Doctor Who: Asylum of the Daleks Review (Spoilers)

We have waited for so long for Doctor Who to return to t.v. and FINALLY it has. And it seems like the Doctor Who team have pulled out all the stops and given us one heck of an episode to get us started off.

Warning: Spoilers ahead

“Asylum of the Daleks” starts with a scene on Skaro. We already knew the Daleks would be involved in this episode somehow (the episode name sort of gives it away), but in what capacity? Well, lo and behold, they have laid a trap for the Doctor. The woman he is meeting is not as human as she appears: the Daleks are now able to convert people and leave them looking like people. Until that blue-beaming eyestalk comes out of their forehead. Was that creepy or what?

Seriously, knowing that this episode was about Daleks, made me question “What? AGAIN?” But this episode puts a whole new twist on the Doctor’s most famous enemy and makes them scary again. I like that.

If you’ve been watching the Pond Life mini-series (particularly that last episode), you’ll know that there have been some marital issues with Amy and Rory. Apparently, things were serious enough to warrant divorce papers. I don’t find this as a surprise as it seems the two need the Doctor in their life for Amy to be happy. Yes, I blame Amy. Rory is a saint. Don’t argue that point with me.

But the Daleks, in their all-knowing wisdom, know of the Doctor’s affinity for his latest two companions, so Amy and Rory also get grabbed and taken to the great Dalek spaceship in the sky, where the Doctor is now awaiting them, having been taken himself.

But then things get wonky. The Doctor, gearing up for a fight, is quite surprised (as I was) to hear the Daleks asking for his help. No “exterminate” is uttered here. The Daleks want the Doctor’s assistance in going down to this thing called the Dalek Asylum. And yes, it is really is as bad as it sounds. Insane Daleks = not good. They’re too afraid to do it, so they ask the Doctor to do it instead. But wait, first, there’s that odd voice coming to them from inside the planet.

That voice belongs to actress Jenna Louise Coleman, in the role of Oswin here. Yes, she’s the actress that will be playing the Doctor’s new companion. But … things are about to get even wonkier…

Those Daleks beam Amy, Rory and the Doctor down to the planet where the asylum is located underground. And obviously, Rory gets separated from the group. Eventually, they all meet up together, and while surrounded by Daleks and a planet that’s about to go boom, Oswin insists that they come rescue her from where she’s been hiding.

So the Doctor does just that. Meanwhile, Amy is slowly turning into a Dalek thanks to the nanites that permeate the air of the planet. There was a bracelet that would protect her that the team were given, but of course, she lost hers.

But this is the wonkiest part yet. It turns out that Oswin only thinks that she’s human. She is, in fact, a Dalek herself! A human conscience trapped inside a Dalek. And she has no idea that she’s a Dalek.

Meanwhile, Amy and Rory kiss and make up (is anyone really surprised?). Their big problem? Amy is bawling her eyes out and telling Rory that she cannot give him children.

So that sums up the episode, but the most important question is what did I think?

I thought “Asylum of the Daleks” was a lot of fun. Every time a new season of Doctor Who begins, I am always reminded of what a great adventure the show is. I’m also reminded that Matt Smith is brilliant as the Doctor. I do still feel, however, that too much time is spent on the companions, even in this episode. Although I’ll be sad to see Amy and Rory go, their drama will also go with them – and good riddance. My favorite episodes so far have been the ones without the Ponds because Matt needs to be allowed to carry this role on his own shoulders. And he’s perfectly capable of doing that when left to his own devices. He proved that in “The Doctor’s Wife.”

But Matt got some good screen time and he made use of every moment. The absolute look on his face when he finally sees Oswin as a Dalek (although I’m thinking he knew all along because he’s that bloody brilliant) was a moment of heart-wrenching sadness. Tears pooled in my eyes as he told her. And then he said the lines made famous by the 10th Doctor: “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

But there’s another twist, too – this one will affect future episodes with the Daleks. Oswin somehow managed to wipe their memories of the Doctor out of their metal heads. They no longer see the Doctor as a threat and that’s one less thing that he’ll have to worry about (although I’m sure they’re still evil and will turn up again).

But the biggest question here is about Coleman’s appearance in the episode. I’m assuming it’s a case of  “actor plays one part and then returns as a companion in a new role” sort of thing. Especially since we know the new companion’s name is Clara. But I would love to see some sort of connection between the two. Especially with that whole “Remember Me” thing she said while looking knowingly at the Doctor.

