Five episodes into the Doctor Who reboot, we are (re)introduced to the scariest villain of all time, classically speaking. The Doctor (#9, Eccleston) and Rose land the TARDIS in a bunker in Utah. Although somewhat hostile, the soldiers manning the base are impressed by the Doctor’s credentials and take him to their prisoner, a Dalek. We have been learning this season that the Doctor had something to do with wiping out all the Time Lords in the Time War against the Daleks. Although the Doctor was the only survivor on his side, at least every last Dalek had been destroyed…or so he thought. The Dalek recognizes the Doctor but is too injured to kill him. It’s Rose’s touch–her DNA–that rejuvenates the Dalek and he goes on a murderous rampage.
In the end, Rose’s DNA has infected his pure evil nature and he’s unable to kill her. He opens his metal case so that his little octopus body can see the sunlight. The sunlight is all it wants. Horrified of being tainted with Rose’s morality, the Dalek kills itself, but not before telling the Doctor, “You would make a good Dalek,” a phrase that haunts the Doctor from this time forward.
Into the Dalek 8.2
Two episodes into the new Doctor, he (#12, Capaldi) and Clara land the TARDIS in a spaceship. Although Michael Smiley’s character orders the other soldiers on board to kill the Doctor, he is impressed by his credentials and takes him to their patient, a Dalek. Last season, the Doctor wiped all the Daleks’ minds of his existence, so the Dalek does not recognize him as “the oncoming storm.” The Dalek has been infected with morality. He has seen the birth of a sun and is now “good,” but he is injured. The Doctor, Clara, and a few soldiers shrink down ala Innerspace and travel into the Dalek to mend him. Unfortunately, they mend the radiation leak causing the morality, and the Dalek goes on a murderous rampage.
In the end, Clara brings clarity to the situation and taps into the Dalek memory bank, restoring its morality by restoring the memory of the sun birth. The Dalek, affectionately known as Rusty, who is looking and sounding…cuter…goes on his merry way, but not before telling the Doctor, “You are a good Dalek.” The Doctor’s xenophobia and prejudices toward certain races of the galaxy have been in question since episode 1 of the reboot. The show is conscious that an alien going around the universe killing off whole races of creatures–Daleks, Cybermen, etc.–has more the appearance of a villain than of a hero. This is why the Doctor asks Clara, “Am I a good man?” We have yet to find out.