Total Pageviews

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Doctor Who Review - Episode 7x01: Asylum of the Daleks

Dialogue Triumphs

Rory: "Where are we? {he sees a Dalek fleet outside—in space} So how much trouble are we in?"

The Doctor:  "How much trouble, Mr. Pond? Out of ten? Eleven."


The Doctor: "Well come on then. You've got me. What are you waiting for? At long last! It's Christmas! Here I am!" {he prepares to die}

Dalek: "Save us. You will save us."

The Doctor: "I'll what?"

Dalek: "You will save the Daleks."

Dalek Parliament: "Save the Daleks! Save the Daleks!"

The Doctor: "Well. This is new. "


Dalek Prime Minister: "It is offensive to us to extinguish such divine hatred."

The Doctor: "Offensive?"

Dalek Prime Minister: "Does it surprise you to know that Daleks have a concept of beauty?"

The Doctor: "I thought you'd run out of ways to make me sick. But hello again. You think hatred is beautiful?"

Prime Minister: "Perhaps that is why we have never been able to kill you."


The Doctor: "You're going to fire me at a planet? That's your plan? I get fired at a planet and expected to fix it?"

Rory: "In fairness that is slightly your M.O."

The Doctor: "Don't be fair to the Daleks when they're firing me at a planet! "


The Doctor: "Speaking of Rory, is there anything that you want to tell me?"

Amy: "Are we going to do this now?"

The Doctor: "Well what happened?"

Amy: "Oh, stuff! We split up, what can you do."

The Doctor: "What can I do?"

Amy: "Nothing. It's not one of those things you can fix like you fix your bow tie. Don't give me those big wet eyes, Raggedy Man. It's life. Just life, that's thing that goes on when you're not there."

The Doctor: The air all around is full of micromachines. Robots the size of molecules. Nanogenes. Now that you're unprotected you're being rewritten.

Amy: So what happens, I get one of those things sticking out of my head?

The Doctor: Physical changes come later.

Amy: Well what comes first? How does it start?

The Doctor: With your mind. Your feelings, your memories, and I'm sorry but it's started already.

Amy: How do you know?

The Doctor: Because we've had this conversation four times.

Amy: Okay, scared now.

The Doctor: Hang on to scared. Scared isn't Dalek.

 Oswin: Do you know how you make someone into a Dalek? Subtract love, add anger. Doesn't she seem a bit too angry to you?

Amy: Well. Somebody's never been to Scotland.


Rory: Amy, basic fact of our relationship is that I love you more than you love me. Which today is good news because it might just save both of our lives.

Oswin: Why do they hate you so much? They hate you so much. Why?

The Doctor: I fought them many, many times.

Oswin: We have grown stronger in fear of you.

Dialogue Disasters

Dalek: Ex- ex- ex- .

Rory: Eggs? You mean those things?

Dalek: Ex— !

Rory: I don't... I don't know what you want. Those things? Are those things eggs? {he picks one up} This? You want this?
Dalek: Ex...ter... min... ate!


Oswin: Eggs... ter... min... ate. Exterminate...

Double Entendres/Sexy Talk

Oswin: "Lovely name, Rory. First boy I ever fancied was called Rory."

Rory: "Okay."

Oswin: "Actually she was called Nina. I was going through a phase. Just flirting to keep you cheerful."


Oswin: Okay, you're safe for now. Pop your shirt off, quick as you like.

Rory: Why?

Oswin: Does there have to be a reason?


The Doctor: Identify me. Access your files. Who am I? Come on, who's your daddy.


Oswin: So. Doctor. I've been looking you up. You're all over the database. Why do the Daleks call you "the Predator".


The Doctor: What's wrong with four seconds? You can do loads in four seconds.

The Review

Has it been a hot minute since I last reviewed a Doctor Who episode on here or what???  I neglected to review 2011's Christmas Special, "The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe", for which I apologize.  Instead of writing a full review of it, I think I'll just sum it up with a brief: "Meh."

"Asylum of the Daleks", written by showrunner Steven Moffat, sees the Doctor get forcibly enlisted by his oldest foe, the Daleks, to infiltrate the Dalek Asylum, a prison where injured or insane Daleks are sent to rust in obscurity forever.  The Daleks need to destroy the planet to prevent their brethren from escaping.  As extra incentive, the Daleks also kidnap Amy and Rory, who are in the middle of getting a divorce, to accompany the Doctor in this mission.  As the three navigate their way through a planet-sized mausoleum full of dusty Daleks that are just as deadly and dangerous as ever, they are aided by a mysterious woman named Oswin, who has used her genius-level hacking skills to survive for an entire year on the planet after her ship crashed there.   

