Doctor Who Recap: Oz, the Great and Powerful

Doctor Who launched its seventh season by plopping the Doctor, Amy and Rory in the middle of their worst nightmare — a parliament full of Daleks — then proceeded to serve up a rollicking, sometimes frightful, at times romantically angsty and ultimately twisty premiere.

The Doctor, with Amy and Rory — who were in the midst of formalizing a separation (!) — were all hoodwinked and hijacked to a Dalek ship, where they were tasked with infiltrating the Dalek asylum, a planet literally chockablock with the warrior races’ worst members. Down there, they would find Oswin Oswald, the seeming sole survivor of a crashed ship called the Alaska, as well as the means to power down the force field that was keeping the Daleks above from incinerating their black sheep brethren below.

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After being literally shot down to the planet, the Doctor and Amy realized that Rory had landed, down a hole, into the very belly of the beastly orb. As they started their search, they met up with another survivor of the Alaska, who promptly led them into his buried capsule… which was populated by several long- and very-dead crew mates. This guy, too, was revealed as a human Dalek, and soon his crew were zombie Daleks. In the course of escaping the ambush, Amy lost the bracelet gizmo that protected her from the planet’s “nanocloud” — aka an atmosphere laden with nanobots that will slowly transform her, too, into a humanoid Dalek. So she and the Doctor had to act fast, and scurried down the ladder into the asylum’s core.

Elsewhere, Rory was led away from an awakened roomful of dormant Daleks by the aforementioned Oswin (played by Jenna-Louise Coleman*), who flirted some with the wayward rescuer. The Time Lord and Amy meanwhile did their best to hold off the latter’s succumbing to the nanobots’ work, which at times had her hallucinating to see Daleks as romanticized people. Not.

Ultimately, the TARDIS crew reunited at the site of a teleport pad, which they planned to use to get back to the Dalek ship just as soon as they had deactivated the force field, clearing the way for its ASAP destruction from above. But the Doctor was resolved to bring the brave, genius Oswin with them, and he began making tracks toward her. As he did so, viewers were made privy to the particulars of Amy and Rory’s estrangement. The catalyst: Rory wanted to give Amy his protective bracelet, positing that he had more love to be sucked out of him by the Daleks (and replaced with anger), because he always loved her more than she loved him.

Amy though said he had it wrong. Because he wanted kids and has always wanted kids, she felt she failed him because she was unable to have any. So while he may have waited 2,000 years for her, she accepted the anguish of deciding to let him go. With the misunderstanding better misunderstood, the duo took a step in the direction of making rebuilding their relationship.

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The Doctor’s race to Oswin brought him to a room full of Daleks anxious to exterminate “the predator,” but Oswin hacked into their hive mind and deleted any knowledge of the Doctor. But how, the Doctor wondered — he’s tried and failed to access their pathnet for years (..and years). Upon approaching Oswin’s confines, he realized exactly how — she was actually a fully transformed robotic Dalek, a onetime human who, out of despair, had constructed a reality where she was still a plucky and super-duper-cute astronaut.

Oswin, though, fended off her Dalek instincts long enough to let the Doctor go free so that he could teleport with Amy and Rory — who were now locked at the lips — back to the Dalek ship, just as the emperor unleashed fire and brimstone upon their races’ castoffs.

And what of the TARDIS crew now deposited on the Dalek ship with no trump card to play? Thanks to Oswin’s crafty handiwork with the “delete” key from moments earlier, the hundreds of ‘bots were left to ask this strange intruder: “Doctor Who???” Cue the TARDIS returning to the Ponds’ doorstep, where a reunion seemed imminent.

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* Jenna-Louise Coleman, of course — and this is no spoiler to all but maybe seven of you — will be playing the companion who replaces the Ponds after this season. The question is, how? My money says the Doctor finds her before she experienced that fateful crash-landing on the asylum planet.

What did you think of the good Doctor’s return? And how do you think Jenna-Louise Coleman will fare when she joins the series full-time?