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New Who 7.1 Asylum of the Daleks

I watched this last night with big_daz, and felt so-soish about it. It had a few neat ideas and surprises - the new companion way before we expected her; lots of stuff about remembering, forgetting, humans-who-are-Daleks and Daleks-who-are-humans - but didn't really wow me. There wasn't much in the way of punchy character moments or intriguing puzzles. I guess in a way that shows how the bar has been raised over the course of New Who, by both Rusty and the Moff. This was a decent enough episode really, but I was somehow expecting more. I've watched it again this morning to see how knowing about Oswin's real situation from the start changes it, and spotted some things which made me slightly more impressed than I was last night. But then again I've also confirmed that some of the things which didn't appear to make sense last night genuinely don't, and also been made angry by a line which I missed the first time round, but which the internet did not. So in the end I feel much the same as after the first viewing - so-soish, but with an extra hint of *growl*.

My obviously very spoilerific thoughts after re-watching are gathered below under a series of headings.

Things which didn't make sense

The very idea of a Dalek Parliament, as swisstone has pointed out. If I didn't know better, I might almost think this was done just for the sake of a lot of cool shots of rank upon rank of Daleks screeching 'Save us!' But obviously that would be unfair!

The nature of the Dalek Asylum, and the mission which the Daleks set for the Doctor. Surely it is very, very silly indeed to set up a forcefield around an asylum which can only be operated from within, when its main purpose must be to keep the inmates in?

Who did the full Dalek conversion on Oswin? The other Asylum inmates after she had crashed there? Or the non-insane Daleks, who perhaps after all occasionally visit the planet to drop off and / or treat its inmates? If the Daleks don't visit the planet occasionally, who chains up the inmates or treats them in an 'intensive care' suite? If they do, how do they get through the forcefield, given than it can only be operated from within? If they did convert Oswin, they ought to have known all along what the source of the signal from the Asylum was - though of course it's perfectly plausible that they did, and withheld this information from the Doctor in order to trap him on the Asylum and kill two birds with one stone by blowing them both up at the same time.

The Doctor notes that the Daleks are 'too scared' to go down and deal with whatever has got into the Asylum, but later tells Amy, who is afraid of being turned into a Dalek, that it is OK to be scared, because 'scared isn't Dalek'. As above, it is quite likely that the Daleks weren't actually scared at all, and were just pretending to be so that they could trick the Doctor. But if so, this idea got lost in production.

How exactly did the Alaska manage to crash on the Asylum anyway if the planet is protected by a forcefield? Again, maybe it didn't really, and this was all part of the Daleks' elaborate plan - but if so, it would have been nice to include an in-story reveal about this.

Careful structuring and symbolism

It seems odd that a story whose plot suffers from the basic problems set out above can also be carefully structured, but Asylum of the Daleks shows that the two are not incompatible. It's just that the careful structuring is all about foreshadowing and thematic resonances, creating a sense of links between different parts of the story but without necessarily implying logical coherence. I think this is quite a serious flaw with Moffat's writing generally - the structuring is first-class, but the world-building and plotting isn't always. Anyway, these were the bits of structuring and symbolism which particularly struck me:

As pointed out on Planet Zog Blog, the pre-credits sequence in which the Doctor meets with the red-haired, booted lady (Wikipedia says her name is Cassandra, but parrot_knight tells me in the comments below it is actually Darla) inside the head of a giant Dalek statue sets us up right from the start for Oswin's situation later on. It mainly made me think of the 15-mile-high statue of Arthur Dent throwing a vending machine cup on the planet Brontitall, though.

The first post-credit shot is also important, but in order to explain why I first need to say that I think this person on the doctorwho community is dead right in saying that Amy's hallucination of Daleks as people was more than just a hallucination. Because she is becoming 'tuned in' to the path-mind at that point, she is seeing "the people those Daleks used to be" - people who have been converted in the same way as Oswin. On that basis, it matters a lot that the first post-credit shot, which introduces us to Oswin's fantasy-world, is of a red-headed music-box ballerina. Later on, one of the 'humans' from Amy's hallucination is basically this figure - a little red-headed ballerina girl doing pirouettes. So this points from the start to Oswin also being tuned in to the other once-human Daleks around her. One of them was once this little girl, and Oswin has incorporated that image into her fantasy-world.

Oswin's first question when she establishes direct contact with the Doctor is 'Are you real?', again establishing the key theme of the episode straight away.

