As always with Moffat's episodes, there are things that I absolutely adore about it, and others that I really, really hate, and that ruin the whole episode to me. Ok, I'm being harsh, I still like that episode, but I could have loved it if not for some rather small details, and that fact annoys me.
What I like:
- I love the scene where Rory asks Amy what the Doctor is doing, and she lists that he's chosen the most defendable area in the room, counted all the Daleks, counted all the exits and now he's calculating the exact distance we're standing apart and starting to worry. Oh, and look at him frowning now. "Something's wrong with Amy and Rory, and who's going to fix it?".
- I love "souffle-girl". She's fun, brilliant, self-dependant, she outsmarts the Daleks and the Doctor (and I love it when he's not the best in the room), she's cute and she doesn't know how too cook (so she's not perfect, I don't need to be 100% jealous). The episode is worth watching just for her.
- I love the Amy/Rory thing, and the way the Doctor solves it. So very him - so very manipulative.
- I like the Dalek's concept of beauty. So very Dalek. And the reason why they never could kill the Doctor, hilarious.
What I don't like:
- I don't like the initial rendez-vous occurring on Skaro. Skaro is supposed to have been destroyed, presumably during the Time War. I wasn't too sure about that at first, and I would have let it go as a fan-fact that had every right to be ignored by the writers, except that I watched soon after Daleks in Manhattan and Evolution of the Daleks, and in one of those episodes, one of the Daleks states that his planet has been destroyed.
On the other hand, no one ever said that those Daleks from the cult of Skaro came from "our" universe. After all, they got there through the void. So maybe they came from our universe, hid in the void during the Time War, to re-emerge later, or maybe they came from an alternate universe where Skaro has been destroyed while it hasn't been on ours. After all, I don't remember the Doctor ever saying that he destroyed Skaro. I can live with that explanation :)
- I don't like the Dalek Prime Minister. It's not very important, but so far, Daleks are ruled either by a Supreme Dalek, an Emperor, or sometimes by Davros himself. Do they need a parliament when they're all ok about their main objective? Well, maybe, why not - but keep the Supreme Dalek or the Emperor at the top of the hierarchy, no need to add complexity there.
- I don't like they way Daleks transform people into Daleks. I don't find it very realistic: why would Daleks, who hate everything not Dalek, transform something not-Dalek into something remotely-Dalek, when they don't really need it?
Darla's mental transformation/conditioning is ok: she's a trap, so they take a human, turn her mind into a Dalek mind and use her. That's ok. But why does she needs to be physically transformed too? I just find that ridiculous.
As for any kind of transformation in the Asylum - well, it's needed to solve the situation between Amy and Rory, and brilliantly used by the Doctor, ok, but apart from that? I do think that a bunch of mad Daleks are more than capable of dealing with a few intruders the usual way. They'd probably be more than happy to, too.
Not to mention, that Dalek eye getting out of someone's forehead looks a bit ridiculous.
- I don't like the Asylum itself. Which makes it hard to like the episode's main plot. It's to do with Dalek purity again: I don't have anything against their concept of beauty - actually I find that brilliant - but to me those Daleks in the Asylum are defective, therefore not pure, therefore to be destroyed, not looked upon as master pieces.
- I really, really hated the end of the episode at first. Not the fact that the Daleks forgot about the Doctor, though I wasn't initially too keen on the idea, but who am I to decide that? but the repetition of "Doctor Who?", "Doctor Who?", "Doctor Who?"... Ok, we got it. I've always loved hearing that joke before, except in The Wedding of River Song, for the same reason than here: the repetition is annoying, and I was so, so afraid that we would have it in every other episode of season 7. Actually, having now watch the first 4 episodes, I'm really relieved (and somewhat surprised) not to have heard it again, and it bothers me less, both in The Wedding of River Song and in Asylum of the Daleks.
So, mostly tiny, unimportant things (except the Asylum itself), that I will be able to live with after getting used to it.
So, all in all:
'Course I like it. There's not one episode of Doctor Who that I don't like anyway, because they all have at least one brilliant thing about them. But as an opener, and as an episode with Daleks in it, I was disappointed. I love a good Dalek, and those Daleks pleading for the Doctor's help, those mad Daleks in the Asylum, and those amnesic Daleks wondering who the man in the bow-tie is - but not shooting at him on principle - just don't do it for me.