There are parallel possibilities. Either, despite inspiration from all of space and time, we are seeing recycled Doctor Who stories and relationships, or it is a purposeful weaving of themes that will bear fruit in good ‘timey-wimey’. Another option is that, even if it is recycled, lazy or forgetful writing, the fan base will weave it into fantastic future episodes. We need a tardis to go forward, back or sideways to a time when series were long and twisty rather than fast and frugal. Sherlock works as short series because each episode is still so rich, involved and of fair length. The 12th Doctor is doing well but with limited material. After a promising debut, subsequent episodes seem to have less layers, substance or surprises. Previous series have been able to hide the ‘cardboard corridor’ episodes as part of an expanding whole that was bigger on the inside. As the fourth and I originally feared, final episode of series 8 (contemporary Who) looms, I ponder the Doctor’s final regeneration (on TV ). I would like not to believe this is it, and hope there is a sonic screwdriver about to zap the pieces into perfect place, (only to be ever reshuffled), very soon.
In episode 2 we suspend belief to say this is the first time we have come across a Dalek with a personality alteration from ‘pure hate’. In Dalek with the 9th Doctor, a Dalek spares Rose’s life. Rose ‘contaminated’ it with her DNA while healing it. It ended up needing sunlight and had emotions, and existential angst at the idea it was not able to evil any more. It was referred to ‘something new’. It self-destructed having earlier told the Doctor he would make a good Dalek. This is mirrored in this season’s episode 2 with the Doctor named as ‘The Good Dalek’. We have seen Daleks altered in the time vortex, predicting the future of ‘The Children of Time’ of the 10th Doctor. Mind altered Daleks do appear to develop a twisted sense of faith or morality. We have also seen Daleks unaware they were so, complete with memories of previous human lives. We have seen Tasha from the Shadow Proclamation fight this robot within for the 11th Doctor. This does make me wonder if the creators of the Doctor are brave enough for our beloved Time Lord to unknowingly have been fighting such inner darkness. Series 8’s emphasis on mechanized humans; on questions of who is moral as well as who is human and who is robot, would seem to open definite doors to this possibility. Is this, ultimately, upcycling into a new ‘promised land’ of the Doctor? I do hope so.