Doctor Who: Asylum of the Daleks

Posted on September 02, 2012

Never did care for the Daleks.

We figured we’d open with a doozy. After all, how can one claim to be a Doctor Who fan and simultaneously declare, at best, their ambivalence toward his greatest enemies (arguably)? It’s like being a Batman fan but disliking the Joker; like loving Krystle, but hating Alexis.

Put it this way: we like the idea of the Daleks more than the reality of them. The fact of the matter is, the Daleks are almost perfect creations to scare children by tapping into their most primal fears; in this case, seemingly inanimate objects that not only are alive, but consumed with rage and relentlessly devoted to pursuit and destruction. There’s something of the classic nightmare about them; they not only never stop pursuing you, they keep shrieking their rage louder and louder as they do so. Sitting on our couch as adults, it’s mildly scary, but to the average 8-year-old? Terrifying. Since Lo never watched Who at all as a child and T only watched it occasionally, we never really got to know the Daleks until we were adults and by that point, their impact on us was considerably lessened. Rather than being fearful of their escalating rage, we wound up laughing at their egg-beater and plunger attachments, as well as their ludicrous (and highly fucking irritating) voices. It always seemed to us that in order to really get the Daleks as they were intended, one had to be a child when first introduced to them, and it would be incredibly helpful if one was also British, because there’s something quintessentially so about them. We can’t ever imagine any American adventure story introducing a character quite like the Daleks.

So we were very excited for the return of Doctor Who to our TV last night, but not exactly bouncing in our seats at the idea of yet another hour of shrieking fire hydrants. To his credit, showrunner Steven Moffatt had scaled back on the use of the Daleks considerably (in comparison with previous showrunner Russell T Davies, who probably loved them just a little too much), so the draw here wasn’t so much the return of the Daleks as it was watching the 11th Doctor and the Ponds face off against them.

Result? Well, how about that? Those were some of the creepiest Daleks ever. Which, when you think about it, stands to reason, because there are Daleks, and then there are Daleks so crazy that other Daleks are afraid of them. Several fun things played out here; not least of which was the idea of insane and institutionalized Daleks. What was more interesting to us was the expression of their philosophy and how it relates to The Doctor; namely, that they worship hatred as a thing of beauty and thus, they have always found it difficult to destroy The Doctor (whom they call “The Predator,” which is BRILLIANT). In addition, Moffatt seems to have given a little V finger sign to the world of Star Trek, which borrowed heavily from the Whoverse when it came up with The Borg. In a perfect Nerd Storm of causality, The Cybermen begat The Borg, which in turn, influenced the Daleks. We’re not sure what we think of a hive-mind Dalek empire that assimilates and converts other organisms into their collective. On the one hand, it’s not only Borg-like, it’s too similar to the Cybermen. On the other hand, DALEK ZOMBIES, people. DALEK. ZOMBIES. And eyestalks suddenly erupting from random people’s heads takes the creepiness of the Daleks to a whole new level. That “I forgot. I died last year in the cold” moment will rank as one of the all-time creepiest of Nu-Who.

But, as always, the real drama in Who plays out in the lives of the companions. It was a shock to see Rory and Amy angrily signing their divorce papers; so much so that we momentarily wondered if we were looking at an alternate timeline or something. After all, Rory had hair product in his hair and Amy was wearing a lot of eye makeup and those two things, along with the goatee, are the universal science fiction signals for “alternate reality.” But alas, the Pond-Williamses really did divorce. What’s most surprising about that is when they finally explained why they divorced, it actually made a tiny little bit of sense. It also finally (and belatedly, and possibly in response to a lot of criticism) addresses the severe emotional toll their adventuring has taken on the them. Sure, the divorce neatly sidesteps the incredible messiness that River Song has wrought upon their lives, but it references it just enough for you to realize that Amy and Rory, despite their joyful jumping and down in the S6 finale, never really got over what happened to their daughter. As she acidly informed The Doctor when he asked about it, “That’s life. It’s what happens when you’re not around.” Ouch.

Of course, Amy and Rory were tearfully making out before it was all over, and maybe that was too quick a resolution to their marital issues, but the fact of the matter is, their appeal does not lie in their interpersonal drama. The appeal of Amy and Rory is that they’re fun, adventurous, endearing people that you want to know. We think their pain should be explored this season, but we don’t want to see it become a defining aspect of them. What interests us here is the idea that the P-W’s, especially Amy, are seemingly ready to move on from that life. She may have grinned and asked if it was wrong that she missed the insanely dangerous adventuring, but there was no doubt by the end that her real focus is her marriage now.

And in typical Who fashion, he’s lining up the next companion even as he’s wrapping up things with the current one. In atypical Who fashion (but extremely Moffatt fashion) said companion was dead by the end of the episode. We admit, we kind of figured out the big twist at the end before it happened. The staging and dialogue were just a little too … off for us not to pick up that something was not as it seemed.  Granted, we thought she was going to be one of those eyestalk people rather than a full Dalek, but we got the gist of it. Either way, the final reveal was still a jawdropper. And it says something about the insanity of this show that we actually wondered for a minute or two if The Doctor’s next companion was going to be a cute little Dalek in a red mini-dress.

