pushed against the wall demanding to know why he just let someone die after giving them false hope.
Journey tries to hop a ride but the Doctor turns her down due to her tenancy to shoot first and ask politely later. If and when the next companion slot opens up, I hope they’d return to the character to see if she’s changed.
The ongoing plot thread for this season is Missy. First introduced in last weeks episode and welcoming the antagonistic robot to the “promised land”, she welcomes one of the red shirts to “Heaven” and offers her tea.
So who is Missy, exactly? Theories are running the gamut from Rani to TARDIS to Master. I’m happy we’re getting something. The last season with the Great Intelligence wasn’t so great and lack any emotional punch or set up. The Doctor does need an ongoing plot in the background to keep things interesting from a crack in the wall to John Saxon.