And we get some neat shots of both Rory and then Amy seen through mirrors in the make-up suite at the location where Amy is doing her modelling shoot. I don't think this meant anything in particular within the episode itself, but mirror images were a bit of a running visual theme throughout last season as well. I take it as nothing much more than part of the signature 'look' of the series now, evoking generalised ideas about parallel worlds and inversions. But it's interesting to see that it continues into this season, and wasn't just a feature of the last. Unless, of course, it's simply that mirrors and reflections are just really common and crop up in pretty much every episode of every television series ever. That's also possible.


Well, obviously the big surprise of the episode was Jenna-Louise Coleman cropping up in it, and then dying at the end, when we all thought she wasn't due to join the series full-time until the Christmas episode. Her character's name in this episode was Oswin Oswald, and pre-series publicity and speculation has had the name of the new companion as 'Clara Oswin'. This name may have been part of the bluff, but if it's still correct then it seems likely that the new companion, Clara Oswin, will turn out to be a relative of Oswin Oswald who looks just like her - just as has been done in the past with Anne Chaplet / Dodo, Gwyneth / Gwen Cooper and Adeola Oshodi / her cousin Martha Jones. But we'll see.

Anyway, the character of Oswin in this episode got a little bit annoying around the half-way point with her smug smart-arsery, but once I understood her true situation at the end I was happy to forgive that. Of course she would create a slightly brittle 'I'm so awesomely-cool' persona to try to get herself through her awful situation. Meanwhile, her reaction when she realised the truth spoke of a much more real strength, as did the very fact that she had managed to maintain a sense of her humanity after being converted so much more effectively than any of the other human-conversions whom Amy saw in the Asylum. That said, she did say one line which really annoyed me, but I'll deal with that under a different heading below. Basically, if this is what the new full-time companion is going to be like, then I provisionally quite like her. But I'm reserving full judgement until I get the chance to see what she's going to be like under more normal circumstances.

Amy and Rory

Argh! I'm afraid I couldn't buy into Amy and Rory's emotive reunion at all, because it's blindingly obvious that they would never have needed to break up at all if they had just talked about their issues properly in the first place! And Amy bears all the responsibility for that. Did she really kick Rory out after everything they'd been through without just saying to him "Darling, I've discovered I can't have children normally any more after my forced alien pregnancy, and I'm kind of upset about that, so I'd like to talk about it. Also, I know you really want kids, so can you tell me what you want to do in this situation, and maybe we can work through it and find a way of dealing with it within our relationship? Like perhaps we could look into adoption maybe?" It's not that hard!

Mind you, her willingness to undergo pointless martyrdom for his sake without discussing what he actually wants first is at least consistent with what Older Amy did in The Girl Who Waited - making the decision on Rory's behalf to given him the life with Young Amy which she had judged would be better for him. It's not a characteristic I admire very much, but at least it is a consistently-written flaw.

Meanwhile, when Amy and Rory realise that the Doctor has given her his wristband without telling them, Amy makes some comment about how he is a Time Lord so didn't need it, and we cut to a shot of him fixing his bow-tie - established earlier in the episode as the gesture he makes when he is fact 'fixing' their relationship. So we are given to understand that he deliberately didn't tell them that Amy would actually be fine anyway in order to trick Rory into trying to save her, and therefore salvage their relationship. OK, fine. But! The Doctor has really let Amy get into quite a lot of danger already by the time this happens, including allowing her to wander into a roomful of Daleks while under the influence of a hallucination which makes her think they are people. Isn't this rather irresponsible? I know, that's kind of the Doctor's modus operandi anyway - but really, he could have just given her his wristband straight away if he didn't need it. It seems a huge risk to take just to set up a reunion between Amy and Rory (and this seemed particularly stupid to me as a viewer, given how unnecessary the whole reason for their break-up was in my view in the first place).

Racist, sexist and biphobic clap-trap

Yeah, so this is the stuff that made me growly. The first two things I noticed myself, but the third I didn't pick up on the first time in amongst all the snappy dialogue. The internet noticed, though.

The one black character not only dies first, but is in fact already dead before the story even begins. In this particular story, this is a clear consequence of black people only usually being cast as supporting characters (though obviously Martha Jones is the exception to that rule). There are only (really) three human characters in this story besides the Doctor and his companions: Cassandra Darla who summons the Doctor at the beginning, the black guy and Oswin. (Yes, there are the people at Amy's modelling shoot, the bus-driver who 'acquires' Rory and the people in Amy's hallucination, but these are all tiny bit-parts). Developed yet secondary characters are very often cannon-fodder, and that's exactly what happens here. As an isolated incident, fine, but with Steven Moffat it's a recognised trope (see the 'Live Action TV' folder at that link).

