Mon
Sep 3 2012 10:15am

Doctor Who: “Asylum of the Daleks”

A spoiler recap and review of Doctor Who episode Asylum of the Daleks

Oh my dear, sweet baby Jesus, Steven Moffat. How is it that you managed to find something new to do with the Daleks, the most overplayed and overhyped (IMHO. Sorry!) alien in the show’s history? I’ll admit it, when I heard that the first episode of the seventh season was called “Asylum of the Daleks,” I rolled my eyes. Daleks?! I thought. Again? Can’t we be done with Daleks for a while? It’s a big universe! Surely there are other threats and other potential nemeses?

But then you go and do this and it’s the most brilliant thing you’ve done on Doctor Who since creating Reinette and inventing the Weeping Angels.

Not that this episode was perfect, mind you. There were a couple of things that niggled at me.

But on the whole? BRILLIANT.

Note: Abandon this post, ye who fear spoilers. For this post shall be spoiler-tastic. Spoiler-iffic, even.

We’ve jumped ahead to a point in time when the Ponds (or the Williamses) are having marital trouble and getting a divorce. Meanwhile, the Doctor (Matt Smith) has been called to Skaro by a mysterious woman who claims to have a daughter in a Dalek prison camp that she wants him to save. The Doctor quickly realizes that he’s been lured into a trap, but not before he, as well as Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), are transported into the Parliament of the Daleks.

Yet, they haven’t been brought there for extermination, as one might expect, but because the Daleks need the Doctor’s help. They want him to assist them in destroying a planet they call the Asylum, the place where the malfunctioning, insane, or otherwise imperfect Daleks are sent to rot. The Doctor discovers that there’s a human trapped on the Asylum, a young woman named Oswin (Jenna-Louise Coleman) who’s crash landed on the planet and has been trapped for a year, fending for herself in her ship while ingeniously keeping the Daleks at bay with her brilliant hacking skills.

The Doctor is determined to save Oswin before destroying the Asylum, but runs into trouble along the way. Specifically, a ward full of Daleks that he has personally driven mad. Oswin can’t get the Doctor to safety, but she can hack into the Daleks’ collective memory, their telepathically shared knowledge, and delete all knowledge of the Doctor. With the Daleks now unaware of who he is, the Doctor pulls off the hat trick of destroying the Asylum, saving Amy and Rory’s marriage, and getting to Oswin. However, when he arrives at Oswin’s space he discovers a horrifying truth.

Oswin is a human who’s been converted into a Dalek, and the homey ship she thought she’d been inhabiting was actually all in her mind, a defense mechanism against the fact that she was actually now trapped in a Dalek body. (Oswin is a genius and the Daleks need geniuses.) In an assertion of her lingering humanity, she cannot bring herself to kill the Doctor when her Dalek nature starts to take over. She allows the Doctor, Amy, and Rory to escape by disengaging the forcefield, which would also allow the Asylum to be destroyed, and asks the Doctor to remember her in her humanity.

 

New Ideas About Daleks

One of the best things about “Asylum of the Daleks” was the introduction of what are essentially Dalek skin-jobs. Giving the Daleks the technology to escape their clunky metal casings and infiltrate as people adds an entirely new element of horror to them. One of the things I always thought the Cybermen had on the Daleks, despite them being “better at dying,” was the fact that they (like the Borg after them), assimilated human beings, cutting them up and attaching metal bits in an attempt to make them “better.” The Daleks, of course, aren’t interested in making humanity better. What they need are vessels, pure and simple, which makes their use of human bodies that much colder. Colder still is that these human vessels get to retain just enough of their memories and personalities as is deemed useful. Moffat has said that he wanted to make the Daleks “scary again,” and he succeeded.

There was also a moment of insight into Dalek philosophy which I thought was interesting. The Dalek Prime Minister explains that the reason why the Daleks don’t just destroy the damaged/inferior Daleks right off the bat is because they believe hatred is too beautiful to extinguish. When the Doctor vents his disgust at the concept of hatred being beautiful, the Prime Minister retorts with “Are you surprised that the Daleks have a concept of beauty?” then says that it’s this concept of hatred-as-beauty that might be responsible for the Doctor still being alive after all these years. It made me think of the Batman/Joker relationship in the comics, and how the two are considered such perfect enemies that neither can do without the other. I think the same goes for the Doctor and the Daleks, and the Prime Minister acknowledging this was pretty amazing. It’s interesting to think that the Doctor might be alive not because of his cleverness, but because the Daleks hate him so much they deem him too beautiful to exterminate.

Lastly, the Doctor being erased from Dalek memory was a brilliant decision. I’m surprised that hasn’t been done before. How long before he earns the name Predator again? Or is this why the question “Doctor Who?” must never be answered? Because if it is, it means the Daleks have gotten stronger?

 

The Performances

Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill stole the episode, and each did their most brilliant acting to date. This was Gillan’s finest performance since “The Girl Who Waited,” and it was amazing to watch her throughout the entire episode, because no matter what was happening with the Doctor or the Daleks, there was always the underlying current of her split from Rory. Darvill gave his most mature performance as Rory as he wrestled with the complexities of his crumbling marriage. Their chemistry together in this episode was breathtaking.

However, they had a difficult time completely stealing the episode, because Jenna-Louise Coleman nearly did that herself. Her performance broke my heart, because even as she’s verbally sparring with the Doctor or hacking Dalek technology, there was this underlying current of her desperately trying to go home, even after she realized she was a Dalek. Coleman has already proven to be a wonderful addition to the show.

 

The Ponds

The best part about the disintegration and subsequent salvaging of Amy and Rory’s marriage is the fact that Moffat touched upon the mistaken notion that Rory loves Amy more than Amy loves Rory, which is of course nonsense, and I was glad that the script (and Amy) called that out. Fans love Rory (rightfully so, he’s a great character), and his guarding the Pandorica for 2,000 years is always held up as the pinnacle of what a man in love should do.

Here’s the thing: 1) The number of years means less when you’re made of plastic. Granted, Rory probably would have waited the “rest of his life” to guard Amy...but I think we can all agree that waiting around is a lot easier when you don’t have to do silly things like eat or go to the bathroom. 2) Love isn’t something for which there is a standard unit of measure. Different people show love in different ways, and the thing that’s a sacrifice for one person is an easy thing for someone else to do. What matters is someone caring about someone else more than they care about themselves. That’s love.

Rory deserved getting slapped for holding up his 2,000 year stint as a security guard as a sign that he loved Amy “more,” because it cheapened what he did. You don’t do something out of love for someone only to hold it over their head later as proof that you’re an awesome person. That stops being love and starts being about ego. Rory has been blinded by his own insecurity for so long, and since viewers love him, so have many of them, and this often manifests itself as an irrational dislike of Amy. “Look at how she treats him! She’s so mean, and he’s so good!”

So many times, Rory’s insecurity told him that she wanted the Doctor, when really, whenever she talked about the hero that would save her, she was talking about him. She trusted and believed in Rory utterly. Amy has saved him as often as he’s saved her, and she has consistently chosen Rory over and over again even when, as in “Amy’s Choice” or “The Girl Who Waited,” choosing Rory meant sacrificing a version of her own existence. How do you measure which is more meaningful: waiting for someone for 2,000 years, or choosing the reality with Rory in it even if it means you’d be killing yourself in the process? You can’t. Amy and Rory’s relationship was never as black and white as “Rory Good, Amy Harpy,” and “Asylum of the Daleks” took a mature step forward in the handling of their relationship by examining these complexities.

However, one of the things that niggled at me was the fact that, once again, it was Amy who was dealt the “Alien Thing Is Inhabiting Me” card. It’s funny, I have less trouble with the “mystical pregnancy” thing, and Amy being River’s mother and all that than I do with Amy continually being a vessel for other things. Since women are the only ones who can be pregnant, if you want a storyline with a newborn child in it, it’s going to have to be a female character at the center of that. But things like having a Weeping Angel in one’s head, or actually being a Ganger double, or being in danger of becoming converted by the Daleks are none of them gender-specific. So, to have these different types of “impregnations” also continually befall Amy in addition to the pregnancy, keeping her inactive while the Doctor and Rory have to save her, is troubling.

