Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode50-210Are you as happy as we are to have new Doctor Who *every week*? Because we’re pretty excited. Join Deb, Erika, and Lynne as we jump “Into the Dalek” and chat about this latest episode. Despite “Dalek fatigue”, we’re able to find plenty to squee about here–not the least of which is Peter Capaldi. We’re not all equally thrilled with the introduction of Danny Pink, but we are all interested in seeing where that particular story line goes. (We can’t say the same about the Missy plot/arc/red herring.)

What are your thoughts on this latest Dalek story? And what do you think of the new Doctor, now that he’s starting to settle into himself? Let us know in the comments!

^E

Also covered:

Bonus links:
Our “Hide” episode
Ross Jenkins

Download or listen now (runtime 1:03:16) 

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Comments on: "Verity! Episode 50 – Into the Heart of Dalekness" (52)

  1. Saxon Brenton said:

    I would suggest that the ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ link is the similarity of the antibodies within the teselecta to those in the dalek.

    • microtoast said:

      Not to mention the whole shrinking and going into the machine thing.

      • terminuspodcast said:

        Those are both what I was thinking, too. (Which is what i just came over here to say, actually)

    • James C said:

      …and the episode title not really being what the episode was really about. But that applies to many other eps as well!

  2. Both Danny and Journey have colors for last names, but they are gender-swapped. The male is pink, while the female is blue. Coincidence?

    For audio drama fans, BBC Radio 4 Extra has begun airing a series of Eighth Doctor plays. They are available worldwide on iPlayer for a weeklong window, and this week’s episode is ‘Death in Blackpool’:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pqhkk

    ‘Situation Vacant’, the next episode, airs on Sunday:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pqn8q

    • Hah! I totally missed the gender-coded colors! I feel a bit silly about that now. 🙂 I also LOVE it now that you’ve pointed it out.

      Interesting note (you may already be aware of): pink was traditionally the color associated with baby boys, and blue was for girls. (Pink was seen as a stronger color than the meeker blue.) I can’t remember exactly when it swapped, but it just goes to show that symbols only have the power/meaning we give them.

      • The colour association changed in the 20th century there’s mentions right up to the 1930’s of pink still being a boys colour. Part of me wants that to be an intentional choice surely people making a show about time travel have to have some obscure history buffs amongst them.

      • Thanks! I thought it was somewhere between the 20s & 40s, but I didn’t want to guess and be wrong. 🙂

        Regardless whether Moffat was aware of the historical difference or was just purposely flipping the current expectations, I like it. Both motivations make me smile.

  3. Dylan Vega said:

    Hello, first of all, loved the episode, as always!

    I don’t usually leave comments around here, mainly beacause English is not my first language (I’m Half-Spanish/Half-French, weird combination) and even if I understand it perfectly I do struggle a bit when it comes to writing it. But after hearing you talking about the comments section at the begining of the episode I decided to share a few thoughts on your commentary of Into The Dalek. 😀

    First of all, you all seemed to agree that the plot of this episode was not particularly original, and while I don’t deny that it ressembles a lot Dalek in some places (especially in the second part, once Rusty is “repaired”), I did think this was one of the most interesting plots we’ve had in a Dalek episode in a while. Given that nowadays the Daleks have an episode pretty much every season, it is very hard to keep them interesting, and I foud the whole “The Doctor is minaturized and goes inside a Dalek” a fascinating idea that was very well executed. I also suffered a litte bit from Dalek fatigue but they managed to win me over with this.

    I also wanted to say a few things about the Missy story arc. None of you seem particularly interested by it, and I can totally understand that after the eternity it took Moffat to actually finish the Silence arc. However, I think Moffat is aware of that and is trying something different this time, and I apreciate that. Instead of having a big chunk of the season devoted to the arc itself, it seems that in Season 8 the arc is only going to be present in small scenes like the one at the end of Deep Breath, and I think that’s a big improvement. If we must have an arc each season (witch seems to be the case in New Who), this is the way I like it best, having it in the background until the last episode(s) opposed to having it overshadow other individual stories.

    That’s all for now, and I look foward to your commentary of Robot of Sherwood!

    • Thanks for your comments Dylan! I do agree with you about the fact that this new arc seems to be largely unintrusive. I’m very glad about that!

      And your English is really good!

  4. I was okay with Capaldi’s Doctor not accepting a soldier as his new companion. Since the 50th anniversary and especially in this episode his companion has being the guide for the Doctor’s own morality and whether he is a good man.

    If you compare Clara the teacher and Journey the soldier, Clara’s immediate reaction to the problem is to question whether this is the right course of action whereas Journey’s is carrying out the mission and defaults to violence. When your questioning whether the lives you’ve taken makes you a good man you may not want to associate with the person who on a simplistic level takes lives for a living.

