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Doctor Who Season 7: 5 Questions About “Asylum of The Daleks”

After far too long, Doctor Who is back, picking up from where it left off with some familiar questions, new faces where you least expect them, and… the Daleks actually seeming scary again? How did that happen? Of course we have five questions about “Asylum of The Daleks.”

Wait, Was That…?
…Yes, that really was Jenna-Louise Coleman as Oswin. Yes, the Jenna-Louise Coleman who was announced as the new companion earlier this year, described as being someone that the Doctor would meet in “a very, very different way” by Steven Moffat. She was supposed to make her debut in the season’s sixth episode according to early announcements, but now we know that that was a bit of a fake-out… The questions now are “Is Oswin going to be the new companion, or will Coleman’s regular character be someone else who just looks like her?” “If so, will that happen before or after she’s a Dalek in her own personal timeline?” and, of course, “Are we going to see Oswin again before episode 6?” Whatever the answers: That was very sneaky, Steven Moffat. And kind of wonderful, too. I really liked Oswin; I hope we do see a lot more of her.

Are Amy and the Doctor Part Dalek Now?
A small thing, but it seemed to lack closure in the episode. Did the Doctor putting his nano-bracelet on Amy undo the changes she’d already gone through? Did his removing his bracelet have any effect on him? Amy and Rory only have four more episodes to go, after all. Maybe she’ll end up becoming a Dalek after all.

Do We Now Know What Episode 4 Is About?
I find myself conflicted about the Pond separation plot. Again, the revelation that they were getting divorced came as a surprise – I saw this episode before the final episode of Pond Life, about which more tomorrow – and the reasoning behind it made some sense, but the actual scene where Amy explained all fell flat for me, with the dialogue seeming overwrought and the logic seeming… off, I guess? I don’t know, I just always took Amy and Rory’s relationship to be one where (a) she could have and would have told him that earlier, and (b) he would have stayed with her, even if it meant giving up his dream of having kids. Nonetheless, the fact that the fourth episode of this season is called “The Power of 3″ makes me wonder if Amy and Rory’s lack of children in their future is going to be addressed. After all, “baby makes three,” right…?

So, I Guess That Thing About A Season of Standalone Episodes Wasn’t True, Then?
With both Oswin and the Pond relationship seeming somewhat unresolved at the end of this episode, I really can’t believe the idea that this season isn’t going to have overarching stories running through it. Sure, it may not be one massive narrative a la last season, but this clearly isn’t going to be a year of entirely standalone episodes. If it were, Oswin wouldn’t have shown up so early, and Amy and Rory wouldn’t have been given an entirely new dynamic to play with so close to their leaving the show. Again, very sneaky, Who Powers-That-Be.

Doctor Who?
So, this is the second episode in a row that ends with the line “Doctor Who?” Three thoughts:
(1) I really hope this isn’t a trend. It’s kind of old, already; please, “Dinosaurs On A Spaceship,” give us a different final line.
(2) I am enjoying seeing Moffat deconstruct the character as he was portrayed in season 5. Think about it; all through season 5, the Doctor would show up, saying “I’m the Doctor” and the alien threats would get scared. It was a great way of installing Matt Smith in the role and allowing him to own it, but I’m far more a fan of seeing the Doctor actually have to outwit his opponents as opposed to simply terrify them with his name. I’m glad to see his fame slowly go away, to be honest.
(3) The secret identity of the Doctor is going to be central to the 50th anniversary episode next year, isn’t it? I can’t expect that Steven Moffat would pass up the chance to use such an important time to answer what is beginning to become such an important question in the show’s mythology.

All told, though, I thought this was a great re-entry point for the show. I’m glad it’s back.


  • Richard Casey

    Unanswered plot points? A lack of internal logic? Overwrought dialogue? Yep, Stephen Moffat: Showrunner, strikes again.

  • Robert Sienicki

    I think that “The Question” will the theme for this season, just like “Pandorica” was theme for 5th and “The Silence” for 6th. And I hope Oswin survived somehow the explosion (she is a genius afterall) and then we’re gonna have a Dalek companion, but seen through perception filter. That would be great.

    And the Dalek memory wipeout is also clever. Now the daleks have new objective: To find out who is that Doctor. So the ultimate question that must never be answered – now the Dalej will be looking for answer. 

    I’m quite convienced that the 50th Anniversary special might be called “Field of Trenzalore” ;)

  • Janelle Ramirez

    At least two of these questions were answered in the episode.

    Firstly, The Doctor was not affected by the Nanocloud. He’s a Time Lord. Amy even stated that when she and Rory realized The Doctor had slipped his bracelet on her. Doctor, not part Dalek. Amy? The verdict is still out on that.

