Friday, September 12, 2014

Doctor Who: Into the Dalek review

Doctor: “This is Clara. Not my assistant, she’s ah, some other word.”
Clara: “I’m his carer.”
Doctor: “Yeah, my carer. She cares so I don’t have to.”

 And there we have it – three simple lines of dialogue which sum up the relationship between the 12th Doctor and Clara. My English teacher taught me that the essence of great art is much in little and this is a great example. It’s funny, sharp and brutal all at the same time.

 When I say it sums up their relationship, it sums it up as it is at this moment – 2 episodes into Series 8. Since the 12th Doctor is a work in progress right now, so is their relationship. How much you like his series (so far) is going to depend on how much uncertainty you can put up with. Or maybe we’ll be on edge with the 12th Doctor all the time – when he asks Clara if he’s a good person, we may never get a straight answer.

This has some similarities to Season 5’s “The Beast Below” – which had Amy stepping up to take the role as the Doctor’s Assistant – helping him to see more than just what’s in front of him. Except “The Beast Below” was somewhat heavy-handed in the way it shoved the Doctor/ Assistant relationship in our faces at the expense of the story. “Into the Dalek” is better made.

First and foremost it’s a rip-roaring adventure. The Daleks are presented in grand style – a Dalek Saucer chasing a spaceship through an asteroid field, the Doctor saving one of its occupants and landing on a ship hiding behind one of the asteroids. The Daleks are closing in but the soldiers on the ship have a captive, “good” Dalek aboard. Can the Doc lead a shrunken team inside the Dalek to fix it and turn it against his own kind? Excellent pulp stuff with lots of thrills and spills and action. Inside the Dalek, the team are chased by anti-bodies, fall into slime, race around its insides, turn it bad again and then try to make literal contact with its mind. Outside the Dalek, the ship is breached and a Dalek assault team charges in with the soldiers fighting a desperate rear-guard action.

Yet with all this ferocious charging about, there is time for some well-worked character scenes – when the Doctor is first aboard the ship and his abrasive reaction to anyone with guns, Clara’s sweet burgeoning romance with Danny Pink, the Doctor’s struggle with his morality towards the Daleks.

Capaldi’s Doctor continues to evolve – he’s blunt but not uncaring, but a lot of that attitude is fear about himself – he still can’t work out who he is. Jenna Coleman continues to impress – Clara as the Doctor’s Carer is far better than Clara as lovestruck fangirl of DESTINY.

All in all a stronger episode than the debut; I suspect there is still more settling down to come, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

AND – on to our Flash-fic-fan-fic

HungerTime – part two

 “Run, you clever boy. And remember,” said Oswin. She could feel the Dalek consciousness closing in, just as weaponry rained down upon the Asylum.

The barriers she’d erected in her escape pod burst open. The planet roared as it exploded around her.

“Come on then,” shouted a familiar voice, “run.”

Oswin jumped up. Smoke billowed through the door. A short, dark-haired girl stepped through, coughing. “We need to get out of here,” said Clara.

They ran, stumbling from the capsule and into a snow-filled street, bumping into another short, young lady with dark hair.

“This is strange,” said all three.

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