But no, she’s dead, and she went out like so many Companions and potential companions do: by doing The Doctor an incredible favor. In this case, wiping the entire Dalek race of their memory of him. The point was made by Oswin that his relentless war against the Daleks only made them stronger; a variation on the Dark Knight principle that holds that Batman is responsible for the creation of Joker. This new status quo is the first exciting thing done with the Daleks in ages. We have a feeling it’s not going to stick, however. It seems to us that Oswin got the classic River Song introduction; a super-intelligent, super-capable potential companion is introduced only to die in her first story. But The Doctor’s got a time machine and she made a huge impression on him. We suspect we’re going to be seeing Oswin become his companion before she becomes a Dalek, which will give her the same sense of doom that always hung over River. And if The Doctor comes to decide once again that time can be rewritten, he may wind up undoing the favor she did for him in order to do a favor for her.

Ah, timey-wimey. How we’ve missed you so.



[Photo Credit: BBC America]

Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment. Thank you!

  • StelledelMare

    I really hope this means you guys will be recapping the entire season because this post was fantastic and I love hearing your thoughts about the show. I really enjoyed this episode and I found myself really liking Oswin and yeah, she’ll definitely be back which is good because I think she’s perfect in her capability to keep up with (and keep ahead of) the Doctor. And that’s only after 1 episode. Though I do definitely see what you mean by the appeal of the Daleks. They’re the iconic Doctor Who ‘villain’ but by no means the creepiest or scariest in my opinion (that honor belongs to the Weeping Angels in my book).

    • We intend to keep recapping, although we don’t know what’s going to happen next week when we’re smack in the middle of Fashion Week. The ep. 2 recap may go up late.

      And thanks for the compliment!

      • Eclectic Mayhem

        *performs Whovian Bitter Kitten dance of joy*

      • Your writing has always impressed me-very cerebral but also emotionally engaging. Glad to read your take on Dr. Who.

      • formerlyAnon

        *smiley face*

      • I’m beyond excited about the new season — I was already looking forward to it, but now that I find out you two will be recapping, it’s even better! 

  • Eclectic Mayhem

    TLo said “That “I forgot. I died last year in the cold” moment will rank as one of the all-time creepiest of Nu-Who.”

    It was just topped for me, seconds later, when Amy repeated “living OR DEAD?” and the other crew members started to move…!

    Poss Spoiler

    I’m not sure whether the new companion will be the same character.  Both Freema Agyeman and Karen Gillan played supporting roles before they were recast as full companions (Adeola in Army of Ghosts for Freema, a Soothsayer in The Fires of Pompeii for Karen) so Jenna-Louise Coleman will indeed be back, but as to whom she’s playing… still unknown.

    • EspyRants

      Maybe Jenna-Louise Coleman will be Oswin’s ancestor or a relative. After all, Adeola and Martha were cousins. Plus Gwen from Torchwood was related to Gwyneth the psychic chambermaid from the Unquiet Dead.

      • Angela Murray

        I don’t think it will end up being that simple. In both of those cases, it was an after-the-fact change when they decided to use the actress again for something more permanent. In this case, it’s being planned from the beginning, so I have a feeling companion Oswin will be very closely linked to Dalek Oswin. 

    • muzan-e

      They are funny and faintly ridiculous, they were funny even as a child watching in the 70s…

      Yes. This, exactly.  I grew up with Doctor Who as one of our together-on-the-couch shows, and despite being a timid little thing I never found the Daleks themselves particularly scary. They do look like salt and pepper pots! And you bet I dressed as one for a ‘fancy dress competition’ in grade two (that being the closest Australia really got to Halloween festivities, back then). We hacked it together out of cardboard and polystyrene balls, covered the whole thing in metallic spray-paint, and stuck a whisk in my hand. I kid you not.  But anyway – 

      The Daleks themselves were never even slightly scary.
      It was the situations which they created that were terrifying.  They were ridiculous, but they generated situations in which our beloved heroes were surely doomed – by something that exists in overwhelming numbers, and cannot be reasoned with, persuaded, demoralised or exhausted. 

      • Topaz

        My friend’s theory is that they’re only scary when they’re on their own, relentlessly pursuing people a la Westworld. Whereas I think that just makes them even more ridiculous, a la Westworld. I don’t think the fact that I’m British makes much difference. I find most Dalek episodes an absolute yawn-fest, but I did enjoy the zombie Daleks and the dead/crazy Daleks coming back to life this week.

    • Anathema_Device

       The Weeping Angels are definitely up there for me. That’s stuff of which my nightmares are made.

      • annieanne

        Yes. Weeping Angels are the ones that did it for me. Daleks were and are silly-scary. Cybermen have been done too many times. Weeping Angels were a truly unique monster.

      • formerlyAnon

        Yup. Weeping Angels = Insanely creepy.

      • CozyCat

        Completely agree!  Especially when they do those occasional shots with the teeth  (shiver)……

      • lovelyivy

        I thought the Blink Weeping Angels were terrifying, but not the later, ‘voiced by Bob’ Angels. Those were tremendously disappointing.

        • Anathema_Device

          I liked the Bob’s Angels episode, but I found the Amy stuff to be a little to overwrought. It did detract from the BOO! scariness of the angels.

          • lovelyivy

            I just think they made unnecessary changes- the biggest disappointment was when the Angels started flat out killing people (for their voices? Because they couldn’t just sneak up on folk like they used to?) instead of sending them back in time for their life energy. That was the freakiest part!

            Giving them a physical voice was very melodramatic and caused much angst, but it diminished the creep factor for me- that and their decision to be petty, taunting murderers instead of 100% focused on their goals, and silent but deadly. Ah well.

          • Anathema_Device

            Yes! Good point about the Angels’ attack in that episode diminishing the creepiness.