All of the above relationship issues could have been examined had Rory been the one who was in danger of Dalek conversion. It would have been as simple as him denying Amy’s nano-field bracelet for the same reason he currently gives in the episode: “I don’t need your bracelet, Amy, because I love you more, so conversion will take longer.” Everything would’ve worked out exactly the same, and we wouldn’t have yet another example of Amy being taken over by an alien being. That’s three times that’s happened to Rory’s one. It is now officially Rory’s turn to be inhabited by the next alien that inhabits things.

 

The Doctor

The Doctor is always at his most irrational around the Daleks, and I both love and hate this. Love, because it makes the Doctor less than perfect, which is important. It is more powerful and satisfying when an imperfect hero makes the right decisions in the end. However, I hate it, because in his irrationality, the Doctor often chooses to do things that are generally “un-Doctor-like.” In the case of “Asylum of the Daleks” it was the Doctor talking a deranged Dalek into killing itself by activating its self-destruct command, then programming it to go backwards into a room full of other deranged Daleks so they could all go explode-y.

Was this clever? Sure. Was it understandable? Of course. But was it Doctor-like? Was it the way the Doctor typically handles, and counsels others to handle problems? Was he listening to his better angels? Here is where things get grey. I watched the episode with a friend, and afterwards I likened this act of the Doctor’s to someone giving a developmentally challenged person a bomb and then sending them into a hospital room full of other developmentally challenged people so that the bomb could kill them all. My friend said, “Well, yes. But in this case, it would be as if all those developmentally challenged people were also Nazis.” That may be, but I don’t think that makes the act of giving that developmentally challenged person the bomb any more noble. It would be a cheap shot.

The Doctor had a choice. Once he knew that the Dalek didn’t have the firepower to kill him, he could have run away. He didn’t. Instead, he used it as a weapon against its own kind, not out of self-defense, but out of anger. That room full of Daleks wasn’t about to attack anyone, and yet the Doctor took it upon himself to preemptively stop them in a move that did nothing to stop the larger Dalek threat. It was a cheap shot. What I think is interesting about the tone of the episode is that it’s unclear whether the Doctor should be praised or reprimanded for this act. The way it was presented, as a simple fact, I think it’s supposed to be up to the viewer to decide whether or not this particular act of the Doctor’s was a shining moment or not. To me, it was not. I don’t see this as a flaw in the episode, however; merely a flaw in the Doctor.

 

Oswin

I am so in love with Oswin it hurts. She is an amazing character from top to bottom. Her fierce intelligence (and the fact that she’s tech-savvy), her wit and banter, the idealism bubbling up from underneath her snark, and the horrifying discovery of her true condition are all wonderful and brilliantly original.

Now here’s the thing. Oswin is played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, who’s widely been reported to be the Doctor’s new companion...named Clara...whom the Doctor will meet in the Christmas Special later this year...in Victorian England. Also, Oswin was on the Asylum planet which gets destroyed. While it is unlikely that Oswin survived that, it’s also very strange that Moffat would select one actress to play multiple parts, particularly in the same season. After all, Karen Gillan played a soothsayer on the show years before being cast as Amy Pond, and it’s not as if the soothsayer was as prominent a role as Oswin was. So they have to be related somehow.

Either Moffat is going “River Song” on us again, and giving us another female character that the Doctor meets out of order (who also happened to be named Clara before she was named Oswin), or the Clara name was a red herring in the first place (or else has been changed), and this Oswin person we’ve just met survives somehow and becomes the Doctor’s companion. I’m not sure which I would prefer. What I do know is that I am absolutely thrilled by the possibility of a Dalek companion for the Doctor, especially one so brilliant that she’d be capable of being more help to the Doctor than any of his other companions with legs who run around after him all the time. What would it mean for the Doctor to work alongside the kind of alien he’s been fighting for centuries? What would it mean for the Doctor to suddenly have a Dalek (and all the “exterminating” power therein) on his side in the TARDIS?

I really hope that, whatever or whoever the Doctor’s companion turns out to be, that we don’t lose Oswin. She’s wonderful.

 

“Asylum of the Daleks,” was a perfect start for the new season of Doctor Who, and accomplished so much story-wise without being a puzzle-box two-parter. I think (and hope) that Moffat is stepping away from the bloatedness of season six and getting back to basics. If this episode is anything to go on, it looks like Moffat is on track to do just that!

Doctor Who airs on BBC America Saturdays at 9PM ET.


Teresa Jusino is so happy that Doctor Who is back. Her Feminist Brown Person take on pop culture has been featured on websites like ChinaShopMag.com, PinkRaygun.com, Newsarama, PopMatters.com, and she’s recently joined Al Día, the #1 Spanish-language newspaper in Philadelphia, as a pop culture columnist. 2012 will see Teresa’s work in two upcoming non-fiction anthologies, and she is also a writer/producer on Miley Yamamoto’s upcoming sci-fi web series, RETCON, which is set to debut in 2013. For more on her writing, get Twitterpated with Teresa, “like” her on Facebook, or visit her at The Teresa Jusino Experience.

76 comments
Mordicai Knode
1. mordicai
It’s interesting to think that the Doctor might be alive not because of his cleverness, but because the Daleks hate him so much they deem him too beautiful to exterminate.
I read it vice-versa; that the Doctor hates the Daleks so much that he's beautiful.
Oswin is played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, who’s widely been reported to be the Doctor’s new companion...named Clara...whom the Doctor will meet in the Christmas Special later this year...in Victorian England.
The "name problem" is fixable if you...just imagine that her full name is "Clara Oswin."
beerofthedark
2. beerofthedark
Really enjoyed the episode, great start to the season. Agree on the whole 'Amy getting taken over by aliens' thing feeling a bit old now, and also about the whole Rory loves Amy more is a fallacy and it's nice to show it up. However, the way they chose to do that by having her say effectively "I drove you out of our marital home with no explanation because I really love you!" wasn't really the greatest way to show that (IMO). Watching with my wife, we both thought "Couldn't Amy have just explained what was eating her up rather than evict him?". Still great performances from both.
I personally think that Clara will turn out to be an ancestor of Oswin in some way. Roll on the rest of the season!
beerofthedark
3. beerofthedark
Apologies for the double post, but I also brought my inner geek to the party:
This isn't the first time we've seen dalek 'skin-jobs'. There have been robomen from the second dalek story (Dalek Invasion of Earth) which were effectively brain-wiped puppets. They've also been shown to have an interest in collecting genius brains before, memorably in the seventh Doctor story Remembrance of the Daleks, where the rebel daleks used a little girl's imagination to power their battle computer.
Oh and the captcha had Alonsi as it's word, which was close enough to Allons y! to make me smile.
Joe Tortuga
4. JoeTortuga
The scene where the doctor steps out, and all the Daleks around him are dead, half blown up with ooze coming out of them reminded me of an old 5th doctor episode. In that one, he used some sort of gas to just kill them all, and it left a disgusting and horrible mess much like the daleks in this episode. IIRC, it was Tegan's last episode, as when she saw what he had done, she just left (the were on Earth, at least), saying she had had enough.
beerofthedark
5. Scrib
If there's a connection between Oswin (who was an awesome character!) and Clara, Moffat will have contrived it after the fact. I saw a Q&A on Nerdist.com where Doctor Who Executive Producer Caroline Skinner said Moffat got the idea for making Jenna the new companion while he was watching the taping of this episode.
Bridget McGovern
6. BMcGovern
@mordicai--I read the Doctor-as-hater thing the way you did: that his own fury and hatred of the Daleks must seem like an exquisite, sublime, breathtaking masterpiece to them, on some level. Like the Sistine Chapel of hate, basically :) I also like Teresa's Batman/Joker comparison, here...

Re: Oswin...I guess it could be a simple name issue, though her full name is given as "Oswin Oswald" in the episode. I'm sure however they end up bringing her back into the mix will involve some complex, virtuoso Moffat-ing, whether Coleman ends up playing the same character in a different time, or an ancestor, or something even timey-wimier. My main question is whether we're going to be (re)introduced to her as someone who's "doomed" (in terms of the Doctor and the viewers knowing her eventual fate as a Dalek), or whether she gets a clean slate. I'm rooting for the latter, personally.
Mordicai Knode
7. mordicai
5. Scrib

Huh, interesting! Anyhow, I really like her sneakers & short skirts look; like a bridge between Rose & Amy, visually.

