Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Review: 'Doctor Who' Season 8 Episode 2, 'Into the Dalek,' Lets Peter Capaldi Show Off Some Darkness

By Kaite Welsh | Indiewire August 30, 2014 at 8:52PM

After last week's damp squib of a premiere, Season 8 is in fine form with a good old-fashioned sci-fi romp, complete with running around corridors, getting covered in goo and the perfect Doctor-Companion dynamic.
6
Peter Capaldi (and a Dalek) in "Doctor Who."
Ray Burmistan/BBC Peter Capaldi (and a Dalek) in "Doctor Who."

Officially, the plot is simple -- a Dalek malfunctions and develops a moral code, and the obvious solution is to re-enact the 1987 cult hit "Innerspace." “The most dangerous place in the universe," we're told, although I think the people on the outside of the Dalek would disagree. Cue lots of eerie lighting, croaks of "Exterminate!" and a chance for the Doctor to scoff at soldiers.

Really this is a chance for Peter Capaldi, somewhat wasted in his first proper appearance, to shine. Ever since the show came back in 2005, it's flirted with a darker Doctor -- Eccleston's excellent performance in "Dalek," Tennant's personal apotheosis in "The Waters of Mars," "The man who can turn an army around at the mention of his name" in "A Good Man Goes to War." Now it seems that they're actually delivering.

READ MORE: Review: 'Doctor Who' Season 8 Episode 1, 'Deep Breath,' Doesn't Let Peter Capaldi Exhale

We're treated to the full context of that delicious scene from the early trailer, where the Doctor asks Clara if he's a good man and we see that it's because he's questioning his entire moral compass. If Daleks can be good, can the Doctor be bad? It's an interesting conclusion to an arc of reckless decisions from the Time Lord, and Capaldi conveys a mix of guilt, revulsion and cold-hearted pragmatism. He can't hide behind the boyish good looks anymore, so this is the Doctor as he's always been -- care-worn, old and jaded. His speech to Rusty the Dalek revives his own enthusiasm for the universe, which makes the kernel of hatred he still carries around all the more poignant.

Capaldi's off-hand confidence is appealing -- after the last two leads, who had an occasional tendency to overact, his restraint is enjoyable. This is a Doctor who could care less about proving himself -- he has worlds to save and coffee to deliver to Clara. He's reminiscent of Tom Baker at his best: None of the showy stuff, but just enough surreality to remind us that he may look human but he isn't. 

Speaking of the Doctor and Clara, their dynamic was spot-on this episode -- his gruff restraint actually gives Jenna Coleman something to play off, and their snarky odd couple vibe gave Coleman some of her best moments yet. Despite last season's forgettable Impossible Girl plotline, Clara is the most ordinary companion the Doctor has seen in a while and it works beautifully.

Jenna Coleman in "Doctor Who."
Adrian Rogers/BBC Jenna Coleman in "Doctor Who."

Unlike Amy and Rory, Clara isn't waiting on tenterhooks for him to return, and she doesn't need to be whisked away from the mundanity of her existence like Rose. "You're one of my hobbies," Clara informs him when he absent-mindedly tries to work out if he pays her or not (fair enough, but being a teacher's salary isn't that much, she at least deserves danger pay for repeatedly nearly getting killed). 

Clara's "take it or leave it" attitude works much better with the more restrained Capaldi than it did with the puppyish Matt Smith. Whereas Eleven thrived on human interaction, you get the sense that Twelve would happily carry on a conversation by himself for days and only notice when he needs someone to hand him the sonic screwdriver.  I think he might actually believe that Clara lives in a cupboard when he's not with her.

Once again we're spoiled for choice with supporting characters -- Zawe Ashton (of the British comedy-drama "Fresh Meat") as the stubborn, gutsy Journey Blue reminded viewers once again why she could carry her own series and not break a sweat, and Samuel Anderson's Danny Pink is a very promising love interest for Clara. His past was laid on a bit thick, especially the comment about being a ladykiller: I'd put money on him having shot, either accidentally or on orders, the woman he loved. Or maybe a child (which would explain his move into teaching). Either way, his military past could be mawkish, but Anderson's macho but funny performance -- part tough guy and part awkward geek -- is the cherry on top of this episode's cake.

Grade: A

This article is related to: Doctor Who, Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Jenna-Louise Coleman






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More