    • MichaelStrangeways

      Moffat has already said the new companion will be unlike any other previous companion…

  • Anathema_Device

    The “I forgot. I died last year in the cold” rank up there in creepiness with the people dead in the astronaut suits in that library episode, which is also where we first meet River Song. I hadn’t even considered the possibility of The Doctor going back and meeting Oswin. It did seem as though she were being set up as a companion.

    I like the idea of the Daleks’ memory of The Doctor being wiped out. It will change the tone and dynamic of future encounters, which I think is sorely needed where the Daleks are concerned.

    All in all, I really liked this episode. I’m glad to be rid of the whole Impossible Astronaut/crack in the wall stuff.

    Regarding the Dalek voice: The episode where they cry “Mercy! Mercy!” is often imitated around our house, esp. if I’m sitting on my son or some such thing.

    • formerlyAnon

      I don’t spend much time talking/reading about Dr. Who, though I watch. So I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who was tired of the crack in the wall references.  I have to admit I started to think the most creative & entertaining episodes were the ones that didn’t have much (if anything) to do with the crack o’ past/future doom.

  • MoHub

    I try and I try, but I just don’t care for NuWho—or is that The Adventures of Amy Pond?—and find myself wishing for some of the elements that made the classic series so different and addictive. 

    • it’s too much about Amy and Rory… that didn’t used to be the case. They’re companions, not the focal point… I grew up with this show and something about matt smith and these two companions makes me worry for the future of the series… 
      edit: and by grew up with, I mean i rewatched 1-8 with my parents as a little child and watched 9-11 real time…

      • MoHub

         I think the switch to the focus on the companions, with the Doctor on the sidelines more or less, started with Rose in NuWho. That’s why I’m a Classic Who purist. The great companions were just that: companions.

      • CozyCat

        I can’t help it.  I LOVE Rory.  The “2000 year” thing is one of the most romantic plt lines ever.  .  .

    • I don’t *not* enjoy NuWho, but I have found that I don’t particularly care for Matt Smith’s Doctor. Of the three, my favorite was Christopher Eccleston, simply because he came across as the kind of guy who was a. well and truly wrecked by the Time War, and b. would do his best to talk his way out of a situation, but would f*ck shit up if he was pushed hard enough. David Tennant took it from demented to silly, but he still had some bite. Matt Smith is like a goofy yellow lab who can’t get out of his own way, and I just can’t take him seriously at all, even given the deliberately campy writing. Amy and Rory and particularly River are what kept me watching the last couple of seasons.

      And this episode was just … underwhelming, especially after I just got through watching all of Torchwood in one week – Torchwood blows most of NuWho out of the water. (well, except for Miracle Day…)

      • thehousesparrow

        I don’t like Matt Smith either.  And really, I can’t tell because it’s his own interpretation of the Doctor, or if it’s the writing that’s made him this way.

        •  I’m not a fan of Matt Smith either. I didn’t like Eccleston on the first go round, but upon re-watching, I really, really like him. My favourite of the new Who is Tennant, because I think he was more human, but that’s not who Doctor Who is – he’s an alien.

          That said, I did like this episode because it wasn’t all about Amy & Rory. Not entirely, anyway. I felt like last season got a bit soap-opera-ish.

          •  Eccleston was underappreciated as the Doctor. My favorite episodes remain The Empty Child and the Doctor Dances.  You really see how tortured The Doctor is about the past in that episode.

          • Exactly. Which is why I didn’t appreciate him on the first watching. I didn’t really understand what was going on – I watched Doctor Who as a kid, off and on, when I could find it on PBS, but I didn’t know the canon.

            Those are my favourite 9 episodes, too.

        • Chantelle James

          I saw Matt Smith on a Top Gear episode and he behaved the same way as his Doctor does. This led me to think that he isn’t so much acting when he’s in the show as being himself.

          I’m getting used to him but I preferred Tennant, mainly because of how much he loved Rose.

  • Alanna Wisteria

    How about that modeling, huh? The hair and makeup contributed to my weirdly off-kilter feeling throughout. Amy and Rory looked so hard-edged and dark — along with the production design — that they didn’t feel “familiar”, which is something I always look forward to in a new DW episode after months and months. It seemed like we skipped one too many steps, even though I watched the Pond Life webisodes. Didn’t help the weird mental disconnect to have Oswin show up, acting all Companion-y.

    Eh, whatever. Maybe it’s just because I love Amy and Rory so much! I’m not usually this critical, promise. And I did love seeing the Doctor again. Matt Smith really has made this role his own. I’m totally on board this season, provided we get a dose of River ASAP.

    • Sarah Thomas

      I thought they were doing Amy’s looks to play up her (not very prevalent) resemblance to River. In the shot where she had the heavy eye and the frizzy hair especially. River’s presence hung heavy over the entire episode, so it fit okay for me.

      • Topaz

        She doesn’t need to look like River – River’s a Time Lord who’s already regenerated at least twice.

        Hmmm. it’s statements like this that may explain why it’s hard to get new people into the show…

    • Topaz

      Rory’s hair jarred character-wise, but I was fine with it because of my enormous crush on Arthur Darvill and the fact that the hair reminded me of Scott Parker, who’s hair is glorious, and this is never a bad thing.

      Turning Amy into a model kind of represented everything  that bug me about Stephen Moffat’s female characters (though I know it’s been referenced in previous episodes). At least they’ve made Oswin a tech genius, at least if she’s the same character when she comes back. But personality-wise she doesn’t seem all that different from Amy so far. Will just have to wait and see until she’s developed further, with fingers crossed.

