Doctor Who Review: Into the Dalek

The second episode of Peter Capaldi’s tenure opens with a daring rescue and the waving of coffee cups.

Cast and Crew

Peter Capaldi as the Doctor
Jenna Coleman as Clara
Zawe Ashton as Journey Blue
Michael Smiley as Colonel Morgan Blue
Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink
Laura Dos Santos as Gretchen
Ben Crompton as Ross
Bradley Ford as Fleming
Michelle Morris as School Secretary
Nigel Betts as Mr Armitage
Ellis George as Courtney
Barnaby Edwards as Dalek
Nicholas Briggs as the voice of the Daleks

Written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat

Produced by Nikki Wilson

Directed by Ben Wheatley


The Doctor rescues a pilot from the Daleks, only to find that her command ship has a damaged Dalek on board which wants to destroy all the others. And the only way of helping it is to go inside.

High Points

  • The Doctor talks down an irate, upset soldier with a gun all while holding the coffees he’s about to deliver to Clara
  • “She cares so I don’t have to”
  • “Are you out of your mind?” “No I’m inside a Dalek!”
  • I can’t even mention this one because it’s an absolutely massive spoiler

Low Points

  • I never thought the Daleks were known for trying to rescue each other, although the passing opportunity to exterminate a shipful of humans was presumably a significant motivational factor

The Scores

Originality immediately suffers if you’ve seen Inner Space, although this is rather more… deliberate and after the initial similarities it rapidly turns into something completely different. It also feels rather fresh compared to the last few series of Doctor Who – this is a show that is definitely trying to go in a slightly different direction now. Four out of six.

The effects were a wonderful dose of nostalgia. This is what people getting exterminated would have looked like in Remembrance of the Daleks if they’d had the technology for it. Not everything is so perfect, but this is a TV show not a blockbuster Marvel movie. Five out of six.

Story is certainly a bit different to the Doctor Who fare we’ve become used to. It’s not really about the Dalek, that’s just something to set the development of various arcs against – particularly the newly-strained Doctor/Clara relationship. Five out of six.

The Acting is an initial disappointment, but the Clara/Danny scene which follows is a marvel of romantic awkwardness that will be familiar to many viewers. Peter Capaldi is clearly having the time of his life playing the Doctor, and the Dalek voice acting is remarkably nuanced. Five out of six.

Production gave us a gorgeous ambience mixing ideas from classic Dalek designs and modern influences. And while the interior of the ship was clearly just the interior of a building, that actually just makes it feel like a really big, really futuristic ship. There’s a lighter touch on the background music this series as well, which is particularly pleasing. Six out of six.

The emotional response was greater than I expected. While there are a few formulaic attempts to obtain one, several moments were genuinely touching and I’ll be honest, not much I watch these days affects me in any significant way. Five out of six.

My overall rating is six out of six, for a thoroughly interesting episode.

This gives a total score of thirty-three out of forty-two.

5 replies on “Doctor Who Review: Into the Dalek”

  1. An interesting episode: we’re seeing the first outing of the new Doctor in his more settled personality (with some obvious character flaws the writers intend to explore).

    Having originality on the scale causes some trouble, since everything by now is going to resemble something else. The themes are fairly universal and have been often addressed in SF through some version of the encounter between human and non-human. But the story? Innerspace was already covering territory used more famously in t Fantastic Voyage (adapted from a story and then adapted by Asimov into a novel). Ford and Moffat’s script alludes to these influences, though not by name. One scene recalls Star Wars trash compactor escape, and I also found myself thinking of Lost in Space‘s “Trip Through the Robot” and TNG‘s “I, Borg.”

  2. Originality immediately suffers if you’ve seen Inner Space

    I think you mispelled Fantastic Voyage (:

    I enjoyed this episode, despite the whole “Well what did you think was going to happen, it’s a #$%^ Dalek!” thing. Then again, as Clara points out, that wasn’t really the point.

    I don’t know that the Daleks were so much trying to rescue one of their own, as much as make sure they humans don’t get their hands on Dalek tech. Plus they’ve been trying to find and EX TER MI NATE them anyway, so…

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