First Watch: Asylum of the Daleks

Verdict: perfectly fine episode. What stopped it from being amazing? The hype surrounding it. I’ll probably wind up really loving this episode later. That happens with some of them.

More below the jump. Stuffed full of spoilers of course.

  • Love the opening sequence.
  • Do not love the opening credits. The change of titles was nice, but I’d hoped for a change of title sequence – never liked the depiction of the time vortex as a great big bowel.
  • Is it just me, or does Skaro fail to differ significantly in look from Gallifrey? Isn’t it usually depicted as a lot more gray than this?
  • We all knew this was a trap, so why did the Doctor come anyway? I don’t think the location is intriguing enough.
  • Does everyone sign things by printing their name now? Is cursive totally dead? I’ve just seen it in an animated gif. Not printed. I stand corrected. It’s just really, really legible.
  • Not a huge fan of Amy’s make-up job.
  • I love how the ceilings and floors open up on the Parliament ship.
  • I rather like the red-headed Dalek puppet lady.
  • The PM’s voice reminds me very much of crazy old Dalek Caan.
  • Souffles Against the Daleks – band name, yes? No?
  • I did not suspect that surviving crew member. What’s his name, Harvey?
  • I did suspect his crew.
  • I also immediately suspected Oswin was an insane Dalek with delusions of humanity. I did not suspect where she came from.
  • A bit disappointed in the variety of Daleks in the Asylum. If they were different colors and types, it was hard to tell under the dust and gold lighting. The only distinctly different Daleks I spotted were Special Weapons Dalek and the white Dalek pirouetting gracefully. Maybe when I watch it again slowly in HD.
  • In the Parliament, however, I have to wonder why the New Paradigm Daleks are simply on the dais and not throughout the whole room. I would have thought they’d exterminated all the previous batch for inferiority. Not that I mind. I prefer gold Daleks.
  • I’ve always thought Rory loved Amy more, but it’s not nice to say so.
  • They deal with the breakup, its root cause, and its resolution all rather quickly and easily. Life is nothing like that, but this is only an hour-long show so I can see why they didn’t go deeply into it. It still might have helped to know what seemed to be going on, since Amy wasn’t revealing the core issue. I get that she was driving him away For His Own Good (I hate that) but I don’t get what the picture is before she reveals this. Did she toss him out of the house because he left the toilet seat up again? What?
  • Giving up his bracelet secretly, how very Doctor.
  • The Daleks in Intensive Care don’t have gunstalks. Daleks are always armed. What the heck?
  • Oswin is played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, who is playing the new companion after the Ponds. However, the Doctor never sees her face. It’s become something of a pattern for companions to play a non-companion first. Freema Ageyman played Adeola of Torchwood before Martha Jones. Catherine Tate played Donna Noble the Runaway Bride before playing Donna Noble the companion (I like it that way) and Karen Gillan played the Soothsayer of the Sibylline Sisterhood in Fires of Pompeii before Amy Pond. But this time it’s a bit in-your-face to have her appear a mere four episodes before they depart. And it’s been teased already that the Doctor will meet a new friend where he least expects it. We, as an audience, are plainly supposed to draw a connection where the Doctor is not. So we have to wonder what the relation, if any, between Jenna’s two characters will be. UPDATE: I missed the revelation that new companion Clara’s last name is Oswin. More hmmmmmm.
  • I like Oswin and I do feel terribly sorry for her. What a thing to become.
  • Glassman had the same thought that I did, that “full conversion” was an awfully Cyberman thing to go on there. Daleks don’t believe in that, unless they are too desperate to avoid it, as they were in Parting of the Ways. Even then they only took some cells; they didn’t convert people. The nano cloud gives a way out for some conversion possibilities, but it still doesn’t ring true that they would pepper-pot her. His idea about where she might be was much more intriguing. He thought it might be a time flux thing and that she’d long been dead by the time he actually got there. I like that much better.
  • Didn’t like all the repetition of “Doctor Who” at the end. I realize the mystery of his identity is going to be the theme this year, but it’s a bit hammy to throw it in our faces like this. Hopefully it’s emphasized enough now and we won’t have to have much more of it.

I’m sure I will think of more later, when I do the full review. I do like it, truly I do.