Let me start out by stating that I was not a huge fan of the writing/formatting of this episode. I figured out at least one reason why about 40 minutes in. I still have no idea when this episode takes place. I’m used to hearing about the third or fourth or fifth great and bountiful human empire. Was this battle(?) during one of the human empires? Was this a more modern era like that Christmas special with Kylie Minogue with human-resembling aliens? With out that detail I didn’t really feel a connection to who these people were. I still don’t know how they met the daleks or how vast the fight was. Was it just the one ship? or was this a small piece of some much larger war.
Another minor setback was interpreting the Rusty’s voice from inside the Rusty. Booming echoes aren’t very easily understood.
Clara stepped up in my opinion of her as a companion. She was resourceful and confident in this episode. Any companion who has the nerve to strike the Doctor is doing something right in my opinion. Also, as a teacher-to-be, I appreciated the many references to her profession in this episode. Teachers are awesome, and they should make for amazing companions. However, I was a little shocked at one of her seemingly callous remarks to Mr. Pink about how if there’s more to modern soldiers it’s that they shoot people and then cry about it afterwards. That didn’t seem to have any of the sensitivity that is necessary of a Doctor Who companion. I will be watching this season closely for how Mr. Pink’s background as a soldier is addressed in this season.
This episode seemed be a dark and cynical episode. I suppose some measure of that is to be expected of an episode that is titled “Into the Dalek”. However, I feel like part of the cynicism is to be attributed to the new Doctor. I get it, but his personality is very abrasive so far. Matt Smith had his moments of hostility, especially in his second episode when he lashed out at Amy for choosing to forget, but most of the time he and David Tennant led with kindness and followed up with arrogance/distain for the shortcomings of humans. I am hoping that Capaldi’s Doctor softens over the next few episodes.
Overall, this episode was fairly good, but I don’t think that it was as good as any of the other second episodes for newly regenerated Doctors. “The End of the World”, “New Earth”, and “The Beast Below” all rank higher on my list of favorite episodes. I am still excited to see where the writers and actors will take us this season. There was a brief scene featuring Missy once more, so we still have that mystery to unravel. I am also looking forward to the possibility of having two companions again. I really liked the dynamic that two or three companions could bring to Doctor Who.