Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S06E01 – The Impossible Astronaut

In the first episode of the sixth series of Doctor Who, Amy, Rory, and River Song receive numbered blue envelopes from the Doctor, inviting them to meet him in America for some unnamed purpose. When they arrive, they witness the impossible. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.

How exactly do you talk about “The Impossible Astronaut”?

I thought about writing a list. Couldn’t figure out how to organize it. Then I thought maybe I should just run through the episode chronologically, but my desire to constantly jump into ridiculous tangents would run that in the ground. I thought about turning this review strictly into a questions/discussion post because I REALLY REALLY REALLY NEED TO TALK TO ALL OF YOU ABOUT THIS EPISODE. I do. I seriously do.

I liked series five quite a bit. Until the very end, it never seemed as grandiose as what Russell T Davies would do with the show, but I was perfectly fine with that. Steven Moffat is grandiose in an entirely different way, because he makes tiny moments incredibly large. I’ll always think back to those opening scenes of “The Eleventh Hour,” where Matt Smith shows us he’s the Doctor, but we his companion when she’s just seven years old. I think there’s a part of a lot of we Whovians who look upon the Doctor in a childlike way, wishing he was real and that he’d come take us away from our lives so we could travel though time and space. (Not to suggest that any of our lives are awful or anything, but traveling to any point in time in space. That’s just better.) And while those moments did end up being part of a larger mythology for series five, that wasn’t what was in your head when you were watching that scene. You were instead relishing in the humor and the excitement of this strange, new man who was visiting a little girl, and the moment just felt so monumental and massive. No explosions, no universes being erased, no warring species using the earth as their battle ground.

There are, admittedly some very Doctor Who-esque scenes of significant magnitude within “The Impossible Astronaut” and I don’t want to ignore that. (AND REALLY, HAS ANY MOMENT IN THIS SHOW’S HISTORY BEEN LARGER THAN THE ONE BY THE LAKE????) But the small moments are what completely sold me on this intriguing, confusing, and COMPLETELY FUCKING HORRIFYING episode of the show.

God damn you, Steven Moffat.

I talked about the appeal of serialized media last week during my watching of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and that applies here, too. To some extent, Fringe is satisfying a very specific thing I love about books and movies and most especially television shows. I love the tension and the obsession that comes from trying to figure it all out. Of course, this all started with The X-Files for me, despite that the show was not at all a serial, but there has been no other show quite like LOST that has inspired the fanatical obsession with details within me. For four and a half years (I was a late bloomer to that show, only coming in two-thirds through the second season), I read so many blogs and comments theorizing about what the island was. 99% of everyone was completely wrong in the end, but you know what? It never mattered. There were so many incredibly well-thought-out plans scattered about the Internet, and I know some of you read all of those as well.

I don’t think it’s easy for a story to inspire that in people, to leave them so emotionally attached to the characters that they begin to feel this strong, pulling desire to know what’s going to happen to them. I watched the series premiere with the fine SpectralBovine, whose name you should recognize if you read the comments. We watched half of the first Sarah Jane Smith serial, “The Time Warrior,” before stopping to watch the premiere. By the time the episode was over, we spent a good ten to fifteen minutes trying to discuss every goddamn detail that was just thrown our way, and then we were Googling all the supposed appearances of The Silence, and then we were watching those specific moments in the episodes, and FOR THE RECORD THEY ARE TOTALLY IN “THE LODGER” oh my god.

And then that is all I did when I got home last night. I had forgotten that there were shows that could do this to me, and I went to sleep an incredibly happy man who HAD A NIGHTMARE ABOUT THE SILENCE BEING IN MY FUCKING APARTMENT and now I need to punch Steven Moffat right in the groin YOU GODDAMN ASSHOLE.

It’s weird to be up-to-date with Doctor Who, since most of the point of the site is to progress through fandoms in utter ignorance, but at the same time, I could not be more excited about the concept. I’m realizing that as we all progress through series six, on the same page for once, I am automatically going to have a community of thousands of people who WANT to discuss the intricate details of the series, who will offer up wildly unlikely but fascinating theories as to What It All Means, and we will all get to express our HEAD SHATTERING SURPRISE at once. And that is beautiful to me.

