This episode is notable for several reasons (aside from launching Series 7). It marks the start of 50th anniversary celebrations for the series by way of featuring Daleks from every era of the franchise (nearly every Series 7 episode will have some form of Call-Back to the show's long history). It is also notable for the fact that the fandom united in keeping the introduction of (Clara) Oswin Oswald a secret from the general public, despite the episode having had public screenings several times before broadcast.
The Doctor is seen in a diner accepting a mission from a strange hooded redheaded woman.
On the ruins of Skaro, the Doctor meets with the same woman to learn the specifics of his mission, only to be whisked away to a new location. Meanwhile, the Ponds, who have had a huge argument, have almost destroyed their marriage. Amy is a successful model but it is not a happy gig. Rory arrives... with the dreaded divorce papers, seemingly ready to put an end to the mess. However, before the signed papers can be filed and made official, both Ponds are teleported where the Doctor awaits them. All three are within the Dalek citadel, where the redheaded woman reveals herself to be a Dalek puppet. It is here that the Doctor prepares for the worst, on a scale of one to ten being eleven... only for the Daleks to begin pleading, "SAVE US." The Doctor is at a loss for words.
Kidnapped by one of his oldest foes, the Doctor is forced on an impossible mission to a place even the Daleks are too terrified to enter... the Asylum of the Daleks, a planetary prison confining a veritable Continuity Cavalcade of the most terrifying and insane of their kind. When a human starship crashed there and started broadcasting songs from Carmen, the Daleks realised that if something can get in, all the insane Daleks could also get out, which would be really very bad. There's something, or someone, down there that no Dalek wants to go near, so the universe's leading expert on blowing up insane Daleks, the Doctor, is forced to beam down to the prison planet to turn off the force field and blow up all the insane Daleks (as well as himself). He is sent in with Amy and Rory, since Dalek data indicates that he needs companions at all times, but their marriage is in meltdown.
A genius human hacker, Oswin Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman), has been stuck on the crash-landed ship for a year. This is a bit of a surprise for the audience, since Steven Moffat had stated that she wouldn't be appearing until Christmas — then again, the Doctor tells the Daleks "it's Christmas!", so that's all right then. She's been keeping busy by making soufflés and playing Carmen at high volume to keep out the nightmarish Dalek voices. She's almost impossibly successful in warding off the renegade Daleks: being the best hacker the world has ever known, she effortlessly destroyed the Daleks' security system and kept them away from her base. But the rest of her crew were killed in the crash, and — as they're horrified to find out — turned into humanoid Dalek zombies by the Asylum's automated system.
As soon as the heroes land, the automated system starts working on them as well. The Daleks gave them wristbands to trick the security system into believing they'd already been converted. Amy manages to lose hers quite early on, and the Dalek mind virus starts "subtracting love and adding anger" — turning her into one of their own. Oswin contacts the group using a makeshift intercom system, but avoids the question of why the Doctor can't establish a video link to her. The Doctor asks her how she made soufflés for a whole year — particularly, where she got the milk.
The Doctor rushes off to save Oswin while Rory tries to force Amy to take his wristband. It's simple logic, he explains: if the Daleks "subtract love and add anger", they'll have to spend much more time on him. Because the fact of their marriage is that he loves her more than she loves him (by 2,000 years, to be exact), and she hates him more than he hates her. She responds by slapping him in the face. The reason for their breakup and impending divorce is that Rory wants more children, Amy can't have any more after what happened to her on Demons Run, and she broke up with him to let him go and live a happy life without her. Amy breaks down in tears thinking she's worthless to Rory now, and Rory reassures her this is not the case. It doesn't matter in the end, because without either of them noticing the Doctor had slapped his own wristband on Amy before running off.
Meanwhile, Oswin has guided the Doctor to her hideout, and has used her suspiciously improbable hacking skills to delete all Dalek knowledge of the Doctor. When he finally reaches her, he's horrified: Oswin is a fully converted Dalek, who unknowingly dreamed a world of cushy couches and soufflés to keep herself sane. She was right about one thing, though — she's indeed a genius hacker, and by accessing the Dalek Hive Mind equivalent, she was able to override all information the Daleks ever had on the Doctor. Which is great, because the Daleks kept growing stronger, and more hateful, and more innovative, every single time the Doctor fought them — every encounter with him just gave them more reason to become more violent. Daleks without knowledge of the Doctor are a fantastic favour to the whole universe. With her last conscious, human thoughts, she shuts off the forcefield, and the Daleks promptly blow up the prison planet with her (apparently) on it. The Doctor escapes through a sonicked teleport pad, bringing Amy and Rory along with him into the TARDIS as Oswin imparts one last message to the Doctor: "Run, you clever boy. And remember.".