    I’ve also seen an interesting take on his dislike of soldiers being a psychological reaction. Their worst actions be it the old UNIT blowing up Silurians or Captain Jack galavanting with guns stick with him the most now because it’s what the Doctor hates about himself. In recent incarnations he’s being willing to burn his home world to the ground and committed genocide on several occasions and there the moments he regrets the most.

    As it’s put in this episode Daleks are the ultimate soldiers and the Doctor is their good equivalent. He dislikes soldiers because they represent the worst of what he is and it would pain him to see that reflected in his companion.

    • Adding to the soldier comments… the War Doctor was very much a soldier. Now that the Doctor can fully remember the events of the 50th Anniversary*, and that he didn’t destroy Gallifrey after all, maybe he has put his soldiering days and the associated survivor’s guilt fully behind him.

      Agreed that the companion, when they are at their best, function as a moral compass for the Doctor. I think that dynamic gets more interesting when there are more people travelling with him. One of my favorite eras is the 7th Doctor/Ace/Benny of the New Adventures books. In those stories, the Doctor leaves Ace to fight in the Dalek Wars for three years and she becomes a hardened soldier. The Doctor uses this to his advantage and Ace becomes his weapon in a way – so he doesn’t have to get his hands dirty directly when fighting the “evils of the universe.”

      Sure he did some of this manipulation in the series too: “use some of that nitro 9 you’re not carrying” and brining Ace to Gabriel Chase in Ghostlight – but it was taken to even more extremes in the Virgin novels. Some of the best moments in that series are when Ace’s humanity shines through that hardened soldier veneer – in those instances, I think it’s Benny who acts the moral compass or guiding light for both the Doctor and the other companion (Ace) in the TARDIS.

      *Perhaps The Doctor doesn’t remember *quite* all of the events of the 50th – the conversation with Tom Baker in the museum, if the Curator is indeed the Doctor, won’t be remembered fully until he has the rest of that conversation from the Caretaker’s perspective, hopefully many lifetimes removed yet to come!

  5. microtoast said:

    Some reactions…

    Deb – The ‘lucky fella’ and ‘who makes you smile?’ exchange annoyed me too, just like the same sort of thing annoyed me in Hide – I agree that it was more natural in Hide, but it still felt shoe-horned in to me. I did like the turnaround in Into the Dalek when Journey’s answer is ‘my brother,’ but it still doesn’t quite save the direction of the conversation. The issue of ‘what men think women focus on’ is part of why I’d be really nervous about a female doctor or master.

    Erika – thanks for saying ‘not necessarily good dalek, but anti-dalek dalek.’ In an episode of questioning morality, and asking whether the doctor is a ‘good’ man, I was disappointed that everyone blithely assumed the dalek was ‘good’ just because it wasn’t following normal dalek behavior. But it’s still out to kill things; it just realized the futility of the dalek cause, not that it was morally wrong. I’m okay with saying a good dalek is possible, but the doctor actually says “it became good.” Personally, I didn’t see it.

    I thought there was a huge difference between the doctor’s “she was already dead” in The Unquiet Dead and letting Ross die in this one: Gwyneth actually literally WAS already dead, while Ross was very much still alive, if doomed. There was zero chance of saving Gwyneth, because it was too late from the start; there might have been no real chance of saving Ross either, but there were a few precious moments of life left, and you can’t help thinking the doctor could have done something clever with his screwdriver and saved Ross if the plot had demanded it 🙂

    Speaking of soldiers named Ross, I am one of those people on the internet. UNIT Ross lives!!

    On Missy, I’m with Erika – kind of hating Missy, her mannerisms, her presence, everything. And I thought her scene in this episode deflated the momentum a bit. About the self-sacrifice theory, if it’s true, how does the clockwork half face man show up in ‘heaven’, if Missy has to ask whether he jumped or was pushed? It’s probably not an automated process in that case. If it does end up that Missy’s on a search for trial witnesses or something, that could make some more sense. Lol, is she a new Valeyard?

    And finally, to anyone having trouble letting go of Matt Smith and his fez, in my headcanon the missing ‘trying-on-the-new-costume’ scene was actually filmed back in 1993:

    • On the ’good Dalek’ I think initially it’s just a contrivance to get into the story or for the sake of a good tag line considering the Doctor’s scepticism. By the end the Doctor clearly doesn’t see the Dalek as good considering he’s practically screaming at Rusty to see the beauty and not just redirect it’s hatred during the mind meld.

  6. AntonB said:

    Another great episode of Verity. Thank you.

    Your comments regarding what you described as ‘time gaps’ in the editing of the story were interesting but I think comparing them to the infamous ‘missing jacket’ pay off of series five is a mis-reading. That scene was Moffat, in the writing stage, inserting a deliberately fan baiting ‘continuity error’ that he would pay off down the line; whereas I think the achronistic editing of certain scenes so far this series are directorial decisions, more to do with establishing mood and tone than with any secret plot agenda.

