After months of anticipation and speculation the Twelfth Doctor (played by Peter Capaldi) officially made his debut in the Doctor Who season 8 premiere “Deep Breath.” As with any new Doctor intro, reactions to the episode were somewhat mixed – as viewers both praised and criticized this new iteration of the Gallifreyan traveler . While it might be hard for some Whovians to let go of Matt Smith (and his lovable Eleventh Doctor), to Capaldi’s credit the BAFTA-winning actor delivered a solid jumping off point for his darker and more alien Time Lord.
As suggested in our season 8 premiere review as well as the latest Screen Rant Underground Podcast, showrunner Steven Moffat was trying to balance a number of elements in the episode – meaning that the actual story and writing may have held Capaldi back a bit. Now, with all of that introduction, regeneration, redecorating, and costume change out of the way, viewers can look forward to their first full trip with the Twelfth Doctor in time and space – season 8, episode 2, “Into the Dalek.”
As with most Doctor Who episodes, a trailer for “Into the Dalek” aired after the “Deep Breath” credits roll but, for anyone who may have missed the Next Time video, we’ve included it (along with the official episode synopsis) below:
A Dalek fleet surrounds a lone rebel ship, and only the Doctor can help them now… with the Doctor facing his greatest enemy, he needs Clara by his side. Confronted with a decision that could change the Daleks forever he is forced to examine his conscience. Will he find the answer to the question, am I a good man?
The Doctor’s question, “Am I a good man?” has been a major selling point throughout the run-up to season 8 – famously punctuating the end of BBC’s official series 8 trailer. Of course, given the ambiguity surrounding the Doctor’s final moments with Half-Face Man in “Deep Breath,” viewers shouldn’t hold their breath for a concrete answer to the Doctor’s question during “Into the Dalek.” It’s clear Doctor Who‘s writers are taking full advantage of this new and “rude” Doctor – exploring aspects of the character that would have been at odds with Smith and David Tennant’s lionhearted depictions. Both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor had moments of dark temptation but Capaldi’s suggestion of flexibility in his “basic programming” injects a poignant thread of unpredictability into this Twelfth Doctor’s DNA. After all, if the Doctor’s moral code isn’t as cut and dry as he might have previously suggested, what’s to stop him from outright crossing the line?
So, what decision will the Doctor face during “Into the Dalek”? Readers who have followed previous plot spoilers probably already have some idea of how the episode will play out but, either way, it’s safe to assume that fans will get another unique glimpse into the complicated (and fragile) philosophies of the Dalek Empire.
Check out images from Into the Dalek below (click for full versions):
The release of “Deep Breath” also resulted in the conclusion of Capaldi and Jenna Coleman’s trip around the globe for the Doctor Who World Tour. To commemorate the event, BBC has released a recap video “Around the World in Twelve Days with the Twelfth Doctor” showcasing the tour’s locales (Cardiff and London via Seoul, Sydney, New York, and Mexico City, to Rio de Janeiro) and attendees:
With over 50 years since the series’ creation, Doctor Who is more popular than ever but the show’s success isn’t something that classic fans take for granted – since the program was outright cancelled and off the air for 15 years (not including the maligned American TV film in 1996). No doubt, the possibility that Doctor Who, just like any other TV program, can fall out of favor with viewers is a key reason that Moffat wanted to mix things up in season 8.
In addition to being a fun look at the show’s global viewership, the “Around the World in Twelve Days with the Twelfth Doctor” video also gives us a brief glimpse at future companion Danny Pink (played by Samuel Anderson) – an instructor at Coal Hill School (where Clara teaches).
How exactly Pink will enter the picture remains to be seen but, with rumors that Coleman might be leaving the show in the 2014 Christmas Special, it’s likely that Anderson isn’t just a throwaway traveler – and could play a role in Clara’s exit or soldier on with the Doctor once she’s gone.
Doctor Who season 8, episode 2 “Into the Dalek” will premiere August 30th on BBC and BBC America.
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