Amy and Rory rather effortlessly resolve their marriage (well, at least until they get home that is... where Amy launches a very steamy look at Rory and we all know what's likely to follow will be physical), and the Doctor hastily bids goodbye to a collection of extremely confused Daleks who wonder who this Doctor person is and why he's babbling about an Oncoming Storm.
- Abnormal Ammo: The Daleks' Gravity Beam. It fires the Doctor.
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The scene where Amy reveals why she broke up with Rory as they wait for the Doctor.
- Adult Fear: Going through a divorce and being infertile.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Turns out Oswin only thinks she's still human.
- Alliterative Name: Oswin Oswald.
- Arc Words: "Run you clever boy, and remember." and "I don't know where I am."
- Armour-Piercing Slap: Rory gets two, courtesy of Amy. The first is played for laughs ("Amy it's me. Do you remember me?" [slap]) and the second is played for drama during their argument ("Give me your arm. AMY!" [slap]).
- Armour-Piercing Question: About cooking ingredients, believe it or not. Where, oh where, does someone get eggs and milk on a prison planet for Daleks?
- Army of the Ages: Daleks from all eras of the show's history are in attendance as inmates. However, the focus is clearly on the Russell T. Davies-era Dalek models, as classic series models only appear as background cameos; The Doctor Who Site has a spotting guide for the latter kind. Counts as such in the Real World as well: the Dalek props were assembled from the BBC archives, private collections, and fan-made replicas. The oldest BBC one was first used in a Troughton story from 1967.
- Aside Glance: Oswin says "Run, you clever boy. And remember." to the camera and thus the audience.
- Ask a Stupid Question...:
- The Doctor enquires: "Have you considered tracking back the signal and talking to them?" (Daleks are silent) "...he asked the Daleks."
- Rory asks what colour (because he couldn't think of any other question). Everyone just stares at him.
- Assimilation Backfire: Oswin kept her humanity after being turned into a Dalek, which allows her to wipe all memories relating to the doctor from all the other Daleks.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: When Rory wonders what the Doctor is thinking, Amy replies that he's counted the Daleks, noted the exits, placed himself in the most defensible area, and worked out their marriage is on the rocks by the distance they're keeping apart.
- Axe-Crazy: This is the place where the psychotic Daleks go. Daleks are considered psychotic by normal standards. These are Daleks considered psychotic by other Daleks. Which, by extension, includes Oswin. While her assimilation may have occurred due to her crash landing on the planet, the fact remains the other Daleks chained her to the floor in what appears to be the asylum equivalent of solitary confinement.
- Badass Boast:Rory: Who killed all the Daleks?
The Doctor: Who do you think?
- The Bait: It's clear the Daleks know the Doctor Has a Type. Darla is an attractive redheaded human female (just like his current companion Amy), a Damsel in Distress in killer stilettos with a child in danger, and the smarts to make contact with the Doctor and suggest an intriguing meeting place.
- Batman Gambit: The Doctor tricks a Dalek into activating its self-destruct sequence to try and kill him, then reverses its direction controls and forces it to back into a room filled with other Daleks.
- Battle in the Centre of the Mind: Oswin is shown boarding up a door to her "escape pod" to keep out the Daleks. Since it's all a fantasy created by her, what she's really doing is keeping her humanity safe from her encroaching Dalek conditioning.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
- Fortunately we never get to see what Oswin really looks like, post-conversion.
- Amy doesn't suffer any apparent physical injury, despite being caught in an explosion and knocked unconscious.
- Bi the Way: Oswin flirts with both Rory and the Doctor, and mentions her that first crush was a girl called Nina. She elaborates that it was a phase.
- Blue and Orange Morality: The Daleks believe that hatred is beautiful, the purer the better. It's why they couldn't bring themselves to kill the Asylum Daleks before this episode. Or why they seem unable to kill the Doctor. This sickens him.
- Body Horror:
- The Dalek eyestalk punching its way out of the forehead. The sickening crunch is the evil cherry on the terror sundae.
- The reanimated corpses of the Alaska crew, and the knowledge that inside her Dalek armour, Oswin likely looks the same now.
- Bookends: Inverted, as at the end of the finale of series six, and at the end of this episode (the series seven premiere), there is the repeated question "Doctor who?"
