We started catching up on Musketeers shortly before this, so seeing Capaldi twice in one day in different roles was fun.
Anyway, here was what I tweeted before the episode based on the trailer/description:
Quick thoughts on "Into the Dalek" follow the actual spoiler tag. But for those wondering, no, it wasn't better than TTG. It was, however, better than last week's Who.
Clara. Actually, less Clara than her new potential paramour. Well, that's not fair. I find her a little manic pixie dream girlish* in her relation to Mr. Pink (who really should be played by Steve Buscemi), but Pink himself is wonderful. In fact, as a soldier who clearly hasn't recovered from war, he's basically the Ninth Doctor. Obviously, there's a long game plot being played at the school, but I find it at least starting to make Clara more interesting.
Actually, while Schoolteacher Clara might be all MPDG, Companion Clara is pretty awesome this week, doing what a companion's supposed to do** and reminding the Doctor of emotions like compassion that he so often forgets about. This feels like the Clara we saw last season (especially at the beginning).
And Journey's pretty awesome (as is Gretchen for her sixty seconds of actually doing anything).
Oh, while shrinking down is a dumb plot gimmick (see below) the Doctor's comments about lasagna were fucking hysterical. As was pretty much everything Capaldi did. As with Matt Smith, when the actor is better than the material, you do occasionally get some wonderful moments whether the writer has earned it or not. His handling of Ross (plot holes aside -- see below) was pragmatic and still kind of horrifying. Likewise, the fact that the Doctor's hatred of the Daleks was enough to focus Rusty's hatred on its own race was a nice touch, and helps keep this Doctor in a solidly dark place (once again delivering on the unfulfilled promise of the War Doctor).
Until proven otherwise, Michelle Gomez and her "Heaven" will intrigue me. Elayna noted that the colors are reminiscent of "Silence in the Library," and that's certainly one legit take on an afterlife (although without luring the Doctor into that VR world, I'm not sure what good it would do). And the Doctor's saving of Journey makes a nice parallel to Missy's saving of Gretchen.
Oh, and I may have missed it last week, but the Doctor's ship redesign includes stocked bookshelves in the main room!
So the thing about that Tweet, aside from the fact that TTG did do the same plotline less than two weeks ago, is that the "shrink down to go inside someone's body" plotline is stupid. It's always been stupid. It was stupid in Fantastic Voyage. It was stupid in Innerspace. It was stupid the last time Who did it. It's no less stupid if you call it a "fantastic" idea (yes, we get it). It works best on something like The Tick or TTG because those shows are about stupid ideas (deliberately, as opposed to anything Moffat might do).
And it got dumber as we went inside the Dalek to realize that no one on Who has thought about what the inside of a Dalek should be like. Or worse, they thought that '60s Star Trek was a good reference point. A Dalek is made of Jeffries Tubes? Really? And has anyone involved with the show ever even opened up a computer? Small electronics aren't just tiny versions of big electronics. Really.
And having to fight off "antibodies" just ensured that this would be exactly the same story we get in every other "shrink and go into the body" story. And why would the antibodies -- which presumably don't have security cameras -- go specifically after Ross instead of everyone in the group at first? Also, if the Dalek sees someone putting a tiny grappling hook into its metal as something an antibody should fight, wouldn't it also react to the hundreds of pounds of pressure as people clomp through its "hallways?"
Also, last week the Doctor was all, "my face, my face, what's up with my face?" Now, he's just content with it. It's almost like the writers forgot about last week or something. Granted, one of the writers is the guy behind "Waters of Mars" (the worst, by far, of the Tennant specials). But the other one was Moffat, who should have a clue about last week's show.
I'm not sure how I feel about the notion that Dalek's are basically "born bad." Morality seems inherently linked to intelligence and agency, and I'm just not a fan of the notion that any "unbroken" Dalek has to be evil. That said, the notion of Daleks as evil is something Moffat's basically inherited, so I'm a little more forgiving on this front, but it might not have been the best thing to shine a light on without really examining the implications.
I already noted Elayna's comments about Missy above. She also noted that this is now the second week in a row that we've seen one student (the one snarkily saying "she wishes" about the school secretary); as a rule, I tend to assume recurring characters will have impact, but I'm not sure what hers is yet.
I'm not sure if Pink will end up doing the boyfriend-as-companion thing like Rory/Mickey, or if he'll more be the lifeline/plothook for Clara to leave her adventuring behind. Or some third option mixing the two (his backstory leading to an adventure that causes her to quit; he could have fought with UNIT or some other group).
Really, beyond "hey, he's morally ambiguous," there just wasn't any development of The Doctor, so no real speculation's possible on that front.
*Yes, I know that Nathan Rabin has expressed dismay at the term he created. It's overused, but pretty damned valid here.
**As opposed to being a strawman for a particular subset of fans, almost none of whom I've ever actually met.