Almost a year later, the Doctor is in again.
Season seven of Doctor Who kicked off recently with the much anticipated episode “Asylum of the Daleks”, which most certainly did not disappoint, even if it was a tad confusing at times. The opening title sequence was subtly revamped and Amy’s annoying voice-over narration was removed, something that can be considered an improvement. But let’s get down to the episode in question.
The premiere opened in the not-so-distant future from the time season six ended, but enough time has passed that married companions Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) are now going through a divorce and the Daleks seemed to have not only regrown most of their species back to a formidable population but have also developed a new twist to them. The episode certainly brings back more of the creepy factor behind the Doctor’s famously resilient enemies: Daleks can now disguise themselves as human.
Amy, Rory and The Doctor himself (Matt Smith) are kidnapped and brought to the Asylum, the planet where all of the insane Daleks go. What’s surprising is the reason they are brought there: the Daleks are requesting the Doctor’s help to infiltrate and destroy the Asylum because they are too scared to do the job themselves. But why bring along Amy and Rory? Well, apparently even the Daleks know that the Doctor works best with his companions. And with that, the trio becomes involved in a race against time to infiltrate the Asylum, get out alive and save Amy and Rory’s crumbling relationship.
Mostly things were pretty on par with the last two seasons. Matt Smith is still excellent as our charming and quirky Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond continues as her usual headstrong and sassy self and Rory is, as always, the underrated and comedic hero of the group. Smith, Gillan and Darvill have such great chemistry on screen and it shows, especially in the scene where Amy and Rory confront their personal issues (even if the reasoning behind those issues is a bit weak). However, Jenna- Louise Coleman steals the show from the trio as the witty and sharp Owsin Oswald, a young woman onboard a ship that crashes into the Asylum.
Coleman has been announced as the next companion and it will be interesting to see how she is introduced again after seeing her character’s involvement in this episode. Regardless of how the new companion is introduced, Coleman proves in this episode that she is more than qualified to take over when Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill leave this holiday season.
Overall, the episode was well paced and humorous, a solid debut for “Doctor Who”. Show runner Steven Moffat, who also writes “Sherlock”, definitely knows how to write compelling and emotionally driven television. A man who loves plots with some twists and turns, as demonstrated in “Asylum of the Daleks”, Moffat has certainly kept Doctor Who fresh and engaging. The premiere only proves that Doctor Who still maintains the style, creativity and personality that continuously draw in so many loyal fans.
Although there will only be five new episodes this fall, the preview of what’s to come is exciting enough to keep viewers satisfied for the time being. With dinosaurs on a spaceship and weeping angels taking over Manhattan, “Doctor Who” is clearly back with a vengeance.