Before I continue on to discuss many of the finer points of this episode that need further discussing, I do want to facilitate all of our discussing/theorizing, but in a manner that respect that there are also fans who do not WANT to read theories so that they can develop their own. (For example, I stopped reading theory blogs during the final season of LOST so I could experience the show as I wanted to.)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO POST THEORIES, EITHER YOUR OWN OR ONES YOU’VE FOUND AROUND THE WEB: Please start off your comment with THEORIES ABOUND and bold it. (Use the < b > < / b > tags but without the spaces.) If your theorizing does not come until later in the comment, stick it right before it starts. YOU ONLY HAVE TO DO THIS FOR THE PARENT COMMENT IN A THREAD. We will all assume that all talk from that point on will concern that theory. And to remind you all for the bajillionth time, DO. NOT. POST. SPOILERS. OF. ANY. KIND. ANYWHERE. ON. THIS. SITE. I have a wonderful forum for spoilers and there is a fantastic blog where you may spoil away. Now that you have those, you get NO FUCKING WARNINGS about posting spoilers. I will ban you to a Stormcage Containment Facility if you do.

Because I have Many Things I Want To Talk About and because I Am Not Sure How, I want to sort of separate this out based on specific subjects so that I don’t have to stick to them chronologically. DEAL? Too bad, I’m doing it anyway.

This is probably the prettiest episode of Doctor Who we’ve ever seen, and it’s definitely one of the most beautifully shot episodes of television I’ve ever seen. Sick of me talking about LOST? Too bad. That show used Hawaii to create some of the most amazing shots and they did not waste a second of it. I love that about that show, especially since that is where my dad was from and those unique, squiggly mountains we saw so much are visible from the cemetery where he’s buried. For this same reason, I adored “The Impossible Astronaut.” Because Doctor Who used their on-location shooting in America to produce images that will soon be iconic for the entire show. It’s going to be hard to forget anything but that wide shot above the lake, with the red car and the picnic below, especially given how what happens there is so haunting. If they were going to shoot in America, they were going to do so and go all-out, and I love that about the production here. Yes, it’s hard to make Valley of the Gods look ugly. That doesn’t make what they do here any less impressive.

I also love that this episode starts out so bright and colorful, and as we get closer and closer to pure terror and negativity, all the colors seem to wash away, giving us only dark hues and shadows.

WHO OPENS A FUCKING SERIES THAT WAY? Who does that in the first episode and actually confirms that it happens instead of some trick? I know there was a lot of speculation before this episode aired, thanks to certain promos and stories, that one of the four main characters would die. Of course, every single one of us ruled out the Doctor, since he can’t die.

FUCKING WRONG. How much you want to bet that when Steven Moffat wrote that scene, he cackled to himself in his library office full of bats and demons and forty people simultaneously got flat tires ’round the world? I mean, the man has to have that power because WHAT IS HIS BRAIN.

I haven’t rewatched the entirety of “The Impossible Astronaut” since I downloaded my season pass on iTunes, but you can bet that as soon as I possessed an HD copy, I re-watched the Doctor’s death. Twice. And I still cannot figure this all out.

Something was clearly wrong when, during the picnic, the Doctor mentions that he’s 1,103 years old. Two hundred years passed in his time while only two months passed for Rory and Amy? That didn’t seem to make sense.

I imagine there will come a day (maybe even next week!) when we can watch this scene and every movement will make sense. But for now, it’s one of the most frightening and confusing things this show has ever given us.

First of all, I love that when the Doctor appears at the diner as the owner of envelope #1, Rory imitates the way the Doctor poked him during “The Pandorica Opens.” Isn’t that exactly what each of us wanted to do? This Doctor could not be real, but then it’s revealed that he is 909 years old, meaning…the future Doctor was killed. WHAT. I can still hardly wrap my head around the concept, but I can understand what it produces: the official Spoiler Police. Now Rory, Amy, and River all hold the truth to the future and CANNOT TELL THE DOCTOR. Because the balance of power and knowledge shifts, we see the Doctor at his most uncomfortable, unable to tell who is telling him the truth or not. THIS IS SUCH A BRILLIANT PLACE TO PUT OUR CHARACTERS.