It was good to see a Dalek-centric episode of Doctor Who after getting an entire seasonal break from them, especially after the disappointing season five episode, "Victory of the Daleks".  The Daleks are great in small doses, but I appreciate Moffat's attempt to downplay them in favor of introducing new enemies into the Doctor Who mythos (such as The Silence, the Weeping Angels, etc).  "Asylum of the Daleks" is an entertaining start to the seventh season, although it does regurgitate a couple of plot elements from past Doctor Who episodes, chiefly, the plot twist from "Silence in the Library", where the little girl introduced at the beginning of the episode turns out to be the main computer for the Library.  Also, the idea of the Daleks forcing the Doctor to help them is nothing new, despite his astonishment at the request - the 2nd Doctor was compelled to assist the Daleks in "The Evil of the Daleks" and the 3rd Doctor had a brief alliance with the Daleks after being stranded on an alien planet with them in "Death to the Daleks".  My point is, "Asylum of the Daleks" doesn't really explore anything new with the Daleks, except perhaps what happens when a human has too much willpower to be fully converted into a Dalek, and even that is all-too-briefly touched upon.  I would've loved to have seen The Doctor run around with a sassy, free-spirited, flirty Dalek companion, if only for an episode.  It feels like an opportunity wasted.

The subplot involving Rory and Amy's marital issues is interesting, and makes one wonder how that factors into their permanent departure from the show mid-season.  The best aspect of the episode is most certainly presentation.  Moffat has seemed to find a way to make Doctor Who even more cinematic than it already was, lending this episode an air that it is more a short movie than a television show.  I suppose that is part of Moffat's plan imbue season seven with more self-contained stories, instead of the overly intricate arcs that tend to fizzle out by the end of the season.  This is a good move, as I believe Moffat's ideas tend to work better as two-part episodes, rather than entire seasons.  Since he took over the reins, it seemed like he would occasionally bite off more than he could chew story-wise, promising incredible plot twists that don't quite satisfy.  Even though "Asylum of the Daleks" doesn't begin the season with quite as much gusto as "The Impossible Astronaut", it is still very fun and a sight for sore eyes for fans who have waited extra long for new Doctor Who.

Next week... Dinosaurs on a Spaceship...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Doctor Who Review - Episode 6x13: The Wedding of River Song

Dialogue Triumphs

Winston Churchill: “Tick-tock, goes the clock, as the old song says… but they don’t, do they? The clocks never tick! Something has happened to time – that’s what you say, what you never stop saying. All of history is happening at once, but what does that mean? What happened? Explain to me in terms that I can understand, what happened to time?

The Doctor: “A woman.”


Churchill: “But what was the question? Why did it mean your death?”

The Doctor: “Suppose there was a man who knew a secret – a terrible, dangerous secret that must never be told. How would you erase that secret from the world, destroy it forever, before it could be spoken?”

Churchill: “If I had to, I’d destroy the man.”

The Doctor: “Then silence would fall. All the times I’ve heard those words, I never realized it was my silence, my death. The Doctor will fall.”


The Doctor: “Why Lake Silencio? Why Utah?”

Dorium: “It’s a still-point in time; makes it easier to create a fixed point, and your death is a fixed point, Doctor, you can’t run away from this.”

The Doctor: “I’ve been running all my life, why should I stop?”

Dorium: “Because now you know what’s at stake, why your life must end.”

The Doctor: “Not today.”

Dorium: “What’s the point in delaying? How long have you delayed already?”

The Doctor: “Been knocking about, bit of a farewell tour. Things to do, people to see, there's always more. I can invent a new color, save the dodo, join the Beatles! [on the phone] Hello, it's me! Get him, tell him we're going out and it's all on me, except for the money and the driving! [to Dorium] I've got a time machine, Dorium. It's all still going on, for me it never stops. Liz the First is still waiting in a glade to elope with me. I can help Rose Tyler with her homework. I can go on all Jack's stag parties in one night!”

Dorium: “Time catches up with us all, Doctor!”

The Doctor: “Well it has never laid a glove on me! [on the phone again] Hello?”

Nurse: Doctor, I'm so sorry. We didn't know how to contact you. I'm afraid Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart passed away a few months ago. Doctor?

The Doctor: [shocked, stuttering] Yes, yes.

