Sunday, 2 September 2012

DOCTOR WHO: 'Asylum of the Daleks' ephemera

Sunday, 2 September 2012
My full review is available at MSN, but here are some extra thoughts on key moments of the Doctor Who premiere "Asylum of the Daleks"...

It's our first look at Dalek homeworld Skaro in nu-Who, complete with a skyscraper-sized sculpture of a Dalek. You can add narcissism to their list of negative traits. I assume the Daleks tackle the inevitable poop problem by exterminating pigeons with lasers.

When The Doctor's away, Amy reverts to being a model to pay the bills (probably in aide of that perfume campaign we saw last series). Oh well, she looks very glamorous, and appears to be channelling Lily Cole in the above shot. I wonder if her choice of career was partly responsible for the breakdown of her marriage to Rory...

Did you notice the changes to the new opening title sequence? There were tweaks to the fonts and logo, the credits now dissolved into view, and the time vortex itself appears to have a greener tint. Or was I imagining all that?

The first surprise of the premiere was the three-month early introduction of Jenna-Louise Coleman, who's playing The Doctor's new companion. The intriguing thing is we've been led to believe the new companion's called Clara, but in this episode Coleman's playing a girl called Oswin Oswald. Are they one and the same? Is Clara going to be an ancestor of Oswin? Will Oswin be rescued from her tragic destiny of becoming a Dalek? (That would surely break some major time-travelling rules.) Or maybe Clara will at some point lose her memory after travelling with The Doctor, be given a new identity as Oswin, and then meet her demise in this adventure. (Or is seeing the death of a companion first too similar to what's happening with River Song?) Maybe that Dalek only thought it was Clara/Oswin?

It's worth mentioning this very funny sequence with Rory blissfully unaware he's sharing the screen with The Doctor's arch-nemeses; cautiously trying to communicate with them and reattach their missing "eggs".

The more I think about it, will Oswin perhaps be rescued and renamed Clara by The Doctor at a later date, perhaps becoming a Star Trek: Voyager-style Seven Of Nine character? Half-human, half-Dalek.

I used to do a Jump the Blast feature here, so couldn't resist vidcapping a perfect instance of the "someone running away from an explosion" trope. Bravo, Who.

Another big change to the series came later in the episode, with The Doctor realising the Daleks have forgotten everything about him because Oswin has told their hive-mind to do so. This resets the Daleks to an extent, because they now have no knowledge of The Doctor or any particular reason to fear him. It'll be interesting to see what the show does with this.

In the final moments, with the Daleks screeching "Doctor who?" and The Doctor himself celebrating his sudden anonymity, I was reminded of the series 6 climax, which told us that "Doctor who?" is the greatest unanswered question of the universe. It was nice to get a feeling this hasn't been forgotten about, but how will it come into play. Is The Doctor's real name or identity of universe-shattering consequence? Does it all have something to do with the Daleks, now they've forgotten him?