“My life in your hands….”

Oh, Amelia Pond.

Who expected that he’d essentially take on the role of a new companion? Even after listening to him speak at WonderCon, I assumed he just had a small side role. His character, Canton Delaware III, is a man intrigued by mystery and one who hasn’t lost his sense of humor along the way. But what brings him to Valley of the Gods in 2011? What did he see and experience that would convince him to come all the way out there for the Doctor?

Ugh, one of the coolest scenes this show has ever had. From an invisible TARDIS (HOW DOES RIVER KNOW HOW TO DO THAT), to the goofy behavior the Doctor immediately acts out, to Canton Delaware III complimenting the suspect, it’s exactly as wacky and hilarious as I’d hoped it would be. I mean, if you land inside the Oval Office in the TARDIS, you’ve got to have a sense of humor about it, right?

The tape that Nixon plays of his phone call is appropriately creepy, but is only a set-up for what is to come. And we’ll get there.

How do you make an already fascinating and intriguing episode even better? Throw in River Song to make things even more confusing. No shame, I love her character, and I love the chance to see her time and time again. Truthfully, there’s not a character like her in television that I can think of: She’s a time traveler who travels in the opposite direction as another time traveler. The more I think about her, the more unsettling questions I have: Why does she specifically travel in the opposite direction as the Doctor? She never meets him randomly, out of order. It’s always in reverse chronological order for her. How did she earn or gain the ability to time travel in the first place?

She’s dropped so many interesting tidbits along the way, such as her relationship with the Doctor, or the fact that she killed a “great man” and earned a spot in prison. And while I most certainly want to know the answer to these questions, that’s not what stuck out to me in “The Impossible Astronaut.” She tells Amy that her worst day is ahead of her, and since she sticks to a strict NO SPOILERS policy (LOVE YOU ~SOULMATE~), I wondered how the hell she could possibly know what was ahead of her. I didn’t expect the answer within this first episode, but she delivered perhaps one of the most ironically tragic lines in the whole show. She originally met the Doctor when he knew everything there was to know about her life, and she knows that there will come a day when she will meet the Doctor and he’ll know nothing about her. And that day will kill her. AND SHE HAS NO GODDAMN IDEA HOW TRUE THAT IS, my creys you all.

As if we needed yet another confusing element to the story, they don’t show us who (or what) is in the astronaut suit when the Doctor is killed. So when the suit came walking up to the Doctor and Amy, the voice of the little girl clearly inside of it, I expected a dramatic cutaway to black to end the episode, forcing us to wait a week to learn the identity of this impossible astronaut.

Except the screen on the helmet is pushed up and…there’s a little girl inside? What??? Who is that? OH WAIT, AMY JUST SHOT HER. WHAT THE HELL??!?!?!?! Oh god, she’s trying to change the future, which….is sort of possible? We don’t even know if Amy actually harmed the girl in the spacesuit, but if she does kill her and save the Doctor, that’s….sort of good? I DON’T EVEN KNOW. The Doctor assembled them that day in 2011 for a reason, right? And he gave them those specific clues for a reason, so surely that’s to save himself, right? Oh man, we are all totally unprepared, aren’t we?

Rory’s in a weird place throughout this episode, seemingly equally excited to be with the Doctor and just as reluctant as well. He is the boy who waited and possibly The Boy Who Doesn’t Want To Have To Wait Like That Again, and you can see his hesitance at multiple points throughout the story:

“Rory, would you mind going with her?”

“Yeah, a bit.”

“Then I’d appreciate it more.”

Oh, Rory. Too bad you appear to be electrocuted by The Silence. Please don’t be actually hurt. 🙁

But throughout “The Impossible Astronaut,” Rory’s sadness is kind of distracting because I get the feeling he wants to say something a lot of the time, but chooses not to. Rory’s character has always been reticent and quiet, and I hope he’s not lost in the shuffle.