Nurse: It was very peaceful. Talked a lot about you if that's any comfort. Always made us pour an extra brandy, case you came round one of these days.

Dorium: Doctor? What's wrong?

The Doctor: Nothing, I...just...[hanging up the phone, sighing, and pulling out the blue envelopes from his pocket]'s time. It's time.


Amy: “Why do you look older? If time really isn’t passing, then how can you be aging?”

The Doctor: “Time is still passing for me. Every explosion has an epicenter – I’m it. I’m what’s wrong.”

Amy: “What’s wrong with you?”

The Doctor: “I’m still alive.”


Madame Kovarian: “Amy, help me…”

Amy: “You took my baby from me, and hurt her, and now she’s all grown up, and she’s fighting. I’ll never see my baby again.”

Madame Kovarian: “But you’ll still save me, because he would, and you’d never do anything to disappoint your precious Doctor.”

Rory: [to Amy] “Ma’am, we have to go, now.”

Amy: “The Doctor is very precious to me, you’re right, but you know what else he is, Madame Kovarian? Not here.”


Dorium: “But you’re a fool, nonetheless. It’s all still waiting for you – the fields of Trenzalor, the fall of the Eleventh, and the Question.

The Doctor: “Good-bye, Dorium.”

Dorium: “The first question, the question that must never be answered, hidden in plain sight! The question you’ve been running from all your life! Doctor Who? Doctor Who? Doctor Who?”

Dialogue Disasters


Double Entendres/Sexy Talk

The Doctor: “River Song came twice.”


River: “Cuff him.”

The Doctor: “Ugh, why do you always have handcuffs?”


Dorium: “And Doctor Song: in prison, all her days?”

The Doctor: Her days, yes, her nights... well... that's between her and me, eh?

Dorium: “So many secrets, Doctor. [chuckling] I'll help you keep them, of course.”

The Review

The episode begins with the Doctor stuck in a strange, alternate reality in which all of time seems to have been condensed into one day – April 22nd, 2002. He relates to his close friend, Winston Churchill, how all of this came to pass, while they both fend off the pursuing Silence. The day that the Doctor was supposed to die at the hands of the “Impossible Astronaut” didn’t go as planned, which has screwed up time, and threatens to destroy reality if the Doctor doesn’t set things back in order by sacrificing his life. It’s up to the Doctor to navigate through this bizarre world and find the only person who can help him make things right – River Song.

I’m always so very apprehensive when it comes time for the season finale of Doctor Who. The show has been known to use the finales to throw a few curveballs our way, and so far, season six has had no shortages of plot twists. However, this time around I wasn’t so much wondering what twists awaited me in this finale as I was concerned on what plot threads would finally be resolved. Traditionally, a Doctor Who finale (in the new series) is usually two or three episodes long. “The Wedding of River Song” is the first time since the series was resurrected (or regenerated) that the finale was only one episode. This was unnerving if only because I didn’t think one episode would be enough to satisfactorily wrap up a season which mostly revolved around the death of the Doctor.

The episode manages not only to wrap that up in a way that surprised me, but it also teases us with a very interesting tidbit of what is to come next season (spoilers!). Speaking of spoilers, if you haven’t watched the episode yet, this is the part where you skip everything I’m about to write. Since this episode has been available for several weeks, what the hell are you waiting for? Go watch it, then come back.

Did you watch it? Okay then.

The reveal at the end that the Doctor faked his death by using the Tesselecta (the Meet Dave inspired shape shifting spaceship piloted by tiny people) was surprising, but not entirely unexpected. I had my money on the Doctor using his Ganger double from “The Almost People”, as that made more sense. The Ganger was a complete match of the Doctor’s genetic make-up, and could, presumably, even regenerate. The Tesselecta though… how did it mimic regeneration? Also, how did it survive two point blank blasts of energy AND being set on fire? Just how indestructible are those things? My reaction to the Tesselecta revelation was literally to go: “Oh, well, that makes sense… huh???” I’m thankful it wasn’t as weak as, say, having everyone on Earth think the Doctor back to life (“Last of the Time Lords”) or having Amy remember him back to existence (“The Big Bang”), but still… it was mildly disappointing. Still, the main plot of the episode itself, about time colliding together into one day, was clever, and immediately engaging. The only bad aspect of it was that I never felt a sense of worry for any of the characters, because I knew this was a reality that would be aborted as soon as the Doctor figured out how to make things normal.