  • Jessica Stone

    One of my favourite parts is when Amy’s interpreting the Doctor’s behaviour for Rory’s benefit and in addition to all his calculating and assessing about the Daleks and their chances of escape, he’s worrying that there’s something wrong between Amy and Rory and he’s wondering how he can fix it. It’s what makes me love the Doctor.

  • So glad you guys are writing about this show! I am fairly new to Doctor Who, so there are lots of things I don’t get, and it always helps to read about the episodes after I watch them. 

  • TropiCarla

    Oh I so loved my rollicking date with The Doctor last night. And I love my Blog Daddies even more for the surprise recap this morning.  

    The Dalek-voice usually makes me want to stab something but I did L.O.V.E. their chorus of “Doctor Who?” at the end. As for spunky genius chick Oswin, I’d love to see more of her. Saturday night just got immeasurably more enjoyable. Cheers, Whovians!

  • annieanne

    Holy shit. As if the show didn’t twist my brain around enough Whoverse touchstones (companions and daleks) now your prognostications have to add in a few more potential twists.
    What a great way to rejoin the Doctor’s universe.

  • Was the planet Vulcan name checked last night or was there a planet Vulcan on Dr Who that was destroyed? I watched it with closed captioning and one of the planets that the Dr said he destroyed was Vulcan.

    • Crap. Made that too private. This is Kristi C.

      •  From what I’ve read, Vulcan was name checked, but it’s not Star Trek Vulcan, it refers to an earlier episode of Who, from the 60s or 70s (which pre-dates me, so I’m of no help).

  • watchmeboogie

    Yay, I’m so excited you’ll be recapping, TLo!

    On the Dalek fear, I think you’re right about “need to have been a child” though I think I’d clarify further that you really need to have been *frightened by* them as a child. Without going too TMI, I was raised in a chaotic and abusive environment, in which I learned from a very young age that shouting in increasing volume meant the belt was coming out soon. So by the time I stumbled across Daleks at the age of 8 or so, they scared the absolute crap out of me. And actually, their voices *still* scare me, in that primal, old-trauma way. Of course now I can also see that they’re ridiculous and hilarious. I mean, ballcocks.

    I hope the new companion will be Oswin because she immediately reminded me of Zoe. We need someone like her on the TARDIS for a while.

  • Lazy Iggy

    muawahahahahaha!  i am so happy you are doing recaps because i enjoy your insight, wit, and humor.  and now i feel so greedy because i know after each episode i can read yours, Mo’s, and Alan’s take!

  • Kate4queen

    I grew up British and I was TERRIFIED of the Daleks and the whole of Dr. Who really. The theme song still makes me nervous. I spent the entire time watching from behind the sofa or lingering in the doorway. I owe some of my longtime phobias to that show, I really do. Obviously, as an adult I can laugh at it a bit more-well a bit. LOL

  • Synnamin

    ~SQUEE!!~ So glad you’re capping Doctor Who now!  And Boardwalk Empire is starting again soon. Have you guys looked at Parade’s End?

  • another_laura

    Shrieking fire hydrants! Bwah! I see more salt and pepper shakers. Having never seen Doctor Who before the re-boot (Eccleston, sigh), and having been very very grown-up at that time (ahem years old), it takes a lot of time digging back to the child I was to get scared of Daleks. I have to remember how terrified I was of the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz.

    Too bad about Oswin. More sacrifices of young women on the Doctor Who altar, I see. I do hope she’ll be back. I’ll duck the tomatoes and say I’ve never liked Pond and will not be sorry to see her go (although I will be very very sorry to see Rory go).

    Happy you’re planning to recap Doctor Who!

    • lovelyivy

       You are not alone in this feeling about Amy. I spend about 30% of the time she’s onscreen liking her sass, and the other 70% annoyed that a short skirt and sarcasm are apparently all the writers needed to pretend they’d given the character an actual personality. She has zero depth, and might as well not exist outside of her relationship to the doctor.

      It might not be so noticeable if she didn’t have the tough job of following in Donna Noble’s footsteps (best Companion of nuWho by a mile). Catherine Tate did a phenomenal job with that character, and the writers really delivered something special. Amy Pond is like a dull reflection of what might have been.

      • another_laura

        Doctor Donna!  I loved her so much and yes, Catherine Tate was amazing and what a story they gave her!  And her grandpa, too.

  • =geekgasm= So glad y’all are recapping Doctor Who. Loved the episode though like many I sensed the reveal ahead of time. Hilarious tie-in between Rory’s earlier “eggs?” confusion and then the souffle eggs later extending into eggs-terminate as well. And of course I giggled shamelessly at the chorus of Daleks chanting “Doctor WHO?” at the end.

  • pookiesmom

    I never thought that the Daleks were *actually* supposed to be scary. Well, maybe initially (way back when), but I always thought that Davies’ interpretation of them was supposed to be a campy, fun response to all these dark evil supervillain tropes. The havoc they wreak is scary, sure, but I thought they were intentionally portrayed as impotent-looking weird little robots as a way to undercut the horror with trademark Who humor. For that reason, I adore them, even though I spend as much time laughing at them as I do holding my breath when they’re onscreen. I mean, when Who wants to do scary, it certainly can. See: Blink, for example. I never thought that was the point with the Daleks. And I just love the idea that this badass time-traveling genius of a man is terrified of these little robots that (as others have mentioned) lack appendages and look like salt and pepper shakers. It’s like the Hulk being terrified of kittens (of course, only if the kittens were somehow actually dangerous to him, like if he was wildly allergic or something).

