9/3/12

Why Asylum of the Daleks Failed (SPOILER WARNING)

By: 14th Lord

So we begin this episode with a strange women inside a massive Dalek telling the tale of how the Doctor fought the Daleks but then one day he died. She continues to tell how despite his death, there are those who say he survived, and queue the Doctors appearance. Here is the first scene since the new series that we got a chance to see Skaro, and my oh my, the time war was not kind to it. My oh my, what was once a world filled with rock quarries and jungles, was now nothing but a desolate wast lad, covered in red, a far darker world than fans ha seen in the classic series. I noticed some people are upset Skaro's there since it's supposed to of been destroyed by the 7th Doctor, or should be time locked. I personally was fine, it doesn't take that must suspense of disbelief to believe it was abandoned at some point in the time war by the Daleks, I actually assumed all the Daleks were gathered on a strike on Gallifrey during the final days. We also already know Skaro somehow survived being destroyed by the 7th doctor too, I mean, it was at the beginning of the 1996 movie which is confirmed canon.



The view of Skaro is disappointingly short. The next scene inside the massive Dalek structure, by the way, I mean that literally, it's a giant structure of a Dalek. Meeting the girl who summoned him through a unknown mysterious means, he tells her not just anyone can find him, and asks what she wants. Her child was taken by the Daleks he claims, when the Doctor notices something amiss, her. Her guise foiled, a FUCKING DALEK EYE STALK comes out of her forehead, a blender out of her hand,and she blasts the Doctor with the egg beater. I jest,of course it was a Dalek blaster. The introduction of this girl brings new meaning to Dalek girls, a phrase coined for girls a conventions who'd wear “Dalek dresses”. If you're curious, there's also Tardis girls who dress up like the oh so lovable blue box.

Let me stop right there with the recap and explain something discovered days after viewing the episode, there’s a prequel mini episode to it that’s about 2 minutes long, that shows it wasn't just anyone that it wasn't just anyone that contacted the Doctor, but mystery man in a cloak. Stop reading here and feel free to google and try finding the video, apparently it's exclusively available through itunes, which is another matter in itself that I’ll get into later. So continuing on, we discover the cloaked man can manipulate the background, before telling him of a girl in search of her missing daughter, and he gives him coordinates before the Doctor escapes to his Tardis, and reveals the coordinates were to Skaro.
Ok, lets stop right here and right now. Who's this, what makes it powerful enough to catch the Doctor in a dreamworld, why does it care about some womens daughter? This guy is never even brought up in the actual episode,yet this seems like it should be important, yet only people with itunes gets to see the first2 minutes of the episode? No! You don't produce bonus content that's important, it should be something irrelevant to the actual episode that tells some back story, like tardiscodes from series 2 were! If you haven seen those, they were obscure too, but meaningless to the episode, while adding to it, being viewable after or before the episode. This bonus prequel on the other hand that I didn’t find till days after the episode seems important, and if it wasn't, what the crap Moffat. You cant add a mystery entity that can find and communicate to the Doctor whenever it wants, and not have it IMPORANT, especially on why it'd care about the girl or woman to contact the Doctor for her



Moving on, the Daleks uses more human Daleks to capture Rory and Amy, who by the way are apparently getting divorced, bringing them to the Doctor before bringing him to the parliament of the Daleks, where we meet with what I assume to be a very unimpressive Dalek emperor in a jar. Actually, they call him Prime minister. That's awkward, aren't Dalek's always ruled by a Emperor? They're democratic now? I’ll just go with it, it's not that big of a deal anyway, but a throw away line referencing there usually being just the Emperor would of been nice.

So here's the Doctor, caught by the Daleks through one of their most elaborate plans yet, brought to the governing body of the Daleks, what possible reason could they want with the Doctor? They want him to rescue them. Something in their prison planet for the rejected Daleks, protected by a force field that their weapons are useless against, is something that threatens them. We also learn that the mystery girl never had a daughter, she just made it up as a ruse to lure the Doctor for the Daleks. Well, that cleans up that plot thread in way we never have to care about that character again. Wait, so the cloaky guy in the prequel works for the Daleks? Whatever, I don’t even care anymore.



We discover something interesting in this scene, the Dalek designed by RTD are back, and make up the majority of the body of the Daleks. Wait, didn’t they get wiped out by the new Daleks for not being pure? Whatever, we can easily assume that it was just that they considered those Daleks impure and these are new pure Daleks, and the new Daleks just represents the more elite body of the time war era Daleks while RTD's represents their bulk body. I doubt the cosmetic design of the Daleks was what the new Daleks considered impure anyway. I find the Daleks continual infighting in itself amusing, no matter what, they always consider themselves impure and keeps wiping themselves out, creating a new pure blood line, until they consider it impure again.



So next we're introduced to a girl in a red dress as she goes through pseudo normal every day life, which is quirky and cheerful despite Daleks attempting to audibly break in. Upon seeing her, I thought she looked familiar, but my friend I was watching it with was the one to call it out. That was Jenna Louise Coleman, the Actress that's supposed to show up in the christmas special to play Carla, and become the new companion! Why is she here now? We later learn she's playing a character named Oswald Oswin, so it seems this is going to be how we had Freema Agyeman playing a character that gets killed off in doomsday, before appearing as Martha Jones, the next companion.

With some more exposition about the Asylum, we're off on our adventure into Asylum, but not before each one makes a question, with Rory asking what color they were, only to be met with awkward stares. I found this amusing, not just because they stared at him like a idiot, but because that was actually a valid question, since we have no idea what Daleks are supposed to look like at the moment. Poor dumb Rory.

My friend and I lately were musing over Daleks, being psyched to see them again after their long, yet much needed hiatus after how much they were used by RTD. In our musings, zombies got brought up, and logically, a zombie Dalek was purposed! The only safe alien zombie we decided would be a Dalek, it'd be too dumb to be dangerous, it'd be stuck in its shell and be unable to bite you. Thank you Moffat for bringing to us not just a actual Dalek girl, but Dalek fucking Zombies! 

 
During RTD's run, Daleks were cuter and more laughable than scary, but at last Dalek's are scary again! At least, that was what I said, which led my friend, lets call her EV since saying my friend repeatedly gets awkward, anyway, that comment led EV to reply with “Again? They were never scary.” Point taken.

In the altercation with the zombie Daleks, somehow Amy loses her band that protects her from becoming a Dalek Human hybrid through nanites. I only mention that since it'll be a plot point later, albeit a small one.

Meanwhile we're taken to poor dumb Rory, scurrying about around classic Daleks, bringing me to the next scene I loved. “Exexexexex!” Goes the Dalek. Eggs? Rory asks and offers a Dalek bump that was laying on the floor, asking if that's what it wants. Slowly though it fully awakens and finishes the word, Exterminate! Poor dumb Rory. 

 
I heard others comment how it should have been obvious to Rory, that's all they say after all! To be fair, our knowledge doesn't translate into character knowledge. The only time Rory ever even met a Dalek was during the Big Bang, where he takes one on, unarmed. In fact, he takes off his hand and shoots it in the face! That marked Rory's first and only Dalek experience.

The episode goes on well for awhile, and I begin enjoying Oswin as a character, and how she calls Rory Nina. Alas though we get to the exposition all married couples have with one and another, where Amy tells Rory she can't have children, not after what the Silence did to her at seasons run during a good man goes to war! Thank god married couples make exposition comments that they both know, if not, Amy wouldnt of told her husband Rory that line of exposition, and we wouldn't know she lost her ability to get pregnant at demons run when they had her captive, which eventually led to her dumping him because he always wanted children and she couldn't have any more!

Was that last paragraph awkward? It should have been, because it was when I heard that line from Amy. Did no one watch this episode? With just some editing and rewriting, this could have been fixed, yet it wasn't. At least it wasn't a whip-lash like with the miniseries: Pondlife, which goes from happy and cheerful until the last episode, where it's suddenly tried to be so utterly depressing and show that there's a problem with Amy and Rory's marriage. Casual, hyper, happy and funny episodes, and then suddenly, everyone's crying, including the Doctor who's leaving a message on their phone and doesn't even know there's a problem. The whiplash I got from that could of broken my neck, how harsh it was. Come on Moffat, I know you can be an amazing writer, what is all this? I'm not even done. The entire conversation that led to the exposition on Amy's inability to pop out babies, was pointless because while it started from Rory trying to give Amy his wrist device to protect her from the Dalek zombie nanites, she had the Doctor's wrist device the entire time without knowing it. Apparently he doesn't need it because he's a timelord. How do you know that Amy? Why would time lord be shielded from the nanites? There's no reason for her to think he doesn't need it, yet we get spouted that pointless bit of dialogue.


Alas I found Oswins fate revealed sad and depressing. Hearing a Dalek cry, now that got me. Oswin during this affair deletes the Doctor from the Daleks hive memory, and asks him to remember her, before being left behind. The Doctor beams back to the Daleks parliament where he taunts them, only to learn what Oswin did when they have no idea who he is. Amused by this, after dropping off Amy and Rory back on earth, he repeatedly states the phrase “Doctor Who” in a way that I can only describe as Fan fiction. We get it, you want to handle that question for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, now stop stuffing that question in every damn scene possible! I wont even touch my opinion on the whole “Doctor Who” question, that's a whole other rant.