- Borrowed Catchphrase:The Doctor: We'll get through this, I promise. Don't be scared.
Amy: Scared? Who's scared? Geronimo.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: After uttering her Arc Words, Oswin looks right at the audience. There is nothing in the episode, nor in any episodes that follow, to suggest an in-universe reason for her doing this, making this a true wall-break as the audience will be asked to remember her.
- Break the Badass: In an echo of the revival's first Dalek episode, the Doctor is reduced to pounding on a door, begging to be let out, while the Intensive Care Daleks close in on him.
- Break the Cutie:
- Oswin is broken twice. Once in her initial Dalek capture, and then again when the Doctor reminds her. That teary-eyed face is heartbreaking.
- Amy, when she finally reveals why she wants to divorce Rory. She believed she was letting him go so he could find a new wife that could give him children.
- Brick Joke: Where does she get the milk?
- "Eggs. Stir. Mix. Bake." Eggzzzstirrrmiiiinaaaaate.
- The Cameo: The Asylum features Daleks from every previous era of the show.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Anything Oswin says, such as suggesting that the Nose (Rory) and the Chin (The Doctor) "should fence" because they are breaking into a Dalek prison planet in the process.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- "Where do you get the milk?"
- The ladder hanging out of the escape pod's emergency hatch.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- This exchange:Dalek Supreme: What is the noise? Explain! Explain!
The Doctor: It's me.
Rory: I'm sorry, what?
The Doctor: It's me, playing the triangle. Okay, I got buried in the mix. Carmen, lovely show.
- Everyone gets exasperated when the Doctor keeps asking where Oswin gets the milk for her soufflés. It's subverted; it turns out to be a very pertinent question.
- Those Daleks aren't really asking for eggs, Rory.
- This exchange:
- Constantly Curious: The Daleks lure the Doctor into a trap by having their agent set up a meeting place on Skaro. "They said I'd have to intrigue you."
- Continuity Nod: This is not the first time the Doctor talked with a mind that didn't realize the full circumstances of its situation.
- Continuity Cavalcade:
- Skaro shows up for the first time in the new series (aside from the first Adventure Game).
- Intensive Care houses Daleks who have survived encounters with the Doctor on a number of worlds, including Spiridon, Aridius, Kembel, Vulcan, and Exxilon... supposedly; they appear to have all switched casings, though, for some reason.
- The nanogenes from "The Empty Child" make a return, only now they convert people into Dalek Zombies rather than Gas Mask Zombies.
- While they are not named as such, the Dalek Puppets are implied to be an advanced form of the Dalek Robomen.
- The idea of human prisoners who are transformed into brainwashed Dalek sleeper agents also calls back to "Resurrection of the Daleks".
- The idea of human-Dalek hybrids calls back to "Evolution of the Daleks".
- The Special Weapons Dalek from "Remembrance of the Daleks", which was said to have been insane, is in the Asylum.
- A Davies-era Dalek helpless and in chains breaks free and becoming much more of a threat, echoing the first appearance of a Dalek in the 2005 revival.
- Also related to "Dalek" — When asked if the Daleks have weapons, the Doctor is told that Daleks are always armed. "How can you be a Dalek if you can't kill?", as the Ninth Doctor said.
- The spinning Dalek is almost certainly the one that the Daleks tested the Thal anti-rad meds on waaay back in "The Daleks". It caused the Dalek to spin around constantly and moan.
- The concept of the Daleks wanting human minds to give themselves an edge goes all the way back to "The Evil of the Daleks" where they attempted to integrate the "human factor" to make themselves even more deadly, and was seen in "Remembrance of the Daleks" when they abducted a child to serve as their battle computer. And as in "The Evil of the Daleks", it ends up backfiring in the worst possible way for them.
- The Doctor reveals he is still good with teleports.
- Couch Gag: This episode débuted a gag in the title sequence with the Doctor Who logo being textured differently every episode. In this episode it was textured with Dalek bumps.
- Covert Pervert:Oswin: Pop your shirt off, quick as you like.
Oswin: Does there have to be a reason?
- Crazy-Prepared: Rory, who had no idea he might be captured by aliens, keeps an electric torch in his pocket. Although looking at the history of his travels with the Doctor (especially things like the Silence and the Weeping Angels), he may have just kept it on him just in case.
- Deadpan Snarker: Creepily enough, the Dalek Prime Minister seems to be one with regards to the Doctor, observing that maybe his species' admiration of "such divine hatred" is why they are unable to defeat the Doctor.