    Secondly, Amy and Rory. Rory did not leave Amy, he said she kicked him out. Seemingly under the frustration and anger of not being able to have kids anymore. It’s understandable she might have told him, but still had a difficult time dealing with it. I see it like Amy said. She gave Rory up so he could achieve his desire to have a family. Best action? No. Failure to communicate = Relationship breakdown etc.

    The deeper this gets, the more i question the pictures in “Day of the Moon”. Were the pictures in the room of Amy and River? Were they real or fabricated? If real, when were they taken? Does that mean Amy and Rory will get a chance to raise Melody/River at some point?

  • Skapunkboi19

    I think Oswin is the new companion and it will just be her at some other point in her timeline similar to us meeting Amy as a child and her traveling with the Doctor as an adult.

    Pretty sure the Doctor wasn’t affected long enough to be part Dalek and putting the bracelet back on probably cleaned it out of Amy.

    Have any of the Doctor Who stand alone episodes ever really been stand alone?

    Agree with the “Doctor Who?”  thing getting old fast.

  • Josh

    Umm… In the episode I watched it was Rory that took off his bracelet and gave it to Amy.

  • Omniaural

    I thought Amy’s bit at the beginning of the episode was like an audition for the part of MJ in the new Spidey franchise!

  • Janelle Ramirez

    Nope. Rory tried to give Amy his bracelet, only to discover she is wearing one. They figure out The Doctor slipped it on her before he left them.

  • ProjectMelton

    Then you really need to re-watch it.

  • NYCEsq2012

    Ive said since the news broke that they were leaving the show that they would be written out by going back in time and having a chance to raise river/melody

  • NYCEsq2012

    His removing his bracelet refers to the Doctor not Rory

  • Jaded Devil

    I don’t think “standalone episode” and having ongoing character development (or even story details) are mutually exclusive at all.  Hell, you’re not going to find a show that’s more standalone, episode to episode, than Law & Order, but even they had ongoing bits involving Captain Van Buren’s cancer and Jack McCoy running for District Attorney. 

    I don’t think the pure standalone episode has existed since the sitcoms of the 60s (like Gilligan’s Island) or the anthology series of those times, like the Twilight Zone.

  • Dan

    It seems Rory will stay with her even if it means giving up having kids.  When she says she can’t have kids his response is, “I know.”  So she already told him about that before.  What she was revealing was that her kicking him out was out of a percieved kindness.

  • Meekrob

    If Oswin was a Dalek all along, where did the music come from?

  • Juan

    Steven Moffat never said it was fully standalone. He only said this season wouldn’t have a massive story arc like last season. And he’s right, but there’s still a story arc. And the only reason we even know it’s an ‘arc’ of sorts is because we know about her being the future companion and what not. If we didn’t, this would’ve been a normal standalone episode, and similar to Season 4 or 3 where the bits all lead up to the finale or something by which time the puzzle will be released.

  • Fury

    her head.

    she was playing it in her head and broadcasting it out of her Dalek stereo.

    i doubt Oswin’s going to be the companion. having a companion who winds up stranded on a planet and turned into a Dalek is even more of a downer than River’s final fate.

  • Ultra_Brabbnus

    “I’m far more a fan of seeing the Doctor actually have to outwit his opponents as opposed to simply terrify them with his name” – couldn’t agree more. That works fine when he comes across races he has meet time and time again but when aliens he’s never encountered are terrified of him it robs something somehow.

    One thing about this episode that puzzles me. if the Daleks have had their memory of the Doctor wiped then the surely there is a massive gap in all of their records. Who do they think defeated them in all their previous encounters then??

  • Janelle Ramirez

    ” One thing about this episode that puzzles me. if the Daleks have had their memory of the Doctor wiped then the surely there is a massive gap in all of their records. Who do they think defeated them in all their previous encounters then??”

    This. I’m wondering if The Doctor will meet Oswin in her past timeline, changing what we just saw since it isn’t a fixed point. That would put the Daleks back to knowing who he is.

  • Scott

     Wait wait, I think you meant “Russell Davies”.

  • Scott

     Stephan Moffat is the guy in charge currently, you see. Davies must be the one you’re thinking of.

  • Jhugenot

    Have you looked up the meaning of “Oswin”? I do not think Jenna’s character name is pulled out of the air at random….