So all in all, I'm very disappointed in the Asylum of the Daleks. When series 5 came out, it was amazing episode after amazing episode. The big bang didn't really climax, but we had an amazing one with the Pandorica Opens, one of my favorite episodes in Doctor Who history, followed only by the Eleventh Hour. My expectations couldn't be higher, so I wasn't too surprised when series 6, my expectations were crushed. All the two parters were terribly executed. The beginning of the day of the moon, now I thought that was a whip lash, but Moffat proved that was nothing with Pondlife. The two parter with the flesh was nothing but massive padding the whole second episode, with the Doctor and company standing there awkwardly, talking while they supposedly had seconds before the flesh monster thing broke in. A good man goes to war did not live up to the hyper of “Rise up higher than ever before, and fall so much further.” that the trailers advertised. Moffat spent the entire episode trying to wow the audience that he neglected to do anything to actually build up suspense, to give the episode any climax or “Wham!” moments, with the second of that two parter being Lets Kill Hitler, where I know most people developed their hatred for River Song.

Series 6 ended with the atrocious Wedding of Riversong, and took over a year hiatus. Fine I thought, good, series 5 they took their time and it was amazing, maybe we'll get nothing but solid episodes again with another delay, rather than series 6. Moffat recognized the two parters weren't popular and said no two parters! He learned from the mistakes with series 6, right? If Asylum of the Daleks is any indicator, the answer is no. 

Non Reoccurring Characters: 7/10
 As far as non main characters goes, the only character there really was besides the gang would of been Oswin, which I enjoyed greatly, but alas, one good character doesn't make a show. I feel the Dalek girl from the beginning, that I never caught the name of, could of been such a great character with a deep and sad background, but instead her daughter Hannah was revealed to be a lie and the character was swept under the rug.
Plot: 5/10
It passes as far as getting the characters where we need them, but doesn't hold up to any critical thought.Girl dalek and her daughter Hannah? Throw away plot point, which feels WRONG after seeing the prequel. Dalek Prime Minister instead of emperor? Weird. Skaro survives? I liked that addition, makes the gimes such as Blood of the Daleks, feel canon. Biggest annoyance? It doesn't feel like the Daleks need the Doctor to save them? Save them from what? A girl who was screwing around with the Daleks on their prison planet for a year? That's it?  It's good enough to get the characters where we need them for the episode, but no further.
Fun Factor:  8/10
Seeing the suicide bomber Dalek and the general joy that was Oswin saved what could of just as easily been a subpar episode. It was good to see the classic daleks too, even if it was never high lighted and you had to strain your eye a bit to spot them in the back ground.
Directing and Writing: 3/10
Exposition was terrible, just to get out information we don't even need to know yet. Worst, the entire scene were Amy expositions her infertility wasn't needed because the Doctor already gave her a wrist device that according to Amy, he never even needed in the first place because he's a timelord? What? So what? So many throw away lines, yet never do the classic Daleks get referenced even with a throw away line? Really? Do you have ANY IDEA how much hype surrounded this episode because there'd be classic Daleks, and the return of the Heavy Weapons Dalek? A wasted opportunity if I ever saw one. This is really where the episode falls flat, which is sad since these are things that should of been caught and fixed long before making it on screen.
Overall: 6/10
It passes as a episode, but rewatching it was no where near as enjoyable as the first time around, when I was Doctor Who starved. It doesn't hold up to critical thought, it's FILLED with missed opportunities, ESPECIALLY with the classic Daleks. Why bring up Skaro of all planets if we'd spend less than a minute on it? Whatever, it shows Skaro survived the time war I suppose. I did enjoy seeing it, and it's good to have SOMETHING from the Doctor Who movie made canon. Why bring up a plot thread of a girl and her lost daughter Hannah? It's a minor point in the episode but if you seen the prequel that really should of been part of the episode rather than a obscure itunes download, it really feels like it should be a big deal. The episode throughout felt rushed with little time for polish, and was filled with bad dialogue. I'm looking at you Mrs. Exposition (Pond) and "Doc-tor-whooo? Doc-toor-who?"(By the Doctor no less) at the end.  

Final Notes
I thought it was amusing how they had Amy Pond posing as a model in the beginning of this episode. I suppose it's a in joke, as she got her career started in 2007 as a model, and has dated a model photographer. There's one thing that really got to me though. I'll never get over my annoyance that the ''prequel'', which seriously alters your view on the episode rather than being spice like it should of been. Especially for a obscure one that only people with itunes could of seen in the first place. Bonus content should just add flavor to an episode, some amusing background development, not massively change how you intemperate the episode!


Watch Vote: Vital. There's important plot notes brought up in this episode, and it can be fun to watch once, though it does feel like a first draft and on the sloppy side.

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