Second episode in and the Twelfth Doctor is playing with the big dogs as he goes toe to toe with the Daleks. Hell, some don’t even get to do that till their third at best. Am I right, Eleven?
After saving a young soldier, Journey (Zawe Ashton) from certain death, the Doctor returns her to her space station and ends up having to give psychoanalysis to a war-torn Dalek to find out why its suddenly developed the desire to destroy his own race. Rather than sticking it on a couch and getting it to weep buckets about its dad, the Doctor and Clara, along with Journey are shrunk down to a size appropriate to climbing inside a Dalek’s head. ‘Fantastic idea for a movie. Terrible idea for a proctologist.’ The Doctor notes.
This could have easily been a retread of the classic episode of Dalek, but instead it does the same job as the Beast Below; allowing Clara an opportunity – and us – to peel another layer off this latest incarnation of the Timelord. Whilst clearly still wanting to do right, the Doctor has developed a tenacity to set up camp in his own head. Note the books and equations on the chalkboard in the TARDIS, and his admission that he switches off during conversations unless he’s the one who’s talking. ‘I think he’s probably her uncle but I may have made it up to pass the time when they were talking.’ He says.
In the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor this would have been played as an amusing quirk, like a fez or 3D glasses. However, there’s the distinct impression that the Doctor is troubled as if trying to formulate an answer to a question that no one asked. Yet. In time, we may become privy to what’s going on behind those angry eyebrows, but for now it’s another mystery. As is the reappearance of Missy. Yes, there’s only been two episodes, but I’m happy to stick my neck out and say she’s the Master looking to exploit some facet of the Doctor’s personality. To what ends? We’ll see.
Outside of the Doctor, we continue to progress in leaps and bounds with regards to Clara, who appears to be growing as a character who has a life off screen. Look, she even reads the Guardian. It’s clear she wants to still be able to trust the Doctor, but there’s a definitely a kernel of mistrust in her heart. Hopefully, she’ll have Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson) to turn to. It’s too early to say how much of an impact he’ll have on the show. Whilst his struggles with his life as a soldier are surely going to return, it’s hard to shake the feeling he’s destined to be a Rory substitute.
Overall, this was a cracking episode that’s going to be a tough one to beat. Something happened at Camp Moffat. Something that made him want to change the way he approaches his work as showrunner. Whatever, it was, I couldn’t be happier.
About The Author
My name is John Noonan. I’m a freelance writer that specialises in arts and entertainment. From genre flicks to chick flicks, I love the stuff. So much so, I started a film review blog at earlybirdfilm.wordpress.com. I also contribute to online and hard copy press, including FilmInk magazine.
If you like what you see, I am available for hire. You can contact me via the social media channels above or the form on my home page.