Into the Dalek
|243 – "Into the Dalek"|
|Doctor Who episode|
The Doctor with "Rusty" the Dalek
|Directed by||Ben Wheatley|
|Written by||Phil Ford
|Script editor||Derek Ritchie|
|Produced by||Nikki Wilson|
|Executive producer(s)||Steven Moffat
|Incidental music composer||Murray Gold|
|Originally broadcast||30 August 2014|
"Into the Dalek" is the second episode of the eighth series of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who, written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat, directed by Ben Wheatley, and first broadcast on 30 August 2014. Ford has previously written for the show, co-writing 2009's "The Waters of Mars", and was a lead writer for spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures. Starring Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman the episode also introduces Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink. It was watched by 5.2 million viewers in the UK on its initial transmission, according to unofficial overnight figures, taking a 24.7 per cent share of the entire TV audience and making it the second-highest rated programme of the evening, with the final numbers giving a total of 7.29 million viewers.
The Doctor saves rebel fighter Journey Blue from her space shuttle, which is under attack by Daleks. He returns her to the rebel command ship Aristotle, a former hospital ship converted for military use. To prevent his being executed as a potential Dalek spy, Journey offers the Doctor's services to assist with their "patient": a damaged Dalek the rebels found floating through space. This Dalek, surprisingly, declares that the Dalek race is evil and must be destroyed. Somehow, the damage inflicted upon it has given it a sense of morality—a "good" Dalek.
Meanwhile, Danny Pink, an Afghanistan war veteran emotionally scarred from his experiences, begins teaching Maths at Coal Hill School. In the staff room, Danny is introduced to Clara Oswald, who invites him to a retirement party for one of their colleagues. Danny declines, feeling awkward due to an obvious connection between them. However, when Clara finds him in his classroom despairing over his actions, she invites him out for a drink instead. He agrees. Back at her office, Clara comes face to face with the Doctor, whom she hasn't seen in three weeks since he left her to get coffee in Glasgow (as seen in "Deep Breath"). He tells her that he needs her help. He begins by asking her for her honest opinion: is he a good man? Clara hesitantly replies that she doesn't know. The Doctor then briefs her on what happened aboard the Aristotle. Clara agrees to assist his efforts to help the "good" Dalek, despite the Doctor's contention that Daleks cannot be turned good.
Back at the Aristotle, the Doctor, Clara, Journey and two rebel soldiers, Ross and Gretchen, are miniaturised so they can enter the broken Dalek—nicknamed "Rusty" by the Doctor—to determine what is making it good. Entering through the eyepiece, they begin exploring the upper part of the Dalek. They come upon its "cortex vault", which the Doctor describes as Dalek technology designed to suppress any developing compassion within the living mutant inside the shell, as well as store all of its memories. Ross shoots a griphook onto the floor, and he is incinerated by autonomic antibodies, much like in the human body. The Doctor coldly uses Ross's death to lead the others to Rusty's waste centre, which he correctly concludes is unguarded. From there, they enter an area of high radiation. Rusty, speaking to the Doctor, relates the beauty it had witnessed in the galaxy, including the creation of a star. Rusty drew from this that Daleks must be destroyed for wanting to destroy that beauty. At Rusty's power center, the Doctor discovers a large crack leaking radiation, causing the malfunction within the Dalek. He uses his sonic screwdriver to seal the crack and repair the damage. However, this unintentionally causes the Dalek to revert to its normal thinking pattern, and the Doctor realises that the Dalek was never good, just broken.
The rebels are helpless as the Dalek breaks its chains and begins exterminating them. Determined to aid the Dalek cause, it contacts the main Dalek ship, which sends other Daleks to destroy the rebel command ship. Inside Rusty, Journey and Gretchen plan to destroy the creature from the inside. Clara, appalled by the Doctor's callousness during the entire mission, slaps him in the face and convinces him to reconsider his conviction that Daleks are "irreversibly evil". He persuades the soldiers to try and reawaken the Dalek's morality. They split up, Clara and Journey heading for the cortex vault to revive Rusty's past memories now being suppressed, and the Doctor preparing to link with the Dalek's consciousness. Gretchen sacrifices herself to set up another griphook to get Clara and Journey back to the upper level, and she is destroyed by antibodies. She awakens suddenly after, being greeted by the mystery woman Missy at a breakfast table in "Heaven" ("Deep Breath").
Inside the cortex vault, Clara manages to awaken Rusty's memory of seeing a star's creation. The Doctor then links his mind to Rusty's consciousness, showing him the beauty of creation and life, along with the destruction the Daleks caused. However, Rusty not only regains his morality, he also assimilates the Doctor's own deep-rooted hatred towards the Dalek race. He exterminates his fellow Daleks as they attempt to destroy the rebel ship. After leaving the inside of the Dalek, the Doctor parts with Rusty, disturbed that the Dalek saw only darkness within him; he'd hoped for a 'victory' in creating a 'good' Dalek. Rusty's response is that the Doctor himself is a good Dalek, while Rusty is not. Rusty sends a signal to the Dalek mothership, causing it to believe the Aristotle has self-destructed, and vows to continue with his mission to destroy the Daleks.
