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

Elizabeth Harper | 31 Aug 2014 06:15
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Clara to the Rescue
Faced with this conundrum, the Doctor heads to Earth to fetch Clara, who he's using as a sort of moral barometer. Newly regenerated and not all that sure of himself, he's turning to an external source to get a level opinion on things... which is something we've really never seen the Doctor do before. The fact that he's relying so much on Clara to help him figure out right and wrong is certainly interesting. Is Capaldi's Doctor less stable than regenerations we've seen in the past? Or is he simply more open to accepting help? We'll have to wait and see what future episodes have in store.

However, Clara definitely proves herself a good person to turn to. When the Doctor shows up at her school -- three weeks after she'd last seen him -- saying he needs her help to figure this out, she drops everything (including the date she'd set up with Danny) to go with him. And when they arrive on the ship with the Dalek, the Doctor introduces her as his "carer," who cares about things so he doesn't have to -- which seems pretty spot-on to Clara's role so far.

Fortunately, Clara seems to have no problems calling the Doctor on his own bullshit when it needs to be done, helping bring the Doctor back to reality when he's overly negative or dismissive. Without Clara, this would have been a very different episode, as she's the catalyst for the Doctor's big, episode-saving idea -- and gets to save the day herself.

What's a Death or Two Between Friends?
Because it's Doctor Who, things get a little weird from here as the Doctor, Clara, and some redshirts soldiers shrink themselves down in order to go inside the Dalek to repair it. Why is this necessary? Why do we even want to go on a risky Dalek repair mission -- even if this Dalek is good, they're risking the lives of five individuals to shrink down and try to save it, which seems like maybe not the best use of resources.

This leads us to a series of sequences that mostly seem to take place in corridors with differently colored lights -- admittedly, more set dressing than some classic episodes have had -- as the crew finds the Dalek's damaged power supply and repairs it. Unfortunately, repairing it causes the Dalek to return to its normal programming of "Exterminate! Exterminate!" -- it breaks out of the medical area to wreck havoc on the ship and summon its friends to help exterminate the rest of the humans.

The Doctor is dismissive of the deaths of the soldiers both inside and outside the Dalek. For the episode's first death, it seemed like the Doctor was attempting to save a soldier threatened by Dalek "antibodies," but instead he was just setting up a way to track where his remains were taken. When called on it, just said "He was dead already; I was saving us," which is a rather bleak turn for the Doctor.

When the Doctor grows dejected after the Dalek goes back to being an ordinary, hate-filled Dalek, Clara slaps him for not caring about the situation. "People are dying here and there's a little bit of you that's pleased. The Daleks are evil after all, everything makes sense, the Doctor was right." Her pep talk -- if it could be called that -- seems to have shaken something lose in him, though. He realizes that if the Dalek, when broken, could be good, they can convince it to be good again.

Of course doing this causes the death of another redshirt soldier, but eventually Clara and the last remaining soldier manage to get into the Dalek's memory banks and reactivate memories -- suppressed by its Dalek programming -- of a star being born that had impressed on the Dalek that "Life returns. Life prevails. Resistance is futile."

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