Amy giving up the man she loves because she can't 'give' him the children he wants. Without apparently even discussing what his priorities actually were, considering adoption or anything. This whole set-up is just stupid, as I've already said. But even leaving aside the fact that Amy would surely have discussed this with Rory if she really loved him, it also rests on the idea that a woman's only function is to give a man children, and that if she can't do this then it's perfectly logical to launch herself into massive and unnecessary acts of self-punishment. WTF?

The line I didn't catch first time round, spoken by Oswin to Rory when she is trying to guide him through the Asylum: "Lovely name, Rory. First boy I every fancied was called Rory. Actually, she was called Nina. I was going through a phase. Just flirting to keep you cheerful!" You know, when I was thirteen, I developed a massive crush on a girl in my class. I'd had sort of childish crushes on female teachers before, but this was the first time I'd fallen for a girl of my own age, and in a full-blown romantic-sexual way. It was all-consuming, to the extent that I couldn't hide it, try as I might - and I did try, because I knew full well I wasn't 'supposed' to feel like that. So some of my classmates noticed, and one of them took me into an empty classroom to talk about it. She meant well and was trying to help, but one of the things she said to me was, "It doesn't necessarily mean you're a lesbian. It might just be a phase you're going through." Hers wasn't the only voice I listened to at this time, of course. There were also advice columns in magazines, my parents saying things like "I don't know why 'they' have to rub it in everybody's faces!" and the general tittering attitude of my friends. But they all added up to much the same sorts of messages - not normal, not wanted, just a phase. And that's why I pushed it down inside, treated it as a weird kink in myself that I would just have to keep in its place, and didn't do anything about it for another eight years. So, frankly, FUCK YOU Moffat, still telling that shit to the next generation. Fuck you.

Things that were fun / cool / scary

Oh dear, I don't feel much like enthusing about these now after that little rant above. That's how just one crappy throwaway biphobic line makes me feel about the rest of the show around it. Still, there were things I enjoyed, like:

The Doctor's line when he walks into Amy and Rory's cell on the Dalek ship: 'How much trouble are we in, Pond? Out of ten? Eleven.' It's not the first time we've had a joke based on the numerical incarnation of the Doctor, of course - The Eleventh Hour made a whole episode title out of it. But they always tickle me.

Amy relishing being fired at a planet and escaping zombie Daleks.

Rory's experience in a dripping underworld full of mad, rusty Daleks just waking up from a long slumber actually was reasonably scary. Although on the whole I felt that the madness of the Asylum inmates was not particularly well-conveyed. Daleks are pretty insane anyway, so it's rather difficult to portray them as more than usually so.

Amy's hallucination of Daleks-as-the-people-they-once-were. It was creepy and (having seen it recently) very Carnival of Souls-esque - the beckoning guy and the dancing couple are both straight from the dream-sequences in the pavilion.

The Daleks all yelling "Doctor Who?" at the end. Much like the 'Eleven' line earlier, these are always good value.

Past continuity

The Radio Times published a Dalek bingo card so that we could spot all the different types featured in this episode. And they certainly were there, stretching right back across the whole history of the series. I'm not sure how that is supposed to work in light of a) the Time War and b) the fact that several of the different factions of Daleks have historically been enemies of one another. What I'm glad about, though, is that this didn't matter a jot within this story. Call me a massive racist if you like, but honestly, all Daleks look pretty much the same, and any plot which rests on the audience spotting that one lot of them are a slightly different design from another is doomed to horrible failure. So I am very, very glad indeed that Moffat has basically announced in this episode that he is not going to bother with that, and is just going to treat them all as a single race.

I had thought Skaro had been completely wiped out in the Time War, but apparently there is some explainy stuff in Doctor Who: The Adventure Games about how the Daleks got it back with something called the Eye of Time or something. OK, whatever.

This morning I geekily looked up the names of the battles which the Doctor says that the inhabitants of the intensive care unit survived (like a lot of other people, I'm sure). I managed to identify all but one, and sure enough they are real, and indeed all from the Classic series: Spiridon, Kembel, Iridius (can't track this one down), Vulcan, Exxilon. Exxilon is perhaps particularly interesting, because it is the home of a Great City full of traps in the Third Doctor story Death to the Daleks, and thus bears a thematic similarity to the Asylum full of lurking dangers in this story.

