Sunday, September 02, 2012

Here be SPOILERS: Asylum of the Daleks review

Just in case you didn't read the word SPOILERS in big writing in the headlines, I'll do a bit of a long introduction before I start to spill any beans. I didn't actually watch the programme live, which is a bit sacriligious, I know. This is all Natalie McGarry's fault for arranging the second #twinner, a loose gathering of the Scottish political twitterati to partake of some good food and a little light refreshment for the same night. There are not many groups of people for whom I would have missed the season opener, but this was one. When I say light refreshments, by the way, when I left, our table of nine, of whom one was driving and therefore not drinking booze, had consumed six bottles of wine and two of Sauternes. We had a beautiful meal at Bo'Vine, opposite Oran Mor at the A82 end of Byres Road. I had the 3 course pre-theatre dinner which was £18 and delicious. The smoked mackerel pate was probably a bit smooth for my liking, and it wouldn't have killed them to throw in an extra oatcake, but the sirloin steak was cooked perfectly and the chips were to die for. I even ate the roasted tomatoes which did not taste like they were the food of Satan himself as I normally consider such evils to be. A spoonful of  brown sugar in the rhubarb crumble wouldn't have gone amiss either, but the gingerbread ice cream was amazing.

Ok, enough SPOILER space. The goodies are coming now. Anna had already watched it and had spent the entire evening discussing it with the other fangirls on the internet and she was happy to watch it again with me. We watched it again this afternoon. Here are my thoughts:

It was proper creepy. 

Dark spaces, mad daleks, people having dalek stalks bursting out of their foreheads. If I could have climbed behind my sofa, I would have done so.

Where in the name of god did all these daleks come from?

The first seasons of New Who were predicated on the idea that all the daleks had been locked in the time war - and then the Doctor busted the Canary Wharf specimens into the time vortex. The only daleks supposed to exist are the brightly coloured jobs from the Victory of the Daleks. The only person who could unlock the Time War would be another time lord and supposedly the only other one left, the Master is dead, isn't he? 

Genocide is not good

Not impressed with the idea that people can just kill off their criminals and mentally ill. I know that a whole load of insane daleks wandering the universe is not a great idea. But then nor are any daleks. And I'm especially not keen on the Doctor not only agreeing but colluding. It's a bit like the Silence last year. 

What was with the forcefield?

Was I missing something? Where did the forcefield come from? Was it made by Oswin? Otherwise it makes no sense to have a prison planet with a forcefield that they couldn't access from the Dalek ship. I mean, a prison where the "warders" were locked out from?

Dalek scaredycats

There's an inconsistency between "daleks fear nobody" and daleks needing to hunt the universe for the Doctor and his mates to sort their problems out cos they're scared to go down there.

The Dalek PM

makes you almost feel lucky to have David Cameron. Almost. Wonder why they expose the jellyfish in their most important? Surely that renders them vulnerable. He's very creepy, anyway. 

The layout of the Parliament is so much more Holyrood than Westminster. Surely the PM couldn't be based on Alex Salmond? I mean, writer Steven Moffat is mates with Tom Harris, Labour MP for Glasgow South who isn't the FM's greatest fan.... I just lay that idea before you without comment:-)

Amy and Rory

No, sorry, I don't buy it. These two have been so close since childhood. Infertility is a huge thing. They would have talked about it. Rory would have guessed what Amy was trying to do when she chucked him out. Mind you, it came out that he doesn't think she loves him as much as he loves her and he could have been just setting her free. But I don't think any couple who have been through the trauma and violation that they have endured would part so easily. I mean, one day, they were having a full English served up by an Ood and seemed perfectly happy, the next, he was leaving with all his worldly goods in a bin bag. I have more faith in them. They would not treat their relationship so casually.


Now there's a surprise. Our new companion (we know these things, sadly, cos the tabloid press and anyone with a smartphone can't be relied upon to keep their gobs shut) seems to have been turned into a dalek and been blasted to smithereens. How is Moffat going to bring her back from that to lounging around the TARDIS playing Carmen and calling the Doctor Chinboy? Seriously, the latter could get irritating, but Moffat has to turn that around plausibly in 5 episodes. 

And, sorry, but as it happens, I don't want to swap Amy for her.

Souffle jokes

It was weird that the Doctor was asking about where Oswin got the milk for the souffles. Eggs are a much more intrinsic ingredient. The Eggs...term...inate stuff was pretty funny. Rory hadn't met the daleks before, of course, so we know what's going on but he doesn't. Very clever.

Who put the chains on Oswin?

She's hardly likely to have done it herself, is she?

Dalek MP

If you have not yet discovered the amazing Dalek MP Twitter account, do so now. The Member for Skaro North East's thouhts on life, the universe and everything appeared almost simultaneously with the episode and has some very new Labour messages. My first thought was "Tom Harris". When I asked him if he was behind it, he said that his wife had just asked him the very same thing but he wasn't. I have enough faith in him to think that he wouldn't tell a downright lie. However, this is a Twitter One to Watch.


Moffat started last season by killing the Doctor. It was hard to imagine that he could surpass that. He actually might have done. By giving us the serious creeps over the fact that there's gazillions of daleks out there, by making us angry and sad and devastated and relieved over Amy and Rory's relationship, he's kept the standard up. We know we're going to lose them in a heartbreaking way in just 4 weeks' time, though....

Whatever the plot holes, Asylum of the Daleks worked. Having watched Torchwood's CyberWoman this weekend, I'm not sure I can be as confident that next week's episode, also by Chris Chibnall, will be of the same standard. We'll see.

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