6. BMcGovern

That is a great user icon; I've never noticed it!
Alan Courchene
8. Majicou
The name "Oswin" comes from the Anglo-Saxon "Oswine," meaning "god-friend." Sounds like an apt name for the companion of our favorite Time Lord, don't you think? Of course, it was a masculine name back when, but that's true of a lot of names (Beverly, Evelyn, etc.)
beerofthedark
9. Cleggster
I find it interesting that last season ended with the Doctor faking his death and going underground, so to speak. Now this season begins with the Darlek's all forgetting who he is. (Well, at least THESE Darlek's).

I wonder if this is going to be a theme this season? The Doctor erasing himself or being erased from history.
beerofthedark
10. Paige CM
I'm really hoping that Oswin, being a super genius, manages to unDalek herself, or else, managed to escape the planet, and then create herself a skinjob body. Having the Doctor travel with a Dalek as his companion would be excellent.

I'll be far less enthusiastic if we meet Oswin's great-great-great-grandmother Clara, or some other ancestor who's essentially an identical twin, personalitywise. Vive le Soufflé Girl!
Alan Brown
11. AlanBrown
Maybe Oswin is a descendant of Clara, or an ancestor, or maybe she was able to survive the explosion by transferring her conciousness via the telepathic Dalek interwebs to another nanogene-created body. I doubt it is a River-like "Doctor meets her and interacts with her life in reverse order" situation, as that would not be terribly original at this point. Interesting that the actress' turn in this episode resulted in her being hired as the new companion. It was certainly a tour de force, marvelously acted. She will certainly be a strong enough character to go toe to toe with the Doctor, and I can see some brilliant dialog in their future.
All in all, it was a great start to the new season. And it could be topped by the next episode, after all what is cooler than dinosaurs? And in a spaceship!!!
beerofthedark
12. John R. Ellis
Considering we know very little about Oswin's past before she was on the crashed ship, for all we knew she may be a member of a family of time travelling clones. Or twins.

Kidding, kidding. Mostly. Maybe. Kind off.

I think the difference between "The Doctor killing mentally disabled people" and "The Doctor killing disabled Daleks" is that we get only occasional hints that a Dalek could ever be healed and transformed into something other than Davros designed them to be: Complete monsters, in constant agony, mad at everything just for existing.

I agree it's a dark, morally dubious action, though it could be seen as a sort of twisted mercy. Keeping them alive just to bask in their undying hatred seems just as warped as blowing them up.
Noneo Yourbusiness
13. Longtimefan
Should Jenna-Lousie Coleman serve as both the Oswin character and the new companion Clara this is my speculation.

If the actress is playing both charaters for a reason it could be that when the Doctor finds Clara in the Victorian Era she may be technologically savvy but the machine age is nothing like the electronic age so her abilities and personality would be different.

By traveling with the Doctor it is possible that Clara would develop the skills that she uses as Oswin.

If the change in Doctors occurs with the change in Compainons (or just before) then the new Doctor would remeber Oswin but may have a fuzzy enough memory that Clara would not seem similar to him.

As a show that has enjoyed the long, slow reveal it would be possible that Clara's adventures with the Doctor would help her develop into Oswin.

The Daleks would want to kidnapp a Companion to lure the Doctor and blah blah blah.

If it is a long enough game it would be two or three seasons from now before the writers would have the big reveal that Clara became Oswin.

They would build up to it slowly and it would probably be very well done. It is just in the age of the internet and all the forms of data retention we have available it is more difficult to present alledged throw away characters since it will be analyzed by hundreds of thousands if not millions of minds.

Who knows. It could be a fluke of casting where the actress was so good in this episode that they chose to make her the next Companion and just hoped that people would accept her as separate.

It has happened in other televisions series where a performer has impressed the producers or writers so they were brought back as a new re-occuring characters separate from the one time charater they had played previously.

Considering how crafted the writing is for this new era of Dr. Who it seems a bit sloppy to use a performer in such a way.

I would like to believe that they have a greater plan. Probably better than my speculation but that is just my idea of what they could be doing by using the same actress for two seemingly different roles.
Chris Meadows
14. Robotech_Master
The thing that bothered me about this episode was how quick Amy was to dump Rory rather than disappoint him that she couldn't have kids. I mean, what the heck, Amy, this man waited 2,000 years for you. Do you honestly think he's going to be THAT bothered? You could always adopt.

It kind of cheapens the character for me. (And makes me wonder just how long their relationship will last without the Doctor around to keep patching it back together. "Oh no! I burned the muffins! DIVORCE!!!")
beerofthedark
15. TomT
This isn't the first time we have seen the dark side of The Doctor. He can be very nasty and violent at times. The thing is he knows this about himself and usually trys to find an alternate answer. Look at the whole Family of Blood plot. That was a case of The Doctor going to fairly extreme lengths just to avoid doing anything about the group hunting him. Knowing they only live 3 months he figured to out wait them and not confront them. It was an act of mercy on his part ot avoid setting the darker side of himself on them.

And never forget when push came to shove he used a weapon {I keep hearing the name of it as The Moment) to erase both the daleks and the timelords from time.
F Shelley
16. FSS
@14 - i agree. Not to mention the idea that domestic abuse is apparently OK now and is an acceptable way to end an "I love you more" argument...
Teresa Jusino
17. TeresaJusino
mordicai @1 & BMcGovern @6 - Yes, your'e right, also the Doctor hating them so much is beautiful to them. I think they just love the whole relationship, because it's so filled with hatred on both sides that they think it's beautiful and are kind of addicted to it, which is why they need him alive. I think their relationship is, as Bridget mentioned, the "Sistine Chapel of Hatred." :)

beerofthedark @2 & Robotech_Master @14 - I also thought it weird that Amy would throw him out over that. And yet, I see people in couples do that all the time - act in "the best interests" of their partners without even asking them what they think. To Amy, she was saving Rory, but of course to Rory, Amy not being able to have children doesn't matter. I saw Amy acting in his best interest without telling him that's what she was doing as a very common, and very human thing to do, which is why after I thought about it, it didn't bother me so much. Or rather, it bothered me as much as it would had heard a friend did the same thing. It made me want to shake Amy and say "Woman! Communication is key in relationships! Talk to him, for crying out loud!" :)

Longtimefan @13 - I AGREE re: stupid casting announcements on the internet! In my opinion, revealing names of characters, what their relationship is to established characters, etc ruins the intended storytelling! It's annoying. I wish they'd just be like "NEWS: Jenna-Louise Coleman has just been cast on Doctor Who!" And THAT'S IT. I know they're trying to break news before the rabid fans who stalk the show wherever it's shooting to take pictures get to post things on the internet and speculate, but they shouldn't. Because as long as the "official channels" stay mum, anything fans "leak" can be up for debate without confirmation. All it will be is speculation, and fans can still go into the show wondering what's going to happen next!

Cleggster @9 & Longtimefan @13 - I love your ideas and speculations re: what's next! Some really interesting stuff in there. We'll see, though, won't we? :)

beerofthedark @3 & JoeTortuga @4 - I knew about the Robomen from "Dalek Invasion of Earth," but I wouldn't consider them "skin-jobs" in that, while their brains were operated on, their entire body wasn't converted. In "Asylum," people are hollowed-out and completely reoutfitted, and it's less mind-control than complete mind-repurposing. The Robomen were definitely the first step on the road to what they are now, but I do see them as different. As for the 5th Doctor reference, I'm not familiar with that! I've only gotten through Hartnell, Troughton, and Baker in my Classic Who viewing...but I'm looking forward to Peter Davison! :)

majicou @8 - I love that! :)
Teresa Jusino
18. TeresaJusino
FSS @16 - I'd just like to say that slapping someone for saying something out of line is not the same thing as "abuse." Rory is not living in fear for his safety, nor does he feel threatened by Amy slapping him. A husband or wife getting slapped once for saying something hugely offensive to the other person is not the same as someone getting abused. A child getting slapped for mouthing off at a parent is not the same as a child getting beaten regularly. While violence should never be the answer, and my knee-jerk reaction would never be to slap someone, I also hesitate to use words like "abuse" flippantly, because it dilutes the meaning of the word.
Ashley Fox
19. A Fox
@13 I thought somehing very similar to this. When the Doctor, Amy and Rory teleport out the forcefields are down so its possible that future Doctor could Tardis in and take Oswin before the boom.

