Well, here we are again. Another series, (and eventually, I’m going to try and do all of the modern Dr. Who series starting with the Russell T. Davies run) and now Dr. Who is doing the split season. I really am over the split season with shows. I hated it when The Sopranos did it in its final season, I hate that Breaking Bad is doing it with this current season (with that jaw-and-bowel-dropping ending), and I hate that Dr. Who is doing it this season.
Then again, the split season sort of makes sense as these are the last five episodes with Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvil before they leave the show to make room for Jenna Louise Coleman as the new companion Clara Oswin. So I can sort of get behind this, but I still hate it.
That said, if you haven’t seen the Pond Life prologue, watch it right now (along with the odd prequel to this episode). And let’s get ready to rumble, because everyone’s favorite Nazi analogues, the Daleks are back with some surprising tactics, and a few shocking appearances.
Bullet points are go, and, in the words of Miss River Song – Spoilers!
- First off: Why hello, Skaro! And what a brilliant way to trap our intrepid heroes even though two of them are at odds with one another.
- Side note: Amy’s still modeling?!? Who knew that her time as the face of Petricore would lead to her popularity? Maybe that’s why Rory served her divorce papers. Yes, you read that correctly. The Ponds are splitting up.
- Side note: Did you notice that she signed the papers Amy Williams?
- And then we see the Parliment of the Daleks, uttering the two scariest words: “Save us.” As the Doctor said himself “Well, that’s new.”
- And the new opening with the Dalek’d titles. Don’t know how I feel about the theme logos, but there it is.
- And there we meet soufflé girl! I’ll discuss her later in the post but anyway, she’s trapped in the Dalek’s Asylum, the home for the crazy Daleks.
- Who knew the Daleks had a concept of beauty (of course it’s unbridled rage but still)? And who knew that they find the Doctor beautiful (their anger at him)? It’s a really interesting paradigm to view the whole Doctor/Dalex feud.
- The Dalek sleeper agents were a great touch.
- Upon watching this episode for a second time, it was clear where they were going with the twist, but unlike other twist episodes, this one ropes you in on the first viewing and doesn’t give you a chance to think. Until you think about the eggs…
- And then there was the blistering argument between Rory and Amy and the real reason for the divorce. It’s nice to see that there were actual consequences of what happened to Amy at Demon’s Run during A Good Man Goes To War. And it’s fitting that it’s not the Doctor who’s the cause of the divorce but Amy’s infertility and her pushing Rory away.
- Once again, we have a companion or friend of the Doctor sacrificing himself / herself for the Doctor but doing him a major solid first; in keeping with the end of Series 6 and trying to keep a lower profile, the Daleks have forgotten their Predator. And did you notice they’re asking the question that dare not be asked, lest silence will fall.
All right, I’ve tap-danced around it long enough. Let’s talk about this…
And with the strains of the “Harbanera” (with red rose in hair to boot!), Miss Jenna-Louise Coleman makes her Dr. Who debut. As we saw in this episode she pulls a River Song and sacrifices herself to save the Doctor from doom (and while wiping the memory of The Daleks to boot). Now this begs the question: how is she going to be the companion? Or does he start with her earlier in time and then we all know her final fate? Frankly I really hope this isn’t the route Moffat and company take because it’ll just be a riff on the River Song story (and will show a lack of creativity).
There is one theory floating around that I can sort of subscribe to: In all the promotional stuff since her announcement, the character was referred to as Clara Oswin. But in the episode, her name is Oswin Oswald. Now maybe they’ve changed the name since then. Or, maybe this is a descendant of Clara Oswin and Clara will be the one to go travelling with the Doctor, and her daughter heard the stories about traveling through time and space and joined the fateful crew of the Alaska. It’s a theory but it would also explain the whole recorded message to her mother in the beginning.
That said, if this is what we’re to expect of Ms. Coleman as the companion, I’ll take it! It’s nice to have a whip-smart companion who can riff against the Doctor and hold their own (which is one of the reasons people loved the David Tennant/Catherine Tate pairing, and before that Tom Smith/Elisabeth Slatterly and Sylvester McCoy / Sophie Aldred had the same rapid-fire, screwball delivery). I like not only the braininess of Oswin but her resourcefulness as well. She should be a great salve to heal the wound over losing the Ponds.
UPDATE: Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, those paragons of virtue Tom and Lorenzo have added Dr. Who to their recap list.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Neil Gaiman for winning a Hugo Award for last year’s episode “The Doctor’s Wife.” And even better, he’s writing an episode for the second half of this season!