Kali (_thirty2flavors) wrote in dwrewatch,

7x01 Asylum of the Daleks discussion post

When we restarted this comm most people voted for us to have discussion posts for new episodes as they aired. Since we do rewatch posts on Saturday, we figure we'll do the discussion posts for the new episodes on Sunday, after you've hopefully had a bit of time to digest.

  1. First up: we open this episode on Skaro, of all places, and then of course meet a whole host of Daleks. Lots and lots of Daleks. Democratically elected Daleks! Special weapons Daleks! Insane Daleks! Dalek people! We also learn that the Daleks hesitate to kill their insane brethren because their hatred is "beautiful". So the question is -- what did you think of the Daleks in this episode? Did you like the new "human" Daleks, like Darla? Did you like seeing Skaro, or did it bother your sense of continuity? Did you like the way Daleks were used in this episode, or did it feel like a cheap way to grab headlines?

  2. Second: the Ponds! We open this episode seeing Amy and Rory signing divorce papers, and indeed they spend most of the episode quite tetchy with each other. Later we learn that Amy had kicked Rory out of the house upon learning she's barren and knowing that Rory has always wanted children. What did you think of this emotional plotline? Did you think it was a reasonable response for the characters? It's been described by some as "the emotional fall-out from series 6 finally arriving" -- do you agree or disagree? What about their reconciliation? Did you think it felt natural, or forced to make a happy ending?

  3. We also finally get confirmation on at least part of Amy's career post-Doctor: she's a model. Do you think this suits Amy?

  4. The episode ends with the Daleks having forgotten everything they knew about their "predator", the Doctor, and then chanting "DOCTOR WHO?" in case you forgot what show you were watching. Is this a good way to put a new spin of the Daleks, or an embarrassment to 50 years of canon?

  5. Okay okay, probably the biggest thing for most people: the unexpected first appearance of our new companion, Jenna Louise Coleman, as Oswin. What was your first impression of her? Were you surprised to see her, and if so, was it a good surprise or a bad surprise? What about Oswin herself, did you like the character? Did the reveal at the end surprise you or was it obvious? Did you feel for her? Are you intrigued to see how she comes back and/or how she's related to the companion JLC will play in the future, or are you just a bit irritated by another mystery overshadowing one of the final Pond episodes? Do you have a favourite theory?
Tags: 7x01 asylum of the daleks, discussion post, series 7
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1. I didn't care much about this stuff when I first watched, but the more I think about it the dumber it becomes. I mean, Dalek mythology is never gonna be my number one priority, so... whatever, but I still think it IS pretty stupid. Skaro wasn't even necessary for one, it was just there for the "omg" moment, but supposedly Skaro was destroyed so ? IDEK. The constant changes to what a Dalek is are a bit annoying as well since Daleks are meant to be the ultimate in racial cleansing. Your standards are slipping, Daleks.

Also, "we can't kill them because their hatred is beautiful but we want to kill them so help us" was ... what?

2. L O L the Pond stuff was TERRIBLE. Terrible. It was shoehorned in there to grab headlines ("the Ponds divorce/!?!?!") and give Amy and Rory something to do while the plot exists around them. Amy's infertility and their struggle over whether or not to have more kids would be interesting if it were explored well, but it wasn't. And o i c @ Amy's abuse at the hands of her kidnappers turning into something that might make Rory sad, or whatever. Just, whatever, I'm so over the Ponds and their awful writing at this point that it's funny to me.

And then someone pointed out to me that it seems to be that the Doctor waits to give Amy his bracelet -- he doesn't seem to need it after all -- because he wants to manipulate her and Rory into getting back together. WHAT. Amy is tripping balls in this episode, she's scared, she's TURNING INTO A DALEK and the Doctor is okay with all of that happening and not helping her when he could be helping her because he wants to manipulate her and Rory back together. Uhhhhhhhh okay, thanks Doctor.

3. lol a great example of how few shits the show gives about developing Amy Pond's life outside of or after the Doctor. Also the photoshoot styling was pretty bad sry2say.

4. I don't really get how them forgetting the Doctor helps anyone. He's often used that fear as protection, and there are many times the only reason he's not died is because the Daleks know him as a threat more important than the average human. Why would they not just kill him on sight next time?

Also, the "Doctor Who?" scenes were terrible. I die a little inside every time someone makes that joke and this was many someones making that joke over and over ugh second hand embarrassing.