  • Scum

    The divorce was just a clumsy plot device to create some “tension” in the episode. The explanation was light-weight even by recent Doctor Who logic standards. Stop the spectacle & glib one-liners and give us some decent, cohesive plots………

  • FredII

    Just thinking about a promo I saw for this episode, where it said “every story has a begning, a middle, and an end, but not necesarilly in that order” or something to that effect.  The suggestion at the time (as has been the over hype) was that this was the end of Amy’s story, but I wonder if it is the end of Oswin’s story.    Which is interesting, given that is how River was introduced to us, with the Doctor not knowing her, and her eventual “death” and I wonder if that is something similar here, where the doctor tracks back his new companion.   A more out there premise would be that she survives the destruction of the planet somehow, and we get Oswin in Dalek Mode (and in her little room in her mind) going forward.  In which case the end of her story is really her begning.   And you know, who is to say she won’t be able to rebuild a more human body after it’s all said and done.   Sort of like Plastic Rorey.   THough again that seems to retread been done concepts.   I think the Doctor and the Dalek Traversing the Universe would be pretty near  awesome.  

    Oh and here is a thought, if the Dalek’s share a hive mind, and can have that mind altered externally, could Oswin just reprogram them all to be garderners or something?

  • Brian from Canada

    Aren’t episodes 4 & 5 supposed to be a two-parter with the Weeping Angels?

    Even The Daleks know at the beginning of The Doctor’s “death.” “Doctor who?” emphasizes that he’s more of an enigma now than ever before, and builds the curiosity into who this stranger is that accomplishes so much in so ‘little’ time.

    And you’re right about the question giving us a central point for the 50th year: his real identity is something dangerous to behold, and now that River knows it, others may too. If the fan deductions are right, then The Doctor’s real identity is connected to the foundation of the Time Lords — a fact last hinted at in The Five Doctors.

  • Statham

    Nah, with Davies, you have to build it all up to the Doctor getting involved with an Earth-threatening situation where some dude says ‘ladies and gentlemen – WE ARE AT WAR’ and then everything’s wiped clean at the end of the second part.

  • Oh Danny Boy

    “The Doctor’s real identity is connected to the foundation of the Time Lords — a fact last hinted at in The Five Doctors.”

    Last hinted at during “Remembrance of the Daleks,” actually, and less overtly again in “Silver Nemesis.”

    Oh, and Graeme, this isn’t “the second episode in a row that ends with the line ‘Doctor Who?'”–the episode before this was “The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe,” and it didn’t end like that.

  • LightningBug

    The fourth question here borders on idiotic. No self contained episode of any tv show ever was completely devoid of reference to continuity, or emotional context derived from other episodes. Moffat obviously meant that the plots would derive from new threats each week rather than a single over-arching villain (like the Silence) to tie the season together.

  • JPBL1976

    It wasn’t the Doctor who put his bracelet on Amy. It was Rory — that started that whole, “well I love you more” sequence…

  • Lastnamecumbie

    If amy cannot have children then how will her daughter/the doctors wife be born?????

  • Amy

    I made my way to this thread trying to find the answer to this question: where the heck did These daleks come from, and Why didn’t the Doctor immediately launch into genocide mode? I thought all the Daleks got wiped out in the Time War, except for a couple that were lost in some kind of Void and escaped to battle the Cyber Men, and then they got sucked back into the void Again, only some escaped again and came back in isolated versions her and there for an episode now and then.  A Staggering Array of them in ships and human models appears out of no-where and there’s no explanation of where they came from.  I must have missed something somewhere, and I’m wondering if someone can fill me in.

    Also- why on earth didn’t the Dr say something to the effect of “Ack! Look at all these Daleks that have come out of nowhere and who I’m going to have to exterminate now!” Every other  time he sees them he’s all about killing all of them immediately.  I’m so confused.

  • Lastnamecumbie

    There was that one episode where there were different color daleks that were to be higher daleks that got away and they must have repopulated.

  • Vi

    Well, Silence will fall when the question is asked, and now we have Daleks asking the question! That worries me. I kind of hope that Oswin really is a real person, perhaps living miniaturized in a Dalek shell, or having her mind funneled into a Dalek remotely. I want her to be the companion, not someone who looks like her. Maybe she uploaded herself to another Dalek before the planet blew up… I mean, if she can hack into their hive mind, no telling what she could do.

  • Elise

    Are the Daleks no more because they can’t remember who the Doctor is?

  • Elisesmith2000

    About Oswin, I am not sure of something. Do you know if Oswin IS Clara, of just the same actress. If so, I think it will be like River: the doctor knows how Oswin/Clara is going to end.

  • Luis Neves

    Wait, why is there an asylum of the Daleks? I mean, it’s kind of unfitting that the most hateful race in the universe would build a mental health facility.