- Defiant to the End: On finding themselves trapped on a spaceship, surrounded by thousands of Daleks, Amy asks what they should do. The Doctor replies, "Make them remember you."
- Demoted to Dragon: The Supreme Dalek is now subordinate to the new Dalek Prime Minister.
- Didn't See That Coming: The Doctor's reaction to what the Parliament says to him:Dalek Parliament: [chanting] Save the Daleks! Save the Daleks! Save the Daleks!...
The Doctor: Well. This is new!
- Divorce Is Temporary: It only takes one episode to reunite Amy and Rory (though the breakdown occurred over a longer period of time).
- The Dreaded:The Doctor: The Doctor, the Oncoming Storm, the Predator.
- Driven to Madness: Every Dalek in the Asylum, particularly the Daleks who are in "Intensive Care" after surviving an encounter with the Doctor, and Oswin has experienced something so terrible it broke their minds. Naturally, that's why they are in an asylum.
- Dying as Yourself: "I am Oswin Oswald. I fought the Daleks and I am human. Remember me."
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The episode is about an asylum for the Daleks.
- Eureka Moment: Amy realising the implications of the Nanocloud converting everything "living or dead" into Dalek zombies during the Doctor's explanation of the technology.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Daleks turn out to have standards just as screwed up as they are.Dalek Prime Minister: It is offensive to us to destroy such divine hatred.
- Evil Sounds Deep:
- Inverted. Compared to the Dalek Emperor or Supreme, the Prime Minister is something of a tenor. The better to snark at the Doctor with.
- Perhaps intentionally, when we hear Oswin speaking as a Dalek, despite the same voice actor (Nicholas Briggs) being used as the other Daleks, her voice is noticably higher in pitch.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: The Doctor, who doesn't realize everything around them is a possible Dalek zombie until Amy tells him to shut up for a second and think.The Doctor: Yes, exactly. Living or... dead. Oh dear.
- Face Cam: To represent Amy's Sanity Slippage as she is infected by the Nanocloud, the camera focuses on her face.
- Faux Affably Evil: The Dalek Prime Minister is far more polite, sardonic and respectful with the Doctor than any Dalek in the past. This oddly enough creates a rather disturbing reversal from the usual banter between Daleks and the Doctor, with the fuming Doctor being outsnarked by a Dalek.
- Flower in Her Hair: Oswin wears one, or rather, her mental image of herself. After all, the Daleks "have no concept of elegance!" and she is human.
- Oswin being able to hack Dalek technology, and the fact that some of her hacking is obvious Hollywood Hacking and button mashing.
- "Where do you get the milk for the soufflés?"
- "Make them remember you."
- Somebody else seems to have climbed out of the escape pod already.
- There's a ballerina figurine in Oswin's "escape pod".
- Oswin's escape pod looks vaguely like a Dalek on the scanners.
- Carmen. It's a tragic story, as Carmen dies at the end.
- Also, in Carmen the Habanera aria, the song Oswin plays in every appearance and what the Daleks pick up, the translation of the lyric "Prends garde à toi!" is "You best beware!" In the whole song, Carmen warns the onlookers she is like smoke, untouchable and unattainable. Just like Oswin.
- The Doctor mentions that Amy will be there at his end.
- An unintentional (at the time) non-diegetic example. When Oswin says "Run you clever boy, and remember" listen to the music playing. This is the first appearance of Clara's Leitmotif, which takes on an entirely new significance three seasons later once one sees Clara's final episode, "Hell Bent". As a result, every use of this piece of music from here on out is foreshadowing.
- Two soundtrack examples. Firstly, Clara Oswald's theme is heard for the first time. Due to the later episode "Hell Bent" making the melody part of the narrative, every use of the theme from here on is foreshadowing for the events of Clara's final episode. Secondly, Together or Not at All - the sad music from "The Angels Take Manhattan" - also makes a subtle appearance during Amy's hallucinatory scene.
- Funny Background Event: Even after Amy's hallucination is broken, the "ballerina" William Hartnell-era Dalek can still be seen spinning around in circles in the background. Two Daleks can also be seen holding "hands".
- Gender-Blender Name: "Oswin" is traditionally a male name.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Oswin was so mentally shattered from her conversion that instead of becoming yet another Dalek, she retreated into a fantasy world within her mind.
- Gone Horribly Right: The Daleks converting Oswin to harness her genius; combining her intelligence with Dalek technology made her able to hack just about anything, and indeed created a very powerful entity... that was beyond their ability to control. As the Daleks themselves are an example of the trope, the irony of one of their own experiments backfiring on them is poetic.
