Tonight, we’ll get episode 2 of Doctor Who, Series 7. Let’s look back at episode 1. Beware: Spoilers abound!
There was a lot to like about this first episode. My initial reaction was: That was a lot of fun, but I don’t know if I liked it yet. I watched it a second time, and I do.
It was about time for the Daleks to make a strong appearance again. The Daleks we met an encountered frequently with the 9th Doctor and early seasons of the 10th Doctor were excellent enemies, but somewhere a few seasons ago the Daleks started to fizzle, perhaps in light of some newer, freakier bad guys like the Silence. Moffat is a fan of the Daleks and wanted to bring them back to their prime state as Doctor Who monsters, and I think he’s done it with this episode.
My initial concern, after watching the brilliant “DOCTOR WHO?! DOCTOR WHO?!” ending was that I didn’t much want the Daleks to no longer remember the Doctor. Their anger at him fueled so much of the tension that made the ongoing Doctor/Dalek war interesting. But then I remember: This is Doctor Who. It’s time travel. We have no idea how far into the future this event happened (I don’t recall any dates mention in this episode). So any Dalek episodes that are placed in any period of time prior to this episode will still be able to capitalize on that conflict.
Additionally, the human-Dalek concept is sufficiently creepy and adds a whole new level of Dalek threat. I’m a big fan of that new turn on the Daleks. We’ll see of Moffat can stay consistent on that idea.
Overall, this was an excellently paced and constructed episode. Things I hated at the start (Amy and Rory divorced? Come on, you won’t make us believe that) were turned around and done well by the end (Amy’s reasons for letting Rory go). I liked Matt Smith a bit more in this episode than usual. And I think I’m going to be a big fan of Oswinn; we’ll see five episodes from now, I guess. But either way, it was really, really smart of Moffat to bring her into play this early and to create the crisis for the Doctor: When he finally does take her on as companion, he already knows her future. Can he change it? Will he?
There were a lot of really nice touches to this episode, especially in the dialogue. “Eggs-terminate,” twice. “Souffle girl.” “Come and meet the girl who can.” “Remember me.” “You clever boy.” “These are the ones that survived me.”
Well, there are some rather random introductory thoughts. I’m very happy with the start of this series, and I’m looking forward to the Dinosaurs in Space tonight.