I’m going to be trying to get down quick reactions to stuff from now on, instead of mulling things over so much that I end up… not posting.
Anyway. Asylum of the Daleks. Doctor Who‘s triumphant return to tv.
The daleks need the Doctor to break into the asylum where they send the insane, uncontrollable daleks and take down the energy field protecting the planet so they can destroy them. They kidnap him in order to that, along with Rory and Amy, because the Doctor should have companions, duh. They’re all given bracelets to protect them from the planet’s “nano-field”. As it turns out, Rory and Amy have goten a divorce since the last time the Doctor saw them, so there is that.
It turns out that a human spaceship crashed into the asylum’s planet’s awhile back. Most of the people aboard (dead or alive) were turned into “dalek puppets” by the nano-field, and since they manage to get Amy’s bracelet off, she’s in the process of being converted. Apparently they “take away” love and replace it with hate, so this eventually leads to Rory telling her to take his bracelet since, as he says, the central fact of their relationship was that he always loved her more than she loved him. Of course they get in a fight over it and Amy ends up admitting that the reason she kicked him out was to set him free because he always wanted kid, and as a result of Demon’s Run she can’t have more. Of course after this they make up.
The other element of this story was Oswin, an extremely intelligent young woman and the only survivor of the crash, who has been hacking into and messing with the asylum’s systems. The plan is for her to take down the protective force field and then for all of them to teleport into the TARDIS aboard the Dalek ship in orbit.
The Doctor goes to get her and when he finally reaches her it turns out that she’s a Dalek herself. She was fully converted instead of being turned into a puppet because of her intelligence, and because her mind couldn’t accept reality it created instead a waking dream, in which she is holed up in a room deep inside the asylum, still a human and wrecking havoc. The Doctor makes her confront the truth, and in the end what’s left of the human in her overrides the Dalek side and tells him to run so she can deactivate the force field while they teleport away. She also erases the memory of the Doctor from all Daleks (there was something in there about how their fear and hatred of him had ended up making them stronger, so there you go).
So, story aside, the elephant in the room is that Oswin (Jenna-Louise Coleman) was announced as the Doctor’s new companion, after Rory and Amy are no longer around (I don’t really want to think about what that implies). So this is not the last we’ve seen of Oswin. Given that in this episode, she’s been turned into a Dalek and dies at the end, it’s pretty safe to say that her joining the Doctor aboard the TARDIS will involve a bit of timey wimeyness.
What I liked:
- Oswin’s story. This was my favorite thing about the episode, frankly. The hint was there with the Doctor wondering where she was getting milk for the souffles, but I didn’t really have time to stop and work out exactly what it might mean until it was actually happening. When the reveal comes it feels both inevitable and so very sad, and I just thought it was masterfully played and the best part of the story. Also, as an introduction to the next companion, it was a great tease. Like I said, timey wimey shenanigans must go down in order for her to be alive and human and travelling with the Doctor in the future. I’m intrigued as to what those shenanigans will be.
- Oswin herself. I’m sure there’s already grumbling that Oswin is made out to be too cool and intelligent and whatnot. I don’t care, I loved her. I love that she hacks into this entire system, I love the way she already goes toe to toe with the Doctor. And I particularly love how in the end she couldn’t be defeated. She remained true to who she was and didn’t succumb to the conversion and I’m now very excited to see what Moffat does with this character.
- The mood in scenes such as when Rory is walking around in the room with the dormant Daleks. The tension is just so palpable.
- Rory actually bringing up the whole “I love you more than you love me” thing. I love the Ponds’ relationship and their story, but this was always there. He was always this wonderful, loving man that she kind of has taken for granted sometimes and not always been the nicest to, so it’s nice to see it being addressed. That said…
What I wasn’t so crazy about:
- I didn’t quite buy Amy’s unilateral decision to push Rory away because she couldn’t have kids. I’m not saying this would never happen, I just don’t quite understand why this issue would never have come up before. You would also think she’d realize that if he was willing to wait two thousand years for her he’d probably be willing to live without raising a kid in order to be with her. And finally… there is such a thing as adoption, that could have been discussed. I think this could have been handled differently, in a more satisfying way.
Other than that one nitpick, however, Asylum of the Daleks was a ton of fun. I’m glad to have the Doctor back.