- Hand Wave:
- Skaro was clearly destroyed in "Remembrance of the Daleks" by the Hand of Omega. According to Nicholas Briggs explaining its not-quite-total destruction on Twitter, "It actually hit the Space Tescos next to Skaro by accident..." Also, according to the Eighth Doctor Adventures, it wasn't the real Skaro we saw blown up.
- "The Magician's Apprentice" handwaves this by saying the Daleks just rebuilt the planet. They are capable of planetary-scale engineering, as shown in "The Stolen Earth".
- Related to this, the fact Skaro is accessible to the Doctor and yet Gallifrey is not is ignored (it's not until "The Day of the Doctor" that we learn why this is the case).
- When Amy is in the process of being converted by the nanogenes, the Doctor saves her by slipping his own nanogene-repelling bracelet on her. So why isn't he now in danger of being converted? Because...Amy: A Time Lord. What's the bet that he doesn't even need it?
- Skaro was clearly destroyed in "Remembrance of the Daleks" by the Hand of Omega. According to Nicholas Briggs explaining its not-quite-total destruction on Twitter, "It actually hit the Space Tescos next to Skaro by accident..." Also, according to the Eighth Doctor Adventures, it wasn't the real Skaro we saw blown up.
- Happily Married: This is zigzagged. At the start of the episode, Amy and Rory's marriage is going through difficulties, and their first scenes are signing divorce papers. Then it turns out that Rory didn't want the divorce and neither did Amy; she thought he would be happier with someone who could give him children. He doesn't mind and they're back together by the end of the episode.
- Held Gaze: Amy and Rory when they're talking about the difficulties in their marriage and how much they still love each other, that ends with a Big Damn Kiss.
- Henpecked Husband: When the Ponds are forced to finally confront their relationship issues, Rory laments how he's always felt he loved Amy more than she loved him, but Amy feels she was loving him by freeing him to go be with someone who could bear children.
- Hive Mind: Oswin's shorthand for the Daleks' sort-of-psychic network, the "Pathweb", is that the Daleks are connected.
- Hollywood Hacking: Subverted. At first it looks like Oswin can hack the Daleks because she is a "total screaming genius" with a keyboard. It turns out that Oswin can only hack the Dalek's systems because she is one, and thus connected to their Hive Mind. All the Hollywood Hacking we see going on is just a fantasy inside her head. note
- Hot Wind: Invoked in Amy's introduction; she's doing a photo shoot while someone off-camera is waving a hair dryer at her.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Daleks that Rory wakes up miss him at point-blank range. Presumably their targeting sensors are on the blink after who-knows-how-many years of nil maintenance. Oswin says some of them are catatonic as well.
- Indy Hat Roll: Rory uses this move to escape when the Daleks wake up and start shooting at him.
- Indy Ploy: Invoked by the Daleks who simply drop the Doctor and his companions on the planet and trust that he'll sort it all out.
- In the Hood: Darla. There's a Bait-and-Switch when the Doctor removes her hood...only to find an apparently ordinary human woman underneath. Turns out the Dalek tech is inside her body.
- In Love with Your Carnage: The Daleks claim to find hatred beautiful, even if that hatred is directed at them. The Prime Minister suggests that this is why they have so much trouble killing the Doctor. They don't truly want to.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Amy claims this is the reason she divorced Rory. He'd be happier with someone who wasn't infertile. Poor Communication Kills.
- Jerkass Has a Point: When the Doctor questions why the Daleks seem to expect that he will just walk in and fix everything.Rory: In fairness, that is slightly your M.O.
The Doctor: Don't be fair to the Daleks when they're firing me at a planet!
- Karma Houdini: The Parliament of the Daleks have their memory of the Doctor erased but otherwise are completely unaffected and unpunished at the end of the episode. Then again, they have lost all knowledge of the Doctor, and thus the single greatest motivating factor that drove them to be so obscenely powerful in the first place.
- Kill the Cutie: Oswin is a cute and clever girl, who was converted into a Dalek and then blown up along with the planet.
- Knuckle Tattoos: Amy has the familiar "love" and "hate" on her knuckles for the fashion shoot, although it's almost certainly ballpoint.
- Lady Not-Appearing-In-This-Trailer: For months prior to the broadcast, Jenna-Louise Coleman had been promoted as playing the Doctor's new companion, and that she would debut in the 2012 Christmas special. As a result, and thanks to successful efforts by the BBC to prevent spoilers from getting out, her appearance in this episode was a complete surprise to most viewers. Needless to say, none of the advance publicity for this episode referenced her, even though she was the episode's main guest character.
