doctor who recapping: asylum of the daleks

Geronimo, Whovians! Season 7 of the rebooted British television show is here and ready to amuse, amaze, astonish, and confuse!

Plot

  • Amy and Rory sign their divorce papers (gasp!)
  • The Doctor, Amy, and Rory are all kidnapped and taken to the Dalek parliament – a lot like a human parliament, except that things seem to actually get done.
  • The dynamic trio is forcibly sent to the asylum of the Daleks, a hellish planet full of all the Daleks the regular Daleks thought were too demented and weird. The regular Daleks want the Doctor and his companions to lower the force field on the asylum so that the whole thing can be destroyed.
  • The Doctor, Amy, and Rory are aided by a quirky young woman named Oswin who escaped the fate of the rest of her crew by hiding out. She speaks to the three by hacking into the communication systems and helps the Doctor move around by erasing the memory of him from the Daleks’ hive brains.
  • Amy and Rory realize they still love each other. Amy kicked Rory out because she knew he wanted kids and she couldn’t have any. Poor girl who waited; poor boy who waited 2,000 years.
  • The Doctor finds a convenient teleport. He plans to lower the force field (thus completing their Dalek objective), rescue Oswin from her fortified hiding place, and escape the asylum before the Daleks’ take this opportunity to kill him and his friends.
  • The Doctor’s plan hits a major road block when he arrives to save Oswin. Why? Because plot twist – she’s a Dalek!!! She used to be a human, but upon crashing on the planets, the Daleks recognized her intelligence and decided to surgically transform her into one of them. Oswin didn’t even realize she was a Dalek.
  • Oswin tearfully fights back her Dalek urge to kill the Doctor and tells him to remember her as he leaves.
  • The Doctor, Amy, and Rory teleport back to the TARDIS. The Doctor taunts the Daleks and is pleasantly shocked to discover that Oswin had actually deleted the memory of him from all Daleks everywhere. Doctor who? (No, seriously the Daleks ask that. It’s a bit silly and self-referential and it was already done last season . . . but still, brilliant!)

Talking Points

Introducing the New and Improved Daleks

The Daleks have a new trick up their . . . plungers. It’s about time, too. Up till now, viewers have had to nod skeptically as the Doctor insisted his worst enemy was a herd of discarded kitchen appliances shaped like upside down ice cream cones (and, come on, it’s not like season 5’s primary color paint job helped that dynamic). Anyway, the Daleks can now infiltrate human bodies, living or dead. Why is this important? Now Daleks can be anywhere. Before you could spot one a mile away and deflect an attack with a baking sheet.

Doctor Who?

Okay, I’ll indulge myself a bit and ramble on about a problem that probably bothers only about 0.05% of Doctor Who fans. The Daleks are life forms, unpleasant or not. Why does the Doctor’s mantra of compassion not extend to them? No, I get it – the Daleks love killing and hating. They would never understand compassion. But at least past seasons, noticeably Eccleston’s only season and Tennent’s third, addressed the discrepancy between how the Doctor views killing and how the Doctor views killing Daleks. I get that perhaps there’s not as much room for this dark and morally-ambiguous type of story-telling (also highly evident in Tennent’s “Waters of Mars”) in the new seasons, but I still miss it.

The Problem of Oswin

Get ready, nerds – this one’s a doozy. Last March, producers announced that British actress Jenna-Louise Coleman would be the Doctor’s next companion. Show runner Stephen Moffat was pretty adamant in insisting that her first appearance would be in this year’s Christmas special. The problem? Coleman surprised everyone by showing up as Oswin in the premiere episode. This, of course, wouldn’t be a massive problem except for the fact that Oswin is a) a Dalek and b) dead. I almost wrote an essay about the different ways out of the Oswin problem, but that’s probably not helpful to anyone. Suffice it to say, I trust Moffat. He has a near-perfect record when it comes to innovation, shock, and trippy timey-wimey shenanigans. Sure, he’s barely hovering at 50/50 concerning logical season arcs, but nobody’s perfect and I’m a tough season arc critic (which is probably my only real, unique skill – and it’s not even that real).

Quotes

The Doctor: What so special about this lot then?

Oswin: Don’t know. Survivors of particular wars. Spiridon. Kembel. Aridius. Vulcan. Exxilon. Ringing any bells?

The Doctor: All of them.

Oswin: Yeah? How?

The Doctor: These are the Daleks who survived me.

**********

Rory: Oh, so this is the kind of escape plan where you survive about four seconds longer.

**********

Daleks: Identify!

The Doctor: Well, it’s me. You know me. The Doctor. The Oncoming Storm. The Predator.

Dalek: Titles are not meaningful in this context. Doctor who?

Daleks: Doctor who?

The Doctor: Oh, Oswin. Oh, you did it to them all. You, beauty.

Daleks: Doctor who? Doctor who?

The Doctor: Fellas, you’re never gonna stop asking.

**********

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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2 thoughts on “doctor who recapping: asylum of the daleks

  1. Emily Morita says:

    “The nose and the chin–you two could fence!”

  2. […] Previously on Doctor Who: The Asylum of the Daleks […]

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