My favorite scene, Doctor Who S8E1, “Into the Dalek”

This one didn’t really grab me until the end, but when it did, boy did my eye stalk extend. Scene recap, followed by my take on the soldier theme. Spoilers for the end of episode 2. Onward!

Inside Rusty the Dalek, things are happening as we approach the episode’s climax:

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Meanwhile, I hope the Doctor washed his hands after swimming in protein.

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That’s the kind of thing that causes MRSA infections.

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Rusty the Dalek has had his memories restored, and because he is an egomaniacal game-player, the Doctor thinks he can do Clara one better and mind-melds with him to show him the beauty of the Universe’s creation, thereby giving him a touchstone to keep him good.

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And Rusty is taking it really well. What he sees is beautiful. Hopeful. Magical. Divine.

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EXCEPT… He sees hatred. Specifically, the Doctor’s hatred for his race. And it is chilling, because sometimes, everyone lives, but sometimes hubris gets the better of you and….

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Boom. Rusty sets out on a killing spree that has the equivalent of chunks of Dalek skull and Dalek blue blood splattering all over the set. It’s just overgrown roombas really, but it is still pretty violent and shocking when you remember that these are living beings.

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And no one is more shocked than this guy.

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Peter Capaldi, Acting. Not a happy scene, but a really, really important one because the Doctor is shaped more by his failures than his successes, and this is a massive failure.

Not only of what he set out to do in this instance with Rusty in particular, but of his faith in innate goodness beyond the scope of the expected. It took Clara to remind him this episode, as it has taken Donna and other in the past, that he needs to keep trying to outdo himself, out-hero himself, even when history says he should not, even when his own experience does. The speech he gave to Rusty could well be one he repeats to himself, bopping through the universe alone with untold power that he is constantly in danger of abusing.

Yes, that’s good. That is good. Hold on to that. Make it a part of you. Remember how you feel right now, put it inside of you right now, and live by it.

The Doctor can be harsh. He can be cruel, and like Clara told him, we are not sure (and neither is he) is he is “good”. But he tries.

In the end, this is why I feel he leaves Journey Blue behind, and why Danny Pink could be the character that changes his mind. The Doctor may not always make the right choice, but he does carry the responsibility of his wrong choices. When Journey wants to blow up Rusty, she says she will follow orders, because she is a soldier. She shows linear thinking that is somewhat rigid.

The Doctor is a runaway from his own people that sealed them up in an alternate timeline so as to save them from himself, yes… but also to save the world from another Time War. He lost his last two great loves in sacrifice for others. This is not a man that blindly follows orders.  It took Clara to shake him out of his linear thinking, as it has taken Amy and Donna in the past and so he cannot have a companion like Journey that reinforces his worst tendencies. He has to try to keep being a good man, even if that means that sometimes, he will be a hurtful one.

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My favorite scene, Doctor Who S8E1, “Deep Breath”

Lots of quotables and great lines, but for my money, nothing as good as Vastra confronting Clara on her reluctance to accept the new Doctor. A heavy-handed commentary by Moffat on the fandom’s reluctance to accept Capaldi no doubt, but still excellent acting by both Neve and Jenna and great to see a scene with three women where each had her own perspective and stuck to it. Keep doing this, Moffat.

The real dialogue is below for those who want it, but here’s what I heard in my head:

Clara: You said renewed. He doesn’t look renewed. He looks… older.
Madame Vastra: You thought he was young?
Clara: He looked young.
Madame Vastra: He looked like your dashing young gentleman friend. Your lover even.
Clara: Shut up.
Madame Vastra: But he is the Doctor. He has walked this universe for centuries untold. He has seen stars fall to dust. You might as well flirt with a mountain range.
Clara: I did not flirt with him.
Madame Vastra: He flirted with you.
Clara: How?
Madame Vastra: He looked young. Who do you think that was for?
Clara: Me?
Madame Vastra: Everyone. I wear a veil as he wore a face.
Clara: For what reason?
Madame Vastra: The oldest reason there is for anything: to be accepted.

Clara: Are you judging me?
Madame Vastra: The Doctor regenerated in your presence. The young man disappeared, the veil lifted. He trusted you. Are you judging him?
Clara: How dare you. How dare you. Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor. Last one of the five good and stoic philosopher.
Madame Vastra: Superlative bass guitarist. The Doctor really knows how to put a band together.
Clara: And the only pin-up I ever had on my wall when I was fifteen. The only one I ever had. I am not sure who you think you’re talking to right now, Madame Vastra, but I have never had the slightest interest in pretty young men. And for the record if there was anybody who could flirt with a mountain man she’s probably standing in front of you right now! Just because my pretty face has turned your head do not assume I am so easily distracted.

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