Once again the new companion is a young lady with a London accent, but at least she's not from our era so that's somewhat of an improvement. Jenna-Louise Coleman was fantastic in the role, living up to Moffat's promises that she 'out manics the Doctor', and looks to be a worthy successor to the Ponds. A passing reference to being bisexual was a pleasant surprise and a nice nod to the much discussed 'gay agenda' of the Russell T Davies era.
(When initially watching this I had a real problem with the line ‘going through a phase’ in relation to bisexuality as it reinforces the stereotype that there are no such things as bisexuals. However, with the revelation that she has been a Dalek all along I like to think that the phase she is talking about is being human, when she was still able to love, and her subconscious is trying to break through the fantasy she’s created for herself. Maybe I’m being too kind to Moffat but I find it hard to believe that the man who created Captain Jack could reinforce such a bisexual stereotype.)
I'm really curious how much of what has been leaked about her was lies. Will she really not appear again until Xmas and will she be called Clara as previously revealed, rather than Oswin as she was called in this episode or was all that a bluff? I'm hoping she remains a Dalek (even if she is in human disguise) as I love the idea of the Doctor travelling through time and space with his most feared enemy.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Ponds are still the companions for now, but shockingly have split up! Won't someone please think of River? Don’t worry though, by the end of the episode they've got back together. Turns out all you need to overcome martial difficulties is to nearly be killed by the Daleks. I'll keep this in mind next time Squeamish Louise and I argue over whose turn it is to do the washing up!
Incidentally Rory is completely correct – he certainly loves Amy more than she loves him, although this may be more to do with the difference in quality between Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill's acting rather than the characters themselves. That said, waiting for 2000 years outside a box should get you a fair few Boyfriend Points.
The episode also had more than its fair share of scares. The zombies were particularly terrifying and should have caused a fair few children to dive behind the sofa. The woman at the start turning into a Dalek was a great concept and very well done – the last time we saw Dalek/Human hybrids (in the truly appalling Daleks Of Manhattan) they were pitiful and more laughable than scary.
In fact all the special effects were great – the ruins of Skaros were incredible. Worries over the affects the 20% across the board BBC funding cuts would have on the show have proven unfounded so far. I love the new titles too, a minor change to the vortex (and a slight re-jigging of the theme too, I believe) has made a massive improvement to them.
It was also fantastic to have the Daleks return to full villain mode. By no longer knowing who the Doctor is, or that there is someone who can always defeat them, they've had all the brakes taken off. The Doctor will no longer be able to stop them with a Jammie Dodger (as cool as that was) as they no longer have any reason to fear him.
I also loved seeing all the various models of Daleks together (especially the Special Weapon Dalek as I have a soft spot for Remembrance of The Daleks), and references to old Dalek episodes (I spotted references to Planet Of The Daleks, Mission To The Unknown and The Daleks’ Master Plan but there was at least one other episode I could just not place).
All in all it was a great start to a series. We may only have 5 eps and an Xmas special this year but if they are all of this quality it'll be enough!