  • Corsetmaker

    I enjoyed last nights very much. A relatively straightforward story to kick us off but with lots of little roots to be picked up later. Not sure whether Oswin will be brought back in via a timeline variation or if it’ll be a River-esque prequel. Or a related character with the same actress. But the ‘remember me’ ending would point to the same character.

    As for the Daleks. I don’t remember being all that scared of them as a kid although their relentlessness was frightening. But I think the voice, the ease of playground impersonation and the fact that the pepper-pots were just so ‘Who’ made them classics. They were different to any other villain and , despite the egg whisks 😀 they were still more convincing and imagination stirring than some of the dodgy mask and cloak baddies we had.

    Funnily enough while I sat happily watching on the sofa on a Saturday tea-time as a child, my mum kept out the way in the kitchen as she really didn’t like the monsters 😀 and my partners older sister can still be freaked out by an ‘ex-ter-min-ate’ LOL!

    • Eclectic Mayhem

      One of my favourite things in MOMI* was a 3/4 Dalek shell that one could stand inside and talk out of.  The hardest thing was stopping oneself from doing the voice otherwise one ended up with a very strange EX TER MIN ATE!-to-the-power-of-two as the voice box Dalekised the Dalek impression!

      I’ve been pondering the Daleks some more and think that Davros (boss Dalek) frightened me more than the average Dalek. For Doctor Who baddies who really stayed in my imagination, however, it’d probably be Julian Glover’s Scaroth, last of the Jagaroth from City of the Dead.

      *the Museum of the Moving Image which was part of the British Film Institute/National Film Theatre set-up on London’s South Bank.  Long gone now though, alas and alack.

      • Corsetmaker

        I think those original Dalek stories, and particularly the older Davros ones, were scary because of the very obvious Nazi analogy. I read a description of Davros being basically Hitler and Mengele rolled into one, so yes he was quite chilling.

        The baddie that always sticks in my mind is Sil, the slug-like guy from Vengeance on Varos. He wasn’t scary really just really icky and creepy.

        The big Who exhibition came to Glasgow a few years back, I kept meaning to go and never made it! They had a Dalek there you could climb in.  I’m pretty sure most kids of a certain generation ran round the playground at some point ex-ter-min-ating all in their way LOL!

  • And, “Don’t be fair to Daleks when they’re shooting me at a planet” quickly became one of the funniest.  For me, anyway.  Up there with Jammie Dodgers and tea.  😉

  • the pants

    I never comment on blog, ever but I had to come over here and say… YES! My two favorite bloggers recapping Doctor Who, that made me happier than I can say! Thanks guys! 

  • Markatha

    Oh Dang it, I missed it.  So I haven’t watched yet. 

     I grew up Amurican & Suthern so I didn’t discover “Dr. Who” till I was all growed up
     (I do love me some BBC TV though) and am a Fan now. 

    I completely agree with your feelings about the Daleks. 
    They’re okay in a campy/scary way, but not my favorite baddie on the show.

    The Weeping Angels are the scariest for me, Really goosebump inducing!

    Happy you boys are recapping.  Thank You.

  • lucasuk82

    I am so excited your going to begin recapping Dr. Who!!

  • Angela Murray

    I *LOVE* that you guys are blogging about this show. I’ve been a huge fan of you since I discovered you a few years ago after binging on old Project Runway, and I’ve been a huge fan of Doctor Who since I was dragged kicking and screaming into watching the 9th Doctor’s series before 11 was around. 

    My initial reaction to the premise of this episode was also ‘Meh’. I’m not a fan of Daleks and I was bothered by the apparent fracturing of the Pond-Williams marriage. Of course, moments after beginning, I’m startled by the presence of the supposed new companion and by the end, I was at the edge of my seat waiting to see how it all worked out. I don’t know if Moffat really has it all planned out, but I know when he goes for it, he pulls me along with him every step of the way. 

    I had an interesting thought about the episode and how its impact can really depend on your frame of reference. To someone who isn’t up on all the latest news (and doesn’t know Jenna Louise Coleman is going to be the next companion) Oswin is just another tragic figure in a long line of them. For fans who know the actress, it’s a very “WAITWUT!?!?” moment. 

    Thank you for starting to blog about this one. I am so psyched that ‘my’ fashionista blogger nerds have picked up one of my all-time favorite shows to follow. 🙂

  • SatelliteAlice

    I really hope Clara doesn’t become River part 2.  I really liked her personality and the way she teased The Doctor but I don’t like the idea that we have seen her death so we are going backwards again only for The Doctor to have to send her off to her death as a dalek (a la River in the Library).  He either needs to alter it so she never goes or she needed to escape somehow but please not that same idea again.  In my opinion he hasn’t handled it well with River and I’d rather him not just try again since it didn’t quite work the first time.

  • But really, who designed the Owsin’s dress and wear can I buy it?

  • Im so excited you guys are doing Who! This show is so mind twistingly well written. Looking forward to more recaps, I can feel the headaches coming on!

  • Sarah Thomas

    I was pretty okay with how they handled Rory and Amy’s marital disputes – if you’re going to have characters who were in love five months ago suddenly divorce at the beginning of the season, which is a very “Screenwriting 204” thing to do, at least give them a legit reason to do so. I was terrified it was going to be irrational jealousy or something.