Performances were great, especially Matt Smith, as the Doctor goes through a gamut of emotions throughout the episode. The scene where he tries to call his friend, and regular returning character from the old series, Brigadier Leftbridge-Stewart, only to find out that he passed away, was touching, made all the more so by the reality that Nicholas Courtney, the actor who played the Brigadier, actually did pass away this year. It was a wonderful send off and a neat way to make the Doctor face the reality of his own impending demise. My only regret is that the Brigadier didn’t appear in the new series at all, although at least he was in a couple of episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures. The other regular cast members did a fine job. I especially enjoyed Amy and River’s moment together in the garden. All things considered, it was a fun season finale… but not a great one. I still have faith that Moffat knows what he’s doing, and I absolutely love the idea of the Doctor lying low instead of being an intergalactic demigod. Here’s waiting for the Christmas special!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Doctor Who Review - Episode 6x12: Closing Time

Dialogue Triumphs

The Doctor: “Oh, you’ve redecorated! I don’t like it.”

Craig: “It’s a different house. We’ve moved.”

The Doctor: “Yes, that’s it!”


The Doctor: “Craig, mind Yappie!”

Craig: “What?”

The Doctor: “Yappie! The robot dog… not as much fun as I remember.”

Dialogue Disasters

The Doctor: “Whoever you are, get off this planet!”


The Doctor: “Yes, he likes Alphie, but personally he prefers to be called Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All.”

Craig: “Sorry, what?”

The Doctor: “That’s what he calls himself.”

Craig: “How do you know that?”

The Doctor: “I speak Baby.”


Craig: “The Cybermen… I blew them up. I blew them up with love.”

Double Entendres/Sexy Talk

The Doctor: “Just keep looking at me, Craig, right at me, just keep looking.”

Craig: “Why?”

The Doctor: “Because… because… because I love you.”

Craig: “You love me?”

The Doctor: “Yes, Craig, it’s you, it’s always been you.”

Craig: “Me?”

The Doctor: “Is that so surprising?”

Craig: “Doctor, are you going to kiss me?”

The Doctor: “Yes, Craig, yes I am. Would you like that? I’m a bit out of practice, but I’ve had some wonderful feedback.”

The Review

The Doctor stops by to visit his old roommate, Craig (from last season’s hilarious episode, “The Lodger”), who is now married and a father. Craig immediately suspects that there is more to the Doctor’s visit than meets the eye, and his suspicions are confirmed when he discovers the Doctor investigating a series of disappearances surrounding a nearby department store. Together, Craig and the Doctor find out that a group of Cybermen have been slowly converting the staff of department store in order to help repair their ship, which had crashed and been lying dormant underground for years. Now the pair must figure out a way to stop the Cybermen from taking over the world… or at the very least this department store.

As mentioned before, this episode is a follow-up to last year’s surprisingly delightful, “The Lodger”. However, I found this episode to be severely lacking in the natural charm that made the “The Lodger” so enjoyable. The Doctor’s goofy interactions with Craig worked so well because the Doctor was totally out of his element. This time around, everything feels so forced, as if the writer is trying to recreate the magic of “The Lodger” without really understanding what made that episode so good. Strange, considering Gareth Roberts did write “The Lodger”. I don’t know, this episode just feels so much more madcap and silly than the last one, and not necessarily in a good way. A lot of the humor fell flat, or was just painfully awkward to watch (such as the Doctor's faux "seduction" of Craig in order to distract him from an approaching Cyberman, which made no sense, and was just... weird). Although, I will admit, I was a little nervous for Craig when he nearly gets “assimilated” into the Cybermen collective.

There’s just not very much to like about this episode. The plot is pretty average, and I have never cared for the Cybermen, old or new. Besides, it’s pretty clear that the Cybermen story is just a backdrop to set the stage for Craig and the Doctor having another zany adventure together. It was nice to see the return of the “Cyber-Mats” from the old series (little cybernetic worm things that Cybermen use as reconnaissance/saboteurs). I can see what the point of the episode was supposed to be – one last stop for the Doctor to make before confronting his demise, and one last stop for wacky fun before the series goes back into heavy drama. Nevertheless, it was executed somewhat clumsily for my liking.

Next time... The Wedding of River Song:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Doctor Who Review - Episode 6x11: The God Complex

Dialogue Triumphs

The Doctor: “They’re not doors, they’re walls – walls that look like doors. Door walls, if you like, or ‘dwalls’ – walls even, though you probably got it right when you said they’re not doors. I mean the windows are… (Pulls curtains to reveal brick wall) …right! Big day for a fan of walls!”


Rita: “It’s not just that. The rooms have… things in them.”

The Doctor: “Things? Hello! What kind of things? Interesting things? I love things, ask anyone!”

Rita: “Bad dreams.”

The Doctor: “Well, that killed the mood.”


Rita: “It’s no more ridiculous than Howie’s CIA theory, or mine.”

The Doctor: “Which is?”

Rita: “This is Jahannum.”

The Doctor: “You’re a Muslim!”

Rita: “Don’t be frightened.”

The Doctor: “Ha! You think this is Hell?”


Amy: “Don’t talk to the clown!”


Rory: “Not all victories are about saving the universe.”


Rita: “Why is it up to you to save us? It’s quite a God complex you have there.”

The Doctor: “I brought them here. They’d say it was their choice, but offer a child a suitcase full of sweets, and they’d take it. Offer someone all of time and space, and they’d take that too. Which is why you shouldn’t… which is why grown ups were invented.”


The Doctor: “I can’t save you from this. There’s nothing I can do to stop this.”

Amy: “What?”

The Doctor: “I stole your childhood, now I’ve lead you by the hand to your death. The worst thing is, I knew – I knew this would happen. This is what always happens. Forget your faith in me. I took you with me because I was vain, because I wanted to be adored. Look at you… glorious Pond, the girl who waited for me. I’m not a hero. I really am just a mad man in a box, and it’s time we saw each other as we really are. Amy Williams, it’s time to stop waiting.”


Amy: “Even so, it can’t happen like this, after everything we’ve been through Doctor... everything. You can’t just drop me off at my house, and say good-bye, like we shared a cab.”

The Doctor: “And what’s the alternative? Me standing over your grave, over your broken body, over Rory’s body?”

Dialogue Disasters


Double Entendres/Sexy Talk


The Review

The TARDIS lands in what appears to be a replica of a hotel from the 80s. The Doctor, Amy, and Rory meet with a disparate group of people who have been transported to the hotel from different timezones and planets. The hotel is quickly revealed to be more than meets the eye after it swallows up the TARDIS within its constantly changing, mazelike hallways, leaving the Doctor and his companions trapped along with everyone else, and at the mercy of a mysterious creature who seems to pray on people’s fears, before possessing them, and then killing them one-by-one. It’s up to the Doctor to find a way out of the maze before he, Amy, and Rory are next on the menu.

It’s episodes like this where Doctor Who is truly at its best – when the Doctor is thrown into a mystery that even baffles him for a time, before he finally figures it out… but not after a considerable death toll. I’ve never liked how previous showrunner Russell T. Davis, and now Steven Moffat, would get into the habit of portraying the Doctor as some kind of omnipotent being who never loses a confrontation, nomatter how poor the odds. That was the most interesting feature of the episode “Water of Mars” – for once, the Doctor was in a situation where he was powerless to help, and his attempt to help only made it worse. I like episodes like this because we get a chance to see beneath the happy-go-lucky veneer the Doctor so often uses to hide his true nature, nomatter the incarnation.

So it goes with the cleverly titled “The God Complex”, which aptly describes the setting, the plot, and an unfortunate personality trait that has always been the Doctor’s worst failing. The episode deals with the latter aspect really well, as the Doctor ends up having ot humble himself before Amy in order to save her life, which is a sobering moment for them both. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan have always had a great chemistry in scenes like this, and the scene in last year’s season finale with the Doctor’s monologue to a sleeping Amy Pond to never forget him as he fades from existence.

I liked the setting of the episode, as the hotel was very reminiscent of the creepy hotel from The Shining. The characters that are trapped with the Doctor are all interesting in their own ways, especially Rita, with whom the Doctor flirts with the idea of picking up as a new companion. The Doctor and Rita’s interactions are great, especially the scene in which he laments on how guilty he feels about constantly exposing Amy and Rory to danger, then offers to take Rita traveling with him in the nearly the same breath. It really shows the reckless, impulsive nature of this particular incarnation of the Doctor, which I imagine will ultimately be his undoing whenever his number is up.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable episode, though it must be said, that the monster was kind of lame. There is a cool, throwaway classic Who reference regarding the monster at the end of the episode (that his species is related to the Nimons, a race of aliens that the 4th Doctor confronted in the episode “The Horns of the Nimon”), but other than that, it’s your average Doctor Who “Monster-of-the-week”. However, I do appreciate the effort to come up with new monsters besides the traditional stand-alongs, such as the Daleks or the Cybermen…

…speaking of which, the next episode I’ll be reviewing… Closing Time.