I’m putting the jump right here because I don’t want to spoil anything. Beware of many feels behind.
There are several things I want to address about this episode, so much so that I wish I’d been livetweeting it because then I’d have had all my thoughts in a proper order.
Okay, first of all, way to pull the wool over all of our eyes about Jenna-Louise Coleman as Oswin Oswald. I was accidentally spoiled for her appearance on Twitter a few hours before the episode, but I had no idea how extensive a role she’d play in the episode, and I’m really depressed that she appears to have died here. She apparently returns in the Christmas special?
But I don’t want Oswin’s run as companion to start with the Doctor finding her in the past and traveling with her knowing that was where her final end would be. I don’t like having another companion whose death weighs on the Doctor the whole time they’re together. Can Moffat only write flirty clever women whose first episodes spoil us for their death? River is enough for me; I’d rather not have the Doctor be ambiently sad about Oswin’s eventual death the whole time they’re together.
On the topic of Oswin, by the way, I actually quite liked her. I was worried when Moffat said the Doctor would have trouble keeping up with her that she would be annoyingly chatty. But I thought she was funny and insanely clever and did she maybe say that she was bi? Because that would be so cool. (I didn’t quite catch that bit about Nina, was dating Nina a phase? Was calling her first crush!Rory “Nina” a phase? Did her Rory turn into a girl called Nina for a phase?) She is clever on like a metacrisis-Donna level but without any of the Doctor’s interference, which makes me happy because that means she is just a standalone genius. I really hope that it doesn’t turn out that this is because she used to be a companion and got smart-zapped like Donna and then forgot the Doctor when she got Dalek-ized. I’m happy with her just being competent on her own.
“Is there a word for total screaming genius that sounds modest and a tiny bit sexy?”
“Doctor. You call me the Doctor.”
“I see what you did there.”
I thought Rory and Amy’s divorce setup was actually very heartbreaking, but I honestly think they settled it well and that it wasn’t too rushed. I was worried that the Doctor trying to fix things would make it worse or corny but it actually worked well. (Although I also ship Rory/Oswin a little now. Can’t be helped.)
Now, on to the Daleks. Moffat promised he was going to make the Daleks scary again in this episode. I don’t think the Daleks are more terrifying than they were going into this episode. I thought the Dalek-who-thought-it-was-a-ballerina was frickin’ adorable, and I honestly felt a little bad for the sort of slow Dalek that the Doctor tricked into suicide-bombing the rest of its sort of slow Dalek friends. And in the end, the fact that Oswin wiped the Doctor from the Daleks’ pathweb means that the Doctor’s oldest enemy no longer knows who he is.
Moffat didn’t make the Daleks scary again; he destroyed their entire motivation for being on the show. The Daleks have hated the Doctor since the very second episode of Hartnell’s First Doctor, and now there is no reason for them to come back ever. (Also, where the hell did they all come from? It was seriously cool to see Skaro, but if the Nightmare Child and the Skaro Degradations and the Horde of Travesties etc., etc., are timelocked, shouldn’t the actual planet of Skaro be too? As well as that whole Dalek fleet?)
I was also shocked that the Doctor was just like “okay, you don’t remember me now? I’ll just leave then and let this whole giant Dalek fleet just chill here and keep on keeping on.” I know that he wouldn’t have just slaughtered them outright because that’s how his moral code works, but hell, last season he blew up a legion of Cybermen to make a point and now he’s just popping off and letting a zillion Daleks do their thing?
Power Ranger New Paradigm Daleks from last season totally mercilessly killed the ‘lesser, more impure’ Daleks who set up the Progenitor. And the Dalek “Prime Minister” (PM? Srsly? Was he elected?) can’t stomach killing a bunch of Daleks?
And in the end, I’m not exactly sure what he was “Saving the Daleks” from. (Was it Oswin?) They really just needed someone to go in and blow up the Asylum for them—the Asylum’s inhabitants weren’t an actual threat to the Daleks. (I guess I’ll just have to watch it again.)
Everything else aside, I thought the whole exchange about “firing the Doctor at a planet and hoping he fixes it” was hilarious.
I did really like this episode. It just wasn’t anything like what I thought it would be, or what I feel like I was promised. Whatevs.
Next week: Nefertiti! Lestrade from Sherlock! Dinosaurs on a Spaceship! Look forward to it!