    I too hope Danny Pink turns out to be just a regular guy with ex-soldier issues rather than some sci-fi device. I’ve seen theories that he’s Journey Blue’s brother or even a Dalek duplicate. I certainly don’t want to see an eye-stalk poke out his head when he and Clara have the inevitable kiss. I do suspect the person he killed was female though, I think it was a bit of Moffat foreshadowing when he was introduced to Clara as “A bit of a lady-killer”.
    I’m also pretty sure establishing this Doctor’s hatred of soldiers means he’s not going to immediately warm to Danny Pink.

    As to the name of the ship – Aristotle defined practical science, ethics and politics via poetry, mathematics and metaphysics. No coincidence then that Clara and her new ‘boyfriend’ are teachers of English and Maths. Compare that with the Doctor’s first companions Ian and Barbara, teachers of Science and History, and we might have some clue where this Doctor is taking us. This is an episode all about vocation. The Dalek’s vocation is extermination. The Doctor’s is to be a healer, Clara’s is to teach, Journey Blue’s is to be a soldier. Danny was a soldier but is now a teacher. All of these at some point in the episode had their vocations changed and tested.

    The tone so far, two episodes in is also reminding me strongly of the darker elements of the Ninth Doctor. This is making me wonder if the mysterious Missy is perhaps an avatar of what Clive, the Doctor Who nerd in ‘Rose’, described as – “The Doctor’s one constant companion – Death” (I suspect Gaiman might have an opinion on that). I like your theory of the 12 jurors and Moffat ‘fixing’ Trial of aTime Lord though.

    Not really expecting much from ‘Robot of Sherwood’ but looking forward to your comments all the same.

  7. I want to float a question here that was raised in this week’s “Who” recap on the fashion blog tomandlorenzo.com. To paraphrase them: why is the Doctor becoming particularly introspective about morality now, at this moment? He just sort of undid the Time War, and even helped Trenzalore – so why does he seem to be more morose than ever?

    I can’t think of a real answer to that, myself. I like the darker Doctor so far, but if anything I would expect this incarnation to be *less* concerned about his own good vs bad qualities, not more. He’s a very sensitive sort of insensitive. It’s consistent with the Doctor as a whole, but feels very oddly timed given the Doctor’s most recent past. Is this another continuity blip we have to just wave our hands at? Regeneration potluck?

    • sostorm said:

      Maybe the fact that he doesn’t have to deal with this overbearing guilt has made him look into his own behaviour. If he actually could save the timelords etc, maybe he can even change himself. Or something to that affect at least.

    • Maybe it’s a question worth asking now. Pre-50th the answer to am I good man? Especially with Eccleston and Tennant might have being no I killed my entire race. Now he’s the man who would have killed his entire race if his companion hadn’t stepped in. Maybe it’s why he asked Clara the question as her grasp of his own morality was the only thing that stopped him from doing the worst thing in his life. A truly good man shouldn’t need an external force to stop him.

      I did read the article at http://tomandlorenzo.com/2014/09/doctor-who-into-the-dalek/ and I was intrigued by their point about how “The Doctor is cold, but what about Clara?”. In retrospect it’s a little unsettling that she can literally step from intergalactic war and slaughter to flirting and going out for a drink.

      • Deborah Stanish said:

        I love that Tom and Lorenzo are reviewing Doctor Who. Love. Them. But it is an interesting point that I hadn’t considered. All of the focus, thus far, has been turned toward the “new guy” and his moral dilemma. But you (and Tom and Lorenzo) are right – if she is the “carer”, as the Doctor says, then we really didn’t see that at all in this episode.

        Now I’m going to be watching out for that.

        Great comment – thanks!

  8. The Clara/Danny Pink scenes reminded me of Coupling, especially Danny’s failure to say what he really wanted and banging his head on the desk.
    By the way, do any of you think that the women in Coupling basically are men with different body parts who talk about men, hair and clothes? I like Coupling but it seems written from a guy’s point of view. Moffat seems to do the same in Doctor Who.

    I was also strongly reminded of Russell T Davies’ writing style and content.
    And, interestingly, the end of Deep Breath was reminiscent of The End of the World (back to Earth for chips, anyone?). The new episodes feel a lot more grounded, which I like! I hope this will continue.

    Also, it appears that with this new series we’re invited to engage more. The characters are more flawed, the morality is not as clear-cut as it may have seemed before.

    • Andrew McLean said:

      Agreed on Moffat being responsible for those scenes – exactly the sort of thing he’s been doing since Press Gang and really honed on Coupling.

      Both genders on Coupling are based on gender stereotypes which don’t match most of the people I know. That said, although I was dubious about the representation of Sally in particular, I was surprised to discover that some of my female friends really identified with her and thought she was scarily accurate. Susan is clearly based on Moffat’s wife, so is presumably true to life. Jane is more of a caricature, but there was more of an effort to turn her into a real person in the final series.

