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Saturday, 1 September 2012

Doctor Who: Skaro's Asylum of the Daleks Review



Asylum of the Daleks...all I have to say is, wow. It's the best series opener since it began in 2005. It starts off with a huge CGI shot of the Daleks homeworld, Skaro (which has previously been destroyed in Rememberance of the Daleks) which can cause some questions - how is Skaro still around?

The titles in this episode aren't really what I was expecting. I like them, but I don't have any issues with the changes made. I do hope there is some improvement to them in the next episode as colour correction didn't look that well to be honest. But thats a mear aspect of a truely amazing episode.


As the story develops we see Amy (in a rather sexy photoshoot) and Rory (looking as dull as ever) who are both taken aboard the Dalek Spaceship (with the Doctor). Praise must be given to people at 'The Mill' for designing such wonderful CGI for this episode! Also the set designers in the BBC made such fantastic use of colour to portray such an epic scale Dalek Spaceship with a twist.

The Story itself isn't that much Dalek-y (that's a new word for my vocab) it more features on the Doctor, the companions and the mysterious Oswin (more on her later!). The Daleks are more of a background story to pad the episode out and add a sense of danger (well...thats the Daleks are all about really!).

The humor in this episode is added by Arthur Darvill, who plays Rory Williams. For some reason this episode lets us see him in a totally different light - he's no the longer the hero who waited 2000 years for Amy, but a regular caring family type man. I swear at one point when Rory was saying 'Shhhh....' the word was originally going to have 'it' at the end of it, if you get my drift. The highlight of the episode is The Dalek beginnings its classic line; "Eggs..." which then prompts Rory to lift up a Dalek 'Ball' and offer it to the Dalek as an 'egg'. But you need milk to make souffle...

Another thing that makes this episode so amazing is the work of Murray Gold! His much in this episode is one of the best bits of music I have ever heard produced for this show. The intention of the Daleks in this episodes was to make them scary again, and it really did. But I feel this wouldn't have worked as well without Murray and the BBC Orchestra of Wales. I pray that Murrays as good music for the next 4 episodes, as he has with this!

Now, onto my favourite bit of the episode - Oswin! The fact that she popped up so randomly (and in such an amazng dress!) is so unexpected; so much so it shocked PCJ and he questioned his own eye-sight! Now, Oswin is played by Jenna Lousie-Coleman who we all know is the future companion. Her name was apparently 'Clara Oswin' which does seem to fit in the scale of things. But the most shocking this is shes dead! Seriously, the new companion, is dead.

Now we know Moffat is used to doing things backwards (No sexual pun intended) like he did with River Song but I just feel like this time she won't be saved (unlike River). An opinion on this companion has already formed in my head - I love her! I may even go as far as to say 'I love her as much as Amy, maybe more'. But there is something different about her. I think from the point we are seeing her, is after her time with the doctor - not before and hes not going back to save her, not this time.

It was just the way that she questioned the Doctor when she asked if he was going to save her, her response (Facial and emotional) was...odd, for the situation. Which has taken me to this conclusion. But credit is due - Jenna Louise Coleman steals this story! To me, she is the companion in this episode not Amy and Rory, they are just 'passers by'.

My only criticism is that we didn't get to see a lot of classic Dalek action, and none from Special Weapons Dalek! But I think an early glimpse compensated for that! Overall this episode to me in 9/10, which is the highest I probably will ever rate an episode, as I don't feel we would ever get a 'perfect episode' because life is never perfect and Doctor Who is great at showing life!



Overall this episode to me in 9/10, which is the highest I probably will ever rate an episode, as I don't feel we would ever get a 'perfect episode' because life is never perfect and Doctor Who is great at showing life!


32 comments :

Sander Famil said...

She is referred to as Oswin Oswald in this episode not Clara Oswin

William McClue said...

Thank Tom, well written story,

Cerys said...

I had to rewind the episode (after watching it all the way through), and she does say her name is Oswin Oswald, not Clara

Jason said...

I think he was just trying to get the Dalek to go back to sleep haha. Great review, summed up all of my views about the episode.

Robert Sienicki said...

So I guess it looks like we have River situation all over again, the companion dead at the beginning, but I'm sure Moffat got something more in his sleeve.

The Saint said...

I completely disagree, Dalek Oswin isn't dead and it isn't her future. Moffat said the Doctor's new companion will come from a unexpected place and they won't be human. What if Oswin used emergency temporal shift and was teleported back to Earth. She built new Dalek armor shaped like her previous human form. She later becomes the Doctor's Dalek companion, the first Dalek companion. That is such a mad exciting thought that Steven Moffat would have planned it.

Chris Gerrard said...

Would definitely agree with this review.

http://thebasscollective.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/doctor-who-review-asylum-of-daleks.html

Mariam Watt said...

