CliqueClack TV

Jenna-Louise Coleman surprises fans in the Doctor Who season premiere

The actress playing the new 'Doctor Who' companion made her way to the season premiere, but was she playing the new companion? Just what is Moffat and crew doing and what does this mean for the episodes leading up to the Ponds' departure?

- Season 7, Episode 1 - "Asylum of the Daleks"

I’ll admit, now that I’ve looked back at them, season six has some major flaws that I overlooked on first viewing. Namely, that they kind of messed up River Song. I still like the character in general, but how they handled her time in jail and why she was there and her overall motivations … that I didn’t like very much. So I went into the season premiere with a healthy dose of skepticism. It’s still really early in the season of course, but the season 7 premiere is getting me hopeful for the upcoming episodes.

Asylum of the Daleks looked at what defines humanity and what humanity can overcome. We see three cases of humans being forced to lose their identities and their freedom through the nanotechnology of the Daleks. Perhaps a small part of me through the Daleks were acting just a little too much like Cybermen, but the general idea of them slowly being turned into something as sick as a Dalek is certainly intriguing. The fact that what saves both Amy and Rory is their feelings for each other is appropriate for their characters if not a bit obvious. The best part of their storyline was that Rory finally brought up this suspicion that has been hanging in the air since they first were introduced in the show — that Rory might love Amy more than she loves him. The point might not be moot after the premiere, but I appreciate the show actually vocalizing it and confronting it, especially since Mr. and Mrs. Ponds’ time on the show is coming to an end.

For me, the cusp of this kind of Doctor Who episode is whether or not they can establish the rules of the specific sci-fi in the episode and stick to those rules. Sometimes the episode can fall apart if it doesn’t properly explain these rules, especially if it’s a new concept like nanotechnology that turns living or dead humans into Daleks. And my big qualm with the episode is that except for Amy’s quick delusions and memory loss, we don’t see Amy or Rory get closer to being Daleks. I wish we could have had more of a transition so that their eventual defeat of the programming had more gravitas.

I also wish their marriage issues weren’t more or less resolved within the first episode because it made their almost divorce seem trite. However, I knew beforehand that they were on the edge of getting divorced and I was curious as to what drove them to dissolve their marriage and honestly … it made sense. One of the hardest things to wrap my head around with last season was the idea that while they did technically get to see their child grow up, Amy and Rory never got to be real parents to River — they were completely deprived of that. Amy’s intense bitterness about that very fact showed up in the last finale with her wrath toward Kovarian, so to then discover that she can never have children again … yeah, I totally understand how that could splinter a marriage. Again, if anything that weight on them should have taken longer than an episode to be resolved, but maybe it isn’t totally resolved yet. We’ll have to see with the upcoming episodes.

Honestly, the best part of the episode was Oswin. Oh, dear Oswin. She really did charm everyone in less than an hour only to be taken away from us. It was pretty damn clever and her reveal as a Dalek was something I just wasn’t expecting (even if I also raised an eyebrow at the fresh eggs). Her willing to keep her humanity was absolutely beautiful and the fact that they kept showing Jenna-Louise Coleman as a representation of her mind helped us see just how charming the actress is. Oh, and if you didn’t realize it, Coleman will be playing the new companion later in the season, which means we know how much we have to look forward to when she become a regular cast member. I actually couldn’t remember if the new companion’s name was going to be Oswin, so for a while I wondered if the Doctor was going to travel time and space with an actual Dalek … that certainly would have been uncharted territory. But no, Coleman’s companion is reportedly supposed to be named Clara. So, this begs the question — why was Coleman playing another character? What connection does Oswin have to Clara? A friend of mine has guessed that Coleman will be playing a different character in every episode until the new companion is introduced, which would certainly be fascinating. Either way, this is no coincidence. Even the last breaking-the-fourth-wall look right into the camera screamed of something bigger going on.

Oh, and the Daleks don’t know the Doctor anymore. Pretty bold, Moffat. But of course we’ve been told quite a few times even since the 2005 restart that the Daleks were destroyed for good … I’m sure we’ll be seeing them again.

Photo Credit: BBCA

8 Responses to “Jenna-Louise Coleman surprises fans in the Doctor Who season premiere”

September 4, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Yes, we have been told the new companion will be called Clara but we have also been told that Jenna-Louise Coleman’s first appearance would be in the Christmas special. So I have no idea how much of what we have been told has been foilers vs spoilers. I would love for the Doctor to have a Dalek companion. I have no idea if we will get that or if Clara will be an ancestor of Oswin or if The Doctor will encounter Oswin before she crashes into the Dalek planet (which would be WAY too much like River Song for my taste).

September 4, 2012 at 1:26 PM

I think a full on Dalek as companion wouldn’t work, they are just too nasty.

but when it was revealed that Oswin was a Dalek, first thing I thought was how interesting it would be to have a Dalek who thinks she/he was a human as the companion. Would be pretty tough to write for I think.

Funny kinda… since I had no idea until I read your column that Coleman is going to be the new companion.

September 4, 2012 at 4:54 PM

Her name is Clara Oswin. The doctor calls her Oswin. I suspect either some trite way is found to return her to human form or the Doctor meets her in her past and the 2nd half of season 7 is spent trying to alter her future.

In either case, I found her adorable and can’t wait to see her take over from the Ponds (whose story line has been stretched about a season longer than it should have).

September 6, 2012 at 4:09 PM

her name is oswin oswald not clara oswin

September 4, 2012 at 6:11 PM

my theory is that the doctor will go back in time and meet Clara (Oswin) he will take her, knowing that she is (oswin) because he has never seen her, when the time comes she gets turned into a Dalek, the reason she didn’t remember the doctor is because part of becoming a Dalek is your memory is taken away. but you never know, i guess we’ll just have to watch and see.

September 5, 2012 at 9:44 AM

@metz Her name in this episode was Oswin Oswald. The companions name is said to be Clara Oswald.

September 5, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Rule #1: Stephen Moffat lies. Without remorse or compunction. Cheerfully. And really, given how hard it is to keep surprises and secrets, I don’t blame him.

As a result, though, I haven’t entirely ruled out that Ms Coleman is 100% red herring, and that the new companion will be a different actress entirely! Although I genuinely hope not, because based on what we’ve seen so far, she’ll be delightful!

Slightly more likely is that anything you think you’ve heard about the actual companion’s name or relationship to Oswin in this story is speculation-turned-“fact” via echo-chamber, or another fib allowed to slip out into the world.

My personal hope is that Clara actually has absolutely no relationship to Oswin, that the Doctor doesn’t “recognize” Oswin in Clara in any way (after all, Oswin is not the only cheeky genius he';s known in his life — cf Zoe Herriot), and that this simply turns out to be a sneaky way to introduce us to the actress before she become the companion.

September 6, 2012 at 5:39 PM

With the exception of Rose, all the other recent companions were seen in an earlier Doctor Who episode before they actually became the companion.
Martha (Doomsday)
Donna (Runaway Bride)
Amy (The Fires of Pompeii)
Perhaps Moffet just wanted to keep up the pattern with Oswin as well? Who knows. It will be interesting to see what his intentions are.

Powered By OneLink