Asylum of the Daleks: A Popular Opinion?
Guest contributor Greg House offers a counter to the recent Unpopular Opinion.
In response to the recent Unpopular Opinion article on Asylum of the Daleks, I would like to offer my own thoughts on the arguments raised there to clear up a few misunderstandings there might be and give an opposing viewpoint.
So to begin with, we were told right from the off that there would be “every Dalek ever”. In hindsight, yes, this was a mistake because some Classic era fans were quite irked when they didn’t see a Dalek Invasion of Earth Drone or a Planet of the Daleks Supreme. Fair enough, but that’s not exactly Mr Moffat’s fault. Contrary to popular belief he doesn’t fly around on set with a magic wand making everything happen. If he did the Alliance in The Pandorica Opens would be comprised of new monsters, not just whatever was left in the Doctor Who store cupboard, but it’s something you’re welcome to be annoyed about if you so wish. However, be aware it does look a bit foolish blaming someone when it’s not exactly his fault.
Lack of threat?
So the first major point: a perceived lack of a threat. Personally I’m glad that this wasn’t a “Save the universe or die trying” kind of episode. The threat is simple: our on screen heroes are in danger, locked in a madhouse for Daleks. Simple and powerful if you actually care about the people you see on screen. I’m in my twenties now and I just don’t get scared at Doctor Who. Far too many cheap horror films have spoilt that, but this episode is distinctively creepy. Some lines could be taken as humorous, but things like a spinning Dalek, well, go over and hug it if you want, but it’ll be the last thing you ever do…
Now it can be argued that the Daleks don’t exterminate anymore, but think about it, how much on screen time have they actually had since Victory of the Daleks? A stint in The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang where the stone Dalek would kill people, if there was any actually left around. We then go the whole of Series 6 without seeing them (minus the brief cameo where the Doctor removes the memory core of one). Again though, no people around to kill. Asylum of the Daleks is their first real story, which I was really glad about. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I would rather have a two-year wait and a creepy Dalek story thrown in with Moffat than RTD’s unfortunate habit of throwing them in every series with a really forced story line.
(I’ve been looking forward to this one). There’s a little known tale that explains why Skaro is gone in 1988’s Remembrance of the Daleks but somehow back at the very beginning of the 1996 TV movie. The 1997 novel War of the Daleks clears that right up. It is revealed that at the climax of events in Remembrance, the Daleks manipulate the Doctor and Davros into destroying a planet called Antalin which they have transformed to resemble Skaro and take its place. This places Destiny of the Daleks on the same disguised planet (The Daleks even going to the trouble of moving a comatose Davros underground to be found). It’s a great novel and well worth a read. So what does this mean? Skaro still exists up to the Time War at least, but what did we see of it in Asylum? Was it a thriving city? No… It was a wasteland. Perhaps the Daleks cannot live there anymore, hence why they refer to it as gone…
Addressing the other points: it’s already been said that the shields couldn’t allow the starliner in. It crashed and most of the crew were killed, only a few managed to survive the descent in the escape pods. Those are the few we saw turn into Dalek units. Clara was a Dalek, a full Dalek. But she didn’t know it, she still had the powers, she erased the Doctors history so they wouldn’t recognize his existence and they left him alone. To them he was no longer there.
The Dalek Parliament, now there’s a fun idea. Perhaps the Emperor Dalek is out there somewhere, but I doubt he’s got time in his busy schedule for that basic clean-up operation. The thing you must also remember about Daleks is that they are manipulators. All the way from the first appearance when they were defeated they begged the Doctor for help.
“I am your servant” – Power of the Daleks.
Just because the Daleks say something, doesn’t mean they mean it. “Save us” is clearly the best way they thought they could get the Doctor on board without violence, because the Doctor doesn’t respond well to violence. These Asylum Daleks aren’t impure, they’re as pure Dalek as they come, but they’re a danger to themselves and others, hence why they’re locked up. If there was a shred of impurity in them, they would no longer be Daleks and they would be destroyed. Daleks also don’t tolerate failure, it’s not a Dalek trait. Any Dalek that fails, dies…
Everyone is entitled to an opinion on this episode, but if you take some time to examine what seem to be plotholes, you’ll notice they really aren’t as bad as you can be lead to believe.
I hope you enjoyed this article, please leave comments below if you agree, disagree or want a free hat (I don’t have and free hats).