      • That’s interesting. I does depend on perspective, I guess. To some, certain characters will seem unrealistic but get somebody else’s perspective and it changes the picture.
        I like the scenes, I was confused to start with but caught up with the rhythm of it soon enough.

  9. sostorm said:

    Thank you for loving this as much as I do. I’m so excited abou this run that I’m for the first time actually seeking out other people’s opinions and recaps on the internet. There are a lot of whining going on and I just love you for sharing my joy.

    Danny is such a promising character. I look forward to seeing how it evolves. I’m not particularly excited about any romance but the level of quippy/flirty this season has going on, I don’t want it to ever end.

    Sure, the episode reminded me a lot about other episodes. Even my dear husband who has the memory of a sift said that it was the same thing as the tessarac and predicted the antibodies. Still so many enjoyable things though.

    I love every moment of this. It’s been a long time since I felt this excited about Doctor Who. I just want it to never end and I want to give Capaldi a huge hug for being such a wonderful doctor. His portrayal and his acting choices are so great.

  10. I wish the Matt Smith era wasn’t being brushed aside as a “stop gap”. Matt is my favourite Doctor and Clara my favourite companion. Whilst I love the 12th Doctor, I am still getting used to him. Clara is becoming better every week and I don’t think Jenna Coleman gets enough praise for her awesome acting bility; being able to go from tragedy to comedy on a dime exemplified furing the regeneration. Oh and in Day of the Doctor, Clara said she was starting to forget her time in the Doctor’s timeline so maybe her reaction to this regeneration is normal. The Eleventh Doctor was utterly brilliant and I don’t think we need to rubbish him to celebrate the 12th.

    • I don’t think anyone slammed the Matt Smith era. Or even said anything negative about it. He’s still up there with my very favorite Doctors of all time. Thinking that Clara works better as a companion with 12 than 11 doesn’t denigrate 11 in any way.

      Discovering that this new era is more captivating for some of us than the last one doesn’t mean the previous was wanting. It’s simply a personal preference. We can like multiple things at the same time, and even like one more than the other without losing affection for the less-favorite.

      Unless I’m forgetting something specific one of us said, I think we we’ve been pretty positive about both.

    • James C said:

      The tone of the discussion was that you took the show for granted during the last couple of years and that under Capaldi you were all paying attention again. And I agree with this sentiment, having felt similar myself, but it’s a point that can be read as faint praise. Any dive back into the Verity! archive makes your enthusiasm for Matt Smith abundantly clear!

      I think that this reaction to what has gone before also happened when Matt Smith took over. I for one was captivated by the new guy and by the way that the stories were being told. After the not-so-specials, that fairytale tone season 5 – and a scary arc – was what we needed. One result was that for some time after I found David Tennant’s gurning mockney enthusiasm hard to take. I’m cool with him now – but it drives home the strength of Doctor Who as a concept: the regular rejuvenation of the show through different Doctors and production teams is part of what keeps it fresh and vital.

      I do think there is more new thinking going on at the moment than any time since 2005 though, which is great. The show does feel new, and unsafe. Bring it on!

      An aside: have others noticed how Eccleston is now being categorised as a younger Doctor? This has come up a few times in the last couple of weeks (not necessarily on Verity!) and it surprised me. Until now, he had always been positioned as a ‘more mature’ Doctor against the two that followed him. That is certainly how I see him, and I do think there is a qualitative difference between how he and Capaldi, as seasoned performers, have approached the role in comparison to the other two. Less playing the character, and more just being the Doctor. I would be very interested to see how Tennant would play the part if he was starting fresh now.

      • Deborah Stanish said:

        You’re absolutely right in our reading of the Smith era. We all really liked (most of) it but I do think you become complacent and then you’re served you something so completely new and different and things seem to pale in comparison. I’m sure, a few years in, we’ll be back to the same place with Doctor 13. 😉

        Your points about the maturity of the actors is interesting. While Tennant wasn’t exactly a newbie, Eccleston had a breadth of experience that is only matched by Capaldi in the new era. Not saying young actors can’t be incredibly talented but a life well-lived does mark you and a good actor brings all that to a role. Hmm… I think I need to ponder on this a bit.

        Thanks for commenting!

  11. Honestly, I was worried after Deep Breath. Was this season going to be a disaster? Whew! Thankfully, no. After seeing Into the Dalek I was reassured that season 8 is going to be awesome despite the rough beginning. Loved the episode. I am interested to see where the Danny Pink story goes. The Daleks seemed scary and powerful again and the Doctor didn’t blow all of them up at the end. The Missy arc is still not fleshed out enough to really cause me to feel one way or the other about it. Maybe I’ll love it. Maybe not. Peter Capaldi seems like he was far more comfortable in the role with this story. The chemistry between Jenna Coleman and Capaldi is starting to show. Now I am looking forward to episode 3! I always love a good Robin Hood story.

