Doctor Who Recap: “Asylum of the Daleks”

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Asylum of the Daleks © BBCAsylum of the Daleks © BBC

Asylum of the Daleks © BBC

The seventh season of Doctor Who is out of the gate with a very strong start in Asylum of the Daleks, featuring … well, I guess it’s not too much of a spoiler to say that it has Daleks in it. In an Asylum. So, they are crazy … Daleks — two great tastes that go completely mental together. But how to get the Doctor in on the action? Maybe a little trap?


Darla Von Karlsen (Voice Over): First there were the Daleks. And then there was a man who fought them. And then in time he died. There are a few, of course, who believe this man somehow survived and that one day he will return. For both our sakes, dearest Hannah, we must hope these stories are true.
The Doctor: I got your message. Not many people can do that—send me messages.
Darla: I have a daughter. Hannah. She’s in a Dalek prison camp. They say you can help.
The Doctor: Do they? I wish they’d stop.

And where has the Doctor gone for this clandestine meeting?

The Doctor: Skaro. The original planet of the Daleks. Look at the state of it.

And it is a trap, and the Doctor is stunned, by the Dalek’ed Darla (I’ll explain that in a bit) and he is taken away.

But, far across the galaxy, all is not well for the Ponds:

Rory: You have to sign these.
Amy: And then we’re not married?
Rory: Just like magic.
Amy: Can’t chat. Working.
Rory: Really? I thought you were just pouting at a camera.

The love that lasted two thousand years does not seem to be able to make it in the 21st century. Away from the excitement of saving the universe, something has gone very wrong in the Pond Life. Never fear, though, adventure is just a Dalek abduction away, as both Rory and Amy are whisked away:

Rory (to Amy with him in a blank white cell): Where are we? (Sees the Dalek fleet outside) So how much trouble are we in?
The Doctor (walking in): How much trouble, Mr. Pond? Out of ten? Eleven.

After some decidedly “Wizard of Oz going to the witch’s castle style music,” the Doctor is brought before the Parliament of Daleks (not to be confused with the Parliament Funkadelic):

The Doctor: Well come on then. You’ve got me. What are you waiting for? At long last! It’s Christmas! Here I am!
A Dalek: Save us. You will save us.
The Doctor: I’ll what?
A Dalek: You will save the Daleks.
Dalek Parliament (in chorus): Save the Daleks! Save the Daleks!
The Doctor: Well, this is new.

Yes, it is. But now for the big mystery.

Oswin Oswald (voiceover): Day 363. The terror continues. Also, made another soufflé. Very nearly. Check defenses. They came again last night. Still always at night. Maybe they’re vampires. Oh! And it’s my mum’s birthday. Happy Birthday, mum. I did make you a soufflé but it was too beautiful to live. (Chucks it in the bin)
Daleks (outside the door): You will let us enter! We will enter!

Soufflés? Where did she get the milk (to say nothing of the eggs, which are really more fundamental to a soufflé)? Oswin is played by Jenna-Louise Coleman who was announced to be the next companion after the departure of the Ponds. But how can she be the new companion when she’s stuck on a Dalek-ridden planet and she’s a, well, you know…

Dalek Prime Minister: What do you know of the Dalek Asylum?
The Doctor: According to legend you have a dumping ground. A planet where you lock up all the Daleks that go wrong. The battle-scarred, the insane, the ones even you can’t control. Which never made any sense to me.

But, The Daleks do not kill such sublime hatred. Then again, hatred takes many forms:

Prime Minister: Does it surprise you to know that Daleks have a concept of beauty?
The Doctor: I thought you’d run out of ways to make me sick. But hello again. You think hatred is beautiful?
Prime Minister: Perhaps that is why we have never been able to kill you.

Ouch! Snapped by a Dalek.

But there is a problem: someone has gotten into the Dalek’s secret little playground:

The Doctor: What have you been doing on your own against the Daleks for a year?
Oswin: Making soufflés?
The Doctor: Soufflés. Against the Daleks. [He’s amused; then:] Where’d you get the milk?

Where indeed? Maybe it’s synthamilk? That could explain why they are not rising properly. And why doesn’t The Doctor mention the eggs? But no one else seems particularly concerned about this, especially not the Daleks. They have other worries, like millions of insane Daleks escaping imprisonment. And there’s nothing grumpier than an insane Dalek who’s been imprisoned against their will.

The Doctor: So tell me, what do the Daleks do when they’re too scared?
Dalek: The predator of the Daleks will be deployed.
The Doctor: You don’t have a predator and even if you did, why would they turn off a force field for you?
Prime Minister: Because you will have no other means of escape.
Darla: May I clarify? “The Predator” is the Dalek’s word for you.
The Doctor: Me? Me!

Calling the Doctor “The Predator” makes a lot more sense to me than his other nickname, “The Gathering Oncoming Storm”, which sounds far too poetic and/or subtle for the Daleks. “The Predator” has a nice direct feel to it — like a death ray to the sternum. But if the Daleks want someone to kill Daleks, there is only one man for the job, so they naturally decide to chuck him at the planet.