    That said – you were impressed by these Daleks? I was not. I am definitely in your guys’ boat as far as being introduced to Daleks as an adult, and thus past prime scaring age (p.s. I think it’s interesting that you said no American show would try Daleks, as ST:TNG did so with the Borg – fairly blatantly, but not as blatantly as Q and the continuum were of the Doctor and the Time Lords). In fact, I find the Daleks so un-scary that I think the episodes that comment on how odd their effect is are the ones where they work the best – ex. ‘Dalek’ with the Ninth Doctor, or even the one in Eleven’s first season where the Daleks are getting tea for Winston Churchill. 

    So needless to say I was pretty excited when they laid out the episode premise. Daleks so crazy other Daleks locked them up on their own planet? Awesome! Instead, I got…dusty Daleks who could barely even muster up the energy to screech. It wasn’t the asylum of the Daleks, it was the nursing home of the Daleks. Talk about a let-down.

    The other ideas – the zombie Dalek nanodrones particularly – were legit amazing, and in true Moffatt fashion flew by in the blink of an eye because he never learned to focus on developing his really good ideas rather than just throwing the whole pot of spaghetti at the wall. Maybe you could send him some advice in a Coco Chanel-like fashion metaphor? Before you submit your scripts, take one thing out. In this case I’d have taken out the divorce subplot – either treat it seriously, over the course of at least a few episodes, or don’t do it at all. Use that time to show us some really, truly, sack-full-of-cats crazy Daleks.

  • DCSheehan

    Perfectly summed up. It was great to see the Doctor again, but I’m just a little bit scared of him – which says to me they’re doing everything right.

  • Jarethee

    Ugh, I hate the Dalek’s. I too only got into Who with the reboot, but the Dalek’s just annoy the crap out of me. They’re not scary, they’re just annoying clanging trash cans. If they did a reboot where they made them fierce and menacing and terrifying, it’d be one thing, but they’re just…ug. Of course, even the Cybermen kinda get me too. The scariest villains in the Who-verse for me are the one-offs. And the Weeping Angels of course (who were much scarier in the first episode than the latter). LOVE that you guys are covering Doctor Who, I may be more excited by your recaps than the episodes themselves! ^^

    And Oswin rocked my socks off. Kinda hope she comes back, but at the same time, it would depress the CRAP outta me to see her as a companion only to know she was going to die. Also, the idea of him having a companion other than River Song seems kinda wrong and philandering, but eh. 

  • rolacus2

    I don’t watch much Dr. Who, so the daleks don’t interest me as much either. However, the weeping angels terrify me deeply.

  • jo

    Happy Happy Joy Joy!  My favorite blog is covering my geeky guilty pleasure!  I absolutely love Moffat’s take on the Whoniverse and Amy and Rory won me over against my initial instincts ofher Amy being too young and too peppy and too something or other.  I like the Doctor treating them as his best friends rather than just ‘companions’.  Very happy to see Moffat acknowledge some of the emotional fallout of the Demons Run/River Song story line.  Hope we get a bit more on that, although I really don’t want the Ponds to get hurt anymore.  Curious about Oswin and how she will return- I think she will get the River Song treatment, although Moffat is good for surprises.

    Have a blast at Fashion Week.  I’m jealous!

  • MilaXX

    The thing about Doctor Who is even wen it’s predictable, it’s still enjoyable.  I figured out Oswin was a dalek because the way the Doctor kept asking about the souffle reminded me of the Doctor telling Amy push all though the episode in which we find out she pregnant, kidnapped by the Silence and in labor. Having Rory meet the daleks and get that bit over the eggs being the first part of EXTERMINATE! was another clue, so the revel wasn’t a surprise. I recall reading an interview with Moffet stating that he wanted to make sure we saw Amy & Rory as a proper married couple, so I like them revisiting the whole River Song thing. My hope/fanwank/speculation is that Amy somehow gets pregnant or they find a child to adopt and that is how we get the Pond – Williams swan song. They decide to settle into regular married life. On another note, I liked that Amy is still modeling, since last season she was the face of the Petracure perfume ad.

  • MilaXX

     I am an old fart. We actually had one of those old machine with the rollers that you crank. Daleks remind me of those old time machine more than fire hydrants, but that endears them to me all the more. I was a teen when I got into Who, so they never really scared me. Weeping angels however, make me look at statutes in a whole new way.

  • MilaXX

     The divorce subplot sets up their departure from the series.

  • Le_Sigh

    YESSSSSSS!  I am utterly delighted to see this!  Your insightful TLo caps and analysis have brought me to other wonderful shows – I’m excited to hear/see your takes on something I watch already.


  • LovelyIdio

     …But do we really know she died? She turned off the shields, but we didn’t see her blow up. I still think that it’s possible she didn’t die, and the Doctor will find some way to turn her back.

    • MilaXX

      Since she was completely assimilated wouldn’t the Doctor still need to met her earlier in her timeline? Otherwise she’s not in human form. The ones that just had the eyestalk might be reversible, but not  the state that Oswin was in.

      • LovelyIdio

         If you can turn a human into a Dalek, why can’t you turn a Dalek into a human? We haven’t seen it, but realistically, the Doctor has probably never wanted to before. I could very well be wrong. I just don’t want it to be too much of a River redux.

        •  If I remember correctly, they just use the brain and nervous system. Everything else is gone.

  • Prudentia

    My only sad here is that TLO did not blog the Doctor back when 9 was around…because…I love me some 9.