  12. Things I love about this episode: everything Capaldi, Clara + Danny, hat-tip to Fantastic Voyage, Zawe Ashton.

    I have to say, I jumped out of my seat (in a good way) when Missy turned up. I’m curious to see where her story arc is going, but ambivalent about the character, and to be perfectly honest I doubt Moffat’s ability to deliver. He’s a master of setup but not so great with the payoff. I’m also concerned that if she does turn up in every episode it’s going to get really old really fast.

    I like the idea of the twelve, though, and I’ve heard convincing arguments elsewhere that she could be some version of the Valyard.

    Otherwise… I like the soldier parallel, including the names, though it did feel a bit forced. Speaking of soldiers, the Third Doctor was not any happier with UNIT than the Tenth; though he eventually developed a lasting friendship with the Brigadier, he never approved of his methods and resented being stuck with him during his exile. I agree that the Doctor does find soldiers useful in a pinch – he would just prefer that they stay out of the way until then.

    Did anyone else get a Genesis of the Daleks vibe off of those two wires? Touch the ends together and change everything forever?

  13. On the subject of wanting Danny Pink to be an ordinary guy, didn’t we have that with Amy and Rory? Plenty of scenes juxtaposing their ordinary lives with time in the Tardis. I for one would rather the full sci-fi experience – bring on Danny Pink being a futuristic war-torn soldier!

    • Deborah Stanish said:

      I can see where this could be interesting but, after having years of companions being “other-wordly” mysteries I’d love it if he was just a dude. With, you know, ISSUES, but with those issues grounded in our world rather than SPACE.

      Either way, I think he’s a great character and can’t wait to see more!

      • I agree with both of these comments, somehow! I was kind of disappointed when it was announced that Danny would be a teacher at Coal Hill along with Clara. I’m really tired of companions who come from modern Britain and I was hoping that he would be from the past or future or an alien planet. At the same time, now that he’s here the way he is, I do hope he stays as just “a dude” like you said in the show. I want more companions who are just normal people, but I’d kind of like them to be the other-wordly kind of normal.

  14. Thanks for another entertaining and thought-provoking podcast! 🙂

    I think one of the Doctor’s main problems with soldiers might be that they tend to blindly follow orders and that’s something he’s always railed against. But I agree that he is being a dreadful hypocrite by disdaining soldiers altogether, especially considering the countless times he’s made use of military power over the years! He’s certainly no pacifist, but I wonder if he maybe fools himself into thinking he is? I have no doubt that this is a theme Moffat intends to explore, and I fully expect Danny Pink to call him on this. Should make for some interesting dynamics!

    As for Missy, I’m reminded of what the Doctor said in ‘Deep Breath’ about the mistakes he’s made, and it being time he did something about them. I wonder if he’s going to be the one who sends her (whoever or whatever she is) back through time to save all the people he couldn’t. Or wouldn’t.

    I find her and her arc intriguing, but I hope she won’t start to bog things down too much. I want the interactions between the Doctor, Clara and Danny to remain centre stage, because I agree with you all that that is the real meat on this series’ bones so far. 🙂

  15. terminuspodcast said:

    Random thoughts:

    + With the exchange between Journey and Clara (the ‘lucky fella’ bit), I personally thought that was flirtation on Journey’s end of things. Maybe it wasn’t intentional, but myself and several of my friends are totally shipping Journey/Clara now. I just want to read ALL THE FICS with them. *ahem* Anyway…

    + I’m guessing that the color-names-thing isn’t anything that significant. Many writers have little tricks for coming up with names just because they can be challenging after a while. I think Moffat tends to like short, punchy surnames that are generally not common. I know other writers that use other things. Hell, RTD just reuses the same first names a lot because he likes them. So, yeah, I’ll be surprised if it turns out that the names are significant.

    + While I’m not too keen on the whole Doctor-hating-soldiers thing either (god, I hated that in Ten’s episodes!), from a Watsonian perspective, I do wonder if it is because it is something that relates to a part of the Doctor that he hates in himself and since it was so recently (and glaringly!) brought up to him by Rusty the Dalek (i.e calling him a ‘good Dalek’) its at the forefront of his thoughts and thus he is more sensitive to it in that moment and is actively pushing it away in the form of Journey? Sort of like when the Tenth Doctor sent Handy (the Metacrisis Doctor) to the other universe nominally because he did something violent or whatever, but really that was hypocrisy as he obviously did it because Handy was just holding up a big mirror to him to remind him of his darker side. Plus, from a Doylist perspective, I think that is going to tie heavily into Danny’s arc with the Doctor (and possibly with Clara). I mean, its likely not an accident that an ex-soldier-as-reoccurring-character was introduced at the same time as that Doctor-hating-soldiers plot point was brought back up, so I’m guessing that will be an issue of some sort down the road.

    + As for UNIT Ross, he’s on the US show ‘Witches of East End’ now (with an American accent, no less!), so maybe he really survived in the ‘The Poison Sky’ because he is a warlock from Asgard (yes, the witches on the show are from Asgard)? You never know!

    + I still don’t know what to think of Missy, though I do wonder if she has something to do with people dying by sacrificing themselves. There was an interesting cut scene from the end of the episode that was on the leaked episode that makes me question this, but I don’t know, that scene might come back later somehow. I still think she is the personification of Death, but we’ll see,

    + I really love Danny so far and especially loved his interactions with Clara. I saw online some people complaining about their scenes and how ‘Moffat just can’t write real people’, but like you guys, I thought their interactions were *very* realistic and I love that they seem to botch things up around each other instead of knowing exactly what to say all the time. I find that refreshing to watch. (Speaking of Moffat and Danny, I’m getting sick of people saying ‘We learned more about Danny in 5 minutes than any *female* Moffat character’ — not that *you* guys are saying it, I just keep seeing it in reviews. I think Clara and Amy were just as knowable and I’m sad people don’t always see that.).

    + Count me in as another person mostly bored with Daleks, but I do love when they do something new with them on the show and while some of the concepts in the episode obviously weren’t new, I did like what they did here. I also personally prefer when its just one Dalek. The ‘evil’ seems to be more menacing that way, for some reason. Plus, Rusty was kinda awesome. I loved how sassy he was at the end when he told the Doctor that he was a good Dalek and then slid away still looking at him. SO MUCH SASS.

    + And, finally, Capaldi can do no wrong so far for me. I am so excited about this season!

  16. I agree with Chip (2MTL) that when the Doctor rejects Journey Blue, he rejects himself. He’s running away from his own hatred and violence, his fundamental soldierness, but it’s rawer here. I expect more interesting meditations on the theme when Pink meets the Doctor.

    I am finding Missy on the face of it pretty yawnworthy and deja vu with Moffatisms, but I guess I hope she’s the Master. Or the Valeyard. Or something like that? I dunno. Saving people in the Matrix/Netherworld? Twelve episodes. Twelve jurors? Great suggestion! Haha, that’d be hilarious to do a kind of Trial of A Time Lord thing again. But then I’m a sucker for anything Gallifreyan. I’ll be disappointed if none of them feature somehow in the finale.

  17. I usually love Who episodes upon first watch, and I don’t really think of my beefs until after a couple viewings. But I’ll be honest, I was annoyed with this story right from the start, although only for reasons already mentioned by others: the “good Dalek” concept has been done, the antibodies have been done, etc. And possibly that’s not a fair criticism on my part…after 51 years, just about ANY story can bear a similarity to another, if you squint just right…but I’ll admit, a good chunk of this episode was me yelling at the tv “what are you fracking DOING, he’s not going to stay good!!” Not a super fan of Missy either. Her scenes have yanked me out of the story each time so far, and she reminds me so much of the mystery around Kovarian, so I’m just not feeling it so far. But I guess I’m content to give it some time, in hopes that it’ll be a sweet payoff.

    That said, despite not liking the story itself, I liked most everything else. I love Danny and his flirty/awkward/typical human interaction with Clara. I liked the juxtaposition of the “good” Dalek and the questionably good Doctor. I like that the Doctor’s not on such a pedestal…he’s not always doing good, and sometimes he’s a bit of a jerk. I like my Doctor a bit ambiguous sometimes, and I’m totally sold on Capaldi already.

  18. I really didn’t like this episode and for some reason, even after reading and listening to lots of interesting discussions about its merits, I can’t totally pinpoint why. I loved a lot of the individual elements (getting tiny and going inside a Dalek! Danny! Journey Blue!) but something about it really didn’t hang together for me.

    I think my biggest issue with this episode was the Doctor’s callousness towards people, such as allowing Ross to be vaporized. It wasn’t that he did it really, it was just that he didn’t seem to show any sadness that the guy’s death was inevitable, and saying “He’s around here if you want to say a few words” when they were in the decontamination chamber was really shocking. I don’t know if it was intended to come off differently as written and Capaldi chose to play it so harshly, but it feels wrong to me for the Doctor on the TV to do and say things like that… it crossed a line. We went from a dramatic speech about how every life is important to the Doctor (“Those people are never small to me”) to making jokes about a man’s death. It rubbed me the wrong way.

  19. Henrik said:

    Are we sure at all about Ford being responsible for the school scenes? It reminded me of ‘Coupling’. Just looking at it without reading it or watching it I would have assumed that Moffat would have been more involved in the scenes not directly relating to the story of this particular episode, that is he would have left the future Dalek stuff to Ford and taken more of an interest in the continuing side plot involving Clara’s life outside her travels with the Doctor which I presume will be an ongoing thing.

