Well, it's been a long wait but Series 7 has finally arrived. And what an entrance! Asylum of the Daleks is quite possibly the best series opener since the show's 2005 revival. While it may lack the horror and sense of overarching mystery and danger of The Impossible Astronaut, Asylum may well go down as a fan favourite.
It continues the same thematic threads Moffat's been using throughout his run which allow for some strong character moments. Which brings me to another point, while the sheer number of the Daleks in this episode has been hyped to high Gallifrey those hoping to see them engaged in large-scale battles and such may be a little disappointed.
But in the place of big action scenes we have a tight focus that juggles the key relationships of the show with aplomb and twisty turny plot that's twists and turns like a twisty turny...thing. It's certainly one of Moffat's better scripts, which is saying a lot considering he also wrote Blink and The Eleventh Hour. Whenever a new twist was revealed, I remembered a moment or two of clever foreshadowing that accompanied it.
While a good episode in its own right, it also delivers certain narrative and emotional punches that have the potential to help redefine the landscape of the show.
If I were to poke a few holes in it, it would be the lack of Dalek mayhem and the fact that the show is once again relying on slowly shuffling monsters, even if Moffat has been clever enough to give it a believable justification this time around.
Asylum is tense, emotional episode which doesn't just rely on the exciting premise or the trusty nature of the Daleks and succeeds in making the old seem very, very new.
Also the new title sequence is really cool.