So Doctor Who, Season (series) 7 has begun! Finally!
Episode 1: Asylum of the Daleks
This episode felt a bit rushed; I had no idea that Rory and Amy were having problems in their relationship, so by the time I got to feel a bit sad about that, they were already making up. I guess I missed some of that in the web-shorts Pond Life? Still, it was touching, albeit brief, and it was nice to see some consequences from Demon’s Run and not being able to raise their daughter.
Moffat claims he isn’t doing overarching plot lines so much this season, or double episodes. So far, it’s working out. Despite being rushed, the episode was generally fun and enjoyable. It’s probably my favorite use of the Daleks so far, besides the original Eccleston episode, “Dalek”. The “turning into Daleks” thing felt a bit like the Cybermen, but it still worked as a plot device for the episode, and allowed the Daleks to be scarier than normal. Not that that’s saying much. It also made for a much more tragic tone than just being “exterminated”.
The big thing in the episode, of course, was the appearance of Jenna Louise Coleman. I actually thought she was showing up already as the companion, so the twist at the end was shocking. Her being there at all was surprising, really! Especially as she’s not the companion, yet? I realize two others have shown up in previous episodes (Martha in “Army of Ghosts” and Amy in “The Fires of Pompei”), but neither of them were already planning on being a companion later in the season like JLC is. So this is clearly intentional, but why? She apparently died…and also was a Dalek. I guess we’ll find out! All I know is, I already really like her, and that last season with her realizing what she was was rather moving.
And then of course, we get the repetition of The Question: “Doctor Who?” So much for no arcs…
Episode 2: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
Holy crap, was this episode ever fun. It felt to me like a classic Doctor Who episode (maybe because it’s on an Ark in Space?). The dinosaurs, while potential very silly, were used well and had that great feeling of anachronism as the ancient creatures on the spaceship. The worked great as both monsters and sympathetic, beautiful creatures. The crew the Doctor assembled was fantastic, especially Rory’s dad. While Amy is often considered to be an inconsistent character, she was at her best in this episode: Clever, strong, funny, and brave.
It was funny that the plot was the same as the last episode: “Let’s get out of here before they blow us up with missiles”, but I felt it was more effective this time around, maybe because the doctor wanted to save the whole thing instead of just himself and his companions. Everyone had a chance to be a hero, there was plenty of humor and action (The Doctor, Rory, and Brian on the beach made me laugh so much I feel like a pulled the stitches in my mouth. Oral surgery, don’t ask), and we got to see Smith at his best and fully settled into The Doctor: Humorous, brilliant, rude, angry, and that same wide eyed wonder and love that makes him my favorite Doctor. Ten would never have left Solomon on that ship, and I thought that level of brutality from the Doctor was appropriate, and rare.
And, of course, the foreshadowing. Doctor: “You’ll be here till the end of me.” Amy: “Or Vice Versa.”
So far, a great start. I’m excited for Cowboy Doctor, and the new companion, though dreading what happens to Amy. Let’s hope this season stays as fun as it started!