Sunday, August 31, 2014

Doctor Who-Into The Dalek

                          Just as the doctor has rescued the Dalek resistance fighter Journey Blue after her ship (and brother) are destroyed,he returns to the Coal Hill School to bring Clara-who has been flirting with new teacher (and troubled former soldier) Danny Pink,to journey with him to return with Blue to her command ship the Aristotle par her demands. When they arrive,the commander of the ship requests their help since their newest arrival,a single injured Dalek, has requested a doctor. And insists on exterminating the other Daleks. 

                        On board the Aristotle there is a medical technology that allows humanoids to be reduced into a nanocordical device-shrunken down to enter living tissue. With the doctors expertise he,Clara,Journey and two fellow soldiers are reduced and into into the complex biotechnologically frenzied world within the (apparently) malfunctioning Dalek. When its cybernetic immunities begin to attack the doctor and his cohorts,they reach the inside of the Dalek-having sacrificed one team member along the way to find the Dalek,nicknamed Rusty by the doctor,overwhelmed with radiation.

                           "Rusty" explains how seeing a star being born altered it's outlook,
and that it saw its own species as a determent to life itself. By repairing a radiation leak near its brain,the doctor inadvertently reactivates the Daleks core nature as it proceeds to escape and attack the Aristotle's crew. The doctor sends Clara and Journey,by this time the last two surviving members of the team surviving when another named Gretchen dies and winds up with the mysterious Missy,to reconnect the nodes to restore the Dalek's memory core of it's earlier vision.

                              Clara and Journey are successful at this,as the doctor enters the Dalek's thoughts and attempts in helping it to rekindle its sense of compassion. The Dalek on the other hand,envisions the doctors disdain of the Daleks and proceeds on its mission to destroy the other Daleks. When the doctor,Clara and Journey exit Rusty,who plans to return to its people,Journey asks to travel with the doctor and Clara in the TARDIS. While the doctor admires her bravery and kindness,he observes she should stay with the Dalek resistance as she remains a soldier.

                                Since the doctor first encountered the Daleks with Barbara,Ian and Susan on Skaro,his relationship with that race has grown in complexity. And their relationship with each other has changes accordingly. Not too long ago convinced that the Daleks were a menacing blight with no purpose for existence? This is another example,along with series 1's 'Dalek',of how the Dalek's only seem to gain a sense of morality when malfunctioning. This time,a first for Doctor Who,we the audience are invited with the doctor and Clara inside of the Dalek itself in this story.

                                When the doctor discovers realizes the conditions that could cause such a morality inducing malfunction that would reform the Daleks? He suddenly begins to show few qualms in making sacrifices in his team to achieve that goal. Even the Dalek Rusty,when merged with him,notices and even mentions that the Doctor-in his quest to defeat them,has developed some characteristics of the Daleks themselves. This stories mixture of wrenching action,excellent acting on the part of everyone involved and a cerebral morality play make this a wonderful parable on what roads are the best ones to take to peace.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Doctor Who-Deep Breath

                            A Tyrannosaurus Rex is threatening Victorian London. And the only ones in the city who have any possible clue what to do are the ever present Madame Vastra,Jenny and Strax. Before their eyes,the mammoth dinosaur expels the TARIS from its mouth. The saliva covered time machine opens to reveal the befuddled, newly regenerated doctor who recognizes neither Clara,Vastra,Jenny or Strax. They take him to their rooming home to recover while the dinosaur hibernates. In his sleep,Clara observes him translating dialog from the dinosaur while Vastra questions Clara's romantic infatuation with the doctors previous incarnation. And her obvious discomfort with his new face.
                      During the next evening,the doctor manically scribbles calculations on the floor of his room and wanders onto the rooftop to find the Tyrannosaurus spontaneously combust before his eyes. This coincides with many similar incidents in London at this time,apparently. The doctor then jumps into the Thames to give chase. After Strax gives Clara an unusually thorough medical test they agree to journey with Vastra and Jenny to find the wandering time lord. He himself has been undergoing his post-regeneration crisis before a puzzled homeless man in a back ally. While back at Vastra and Jenny's home,Clara notices the term "Impossible Girl" on a newspaper article. And on the other side of the page is a street address.
                      Clara winds up at a restaurant where all the customers are moving but only pretending to eat. After the doctor joins her,they prepare to leave-only to find the people reacting to their movement rather aggressively. Their waiter is revealed by the doctor to not be human. Before the pair can leave again,they are put in restraints and their seats lowered into a subterranean elevator. They then descend into an underground cavern populated by characters such as the type in the restaurant-including a high hatted individual  whose hands do not match. Determining that these are robotic beings taking on humanoid parts,the doctor and Clara split up to investigate.

                      Faced by ongoing androids,Clara remembers having to hold her breath in the restaurant. She manages to get through them until she passes out and his hauled before the high hated android leader. He continues the same logic based line of question about her and the doctor's motives,which she evades by not taking his threats seriously. After succumbing to his intimidation tactics,one of the androids reveals itself to be the doctor in disguise. He returns to the restaurant with the android leader,who claims to have been plundering bodies from across time (including that of the Tyrannosaurs as a power source) to restore their crashed spaceship to locate their "promise land". 

                       As Clara and the newly arrived Vastra,Jenny and Strax face off the androids,they eventually remember not to breath as the doctor convinces the android leader,now aloft in their balloon like escape pod that it has adapted so many human parts to itself,it's beginning to have human like values.  As Vaster,Jenny and Strax escape with Clara the android leader debates the doctor as to whether or not he will kill him to save humanity. And he does kill him,even to the surprise of the doctor himself for doing it. After coercing from Vastra,Clara returns to the doctor and almost returns home-finding the regenerated time lord too unfamiliar. After a call from the previous incarnation on Trenzalore,she decides continue her journey with her old friend with his new face.

                        Peter Capaldi represents an important new element for both Doctor Who in general and in my own personal life. This is the very first regeneration I've personally played witness to. And in fact the entire thrust of this story resolves around self identity-both that of the head hunting android protagonists and the newly regenerated doctor. He has not only regenerated,but is undergoing a totally different life cycle. For all we know? Perhaps not the first either. Especially in terms of Vastra,Jenny and Strax's interaction with the leads? The story has much humor. And Peter Capaldi's 12'th (or is it 13th?) doctor thus far brings a mixture of both Jon Pertwee's dashing gentility and Tom Baker's random intellectual prowess into play. While he has far more in common with classic doctors than the last three personality wise so far? Every actor who portrays the role makes it their own. And one can see Mister Capaldi will surely make that happen on his own too.