Warning: this is a full summary of S8, “Into the Dalek” and contains spoilers and major plot points from that episode!
The episode begins with a full on Dalek attack against what turns out to be the “Combined Galactic Resistance.” Journey and Kai Blue’s ship has been hit, and it appears Kai is already dead in the scene, though he may have just been passed out with extreme injuries Journey tells her brother she is sorry about the upcoming crash, which was a very Doctor thing to say, and she is suddenly on the TARDIS. The Doctor appears exactly one second prior to the ship’s explosion, encapsulating Journey and saving her, though he is unable to save her brother or any other ships. The Doctor talks her through the transmat, which can be both confusing and leave someone feeling a bit sick; and doesn’t even flinch at the gun in his face Journey pulls out. He explains that he materialized his TARDIS around her, exactly one second prior to the explosion as she demands to be taken back to her ship. His response is priceless, telling her that she needs to get her demand right. On her third try, with The Doctor’s prompting, she asks and uses the word please, so he takes her to their “mostly” shielded ship. As they are exiting the TARDIS, The Doctor tells her, “dry your eyes Journey Blue, crying is for civilians, it’s how we communicate with you lot,” laying down the foundation for one of the central plot lines, the difference between soldiers and civilians. How The Doctor knew there was a Dalek attack and that the ship would explode precisely one second later is unseen. He may have visited the battle once before, looking to see if he could save someone, or it may have been as simple as the TARDIS taking him where he needs to be.
Upon materializing on the Aristotle, Journey Blue’s uncle, Uncle Morgan, personally thanks The Doctor for saving Journey, but explains that since The Doctor was able to breech their security system, he will have to be killed. The Doctor begins to respond and Journey stops her uncle, telling him that the man he is thinking of killing is a doctor, and that they have a patient. The Doctor is brought before the patient, which turns out to be a Dalek, and in a scene reminiscent of Christopher Eccelston in the 2005 episode entitled, “Dalek” The Doctor tells the crew, “you don’t understand, you can’t put me in there” knowing what could happen and what danger he is in once the Dalek recognizes him and begins his attempts at extermination. But this Dalek is a bit different, it is sick and it is on the side of the humans, and The Doctor is in no immediate danger.
Meanwhile, back in London, England, Earth, Clara is introduced to her newest co-worker, Danny Pink (played by Samuel Anderson). He leads a group called the “Coal Hill School Cadets” teaching the students a base level of soldier training. In his classroom, we find out that he is a maths teacher, and one of his students asks if he has ever killed anyone. Danny replies that he was a soldier and he did what he needed to do, he would leave it up to their minds to fill in blanks, but the student presses further asking if Danny Pink has ever killed anyone who wasn’t another soldier. Danny breaks down and allows a single tear to be shed, repeating the student’s assignment as the conversation is ended thanks to the bell. He is referred to as a ladies’ man by two separate people and he denies it, every time saying he stays home reading during the weekends. While Danny rubbed me wrong for some reason I can not quite put my finger on, his introduction and portrayal were wonderful. After telling Clara he has even more reading to do so he cannot go to a going away party for a colleague, he is caught by her, banging his head against the desk in a fairly funny scene where Clara persists and asks if he’ll look “that terrified when [he] take(s) [her] for drinks?” After telling him to take her out for drinks, Danny agrees, though the viewer is left wondering who he has potentially killed, why he killed that person/s, and if it will matter to Clara when she finds out. Clara may not mind soldiers, but I highly doubt gratuitous civilian killing would be something she will approve of when she finds out.