Doctor Who Recap: “Asylum of the Daleks”

By September 2, 2012


Doctor Who is back with a vengeance, and by the end of this episode, the whole game has changed.

Let’s start with the Daleks. For nearly 50 years, the Doctor has been the Daleks’ archenemy. But, for now, that’s all over with. Why, you ask? Because the collective mind of the Daleks got amnesia.

Rewind to the beginning. The Doctor’s been summoned to Skaro by a mysterious woman who claims to have escaped from a Dalek prison. She’s been converted to a Dalek drone, and, upon meeting with the Doctor, teleports him to the Dalek Parliament.

Meanwhile, as we learned in Pond Life: Part 5, something’s wrong with Amy and Rory. How, the viewer wonders, did we go from Rory the Roman, who waited 2,000 years for his beloved Amy, to the Ponds signing divorce papers?

Fortunately for our wayward lovers, the Daleks kidnap them too. Soon, the trio is standing in the middle of the Parliament, reunited and surrounded by thousands–if not millions!–of Daleks…all asking the Doctor for help.

The Doctor doesn’t have much say in the matter, and before we know it, he, Amy, and Rory are being fitted with wrist bands that will shield them from Dalek-conversion. Their destination? An Dalek insane asylum.

During their fall to the planet below, Rory is separated from the Doctor and Amy, landing in a room full of slumbering Daleks.

Amy and the Doctor, meanwhile, encounter zombiesque human-Dalek drones. One of these zombies steals Amy’s wrist band, leaving her defenseless against conversion.

Meanwhile, everyone’s talking to Oswin, a survivor of a crash-landing and a hacking genius. Dubbed “soufflé girl” by the group–she spends her days making, and burning, soufflés–she expertly guides them through the asylum.

The Ponds are reunited, and the Doctor leaves them to sort out their marriage. To buy them some time, Rory insists on giving Amy his wristwatch. According to Oswin, creating a Dalek involves “subtracting love and adding anger,” and Rory believes his conversion will take longer because he has more love. After all, he insists, he has always loved Amy more than she’s loved him.

It isn’t true. Tearfully, Amy admits that she sent him away not because she doesn’t love him, but because she does. Her time at Demon’s Run left her infertile, and she knows how badly he wants children. She didn’t kick him out–she gave him up–and it was the hardest thing she’d ever done.

Meanwhile, the Doctor searches for Oswin, deep in the Dalek intensive care ward (who, one must wonder, oversees the Daleks in the asylum?). The Daleks wake up and try to exterminate the Doctor (incidentally, they call him ‘The Predator’), but Oswin hacks their system and erases him from their memories just in the knick of time.

Oswin’s all packed and ready to go by the time the Doctor gets there, but there’s one problem. She isn’t trapped inside her spaceship–she’s trapped inside a Dalek’s body. Wanting to harness her genius, the Daleks didn’t turn her into a mindless drone like the other survivors of the crash; they converted her fully. Devastated, Dalek Oswin nearly exterminates the Doctor, but cannot quite cast off her humanity. Instead, she hacks into the system and drops the shield around the asylum, telling the Doctor to run before the planet is destroyed by the Dalek Parliament, and she along with it.

The Doctor, Amy, and Rory teleport back to the TARDIS and pop into the Dalek Parliament…only to discover that the Doctor has been completely wiped from the Dalek’s collective memories–a parting gift from Oswin.

If you haven’t been paying attention to spoilers and casting for the upcoming season, you’ll want to turn back now. Read no further, because there’s an even bigger twist than Oswin being a Dalek and the Daleks forgetting the Doctor completely.

Oswin, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, is slated to be the Doctor’s new companion.