Sunday, 2 September 2012

I'm Daleking the New Doctor Who Episode- But...

I have been no fan of how Dr Who has gone since Russell T Davies handed the reins over to Steven Moffat, but last night's first episode of the new series was I felt the best to date under Moffat's stewardship. The writing of Owsin's unwinding fate was full of humanity and pathos and beautifully played by actress Jenna-Louise Coleman to bring a subtle depth to her story.

However, there were a few plot and logic holes I just wanted your take on to see if I am entirely on the wrong track.

1) Why would the daleks even have a parliament? I don't see them as a race given over to the Disptach Box, filibustering and voting lobbies. They are a race based on strict hierarchy and unbending discipline to their leaders orders. They are also a collective hive mind for coming to decisions. Ergo, no need for a Parliamentary talking shop.

2) The idea of psychotic daleks is a tautology I would have thought. I like the idea of daleks broken by war and other extreme stresses. But how can that make them hate even more than your common and garden dalek does already? Hate has a very limited spectrum, because it's such an extreme position to occupy in the first place. Daleks are a collective race of psychopaths, solely interested in exterminating anything that isn't a dalek. Daleks going postal might drop off the hive mind, which might make them a threat, but if they're still hell-bent on destruction it feeds into the overall plan anyway doesn't it? A really dangerous dalek, as shown by Dr Oswin, is one that lurches into love and opera...

3) The notion that the daleks could be scared of these other daleks doesn't add up? Daleks don't fear anything. They will happily immolate themselves in order to try and take out the Doctor with them as we saw. Amy Pond was also advised that feeling scared was a good way to counter her conversion to dalekism, because "Scared isn't dalek".

4) If the Doctor calculated that as a Time Lord, or someone filled with so much repugnance towards the dalek that he could never succumb to conversion, then why did he wait so long to switch wristbands with Amy to protect her? Why didn't he do it as soon as she discovered hers had been wrenched from her wrist?

5) If the abduction of the Doctor was so easy by these dalek puppets, why haven't they done it before and on an occasion when they didn't have to keep him alive but could actually kill him? If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time we'd seen these dalek puppets and while the nanobot conversion was a brilliant idea and gave us the whole Oswin storyline, I'm not sure they worked beyond her. The zombie puppets of the dead crew were risible. Why were the kidnapping puppets given privileged admittance to the dalek Parliament, surely they are too untermenschen for that? The clue is in the word 'puppet', not usually a thing of any great status.

6) Why would the insane asylum daleks be granted the technology to both scan Oswin to see that she is a genius and then be able to convert her to a dalek? Even if they had acquired such technology without the knowledge of their sane cousins, were they not too addled to be able to co-operate and hatch such a plan?

7) How did the Tardis appear on the Dalek ship at the end? The Doctor said he was a pinpoint teleporter, but he'd also said the range was only as far as the orbiting dalek ships and unless I missed it, the daleks hadn't snatched his tardis when they snatched him. Therefore he couldn't have first teleported to his Tardis and then gone to the dalek ship could he?


Alison Wells said...

Not geek enough to answer most of the questions but just thought that an Asylum for Daleks would be for Daleks who were too human not too hating. (We saw the Daleks dancing as people in one clip in Amy's mind). As for the wristband etc we might discover more in the future. Has the Doctor been infected by the Asylum and his perception of reality changed. Is Oswin a Dalek at all really or is the Doctor just seeing that. My husband is now talking about temporal time shifts and the fact that Oswin is not fully assimilated cos she's looking through the slats but she didn't know she was a Dalek so she didn't know she could temporal shift. So it's all about Oswin.

Lettora said...

Found you on Goodreads,

I watched Doctor Who yesterday and was a little dissapointed.

I say 'a little' because as much as love Doctor Who it's been going downhill in the last few series so my expectations were pretty low.

I'll have to agree you on point seven because even while ignoring all the other plot holes it was difficult to not wonder how the writers didn't spot that one.

Lettora - (I'm Booked!)

Sulci Collective said...

Interesting theory about the Doctor, but I think his implacable resistance to all things dalek will protect him.

I think just cos Amy Pond hallucinated dancing daleks was more about her state of mind than the insane daleks. I don't think daleks going postal means they display alarming human traits.

I guess we'll have to wait to see how they resolve getting Oswin out from being a dalek and into being Mat Smith's companion...

Thanks for stopping by to debate alison :-)

Sulci Collective said...

Thanks Lettora. For my part the show was dead until Russell T Davies revived it with some astounding storylines for Ecclestone and Tennant, such as the last Dalek with its echoes of Abu Ghraib - he'd hit on the brilliant notion of making it light entertainment drama but with some serious themes underneath. Moffat took over and just kept the light entertainment element and that's why I think the series has been going down in quality. That and the compromises of trying to reach out to the US market with US partners with their own agendas. But yesterday's episode seemed to me to be a bit more weight behind it and augurs a return to where Davies pitched the series, but then I see from the trailer we're back to real historical figures and dinosaurs... Ho hum

Deliriumtree said...

I'm pretty sure I saw the Tardis before they beamed the Doctor and Ponds down to the planet. I remember thinking that they would use the Tardis to get to asylum too so I'm fairly certain but need to re-watch to be sure.