The viewers would hen have the ineviabilty of the companion becoming a Darlek. The Darleks have now forgotten him (and his Timelord status? As the last of the Timelords, does this mean they have now finally finished the war?). During the episode after she had tapped into the Darlek hivemind thingy I did get a little irate that she didnt leave a greater legacy...like hope or love or some such. The defining points of Darlek Oswin. Seemed a major oversight on the part of the Dr. But if future Dr and Clara have to reach ths point, knowing she will sacrafice her body, but be able to use her new form to make the Darleks peaceful? Questionable morals galore!

The were some odd parts in the dialogue between the two. The Dr would ask her a question and she would skirt around it. I wonder if this was always intended and changed during editing, when Moffat decided she would be the next companion, to leave her a little more mysterious...more able to tie in different storylines.

Amy and Rory. I like the tone of this article...and am a bit surprised at he Amy hate (or milder comments lol!) still here. Am did NOT kick Rory out. He left, he filed for divorce etc etc. Amy choose not to stop him leaving becuase it justified her fears-by leaving he could potencially meet someone he could have kids with. I quite enoyed he fact that the Dr wanted to 'fix' them, but didnt actually do anything...he didnt need to. His presence has always been the catalyst that forces them to reveal they're fears/insecurities. Without him (or the crazy assed circumstances they find themselves in wih him) the bottle up there insecurities, the other only seeing the distance...creating further distance. I find their relationship very believable...and hope they find a way of, well, talking without imment death to goad their tongues when the go their own way this series. Presuming neither, or both, die...of course.
F Shelley
20. FSS
@Teresa@18. Hmm - how to approach this. I like your reviews a lot and don't want a full scale argument. However, I think you're flat wrong on this.

Here's another slap from Amy (same episode):
The Doctor: Amy! Still with us?
Rory: Amy, it's me. Do you remember me?
{she slaps him}
She remembers me.
The Doctor: Same old Amy.

And there was the slap from Amy when Rory was thinking of a threesome with Amy and...herself, in the mini-episode from Children in Need. He can't even think of something she doesn't like without her slapping him.

Throw in all of the "stupid"s and "stupid-face"s throughout their time on the show, as well as her generally dismissive attitude toward him, and I think an argument can be made that she's keeping him in a state of fairly constant abuse.

So, here we go. If their gender roles were reversed, would it have been OK for Rory to open-hand-slap Amy 3 times in what, less than 30 hours of TV time? So often that his closest friends would say "that's Rory all right" when he did? Would it be OK for him to constantly call her little pet names like "stupid"? Would his slapping her be considered her fault, and that she deserved it?
nat ward
21. smonkey
Sometimes I feel like I watched a different episode than the reviewer.

From the get go, the awkward editing, the people on skaro (wtf?), the new dalek skin jobs etc.

I thought this was one of the worst episodes in recent history.

I mean, c'mon, its a ripoff of Escape from New York plus some battlestar Galactica and toss in the "cute girl hacker" meme to get boy all hot and bothered.

Oh, and Amy Pond as "the bitch who doesn't deserve Rory". Not to mention Moffat's obssesion with Children and Motherhood. Oh no...can't have babies....not a person...oh NOoooooooo.

feh.
Teresa Jusino
22. TeresaJusino
FSS @20 - First, I'm glad you enjoy my reviews! :) And I do appreciate this kind of discussion (not a "fight!") - it's worth talking about. If you've read my other Doctor Who pieces, you'll know that I've had this conversation about Amy/Rory before. Basically, my opinion is this: could and should Amy treat Rory better? Yes! Is she "abusing" him? No. Here's why:

The gender reversal doesn't really work here, because no matter how hard Amy hits Rory (unless she comes at him with a crow bar), she can't really hurt him. The reason why it's less OK for men to hit women than the other way around is because men can do more serious damage, sometimes without intending to, because they are generally physically stronger. Also, when a man hits a woman, it's more likely that he's doing it to intimidate. There's nothing indimidating about Amy, despite all her huffing and puffing, which is why Rory has the luxury of saying "Same old Amy." He brushes it off, because he can. You might not like watching Amy treat Rory that way (I don't, either! I don't chuckle when she does it.), but you also can't say that Rory's in any danger. At most, he's getting his feelings hurt - which sucks, but isn't abuse.

You say that "he can't even think something she doesn't like without her slapping him." The thing is, this doesn't stop him from not only voicing his opinion, but acting on it, many times against Amy's wishes, and sometimes conspiring with the Doctor behind her back in order to do "what's best" for her. That isn't the response of a threatened person. You KNOW that that wouldn't work if the genders were reversed, and there's a reason why.

Also, if you re-read my comment to you, you'll see that I say "A husband or wife getting slapped once for saying something hugely offensive to the other person is not the same as someone getting abused." And I meant that - husband OR wife. If I said something that I knew was hurtful, poking and prodding a sore spot to get a rise out of someone, and got slapped for it, that wouldn't be abuse. Should the person's knee-jerk reaction have been to slap me? No. But abuse is about indimidation and power, and despite Amy's temper and disrespect (yes, she is HUGELY disrespectful to Rory. That's something she needs to correct), she doesn't pose a threat to Rory. Is it fair that men have to be more careful about hitting women than the other way around? Maybe not. But women are generally at a disadvantage when it comes to physical strength (as well as how they're viewed/portrayed in society and are legally and socially treated like a minority even though they comprise most of the people on the planet). That is also not "fair."

But I would ask you, if a mother slapped her child for mouthing-off, would you run and call child protective services?
Teresa Jusino
23. TeresaJusino
smonkey @21 - I think we watched a different episode, too. :) But on the topic of "can't have children, not a person...", whether or not to have a child is actually a very serious thing for married couples. This has nothing to do with a general view of motherhood making a woman a woman, and everything to do with the fact that when people get married they are (ideally) on the same page as to whether or not they want to have children. Either one having trouble conceiving can therefore be a really painful thing 1) because even though adoption is an option, there's something special about having a child that's a part of both of you, 2) infertility on either the woman or the man's side can make that party feel inadequate if they really want to have a child and suddenly can't. If Rory were infertile, it's likely he might feel like "less of a man" and would worry about what that would mean for Amy's feelings about him if they both came into their marriage with a dream of having children together, and suddenly their not being able to is "his fault."

Also, there's the HUGE factor of River/Melody. What would make this all the more painful is that Amy HAD a child that they never got to raise, then never gets to have another one. That's a BIG DEAL. Amy and Rory are technically parents, but they never got to do anything about it. Amy must feel horrible, and that must be compounded by the fact that EVERYTHING they've been through can be traced back to her childhood relationship with the Doctor. Had she not gone out to investigate that blue box, none of this would have happened. I'm not saying she SHOULD take the blame for this, but I'm saying I understand how she'd feel that way, and why she'd react the way she did.
beerofthedark
24. Bryan Rasmussen
"It is now officially Rory’s turn to be inhabited by the next alien that inhabits things."

Oh, well I guess that means it's now officially Amy's turn to die?
Ashley Fox
25. A Fox
Deleted because this was posted in comepletely the wrong discussion!
Teresa Jusino
27. TeresaJusino
Bryan Rasmussen @24 and AlanBrown @26 - Technically, Amy's also died twice if you count ending two versions of herself. :) So they're tied on that score!
Ashley Fox
28. A Fox
@Tess have to disagree with you about difference in strnegth/genders making it more acceptably for Am to hit Rory. There are abusive relationships where he woman is the perpetrator, or indeed any given violent situation where a wman can very much do a LOT of damage withou a weapon. If a woman was not able to do that the world would be a much bleaker place and self defence irrelevant. I happen to agree with you that Amy/Rory's situation is not abuse, but I dont agree with that particular argument.

