Doctor Who
Doctor Who Review: Is Every Episode Going to Be a Remake?

Elizabeth Harper | 31 Aug 2014 06:15
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Meet Mr. Pink
This episode is our first look at Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink, a new teacher at Coal Hill School where Clara works. Last season, we saw little of Clara's life away from the Doctor, but this season it feels like she's got some real roots as her identity as a teacher has been fleshed out. Last episode, we saw her come up with a response to being threatened by remembering an encounter with a student, and in this episode we see even more.

Not only does the episode begin and end at the school, but there are teacher references throughout, with one of the characters deriding Clara for being dressed like a schoolteacher, Clara going after the Doctor for coming to the wrong conclusion by asking "is that what we learned?," and the Doctor referring to Clara as "teach." It's a bit overkill and, honestly, this sort of basic identity establishment feels like it should have been done right after we met the character rather than during her second season -- but it does so much to make her feel like a real inhabitant of the Doctor Who universe that it's hard to be bothered by it. This season, Clara's been nothing but great... it's just a shame that it's taken this long to get to it.

As to Danny Pink we see very little of him, learning that he's an ex-soldier who's just started with the school -- and he's pretty sensitive when the kids needle him about having killed people. There's a bit of a soldier theme this episode, as the Doctor meets -- and doesn't like -- a group of soldiers fighting the Daleks, but Clara (and the audience) meet Danny, who seems like a nice sort. The episode closes with Danny and Clara heading off for drinks together, and hopefully we'll see more of Danny in the future.

Introducing...a Good Dalek
We've been here before: a beaten-up Dalek that isn't as evil as the rest. It was the first season episode Dalek where the 9th Doctor and Rose encountered a Dalek in a museum -- Rose didn't see what was so awful about it, while the Doctor, in an aggressive turn we hadn't seen from him before, was more than ready to destroy it.

Here, the Doctor has gotten distracted while getting Clara coffee by rescuing a soldier fighting the Daleks... and lucky for him, the soldiers happen to need a doctor, or they would have executed him for finding their secret base. Unlucky for him, the patient is a Dalek, which the soldiers tried to dissect without realizing it was alive. ("Not until it started screaming.")

They promised it medical help, which is why the Doctor's here -- though he's not particularly interested in helping, mocking it until it says "Daleks must be destroyed." It's a Dalek that doesn't like other Daleks... so should the Doctor help it exterminate the rest of its race? (If you want to see another earlier-but-better variation of this episode, you could also watch I, Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation, which hits on the same sort of moral quandary.)

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