SHE’S NOT ACTUALLY PREGNANT, RIGHT? I mean, it could be explained away, but it now seems so OBVIOUS that all the pain and sickness she was suffering throughout the episode was because she was pregnant. UGH WHAT THE FUCK. There’s that scene in the end where River looks sick and is clutching her stomach, so maybe she just is imagining she is pregnant? I DON’T EVEN KNOW.

Amy’s story in “The Impossible Astronaut” is strange. She starts off ecstatic to meet up with him again, then devastated by his death, then mortified by the responsibility of keeping THE secret from him, then fearful of his life. That he loses. In the future.

I loved the scene of her swearing on fish fingers and custard to get the Doctor to trust her. There’s a reason I opened with talk of “The Eleventh Hour.” That episode cements the relationship between as solid enough to make Amy do what she does by the end of “The Impossible Astronaut.” As I said before, I’m fascinated by the reversal of roles in this story, but I worry about what the pressure’s going to do to Amy, especially when you factor in something else.

I’ve saved the best for last on purpose. The promos weren’t lying. The Silence are among the creepiest Doctor Who villains we’ve ever seen, and it’s no surprise that Moffat’s brain came up with them. In a way, they’re the polar opposite of the Weeping Angels, who cannot exist IF they are looked at. The Silence cannot exist UNTIL they are looked at. (Er…they cannot be perceived is a more accurate description, but you know what I mean.) The concept of sight being used against a person is what makes them so scary to me. At least with all of the other villains, at some point you know what you’re up against. The very nature of The Silence prevents that: you cannot remember them once you look away. I’ve already seen some spectacularly clever meta narratives made about The Silence, claiming that WE cannot remember them either, sort of how Moffat ruined statues for all of us.

Actually on that point: Moffat sure has ruined a LOT for us. Now I’m going to be terrified by my peripheral vision? THANKS, ASSHOLE.

As I mentioned before as well, it’s been fun exploring the idea that Moffat has seeded these creatures throughout past seasons, possibly even secretly introducing them in “Silence in the Library.” (I personally don’t know if I believe that, but what a cool concept.) It makes me think of “The Eleventh Hour” and Amy missing Prisoner Zero because Prisoner Zero existed in the corner of her eye. And there’s either a huge mistake or a purposeful inclusion in that same episode when Amy is packing for the Doctor’s return and a shadow walks past her door.

The real gigantic and obvious reference in “The Impossible Astronaut” belongs to “The Lodger.” Those are the EXACT same ships, aren’t they? And there’s that strange, desiccated body on the floor that is never explained either. Could much more of the stories we’ve seen have clues to The Silence?

Yet, on top of all this, there’s one thing that makes them even scarier: their power. That scene with Amy in the bathroom of the White House is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Not only was it an outright confirmation that these things were around, instead of brief flashes of them, but Amy watches their operation firsthand, as the other woman constantly forgets what is behind her every time she turns to face Amy.

As if they could not be more terrifying, they can SHOOT ELECTRICITY OUT OF THEIR ELONGATED ARMS AND STEAL…I DON’T KNOW. That tiny mouth thing? I DON’T LIKE IT. IT MAKES MY STOMACH HURT. AND THEN!


Oh god, the nightmares are never going to end. NEVER.

I am pressed to think of a better season opener than “The Impossible Astronaut.” This felt like a finale, not the first episode of a series, and it has raised my anticipation for this series more than before. In short, that was one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen.