5. Oswin made and saved this episode for me. Despite all the above negativity, I'd say this is my favourite Moffat-written episode since s5, and all because I thought Oswin was incredibly charming. I really liked JLC's performance and since I was unspoiled for her being there, that thrilled me too. I was bored until she showed up. There are some things that grated on me ("it's a phase!") and I really, REALLY hope that whatever the connection is between Oswin and Future Companion it's NOT a rehash of River Song, but overall I found Oswin very charming and I thought her story and the "twist" that she's a Dalek was sweet. Even if it makes no sense that they heard her sweet girl voice most of the ep.

I do worry that showing her now just teased me and now I'll be even more bored for the remaining four episodes of Amy and Rory, though.

Lollll these questions are so delicately phrased.

Is this a good way to put a new spin of the Daleks, or an embarrassment to 50 years of canon?

A+ whoever wrote this.

Things that were good about this episode: OSWIN. And Karen's acting.
Things that were not: everything else.

I seriously want to see Dalek general election posters and slogans now. And televised election debates. And pundits. Dalek!Stephen Colbert is on the side of higher taxes and freeing human prisoners,that sort of thing. This was the wish I didn't know I had.
Since "Oswin" is not a girl's name, but rather a boy's name/surname, and considering how much she liked gender-bender nicknames, my current bet is that this IS Clara, and that Oswin is her nickname for herself. Eleven never saw her, and we saw a mind-wipe in progress sooooo ... timey wimey stuff is my bet.
1. The idea of the Daleks not killing the insane/imperfect Daleks because their hatred is "beautiful" was pretty stupid, imo. I mean, it just doesn't really make sense to me that the Daleks would hesitate to kill anything that didn't live up to their standards of perfection. But whatever. I'm not all THAT attached to Dalek mythology, so meh. Did earlier episodes specifically say that Skaro was destroyed/time locked? I am really bad at remembering this stuff. But since I'm bad at remembering stuff like this, it didn't bother me that Skaro was there. LOL. Like idk. The Daleks are never an enemy that interests me for their Dalek-ness. Like genocidal robots are not an especially brilliant villain. It's more about their history with the Doctor that is interesting. More on that late.

2. BAD. BAD BAD BAD AND MOFFAT SHOULD FEEL BAD. Omg. Like if they had discussed having kids at any point in series 5 or 6, this story would have made more sense (LOL AMY AND RORY NEVER EVEN REALLY TALKED ABOUT BABY MELODY). Or if we had had more lead up to troubles in their marriage. Or if it wasn't already at the SIGNING DIVORCE PAPERS stage. Because like WOW ok. You've made it to the signing divorce papers stage without even talking about why you're divorcing? YIKES. And then it was resolved in like 20 seconds. WOW.

It was really manufactured drama at its worst. There was no believable build up and then it was resolved too easily.

3. Well it suits her as much as any other job, I guess. Amy wasn't really given enough background or context so why not be a model? But it does bother me a lot that the decision to make her a model basically seems to be based on "Karen Gillan is hot" and not like "When we met Amy in The Eleventh Hour she was an aspiring/struggling model working as a kissogram to pay the bills".

The episode ends with the Daleks having forgotten everything they knew about their "predator", the Doctor, and then chanting "DOCTOR WHO?" in case you forgot what show you were watching. Is this a good way to put a new spin of the Daleks, or an embarrassment to 50 years of canon?

4. I was NOT amused. For me the reason that the Daleks are interesting is that they do have this history with the Doctor. And to throw it all away for the "Doctor Who" joke? NOPE NO NO NO. I mean, idk. Moffat keeps touching on the idea of memory and remembering but he never really fully explored, so maybe it'll come back with this storyline??? Or maybe it'll just be forgotten. idk.

5. Lol I can't answer as to whether anything was surprising because I spoiled myself to high heaven before I watched it. I did feel for her though JLC did a fantastic job of selling what was written. And she was just a really fun presence on the screen. I enjoyed her a lot as Oswin and I hope I feel the same about Clara.

As for how Oswin and Clara are related? DAMNED IF I KNOW. IT IS DRIVING ME NUTS. AND NOT IN A FUN WAY. UUUUGH.

Currently my favorite theory is that it was all a red herring and there is no connection between Clara and Oswin and since the Doctor doesn't know what Oswin looked liked, he won't noticed anything and no one on the show will ever comment on it. LOL.
1. Daleks
This didn't bother me as much since as early as the end of season one there were thousands of Daleks again (though they were obliterated). I think it's weird that so many Daleks AND SKARO have returned, but no Time Lords and no Gallifrey. That also doesn't bother me as much, since they shouldn't bring it all back or else what was the point. It just makes me think that possibly the Time Lords/Gallifrey could come back eventually. JUST NOT UNDER MOFFAT, PLEASE.