Feel I have to also say that Amy is Scottish. ;) The Ilses are known for being fiesty, and the scots more han most! This also applies to 'stupiface' etc. It is not abusive, or belittling. In britain its quite acceptable to call your friends or loved ones; tosser, wanker, shithead, fuckface...in fact sometimes it is considered endearing, much like ; oh fuck off. Im not saying everyone uses those words like that (and you can use it has an endearment in one breath, and the next as an insult.) but it is very common.

"What would make this all the more painful is that Amy HAD a child that they never got to raise, then never gets to have another one. That's a BIG DEAL"

I cant help but feel that a resolution (for one of them at least) will come in NY. What if one of River's (ohmigoshivecompletelforgottentheword!)...comes back has a baby, past Doctors have shown that age is a choice.

Oh and if Am had never met the Dr she would be dead...
beerofthedark
29. MJF
smonkey @21: I agree. (This review made me see that there actually were a couple of good points buried in the episode, but generally speaking, I'm still having... beautiful... feelings about it.)

What bothered me most was the plot. The Daleks send the Doctor to destroy the Asylum because they don't want to face The Most Dangerously Violent Daleks Ever themselves, and for good reason: if you attack those terrifying creatures, they will... very very slowly start to wake up. Even ignoring the fact that the MDVDE had no logical reason to attack other Daleks in the first place, a small squad with undamaged weapons and armour should have been able to cut through them, turn off the forcefield and be out of there before you could say EX... EX... EGG-G-G-G-GST...

(And don't get me started on the so-called "security measures" on the planet.)
Ashley Fox
30. A Fox
Potencial spoiler...can anyone confirm or deny this? I quite like the idea, but it seems a bit out of the blue!

http://www.express.co.uk/features/view/311988
David Goldfarb
31. David_Goldfarb
Do we know for sure that Jenna-Louise gets introduced in this year's Christmas special? A commenter on the Guardian website pointed out that we were told she'd be in the Christmas episode...but that early on in this one, the Doctor tells the Parliament of Daleks,
At long last...it's Christmas!
...which is a really clever bit of misdirection, if it turns out that's what they were doing.
F Shelley
32. FSS
@30- i don't think it's impossible, but Matt Smith is supposed to play the role for the foreseeable future, including the 50th anniversary yer.
Andrew Barton
33. MadLogician
There's been a previous example of an actress appearing in a Dr Who episode and then later playing a companion - Lalla Ward as the second version of Romana. In that case Romana regenerates and makes a deliberate choice to assume the body shape of a different person.

I'm sure Moffat won't repeat the effect ...
beerofthedark
34. Andrea K
The best solution for Amy and Rory's baby issues is to go rescue their baby. How they can ever accept "stop looking because she's River now" for the kidnapping of their baby is beyond me.

We've already had demonstrated that it's okay to retcon a person out of existence to spare them pain. The Ponds just don't come across to me as credible characters any more because - even though we've had an entire universe being written in their storylines, making clear that there's very little which is really impossible in that universe - they gave up and let their baby be raised by monsters brainwashing her to be a psychotic killer. Because River.
beerofthedark
35. John R. Ellis
That's not what happened. The Doctor went off to find her, meanwhile Amy (who was in pretty bad condition, physically and emotionally) and Rory (who know longer has a deathless Auton body and emotionally was pretty frail as well) went off to rest and heal.

It was the Doctor who couldn't find Melody. The Ponds never said "Oh, we're okay with this because of River. Just give up!"

They just eventually had to accept it. They were never particularly happy about it. There webisode devoted to the Doctor listening to a message from Amy and feeling like crap over the whole thing.

The Doctor isn't God. Amy and Rory aren't super-heroes. Sometimes the bad guys can't be completely defeated.
beerofthedark
36. muscipula
The best part about the "we have a concept of beauty" part is that it comes just before the music starts, and then the Daleks are all "WHAT IS THIS NOISE, EXPLAIN, EXPLAIN!"
Jed Reinert
37. Durandal
Here's another vote for "I didn't like this episode nearly as much as Teresa did."

I found the whole divorce "tease" to be utterly unbelievable. And not particularly well acted by either Karen or Arthur. I just didn't buy it at any point.

And am I the only voice in the entire universe saying "But wasn't Oswin *annoying*? The most obvious, over-the-top Mary Sue *ever*? Won't she be just *insufferable* as a full-time companion?"

But all the stuff the Moff did with the Daleks? AWESOME. And I totally agree with Teresa about the Daleks being played out. But now that they're Cylons, of course, they'll be much more interesting!
beerofthedark
38. catty
I don't think we should all be good with Amy slapping Rory. His self-esteem issues? Nothing to do with the love of his life hitting him all the time and calling him names, eh?
Re: the episode - I liked the episode as a whole, but hated the 'divorce' plot. It just felt forced, and out of character. And really, I'm pretty sure Rory does love Amy more. Amy's furious, face-saving bluster only convinced me more.
And the baby thing? This is a science fiction show - isn't there any way to science themselves a baby? Don't they know *anyone *who could go back in time and tell them they might want to freeze some eggs? Just sayin'.
And the Dalek Asylum? None of the Asylum Daleks seemed to be a threat to anyone. And what was with all the fally-off chains? The funny part is this didn't bother me until after the ep, when I was suddenly hit with a, "wait a minute...what the..."
beerofthedark
39. Misreall
@TeresaJusino"1) because even though adoption is an option, there's something special about having a child that's a part of both of you,"

Ok, I don't get offended easily, I am not touchy, don't look for things to get upset about, but REALLY? REALLY? A child that you chose to give a home to, who you raise all of their lives, will be less special? That may not be what you meant, but it what you are saying.

This comes up over and over again on television, in movies, and is not only offensive, but helps add to a mindset that is frankly harmful.

Rory, as a nurse, must be aware that there so many children that are in need of good homes, that if they want to parent it would be irresponsible of them not to adopt. Even if for some odd reason they couldn't find a child on earth, how many war orphans and homeless children does the Doctor run across in his travels. It makes no sense.

Moffett, how ever much I love him, has for me a bad and obessive track record about the role of procreation in relationships and for women.
alastair chadwin
40. a-j
Re: The Scariness of the Daleks
I'm not sure they ever really were or were really intended to be scary. Not all villains are, but they still work as villains. Goldfinger is my favourite Bond villain, but he's not particularly scary outside being nasty and ruthless, more an adversary. The daleks are an adversary, an anvilicious political metaphor and rather comic villains. They have rarely been 'scary' in the way that, for example, the Weeping Angels are. Not all Dr Who villains are intended to be scary, some are adversaries and the daleks have long been played for slightly comic effect with occasional scary moments ( in the last Eccleston episode for example where one kills a character from outside the space station she is hiding in). Their purpose is to act as an opposite to the Doctor which is why it is so alarming when they compare themselves to him.
After all, when dalekmania hit the UK in the '60s, all the kids were running around being daleks, not the Doctor!
Jenny Thrash
41. Sihaya
As far as responses to the discussion go, I agree with catty @#38 and Misreall @#39. But adding my own ideas:

I now want a kitchen apron that says, "Eggs-terminate!"

I loved the crazy, broken Daleks. The ones up in orbit were going on about hate. But why were the broken ones luring Amy with dance? That's not really a hate-fueled activity. I'm still not absolutely sure they were luring her, but I'm not sure they weren't. POWs come up with alot of ways to entertain themselves in the common areas. As she started changing, Amy may simply have felt compelled to join the dance in which they were already engaged. Did the Daleks see themselves the same way that Oswin sees herself - as individual, walking talking humanoids rather than identical shells? Is this a sign that their minds are broken, or is this something similar to the visualization that Cylons use in BSG?

As for your "developmentally challenged" argument, I'm not into it. The Dalek displayed no overt signs of being mentally broken or cognitively disabled. It simply didn't have a working stalk. It's decision to kill the Doctor appeared no more or less rational than any other Dalek's decision to kill the Doctor has been in the past, from what I could tell. Quite a few have shown that they're willing to blow up themselves or any Dalek around them in an attempt to do so, too. I think alot of people see Doctor's violence levels in a Peter Davison/Colin Baker dichotomy. Eleven runs more along Pertwee levels of decisionmaking when it comes to violence.