  • So. Now we know that if you are fatally injured during regeneration as a Time Lord, you actually die. That’s never happened, right?
  • “How’d you get in here? I mean, you didn’t carry it.” “Clever, eh?” “Love it.” “Do not compliment the intruder!”
  • “This is cold. Even by your standards, this is really cold.” “Or ‘hello’, as people used to say.”
  • “What’s through there?” “No idea.” “Something bad.” “Almost definitely.” “You’re going to open it, aren’t you?” “Well, it’s locked. How’s a girl supposed to resist?” “Is this sensible?” “God, I hope not.” HOW COULD YOU NOT LOVE RIVER FOREVER.
  • The “Look how cool this stuff is!” scene is SO FANTASTIC and so quintessentially Eleven. Bless that man. Er….alien.
  • “Jefferson isn’t a girl’s name. It’s not her name, either. Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, River! “Surnames of three of America’s founding fathers.” “Lovely fellows. Two of them fancied me.” WHO DO YOU THINK IT WAS????
  • Most victorious line of the episode: “I’m going to need a SWAT team ready to mobilize, street maps covering all of Florida, a pot of coffee, twelve Jammie Dodgers, and a fez!”
  • The Legs, the Nose, and Mrs. Robinson. I love you, Doctor.
  • “Hippie.” “Archaeologist.”
  • This line, given what happens to the future Doctor, is very intriguing now: “I’ve been running. Faster than I’ve ever run. And I’ve been running my whole life. Now it’s time for me to stop.”

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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613 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S06E01 – The Impossible Astronaut

  1. Stephen_M says:

    Where the heck do you start with something like this? Actually, sorry, I know where you start with something like that:

    Hey Mark, welcome to the slow path with the rest of us! 😀

    Wonderful, wonderful episode and brimming with a confidence that’s quite astounding for this long-time fan. I can’t remember the last time I saw a TV show so willing to throw so many plot points at the viewer in such short order, both for the current story and (I’m sure) the season and somehow manage to make it all understandable and relatively simple to follow while also introducing the core aspects of the show to newcomers. It looks utterly superb as well, the Utah shoot really paid off for them and actually added a huge amount to the story in some ways unlike the desert shooting for Planet of the Dead. Certainly having that gorgeous backdrop worked perfectly for the last meal and death of the Doctor. Talking of which…

    Matt Smith may just be in the process of laying down a marker for the character so high it’s going to be tough for those that follow him to come anywhere close. Yes we get the funny, wacky Doctor that he does so well but there’s seemingly endless depths to him here. From his too-enthusiastic greeting of the Ponds (heh) to his acceptance of his death and the wonderful interactions with River there’s not a bad moment here. Special mention though MUST go to his almost throwaway line of “don’t play games with me”. Just for a moment you see the other side of the Doctor, the darkness that let him destroy his entire race for the greater good and it is freaking terrifying. Rule one when Matt’s on screen: watch the eyes, so much going on that’s not said aloud.

    Alex and Arthur are fabulous as always, Rory is developing nicely as the common-sense part of the team (and possibly the bravest of them all… takes more courage to do what you’re afraid of than rushing in where angels fear to tread) and River just gets better and better. Alex is clearly having a blast here and having River around means the Doctor gets to be more than the exposition fairy. It also lets Moffat have WAY too much fun with the dialogue, the TARDIS in the Oval office scene, from the ‘silent’ engines all the way through to ‘you wouldn’t shoot me’ ‘THEY’RE AMERICANS!’ “Don’t shoot!’ only really works thanks to having that character around. Talking of which the moment the TARDIS re-blues in the Oval Office… shivers. I am the Doctor in a simply triumphant version, the TARDIS looking somehow bigger and more solid than she usually does and it’s the first time we see her properly in this season as well. Hello America, welcome to the British Icon of Sci-Fi!

    Argh, post too long, continued in the reply!

    • Stephen_M says:

      And on the subject of shivers and general still-beating heart being ripped out of the viewer’s chest ladies and gentlemen I give you Karen Gillan. I’ve never understood why some claim she’s a bad actor but those that hold that opinion NEED to watch this episode as she knocked it out of the park. Just look at her grieving over the Doctor and you see Amielia, not Amy, curled up alongside him and it just gets better and better as the episode goes along. The diner scene before the Doctor enters with his special straw it’s like her soul’s gone… different person altogether (and talking of that scene, watch the Doctor’s eyes when he hugs Amy and feel very VERY sorry for anyone dumb enough to threaten her in future, SERIOUS Papa Wolf vibes going on there). Then there’s Fish Fingers and Custard, again watch the eyes, hers this time, she knows she’s lying to him and does it anyway as it’s what he told her to do (and then think back to Beast Below; she’s really between a rock and a hard place here). As we go on she gets back into the companion vibe but still tempered with the knowledge of what’s to come (and still finds time to share a great little moment with Rory, ‘Because you’re the newest’ is just so sweet) and ends up… well, let’s see where that cliffhanger goes next week. There’s no two ways about it, Amy is fast becoming my favourite companion and I’m already dreading the day we have to say goodbye to the Ponds.

