Asylum of the Daleks

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So it seems Skaro wasn’t destroyed at the climax of Remembrance of the Daleks, as this story opens there. “Look at the state of it”, the Doctor notes. Maybe the Hand of Omega just really made a mess of it. The Doctor has said that Gallifrey still exists after all, but as a dead world. Matt Smith is great in the Skaro scene. I like this side to his character; when he’s wary and focused and edgy like this. Like at the beginning of The Wedding of River Song travelling round investigating the Silence. It’s a lot more effective than his more child-like moods.

The skeletal Dalek-infected zombies are a terrific idea, all the more effective because they weren’t the plastic-looking, pure white, picked-clean skeletons of the Vashta Nerada victims. These were proper decomposing corpses complete with rotting flesh, and suitably gruesome sound effects. Dalek technology has certainly improved since the eye-stalk helmets of Resurrection of the Daleks.

The surprise reveal of Jenna-Louise Coleman certainly raises a lot of questions about how she’ll return, but effectively established her as a charismatic presence. She’s able to handle Steven Moffat’s superb dialogue well, bringing comedy and pathos to the character of Oswin. The final shot of her in the episode seem to have her breaking the fourth wall. Who does she think she is? Tom Baker?

Great to see all the old Daleks in the Asylum, lot of rewatchability in spotting the various versions. The New Paradigm look seem to have been re-tooled as well, with a less pronounced hunchback. The beat up, battle-damaged Daleks look great, and add a lot to the atmosphere of the story, just as the Cybermen benefitted from a similar look in The Pandorica Opens and Closing Time.

I loved the classic Dalek serial references. But by the end the Doctor/Dalek arch enemyship that’s pretty much been in place since The Chase comes to end as the Doctor continues his mission to slip back into the shadows. Do the Daleks still remember the Time War and recognise a TARDIS?

One of the best aspects, especially after similar stuff in Victory of the Daleks and Closing Time etc, is that here using the power of love to stop Amy’s transformation is just a total red herring so the Doctor could try and get his friends marriage back on track. Great to see this kind of subversion of the series’ own tropes.

It seems like the Doctor is starting to like the sound of ‘Doctor Who?’, maybe as a move by the showrunner to gradually bring him in line with popular misconception that this is his name?

Overall, this is a belter of an episode, Steven Moffat’s series-openers have been very strong so far, genuinely epic affairs. I prefer this approach to the RTD ones, which were very general knock-about (almost slapstick on occasion) affairs like the Christmas specials to draw in a wide audience. I don’t think that’s necessary, and here we had a story steeped in Doctor Who lore, without being dependent on more than a passing knowledge of it to enjoy.

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When you absolutely, positively, have to kill every Dalek in the room… accept no substitutes.

Order series 7 on DVD from Amazon:

Doctor Who – Series 7 Part 1 [DVD + UV Copy]

or blu-ray:

Doctor Who – Series 7 Part 1 [Blu-ray + UV Copy]

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3 thoughts on “Asylum of the Daleks

  1. Pingback: The Eleventh Doctor | Carlisle Who Fan

  2. Great review posting for a great season opener.

    Please check out my guest posting for hotcutegirlygeek.wordpress.com

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