    As for the cutting and structuring of scene order and so on I suspect it’s nothing more clever than good solid pacing. The actiony action doesn’t really start until they get to the Dalek properly so if everything prior to that just happened in strict progression there would really just be a bunch of talking and talking and talking to open up a Doctor Who episode and that might potentially bore the core audience.

    • microtoast said:

      I wondered the same thing. I thought the episode was split very neatly between the Coal Hill scenes and the Dalek scenes, and Moffat could have written the former, as well as the Missy scene (since they’re more involved with season character arcs) and Ford the latter (the self-contained plot). I have no inside information and could easily be wrong, but it would make sense with the new double credits.

    • James C said:

      I get the Coupling vibe too!

      My guess is that back when the story was commissioned the brief would have been simply ‘the Doctor goes… into a Dalek!’ The Danny Pink storyline looks more like something added later as Moffat stitched the season together. My bet is that in any episode, his hand will be most evident in the linking threads between stories, rather than the heart of the story itself.

  20. I think it’s really important to view Capaldi’s Doctor through the lens of the 50th Anniversary. He’s no longer the anguished 9th/10th, or the happily-forgetful 11th. The 12th Doctor’s moral superiority isn’t tinged with soul-crushing guilt anymore. He was still the “war doctor” for a while, but he made the right choice and renounced his soldierly ways. In other words, this Doctor probably feels far more justified in disliking soldiers for being soldiers than the previous Doctors would have. I think this 50th-lens also sheds light on his “darker” behavior. Now that he isn’t responsible for genocide, he can be a little more flippant about death (and possibly murder…though I still think roboman jumped).

    One other point to keep in mind. I think it’s perfectly possible to read his “I wish you hadn’t been a soldier” line as sheer hypocrisy, which he will be called out for in a later episode. Either that, or he will be forced to rethink his current prejudice when he encounters Danny Pink.

    (Side thought…Moffat said Danny is going to be “very important” and we keep hearing rumors that Clara is leaving after this season. Anyone want to take bets that Danny will be the Doctor’s next companion??)

    Thanks for the great show, ladies!

  21. I enjoyed the episode, but here are the two things that bothered me:
    1. When Clara is leaving the Tardis at the end of the episode, I was so surprised she left in such a rush because the doctor, in the background looked so distraught. The doctor looked like he needed company and Clara could care less! What happened there?
    2. Danny Pink crying in class. It was super cheesy and just wouldn’t happen. Every teacher knows how to be “up” for the students. If his emotions were that close to the surface, the class would have felt the sullen mood and have not pressed the teacher. It would have been more believable to see that tear after the kids had left the class.

    Deb, my daughter has been asking for fish fingers and custard for dinner on Saturday nights. It’s her way of protesting the absence of her doctor. She finds Capaldi shocking as well.

    I am loving this new doctor though! No complaints there. And I can’t wait for Robots in Sherwood. I rather liked the Androids of Tara and for some reason, the preview reminded me of that. Maybe it’s just the title.

    • sostorm said:

      I actually read Danny crying as another parallel in the episode. The way he reacts to being complicit or taking civilian lives and the very nonchalant way the Doctor talked about lives being lost in the episode.

  22. Points of agreement:
    1. Danny Pink intro. This actually gets 2 points, first I LOVE his character and his interaction with Clara.
    2. My first thought on his intro was: oh, right a woman can’t be in any TV show without a relationship. That said, I got over it 5 seconds after his exchange with Clara.
    3. Who could NOT love the visuals in this ep? It’s what I always wanted acid to be.
    4. Series 7 had me complacent as well—didn’t help that I hated the crushy thing going on between the 11th Doctor & Clara. I like this Doctor’s practicality & lack of emo. Capaldi rules. That is all.
    5. There are nods to past stories including Invisible Enemy. Not a problem. Life is good.

    Points of disagreement:
    1. I don’t care if Danny’s a mystery or not. He’s a nice guy. Both Rory and Mickey were regular guys (but were changed by their experience with the Doctor). He’s cool either way.
    2. The Doctor looked a bit sad when he said that Clara looked like she was in love. It doesn’t matter if Clara & 11 didn’t have sex, that truth device in Time of the Doctor made her admit that she had a crush on him. Even though that slightly sickened me, it did point towards their relationship being more than friendship (sex doesn’t have to happen to make for complications).
    3. The edits confused me on the first viewing and put me off so that I was confused about how Clara got there BUT I did catch on when it happened with the Clara/Danny exchange so it wasn’t horrible. Watching it a 2nd time I found it brilliant and fun. I can see this is going to be a season where I’m going to be rewatching the next day.
    4. Whereas I was annoyed in Hide about the “Who’s your boyfriend?” dialogue, it didn’t bother me between Journey and Clara. Perhaps because it had the addition of subtext since Journey seemed to be paying a compliment to Clara.
    5. Missy’s ok. Hope she’s the Master—it would be just like him to try to guilt trip the Doctor. AND, didn’t he save him from Rassilon in the End of Time by SACRIFICING himself? Hmm, hmm?

