Doctor Who: Asylum of the Daleks Review (Mania.com)

By:Kimberly McCall
Review Date: Monday, September 03, 2012
Source: Mania.com

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The number of “Doctor Who” fans is more than ever before. The 2005 revival of the ever reincarnating Time Lord planted a new seed which has now, seven years later, branched out and flourished all over the world. Indeed, the adventures of the timeless and mysterious doctor continue to leave us fans hanging over the edges of our seats with tears in our eyes and pining for each week’s Tardis ride.  The first episode of season 7 finally premiered after what seemed like an eternity of hype and speculation. However, what finally pushed our lust for more “Doctor Who” over the edge was a season 7 trailer which returned what has been popularized as one of the greatest fictional villains of all time and the doctor’s oldest enemy: the Dalek.

Lured to a spacecraft above the Dalek planet, Skaro, in the form of a trap, the Doctor (Matt Smith) is reunited with Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) Pond, who were also kidnapped by Dalek spies. During the kidnappings, it is learned that Amy (now a supermodel) and Rory are in the middle of an angry divorce with no real explanation. The story has barely even started before we find our three heros in the custody of more Daleks than have ever been on screen at one time since their creation in 1963.

To the surprise of the Doctor (and the audience), the army of hateful cyborgs does not wish to exterminate the Time Lord, as they’ve vowed to do time and time again. Instead, they seek his help to deactivate the force field of the planetary Dalek asylum below, where only the most dangerous and terrifying Daleks have been imprisoned. Amy, Rory, and the Doctor are given special wristbands to protect them from becoming Daleks, themselves, while being exposed to the planet... and the adventure begins.

While the three main characters are busy battling zombie Daleks (that’s right, zombie Daleks), getting separated, and playing catch-up, we are introduced to a young woman named Oswin (Jenna-Louise Coleman) who crash landed on the Dalek planet about a year ago. She develops a relationship with the Doctor via intercom and aids him as he and Amy search for Rory, who becomes lost. Oswin is a whimsical character, despite her tragic circumstances, and spends her spare time baking souffles and hacking into Dalek systems. It is with her help, alone, that the Doctor is able to escape danger. She uses her hacking skill to erase all knowledge of the so-called “doctor” from the memories of the Daleks.

The story comes to a sad close as the Doctor attempts to rescue Oswin after she helps him to complete his mission and save him. He breaks in to find not the pretty, young woman we have all been watching, but a Dalek instead. Oswin’s time on the planet had converted her and she had merely created and elaborate fantasy world. Upon the realization of what she has become, Oswin fights her programmed hate and allows the Doctor and his companions to escape. Before the planet is destroyed, however, Oswin gives a curious look directly toward the camera as if to tell the audience that we’ve not yet seen the last of her.

The season 7 premiere delivers in plenty of action and more Daleks (and zombie Daleks) than any giddy fan could wish for. It is a classic summit of the forces of good against evil that almost seems more fitting of a finale than a premiere. Steven Moffat continues to keep us in touch with each memorable character as he (in one episode) takes us through how Amy and Rory’s relationship faltered and yet continues to prove itself a great love story. It is also no longer possible to deny Matt Smith’s ability to bring the Doctor to life. With each new season (this episode, no exception), he wins us over.
 
The ending might only be curious to true “Doctor Who” fans who already know that Jenna-Louise Coleman will serve as Matt Smith’s new companion after the departure of Amy and Rory Pond toward the end of this year. After witnessing this particular story, we, as viewers, have no idea how her character will come back.  Are we seeing these events in sequential order? Have we even met the real “Oswin” at all?

It is the rare, magical storytelling of “Doctor Who” that will answer all these questions and more about all that is possible in this and other worlds. So, dust off those sonic screwdrivers and join the rest of us for what is sure to be another year of unforgettable adventure.

 

Next time on Doctor Who... 



Mania Grade: A-
Episode: Asylum of the Daleks
Starring: Matt Smith, Nicholas Briggs, Arthur Darvill, Karen Gillan, Jenna-Louise Coleman
Written By: Steven Moffat
Directed By: Nick Hurran
Network: BBC One, BBC America
Series: