So who IS Oswin Oswald? Spoilers and speculation!
So, last night's episode of Doctor Who had one massive reveal that no-one was expecting; that of the early appearance of the post-Pond companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. Not only did the episode introduce the saucy and sharp-witted character, known in Asylum of the Daleks as Oswin Oswald, we also found discovered a deep dark secret she'd even hidden from herself AND her apparent death in the destruction of the planet.
There will be all sorts of speculation as to the nature of her character - was she a relative of our future companion? Does the Doctor meet her again BEFORE she takes the ill-fated voyage aboard the Alaska? Or does something happen that makes the events of the series opener never happen?
And what of Amy Pond? Does her exposure to the Dalek nanogenes mean her fate is already sealed? There are lots of questions to be answered over the next four episodes so despite the 'movie of the week' feel that has been heavily promoted, there is clearly going to be a significant underlying story. Just how much have we seen in the short trailers? Our guess is not as much as we think!
We're sure that Stephen Moffat knew exactly where he was going with the character of 'Oswin' long before he set pen to paper. If there's one thing the last couple of years have demonstrated its that everything has a meaning and that he has major future plotlines all mapped out far in advance. We also know he loves to play with the wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey aspects of the series, but it would be pretty disappointing if we end up with another River Song-esque meeting out of sequence. Our money is on something far more clever, but what?
Could the Doctor decide to find Oswin and take her on his travels, knowing her future fate? This is something we've seen before and he probably feels he'll owe her for the gift of wiping him from the Dalek shared memory. We also know that it's very possible for memories - even quite specific ones - to be erased so her not recognising him in the asylum isn't a problem. We also know that Moffat likes playing with our emotions and it'll be particularly heart-wrenching if the Doctor knows that, when they finally do part company, her fate is to become a Dalek.
We're looking forward to the journey this year. Without the complex baggage of the past few years, we could be in for a real back-to-basics treat and from what we've seen so far we reckon the surprises are far from over!
What do you think - is this the same Oswin we meet later in the series? Is she someone different! Share your theories below - you can login with Facebook if you don't already have an account here...