Or perhaps the new companion is an ancestor of Oswin? I’ve seen that theory a lot since the episode aired. Personally, I’d like to see Oswin, the Dalek, as the new companion. How awesome/funny/terrifying/freaky would it be to have a Dalek running around with the Doctor in his TARDIS? Oh, the possibilities are endless!

My beef with this episode is the Ponds’ reason for divorce. Amy pushed Rory away because she can not bear him children. There’s just one problem with that: they already have a kid. Her name is River Song. It’s like the writers forgot a character THEY CREATED even existed. And there was no mention of her anywhere. I found that to be a very weird oversight. Or are we going to find out that we now live in a universe where River Song never existed? Yes, I know that they did something to Amy on Demon’s Run, where she had River. And yes, I know, they didn’t get to raise River. But still, you’d think Amy would say something more along the lines of “I can’t have any MORE children.” Or that the would be happy they had a daughter at all. I don’t know… but I really didn’t get that.

Besides, I still stand by what I’ve always said: Rory is too good for Amy.

All in all, though, this is still the best thing on television. Ever. I especially liked the punny “Eggs-term-in-ate” jokes and the chanting of “Doctor Who? Doctor Who? Doctor Who?” by the Daleks at the end. Doctor Who indeed.

Speaking of the Daleks… again. Is Amy part Dalek now? Because no where was it mentioned that she was fixed. She’d already started the conversion process. I really hope that whole “love conquers all” crap isn’t going to wash that down the drain. And what about Rory? He gave his bracelet to Amy and spent some time breathing in that Dalek nanite-infected air. Will he, too, become Dalek?

Next week? Dinosaurs on a m—-er f—ing spaceship. Oh, and Neil Gaiman is currently writing another episode for the series. I’d say these are both things to get excited about.

 

6 thoughts on “Doctor Who: Asylum of the Daleks Review (Spoilers)

  • September 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm
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    Great review!  I would love to see Oswin the Dalek as the new companion too!  As to your last question: it wasn’t Rory’s bracelet on Amy, it was the Doctor’s.

    • September 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm
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      Thanks! I’m going to give it a re-watch. I usually type up my thoughts right after the first viewing when I’m the most emotional and “OMG” about them. LOL

      I had this vision of Oswin the Dalek as his companion. The Doctor would see her as a Dalek, but we, the viewers, would still see her as we did in this episode (as human). But imagine a Dalek roaming through the streets of Victorian London!

  • September 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm
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    It’s Christmas!  *wink wink* 😛 I loved that.

    Also….Neil Gaiman just won a Hugo for his last DW ep. So it’s in everyone’s best interest for them to team up again! 🙂  And yes they have a kid but if you notice….she was stollen (?) from them so it’s like she never really had a kid?  That’s gotta be all kinds of confusing.  (which would kinda tie into her problems (I can’t believe I’m defending Amy!)   Though, haven’t they ever heard of….adoption?

    • September 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm
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      Don’t defend Amy! Just don’t! We know Rory is too good for her! LOL But yes, adoption is also an option. That whole thing just felt very contrived to me. I will give Karen Gillan and Arthur Darville some acting props, though, because they played that scene very well. 

  • September 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm
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    I agree with you: ” I’m assuming it’s a case of  ”actor plays one part and then returns as a companion in a new role” sort of thing.”

    One thing I haven’t been able to figure out – Who’s Hannah? She’s mentioned on Skaro but I haven’t seen anyone discuss/pick up on this character.

  • September 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm
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    My theory about Jenna-Louise Coleman’s appearance is that Oswin will be rescued by the Doctor later on so he can show her the stars, like she asked him to. She also told him to remember her, so I’m assuming eventually the main point of this episode will have been to introduce her to us. But we’ll see! I’m so glad my favorite show is back. Unfortunately, I work late on Saturday nights, so I won’t be able to watch any of the show live this fall. That’s why I’m glad I can count on my Hopper to have every new episode ready and waiting for me to enjoy as soon as I get home. I would hate to be out of the loop with any of my Dish co-workers who love the show as much as I do. Can’t wait for next week’s episode; not many things sound more awesome to me than dinosaurs on a spaceship!

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