      So yeah, superb episode, Moffat at his best and I haven’t even mentioned most of the plot or the Silents or the many many MANY funny bits or… well you get the idea. Hopefully the cast will be no more awesome than they were here so I can get into the story stuff next time which seems ridiculously far away right now. Summary of everything else:

      * The Silence / Silents are creepy as all hell and, in keeping with the best Moffat monsters, it’s the concept behind them that’s terrifying by tapping into real world fears. Huge potential, can’t wait to see where they go.
      * The Astronaut is one heck of a plot device. Can’t be a kid in there though, three kids on each others shoulders maybe, but not one kid… Of course knowing Moffat we’ll come back next week to find a bullet hole in the Astronaut and regeneration energy spilling out all over the place!
      * The Legs, The Nose and Mrs Robinson… oh I love when the Moff gets a wee bit Meta!
      * “I’m quite the screamer”: It really is amazing how much this show gets away with! More please.
      * River and the ‘meeting in the wrong order’ talk with Rory would have been gut wrenching at the best of times but if you’ve already seen Silence in the Library… sorry, something in my eye, give me a min… ARGH, STONE DUST, WTF?!?! Damn you Moffat!
      * Nixon! I’m really glad they went with him actually, it’s nice to see a show recognise him as more than just an evil cardboard cutout. That being said would it have KILLED them to put a single Futurama-style Arrrroooooo in there? For that matter where’s my Futurama / Doctor Who crossover!
      * And Moffat sneaks his usual classic series references in there: Brave Heart Tegan / Canton. The Invisible TARDIS isn’t new either, in fact I think the original concept for Who had her being invisible all the time.

      One thing’s for sure the show is in very safe hands indeed.

      EDIT – Oh, and one last thought to increase the crys even further… Remember Amy's Choice? And this bit of dialogue from the Dream Lord: "He always leaves you, doesn't he? Alone in the dark, never apologises…" What was it the Doctor did before leaving Amy one last time…?

      • echinodermata says:

        "Rule one when Matt’s on screen: watch the eyes, so much going on that’s not said aloud."
        "And on the subject of shivers and general still-beating heart being ripped out of the viewer’s chest ladies and gentlemen I give you Karen Gillan."


      • ladililn says:

        Karen Gillan's acting in this episode. AMAZING. Her reactions to the Doctor's death, that moment when she swore to him on fish fingers and custard, and most of all (at least to me) that scene in the restaurant before the Doctor walks in with his special straw…all absolutely bloody fantastic. I'll never understand why people claim she's a bad actor either. Matt and Alex (and Arthur!) are of course superb as well but it's Karen who never seems to get enough credit.

        • Stephen_M says:

          I have a pet theory on this (and hopefully being a few levels down in comments will protect me from the dreaded downranking) but I really think a lot of people assume she got the job just because of her looks and wrote her off as an actor before she'd spoken a word. That and there's a lot of folks that came to the show during RTD's time when things were maybe done a bit more… uh… broad strokes. That's NOT a criticism folks, just that the acting and scripts tended to be less, umm, subtle and it throws some viewers off.

          • arctic_hare says:

            Inclined to agree completely on all counts.

          • Elexus Calcearius says:

            I very much agree; its not necessarily a worst thing, but just something to point out. You also have to remember that when you have many characters on screen, there's more you and the audience have to focus on. This is why episodes with lots of characters (such at The Five Doctors, Journey's End) don't get a chance to focus as much on individual characters.

    • Stephen_M says:

      Oh, and it REALLY didn't help my brain that the actor playing Canton in his old age also played a Soul Hunter on Babylon 5… He's got a pretty damn distinctive voice too so for a second there I was thinking "quick, put a load of Minbari between him and the Doctor!".

