Welcome Whovians to the first of the Season 7 recaps of ‘Doctor Who!’ We were promised a blockbuster episode and it looks like Steven Moffat and the gang came through. I won’t bore you with any introductory declarations and just go straight to the recap (which is why you’re here in the first place, right?)
REMEMBER, THIS IS A RECAP SO THERE BE SPOILERS, SWEETIE!
The episode opens on the planet Skaro with a voice over giving a brief history of the Daleks and explaining how the Doctor fought against them and how he had died (referring to his “death” seen in ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ and ‘The Wedding of River Song’). She continues saying that some don’t think the stories are true but they should hope.
The Doctor is then shown and he wonders how she managed to get a message to him. Darla tells him that her daughter is in a Dalek prison camp and needs to be rescued. The Doctor is suspicious as she tells him that she was able to escape the Daleks but he thinks she’s a trap. Just then, a Dalek eyestalk appears on her forehead as well as a Dalek weapon emerging from her palm. Before anyone can yell “Dalek puppet!” the Doctor is zapped.
A Dalek voice reports, “The Doctor is acquired!”
Back on Earth, Amy is in the middle of a photo shoot when an assistant tell her that her husband is there to see him. She heads to the make-up area where Rory is waiting to serve her divorce papers. As he leaves, the make-up artist begins to talk to Amy when all of the sudden an eye socket appears on her head and Amy is zapped. A Dalek is heard to report, “Amelia Pond is acquired!”
Rory boards on the bus with the signed divorce papers where he too is “acquired.”
Rory wakes up in a white room and sees Amy. Soon after they are joined by the Doctor then lifted into the Parliament of the Daleks. The room is filled with Daleks who command the Doctor to save them.
A young woman, Oswin, is recording her diary as we hear her daily routine. While not barricading the door and making sure she is safe from the Daleks, she is making soufflés.
On the spaceship, the Doctor and his companions head to Asylum, a planet where the insane and battle scarred Daleks that cannot be controlled are locked up. Once at the planet, the Prime Minister of the Daleks tells the Doctor that the Daleks kept at the Asylum haven’t been killed off as it is offensive to them to extinguish entities that are filled with “divine hatred.” Perhaps, he muses, that’s why it’s been so hard to kill the Doctor! Out of curiosity, the Doctor asks Darla if she even remembered who she was before becoming a Dalek puppet. She tells them that the memories are reactivated only when needed.
The Daleks play music from the opera ‘Carmen’ which is being transmitted from the Asylum and the Daleks are none too happy. They have a breach. The Doctor tracks the signal back and connects with Oswin. She tells him that she was the Entertainment Director of the starliner Alaska that crashed a year ago. She had joined to see the universe and crashed on her first voyage out. Asked what she has been doing to keep safe against the Daleks for the past year she replies, “Making soufflés.” The Doctor wonders where she gets her milk for the soufflés. Transmission is then cut.
The Doctor finally figures out why he, Amy and Rory are there. If a starliner can break into the Asylum then that means the crazed Daleks on the planet can get out. The Parliament wants the Asylum destroyed but the only way to do so is to turn off the force field from the inside. Since the “sane” Daleks are too scared to deactivate the force field themselves, they have decided to enlist the “Predator of the Daleks” to do the job for them.
A wristband is placed on the three of them to protect the group from the nanoclouds that have the ability to turn anything living or dead organism into a Dalek puppet. They are then thrown into a gravity beam that will place them near the location of the ‘Carmen’ transmission. From there, they are on their own to get the job done.
The beam has them landing in different areas on the snowy planet. Amy is found by Harvey, another Alaska starliner survivor.
A Dalek eye socket appears out of the snow near the Doctor. It’s Oswin! She tells the Doctor that she has been able to hack into Dalek technology and she is somewhere underground. Just then, transmission is cut off.
Harvey takes the Doctor and Amy to his escape pod. He tells then that he and the other people crash landed two days ago and doesn’t know what happened to them. As they enter the pod, Harvey introduces the Doctor to the crew who just happens to be dead and in skeletal form! Harvey says that can’t be as he spoke to them a couple hours ago. Then he realizes he died outside and the cold preserved his body. He forgot about dying. He’s now a Dalek puppet! He makes a move to attack but the Doctor and Amy manage to get away.
Amy then realizes the nanocloud also works on dead organic matter and they head to the cockpit of the escape pod just as the skeletons turn into Dalek puppets. As they are trying to get away, one of them grabs Amy’s arm and manages to remove her wrist band.
Oswin finds them again surprising the Doctor on her hacking skills. She helps them find a way to get out of the escape pod. As they work their way out, the Doctor asks what he can do to mend Amy and Rory’s relationship. She tells him nothing. That what happened to them cannot be fixed. “It’s life,” says Amy, “that thing that goes on when you’re not there.” It’s then she realizes she doesn’t have her wristband.
While the Doctor and Amy head down to the center of the Asylum, Amy asks what is going to happen to her. The Doctor notices that the nanocloud has already stated taking an effect as Amy’s mind as her feelings and memories are beginning to be erased. She doesn’t even remember a conversation they’ve had four times already.
Rory awakes in what looks like a basement filled with Dalek casings that look like they’ve been there a long time. They don’t notice him there until he steps on a lead pipe making a loud noise that wakes them up. They begin to fire at Rory. Just then, Oswin is heard telling Rory to run toward a door in order to escape. Oswin watches Rory on a screen in her pod and when he’s safe, introduces herself.
The Doctor and Amy arrive in the same basement area Rory was. Oswin once again finds them on her screen and helps them get to Rory. Amy’s mind begins to play tricks on her as what she thinks is people around her are actually Daleks.
The Dalek that finds them is damaged and doesn’t have enough power to shoot off its gun. Since it can’t kill the Doctor by shooting at him, it decides to kill him by self-destructing but before the Dalek explodes, the Doctor kicks it back into the basement room where all the other Daleks were being kept killing them all.
Rory returns to the room and wonders who killed all the Daleks. In comes the Doctor carrying an unconscious Amy but she is really just sleeping. The Doctor tells Rory about Amy’s missing wristband. Oswin, watching it all on her screen, tells them that in order to make a Dalek one needs to subtract love and add anger. She thinks Amy is just a tad too angry. The Doctor wonders why Oswin hasn’t been converted yet and she tells him she has a shield to protect her. With all her genius ability to hack into the Asylum defenses, the thing that bothers the Doctor the most is where does she get the milk for her soufflés?
The Doctor sums up his plan: neutralize the Daleks in the Asylum, rescue Oswin, escape from the planet and fix Amy and Rory’s marriage. (Easy peasy!) The Doctor tells her to drop the force field then head over to where they are so they can all teleport together but Oswin doesn’t understand why he would wait for her. The Doctor replies why wouldn’t he? She doesn’t know since they’ve never met. Instead she wants the Doctor to come get her.
When he leaves, Rory tells Amy that she needs to wear his wristband in order to slow down her process. He explains that the conversion process won’t take as long on him as he loves her more than she loves him. She can’t believe he said that. She tells him she didn’t kick him out. She gave him up because she can’t give him kids like he’s always wanted because of what happened at Demon’s Run. As Rory grabs her arm, they both notice the Doctor gave her his wrist band.
While heading to Oswin’s hiding place, the Doctor passes by the Intensive Care ward where Daleks that have survived the battles against the Doctor are kept. Just then, they wake up and begin to head toward the Doctor. He’s trapped! Oswin tries to hack the door open but can’t. So instead, she manages to erase the Dalek’s telepathic web and did a master delete on all information pertaining to the Doctor and they stop their attack.
When the door opens to where Oswin is, the Doctor is in shock. He doesn’t come in. She doesn’t understand why. “Rescue me, Chin Boy, and show me the stars,” she says. The Doctor asks if where she is looks real. He tells her she is in a dream because the reality of where she is is too horrible for her to accept.
As the camera pans around the Doctor, we see that Oswin is actually a Dalek! She begins to remember what happened. The Doctor tells her because she was a genius, the Daleks didn’t make her a puppet but converted her fully. She asks why do the Daleks hate him so much? The Doctor says it’s because he has fought them many times. She tells them they get stronger because of their fear of him.
Oswin refuses to accept she is a Dalek and shuts down the force field. She tells the Doctor to run and to remember her.
The Doctor reaches the teleport which takes them to the Dalek spaceship. Upon arrival, all the Daleks don’t recognize him. He realizes that Oswin wiped out the memories of the Doctor from ALL the Daleks. As he leaves, they all ask who he is. “Doctor Who?”
The Doctor drops Amy and Rory off at their home while back in the TARDIS, the Doctor is dancing triumphantly.
This was definitely a great way to start off the new season! The big surprise was the appearance of Jenna Louise Coleman as Oswin Oswald. The bigger surprise was that it was kept secret even after four screenings! Fans did a better job at keeping this quiet than the bombshell that River Song was Amy and Rory’s daughter last season.
Here are some of my other observations:
* Not sure about the new opening credits but I am very happy it no longer has the Amy Pond beginning that was quite annoying last season.
* Still wondering if the voice of Oswin was actually her voice that everyone heard or did they hear her in the robotic Dalek speech. I can see her doing a voice modification with the hacking but then why couldn’t she do it when she was seen as a Dalek?
* One of my favorite lines: “It’s life. You know, the thing that happens when you’re not around.” (Amy to the Doctor)
* Still wrapping my head around the ramifications of the fact that the Daleks no longer consider the Doctor as their #1 enemy.
* Oswin had a little Doctor Donna thing going on with some of her mannerisms and speech. Was waiting for an “Oy! Chin Boy!”
* Loved the return of the nanogenes that Moffat brought back from ‘The Empty Child’ episode.
Of course with all ‘Doctor Who’ episodes, it leaves us with quite a few questions such as is Oswin the same character who will eventually be the Doctor’s companion in the Christmas episode? She introduces herself as Oswin Oswald and not Clara (Although some say Clara was just her code name to stand for Companion Lady After Rory and Amy). If so, does she not remember him and her past due to the conversion process? There seems to be some familiarity on the Doctor’s side when he says why wouldn’t he wait for her. Of course this brings us back to the River Song scenario where the first time we meet someone close to the doctor is the last time they’re with him.
Or maybe Oswin is a relative of the new companion and Coleman will be playing a completely different character in the Christmas episode? This has been done before with Freema Agyeman playing both Martha and her cousin and Gwen/Gwenth played by Eve Myles.
I’d love to her your theories and thoughts about this episode so let me know what you think in the comments below!