“Into The Dalek” Review and Podcast

Despite an elevator-pitch style premise, and a plot that borrows elements from many previous episodes, I’d rate this as  the best dalek story ((which I think is probably best defined as any story with ‘dalek(s)’ in the title)) since Genesis. Unlike many Dalek stories, the Daleks were properly scary, thanks to a carefully crafted set-up and a well-calibrated threat-level. Well paced, well-plotted, with an interesting structure representing the multi-layered question at is core: fascinating storytelling. This was the first episode in which we get to see the non-traumatised 12th Doctor and – wow. We really are getting something quite new: has the Doctor ever been as dark as in that sequence from asking Ross to swallow the power cell to “he’s the top layer, if you want to say a few words”. Unlike the 6th, he’s not doing this for effect; it’s delivered with a chilling detachment. Anyway, I discussed all this and much more with Eugene in this week’s Fusion Patrol podcast:

A couple of things I didn’t find time to mention in my Deep Breath review last week:

  • Missy: the intriguing epilogue featuring, apparently, an afterlife (like ‘The Library’?) and a batty woman in black who thinks the Doctor is his boyfriend, knows his 11/12th & 12/13th faces, and both placed the advert bringing the Doctor and Clara to Mancini’s, as well as feeding Clara the Doctor’s telephone number in The Bells of St John. As a coda, it was intriguing and an obvious set up to a season-arc. The sequel here, intruding on Into the Dalek, interrupted the action and undermined a powerful death scene.
  • The title sequence: based on a fan-made Youtube video which I loved, the production values improve the cog and wonderful, wonderful spiral clockface segments. But they’ve abandoned the concept of the pocket watch and the Gallifreyan seal and shoved in a rather weak vortex effect. Also the new theme tune: I love the clock chimes that accompany the cogs, but I’m lukewarm about the electronic squealing. Overall, sound & vision together: first half excellent, second half mediocre.

Overall I’m certainly enjoying series 34 (aka series 8) so far!

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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