How do you like your eggs-terminate?
Firstly, yay the Doctor is back! Secondly, massive spoiler alert – you have been warned!
So, we open with the Daleks ‘acquiring’ the Doctor’s posse, using a freaky cross of Dalek and human – eye stalks appearing out of foreheads, creepy! But what is this? The Ponds are divorcing?! Madness! Clearly the world has turned upside down. This view is reinforced by the fact that the gang have not been taken to the Dalek parliament for extermination, but so that the Doctor can save the Daleks. As the Doctor said, ‘This is new!’
When you get that much before the theme tune it’s probably going to be a good episode. So, off we all go to the Asylum of the Daleks… Once again, Rory got some fantastic one-liners (What colour?… Sorry there weren’t any good questions left!). There was some good Pond-based angst and an emotional reunion, when Amy admits that the reason she kicked Rory out was that she was ‘giving him up’ because she couldn’t have children anymore. Now that’s a pretty good moral high-ground, and yet it’s a teensy bit high-handed, don’t you think? Haven’t they ever heard of communication? Anyway… the Doctor triumphs again in his role as relationship counselor, having used the tricksy Dalek nano-cloud, that was busy changing Amy into a Dalek puppet because she wasn’t wearing her shiny bracelet, as a really good excuse to make them talk to each other.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is off trying to rescue soufflé girl, Oswin Oswald, who has supposedly been stuck in a shipwreck for a year, defending it against the insane Daleks outside. I’d just like to say, Oswin Oswald – what a Marvel superhero of a name! She’s funny and seems to be even more of a genius than the Doctor since she managed to hack into the Dalek’s systems where he failed. Plus she’s been making soufflés for a year… with no milk or eggs available. Of course, that turns out to be because her life for the last year has been a figment of her own imagination… in reality she’s now a Dalek – oops! Somehow, she’s managed to hold onto her humanity and she helps the Doctor and the Ponds escape, despite the fact that that leaves her to be blown up along with the rest of the asylum planet. In the process, though, she has also managed to make the rest of the Daleks all forget who the Doctor is, leading to a resounding chorus of ‘Doctor… who?… Doctor… who?’
I felt that there were a few things worth noting about the storyline. Firstly, the Dalek puppets were a new departure for the Daleks, that solves the problem of them looking like moving compost bins with a plunger attached and thus finding it hard to go anywhere incognito; I feel sure we will be seeing more of them. Secondly, Oswin says that the Dalek attacks on her stronghold only come at night – I find this interesting as it suggests that the attacks are actually further attempts by the Dalek technology encasing her to overpower her defences when her conscious mind is less active. Then there were a couple of things I thought were strange. Why did the Daleks suddenly decide that the asylum must be ‘cleansed’, i.e. blown to bits, when they had already stated that they found it ‘offensive to destroy such divine hatred’? Why did the nano-cloud make Amy see the mad Daleks as a variety of humans? Just having fun with her perceptions or because the Daleks themselves have such differing characters? And why were the Dalek puppet skeletons waving Amy’s protective bracelet at them? To taunt them? That doesn’t seem very Dalek, surely. To offer to give it back? That’s even less Dalek. To tempt them to come out and get it? I suppose this is the most likely explanation, and yet why were all the puppets trying to kill them anyway, when the Daleks sent them down to do a job. Surely, the Daleks could control them through the Path Web so they shouldn’t be trying to kill the Doctor yet, and if the puppets weren’t connected to the Path Web how did they know what the bracelets were for? Suspicious.
Even so, it was a good episode, funny and faintly sinister. I was duly surprised by the fact that Jenna-Louise Coleman (Oswin) appeared while the Ponds were still around, but was even more surprised when she turned out to be a Dalek, given that she’s due to be the Doctor’s new companion. I’m intrigued as to how they’ll get her out of that one. Back in time? A doppelganger? Who knows… well yes, he probably does.