The Daleks not killing the insane Daleks because they thought they were beautiful was stupid. The paradigm Daleks killed their predecessors because they were genetically imperfect. So did that mean they didn't hate as much? I don't know, just seemed like something that was intended to be profound, but came off like purple prose to me. BUT--over all, the Dalek stuff wasn't a deal breaker for me. What was closer to a deal breaker was how the Doctor dealt with them. I totally missed any form of hesitant humanity from the Doctor. It felt like all of his development with regards to treatment of life in the universe went out the window. But idk if that's just how Matt Smith plays the Doctor. I just felt like David Tennant conveyed stuff like that so plainly without having to even say anything. Eccleston too.

2. The Ponds
The divorce bit was poorly written, poorly developed, came out of nowhere and was resolved in like thirty seconds. I was really curious to hear a child's perspective on this issue, so I asked my friend's kid (who is 10) and he had no idea what was going on or why they were fighting.

While I understand that it's very possible they would have marital issues around this problem, I felt like it was just so terribly written! They needed to elude to the breaking down of communication a lot earlier. Also, it came off like Rory had no idea why he handed Amy divorce papers until that moment. And instead of reassuring her, he had to throw his 2,000 years in her face. Which, ok, I kind of understand saying something flippant like that when you have no fucking clue what's going on and you're at a loss for how to get the truth out of someone... but whatever. They really missed a huge mark when they didn't use Pond Life to explore their relationship breakdown. Even better, they should have explored it after Demon's Run.

Amy has gone through so much. SO MUCH... but it's never addressed. She is never fully in control of her body or her mind in any story arc. Her emotional turmoil and tendency to shut him out is understandable in that context, but it came off like she was mostly upset that she couldn't give her man a child. Did she want one herself? Had they even discussed adoption? I just really felt like the divorce bit was a) fan service: people had complained about the baby thing being glossed over, so this is his way of dealing with it and b) ratings bait: he wanted people to watch the damn episode more than anything.

Amy being a model...eh it seemed superfluous. She was never developed to to this extent so he could have made her anything and it wouldn't matter. I just didn't care. I don't know anything about her personal life other than she's married to Rory. Did she go to modeling school? Did she work as a kissogram to support her modeling pursuits? I see she posed for ads in the previous season, but that's the only clue. I felt like in RTD era, it didn't take a lot of diversion of the plot to establish basic, fundamental aspects about each companion's history and personal life that helped make them into a three dimensional person. I don't know why it's so hard for Moffat to put little things like that into the narrative.


September 3 2012, 14:23:56 UTC 4 years ago Edited:  September 3 2012, 14:31:05 UTC

3. Doctor WhOOOOO?????
I thought it was silly the more they said it, because really would Daleks short sircuit like that over not knowing who any old person is they run in to? Hi, I'm Jenna... Dalek: JENNA WHOOOOOO????? But in the grand scheme of things, I have a feeling this is just part of season 7 story arc, so we should see them figure out who he is. Besides, they will probably think to themselves "WHY DO WE ALWAYS FAIL AT DESTROYING EARTH. EXPLAIN. OH-- THIS MAN IS RESPONSIBLE. EXTERMINATE." There, easily resolved.

4. Oswin/Jenna
I loved her instantly. It helps she has my first name in real life, but I digress. She was very engaging and smart. I'm looking forward to where things go with her, but I'm also worried...because I loved her so much! I was amazed. the first time I ever was so enthusiastic about a Moffat female character from the start. There were a few obnoxious things in her writing (bisexuality as just a phase, makes me concerned that this is just another character who will be written as bisexual to get a laugh out of the audience). I keep speculating over how she's connected with Clara, and nothing seems very straight forward, so I'll just have to now endure more annoying Ponds until episode 5.

I know it sounds like I am totally ripping it apart, but truly I did enjoy it. It wasn't until I started really thinking about things that it all fell apart for me. But I also agree that it was one of my favorite Moffat-written episodes. Which says a lot, tbh.

Sorry I wrote a bit of a novel. lol
1. What stood out to me in relation to the Daleks was the complete lack of continuity. Skaro was supposedly destroyed by the 7th Doctor, but even if it was some decoy that was destroyed, that still wouldn't explain the RTD episodes where it is implied that it was destroyed in the time war. Why else would the Daleks be trying to build a new Skaro on Earth? And even if it did somehow miraculously survive being obliterated, then why wasn't the Doctor surprised or even reacting to it?

When the Ninth Doctor in "Dalek" stumbles upon the last Dalek he's so upset that he wants to murder it. The Doctor and the Dalek were supposed to have both lost everything. So wouldn't the 11th Doctor react to finding out Skaro still exists with a bunch of Daleks on it? Wouldn't he go into a rage about the unfairness of it all? That the Daleks not only could survive but rehabitate on their home planet? That's what the whole Time War was about. And yet, now it means nothing.

