Better late than never! Doctor Who was back with a bang on Saturday, and it brought the long-awaited return of the Daleks with it. As well as a divorced Amy and Rory. I’d like to start off by saying that I thought this was a magnificent episode, but not without it’s criticisms. Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill were all on fine form as usual, as was the huge surprise of Jenna Louise-Coleman. She had a bit part in Captain America: The First Avenger and in the serial drama Titanic earlier this year, but other than that her only notable work has been on Coranation Street. Well, I was exxtremely impressed and thought she was a complete stand-out. I can’t wait to see more of Oswin.
The plot moves at a fast pace, including our first look at Skaro again for decades, something for Whovians to nerdgasm over. We also get a completely different take on the Daleks, with them thinking hatred is beautiful and all that, plus millions and millions of old Daleks.
While Amy, Rory and the Doctor are trapped in an entire planet dedicated to being an aslylum for crazy and broken Daleks, you feel a real sense of threat and stakes. These people will die as soon as they achieve what they were sent to do. Plus there’s God knows how many Daleks on their tale. Insane Daleks. And a nanocloud that will turn you into a Dalek unless you wear a special watch.
Pretty big stakes!
As a Who fan since I was terrified of the Autons in 2005, I have to say this episode was extremely satisfying. It’s explosive, insane, hilarious and continues to provide the different take on sci-fi that Doctor Who has always had. But what didn’t I like?
Well, I thought it was rather rushed. Steven Moffat continuously says that he wants to make Doctor Who more like a blockbuster, and the first five episodes of Series 7 have been described as self-contained blockbusters. Well, this definitely WAS a blockbuster, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t too quick. I think most of these blockbuster episodes he goes on about should be two-parters, which is why The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon is my favourite series opener(s).
Another dislike of mine was that the Daleks weren’t really crazy. They just seemed like normal, except most were dusty and broken. I was looking forward to seeing insane and scary Daleks. Sadly I didn’t, but that won’t take away from my enjoyment of it.
My last and largest criticism is that the divorce and marriage problems between Amy and Rory were only touched upon lightly. We literally just see a bit of venom between Amy and Rory at the beginning, with Amy having kicked him out and now a model, and then there’s a two-minute scene in the Asylum near the end where they make up. Also, why would the Daleks capture Amy and Rory? Why do they need them when they can just have the Doctor?
Overall, this was a cracker of an episode and a great opener, but it needed to be less rushed. Take it’s time, and if you can’t make it feel natural then turn it into a two-parter. My final score is: