By Will Barber – Taylor
Rory: So, out of ten how much trouble are we in?
The Doctor: Out of ten… Eleven.
The Doctor, Amy and Rory are kidnapped by the Parliament of the Daleks and sent on a mission to deactivate the Asylum of the Daleks which is the home of the most dangerous Daleks in history. However, something else is in the Asylum, something that needs The Doctor’s help.
Asylum of The Daleks starts off great. We experience the wasteland of Skaro; a massive Dalek statue and a mysterious woman talking about recent events (i.e. The Doctor’s “death” at the end of Series Six.) and hoping the mysterious man in the blue box can save her daughter.
Suddenly, things begin to go wrong. We realise that the woman is a puppet of the Daleks and has lured The Doctor there to kidnap him. This is not the part I have qualms about, no, it’s the bit where she grows a Dalek eyestalk out of the top of her head and a Dalek gun out of her hand. It is all too gimmicky for me.
However, things soon pick up when we finally get The Doctor, Amy and Rory into the Dalek Spaceship which features incredible CGI. The whole beginning of the scene is wonderful, particularly the bit where the Daleks scream “Save the Daleks!” It is almost like a massive chorus which resonates through the whole set. However, I do feel that although Asylum has a good beginning, it is one of a particular type of Dalek stories. Sadly, it is a story where there are lots of Daleks and not a lot of plot. It is reminiscent of “Planet of the Daleks” which was a great idea but not executed as well as it could have been, rather like Asylum. The idea of an Asylum filled with insane Daleks is a fantastic one but when showed on screen it does not work. Disappointingly, the story gets clogged down with CGI spectacle.
The Doctor being introduced to his “new companion” cluttered the story even more. Is this meant to introduce the companion? Is this even the companion or another character played by the same actress?
Another reason the story does not work is that because these Dalek’s are utterly insane, all they do is trundle around trying to kill The Doctor. This may excite some fans, however, this reviewer feels more plot is needed. Why were certain Daleks in the Asylum? We aren’t given much explanation except that some of them had survived The Doctor and a mention of a few classic stories. Yet all the Daleks in the previous stories had been completely wiped out and they had different designs. This may seem like nit picking, but plot holes like these should not go unchallenged.
Karen Gillan shined in the scene set in the Asylum, in which she tells Rory the reason they were separated. Gillan plays it excellently and really demonstrates her acting skills so that we feel real pain and sympathy for her. Gillan’s acting has slowly begun to shine through more and more as we have truly seen her develop as an actress through her time with Doctor Who. If her acting is as good as it is in the scene from Asylum, I really can’t wait to see her departure episode.
Asylum of The Daleks is an episode that goes up and down through watching it. Sometimes it’s incredible, sometimes it can rather drag. I hope, however, that Steven Moffat writes for the Daleks again as he has some good ideas about the Dalek’s origins even though with some of his work the pace is not right.
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- Doctor Who 2012, Asylum of the Daleks, BBC One, preview (telegraph.co.uk)
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