Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Asylum of the Daleks"

Doctor Who returned to the airwaves this past Saturday and, as always, it was a lot of fun. There are moments in “Asylum” that don’t bear up to too much analysis, but that has become the nature of Who lately. It is best to simply go along for the ride and let the episode dictate what we are to contemplate. In this case since we have a return of the Daleks, we get a lot of talk about hatred but also its counterpart: love.

Moffat provided new twists on these old themes and some fairly deep concepts in snippets of conversation. For instance, the Doctor is surprised and mortified to discover that the Daleks appreciate hate as being beautiful. This also leads to the Daleks speculating that that is perhaps why they have such a hard time getting rid of him. There is almost a paradox here, that the hatred of hatred is its own object. (Not really though. Hatred of good is something to be despised as it is a form of evil, whereas hatred itself is neutral and judged on the object of hate.)

Another paradox recognized is the fact that the Doctor is such a champion for good against the Daleks; he has inspired and scared them into being stronger. This is an interesting thought and something that becomes important towards the end of the episode. (Since BBC has let the cat out of the bag we know that Oswin will be the next companion, and she provides the Doctor with a surprising service here that gives rise to the apparent running theme for the season: Doctor who, exactly?)

One of the better moments of the episode is provided by the Ponds. The come into the episode estranged (for reasons that are unknown at the outset and unimportant in the long run.) When they discuss who has the greater love for the other we are reminded of just how epic this love story is supposed to be. It is a reason why this pair of companions is so special. Their picture of marriage, strengthened by their relationship with the Doctor, is almost an illustration of a Christian marriage strengthened by their relationship with God.

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