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

Elizabeth Harper | 31 Aug 2014 06:15
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The Doctor and the Daleks
At the episode's climax, the Doctor does a sort of mind-meld with the Dalek in an effort to convince it -- again -- that life in the universe is a good thing rather than something to be exterminated. And it works... for a while... as the Dalek sees the wonder and beauty of the universe in the Doctor's mind. But then, things go a bit sideways as the Dalek sees the Doctor's tremendous hate of the Daleks and becomes convinced that the other Daleks must be exterminated -- which it moves to act on, destroying the rest of the Daleks on the ship before leaving to carry on its work of extermination.

It's a moment that calls back to the Doctor's earliest encounters with the Daleks -- in which he's always struggled with himself as to whether wiping them out makes him any better than they are. The Doctor desperately tries to convince the Dalek (or perhaps convince himself) that there's more to life than hate, but it's a lost cause: the Dalek wants only to exterminate the rest of its kind. The scene plays out beautifully, but it's terribly reminiscent of Christopher Eccelston's Doctor being told he would make a good Dalek -- and has that been so far in the past that it bears repeating?

The Doctor may have won the day, but he's is still struggling with the question of who he is, and this episode hasn't given him any clear answer, despite Clara telling him that she thinks he's trying to be a good man, which she claims is the point.

Our Ongoing Story
Just in case we'd forgotten, Missy makes another appearance this episode, showing up with one of the dead soldiers and explaining they're in heaven. We're sure to find out who she is and what she's up to eventually, but in the meanwhile this reads a lot like Davros, after capturing most of the Doctor's companions, lecturing him about turning people into weapons. This woman is collecting people who have died in the Doctor's name, which seems to assure we'll get a massive guilt trip later... another thing we've seen previous episodes do, though we'll have to wait and see whether this season manages to get the message across in a new or interesting way.

Is season 8 worth watching? Sure. The episodes have been solid so far... but you'll probably enjoy them more if you haven't seen much previous Doctor Who, of which they're extremely derivative. Still, these episodes have a very classic Who vibe that I'm definitely digging... I just wish there were something a bit more exciting to enjoy.

Whether you liked this week's episode or not, tell us about it in the comments, won't you?

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