- Large and in Charge: In the Parliament scene, the new, larger Daleks from "Victory of the Daleks" appear to be acting as officers to the normal-sized bronze Daleks.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Inflicted on the entire Dalek species, thus robbing them of their greatest strength; their fear of the Doctor by way of their memories of him.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- Oswin's last line, which ends with her looking straight into the camera.Oswin: Run, you clever boy... And remember.
- The Doctor does the same thing when leaving the Daleks chanting "Doctor who?"The Doctor: Fellas — you're never going to stop asking.
- At the beginning of the episode the Doctor tells the Daleks that "it's Christmas!" Not long after that, we get the first appearance of Jenna-Louise Coleman, who Steven Moffat had told fans wouldn't be appearing until... Christmas.
- Oswin's last line, which ends with her looking straight into the camera.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: Oswin created her own personal paradise in her mind (as much as she could under the circumstances) and fully believes that she is a human trapped in an escape pod to avoid the truth that she has become a Dalek.
- Love Before First Sight: The Doctor did not need to see or touch Miss Oswald for her to impress him with her intelligence and willpower... or to do lots of flirting. It's downplayed; this is more treated as a "first date" of sorts and the attraction here didn't become a full blown crush until after he properly meets original Clara, but definitely still there.
- The Maiden Name Debate: Amy signs her divorce papers Amy Williams. Later in the episode, the Doctor once again calls Rory "Mr. Pond".
- Manchurian Agent: Dalek puppets look human, and don't have any idea of their Dalek-ness... until they're needed.
- Meat Puppet: Taken to high levels of Body Horror. The Daleks hollow out their victims with Nanomachines and put Dalek machinery inside.
- Meaningful Echo:
- A running gag from earlier turns into the most chilling word known to man.
- The cut to the Doctor fixing his bowtie, after Amy realises the Doctor has helped to sort out the relationship she told him earlier was "not one of those things you can fix like you fix your bowtie."
- Mickey Mousing: When Oswin switches the music to the "Toreador Chorus", the music matches the banging on the door.
- Mind Rape: This is how the nanocloud conversion process begins; delete memories, "subtract love and add anger".
- Mood Whiplash: From Oswin's narration into her diary at the beginning of the episode:Oswin: Day 363. The terror continues. Also, made another soufflé... very nearly.
- Moral Event Horizon: In-universe: the Daleks manage to disgust the Doctor again, even after all they've done already. They keep the insane Daleks alive as they feel their hatred is beautiful.
- Motor Mouth: Jenna Coleman gives Matt Smith a run for his money. It's the reason why she was hired.
- Ms. Fanservice:
- Anamaria Marinca as Darla.
- Jenna Coleman in her short pink dress and lipstick for that matter. YOWZA!
- Mushroom Samba: Amy starts seeing a room full of waiters greeting her and spinning ballerinas. It's actually a room full of half-active Daleks.
- Mythology Gag:
- In early drafts of "The Daleks", it would have been a plot point that Skaro was subject to regular monsoon-like storms. When this serial opens on Skaro, just such a storm is taking place.
- One of the Daleks that Amy sees as human is a ballerina. The design of the Daleks, specifically their long skirts and gliding motion, was inspired by the Georgian National Ballet dancers seen by Terry Nation one evening.
- Dalek Sec's casing appears as a man in a suit when Amy's hallucinating.
- Nanomachines: Like the ones from "The Empty Child", only even nastier.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Rory: "Who killed all the Daleks?" The Doctor: "Who do you think?" The scene's from the middle of the episode and involves only a room full of Daleks. There are still plenty left alive, even after the end of the episode.
- Nocturnal Mooks: Oswin quips that the Daleks pounding on the door must be vampires, as they seem to mostly come at night. Which would make sense as she'd be more vulnerable to the brainwashing when she was asleep.
- Oh, Crap!: Rory's face when he realises the crazy Dalek was not saying "Eggs".
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The Daleks in intensive care normally dont wake up for anything.
- Related to the above, most of the current generation of Daleks refer to the Doctor as the Predator, much to his chagrin. How do we find out these Daleks are bad news?
- Our Zombies Are Different:
- They're Dalek androids made out of human corpses. Anyone who lands on the Asylum becomes one.
- The ICU Daleks count even on their own, slowly lumbering toward the Doctor, stripped of their guns.
- Pietà Plagiarism: The Doctor, holding nearly-emotion drained Amy in his arms.