I would find Dalek skin-jobs scarier (and more contiguous) if they were still humanoid on the inside. The Daleks originate from a humanoid species on Skaro, a species locked in a long, drawn-out war. The Daleks were genetically engineered from those people's own DNA to be supersoldiers. The concept was plenty monstrous on its own. If a 'skin job' was a Skaran who had voluntarily chosen to join with the Daleks, well, that would be both monstrous and illustrative of Skaran culture. As it is, they're just a kind of silly looking ripoff of an already used Cyberman concept. Forehead stalks should go on the trash heap.

*Edited for spelling and grammar.
Stephanie Padilla
42. DN10
I have very mixed feelings about this episode. I did not for one second buy that Amy and Rory would EVER get divorced! Moffat has spent the last two years building up an incredibly strong relationship between the two--she'd rather die than live without him (Amy's Choice) and he's willing to watch over her for 2000 years, to list just two examples, and they have been hugely important parts of each others' lives for pretty much as long as they have BEEN alive, but we are supposed to believe that they'd be willing to divorce? I didn't buy it. There was no set up at all, NOTHING last season to indicate they'd ever get divorced. It felt more like Moffat was just doing it to screw with fans' emotions.

Also, not sure how I feel about the Daleks no longer knowing who the Doctor is. For one thing, it didn't make much sense! Encounters with the Doctor have made them stronger, yes, but THEY ARE ALREADY STRONGER. Oswin didnt erase the technological advancements they made because of their encounters with the Doctor, just their knowledge of him. Except now they are as strong as he made them, but think there is no one around capable of stopping them. How is that at all beneficial for the universe?

Furthermore, the Doctor is going to have to stop them again at some point. He's going to become their enemy again, and the same thing is just going to happen all over again. It was kinda pointless.

Also, it wiped away the shared history between the Doctor and the Daleks, one that the Doctor does not really have with any other monster. And I liked that their encounters with each other were so loaded with that history--that they were so intimately familiar with each others' weaknesses and failings, that the Daleks could get to him like nothing else, but not anymore! It just felt like a cheat to me...
Jenny Thrash
43. Sihaya
DN10 @#42:
"I have very mixed feelings about this episode. I did not for one second buy that Amy and Rory would EVER get divorced! Moffat has spent the last two years building up an incredibly strong relationship between the two-- "

Right, and we were supposed to go, "Yeah, Amy and Rory were cool, but alot happened .... over the break."
beerofthedark
44. Ironekilz
Maybe I just interpreted it wrong, but I got the impression when she said she couldn't have a baby that it wasn't a physical thing but a reaction to the trauma of Melody/River being ripped out of her life. She couldn't psychologically handle that possibly happening again.
beerofthedark
45. Desariella
I loved it. Can't wait to see where Moffat is going with the Oswin Oswald/Clara Oswin arc.

PS: Check out my Doctor Who fan-fic "The Aresian Saga" (just Google the title and use the keepandshare link.
Alan Brown
46. AlanBrown
I love Amy as a character, but that doesn't mean I feel a need to excuse her behavior toward Rory. She shouldn't be slapping him, and shouldn't be calling him names. People have strengths and weaknesses (and often strengths that are rooted in weaknesses and vice versa--the spunkiness that makes Amy so fearless is part of what drives that undesirable behavior). One of the big mistakes people make in life is trying to excuse the behavior of someone they otherwise like, rather than challenge it.

Now, on to spoilery speculation (close your eyes if you don't want to hear my guesses (oops, mixed metaphors there--I guess I could also suggest you close your ears if you don't want to see them)). We know Weeping Angels send people into the past. We know River was raised in the past. Could Amy and Rory leave the Doctor by willingly being propelled into the past where they get a chance to raise their daughter?
Steven Halter
47. stevenhalter
@Teresa:Good review and I really enjoyed the episode. One small quibble:
1) The number of years means less when you’re made of plastic.
As far as I recall, Rory fully felt while plastic, so not being quite human (as in human cellular structure) does not mean the years meant less. The point was that they have both sacrificed a great deal and they both love each other. The amount of love is a difficult and relative thing. They love each other equally in different fashions that are ultimately the same.
beerofthedark
48. Andrea Chase
I enjoyed reading the comments as much as I did the article! Overall I really enjoyed this episode and thought it was a great start to the season. It mostly did a good job of balancing several different storylines unfolding concurrently (kidnapped by Daleks, new character introduction, relationship issues, how to escape). I agree that Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill gave great performances, but I also feel their arc resolution was very rushed for the sake of making time for other aspects of the plot.

I disagree that the Doctor deciding to blow up the Dalek (by tricking him into auto-self-destruct) and his brethren was "un-doctor-like." Was it the best or most humane way to handle the situation? Probably not. He definitely could have figured out a way to escape without killing them. But it is by no means out of character for the Doctor to make decisions like this. I would say a more accurate description would be, "this wasn't characteristic of the nobler side of the Doctor that we look up to and admire."
Thinking about this also raised the question for me - The Doctor probably knew/assumed that all these Daleks were going to be blown up as soon as he escaped anyway. Does that make his decision to personally take a few out better or worse?

I don't know where I fall on the "Is Amy abusing Rory or just being disrespectful" argument, but I do 100% agree and endorse your sentiment that love does not have a standard unit of measure, and I am also very happy that Moffat specifically addressed that issue.

Lastly, no one has commented on how amazing this episode looked visually! I thought the blend of CGI and practical special effects were raised to a new level of professionalism. Those Gallifreyan coordinates felt like something from Iron Man. So that's where Stark Technologies came from!
beerofthedark
49. Ingrid
Re; the Oswin deal, new companion etc. Haven't that happened before? She who plays Martha Jones was one of the lap people that was used by the Cybermen in the previous season, wasn't she? I'm fairly sure, or maybe she looked JUST like her.
beerofthedark
50. Aqualung
Re: The debate on whether the doctor is "beautiful" to the Daleks because of their hatred of him or his hatred of them - Question: If the Daleks have allowed the Doctor to live because they can't destroy something they hate so much - will they now be better equipped to kill him since they cannot recall that hatred?
David Thomson
51. ZetaStriker
Was I the only one who found the reason for the Ponds' divorce a little hard to swallow? Admittedly an issue like that can affect a relationship, but in this case it was only because they somehow totally and completely failed to talk about it in the slightest. You'd think that would have come up in a pre-split argument.
Ashley Fox
52. A Fox
Re Amy/Rory divorce I do think its worth noting the timelapse between this season and last. At the end of the xmas special Amy tells the Dr that its been two years since thyve seen one another. In Pond Life we glimpse litle bits over a long period of time-including the breakdown of their relationship. I know weeks/months are mentioned...but can reember exactly. At the time I did note that it seemed at least 6 months.

A lot can change in 2 & 1/2 years (or more). And oddly enough that is the age discrepancy of the Dr from last series.

This series woud be a bit of a drag if an entire epidode or more was dedicated to justifing the Pond's devorce. Pond Life lets you know its been happening, this ep lets you know it was Rory who finall left and their reasons why. Setting up each Pond's stance/angle for this series. It makes sense and leaves all the other episodes to build up/have fun with rather than be constrained by a minor plot point. The divorce isn important-their fears/hopes are, as these will be the motivators to their actions.
Ursula L
53. Ursula
Amy and Rory had talked about their fertility issues. When Amy yells that she can't have kids, Rory answers, quietly, calmly, and somewhat confused, that he knows. (It's easy to overlook given the otherwise loud conversation.)

He knows about the infertility, and he thinks they've dealt with the problem. It is unfortunate that they can't have kids together, but he loves Amy, and infertility is something that they'll face together, not something he'd think of as a reason to reject her.

So he doesn't understand why this is such a big issue for her.

Rory uses the 2000 years that he waited as "proof" that he loves Amy more than she loves him.

This only works because they both ignore the fact that the only reason he had to wait was that he had murdered her. I can see why they ignore that. It's a horrible thing. And they both only remembered it after they were already married. Too late to easily back out of the relationship. Too hard to explain in divorce court.

Keeping her corpse safe until she can be revived is merely restitution for a part of the harm he did her. He'd owe as much, if it was possible, to any innocent person he'd killed. Make right the wrong you've done. She's alive again.

