Review: Asylum of the Daleks

WARNING: There may be spoilers below

Yesterday, the series 7 premiere of Doctor Who was aired. And what an episode it was! We saw the return of the Daleks, the return of the Ponds and the Doctor, as well as someone new! Here is the plot and a couple of my thoughts:

The episode kicks off with the Indiana Jones-like Doctor we saw in Wedding of River Song meeting a strange woman on Skaro. He seems to be lying low, which is probably smart seeing as the universe thinks him dead. He is then introduced to the monster for the episode, who we’ve actually seen before. Yes! The nanogenes from the awesome gas-mask children two-parter are back!

The Doctor is kidnapped by the woman, who has been Dalek’d. We then get to see Amy and Rory, whose relationship has drastically taken a turn for the worse. They have a short argument, then are kidnapped in turn by Dalekised people. This is all rather concise, and I think it’s probably good for the pacing.

Next we have the first surprise of the season. Jenna-Louise Coleman! She plays a computer genius called Oswin Oswald in a crashed ship and trying to fend off the Daleks. We hadn’t expected to see her until Christmas, so it was really a shock to see her right after the opening theme. Anyway, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory find themselves on a Dalek ship. They are asked to enter an Asylum of crazy Daleks to disable the forcefield so that the Daleks can eliminate the planet.

The Doctor and Amy find a member of the crew of a crashed ship who leads them in. All the other crew members are dead, and it is revealed that their man is also dead, and has become a Dalek. This is a rather scary scene where the Dalekised corpses of the crew try to attack them. They take Amy’s protective wristband, making her vulnerable to the nanogenes.

Meanwhile, Rory is being guided by Oswin to a safe place to wait for the Doctor and a deteriorating Amy, who are also being led by her via an intercom system. Amy is starting to have severe amnesia and delusions. Eventually, they manage to meet up with Rory. They have a conversation with Oswin, and they have a deal in which she disables the forcefield and they get her out of the Asylum.

Rory proposes to give Amy his wristband, figuring that it’ll take longer for him because he has more love for her then she has for him. We then find out that Amy only left Rory to give him a chance to have more children, as she cannot have any more. It was unnecessary, because the Doctor doesn’t need a wristband, but he left that out in order for Amy and Rory to reconcile. I admit that I wasn’t too keen on having this sort of drama in the episode, but it was executed rather well, without taking too much from the storyline.

The Doctor continues towards Oswin. While inside intensive care, it is necessary for Oswin to delete all memory of the Doctor from the Daleks’ collective memory. When the Doctor finally finds his way, the big secret is revealed: Oswin is a Dalek! She made up her whole environment to get away from the fact that she was stuck inside a Dalek shell. We see her struggle with herself, deciding at one point to kill the Doctor, but her human-ness wins out and she sacrifices herself for the Doctor and the Ponds.

The episode finishes with the Daleks forgetting who the Doctor is and shouting ‘Doctor Who?’ over and over as he leaves.

This leaves the question: Who is Oswin and what is her relationship to the future companion, who is also to be played by Jenna-Louise Coleman? Some people think that the Doctor meets her earlier in her timestream (but that was already used before). While others think that the Doctor somehow finds Oswin and brings her back later on, I’m banking on the fact that Oswin is not the next companion but a relative, similar to Gwyneth and Gwen from Torchwood as well as Adeola Oshodi and Martha Jones. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

What did you think of the episode? Did you like Jenna-Louise Coleman’s portrayal of Oswin Oswald? What do you think the next episodes have to offer? Tell us in the comments!

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