Darla: The gravity beam will convey you close to the source of the transmission. You must find a way to deactivate the force field from there.
The Doctor: You’re going to fire me at a planet? That’s your plan? I get fired at a planet and expected to fix it?
Rory: In fairness that is slightly your M.O.
The Doctor: Don’t be fair to the Daleks when they’re firing me at a planet!

And once the force field is deactivated, the Daleks can obliterate the problem with a massive bombardment. That is slightly their M.O.

There’s then an almost totally useless side story of The Doctor, Rory, and Amy being separated. The Doctor and Amy get back together. The Doctor and Amy run afoul of some reanimated corpses. The only good thing to come out of this scene is a new vocabulary word.

Amy: Explain! That’s what you’re good at. How’d he get all Dalek’ed

“Dalek’ed”. To be turned into a Dalek. I will use it wisely, but often. But, this is actually not new. The Daleks have created Dalek’ed servants many times in the past to help them in their nefarious schemes. The planet is riddled with nano-probes that will turn anyone around Dalek’ed, unless you are wearing a special bracelet, which, fortunately, The Doctor and Amy were given before being shot at the planet. Oh, wait. What was that you said, Amy? The Dalek’ed zombies took yours? Oh well. Better luck next time.

Oswin: Unauthorized personnel may not enter the cockpit.
The Doctor: Shut up.
Oswin: Oh! Mr. Grumpy. Bad combo. No sense of humor and that chin.
Amy: Is that her again, Soufflé Girl?
The Doctor: Yeah. She— Oy! What is wrong with my chin?
Oswin: Careful dear. You’ll put someone’s eye out.

The Doctor and Amy escape the Dalek’ed monsters and end up in the cockpit of an escape pod, which conveniently has an escape hatch that leads them underground, helped along by Oswin.

The Doctor: How can you hack into everything? It should be impossible. You’re in a crashed ship!
Oswin: Long story. Is there a word for total screaming genius that sounds modest and a tiny bit sexy?
The Doctor: Doctor. You call me the Doctor.
Oswin: See what you did there.

To explain: “See what you did there” is a very British phrase. Kind of like “Oh no you didn’t” only more of a compliment when someone is clever. You can also say “You see what I did there,” to be self congratulatory for your own cleverness. Thus endeth the Britology lesson for the day.

Did I mention the Ponds have split up?

The Doctor: Well what happened?
Amy: Oh, stuff! We split up, what can you do.
The Doctor: What can I do?
Amy: Nothing. It’s not one of those things you can fix like you fix your bow tie. Don’t give me those big wet eyes, Raggedy Man. It’s life. Just life, that’s thing that goes on when you’re not there.

But Rory, already underground, has his own problems in the form of several dozen dust daleks. And they are waking up.

Dalek: Eg- eg- eg- eg- eg .
Rory: Eggs? You mean those things?
Dalek: Eggs—!
Rory: I don’t… I don’t know what you want. Those things? Are those things eggs? (he picks up a Dalek “egg”) This? You want this?
Dalek: Eggs… ter… min… ate! Exterminate! EXTERMINATE!

Look closely, and you will see a history of Daleks, including that crowd pleaser, the Heavy Weapons Dalek. Fortunantly, Rory has a guardian Angel in the form of Oswin.

Oswin: Lovely name, Rory. First boy I ever fancied was called Rory.
Rory: Okay.
Oswin: Actually she was called Nina. I was going through a phase. Just flirting to keep you cheerful. (the Daleks can be heard in the distance)
Rory: Okay, anytime you want to start flirting again is fine by me.

Oswin is a terrible flirt…

Oswin: Hey there, Binky Boy.
Rory: If it’s a straight choice I prefer Nina.
Oswin: Loving this. The nose and the chin. You two could fence.

But oddly mysterious.

The Doctor: Oswin, can you hear me?
Oswin: Hello, the Chin! I have a visual on you.
The Doctor: Why don’t I have a visual on you? Why can’t I ever see you?
Oswin: Limited power, bad hair—take your pick.

And what about those soufflés?

The Doctor: A junior entertainment manager hiding out in a wrecked ship, hacking the security systems of the most advanced warrior race the universe has ever seen. But you know what really gets me about you, Oswin. The soufflés.
Amy: The soufflés?
The Doctor: Where do you get the milk for the soufflés? Seriously, is no one else wondering about that?
Rory: No. Franley, no. Twice.

Remember how Amy lost her braclet, and is being Dalek’ed by nano-probes? They are finally reunited with Rory on a transport pad.

The Doctor: Amy! Still with us?
Rory: Amy, it’s me. Do you remember me? {she slaps him} She remembers me.
The Doctor: Same old Amy.
Oswin: Do you know how you make someone into a Dalek? Subtract love, add anger. Doesn’t she seem a bit too angry to you?
Amy: Well. Somebody’s never been to Scotland.

Well, I have, and the people are delightful.

Oswin: So, Doctor, I’ve been looking you up. You’re all over the database. Why do the Daleks call you “the Predator”.
The Doctor: I’m not a predator. I’m just a man with a plan.
Oswin: You’ve got a plan?
Rory: We’re all ears.
Amy: There’s a nose joke goin’ if someone wants to pick that one off.

