Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut

I waited months for that?!? Really? All that build up, for what...?!

Nah, I'm just kidding.

The first episode of Series 6 of new Doctor Who was actually quite wonderful (though perhaps not as great as I'd built it up to be in my head beforehand). Some fantastic performances from everyone - and Karen Gillen has improved immensely as Amy Pond - for this funny, scary mystery.

Steven Moffat is a master of the one-liners and amusing little situations and he's also probably the best current Who writer at bringing the scares. His Weeping Angels from Blink and gasmask-wearing little boy from The Empty Child were wonderfully creepy and here he introduces us to the Silence (or are they the Silents?). They're similar, in a way, to the Angels in that you only remember them whilst you're looking at them. It's a fascinating idea and one that leads to the possibility that the Silence have been around for ages - long enough it seems that they've invaded us and burrowed under the Earth - it's just that we don't remember them ever coming here. Funnily though, they're strangely not as silent as they're name suggests, as one stretched its mouth (looking a bit like Edvard Munch's 'The Scream') to talk to Amy.

Loved that scene with Amy and the Silent as the alien blasted Joy in slow motion, btw.

Mystery-wise, we're left with loads of questions. Who was the spaceman who killed the future Doctor? Why did he kill him? Why did the Doctor go calmly to his end? Who/what are the Silence and what do they want? Why have they got a makeshift Tardis like the one seen in The Lodger underground? Who's the little girl calling the President? Who is River Song and which 'good man' did she kill? What bearing will Amy's pregancy have on things? And how will Amy, Rory and River stop the Doctor from being killed?

Regarding the future Doctor, it's surprising that he's still the Matt Smith version in 200 years (what years are these? Earth years? Gallifreyan years? It must be tricky to measure these things as a time traveller!). And, are we to assume in all that time, the only people he's met and trusts are Amy, Rory, River and an older Canton Everett Delaware? Surely he'll have met other companions in that time?

At first sight it also screws up the TV programme in that now the Doctor can't regenerate. So that means Matt has to stay on for the rest of the lifetime of the show. Of course, I suspect the Moff will come up with some clever cheat around this. Or have the Doctor regenerate numerous times but then, in just under 200 years time, decide to regenerate back into the shape of Matt Smith. We know Time Lords can choose what they look like when they regenerate - Romana did it - it's just that the Doctor has (up until now) preferred a more random approach.

So who shot the Doctor? A part of me was reminded of the recent death of Captain America when we saw the Doctor getting shot by the spaceman. The gun was some sort of hi-tech affair which made me wonder whether it was storing the Doctor's soul - or regeneration energy - to be used on another body. Perhaps then it was the Doctor inside the spacesuit? Or, considering that River has killed someone in her past (our future), perhaps it's her?

Talking of River, she seemed to act rather strangely after climbing down the manhole into the Silence's tunnels. After coming back up and saying everything was clear (because she had forgotten seeing the aliens, I guess), she decided she needed to check again with Rory. Not sure why. But then, when we see Rory coming down the ladder River is feeling a little unwell in the tunnel. Why was this? Was it merely a diversion from Amy's morning sickness or was there something else going on here?

And how does River travel around in time and space so much? Does she have her own Tardis?

Anyway, the fact that I'm analysing this, considering ideas and postulating theories, is very encouraging. It means it was an extremely intriguing episode, and hopefully one that everyone else found interesting and not confusing (I do wonder if younger kids were left baffled by it all). Together with sensationalist hyperbole to grab headlines and attentions, it'll hopefully continue to secure Doctor Who's place at the top of Auntie Beeb's output.

Only four days left to go until the second part...


The Acrobatic Flea said...

I'm seriously being to wonder if there is some kind of connection between River and Amy...

Nimbus said...

For a long while, I've wondered that - though mainly because of the tenuous link between the names (River and Pond). Someone suggested that Amy might name her baby girl after River who grows up to actually be River, but that would mean she'd call her child River Pond!

The Acrobatic Flea said...

Which would explain why she changed it to Song ;)