Know what completely pissed me off over the summer? No Doctor Who. At all. Usually, a new season of Doctor Who premieres on my birthday, making it the greatest birthday ever (for like two years already). But this year, the BBC decided to fuck with the established order and decided to make my birthday suckier by delaying the broadcast of Doctor Who series 7 until September.
It was fucking worth waiting for.
Current showrunner Steven Moffat promised us that every episode this season will be a blockbuster. And boy, did he deliver. The series premiere, Asylum of the Daleks, was one epic moment after another. We start off with the Doctor landing on the abandoned Dalek planet, Skaro, which was last seen in the 1996 Doctor Who movie. It turns out to be a trap, for the girl he was meeting turns out to be a human-Dalek hybrid and he gets captured. He’s not alone though. The Daleks have also captured the now-estranged couple Amy and Rory, and they’re being thrown into a planet full of Daleks who are too crazy for the Dalek empire to handle.
Epic shit like explosions, Indiana Jones moments, and close calls happen. Also a couple of mindfucks. And we’ll talk about spoilery stuff at this point, so you have to watch the episode first before reading on.
The introduction of the new companion, Oswin Oswald, took me by surprise. I am awed that they managed to keep her appearance a surprise, considering the BBC had two advance screenings of this episode and a shit ton of season 7 spoilers were leaked even before they finished shooting. What can I say? I like Oswin already. Although she was overusing “hacked” and “genius” the entire episode, I love how brilliant she is and how she seemed to be on par with the Doctor on an intellectual level. She reminds me of River Song during Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead – the only episodes where River does not annoy me to shit. The big reveal at the end – where she turns out to be a fully-converted Dalek took me by surprise. HOW THE HELL IS SHE COMING BACK? But it explains how she was easily able to hack into the Daleks’ neural web network thing, though.
On to another subplot: the Amy and Rory divorce. I was expecting it all along – you have the Ponds tagging along for three seasons already, how do you expect to keep it fresh, right? But I absolutely hated the way they handled the divorce. Even if you watched the Pond Life mini series that went online the week before the premiere, it was never explained how and why they separated. By the time Asylum begins, the divorce plot is just shoehorned into your face. What sucks more is how quickly and neatly it was resolved. Okay, finally, we can say with certainty that Amy loves Rory just as much as he loves her, but I wanted to see the estrangement drag on a little further. A little tension in the TARDIS would’ve helped, right?
Anyway, I can’t think up of another coherent sentence right now, so here’s a jumbled mess of opinions and theories in list form!
- Calling it: we’ll see Oswin in one form or another every episode, and she’ll be always out of reach when the Doctor tries to save her.
- Oswin probably saved her consciousness in the Dalek neural web and she’ll find a way to transfer herself onto a new body by the time the Christmas Special comes around.
- Or, alternatively, she could be saved in the Doctor’s brain, and she’d be the companion only the Doctor can see and talk to.
- Jenna-Louise Coleman is older than Karen Gillan. But Karen looks way older. I didn’t like how haggard Amy looked this episode.
- I love how the memory of the Doctor was wiped just like that from the Dalek database. The rebooted Doctor-Dalek relationship will be fun to explore.
- So they’re starting to ask The First Question. So is this how it’s going to work? Everyone forgets the Doctor? You know, like how The Silence makes everyone forget them?
- Amy’s starting to treat the Doctor as a peer, and not as her imaginary friend or savior.
- Rory, you do not just say that you waited 2000 years for Amy, you douche.
- The “eggs” sequences were great.
- I love how a throwaway joke like “Where do you get the milk?” turned out to be an important plot point.
- So, to make souffles, you get eggs, and stir for a minute.
- The Dalek-ified skeletons were fucking scary.
- It’s very rare that you see the Doctor getting scared. I love how Eleven was just freaking out to the point of breaking down.
- I’m really ambivalent about the Dalek conversion process. So the Daleks and the Cybermen are very similar now? Meh.
- Also, Daleks are after genetic purity, right? So why the hell did they convert Oswin into a full Dalek when she’s chock-full of human DNA?
- After Moffat disappointed me with The Wedding of River Song, I am so glad he is back in top form. Say what you can about the man’s convoluted plots, but when you make him write the scary stuff, he delivers.
- The Daleks are scary again. And that’s the most important thing.
Granted, this isn’t my favorite Dalek episode (Genesis of the Daleks from 1975 is still the story to beat) or my favorite season opener (how do you beat The Eleventh Hour, really?) but this is a fantastic start to the new season. If this is how every episode will end up, then we are in for a ride.
What do you think of Asylum of the Daleks? Let’s talk about it in the comments!