It’s nice to see that the second episode of the new season has kept some of the slower and more thoughtful pace from last weeks opener even thought were back to the 45 minute running time.
In this instalment the Doctor rescues a soldier called Journey Blue from impending Dalek death. She insists the Doctor takes her back to her mothership and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t. Capaldi excels with the offhand way he makes her eventually say please before he complies. He takes her back to her hidden mothership where he discovers something unlikely, a ‘good’ Dalek. The crew of the ship want to shrink the Doctor down Fantastic Voyage style and inject him and a team of soldiers into the Dalek to fix some internal damage and then use the Dalek to help them exterminate the other attacking Daleks.
The Doctor pops pack to Earth to pick up Clara. She introduces herself as the doctors ‘career’. ‘She cares so I don’t have to,’ retorts the Doctor.
There’s a spooky little scene where the shrunken team are injected through the Dalek’s eye stalk and have to get through the blue glow of the eye which might be a fluid or a force field.
In conversation with the Dalek (whom the doctor has named ‘Rusty’) the Doctor discovers why the Dalek turned good: it witnessed the birth of a star amid the destruction caused by the Daleks. Rusty realised that the Daleks can never destroy life completely, that something will come back and that it was beautiful.
Later when the doctor fixes the problem, a radiation leak. Rusty revers to type and promises extermination. Rusty starts attacking the other humans on the ship while the Dalek invasion force arrives. The doctor angryly maintains that there can never be a good Dalek until Clara convinces him that he’s wrong.
The Doctor gets Clara to turn back on the censored memories in the Dalek’s memory core and he tries to get Rusty to remember the star. He also gives the Dalek his own memories but this has the unintended consequence of showing Rusty how much the Doctor hates the Daleks. Rusty is impressed by the Doctors hate but the Doctor is aghast. There must be something more he insists.
Meanwhile the Dalek invasion forces is moving through the ship and exterminating all around them. These sequences were very impressively done and felt very cinematic.
Rusty destroys the other Daleks and transmits a signal to the Dalek ship that the human ship is self destructing so they will break off the attack.
There are obviously some strong similarities with the episode Dalek from 2005 where the Ninth Doctor was forced to confront his own hate for the Daleks. It’s also nice to see some continuity going back to the very first episodes where the Doctor says he was running until he encounter the Daleks on Skaro for the first time.
Capaldi is impressive and we get a look at a slightly less touchy-freely Doctor here, for example his flippant reaction to the death of the soldiers in his miniaturised team. Plus he makes you say ‘please’.