DOCTOR WHO “The Impossible Astronaut” Season 6, Episode 1 – Tonight’s season premiere of Doctor Who was like a punch in the face of mind twisting awesome and it already seems like an eternity waiting for next week’s conclusion to this two part opener.
The Doctor never fully divulged his reasons for sending out invitations to Amy, Rory and River rather than picking everyone up in the Tardis, but it seemed like they were needed to witness his shocking death on the shore of the lake in breathtaking Monument Valley, Utah. I get the feeling that the bearer of the 4th invitation, an old man named Canton Everett Delaware III, has a better idea of the plan The Doctor set up. He seems to know The Doctor pretty well but doesn’t appear as shocked by his death as the other three. After the astronaut suit thing shot The Doctor in mid-regeneration and his body was burned in a glorious viking style funeral (something I’m sure the Doctor planned for himself) we’re left to imagine that we’ve witnessed the very end of The Doctor’s journey, but, of course, anything is still possible.
River picks up on the numbering system on the invitations and correctly deduces that the number 1 invitation would go to the person The Doctor trusts the most, himself. Although she doesn’t mention it, she’s the number 2 invitation, which might mean that according to the 1,103 year old Doctor, she’s the second most trustworthy person on his list. I can’t explain how thrilled I was to finally be in the know about one of River’s spoilers when they meet the 909 year old Doctor. Sure, the spoiler was that The Doctor would be fatally shot, but for once, when River said “spoilers” I was on the right side of time and I knew what she was talking about.
River’s chemistry with The Doctor is fantastic and The Doctor looks at her as if she is the most mysterious creature he’s come across in the entire universe. They’re dancing around in opposite directions, going in and out of each other’s time lines and I love how the mystery around her has been slowly unraveling. Some of The Doctor’s future is her past, and some of his past is her future. Since we’ve already experienced it, I really enjoyed her conversation with Rory about her fear of the day when the Doctor wouldn’t recognize her anymore. It’s easy to sympathize with her because ultimately The Doctor will find himself in a very similar position when he meets River for his very last time.
The Doctor alludes to having known previous presidents so I’m not sure why President Nixon was unaware of The Doctor prior to the Tardis dropping in on the Oval Office. Canton had a great reaction to the inside of the Tardis, and Rory’s subsequent attempts to explain it were hilarious. I liked Canton’s character and obviously he gets to know The Doctor fairly well, so I’m excited to see how that develops.
Despite their sharp black suits, The Silence, are some of the most nightmarish creatures I’ve seen on Doctor Who. There’s a bit of a Weeping Angel feel to The Silence because when you’re not looking at them, you forget about them which is such a creepy (and creative) trait. The scene in the bathroom of the White House was a perfect example of how well Doctor Who balances suspense with humor so that you’re laughing while you’re frightened. The Silent standing in the corner of the bathroom was terrifying, but I couldn’t help laughing out loud at the woman’s reactions to it.
The Silent ends up blowing the woman up and allowing Amy to leave so she can tell The Doctor “what he must know and what he must never know” but we get no insight into it’s motives. Amy understood that The Silent was talking about her pregnancy, but I couldn’t tell if this was something that Amy knew before, or if it was something that she believed as a result of The Silent. Rory doesn’t get sick after seeing and forgetting The Silent, but River seems to have the same nauseated reaction as Amy. Before the Doctor can react to Amy’s revelation, she ends up shooting what appears to be a little girl in a space suit. The Silent’s underground ship looks just like the control room in “The Lodger” so might it be possible that the calls and the girl in the space suit are one of the projections used by that ship?
There’s so many details that reference earlier episodes that I feel like I have to go back now and re-watch and see if I can pick up new clues. After tonight’s incredible Doctor Who cliffhanger, I don’t know how I’m going to avoid getting my mind tangled in a million different theories, but I absolutely can’t wait to see what happens next.