If you're having problems with your radio reception, please call your friendly neighbourhood archnemesis
While everyone on my newsfeed masturbates furiously to the return of college football, I’m over here celebrating a far more important return, that of the eleventh Doctor. So buckle up, because Dr. Improbable is here to report on Doctor Who, which I would call a Doctorception except Moffat sort of already did that with the series six finale.
Caution: spoilers, sweetie.
We’re treated to a voice over about the Dalek’s history while we view their planet, Skaro. It is exactly as lovely as you’d imagine a planet inhabited by warmongering robots would be. A red-headed woman (I suspect Moffat loves gingers) pleads with the Doctor to help free her daughter Hannah from imprisonment. She claims she escaped from their internment camp, but the Doctor calls her bluff, and it turns out she’s really a Dalek wearing a human suit.
Meanwhile, Amy Pond is at a photoshoot. Rory Pond/Williams shows up with divorce papers! Scandal! Also, bullshit, i'm calling it now. Also Rory’s rocking some James Dean hair, which works for him in the sense that it doesn’t not work for him. Anyway, the Daleks, via their human puppets, acquire the Ponds as well.
The Ponds and their Doctor address Dalek parliament and the Dalek Prime Minister, so that we don’t forget this is a British show. They ask (or rather, demand in their incredibly grating voices) for the Doctor’s help. Wait, wha-?
Intro time! It’s the same song we know and love, but they’ve updated the fonts.
And we’re back! There’s a pretty girl baking (burning) a soufflé. She records a message on her journal. She seems pretty chipper for a girl held hostage by the Daleks. She plays Carmen to drown out their incredibly grating voices. Yeah, I might wear that phrase out by the end of this, but gods, their voices are just terrible.
So after the Daleks reveal that hatred is aesthetically pleasing to them, they explain about their Asylum planet. It’s basically a place where a bunch of Daleks with PTSD go to hang out after they’ve fought their last battle. So it’s populated by half-broken Daleks that are twelve times more insane than regular Daleks. Of course, the latter have been outsmarted by cookies before, so that doesn’t inspire as much fear as it probably should. Anyway, the Daleks want the Doctor (and his Pond companions) to sneak in, disable the planet’s protective force field, and retrieve this soufflé-baking girl. I guess the Daleks find Carmen as annoying as I find their voices. It seems like calling your species’ greatest enemy in just to turn down the radio is a little excessive, but what do I know? The Doctor is more curious as to why the Ponds seem distant. And where the girl gets milk from.
The Doctor, Rory, and Amy are beamed down to an icy, mountainous planet, though they do not land near each other. Amy is greeted by a be-parka’d man named Harvey. Soufflé girl finds the Doctor with her highjacked Dalek periscope. Rory has fallen down a hole into a pit of old Daleks, because of course he has.
Amy and the Doctor meet up on the surface. Harvey shows them his escape pod and introduces him to his crew, who he says he left only two hours ago. The Doctor points out that most people don’t go from being alive to being skeletons in a short two hours. Surprise, surprise, Harvey is also a Dalek meat-puppet. This allows the Doctor to exposit to Amy that the wristbands the Daleks gave them protect them from being turned into meat-puppets by microDaleks. Well, okay, he calls them microbots, but realistically they are microDaleks.
Amy and the Doctor make it into the planet. She tells him not to bother trying to fix their (hers and Rory’s, not hers and the Doctor’s, obviously) marriage. They also see that her wristband is gone.
Rory, meanwhile, is examining the Daleks he’s fallen in with. They look old and worn down, but when he moves one of them, it moves back on its own. He backs up, tripping over a metal pipe conveniently placed in his way, and they all activate and attack him. Never fear, soufflé girl helps him out while flirting with him. Maybe I should’ve given the James Dean look more credit.
Amy is being consumed by the microDaleks- they’re erasing her memories. The Doctor tells her to embrace her emotions, because that’s the general rule of action in these situations. While our Doctor converses with Oswyn (soufflé girl) to try to find a way out of this mess, Amy sees some creepy people in another room. Oh, no, wait, those are just Daleks projecting into her mind. Amy’s had her brain messed with so many times at this point that I’m not sure why she isn’t a vegetable. The Doctor pulls her away, triggers a Dalek to initiate self-destruct, and sends it zooming backwards into its comrades. There is a glorious explosion of Daleks, so grand that even Rory can hear it.
The Doctor brings Amy to Rory in a typically melodramatic fashion (hey, they had to put something in the promos). There is also a typical exchange, in which the Doctor explains that Amy is turning into DalekAmy, Rory worries about Amy, Amy slaps Rory, and the Doctor wonders where Oswyn is getting milk for the soufflés. All in a day’s work. Oswyn explains that she’s a genius with the Dalek machines, and she can disable the force field to allow for them to be beamed up out of the planet. The Doctor is admittedly impressed.
The Doctor runs along to find this Oswyn so that she can be rescued, too. The Ponds stay behind; Rory offers to give Amy his wristband, saying that he obviously has more love for the Daleks to deplete, since Amy threw him out and he waited 2000 years for her outside of a box. She contends that throwing him out was awful, but she did it because she loved him, because whatever they did to her at Demon’s Run ruined her ability to have kids. So, wait, that’s why you guys broke up? Because Amy can’t have kids? I mean, a) technically you already have one and b) it’s 2012, there are ways around that. And also you are friends with a time-and-space-travelling Doctor who gave a magic potion to a woman to fix her brain tumours. Seriously, did you even discuss this? Isn’t communication important in a marriage? Do they not have Dr. Oz in the UK? Anyway, it’s irrelevant because the Doctor slipped his wristband onto Amy before he left.
The Doctor is forced to pass the Daleks that survived the wars against him. They awaken, and are pissed, but at the last minute Oswyn disables them by hacking into their brain net or whatever. Somehow WiFi doesn’t seem like the most secure and reliable form of communication/telepathy, but I guess the Daleks probably don’t have Comcast. She deletes all instances of the Doctor in their archive, so they have no memory of him anywhere.
In the second dramatic reveal of this episode, which I figured out about five minutes ago, Oswyn is actually a Dalek. She was on the crashed ship and when she tried to escape, they basically captured her and enclosed her inside a Dalek… body? capsule? dustbin? She maintains that, despite her exterior, she’s human. The Doctor seems to think that she’s a Dalek, but like, obviously, she was helping you dude, she’s a human on the inside still, no Dalek whatsoever. But apparently that still means she gets left behind before everything gets all explode-y. She does one last human-y thing and turns off the force field.
Meanwhile, things are very explode-y in the teleport room, but Amy and Rory of course wait for the Doctor. They beam up to the ship, where none of the Daleks recognize him. They keep yelling “Doctor Who? Doctor Who?” It’s very meta. But hey, they got Carmen off their radio, so I guess that’s a win in their book. The Ponds get dropped off (together!) and the Doctor carries on.
Doctor Who is a show where you can’t really get too bogged down in the details because a lot of things don’t make sense. It’s campy and absurd and illogical and the world lacks consistent rules. But it’s brilliant and emotional and I love it anyway. This episode definitely lacked on the logic side, but I’m sure half a season from now we’ll find out something really crucial happened here besides the obvious “Daleks forgot who the Doctor is.” I’m looking forward to whatever insane arcs Moffat has in store for us this series.
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