i don’t understand why people who hate steven moffat watch doctor who. i stopped watching it not long into the ten/rose era because i didn’t like what was happening,and i didn’t like the characters. when matt smith came on as the doctor,i was back. i like moffat’s writing because it’s got all sorts of twists and turns. he occasionally ties things up,though leaves more threads hanging. but i survived watching ‘lost’,and this at least has some answers here and there.
In “Dalek,” the titular Dalek says that the Doctor would make a good Dalek.
In “Into the Dalek,” the titular Dalek tells the Doctor he is a good Dalek.
Let’s break this down, because these two lines and the difference between them fascinate me.
I. Why the Doctor is like a Dalek
This one is easy. The Doctor hates. He has, in his long lifetime—particularly as a result of the Time War—grown to hate the Daleks. Hate them enough that he could destroy them, hate them enough that he’s prejudiced against the very idea of just one of them ever turning good.
To the Daleks, of course, hatred is their only morality. They don’t know anything else. Three Daleks in New Who have pointed out the similarity between their hatred of all other life and the Doctor’s hatred of them: the lone Dalek (“Dalek”), the Dalek prime minister (“Asylum of the Daleks”), and now the wounded Dalek.
II. “You would make a good Dalek.”
This is also easy. The Ninth Doctor shows a vehement hatred of the Daleks. “You would make a good Dalek.” His hatred would make him fit right in with the most fearsome species in the universe.
III. “You are a good Dalek.”
Wham. By this time, the wounded Dalek has some sense of morality. The Doctor calls him a good Dalek, by which he means that the creature is a moral Dalek. The Dalek says that he is not and tells the Doctor that he is.
This Dalek doesn’t mean what the first one did. He doesn’t mean that the Doctor would make a fine, rampaging, hateful killer. He means that the Doctor is like the Daleks but moral. He means that the Doctor hates, but acts as a moral person anyway.
They’re both brilliant, beautiful lines. The first line is harsh and unforgiving, even emotionally manipulative (to throw the Doctor off as the Dalek conquers the base). The second is actual praise (a farewell to someone who tried to save this Dalek). And while I’ve always loved the first line, I definitely like the second better.
It’s a line that really makes you think, from an episode that made you think. And, really? That’s definitely beautiful.