- Poor Communication Kills: Or at least ends marriages. Amy throws Rory out upon learning she can't have more children, and somehow doesn't think to tell him this, leaving him understandably bitter after a couple of months or so of wondering what the hell he did wrong.
- The Power of Hate: The Daleks both love hatred and hate the Doctor. His existence as an entity beyond them, who are supposed to be the most superior entity in all the galaxy, has driven them to such levels of power that they have threatened the whole of reality. Oswin effectively neuters this hatred and drive to become stronger by stripping the Doctor from the memory banks of everything Dalek.
- The Power of Love: The Dalek Conversion process starts mental and then goes physical; "subtract love and add anger". Thus, the Doctor tells Amy to focus on love. Between this episode and "Closing Time", that's starting to become a theme on fighting cyborg conversion in general.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Amy tells the Doctor to stop giving her the wet eyes when he finds out Amy and Rory are divorcing.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: In the end, Oswin the super-hacker writes the Doctor right out of the Daleks' minds. She doesn't instruct them to live a life of peace or stop bothering other species. Reforming the Daleks wasn't her priority at the time, after all; she was more concerned with protecting the Doctor from imminent death, and just because she can delete memories doesn't mean she can rewrite their entire personalities.
- Red Baron: The Doctor gets a fresh one to go along with "The Oncoming Storm": "The Predator of the Daleks".
- Replicant Snatching: The Daleks can now harvest human bodies into puppets for undercover purposes.
- The Reveal: Amy has been effectively rendered barren by Madame Kovarian's experimentation on her.
- Running Gag:
- The Doctor's exasperation at Amy and Rory's makeout sessions.
- Rory's nose gets some more jabs, and Oswin doesn't let the Doctor's chin off either.
- Where does she get the milk for all the soufflés? This one turns out to be quite serious.
- Amy is still making fun of the Doctor's bowtie.
- Sanity Slippage:
- Amy, while affected by the nanocloud, starts hallucinating.
- Oswin, when reminded of her true situation, is no longer so composed and clever.
- Save the Villain: The Daleks' request to the Doctor, in a Lesser of Two Evils situation, of course. "Sane" Daleks are bad enough. A tsunami of crazy Daleks would be much worse.
- Scenery Gorn: In the prologue, Skaro is an awful wasteland with acid storms and a giant statue of a Dalek.
- Scenery Porn:
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: The Daleks' suits have one, and it's powerful enough to blow up other Daleks.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: All Dalek survivors from the events of "The Chase", "The Daleks' Master Plan", "The Power of the Daleks", "Planet of the Daleks" and "Death to the Daleks" are considered so insane by other Daleks that they're in the "intensive care" area.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: The Doctor tries to appeal to Darla to remember the human she once was, reminding her she has a daughter. Darla smirks and replies "Yes, I know. I read my file".
The Doctor: Carmen, lovely show.
- Oswin listening to Carmen throughout the episode. She even seems to be cosplaying as said character!
- Oswin barricading the door and playing loud music to drown out the monsters outside. Then she comments "They only come out at night. Maybe they're vampires."
- "Come up and see me sometime."
- When the nanocloud starts giving Amy "Dalek-vision", she sees a room full of Daleks as people instead, only they seem to be trapped in the 1950s, with the right background music to boot. Kinda like the Overlook Hotel, really.
- Show, Don't Tell: Apart from being told that the insane Daleks are the worst kind, they don't seem that much worse than the regular ones, sleeping most of the time and in need of repair. Judging by Amy's hallucination scene, it seems the Daleks in the asylum have developed dreams and feelings beyond hatred. For Daleks this would be the worst display of insanity.
- Skewed Priorities:
- "Where do you get the milk for the soufflés?" seems like this at first, but The Cuckoolander Was Right. There are no soufflés — Oswin was imagining it as part of her Battle in the Centre of the Mind against her Dalek conditioning.
- Only the Doctor could be preoccupied with the state of Amy and Rory's marriage whilst in the middle of an veritable army of Daleks. Then again, they are, technically, his parents-in-law, and the series has made a case of how childish the Doctor can get.
- Slave Mooks: The Dalek Puppets are emptied-out humans who care nothing for their previous lives.
- Snap Back: Starting with this story, the RTD-era "Time War" Daleks were reinstated as the main Dalek design, with the updated design introduced early in the Eleventh Doctor's run being relegated to filling out crowds.