And this person on the doctorwho community has already pointed out the deliberate visual reference to The Daleks, which was also generally evoked by things like the Dalek-shaped doorways throughout the Asylum.

Future implications

Now that we know that people who appear to be normal human beings can actually be Sleeper Daleks, they could be anywhere. I'm pretty sure this will come up again.

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( 44 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 2nd, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
One of the highlights of a new series of Doctor Who is looking forward to your post-Who posts. :-)
Sep. 2nd, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
Aw, cheers! I hope they aren't all as long as this one, though. It ended up being the best part of 3000 words, so a story I only felt so-so about! Gah...
(no subject) - venta - Sep. 24th, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - strange_complex - Sep. 24th, 2012 03:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - venta - Sep. 24th, 2012 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - strange_complex - Sep. 24th, 2012 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 2nd, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
Not Iridius but Aridius, as seen in the first two episodes of The Chase. The red-haired sleeper Dalek woman was Darla, Cassandra being Amy's make-up Dalek.

Other than that - I don't share many of the sentiments behind your rant, loved the symbolism and appreciate you spotting all the things I hadn't, and I hope that Oswin is actually going to escape, be rehumanised (at least in áppearance), and will meet the Doctor again at Christmas.
Sep. 2nd, 2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
I want a Dalek companion!
(no subject) - parrot_knight - Sep. 2nd, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - strange_complex - Sep. 2nd, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - strange_complex - Sep. 2nd, 2012 08:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 2nd, 2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
it's blindingly obvious that they would never have needed to break up at all if they had just talked about their issues properly in the first place!

See, also, every episode of Frasier. And huge amounts of plot from almost every TV show ever.
Sep. 2nd, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know. Sometimes people doing dumb things is necessary to create drama. But when this is an off-screen event which we haven't even seen being worked through properly, it seems a lot to swallow from two characters whose relationship has otherwise been presented to us as so committed. They sat there right in front of us on screen and sorted it out in about two minutes. So it destroyed my suspension of disbelief to somehow imagine they wouldn't have managed to do that equally well when Amy first tried to kick Rory out.
(no subject) - andrewducker - Sep. 2nd, 2012 08:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - steer - Sep. 3rd, 2012 10:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - minnesattva - Sep. 2nd, 2012 09:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - Sep. 2nd, 2012 09:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 2nd, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
That I winced or rolled my eyes at the lines you thought were cool just proves to me that I really am not capable of liking NuWho as much as my friends do :) I felt pretty so-so about it too, but that's better than I felt about most of last season!

I did notice the racism and sexism and biphobia (though I worried for a second it'd be transphobia, until she said "it's just a phase") and they really made me think less of the episode, too.

I did not think much of the inconsistency in "where did all these Daleks come from" or the other plot holes you could drive an inside-out Tardis through, because I've come to expect Moffat Who to be like that: just jumping from one punchline or set-piece to another with little concern for how you get from one to the next.

It is infuriating to have the plot hinge on such a plot hole ("where did she get the milk?") when I'm used to thinking of and having to dismiss such things all the time because if I so much as mention them to my friends I get shouted down :) To have one matter when others don't seems unfair.
Sep. 2nd, 2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, you are dead right about the annoying disjunction in which some plot holes are Incredibly Significant even while we're meant to turn a blind eye to others. I hadn't managed to articulate it to myself in those terms, but you've put your finger on a useful concept here.

I missed the biphobia the first time round because I mis-parsed the line "Actually she was called Nina" as "Actually I called him Nina". On that basis, the reference to a phase is fine - it sounds like she's just talking about a period when she went round quirkily referring to people by unusual nick-names, with a bit of a nod towards the Fourth Doctor calling Romana 'Fred'. But it is just outright crass and offensive once you realise the real context - just like pretty much ever other reference Moffat has made to LGBT people, ever. :-/
(no subject) - minnesattva - Sep. 2nd, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - danieldwilliam - Sep. 3rd, 2012 10:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - minnesattva - Sep. 5th, 2012 12:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - danieldwilliam - Sep. 5th, 2012 01:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - danieldwilliam - Sep. 3rd, 2012 10:05 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 2nd, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this - you spotted many, many things I hadn't!