I think the Doctor waited to put the wristband on Amy because he knew she'd resist, easier to do it in a sneaky way. Sort of a better to ask forgiveness than permission sort of thing.

I doubt their parliament is anything like our concept of parliament. It's likely far more efficient, and probably more like a pentagon strategy meeting than government but that's just my guess.

As far as insane Daleks go my mind goes to Dalek Caan in journey's end. Fractured but still functional and able to scan and convert Oswin.

I think Daleks do have some range of emotion much like Vulcans but they're loathe to admit it on the matter of their "fear". And wasn't it the Doctor who pointed that out? Not them? See, I really do need to re-watch.

I'm personally more curious as to why Oswin sounded like a person even to the Doctor, but when confronted with her in person she has a Dalek voice. How did she manage not to sound Dalek all that time?

Also, was that emperor, I thought Rose Tyler ended him, why is he alive? I miss Davies too, camp and all. Just my theories on some of your points. :)

Sulci Collective said...

Thanks Delirium. The consensus is that the Tardis was on board all the time, but I think I was confused because when the Doctor was "acquired" the Tardis was nowhere to be seen.

I know what you mean about their Parliament, sort of like the cosmetic use of a Parliament in a dictatorship. But I'm just surprised they called it that rather than a Council or some other appropriate word.

Yes it was the doctor who pointed it out I think.

Thanks again


Chris said...

I think they deliberately used the word "Parliament" because it made a change from the usual SF cliches of senates, councils and the like. Also has a "British" feel to it and as the Doctor himself said in 1996 "British? Yes I suppose I am". A meta-textual reference to the show's origins.

Don't think that was the Emperor (disposed of by Rose) as they referred to it as the Prime Minister. Couldn't help thinking of Cameron when the Doctor was talking to it...

Dijeratic said...

These are all excellent points about this new series - including the comment about how the others 'heard' Oswin's voice as human (which is our assumption, just because 'we' hear her voice, doesn't mean the others actually heard a human voice - they just didn't have the ability to respond to it, being in desperate quarters at the time). Either way, it's one of those sneaky cheats Moffat often pulls when he thinks he's fooling his audience.

I listen to odd things and found the musical cue in the 'Parliament' ship to be an awful lot like the Wicked Witch theme from the Wizard of Oz. Also found the name 'Oswin' curious, as well. A stranger in a stranger land who takes over. With his predilection for fairy tales, I wouldn't be surprised if there were an 'Oz' theme to this season.

I'm also curious to know if Oswin Oswald is a pairing of two last names, if Oswin's memories are her own or if her memories are scrambled a bit. Is this why she's got her name confused (we've been told her name is to be Clara Oswin, but that could be a misdirect as well).

As a writer, Moffat goes for the Big Scene, what will make a huge impression and I was pleased he kept it simple in this story (aside from the Oswin reveal, and, honestly, she could have been anyone and if they never follow up with this part of the story, it won't matter much). I hope it means he's learned his lesson a little - that you can't just cheat all the time and come up with last-minute explanations. That said, he does rush along the Amy/Rory divorce/reconciliation (what WAS the point of that?), it feels like he's trying to give them some depth before the end. I'm not sure it's necessary.

Oh, and if they are his companions, why do they get to go home at the end of an adventure? Lucky things. I imagine those Tardis beds are a bit creaky.

Hoping Oswin turns out to be less of a Amyish flirt in fashion wear in the future. Also hoping she isn't a twin or clone or something of the sort.

So many missed opportunities in Moffat's 'era' - from dropping the ball on River Song (should have kept her a mystery, not given her obvious parentage or the convoluted background), to dropping the ball on Amy and the mysteries of her house (with its mysterious third floor), or how she survived the crack in her wall, in favor of the convoluted relationship with the impossible boyfriend (who dies, then never exists, then comes back as a plastic thing complete with a magical explanation of how he could have the memories of someone who never existed, then - following the ridiculous re-boot of the universe, returns in human form, complete with memories of being something he never was).

Anyone who complains RTD wrote ridiculous stories for Who has to defend the insanity of The Big Bang and The Wedding of River Song while I snicker.

There's an uncomfortable blending of the adult with the childish since Moffat's return and while I think there is great potential there, he seems to blow it every time by going for the cheap, easy shot. He doesn't develop his big ideas as he could. Season six felt like someone writing by the seat of their pants, throwing everything into the pot and hoping something would stick. It was slick, but it didn't make much sense.

This is one of those shows I'd love to take a swing at - namely by not hiring my cronies to write so-so episodes, but by finding real writers of science fiction to build a coherent Who-universe that doesn't constantly change its rules to suit the special effects.

A few women writers wouldn't hurt, I think. I've already nominated Alison for the post. I think she needs to tackle it. Soon. :-)

What do you think, Marc? Could we write Who episodes? Have you ever thought about it?

Sulci Collective said...

Ha no DJ, I'm too close as a fan and my science probably isn't up to it. But Alison definitely could do it if she was of a mind to (and of course was offered the gig!) Thank you so much for your full analysis, there's nothing I can really add to what you put so beautifully.

m x