  • oogabougga

    From Wikipedia: 

    “On 21 March 2012, Doctor Who producer Steven Moffat confirmed at a press conference that Coleman would replace Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill as the Doctor’s companion alongside Matt Smith.[11] Moffat chose her for the role because she worked the best alongside Smith and could talk faster than him.[12] She auditioned for the role in secrecy, pretending it was for something called Men on Waves, an anagram for “Woman Seven” as she would first appear in the programme’s seventh series.[13] Although originally announced as beginning her run as companion in the Christmas 2012 episode, Coleman made a surprise Doctor Who appearance in the first episode of the seventh series, “Asylum of the Daleks” on 1 September 2012 playing Oswin Oswald.”

  • mskgb

    Interesting take on the origins of Dalek fan love. I share your underwhelmed reaction; why fear an enemy who–until fairly recently in the Whoniverse–one could escape by simply ascending stairs? The origin story presented in the Tom Baker/Elisabeth Sladen days was the most compelling plot line the Daleks have had. There, we saw what the compulsion to annihilate led a species to do to their bodies. The season opener echoed this more complex treatment of the Daleks. I hope to see more of the same.

  • buildmeatower

    I like the Daleks, but mostly because they’re traditional. They’re kind of the epitome of Who, really. That said, I don’t really find them all that scary, and I will admit to bursting out laughing when they first came out colorful. I think for me the most frightening Who villain would be the Vashta Nerada, or maybe the creature from “Midnight”. (Sorry, only saw that one once so I’ve forgotten if it ever got a name.)

    I didn’t watch this episode, so I have no concrete thoughts on it, but I’ll admit to being kind of ambivalent about the divorce.  I do like that it was about a genuine issue that made sense in the context of their history and previous adventures, but I kind of wish it had either not been included at all or gone on longer. Having them divorce and remarry in the course of one episode feels like drama for drama’s sake rather than character exploration.

  • Kim

    Ooh, perhaps comment on the “fashion” choices in the episode too? XD Love that you guys did a recap!!!

  • TLo!  You missed the biggest thing at the end of the episode!  Remember “Silence will fall when the Question is asked?”  And the question is “Doctor Who?”  I think the Question has been asked now!

  • Jangle57

    I did end up watching the show Saturday night; in fact I watched a lot of the reruns they had leading up to it, most of which I had missed because I had given up on the Matt Smith/Amy Pond/Rory Williams cast.  I had found the first season of Smith’s doctor to be a jumbled mess and could never figure out if it was Smith, the companions, the writing or some combination of all  of the above that turned me off.  I found there were some good episodes in there and so stayed for the new one which I did enjoy.  I agree with those who find the Weeping Angels to be the scariest of the Doctor Who aliens; Blink is one of my favorite episodes, in part because I found it truly scary.  While Matt Smith will never be my favorite Doctor, or even in my top 5 (I think of Davison as my 1st Doctor but my favorite would have to be Tennant followed by a 4 way tie between Davison/Tom Baker/Pertwee/Eccleston), I’m hopeful that  perhaps a page has been turned and I will start watching it again.

  • Topaz

    I loved this episode, and I like Oswin, but there are so many motifs and storytelling devices of Moffat’s that are starting to repeat themselves. Yeah, the recurring character that’s already died *check*, the sexually suggestive extroverted female who puts men ill at ease as the only possible model for female empowerment *check*, Amy as a victim of something that makes her a bit loopy *check*, the person who’s not really a person but doesn’t know it *check*, the whole “Doctor is actually the most dangerous person in the universe and actually quite scary” thing that is still talked about like it’s never been said before and is some kind of profound statement on the character *check* (actually, that one’s a remnant from the Russell T Davies days, but Moffat also seems to be a fan).

    They’re all things that only niggle if you’ve been a fan right from the start of the new Who episodes. They would pass someone by who had just tuned in or is a casual fan, so I don’t think it’s damaging to the series or even the show’s entertainment value as a whole, but for me they’re starting to wear a little thin and I wish Moffat would change up the program a little.
    But Oh God. I don’t want Amy and Rory to go. They are the best companions, easily, since the show came back. Gonna miss them like crazy.

  • MilaXX

     Baker was my first. I actually find Family of Blood a little scarier than Blink but I do find Blink frightening.

    •  The Family of Blood was terrifying. I think The Master is the scariest of the Who villains. As scary as I find the Angels, I think The Master trumps them all.

      • MilaXX

        The current Master doesn’t scare me as much as the old Who ones did. I have to admit the one story arc with Ten where he trapped Martha’s family, Jack & the Doctor was scary, but otherwise not so much.

  • Sigh. I didn’t love Oswin. She’s a little too Zooey Deschanel for me. More reliable, but seems to be drawn from the quirky hipster nerd queen milieu. I have come to realize that I’m completely alone in this.

    On the other hand, I’m ECSTATIC that y’all are recapping DW. Best. News. Ever.

  • thehousesparrow

    Dalek Zombies and “Come and meet the girl who can” made this episode worth watching.

  • OHMAHGAH, you are recapping Doctor Who!!!!!11111!!! I may have died and gone to a heaven I don’t believe in. And? Also? I ended that sentence with a preposition, so, y’know, kinda excited over here.

    I loved this episode. I did not see the Oswin thing coming, except for the fact that I knew the actress was going to be the next companion, but I sort of put it down to a Martha/Gwen thing, only sped up.

    Good gravy, I really hope you recap this every week. I will have a total nerdgasm. 