From what I've heard there's a video game that takes place continuity wise somewhere toward the end of season 5 where Amy and the Doctor go to Skaro. In the game, its existence is not explained either. Oh and the producer claims it's canon. So that would explain why the Doctor is not surprised. Though it still doesn't explain why it's even there in the first place. That said, is it not egotistical to have something in a video game that's so "big" count as canon and never shown on the show? Not to mention that it doesn't even make sense anyway.

Though I guess the only explanation needed is the Big Bang if you overlook the game. So when the timeline was rebooted and the rules NEVER explained to the audience (hence why many people still don't know that no humans remember aliens anymore because that is only explained in a Moffat interview and hinted in Closing Time when Craig didn't recognize the Cybermen) we don't actually know what changed. Only Moffat does. This next quote comes from Tardis.Wiki:

"During a discussion after at least one round of drinks with Andy Lane, Paul Cornell and David Bishop, he claimed that although "as a television format, Doctor Who equals anything", he couldn't hold up the program as an exemplar of great television to "anybody I work with in television." He went on to call the original program "slow", "embarrassing", and "limited by the relatively meagre talent of the people who were working on it." He spoke particularly harshly of Sixties Doctor Who."


If you look at other stuff from the Sixties they weren't crap — it was just Doctor Who. The first episode of Doctor Who betrays the lie that it's just the Sixties, because the first episode is really good — the rest of it's shit.
Steven Moffat

This could really explain that he's doing the Doctor Who he wants and what came before truly does not matter to him. Hence why he did do the Big Bang. It probably was on purpose to change secretly whatever he didn't like or whatever didn't fit into his own vision. Continuity no longer matters. Why? Because he rewrote the timeline. "Time can be rewritten." When he writes River Song as saying the Doctor isn't quite done...he's not quite finished perhaps he really does see Doctor Who as not being finished until he took over. So continuity doesn't matter. I don't know. Just a theory.

Overall, I thought the first few minutes with the human Daleks were interesting. And there were some good ideas. But when I really think about it I just didn't like it.

2. Basically the whole Pond dilemma felt like one big contrived mess that didn't really gel with their characters. I thought it was a cheap way to get an emotional reaction out of the audience. It didn't feel like real emotion to me, so therefore I was not moved by it. It felt honestly out of character and silly.

3. As Amy has been presented from the beginning I think it suits her character just fine to be a model. That said, I find it to be a strange choice in general in how it's been handled. Moffat has made her self-absorbed. Even less caring as a human in some ways than before she was traveling with the Doctor. She was making bratty expressions to the photographer. She even slid down the banister. For a moment I thought I was seeing Serena from Gossip Girl as the Doctor's companion. If Moffat were to show her using her wealth to help others or something it would make more sense. What I also find strange is that it has felt like the Doctor has really been done traveling with Amy and Rory since "The God Complex." But they keep going on adventures. Sometimes it seems like Amy and Rory don't want to be there. And sometimes it seems like the Doctor doesn't want them there. It's all very odd to me. That said, I do think there are great aspects of Amy and Rory. But sometimes they just don't feel real to me. Like I'm looking at a painting, but not seeing the real people.

4. I guess it could be argued as a new spin on the Daleks, but I just didn't like it. I don't really know what else to say about it. I thought it was kind of grating.

5. At first, I was pleasantly surprised, even excited to see the new companion. Moffat does like to lie. But then I became less and less amused. Her story played out like a rehash of the little girl in Silence of the Library/Forest of the Dead. Same twist really, so I did figure it out. I thought JLC was a cute actress with potential but right now her lines felt like they could have come out of River Song's mouth and it would have had the same effect. I also worry that her story as a companion will be similar to River Song. IE: The Doctor meets her when she dies, now he will meet her in an earlier timeline. I suppose the companion could still turn out to be a relative or something. But I doubt it. I think there will be a twist to it, and frankly I'm tired of Moffat's mysteries. He loves to take a straightforward narrative and then present the story in an overly convoluted manner thus making it feel irritating to watch. That's what I expect. How many fiesty, flirty girls who are smarter than the Doctor do we need from Moffat? I was really looking forward to getting a companion again who would be easier to relate to. Kind of like Rose, Martha and Donna. I liked Amy but she never seemed quite real to me as a character. I guess I just prefer the way RTD writes women. BUT I really hope JLC will turn out to be a great companion. I'll just have to wait and see.
Finally saw it just now (been busy) and I had the same reaction as I've had to almost all Eleven's episodes. Which is: I like the dialogue but everything else is meh.

