That Pri*ck, the Greek Geek!
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New Who- "Asylum of the Daleks"
Spoilers for the episode, if you haven't seen it yet.
The seventh "Doctor Who" series premiered a few days ago with "Asylum of the Daleks" and it's like the show never left.
I wasn't much sold on last series' "Impossible Astronaut", but "Asylum" is exactly what I've learned to love about Moffat's run on the show and more; it's fresh, mythos-building, character strong and with entertainingly fluid dialogue connecting it all.
After his first attempt to create his special brand of Dalek in Series 5 resulted in colour-coded Power Rangers salt-shakers, Moffat created the human Daleks for this episode-- or rather human shells converted to Dalek puppets. Hey kids, there is your new nightmare!
And that's just a footnote between everything else that happened. The star of the opening was Oswin Oswald, who I predictably fell in love with the moment she spoke and whose fate at the end of the episode isn't all that surprising, but definitely works. I'm pretty sure she's supposed to be the new companion sometime later in the series (I haven't read spoilers, so don't ruin it for me) and a wink at the camera in the end leads me to believe we'll be seeing her again indeed.
If so, this isn't the first time we've seen Moffat pulling this; we already know the end of River Song's story, which was the first chapter written in her character-arc. Oswin is one of the two things Moffat establishes with the opening.
The other is following up from the Series 6 finale, when the Doctor decided to move back into the shadows. Oswin, as a last gift to the Doctor before the end, erases all memory of his from the Dalek Pathway. After almost fifty years, the Daleks have no idea who the Doctor is.
The scene before the end where the Doctor is standing in their Parliament on Skaro and hundreds of Daleks wonder aloud, in their distinctive voice, scared and confused "Doctor WHO?" is already one of the most iconic scenes in New Who.
The Doctor's response "Fellas, you're never gonna stop asking" is another wink to the audience that continues from the last series' finale and ties to the upcoming anniversary event about "The First Question".
It's little things like this or the Soufflé "Eggs-term-in-ate" that make Moffat's episodes so fun to watch over and over.
By the way, may I point out how much I've grown to love Matt Smith? I liked his Doctor from the start, but in "Asylum of the Daleks" he seems so very, very comfortable in his "Doctor suit", he has made the role his own, easily pulling off the alien space-traveller, Dalek Predator, with a hint of steam-punk mad scientist persona.
I always thought he was great, but by this episode he just feels extremely familiar in the role.
Of course, Moffat couldn't leave Amy and Rory out of this and once again he focuses on his favourite aspect of their relationship. Their upcoming divorce admittedly rubbed me off the wrong way, especially when Amy's original excuse was "that's life".
Despite a few hiccups in its on-screen development, Moffat did manage to create one of those romances that are larger-than-life, the type of romance you know can't just end. Once someone waits for you outside a box for two-thousand years, what excuse could you possibly make up to leave them? That's why this development would only make sense if it was based on some misguided sense of self-sacrifice and love.
Amy wasn't being as selfless as she thought she was, but her reasoning fit. Moffat always enjoyed teasing with the idea that Amy just doesn't love Rory (as much) and he does the same here. It's easy to dismiss this sub-plot as filler, but it's character-building and we know that it will pay off soon.
All in all, I enjoyed the hell out of the opening episode (which I've seen about three times already), a great episode on its own and a promise of good things to come. Next time: "Dinosaurs on a SPACESHIP!"