  • Markatha

    Oh Dang it, I missed it.  So I haven’t watched yet. 
     I grew up Amurican & Suthern so I didn’t discover “Dr. Who” till I was all growed up
     (I do love me some BBC TV though) and am a Fan now. 
    I completely agree with your feelings about the Daleks. 
    They’re okay in a campy/scary way, but not my favorite baddie on the show.
    The Weeping Angels are the scariest for me, Really goosebump inducing!
    Happy you boys are recapping.  Thank You.

  • Actually, the Daleks were originally so terrifying because people in the early 60s saw them as what they were meant to be – an allegory for the Nazis, given inhuman forms (remember: most sci-fi villains at the time were men in bodysuits) so as to render them as menacingly alien as possible. With that idea borne in mind, they’re really quite frightening.

  • So happy that you’re reviewing  Doctor Who! After watching it a second time on iPlayer, I found myself liking it more. I was genuinely distressed when Oswin realised what she was and started crying. That and the broken ‘they hate you so much. Why?’ were perfect in how completely unsettling they were, coming from a Dalek. I think Daleks are used best when they are made unsettling and creepy rather than scary. I wished the Amy-Rory split had been teased out for more episodes, but considering how few episodes are left in the run-up to Christmas (sigh, I will miss the Boy Who Waited), I can understand why they rushed it. I generally liked Oswin, though I hope her manic speech is more a result of being left alone for so long instead of a character trait as that will wear thin. I also want Oswin to be a souffle-baking Dalek companion! So much possible hilarity!

  • I grew up watching Doctor Who, but I’m not a fan of the show now – only knew TLO was capping cos of Project Runway.

    But I did watch because who doesn’t love the Daleks? But my major problem with them is how little they do. They shout “EXTERMINATE” but rarely exterminate anything. I can still see the scenes in my mind from the original, when I was a kid, Daleks shooting slaves with their beams, they would go all x-ray-ish and then die… but now they seem to do is chatter away (spilling the beans on their dastardly plans like the villains in the 60s Batman). Not good writing and definitely not scary!

  • First of all, TLo recapping Doctor Who.  YAY!!!!!  I’m totally looking at the spoilers even though I have not seen the episode yet.

    Second, I have an irrational love of the Daleks.  I don’t think I am supposed to say “Woohoo. It’s a Dalek!” when I see one on the screen.  Granted, I just came back from Dragon*Con where I met many fans who love the Daleks in the same way I do so maybe it isn’t odd. 

  • Jordan Kearns

    I loved Oswin, but I’m going to be supes upset if her story ends up being River Take Two.  I know I may be in the minority here, but I adore River Song.  Granted, some of that may be a deep and true girl crush on Alex Kingston.  Still, there are things about her story that really bugged me, and I think Moffatt took what could’ve been a truly great character and weighed her down with a lot of dreck.  If the Oswin/Companion story takes that turn, it’ll be like Moffatt saying “Oops, I totally screwed up River, and since you all hate her, here’s a new and improved version!” The only thing that’s keeping me hopeful is that River is in the trailer for this season.      On another note, I love the Daleks so so much.  I’ve only been scared of the Daleks a couple of times, but I adore how ridiculous they are. 

    • jo

      I also love River Song (largely due to Alex Kingston having so much fun with the role).  I’ve enjoyed watching River’s story unfold and trying to track her timeline in relation to the Doctor’s.  That said, I didn’t love how the origin of River Song was handled.  For all the build up, it felt like there wasn’t enough emotional pay off for any of the characters at the big reveal.  And it felt like Amy and Rory didn’t get a chance to grieve the loss of their child.

      I’m hoping that Moffat comes up with a cool solution to Oswin that I’m just not seeing at the moment.  I don’t want another River Song, because knowing what a terrible fate awaits is a pretty rough way to introduce a companion.  Maybe an Alternate Universe Oswin?  Or a clone created by the Daleks?  Or a change in the timeline altogether?

  • Scott Hester-Johnson

    Don’t forget that Daleks were first created in 1963, so to our “modern eyes” they look ridiculous as alien invaders. That’s one of the best things about Who; they never leave anything behind no matter how ridiculous and dated it is.

    Have you not seen K-9? A ridiculous robot dog that first appeared in ’77 and was brought back not once but twice.

    And fun fact about the last episode, they used EVERY Dalek ever. There have been different Daleks over the years with small design changes and some more radical. And they were all there.


  • I stumbled onto these BBC produced web shorts that were evidently meant as a prequel to the first televised episode.  They are each a minute or so, and all but one are amusing fluff.  It is the last one that hints (Karen calls it a “cliffhanger”) to the marital unrest.

  • You guise!  Recapping “Doctor Who!!!”  I’ve finally gone through with my repeated threats to quit watching “Project Runway,” so I’m super excited to see you covering a show I do watch!  

  • I totally agree with disliking the Daleks. I dislike the Cybermen only slightly more.

    But, oh, it is *nice* to have The Doctor back.

  • JP

    You guys! I’m so excited that you are recapping WHO that you drew me out of lurkdom for the very first time!!!!

  • Can’ t wait for DINOSAURS to start.
    10 hours and 8 minutes.

    Please check out my DW Fan Fic if you haven’t already.

  • Leah Burns

    I personally find the Daleks kind of adorable. They’re just so easily frustrated and confused. Like especially murderous puppies.

  • julnyes

    Yes, the Daleks never did anything for me, but the WEEPING ANGELS ARE TERRIFYING!