    Thoughts:
    1. The Doctor not liking soldiers is going to lead to Clara leaving the show by choosing Danny over him.
    2. There is a time gap and the Doctor didn’t just happen by and help Journey Blue, he may have been accidentally instrumental in her brother’s death. Is THAT the real reason he doesn’t want her to travel with him?
    3. Damn it, Journey better come back!!!

  23. Rose322 said:

    I recently discovered the Verity Podcasts – really enjoy them and have finally caught up to where I’m current!

    Like the commenter “microtoast”, I was also pleased to notice Erika’s remark about “Rusty” not necessarily being a good dalek, but an “anti-dalek dalek”. To me, Rusty screaming “KILL ALL DALEKS!” (because he now sees Daleks as the destroyers of beauty) didn’t suggest any real change in his nature to “goodness”, It was just transference of his hate from one thing to another. Then later, when the Doctor repaired Rusty, he seemed so shocked that Rusty reverted to his old ways. I found myself yelling “What did you THINK would happen???”.

    I know it’s nitpicky, but I find these kinds of inconsistencies distracting. I love Doctor Who, but because I know how great it can be, I tend to get more frustrated with what I perceive as flaws. But that’s one of the thing I’ve enjoyed so much about the Verity podcasts – I hear thoughts, observations, and clever theories that hadn’t occurred to me and it helps smooth the rough edges off my “nitpicky-ness”. And the Verities’ enthusiasm is contagious – makes me want to go re-watch the episode with a fresh eye and open mind.

    • So happy you’ve found us! While we do have our own nitpicks from time to time, I love that we help you smooth out some of yours–I think we certainly do that for each other too.

      Welcome aboard!

  24. lbphilly said:

    I just listened to this fabulous podcast for a second time while clearing the decks for Robots of Sherwood.

    I wonder if we’re a little premature in calling the Clara-Danny interactions a “love interest.” I read her actions as collegial with a very small side order of hey, here’s a cute guy. Danny, on the other hand, is definitely intrigued by Clara in an approach/avoidance kind of a way, but it’s a few steps short of a romance and we don’t know yet which way it will go (nor do they). I didn’t find the introduction of a quotidian character to be too early in the series, particularly if Moffatt plans on having this part of the narrative arc develop in a more leisurely way. Like Deb (I think it was), I hope he’s just a dude with ordinary dude issues and I hope he doesn’t go off and become a 2,000 year old Auton like Rory.

    That take-the-doctor-aback line, “I am not a good Dalek; you are a good Dalek” has me pondering just what Rusty’s conception of a good Dalek is after his experiences. I’m flipping between “a good Dalek has all-consuming hatred for everything Other” and “a good Dalek looks within his imperfect self and strives to rise above it.” I admit the second is a bit of a reach, but Rusty may be saying something similar to what Clara says when she says “I think you’re trying to be a good man.”

    As for Missy, the less said about her the better. I don’t like her voice, her facial expressions, or her makeup. And I’d like to beat her severely about the head and shoulders with her own umbrella.

    And I am loving this new Doctor, loving him, I tell you. Tigger and the Giraffe were wonderful and I enjoyed watching the boys but it’s nice to watch a grown-up again, especially such an exquisite actor as Lynne said. (Peter Capaldi is still a half-generation younger than me but I can relate to him a bit better. Call me ageist if you like, but please don’t call me shallow!)

  25. The Doctor's Pool Cleaner said:

    Great podcast guys. With regards to the “not like that, not like that – get it right!” line from the Doctor to Blue, I didn’t think it was a wanting clarity thing, but more a ‘I just saved your life, you’re a guest in my house, don’t point that gun at me, don’t be rude, show some damn manners’ thing. The new Doctor is a no-nonsense fella.

  26. Daniel O. said:

    I can certainly imagine the Sixth Doctor saying, “He’s on the top layer if you’d like to say a few words.”

  27. First off, just found you guys! So happy to find a podcast with some really smart women talking about one of my favorite shows!! I’ve been seriously needing some Whovian meta for this series, so yay!

    Secondly, I have to say, that unlike Deb and Erika, I am madly curious about the Missy thing, and of course, I’m writing this after ep 10, so…(no spoilers!) But I was curious from the first two episodes. First of all, loving getting to see Michelle Gomez (of the comedy series Green Wing) being all mysterious etc. I personally adore Moffat’s story arcs, they make me very happy. (I’m a die-hard Moffat fan ever since The Empty Child, and a huge Sherlock fan). So this one had me from the very start and I am dying to see how it plays out at the end!

    Thirdly, your podcast is really helping me figure out my own weird feelings about this series. Not sure that I like Capaldi’s Doctor even after 10 eps, it’s been a roller coaster, but I hope that your blog can help me find my way to a more settled liking of him finally, through your excellent discussions!! Looking forward to hearing the rest of the podcasts!

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