Another thing that bothered me, mildly, with the chained daleks, was - what was the point of chaining them at all? If it had been to stop them rolling across the deck of a ship in heavy seas I could have understood it, but as several of them demonstrated, chains are no use for restraining a dalek who wants to move: they throw them off as if they were slipping out of a négligé. Any dalek warder would have known this.

I had a different reading of the daleks-as-people whom Amy sees. I didn't necessarily think that this was a vision of their former selves (and I'd be sorry to think that conversion is now the standard way to go with daleks - they should leave that to the cybermen and stick to being chippy squid), as much as a sign of Amy's mind in confusion. She is beginning to recognize the things in front her as the same kind of being as herself, but since she "knows" she is human, her mind shows them to her that way, too.
Sep. 2nd, 2012 09:39 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! And yes, your different reading of Amy's hallucination works too - although it means the ballerina in Oswin's fantasy-suite is no longer so significant, which I'd be sorry about. I agree in general that the idea of Daleks going round converting humans wholesale is a bit jarring, given that in the Classic era they found the very idea abhorrent. But New Who has made it almost standard practice for them since Daleks in Manhatten (awful though that story was), so I suppose it is part of what we must accept of the new post-Time War Daleks after all.
(no subject) - swisstone - Sep. 2nd, 2012 11:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - djm4 - Sep. 3rd, 2012 06:35 am (UTC) - Expand
Weeping Cross
Sep. 3rd, 2012 07:45 am (UTC)
As always you crystallise some of what I was thinking. Can't get away from the sense that there's a tremendous amount of self-congratulation going on without very much at the core to be so pleased with. The filmic production and hyperbolic music all scream that this is something really great - and really it isn't, it's very slight indeed. It can't go on forever, and at some stage the production team is going to be subject to some discipline, even if it's only running out of money.
Sep. 3rd, 2012 09:08 am (UTC)
*nod-nod* This was a perfectly decent ordinary episode of Doctor Who, but you're right that the pre-broadcast hype and on-screen style all sought to package it as more - hence the sense of disappointment. Yet I'm not sure what else the production team can do - obviously it would seem odd from their point of view not to hype and promote the series for all it's worth, in the hope of attracting maximum audiences. Maybe they just need to learn to be a bit more self-deprecating and tongue-in-cheek about it all.
Sep. 3rd, 2012 09:50 am (UTC)
I don't watch Who, but that little story about you when you were thirteen makes me so sad - in part because, of course, I was getting exactly the same messages and had exactly the same reaction to them. Bah.
Sep. 3rd, 2012 10:31 am (UTC)
It's a common story, I think. And it is particularly annoying to see this now in Doctor Who, because even the Classic series was quite good at addressing discrimination (e.g. by making a black woman the commander of UNIT in 1989), while the new series under Russell T. Davies gave us Captain Jack, all completely at ease with his pansexuality and laughing at "You [21st-century] people and your quaint little categories!" We've slipped back from that into a world where Moffat's response to criticisms about not including enough LGBT people is to include them as the butt of jokes, and his response to criticisms about not including enough strong women is to write stories about how magical women-as-mothers are. This, too, shall pass, but it is very annoying in the meantime.
Sep. 3rd, 2012 10:38 am (UTC)
The chained up Dalek thing is a bizarre little trope that recent who series have started. They're also enormously cartoonish chains every time. It can't in fact be a mechanically efficient way to stop something like that moving -- indeed if you wanted to do that then just taking them out of the Dalek shells or disconnecting the motor functions is surely the most efficient way.

However, I can forgive it because it's only there because it looks much cooler than a more accurate alternative.
Sep. 3rd, 2012 11:11 am (UTC)
No title
User danieldwilliam referenced to your post from No title saying: [...] has written a better review of Doctor Who than I’ll manage [...]
Sep. 3rd, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
I missed the "I" in going through a phase and thought that *Nina* was going through a phase of being called "Rory" which meant it was being judgmental about gender identity rather than sexuality. But since you've seen it twice and read the Internet, I'll take your word for what she actually said.

I don't understand how Amy cannot be in the ongoing process of Dalek transformation, and doomed to forever wear her bracelet to keep it from completing. Did a rewatch or something else resolve this for you?
Sep. 3rd, 2012 07:33 pm (UTC)
As far as I understand with Amy, the Asylum planet has a nano-field which starts converting organic matter into Dalek puppets. But as soon as the Doctor puts the bracelet on her, it stops them, and then once she is off the planet she isn't within the nano-field any more, so she can take off the bracelet safely. The nano-field had clearly started to affect her before the Doctor put the bracelet on her, so whatever damage it had already done might be permanent - but the Doctor seemed utterly unconcerned about that, and maybe she can just 'get better' once she is away from the nano-field. But anyway, I think she has to remain within the nano-field for the process to continue. Once she's out, it stops where it is. That's my guess, anyway - it was never fully explained.
Sep. 3rd, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah the just a phase thing got to me too - didn't notice the thing about the black characters though...

