Last night was the second episode in Doctor Who’s Season 8, and coming off of last week’s big premiere, I have to confess, “Into the Dalek” was a bit of a letdown. I found the plot to be underwhelming–the Doctor and Clara have to literally get inside a Dalek’s head to figure out why it suddenly seems to have turned “good”–and I noticed a pattern emerging this season. Many of the characters and situations appear to be a rehash of things that have happened in seasons past.
The overall theme for this season appears to be “Deja Vu”. Consider this:
— We have The Doctor’s “new” face, which is actually the face of someone he met in a prior encounter (Caecilius in “The Fires of Pompeii”, series 4, episode 2, also played by Peter Capaldi).
— In last week’s episode, he kept saying that things were familiar to him, that he’d “seen this before,” but he just couldn’t remember where, why or when.
— The radioactive leak in the Dalek from tonight’s episode originated from a crack on the inner wall of the Dalek…a crack that looked eerily similar to the one that appeared in Amy Pond’s wall (season 5, episode 1) that ended up being a rip in the fabric of Time.
— The mysterious woman who keeps snatching up characters just as they face their Death and transporting them to “Heaven” is reminiscent of the woman on the other side of the crack in the Time Field. Just as Amy Pond was being held in an alternate reality, it’s possible this woman is doing the same thing with the rest of these characters.
— Journey Blue is a soldier working on a hospital vessel who, by the end of this week’s episode, wants to join The Doctor as his companion. She harks back to Martha Jones, the medical resident who becomes The Doctor’s companion after an incident occurs at the hospital where she works. She later ends up becoming….a solider.
— Last night we were introduced to another soldier, Danny Pink, who now works as a teacher in the same school as Clara. He is reminiscent of Mick, the soft-spoken friend of previous companion Rose, who also ends up becoming a solider. And, given his odd last name, I’m convinced he’s going to end up being Journey Blue’s “dead” brother, who did not burn up in their damaged spaceship, but instead was transported (either by the mysterious lady in Heaven or accidentally, by The Doctor) to another point in history, where he was treated for his injuries.
— The Doctor seems to have an aversion to soldiers now, and turned down Journey Blue’s request to join him. I think it stems from an encounter between The Doctor and Danny Pink, which we have yet to see, but I’m sure will be revealed as the series continues. I also thought it was noteworthy that, by the end of this week’s episode, the Dalek has turned on its own kind, becoming a serial killer, for all intents and purposes. The Doctor, in “enlightening” the Dalek, has turned him into a solider that is hell-bent on killing other Daleks.
So, my assessment thus far is that the main theme for this new season of The Doctor is “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” This season will be all about The Doctor revisiting things he has done in other points in time, trying to understand and accept the choices he made, and getting a second chance to “get it right” this time if he regrets the choices he made before.
It’s been announced that Jenna Coleman, the actress who plays Clara, will be leaving the show in the December episode. I already suspect that the circumstances surrounding her exit will hark back to what happened with Amy Pond and the rift in time, but with different results, because The Doctor will have learned from his past choices.
This regeneration is shaping up to be one big “do-over” for The Doctor.