The Doctor and Clara depart. Realising she is not a soldier at heart, Journey asks to come with them. The Doctor turns her down, telling her that though she has a kind heart, he wishes that she hadn't been a soldier. The Doctor returns Clara to her office, moments after she left. Clara tells him that, although she is still unsure of whether he is a good man, she knows his intentions are well-meant. On leaving, she bumps into Danny, who is glad that his being an ex-soldier hasn't put her off dating him. Remembering the Doctor's treatment of Journey, Clara tells Danny that she is not so judgemental.
Rusty, the 'good' Dalek, declares "Death to the Daleks," which is also the title of a Third Doctor serial. Scenes from "Dalek" and "Journey's End" can be seen in the background as the Doctor 'merges' with Rusty's mind. The Doctor refers to his first encounter with the Daleks on Skaro in The Daleks.
The read-through for the episode took place on 17 December 2013, the same day as "Deep Breath". Filming began on 25 January 2014, and took place at the Uskmouth power station, which had previously served as a location for the 2011 Christmas special, "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe". Filming also took place in St Athan, Newport, and a hangar outside Cardiff. Regular filming concluded on 18 February 2014. The last scene to be filmed was the one featuring Gretchen (Laura dos Santos) and Missy (Michelle Gomez), which was filmed concurrently with the similar scene with Half-Face Man from "Deep Breath" on 23 May 2014. Since Wheatley was unavailable on the date, an uncredited Rachel Talalay directed both scenes; she consulted Wheatley and attempted to incorporate his ideas.
Broadcast and reception
As part of the series 8 leaks, both the script and a rough cut of the episode were leaked online from a server in Miami. Despite the fact that the initial online copy of the episode contained a glitch that prevented downloading, a workable version found its way online by the second week of August 2014.
Two clips from the episode were featured alongside an interview with Peter Capaldi on BBC News on 7 August 2014. On 25 August, a ten-second clip was released showing the Doctor's reunion with a lone Dalek. The same clips were re-released on 27 August in slightly extended form.
"Into the Dalek" was watched by 5.2 million viewers in the UK upon its initial transmission, according to unofficial overnight figures, taking a 24.7 per cent share of the entire TV audience and making it the second-highest rated programme of the evening. The episode was watched by 7.29 million people according to the final viewing figures, making it the 2nd most watched programme over the entire week on BBC1 and the 9th most watched over all channels. In the United States, the première airing on BBC America had an audience of 1.22 million viewers, well below the 2.19 million viewers earned on "Deep Breath".
"Into the Dalek" received largely positive reviews, with the characterization of the Dalek being acclaimed. Simon Brew of Den of Geek wrote that the episode "stakes one hell of a claim... as a series highlight," and that it was "a really good, really entertaining episode," noting the similarities to 2005's "Dalek". Brew praised the new characterisation for Clara and Capaldi's emergence as the Doctor. The Guardian found the episode to be "better than we might have expected." They singled out the character development of Zawe Ashton's character in such a short period of time, and Ben Wheatley for "evoking a genuine sense of claustrophobic menace.'" Terry Ramsey of The Daily Telegraph gave the episode four stars out of five praising Capaldi, "It may be hard to believe in a good Dalek, but after Saturday night it is easy to believe this will be a good Doctor." IGN also praised the episode, particularly Ford and Moffat's script, stating that it "evolves along with its characters". They ultimately labelled the episode "an entertaining new take on a classic old foe", awarding it 8.4 out of 10.
Neela Debnath of The Independent was positive regarding the episode, calling it "A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster," while praising the new dynamic between The Doctor and Clara. Tim Liew of Metro commented, "I rather enjoyed this episode." He was also positive about the character development for Jenna Coleman and noted, "the tight focus on a single enemy makes this the most menacing Dalek episode since "Dalek"." Morgan Jeffery of Digital Spy felt the episode was an improvement over the series' opening episode and that it "felt like the proper debut of our new lead." He felt the dynamic between Capaldi and Coleman was very similar to that of Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, and called the episode "smart, stirring and visually spectacular," awarding the episode four stars out of five.
Forbes gave a negative review of the episode, criticising the Daleks' appearance so soon after Capaldi's entrance saying, "It feels like the BBC have a lack of confidence in the public accepting Capaldi as The Doctor," and the "flawed" concept of the episode. They were critical of the characterisation of Capaldi's Doctor: "the modern Doctor is not the irascible, self-centred William Hartnell of those early episodes." But they were positive about the characterisation of Clara and overall said, "Nonetheless, this action-packed second episode made me much more likely to tune in next week than last week’s opener.
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