I hope the Moff has come up with a solution a little better than a repeat of the River= first meeting with companion is also death of companion arc. It's been done. And given that the whole motivation for Oswin's joining the Alaska was to see the stars, that's not something one does if one has already been through time and space. So I don't think we've met her post-adventure. She's supposedly a genius, and that whole wink at the camera thing right before the explosion leaves me hoping there's some more entertaining option for how she ends up with the Doctor in the Christmas episode. But Bravo to them all for keeping this under wraps. She was fantastic.

Ship's Lawyer said...

I'm sure Moffatt has something original for us that we cannot predict. Last year I was completely hooked by his oh-there-is-another-flesh-doctor-and-he-must-be-the-one-who-died red herring. I'm not asssuming anything this year.

Trevor said...

I had a thought that they should take a page out of the Sexy Fish Vampires' book and have a Dalek companion that looks human because of a perception filter. An odd (or ood) idea but given the Moff's ideas in the past, I expect that this isn't going to be another River/Melody. Another theory I had was something along the lines of "City of Death" and somehow have the character splintered through time. I do love this though, Moff definitely knows how to get the fandom in an uproar. This is exactly what we need aafter such a long wait and I am definitely on the edge of my seat waiting to see what transpires next.

MadeInScotland said...

The Doctor travels in time. You saw Skaro before it was destroyed. Quite simple, really!

Amber Lynn W. said...

F.Y.I. I have a feeling you just gave credit to Murray Gold (love him, but his wasn't the music that stood out in this episode) for Georges Bizet's Carmen (1875 opera). Namely, L'amour est un oiseau rebelle (La Habanera) & Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre (The Toreador Song)!

Skaro was brought back in City of the Daleks (it was a plot point in that BBC-canonized Adventure Game).

Mujtaba Walji said...

The Time War destroyed the Daleks, not Skaro. We saw Skaro in City of the Daleks. Also, I was wondering if Oswin was the new companion. I wasn't completely sure. I have a feeling the "Doctor Who?" question will be the link in the first 5 episodes. And Amy signed the divorce forms. They love each other again, but they're not married.

Also, I wonder if Oswin did know the Doctor before. She didn't act like it, except maybe at the end. And if she's returning in the Christmas special, Christmas is the perfect time to bring someone back from the dead.

Mujtaba Walji said...

Well, I haven't watched classic Who, but I know it wasn't completely destroyed in the Adventure Games.

Matthew Clarke said...

The problem with that is that the Daleks in this story are more advanced than the Daleks in Remembrance of the Daleks. The brass metallic ones are the same ones that fought in the Time War, which presumably took place after Remembrance.

On the other hand, If you believe the BBC novel, War of the Daleks, Skaro was not really destroyed in Remembrance of the Daleks.

Matthew Clarke said...

Dalek Oswin is a Ganger.

Jack said...

Fantastic start to the series, but really needed to be a two parter, since the whole "classic" dalek thing seemed a waste of time if all we were going to get were shadowy glimpses. Still, at least the teletubbie daleks looked as weak and redundant as they deserve to be. How about bringing Davros back to wipe them out? "Embarrassment of the Daleks" deserves to be made!

Matthew Bagnall said...

I think it might be better if Dalek Oswin/Oswin Oswin is Clara Oswald's twin sister. The Doctor cannot save her because she does not know him and is just the sister of Clara, therefore the Doctor does not realise who Oswin Oswald is until its too late to save her.

Either that or they have Clara join the Doctor because of her sister's demise, or the Doctor finds Clara for this very reason because he owes her a life debt.

Matthew Bagnall said...

Glad I'm not the only one who noticed. Hopefully this just means more character back story for Clara. If her twin sister was killed by the Daleks then that would make for a great companion.

Matthew Bagnall said...

Yep, her name in the episode is Oswin Oswald. Although she might have lied. Though i personally think it'll be revealed that she is Clara's twin sister, giving her a reason to want to travel into space - follow her sisters dreams and defeat the creatures that killed her sister, daleks.

Matthew Bagnall said...

Ok, spoiler/review for Asylum of the Daleks and my opinions on the remaining episodes of series 7:

The opening of the episode gave a rather nice shocker by presenting us with Skaro and giving us a Dalek human however this followed into a similar situation to "The Long Game" where Adam has something implanted in his head that opens when he clicks his fingers... had a very similar feel when the eye-stalk appeared.

The main thing this episode was missing was Daleks. About halfway through i began questioning where all the other Daleks were... i had really hoped to see a grand hall filled with Daleks from every era, however the Parliament of the Daleks looked mostly CGI. The usefulness of the Daleks was also questioned as the Special weapons Dalek did absolutely nothing, it didn't even move once.

The president of the Daleks? Who is that Dalek meant to be? Personally it looked and felt like Dalek Caan but it cannot be him due to characterization, who was it?

Oswin Oswald. Until after the episode i did not realise that Oswin Oswald was played by Jenna-Louise Coleman who is set to play Cara Oswald in the new series. This is good however as i have a feeling that Cara will be a desperate character due to Oswin's lack of knowledge of the Doctor presented in this episode.

