WELL. I don’t think I’ve been this surprised by a Doctor Who episode since the time Ganger!Amy dissolved all over the TARDIS floor. And even that was only one tiny little scene. A whole plot of an episode being completely a surprise?! Unprecedented. Bravo Moffat, bravo media, bravo Twitter. I loved it.
But I’ll get to all that in a minute. First, Daleks. Daleks have been rubbish for AGES. Properly, properly ages. The last time they were scary was in The Stolen Earth (and only because of the sheer force of will of Elisabeth Sladen’s acting) and even then it was completely undone in the next episode when Donna fucked them entirely with very little effort. But if anyone was going to unrubbish them, it was going to be Steven Moffat.
And he did. Mostly. I mean, he promised every single Dalek design ever, and for the most part you couldn’t really tell. And frankly, they weren’t really the main part of the episode. But that actually was what was needed. When it’s all about the Daleks, Dalek this, Dalek that, Dalek everything, it can get pretty same-y and the inevitable defeat is all the more humiliating for them. Here, they were the background menace, always there, always a threat, always scary, and they didn’t even get defeated! Not properly anyway. It might not have been a perfect Reboot of the Daleks, but it was the single best Use of the Daleks since 2005.
Amy and Rory are also back, and they apparently were getting divorced. Honestly, I would have quite liked to see the breakdown in their relationship rather than just havung it shoved in our faces from nowhere (and no, the slo-mo soundless scene in “Pond Life” totally doesn’t count) but the resolution of it was just HEART BREAKING and anyone who bangs on about Amy not really being that into Rory can officially fuck off. Karen and Arthur were amazing too, my personal favourite bit being grumpy/groggy/Scottish Amy. She’s a sarcastic bitch and is amazing.
Matt Smith was good too. Not amazing, not really. I mean, he’s just the Doctor now, isn’t he? Sort of like how once David Tennant got to series 4, it was all same old, same old, and was only brightened up by the appearance of Donna (STILL MISS HER). But his scenes with Oswin were so refreshing, even if they never technically met, and I can’t wait for her to appear at Christmas.
So yeah. Oswin. What the actual FUCK?! I mean, Jenna wasn’t even supposed to show up until Christmas (and is apparently called Clara then) and yet here she was! And she’s a fucking Dalek! Of course, before all that shit went down, she spent 45 minutes making me fall entirely in love with her. She’s witty, flirty, clever and she’s just amazing. Any molecule of doubt I had in her casting (I didn’t like her in Emmerdale) has been entirely obliterated, and if she comes back as amazing as this, she’ll be challenging Donna and Sarah Jane as my favourite companion.
So, the big arc (despite being SWORN there wasn’t one this year) seems to be how the fuck does Oswin stop being a Dalek that totally got destroyed when the Asylum blew up, and start being Clara, a companion who judging from paparazzi shots is from the Victorian times? Clone? Twin? Experiment? Ancestor? Evil Dalek trick? Whatever happens, I’d be very surprised if she didn’t make another appearance before Christmas.
Oh, and the “Doctor Who” business started back up, but I don’t see that being resolved until the big 50th anniversary next year, so I’m just going to ignore it for now.