I wouldn't be surprised if the whole darlek mind wipe comes back to be an important plot point later - e.g. The darleks now invade earth because their fear of the doctor had stopped them previously etc.

I think that chaining a darlek which thinks it's a human trapped in a room kinda makes some sense....

I also think that the woman possessed by daleks who had the daughter will come back.
Sep. 4th, 2012 09:36 am (UTC)
oh and about the thing with the wrist things between the Dr and Amy. The way I interpreted it was that the Dr gave his wrist thing to amy only after the thing where she had hallucinations because only then did he realise that she couldn't be left without one. amy's thing saying that he didn't need one coz he was a time lord was then more wishful thinking/optimism than fact. The Dr was then relying on the fact that he had more non dalek emotions than either of the humans and could therefore last longer.

also (and I don't expect this to be the case, the just a what if) what if the daleks do something really bad (like destroy earth) and the only way the doctor can stop it is to restore the daleks' memory of him, and and the way he has to do this is by rescuing genius lady from the alaska before it gets captured, leading to her becoming his companion......
(no subject) - strange_complex - Sep. 4th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - p_dan_tic - Sep. 5th, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - strange_complex - Sep. 4th, 2012 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 4th, 2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
I missed the biphobic comment because I heard it as 'just a phase' Nina was going through, implying that Nina went through a transvestite/transgender phase. Of course, now I realise that that would be just as offensive to transgendered people.

Tangentially, I would love to have a lesbian companion. If nothing else that would stop the invariable attraction to the Doctor!

I had no idea that Oswin was played by the actress slated to be the next companion. I'm delighted to hear it, because I thought she was really good, but it also meant I watched the episode in the assumption that Oswin was as disposable as any character, and thus I saw the twist coming a mile off (admittedly, I assumed she was a sleeper-dalek, rather than a full conversion).

The big reveal was still very compelling, with Oswin's desperate claims to humanity, but I had believed that the whole genius thing was due to her being a dalek. She could hack into the mainframes, because she had the technology and programming built in. I detest the trope of the technical genius who has no formal training but can easily do things the world's foremost experts with years of experience can't.

All the more so, because she was the ship's entertainment manager (or whatever it was). I could buy that she's a natural prodigy who has perhaps got a degree in it, but she's still very young and has obviously abandoned her education (or at least taken a gap year).

She could have spent her year of being stranded/converted gradually getting to know the basics of the system. But being as good as she is isn't even a plot convenience, it just makes her a special snowflake. It's a crutch for actual personality--and she doesn't even need it! Aargh.

The whole Amy/Rory thing annoyed me on a more personal level since I've actually gone through infertility, so I was not entirely comfortable with seeing that storyline used as a shortcut for Amy kicking Rory out But It's A Symbol Of Her Love For Him. Either it will never be referred to again, and it will be pitiful and erroneous simplification of the strain infertility has on a relationship, or it will be a prominent storyline and I'll probably be uncomfortable with it every week. I mean, they might get it right, but I'm not optimistic.

Also, I'm not sure why Amy would have lost her fertility at Demon's Run. She conceived River naturally, was kidnapped afterwards but carried River to term, and we were led to believe that she would be delivering naturally as well. It would have been against the villains' (I already can't remember who they were!) interests to impair her reproductive system or hormones during the pregnancy and a waste of their resources to mess with it afterwards.

In retrospect, what I would rather have seen is an Amy so traumatised by what she went through with River that she can't face the idea of having any other children, and *that's* why she kicked Rory out, as a combination of self-loathing and desperate avoidance of the issue.

It's not half as noble as Doing It For Him, but it would make Amy a much more interesting character and actually demand her to go through some character growth instead of being sheltered from the long term effects of their adventures as keeps happening (2000 years in a box and the whole Old Amy / Young Amy episode).
Sep. 4th, 2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
Also, I was kind of surprised that the Doctor wasn't at least a little offended that the Daleks didn't remember him. He's always seemed to relish his position as their nemesis...
(no subject) - strange_complex - Sep. 4th, 2012 07:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 44 comments — Leave a comment )

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