I would not be surprised in fact if the Doctor tries to track down Cara Oswald so he feels less guilty for not saving Oswin and so that she can help gain some closure over the disappearance of her sister - giving her personal motivation to get revenge on the Daleks.

Given that at the end of the episode the Daleks have no memory of the Doctor anymore, this means that they are more deadly than ever. What stopped the Daleks from just killing the Doctor in the past was because they 'Remembered him' they feared him. Its exactly what the Doctor said to Amy, she needed to make the Daleks remember her... which begs the question of if 'erasing her from time' (what the angels will probably do in the 'The angels take Manhattan') can be reversed by the Daleks and others remembering them - similar to series 5 ending where the Doctor is brought back by Amy's memories)

Dalek conversion? did anyone else have a major Cyberman vibe off this? The whole scenario and idea is exactly the same as what the Cybermen do with a plot that is ripped partly from 'I am a Dalek' the 10th Doctor novel with Oswin Oswald being the episodes version of Kate.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed those ponderings (Pun intended) and i may do more for future episodes :3

Adam A.J. Kalontas said...

Like I commented on another site:


The appearance of Skaro opens a whole can of worms with regards to continuity, but that's not what I wanted to talk about.
I mean, everyone's praising the episode and I will agree with them, I can't say I wasn't entertained. It was definitely not a wasted 45 minutes. But now that what I agree with everyone is out of my head, let's get to what I disagree.
The episode felt really rushed. It's good to have blockbusters every week, it's not good to cram them into 45 minutes. Everything resolved too quickly, nothing had time to build up. The asylum Daleks failed to deliver on the promise of their danger. By the time the divorce started to click in, it was already over. Oswin could have really used more time for development so we care more about her when the reveal happens.
It also left some plot holes, like the Skaro continuity, why did the Doctor endanger Amy's life if he didn't need the bracelet, why is Oswin speaking in a human voice (which while explainable, is not actually explained and puzzles a lot of people I've heard). I guess that's what happens when you try to cram a blockbuster into 45 minutes.
I'm worried for series 7, because we were promised whole series of blockbusters. All 45 minutes long. I'm really worried. As it looks like now, it will be like fast food - filling, entertaining, but leaving some empty feeling, something to desire.

Mujtaba Walji said...

About the Doctor endangering Amy's life, Amy figured it out, it was to get Amy and Rory back together. He wanted her to love...

Mujtaba Walji said...

"The Character herself is a feisty and flirty computer expert - and is said to be more than a match for The Doctor." Twins aren't THAT alike.

Adam A.J. Kalontas said...

But just after they realise the bracelet is gone, he lets her start getting converted. He gives her his own only when he leaves, stupidly endangering her. He couldn't know if they will find Rory soon enough.

thesnappysneezer said...

I am wondering if she might be in the next episode too. It looked to me like the Daleks strapped her into something, it wasn't like the "natural" nano progression Amy seemed to be going through. I think she could just be in a Dalek shell bigger on the inside, she may have been in a makeshift Tardis disguised as a Dalek. The chair looked familiar in a way I'm certain a number of you already know what and who I speak of. Also I think there was a message on the floor of her cell: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v687/bricolo/doctorwhoword.jpg

I will say these new Daleks seem to combine Daleks with Cybermen and Autons and I fear that could degrade those monsters legacy but this does seem in line with things Daleks have done in the past.

Skaro is confusing but brings to mine the McGann episode where the people of Skaro tried the Master, must have been the Thalls? Maybe this was New Skaro. Perhaps Skaro wasn't destroyed in Remembrance but the environment the Doctor looked on in disdain was of his own creation.

Mujtaba Walji said...

He knew they had some time. Of course he would've given it to her if they hadn't found Rory, but he must've known from the very beginning about their marriage. It was risky, but everything is.

Lucille7777 said...

Enjoyed this episode very much, and I don't believe the Doctor will leave his new companion just to exist as a Dalek, By the time a series or two are over he'll have saved her. Also, she's smart and she does things so it seems they've infused a lot of Martha Jones into this new companion.

Lucille7777 said...

Did the Time War really destroy anyone? Remember in the last episode of Tennant's regeneration, the Timelords came back and then were ultimately sent back by the Master? The Timelords are "time-locked" on their planet as supposedly the Daleks were before one got through to save Skavros but go mad at the end of series 4 when Donna lost her memory, remember?


Also, how can Amy and Rory be divorced? Sure they signed the papers, but they were not submitted to the court and verified, I mean such a process doesn't happen by magic?


Amy and Rory will have another baby probably before the new companion takes her place along side the Doctor, either that or they will adopt.

Lucille7777 said...

All I know is that human Daleks? Now that is scary!

Tom Shearsmith said...

Nope, I wasn't referring to 'Carmen'. I meant the actual music that was composed by Murray in the episode.

Adam A.J. Kalontas said...

That was too risky, because he didn't know how much time. They could potentially wander around there for days and that would mean kaputt Amy.

Also, a normal person wouldn't risk his friend's life even for a second. Moffat's characters too often think like they're in a narrative.