One reason some Doctor Who fans have problems with Dalek stories is the feeling of predictability inherent in those stories, a problem which the production team acknowledges, finding a new wrinkle on an old implacable foe. Some nu-Who stories which have grappled with this problem have been more successful than others.
Dalek not only brought the pepper-pots forward to a modern audience, it successfully challenged the relationship between the Daleks and Doctor itself. Daleks in Manhattan and Evolution of the Daleks tried the Dalek/human hybrid with decidedly mixed results.
With that as a backdrop let’s acknowledge that Into the Dalek is a bit of a pastiche. Miniaturization from The Invisible Enemy and even Planet of Giants. Railing against a much much larger (physical) opponent done in The Satan Pit and even The Rings of Akhaten.
Having said that though we liked Into the Dalek A LOT. The Capaldi Doctor is fascinating and such a change from recent years. While much has been made of this Doctor’s apparent rudeness we see it more of a distance as he continues to openly wrestle with who he is. This is a Doctor/Companion dynamic we dare say hasn’t been seen before. Whereas it was previously implied, especially for Tennant, that he needed someone to help stop him from going too far, Capaldi needs someone to help recalibrate his moral compass. This is great stuff and bodes really well for the next ten weeks.
Unlike Deep Breath which was replete with images, Into the Dalek is positively ‘stripped down’ with only the bog standard set you may have seen elsewhere. The caps though are great. It was a lovely episode.
Next week … Sherwood-ly you jest!