But it only makes right part of the harm he did. She still has all the trauma of remembering being shot, the pain of the wound, the fear of dying, being reminded of the attack every time she sees Rory's face. That could lead to one heck of a case of PTSD, with the sight of Rory being a triggering event.

If Rory wants to get into a contest of who loves whom the most, Amy has the trump card - he murdered her, and she still loves him and wants him in her life.

But this isn't a contest they should be having. They've both had some very traumatic experiences. And they're struggling through, as best they can. Without any chance of getting proper help. If they tried to see a counselor, it would be the same problem as the four psychiatrists that the child Amelia bit. Therapists who treat real experiences as delusion, and therefore can't and won't help them learn to cope with the trauma of those experiences.

And even if a therapist did believe them, what therapist has the experience to deal with the problem of loving and being married to someone who actually, properly, murdered you, or being married to someone you actually, properly, killed?

And if Rory uses those 2000 years as "proof" he loves Amy more than she loves him, it creates a problem for Amy. She hasn't had the opportunity to wait 2000 years for him. So how can she prove she loves him, if bringing up the fact that he murdered her and she still wants him is off the table?

Rory waited 2000 years, "proving" his love for Amy, and she can't do that for him. But Amy can bear children, the children they will have together, and that's something he can't do for her. It isn't an exact equivalent, but I can see childbearing taking on a certain symbolic weight for Amy, above and beyond her desire to have children with Rory. It's something she can do for him that he can't do for her. A debt he can't repay, similar to how she can't repay 2000 years of waiting.

And if bearing Rory's children has become, for Amy, a sort of way to balance the scales for the 2000 years of waiting, then stepping back and letting someone else bear Rory's children can take on similar emotional weight, if Amy can't bear his children herself.

And Amy can't talk about this with Rory. She doesn't want to trigger him, the trauma he experienced when he couldn't keep himself from killing her.

And when he says he will give up having children to be with her it only increases her problem. He gave up 2000 years for her. Now he's giving up his dream of children, as well. Yet more sacrifice that Rory can use to "prove" that he loves her more than she loves him. One more thing that he's done for her where she can't offer him something of equal value in return.

***

(I don't think adoption is an option for Amy and Rory. Their child was taken from them, raised by others. I don't think either of them could handle taking someone else's child to raise for themselves. Too close to what happened to Melody.)
beerofthedark
54. solitary spinster
AlanBrown@46

"We know Weeping Angels send people into the past. We know River was raised in the past. Could Amy and Rory leave the Doctor by willingly being propelled into the past where they get a chance to raise their daughter?"

I love your thinking on this and hope you are right!

As for this episode, it was okay. I find that the best episodes almost always happen at the end of the season when all the little bits (Bad Wolf graffiti etc) get explained. Thus, I enjoy rewatching the series more than my first watch of any of the episodes.
beerofthedark
55. TansyRR
I really loved this episode, and Oswin and agree with pretty much most of the review. I hope that "Clara" is a direct continuation of Oswin and not an ancestor or something dull like that. I want Souffle Dalek Girl BACK.

I do think that they need to stop having Amy slap Rory for fairly mild transgressions - it's obviously being used for "comic" effect but it's an old fashioned kind of humour that's really not appropriate these days, especially with so many kids watching. (if he did do something bad enough to warrant a slap in between episodes we should probably be told what it was - filing for divorce doesn't count)

Teresa, your point about Amy calling out Rory (and to some extent the fans) for rating his love above hers is really well made. I hadn't quite seen it that way before but I am getting tired of the Amy hate and Rory adoration when both characters are interesting and flawed/imperfect as written.

I really don't think that RTD was any more feminist in his portrayal of women than Moffat, and while none of the female companions of New Who have been without problems in their portrayal, I still tend to enjoy them more than almost any other women on TV.

Then again, I come from a long history of watching Classic Who so I'm just excited when the women get a backstory. LUXURY!
beerofthedark
56. Misreall
@Ursula "(I don't think adoption is an option for Amy and Rory. Their child was taken from them, raised by others. I don't think either of them could handle taking someone else's child to raise for themselves. Too close to what happened to Melody.)"

I believe that Rory and Amy are both mature enough to deal with the difference between adopting a child that needs a home and love, either to do having no parents, or having no parent able to care from the, and a child hthat has been ripped unwillingly from the arms of its mother.
beerofthedark
57. phuzz
I had an idea that Oswin wasn't going to get a happy ending pretyt early on in the episode, but that just made it worse, having a sympathetic character, who you assume is doomed.
As for her coming back as a companion, maybe she won't and all that was just a misdirection? The Moff can lie just as well as the doctor.

(or maybe Os-Dalek put the force field back up around just herself, and is now running around the universe somewhere trying to get a human body back)
beerofthedark
58. Darkclaw316
Given the number of times Rory has DIED in Doctor Who, I don't think it is really that big of a deal that Amy has been put in possession danger more often. It isn't like Amy is the only one of the pair that has had to deal with potential personal tragedy after all.
Geoffrey Dow
59. ed-rex
We disagree on just about all counts, but I'll just mention one, Moffat's "new ideas" about the daleks.

You said, "One of the best things about 'Asylum of the Daleks' was the introduction of what are essentially Dalek skin-jobs."

Exactly. Moffat's "new idea" was to make the daleks just like any number of other aliens/monsters from the giant SF grab-bag in the sky. What you see as making them scary again, I see as a failure of imagination. (But I grant you, wiping the Doctor from their collective memory was a very good idea.)

I was also unhappy with the basic racism behind Oswin's fate, the lack of context to Amy and Rory's marital problems, the re-currence of Moffat's obsession with models as being one of only two "proper" roles for women (the other being, of course, motherhood) and - well, I said I'd just mention one so I should shut up now.

If anyone's interest, my full review lives on my site.
beerofthedark
60. Darkclaw316
One other quibble with the review. Your disappointment in the Doctor for blowing up some crazy Daleks. You're talking about a being that chose to freeze his entire race in time. Comparatively speaking, this is minor. He certainly had no qualms ordering a strike on the Daleks in "Victory of the Daleks". The Daleks are the one enemy that push the Doctor to the extreme and frankly I like that about them. You see that other side that lurks beneath the carefully crafted persona.

I also agree that the Daleks "forgetting" who the Doctor is is interesting. My theory about this is that it is a plot device leading up to Oswin's joining the Doctor as companion in the Christmas episode. Can you really have an ultimate enemy who has no idea who you are? No. How then can that situation be rectified? Well, if the Doctor travels back in time to a point before Oswin is capture by the Daleks and interacts with her, he will have to make a choice of whether to interfere in her timeline (this tenet of his is broken about as much as Star Trek's prime directive) or allow her to live out her days with him knowing what her presumptive end will be. I can easily see the Doctor "saving" Oswin, affecting the timeline and erasing from existence the moment where the Dalek's "forgot" him.
beerofthedark
61. Matt D
Just wanted to point out that the Doctor never actually sees Oswin's human face in the episode; only we get to do that. So if there's a relationship between Oswin and the new companion, there won't be a WTF moment for him when he first sees her.

Of course there are plenty of other ways they could play it. He could recognize her voice; her genius-ness, or whatever.

Will they be related? The nature of Dr Who makes it almost impossible to guess. When it comes down to it, we have no clues and the writers can do almost anything they want. They could say that she not only hacked the Dalek network, but hid her consciousness in it, or hitched a ride on the TARDIS computer or something. Or even in the Doctor's head somehow (she DOES ask him to remember her..) But my gut feeling is there will be no relationship between the two.

While it would be cool to have a half-Dalek companion, it'll be interesting enough if she's merely a companion from Earth's past. They've done that before but not often, and not recently..
Kristen Templet
62. SF_Fangirl
I'm okay with this episode, but I have trouble with the simple illogic and insanity of having the Daleks deal with their big problem by very easily kidnapping their worst enemy and having him fix it for them. That's just dumb, and dumb Daleks are just not as scary.

I was obvious that something was off about Oswin very early on (where did she get the milk?), and the failure of the video communication device to show her face halfway through was a huge hint that she did not look like we were seeing her. It was still a heart-breaking reveal even though I'd guessed the problem. I liked her a lot and would welcome her as a companion. Although we saw the super-cool, super-competent image of her in her own head. The brief scene of her first confronting the Daleks involved screaming and cowering instead of making an escape.

