The episode itself finds the Doctor aboard the Aristotle. A rebel ship currently fighting against a Dalek fleet. The Doctor manages to rescue one of the rebel fighters called Journey, returning her to base after a rather demanding confrontation, showcasing the latest Doctor's forward personality. While at base, the Doctor (being called the Doctor) is taken to a patient in need of 'repairing' and that's where the central plot begins. A Dalek so badly damaged it's become good. Exclaiming phrases like, 'DALEKS MUST BE DESTROYED!', the audience as much as the Doctor can't help but feel intrigued at a Dalek's unusual change of morality. The plan is to have the Doctor and some soldiers accompanying him miniaturised and placed inside the Dalek itself to identify the damage within. But the Doctor needs his companion, and that's where Clara comes in.
The episode gives us a glimpse of Clara's life outside of the Doctor and her life as a teacher at Coal Hill school. Here, we also get to meet Danny Pink; the new recurring character. A bond between Clara and Danny is established pretty early on, consisting of some friendly back and fourth and leading toward a potential relationship between the two. Danny himself is a particularly interesting character. He comes from a background of military; he was a soldier which is interesting given a later confrontation on the Doctor's side. The chemistry between these two characters is joyous to watch, given that Jenna Coleman and Samuel Anderson have worked together in 'Emmerdale', they're able to use their comfort on working together to best advantage. After Clara insists on taking Danny out for a drink, she returns to a school storeroom where she finds the Doctor and the TARDIS waiting for her, and a forthcoming question. Is the Doctor a good man? This is a question the audience is inevitably being forced to ask themselves either now or - and most definitely - later in the series. Clara's response is something that definitely shows the change of dynamic between Doctor and companion given with the Eleventh Doctor, Clara would have most probably told him 'yes' without hesitation, while here she's still struggling to understand the new Doctor and whether he is indeed a good man. The answer 'I don't know' leaves us with a potential final answer still yet to come.
The central plot; the Doctor, Clara and three rebel soldiers, miniaturised and deposited into a Dalek turned good to repair the damage sounds more complicated than it actually is. The plot itself is rather simple and takes up approximately half the episode's run-time. It's primarily a venture throughout the Dalek, merely showcasing the internal workings of one of them with some character focus in between. The question the Doctor earlier asked the Doctor is present throughout, essentially leading the audience's answer to side more with the negative view after the Doctor willingly allows a rebel solider to die, while using his death as an advantage for him. With minor insults along the way (that generate some laughs), you can't help but notice how harsh this Doctor really is in comparison to his predecessor - he even gets himself a slap. The plot is clearly a character piece, with little threat. There are antibodies, much like those from 'Let's Kill Hitler'. However, they pose no real intimidating threat other than hunting down any cause of harm to the Dalek. The episode moves closer to its climax once the 'damage' is discovered and fixed by the Doctor, reverting the good-turned Dalek back into a regular exterminator. To the Doctor's displeasure.
Peter Capaldi, gets a real chance to shine here during an attempt to persuade the Dalek into seeing good again. With help from Clara (by fixing some of the Dalek's visual cortex), the Doctor creates a connection between he and the Dalek, forcing it to see into his soul and see the universe from his eyes; see its beauty; to see there's more to killing. Essentially, he attempts to reverse the Dalek's morality back to how it was when he found it by creating a similar scenario that changed it to start with. You could call it a 'speech' much of the likes that Matt Smith mastered during his era, but it fell short of something spectacular. That's not to say it was bad. It was brilliantly written dialogue between the Doctor and the Dalek and perfectly executed by Peter Capaldi, with some. With some flashbacks to previous episodes of Dalek extermination-extravaganza, the Dalek looks to be on its way to greatness. However the twist comes at the point the Dalek sees everything the Doctor sees. The Dalek sees hatred. Cold, pure hatred, against the Daleks. The plan works, technically. The Dalek turns against his own kind, thereby protecting the other rebel soldiers.
While ready to leave, after mission considerably successful, the Doctor is chased down by Journey, the solider he saved early on. She asks to join the Doctor and Clara in the TARDIS - to which he declines based on the fact she's a solider. This causes a controversy between the connection Clara made with Danny earlier on, given he too is a soldier. By the episode's end, we get a final answer from Clara regarding the question: "You asked me if you were a good man. And I don't know. But I think you try to be!".
Three quarters of the way through we also get a glimpse at a mysterious character called Missy - who made an appearance at the end of Deep Breath too! Welcoming the droid to 'Heaven'. She does the same here, however with a change of character being welcomed. Missy comes across as a rather strange, wild-presented character that's engulfed by mystery and intrigue. With more questions being posed over answers, the identity of Missy remains to be hidden until later throughout the series. Although huge potential lays wither her and she's evidently on her way to becoming a fan-favourite character this series, despite the minimum time we've gotten a look at her.
While the episode doesn't quite reach the quality standards of Deep Breath, most likely due to the pacing differences, this episode still proves to be an enjoyable adventure: focussing primarily on the episodes characters, while addressing the Doctor's morality. The benefits of the episode lay within the concepts and deeper look-ins. However, on the outside, the episode didn't quite grasp me or make me feel engaged with the story.