Now was that worth the wait? I'm voting yes!
Dragged to Skaro, then to the Dalek Parliament on some dodgy errand for the mysterious Darla von Karlsen (obviously Dalek something, anagramfans!) the Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves in the midst of the most insane and dangerous mission they've ever had - probably. They must enter The Asylum Of The Daleks!
You all watched it! Of course you did! so let's skip the recap and get straight to the meat of the story. Instead of appearing when she was meant to appear, naughty Jenna Louise Coleman showed up about five minutes into Asylum and gave everyone who didn't know she's be there (which, considering thousands had already seen this at screenings the world over and the fact that her appearance was leaked on forums this week anyway, probably wasn't many) a big surprise! But she wasn't playing the companion character here, as far as we know... No, no! This character was called Oswin Oswald and was the Junior Entertainments Manager on Starship Alaska until its fatal plunge onto the surface of the Dalek Asylum planet... Okay, I said no recap. I'm sorry!
This episode was very, very overhyped. I'm not saying it wasn't a good episode - it was. A very good episode, great even! But the hype-hangover from the screenings and the constant reminder that it was to feature EVERY DALEK EVER pushed this one into the stratosphere in terms of expectations. Some would have expected a massive, action-packed Dalek adventure. That's not what you got here.
What you got was - and I'm not complaining, because I'd rather this, personally - a small Dalek story with a nice big mystery at the centre. Because Oswin was no ordinary extraordinary computer hacking genius junior entertainments manager from the future! She was in fact a girl who had become a Dalek still dreaming that she was a girl. A girl making soufflés. The clue was right there, really - a genius with a whisk, had to be a Dalek.
What this means - and what other Big New Things mean - for the future of the series I do not know. But those Things were well-played and nicely explained. First off, we got to see the Parliament of the Daleks and meet their Prime Minister. We also learn that Daleks are able to adapt human physiology to create a kind of Dalek Puppet; a sleeper agent that has no idea it is on a mission for the Daleks until the eye stalk pokes out of their forehead. Both of these are interesting new additions to the Dalek legend and you'll either like them or not. I did. I thought the idea that the Daleks have a home again, a base from where their twisted logic is written and passed out as Dalek Law and that they can now get closer to their victims than ever before creates an extra level of power and malice to them. The Daleks were truly made scary again this week.
But the biggest mysteries of all could spell mystery and danger in what's to come. Now that Oswin - the One Good Dalek - has erased every scrap of information about the Doctor from the Dalek's memories are they still his biggest and most feared enemy? Isn't he now free to do whatever the hell he likes to them? They don't know who he is, as illustrated in a smashing little gag where the entire Parliament chant "Doctor who?!" at his as he skips away for adventures aplenty as per. I fear this interesting (and, yes - for once, Moffat, you were telling the truth - Game Changing) event will end up coming back and biting the Doctor on his big, smug arse. You mark my words; when he'll NEED someone to know him, nobody will. And it will spell disaster.
The second massive mystery is this; Since we're pretty damn sure Jenna Louise Coleman plays a character called Clara in this year's Christmas Special and it is this character, not the Oswin character, who ends up travelling with the Doctor for the second part of series 7, how will they explain away the similarities in appearance between the two? Will they be related? Will they be connected at all? Will it be ignored?!
Who cares right now, eh? We've just been given one of the most exciting and interesting episodes of Doctor Who since the show came back in 2005! And next week we get Dinosaurs! On A Spaceship!!
(Oh! I loved the ep, by the way. Top stuff! 8/10 - I'll update this post with more opinions and observations when I get a chance to watch Asylum again... which I'll do tomorrow, asap!)