Doctor Who Re-Review: Season 7 Episode 1 — Asylum of The Daleks


When Season 7 of Doctor Who aired, I posted (gener­ally short) reviews of the episodes which made up my initial impres­sions. Now that the season is avail­able in its entirety on Hulu+ I thought it might be inter­est­ing to do a re-watch and see how my opin­ions have changed or not. I’m also inter­ested to see how well the season progresses themat­i­cally and other­wise given the crit­i­cism it’s received.

My orig­i­nal review of Asylum of the Daleks can be found here and I was a bit nega­tive about. And a lot of my issues seemed to be with the pacing.

On rewatch­ing most of those pacing issues seem to have gone away. I’m not sure whether that is because I now know the plot or because after a season of it, the pacing has just become the new normal. There are still some prob­lems that I noticed, but first lets point out some high­lights.

  • DW_7x01_Asylum_of_the_Daleks_247I love the child­ish glee of Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor and it’s here in spades in this episode.
  • Souflle Girl/Oswin/Future Clara as played by Jenna Cole­man is wonder­ful. All her dialogue sparkles and her inter­ac­tion with both the Doctor and Rory is great
  • The dialogue through­out this episode is just plain fun to listen to.
  • The insane Daleks really are incred­i­bly creepy. Extra points for the scene where the Doctor is genuinely terri­fied by them.

Plot wise I still think the pacing is off a bit, but that’s mainly in the B story of Amy and Rory’s rela­tion­ship. The acting by both Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill some­how sells the signif­i­cance and emotion of their rela­tion­ship. But that is despite a complete lack of build up in the script to support it.

You could reason­ably nit-pick a bit here and ask why the Daleks of all crea­tures would have a Parlia­ment, but it’s not actu­ally that crazy given how they’ve been presented over the years. Oswin says they have a hive mind but we’re always shown them either chat­ting to each other or or chant­ing in large numbers. If that’s how they like to commu­ni­cate a Parlia­ment sort of makes sense as a talk­ing shop.

My other nitpick would be, who puts the chains on these Daleks and why do they keep using chains that won’t actu­ally hold them?

And the explo­ration of the the Doctor’s rela­tion­ship to the Daleks. The idea that he is their preda­tor, that he makes them stronger is a good one and links into a larger theme for the season. Also the notion that Dalek’s do have a sense of beauty (just a really warped one) was a strong note for me.

All in all then the good easily outweighs the bad here and my second view­ing was much more enjoy­able than the first it seems. This sets the season off on a strong note and points us to the thematic echoes we’re going to see repeat­ing as things go on.

About Eoghann Irving

Overly opinionated owner and author of You can get updated on his posts directly on the blog here or through the usual social networking suspects. What? You expected me to say something interesting here? That's what the blog posts are for. Eoghann has often wondered if people read these little bio things we have to fill out everywhere on the internet and, assuming they do, why?