After far too long, Doctor Who is back, picking up from where it left off with some familiar questions, new faces where you least expect them, and… the Daleks actually seeming scary again? How did that happen? Of course we have five questions about "Asylum of The Daleks."
Wait, Was That…?
…Yes, that really was Jenna-Louise Coleman as Oswin. Yes, the Jenna-Louise Coleman who was announced as the new companion earlier this year, described as being someone that the Doctor would meet in "a very, very different way" by Steven Moffat. She was supposed to make her debut in the season's sixth episode according to early announcements, but now we know that that was a bit of a fake-out… The questions now are "Is Oswin going to be the new companion, or will Coleman's regular character be someone else who just looks like her?" "If so, will that happen before or after she's a Dalek in her own personal timeline?" and, of course, "Are we going to see Oswin again before episode 6?" Whatever the answers: That was very sneaky, Steven Moffat. And kind of wonderful, too. I really liked Oswin; I hope we do see a lot more of her.
Are Amy and the Doctor Part Dalek Now?
A small thing, but it seemed to lack closure in the episode. Did the Doctor putting his nano-bracelet on Amy undo the changes she'd already gone through? Did his removing his bracelet have any effect on him? Amy and Rory only have four more episodes to go, after all. Maybe she'll end up becoming a Dalek after all.
Do We Now Know What Episode 4 Is About?
I find myself conflicted about the Pond separation plot. Again, the revelation that they were getting divorced came as a surprise - I saw this episode before the final episode of Pond Life, about which more tomorrow - and the reasoning behind it made some sense, but the actual scene where Amy explained all fell flat for me, with the dialogue seeming overwrought and the logic seeming… off, I guess? I don't know, I just always took Amy and Rory's relationship to be one where (a) she could have and would have told him that earlier, and (b) he would have stayed with her, even if it meant giving up his dream of having kids. Nonetheless, the fact that the fourth episode of this season is called "The Power of 3" makes me wonder if Amy and Rory's lack of children in their future is going to be addressed. After all, "baby makes three," right…?
So, I Guess That Thing About A Season of Standalone Episodes Wasn't True, Then?
With both Oswin and the Pond relationship seeming somewhat unresolved at the end of this episode, I really can't believe the idea that this season isn't going to have overarching stories running through it. Sure, it may not be one massive narrative a la last season, but this clearly isn't going to be a year of entirely standalone episodes. If it were, Oswin wouldn't have shown up so early, and Amy and Rory wouldn't have been given an entirely new dynamic to play with so close to their leaving the show. Again, very sneaky, Who Powers-That-Be.
So, this is the second episode in a row that ends with the line "Doctor Who?" Three thoughts:
(1) I really hope this isn't a trend. It's kind of old, already; please, "Dinosaurs On A Spaceship," give us a different final line.
(2) I am enjoying seeing Moffat deconstruct the character as he was portrayed in season 5. Think about it; all through season 5, the Doctor would show up, saying "I'm the Doctor" and the alien threats would get scared. It was a great way of installing Matt Smith in the role and allowing him to own it, but I'm far more a fan of seeing the Doctor actually have to outwit his opponents as opposed to simply terrify them with his name. I'm glad to see his fame slowly go away, to be honest.
(3) The secret identity of the Doctor is going to be central to the 50th anniversary episode next year, isn't it? I can't expect that Steven Moffat would pass up the chance to use such an important time to answer what is beginning to become such an important question in the show's mythology.
All told, though, I thought this was a great re-entry point for the show. I'm glad it's back.