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04 September 2012 @ 02:22 pm
Doctor Who: Asylum of the Daleks  
New Doctor Who! It snuck up on me a bit, hadn't realised it was quite so soon this autumn - but found out in time. Tho it feels weird having half a series now and half a series next year, even if that is just the same as they did last time. Many spoilers ahead, read at own risk. (And kindly don't spoil things for later episodes in comments here or facebook/G+ coz J's extremely spoilerphobic.)

Not a review, more rambly thoughts.

I'd managed to be almost completely unspoiled for this, so I wasn't expecting Daleks & I'd forgotten that they'd shown pics of the new companion who arrives later in the season so I wasn't quite as "wow" about that surprise as I think the showrunners would've liked ;) Presumably it's not been an elaborate fake-out & she actually will be the new companion later. Hopefully with (some of?) the same personality coz I quite like the idea of shaking up the Doctor/Companion dynamic a bit in New Who by having a non-21stC Earth companion & someone who considers herself as clever as him. (Yes, I know that River & to a lesser extent Jack probably fit into that category but I mean a full time longer-lasting companion.)

The plot itself was nicely creepy, I thought. Particularly when they're first on the planet & they find the shipwreck. And with some well-done foreshadowing, like the eggs->exterminate bit.

I did like the twist about Oswin being a Dalek in one sense - once J'd reminded me she's the next companion I really wasn't expecting her to be converted & then exploded. But that whole side of the plot doesn't really fit with Daleks - aren't they all about race purity? So while I could buy into them converting people into tools & security systems (coz that's not really a Dalek) I didn't really buy that they would do a full conversion of anyone even a genuis. I'd think they'd be too blinkered to consider that someone of another species would be capable of being in any way as good as a Dalek. Effectively it felt Cyberman-y rather than Dalek-y.

I liked the Daleks thinking of the Doctor as "the Predator" and kidnapping him to deal with the problem they were too scared to deal with. I also liked the asylum idea & the finding hatred beautiful idea. Although perhaps I'll not consider too closely how it fits in with previous Dalek stuff ;)

I also liked how the Daleks were made to forget the Doctor, yet more unravelling of the "Doctor is a universal celebrity" concept we'd ended up with. And because of how they were partly what they were through fear of/fighting the Doctor (but then don't poke to closely at that, as they were genocidal pre-Doctor I thought). Though of course time travel makes that "forgetting" fairly useless longterm because he'll just meet earlier Daleks, or given Daleks can time travel too (presumably) then earlier Daleks will tell later Daleks & the status quo will be restored.

Overall I was rather "meh" about the Amy/Rory plot, tho nice to see some sort of consequences of the stolen baby part of the plot from last season. And the bit near the start where Amy gives a running commentary on what's going through the Doctor's mind was rather neat.

I'm not really going to speculate about how we get that actress playing the Companion later - last season's finale felt a bit limp to me coz I thought I'd come up with cleverer ideas to resolve the dangling threads of the season arc than we actually got on-screen. I suspect it'll just turn out to be someone that looks like Oswin, not Oswin herself (which would be a shame in some ways).
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8bit plastic love machine: keetans - pirate gravygravilim on September 4th, 2012 02:27 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed the episode overall, though I did find myself annoyed at the way they had Amy handle the whys of splitting up with Rory - that was a bit of a wtf moment. She didn't tell him anything before now - really?
Margaretpling on September 5th, 2012 11:57 am (UTC)
Yeah, that was part of my "meh" about that whole thing, it was just a misunderstanding and if they'd only had a chat it'd've not been a problem. I mean, people do do stuff like that, but it felt cheap and like it was plucked out of thin air to make it fixable in the single episode.
contents under pressure / handle with care: cooking - take with a grain of saltgraphxgrrl on September 4th, 2012 03:01 pm (UTC)
Both the people as stealth Daleks and the conversion of Oswin bothered me in this—as you said it was always about racial purity before, it's what caused them to destroy the other inhabitants of Skaro and set off across the universe in the first place. They've been slowly watering that down in the reboot it seem until we get to this point. It always made them creepier though—as there really was no reasoning with them. But I suppose that's not nuanced enough for "modern audiences".

That said, I really did enjoy it over all.
Margaretpling on September 5th, 2012 12:02 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure it's happening because of concern about nuance, but more because the Nazis aren't our bogeyman any more. If anything I'd guess terrorists fill that gap, and maybe that actually explains why they put stealth Daleks in the story - as a society we're more worried about the people who infiltrate then blow up us than we are about the people who operate fascist regimes. Still, I'd rather they left the Daleks as uber-Nazis, it's not like they can't invent other species to provide whatever analogies they want to provide.