BBC America is holding a contest asking viewers about their favorite Asylum of the Daleks quote and why (link here if you’re interested). seeing as that episode is pretty much the only reason I still have hope for the show, I felt like I had to enter, but I couldn’t pick just one and I ended up writing kind of a lot about my two favorites, so I decided to share my thoughts here too:
My first choice was when Amy tells Rory, “don’t you dare talk to me about waiting outside a box, because that is nothing, Rory, NOTHING compared to giving you up.” I for one spent a long time feeling like Amy and Rory were just Rose and Mickey all over again. After all, Amy spent a lot of the fifth season running away from marrying him, and when we first met him she introduced him as a friend. He’s done so much for her over the seasons, it was great to finally see a demonstration of how devoted she is to him (could’ve used some more showing, not telling, but at this point I’ll take whatever’s on offer), and brought closure to that aspect of their character arcs. I also like how it foreshadows Angels in Manhattan and speaks to a theme running through the recent episodes, of the Doctor having the give up Amy and Rory to allow them to truly live their lives. It drove home how difficult that would be and how much it’s an expression of his love for them.
My second, and the one I ended up using in my entry, is, “I am Oswin Oswald. I fought the Daleks and I am human. Remember me…Run! Run, you clever boy. And remember.” This line sums up the whole episode, and so much of Doctor Who in general, to me. As I see it, the episode is about what it means to be human versus a dalek. For the first time we see humans that are daleks internally; we learn that being a dalek is a state of mind, a way of thinking and feeling, and not just being physically part of a certain species. Oswin might physically be a dalek, but mentally and emotionally she’s still human: she still loves her mother, she’s still capable of kindness, humor, and most importantly the kind of nobility that leads her to sacrifice herself for Amy, Rory, and the Doctor.
In regards to the show as a whole, so much of what the Doctor does, especially the eleventh, involves memory and bearing witness. As the last Time Lord, he alone keeps the memory of his people alive. He remembers his time with Donna even though she can’t and The Year That Never Was when almost no one else does. We saw in the fifth season that being forgotten in the whoniverse means ceasing to exist, figuratively and even literally, and that this is a fate worse than death. Conversely, remembering can be an act of creation that can even give life, as it does when Amy remembers the Doctor at her wedding. Memory is powerful: we even see this demonstrated in this very episode, when Oswin makes the daleks forget about the Doctor. So by remembering her the Doctor honors the heart and spirit that kept Oswin human; he keeps a part of her, the best, most human part, alive. Then of course there’s the reference to running, which needs no explanation.
So there you have it. Knock on wood and cross your fingers for me, if you don’t mind, unless of course you feel like entering yourself. I think they’re going to have a different prize every week up until the Christmas special, so it’s definitely worth giving it a go.