- So Long, Suckers!: The Doctor, as usual, can't leave without at least one good taunt.The Doctor: You know, you guys should really have seen this coming. Thing about me and teleports: I've got a really good aim. Pinpoint accurate in fact. Or, to put it another way: ''Suckers!'''
- So Much for Stealth: The Dalek doesn't react when Rory rotates its turret, but all of them wake up when he steps on something metal.
- Spotting the Thread: Oswald has survived a year in the Asylum in her escape pod, passing the time by playing music from Carmen and making soufflés. Except hey, wait a minute — she was trapped in her escape pod for a whole year, so where'd she get the ingredients (like milk, which goes bad quickly) from?
- Stealth Pun:
- The Doctor calls the Daleks "suckers".
- "Eggs... stir... minate."
- Taking You with Me: One of the Daleks, having a damaged gun-stick, activates its self-destruct next to the Doctor. This, however, is exactly what the Doctor wanted it to do. He forces it to go straight back into an enormous group of Daleks, destroying them all.
- Talking the Monster to Death: Subverted. The Doctor tries to do this with one of the Dalek Zombies, asking her if she knows that she once had a daughter before the Daleks hollowed her out and turned her into their puppet? The Dalek Zombie replies that she does... because she read her file!
- This Is No Time for Knitting: It turns out that yes, in fact, where Oswin gets her ingredients is important.
- Title Drop: "Doc-tor Who?"
- Tomato in the Mirror: Oswin is not a human being trapped in an escape pod. She's a converted Dalek who has created a Happy Place to hide in.
- Too Dumb to Live: Not only did Rory stick around when some insane Daleks started waking up — did he seriously think a bunch of glitched-out Daleks were saying "eggs" and not just the first syllable of "exterminate"? If not for their horrid accuracy, he would have died then and there.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: The Daleks convert Oswin into one of them and attempt to add her to their Hive Mind, but Oswin's mind is too intelligent to be overwritten. The Daleks become so confused by this they're too afraid to even go near her, and send in the Doctor, their worst enemy, to sort out the mess instead.
- Translation Convention: Presumably Daleks don't really have an operating system that displays messages in plain English, like we see when looking through the POV of the one who self-destructs.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Averted: Oswin's appearance in the episode was kept completely under wraps prior to the episode's début broadcast.
- True Companions: Rory asks Amy how long they should wait for the Doctor. Amy says, "The rest of our lives." Rory has no objection.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Oswin forgets she is a Dalek and imagines life in the asylum because the truth was too terrible.
- Up to Eleven: Lampshaded.
- Verbal Tic: "Eggs. Eggs... stir... Eggs-stir-minate! EXTERMINATE!"
- Violent Glaswegian: Amy implies that most of Scotland are this after she slaps Rory, and Oswin wonders if the Dalek conversion is already making her angrier than normal.Amy: Well, somebody's never been to Scotland.
- Visual Pun: Astonishingly, this is the first time in 49 years that televised Doctor Who has acknowledged the resemblance between a Dalek gun and an egg whisk. Oswin's obsession with soufflés turns out to perhaps be a subconscious way to deal with having aforementioned gun.
- Was Once a Man: The Dalek Puppets are humans stuffed full of Dalek nanogens. Also, poor, poor Dalek Oswin.
- Wham Episode:
- Although the whole episode was filled with whams, the biggest one that affects the whole series was every Dalek, everywhere, losing all memory of the Doctor.
- Also retroactively applies to the appearance of Oswin Oswald as well, given future events.
- Wham Line:
- First:The Doctor: It's a dream, Oswin. You dreamed it yourself because the truth was too terrible.
- Plus:Harvey: Of course. Stupid me: I died outside.
- This:Damaged Dalek: Egg-egg-egg-egg-egg-egg-eggz.
Rory: Eggs? You mean those things? [the roundels on the Dalek's casing; some have fallen off onto the floor]
Damaged Dalek: Eeeeggz.
Rory: I don't, I don't know what you want. Those things. Are those things eggs? This? You want this.
Damaged Dalek: Eeex...sterrr...miiinn...aaate.
- And:Amy: You want kids, you have always wanted kids, ever since you were a kid. And I can't have them. Whatever they did to me at Demons Run, I can't ever give you children.
- This heartbreaking moment:
- White Void Room: Rory and Amy wakes up in one after their abduction, until Rory looks out the window and sees they're in space with a Dalek fleet.
- The X of Y: Asylum of the Daleks.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: The Doctor is horrified when the Dalek Prime Minister remarks that perhaps the reason the Daleks have never been able to kill the Doctor is because he is such a "divine" example of hatred.