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Another episode that I liked. Good story, with a solid SF premise and a genuinely spooky scene as they transitioned into the Dalek from the travel capsule. And only one of the (four?) non-white characters died.

Is the Doctor a good man?: a slightly odd question, given that the Capaldi Doctor is (I assume deliberately) the most explicitly alien Doctor for some time. Clara doesn't know, and nor do we, but this has all the hallmarks of being a season theme. Will it be explored with any depth and subtlety? It's too early to say, but I think that at the very least the first two stories offer some hope. Would a good man be so brusque towards Journey who has just seen her brother die? Would a good man then call her 'gun girl'? Would a 'good' man see the doomed Ross as a handy way of tracking down the Dalek's food tank? It all depends on perspective, and who's definition of 'good' we're using. It's 'good' to be pragmatic and make dispassionate calculations about how to save the people you can save, without having your judgement clouded by those you can't. It's also 'good' to have some empathy and comfort for the grieving and scared. It's 'good' (for a liberal) to mistrust and mock authority. It's also 'good' not to reduce a competent soldier to the weapon they carry and the label 'girl'.

Into 'Dalek': last week's episode was in many respects a retread of The Girl In The Fireplace, but that was Moffat borrowing from himself and lampshading it. This owed a lot to Rob Shearman's story Dalek - 'you are a good Dalek', the surprise Dalek captive, the Doctor's hatred of Daleks being tempered by the companion - and I'm not sure it acknowledged it.

Go on then, exterminate me: Daleks spend a lot of time saying they're going to exterminate people, and a lot less time actually shooting (especially near the cliffhanger in old Who). When they do shoot, in this story, they're clinical. So why aren't the crew of the Aristotle all dead in the first minute? The attacking Daleks get ample time and line-of-sight to shoot them all. This would be less obvious but for the fact that when Rusty turns on the Daleks, it shoots them all with rapid fire. Why didn't they do that? They're not trying to take prisoners, and at least one of them gets blown up by the soldiers defending the Aristotle, so it's not like they don't have a good reason to kill them quickly.

In Heaven: so Missy (whoever she is) appears to be able to snatch people at the point of death - snatching their consciousness in the manner of the Library rather than their full body, if last week's episode is to be believed. It might just be me, but I thought that the way Journey's rescue and Gretchen's rescue were initially shot was very similar - a clue, maybe? Did Missie 'rescue' Gretchen and the half-face man by Tardis?

Danny Pink: obvious parallels with his character and the other soldiers in the story, including the titular Dalek. So far, we haven't seen enough of him to be sure how this is going to pan out, and whether the writers have the ability to do anything non-cliched with him, but I live in hope.
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July 2015


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