The Ponds are meh. Amy especially. She's just never impressed me as a character. Sure, she's brave and quirky, and challenges the Doctor and tells him off, all the surface qualities you could want in a companion, but somehow I just don't buy her. I think what it is is that I've never seen her show genuine compassion or caring for another person, at least not convincingly. Like she only loves Rory because his devotion to her feeds her ego. As for the Doctor, she's never seemed to see him as a person with feelings -- not the way Rose, Martha, or Donna did.

I like Rory a bit better, but unfortunately he's such a package deal with her that I literally can't see him existing as his own separate person. He revolves around Amy like the proverbial moth.

The divorce storyline was just like all their other storylines -- so forced and senseless that I can't be bothered to care. They're not characters, they're chess pieces being shoved around at Moffat's whim. They're way past their expiration date and I'm glad they'll finally be gone soon.

Buuuuttt... I did like Jenna-Louise. Things might look up a bit when she officially joins as Clara or whatever her name is. Though I don't trust Moffat not to turn her into a chess piece as well.

Sigh. I think I'll have another RTD marathon.
I am amused by how the questions make many of your opinions about the episode readily apparent.

1. I don't want to be the kind of fan who gets her panties in a wad about continuity flaws, but this bothers me. Daleks don't work that way. They are not Cybermen, and converting people is not in their normal repertoire. They used human cells to make Daleks in Parting of the Ways because they were desperate, but they took the people to bits first and still hated themselves for the unclean origin. I could maybe have accepted the idea of human-shaped puppets that weren't considered full Daleks, although this was a drastic new power and I thought the show needed to spend more time dealing with the revelation. The idea that they'd turn a human, even a genius like Oswin, fully into a Dalek just makes no sense. I honestly hadn't caught that the planet was Skaro while watching the episode and just assumed it was some world they'd conquered, but after learning that it was supposed to be Skaro I am pretty pissed off. I know the Daleks themselves have thoroughly recouped from the Time War, but their homeworld ought to remain out of the picture. However, I do give this episode points for being one of the very few that actually makes the Daleks scary.

2. I thought the handling of the Amy and Rory plotline was not good. All of the complicated and important stuff of the marriage falling apart happened off screen so that Moff could cut straight to them being on the outs and then reconciling. It's lazy writing. Amy's decision to walk out on Rory because she was infertile without explaining her reasoning in the slightest makes NO SENSE, although given how damaged and communication-challenged Amy is I suppose it's not completely unbelievable. But seriously, has she actually seen any doctors to see if she could get pregnant, possibly with some medical assistance? I find it hard to believe that she exhausted her medical options without Rory knowing anything about it, and that it never occurred to her to ask him how he feels about adoption. To some degree I think this addresses the emotional fallout from S6, but I don't get why nobody mentioned that Amy and Rory HAVE a daughter, even if they missed the crucial process of raising her.

3. It suits Amy just fine, but only because Moffat hasn't really seen fit to give her much in the way of interests outside of the Doctor and Rory. (She has shown an interest in art in "Vincent and the Doctor" and in Roman history. I would have liked it if she was shown studying one of these subjects at uni or grad school, or teaching, or even becoming an archeologist like her daughter.)

4. I am interested to see how the Daleks forgetting the Doctor plays out in the story. I think it has some potential, though I am sad that the Doctor is now the only one who remembers the Time War now that even his enemies have forgotten. HOWEVER, I LOATHE the "Doctor Who?" chanting. I don't mind characters asking "Doctor who?" as a passing dumb joke, but this thing Moffat is doing with trying to make it a big deal and a serious question is just fucking dumb.

5. I just don't know. I felt like the show was trying too hard to tell me that I should be charmed by Oswin. It makes a large part of me say "DON'T TELL ME HOW TO FEEL, MOFFAT! I DO WHAT I WANT!" However, I need to try not to let my stubbornness and broader irritation with Moffat get in the way of making a judgment on this character. I did find her twist ending interesting and moving. I knew something was up, but I assumed that it was something like the Daleks having already infected her with nanobots but holding off on making her an empty puppet until she'd served some purpose. While I didn't like the sudden change in the Daleks' modus operandii, the horror of her being a full Dalek was pretty effective and intriguing.

Mostly, I want Jenna Louise Coleman's role as the new companion to be this same character as a Dalek with human feelings. We viewers would see JLC in her little room reacting, but nobody within the show would ever see her human face. It would allow for all sorts of delicious angst plus great potential for comedy when a Dalek tries to accompany the Doctor on his adventures.