Doctor Who Re-Review: Season 7 Episode 1 — Asylum of The Daleks

When Season 7 of Doctor Who aired, I posted (gener­ally short) reviews of the episodes which made up my initial impres­sions. Now that the season is avail­able in its entirety on Hulu+ I thought it might be inter­esting to do a re-watch and see how my opin­ions have changed or not. I'm also inter­ested to see how well the season progresses themat­i­cally and other­wise given the crit­i­cism it's received.

My orig­inal review of Asylum of the Daleks can be found here and I was a bit nega­tive about. And a lot of my issues seemed to be with the pacing.

On rewatching most of those pacing issues seem to have gone away. I'm not sure whether that is because I now know the plot or because after a season of it, the pacing has just become the new normal. There are still some prob­lems that I noticed, but first lets point out some highlights.

  • DW_7x01_Asylum_of_the_Daleks_247I love the childish glee of Matt Smith's 11th Doctor and it's here in spades in this episode.
  • Souflle Girl/Oswin/Future Clara as played by Jenna Coleman is wonderful. All her dialogue sparkles and her inter­ac­tion with both the Doctor and Rory is great
  • The dialogue throughout this episode is just plain fun to listen to.
  • The insane Daleks really are incred­ibly creepy. Extra points for the scene where the Doctor is genuinely terri­fied by them.

Plot wise I still think the pacing is off a bit, but that's mainly in the B story of Amy and Rory's rela­tion­ship. The acting by both Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill somehow sells the signif­i­cance and emotion of their rela­tion­ship. But that is despite a complete lack of build up in the script to support it.

You could reason­ably nit-pick a bit here and ask why the Daleks of all crea­tures would have a Parlia­ment, but it's not actu­ally that crazy given how they've been presented over the years. Oswin says they have a hive mind but we're always shown them either chat­ting to each other or or chanting in large numbers. If that's how they like to commu­ni­cate a Parlia­ment sort of makes sense as a talking shop.

My other nitpick would be, who puts the chains on these Daleks and why do they keep using chains that won't actu­ally hold them?

And the explo­ration of the the Doctor's rela­tion­ship to the Daleks. The idea that he is their predator, that he makes them stronger is a good one and links into a larger theme for the season. Also the notion that Dalek's do have a sense of beauty (just a really warped one) was a strong note for me.

All in all then the good easily outweighs the bad here and my second viewing was much more enjoy­able than the first it seems. This sets the season off on a strong note and points us to the thematic echoes we're going to see repeating as things go on.

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