Do you see what she did there?

The Doctor: In no particular order, we need to neutralize all the Daleks in this Asylum, rescue Oswin from the wreckage, escape from this planet, and fix Amy and Rory’s marriage.
Amy: Okay, I’m counting three lost causes. Anyone else?

Did someone mention a plan?

The Doctor: Okay, as soon as the force field is down the Daleks will attack. If it gets too explode-y wode-y in here, you go without me, okay?
Rory: And leave you to die?
The Doctor: Oh, don’t worry about me. You’re the one beaming up to a Dalek ship to get exterminated.
Rory: Fair point. Love this plan!

And then it all comes together for Amy and Rory as we find out…

Rory: Amy, basic fact of our relationship is that I love you more than you love me. Which today is good news because it might just save both of our lives.
Amy: How can you say that?
Rory: Two thousand years, waiting for you outside a box. Say this isn’t true. And since you know it’s true, give me your arm. Amy! (she slaps him)
Amy: Don’t you dare say that to me. Don’t you ever dare.
Rory: Amy, you kicked me out!
Amy: You want kids, you have always wanted kids. Ever since you were a kid. And I can’t have them!
Rory: I know.
Amy: Whatever they did to me at Demon’s Run, I can’t ever give you children. I didn’t kick you out. I gave you up.
Rory: Baby, I don’t—
Amy: So don’t you dare talk to me about waiting outside a box because that is nothing, Rory, nothing! Compared to giving you up.

Unfortunately, it all falls apart for Oswin. Just as the doctor is about to rescue her, we find out…

The Doctor: Oswin, I am so sorry. But you are a Dalek. The milk, Oswin. The milk and the eggs for the soufflé. Where — where — did it all come from?
Oswin: Eggs…
The Doctor: It wasn’t real. It was never real.
Oswin: Eggs… ter… min… ate. Exterminate…

The fact that Oswin is a Dalek dreaming of being human begs several questions. Where the Daleks trying to break into her sanctuary where in fact literal Daleks or her Dalek nature trying to take her over? How will Oswin be the Doctor’s next companion if she was a Dalek and then dead when the Doctor first met her?

Oswin: Why do they hate you so much? They hate you so much. Why?
The Doctor: I fought them many, many times.
Oswin: We have grown stronger in fear of you.
The Doctor: I know. I tried to stop.

Yes, I know: Timey Wimey Wibbly Wobbly stuff. But how will Stephen Moffat write himself out of this one?

Oswin is a Dalek in form only, though, and still holds on to her humanity.

Oswin: I am Oswin Oswald. I fought the Daleks and I am human. Remember me.
The Doctor: Thank you.
Oswin: Run! Run, you clever boy. And remember…

Remember what? Shades of Spock’s death scene in the Wrath of Khan? “Remember” her? Remember who she was? Remember to save her?

But Oswin does the Doctor one last favor. She makes the Daleks forget.

Dalek: Identify yourself!
Daleks: Identify!
The Doctor: Well it’s me. You know me. The Doctor. The Oncoming Storm. The Predator.
Darla: Titles are not meaningful in this context. Doctor who?
Dalek: Doctor who?
The Doctor: Oh, Oswin. Oh, you did it to them all. You beauty.
Dalek: Doctor who!?! Doctor who?!?
The Doctor: Fellas, you’re never gonna stop asking.

Imagine, the Daleks no longer know who the Doctor is. This carries on nicely with the end of last season, where the Doctor is trying to fly under the radar.

After escaping, the Doctor returns the reconciled Ponds back to earth, and prances around the TARDIS chanting…

The Doctor: Doctor who. Doctor who! Doc-tor Who!

While I would normally think this type of self referential clap-trap incredibly cheesy, it works in this case, so I will allow it. But just this one time. Don’t let it happen again.

More Great Quotes

PA: Um, your husband is here.
Amy: I don’t have a husband.
PA: Ah, well apparently you still do.

Rory: What’s he [The Doctor] doing.
Amy: He’s chosen the most defendable area in the room, counted all the Daleks, counted all the exits, and now he’s calculating the exact distance we’re standing apart and starting to worry. Oo! And look at him frowning now. “Something’s wrong with Amy and Rory and who’s gonna fix it?” And he straightens his bow tie.

Prime Minister: What is the noise! Explain! Explain!
The Doctor: It’s me.
Rory: Sorry, what?
The Doctor: It’s me, playing the triangle … Okay, I got buried in the mix.

Amy: Is it bad that I’ve really missed this?
The Doctor: Yes.
Amy: Good.
The Doctor: I know.

The Doctor: What’s so special about this lot then?
Oswin: Don’t know. Survivors of particular wars. Spiridon. Gamble. Iridius. Vulcan. Exxilon. Ringing any bells?
The Doctor: All of them.
Oswin: Yeah? How?
The Doctor: These are the Daleks who survived me.

Next: “Dinosaurs On a Spaceship”

Tonight at 9 PM EDT on BBC America

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