I'm not so sure about skin job Daleks. Admitedly I'm a long time Doctor Who fan ( and recall the original First Doctor Dalek episode set on Skaro), but it kind of seems unnecessary. This new series, though, has done a number of new things that I was unsure of but grew on me. So maybe this will too.
Alan Brown
63. AlanBrown
Re: Companions appearing before they become companions.
No one has mentioned it yet, but Karen Gillan appeared as a mystic character, I think in the Doctor and Donna go to Pompeii episode, before she came back to play Amy Pond. And I am pretty sure Eve Myles played a character in a Doctor Who Victorian-era episode before she came back to play Gwen in Torchwood. So there is actually a bit of precedent for this.
marian moore
64. mariesdaughter
"It’s interesting to think that the Doctor might be alive not because of his cleverness, but because the Daleks hate him so much they deem him too beautiful to exterminate."

I heard this completely differently. The Daleks find hatred beautiful. It's the Doctor who hates the Daleks and they find THAT hatred to be so beautiful that they can't destroy him.
marian moore
65. mariesdaughter
Mercy, not that I re-read I see that someone else posted the same thing. I swear--I did read first. I just didn't see what I didn't want to see.
Teresa Jusino
66. TeresaJusino
Misreall @39 - No, I didn't say anything about how they'd feel about an adopted child at all, actually. I said - and you quoted me - "there's something special about having a child that's a part of both of you." And that's true. This has nothing to do with how they'd feel about an adopted child if they went that route. It was a statement in and of itself. You extrapolated it into "Teresa's saying that since they'd think it special to have a child of their own, that means that she's also saying that they wouldn't think an adopted child special." Not only is that not what I meant, but it's not what I said. It wasn't an if/then statement I made.

Aqualung @50 - Yes! I love that idea.

Ursula @53 - OMG, GREAT point about Rory having killed Amy. Honestly, I'd forgotten about that bit. :) Now, I'm even MORE annoyed with the blind Rory-love. :)

ed-rex @59 - I meant "new" for the daleks. And honestly, there are no new ideas under the sun and sci-fi properties influence each other all the time. There's no such thing as a wholly original idea, merely how it's executed in a new way or under new conditions.

SF_Fangirl @62 -
"Although we saw the super-cool, super-competent image of her in her own head. The brief scene of her first confronting the Daleks involved screaming and cowering instead of making an escape."

What we saw wasn't just an image of her and the home she imagined for herself though. She actually was controlling things and hacking things and leading the Doctor along. She really IS that brilliant and competent. And of course she screamed when the Daleks came after her. She was cornered, and any normal human would. That's not a threat to her competence.

AlanBrown @63 - I actually mention Karen Gillan as the soothsayer in my review. :) So yes, "someone" did mention it, and that someone was me!
Bruce Arthurs
67. Bruce-Arthurs
A precedent, in another series, for someone first appearing in a guest role, then coming back as a different (regular) character would be Harry Morgan's first appearance on MASH, playing a senior officer with dementia. When he came back, it was as a series regular, playing Colonel Potter.

Not everything HAS to be connected.
beerofthedark
68. megablargh
These are just my initial thoughts on a section of your review, so NO offense is intended if it's found to be even the slightest bit sexist in any way. Regarding your take on the Ponds, and "love" in general, I honestly (possibly subjecting myself to a lot of criticism) scrolled up to see if the author of this article was female (name-wise of course). It's hard (for me) not to see this as a VERY stereotypical feminine point of view when you completely skip over the facts in favor of the emotional, "Rory said something insensitive" aspect.

When you said Rory deserved being slapped and then proceeded to describe what love was, it felt so much like a generic, sassy "female" (like in a rom-com movie) viewpoint. 2000 years of waiting might be easier without needing to eat/sleep/etc. but time does NOT pass any faster, and you trivialized it by saying it's used as a guard? "Oh no he did not just play that card again! How long is he gonna hold that insanely insane thing he did over my head?" His insecurity is incredibly justifiable, seeing as how Amy started off as a kiss-a-gram. Not to mention, her obvious flirty nature. "Rory should know better by now". That's some jedi mind games right there. Just knowing that Rory did wait 2000 years, we can at least assume he's not just gonna roll over on this marriage. We should be able to assume that it was Amy who felt insecure and lacking because she couldn't have children (which she knew Rory wanted), which would've created an obvious uncomfortable hole in their relationship. She said "giving him up" was harder which leads me to believe she's the one who bailed because she thought she wasn't good enough. Honestly, can you imagine Rory saying something about her infertility? So, let's say because he was plastic, maybe it totalled out from 2000 to 1500 years? I don't think there's any way you can diminish 2000 years just by saying he wasn't flesh and bone. 2000 years is almost 30x an average human lifespan. Time doesn't fly when all you're doing is waiting.
beerofthedark
69. megablargh
P.S. On a much, much, lighter note, I loved the episode, and Oswin was pretty incredible, though the Nike Sneakers? lol.
Geoffrey Dow
70. ed-rex
TeresaJustino @69: I meant "new" for the daleks. And honestly, there are no new ideas under the sun and sci-fi properties influence each other all the time. There's no such thing as a wholly original idea, merely how it's executed in a new way or under new conditions.

Exactly. Love 'em or hate 'em, the Daleks were pretty close to unique among one-note hyper-villains. They actually believed that theirs - tin-can, toilet-plunger and all - was the master race, superior to all other forms of life. And now ... they are no different from any number of other robot and robot-like villains on Doctor Who.

"New" is not necessarily a good thing; in this case, it only debases - and for no good reason - something that had been suis generis.
beerofthedark
71. Tyrunea
Really took this in the opposite direction of other reviews I've read and it makes me want to watch the episode again.
beerofthedark
72. SlicerX
Slapping Rory was justified? Really, so when its justified to slap Amy, let's see the responses. Come on, it is never justified.
Oswin, beautiful though as she is, her lines are so annoying.
And I don't like how they are changing the ethos so much in the show. River tells the Dr. to take the park break off. Great, thats why the sound is made? Not cool. Oswin can break into the Dalek network easily? Great, the Dr. is stupidier than I thought. Each and every season, they are dumbing the Dr. down. I know why they are doing it when I look at other shows out there, but I don't have to like it.
beerofthedark
73. Nicky Kay
"Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill stole the episode, and each did their
most brilliant acting to date. This was Gillan’s finest performance
since “The Girl Who Waited,” and it was amazing to watch her throughout
the entire episode, because no matter what was happening with the Doctor
or the Daleks, there was always the underlying current of her split
from Rory. Darvill gave his most mature performance as Rory as he
wrestled with the complexities of his crumbling marriage. Their
chemistry together in this episode was breathtaking."

No they didn't. Amy is revealed, yet again, as a husband-beating emotional sadist. The only reason this episode worked at all is that those two characters were not in it very much.

They didn't steal the show. Their acting and chemistrywas exactly the same as each and every previous episode they have been in. They almost destroyed an otherwise quite interesting episode.
beerofthedark
74. Nox
I'm wondering how much of the ending of this episode is the Doctor hallucinating. By the time we get to the end and Oswin being revealed as a dalek, the Doctor has long since slapped his wristbandthingy onto Amy, and is possibly under the influence of the nano-cloud, although it is unclear how much he is likely to be affected by it.
beerofthedark
75. Dalek Thay
I think what they have done with Jenna is clever and will make for an interesting series, the fact that she has died twice and is still alive is very mysterious. I think I'm going to like her, she probably wont beat Rose but if she does that will be amazing because I really miss the old episodes with Rose :(
Heather Dunham
79. tankgirl73
@26 AlanBrown: "Now, on to spoilery speculation (close your eyes if you don't want to hear my guesses (oops, mixed metaphors there--I guess I could also suggest you close your ears if you don't want to see them)). We know Weeping Angels send people into the past. We know River was raised in the past. Could Amy and Rory leave the Doctor by willingly being propelled into the past where they get a chance to raise their daughter?"

Now that we know what eventually did happen... you deserve some cookies.

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