  2. Stephen_M says:

    "I went to sleep an incredibly happy man who HAD A NIGHTMARE ABOUT THE SILENCE BEING IN MY FUCKING APARTMENT and now I need to punch Steven Moffat right in the groin YOU GODDAMN ASSHOLE."

    Nah, you're fine, you can remember them so they weren't really there and you're perfectly safe. If you ever wake up and DON'T remember dreaming about the Silence THEN you need to worry…

  3. TropeGirl says:

    Loved the episode. Loved it. What makes me happiest though, is that I might have discovered the first time that incidental dialogue has ever formed a stable time loop.

    There's the following exchange in this episode:
    The Doctor: And Dr. Song, you've got that face on again.
    River Song: What face?
    The Doctor: The 'He's hot when he's clever' face.
    River Song: This is my normal face.
    The Doctor: Yes, it is.
    River Song: Oh, shut up.
    The Doctor: Not a chance.

    Which is the Doctor calling back to an earlier thing River said:
    "He thinks he's so hot when he does that." (Flesh and Stone)

    BUT IN REALITY she was almost certainly referencing back to what he said in this episode! Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey, Moffat is a genius.

    P.S. Favorite bit of dialogue that doesn’t depend on time travel:
    The Doctor: You think you can just shoot me?
    The Doctor: Don't shoot me! Definitely don't shoot me!
    And yes, I am American, so I get to quote this with impunity.

    P.P.S. The fandom nickname for the bathroom Silent is "Killjoy" (boo hiss horrible pun). And by that I mean at least one other fan on the internet uses that as his name. LET IT BE SPREAD.

    • Stephen_M says:

      I would LOVE to see the series bible for Moffat's time as show runner… at this point I can only assume there's some sort of Portal action going on linking it all together because it must surely have more dimensions than can be safely contained in our universe.

    • vikinhaw says:

      "Killjoy" (boo hiss horrible pun)

      Horrible pun? Awesome pun. I love puns. I'm using this now

      • TropeGirl says:

        It's an amazingly horribly awesome pun. I love it to death, or I wouldn't have spread the gospel of Killjoy in my original comment. 🙂 Unfortunately, an affectionately mocking tone is often lost in text.

    • Kaybee42 says:

      Killjoy? As in the name they gave sad people in the Happiness Patrol, a 7th doctor episode?

  4. Goldensage says:

    I'm sure i could say a bunch of intelligent sounding things, but I'll leave you all with this

    I laughed hysterically for about a minutes straight at the opening of the episode.

    Greatest painting ever, or GREATEST painting ever?

    • NB2000 says:

      I need that painting in my house, hopefully Amazon will stock that poster Stephen_M linked to so I can order it at some point (they didn't have it when I checked the other day).

  5. pandalilies says:

    I don't think my mouth stopped being agape.

    I was in shock, but more *perplexed* at him killing the doctor SO EARLY.
    I could 't even be properly sad even when Karen was ACTING HER SOUL OUT because all I could think was, "Moff is up to something. Something FISHY!"

    I have never been as excited for new who as I am right now.

    • Stephen_M says:

      I have the nasty suspicion though that when all is said and done and the series has untwisted itself there will be people like you and I who had that reaction first time round that will then innocently watch the Box Set (or recorded episodes, either way) when the fishy part has been answered and Karen's performance will blindside us like a freight train…

    • Snowpea says:

      Of course I'm just guessing here, but I really like this set up for a regeneration/new doctor. I've gotten a little sick of big battle leading to sacrificed doctor, but here the formula is completely different. We see companions dealing with the death of the doctor with no (apparent) hope of regeneration. If it's working out the way I'm guessing, it's absolutely brilliant.

  6. karate0kat says:

    The Doctor and River could not possibly flirt any harder.

    "And Doctor Song, you're making that face again."
    "What face?"
    "The 'he's hot when he's clever' face."
    "This is my normal face."
    "I know."
    "Oh shut up."
    "Not a chance."

    "Give a shout if you get in trouble."
    "Don't worry, I'm quite the screamer. Now there's a spoiler for you."
    "What's going on here?"
    "Nothing, she's just a friend!"

    Seriously, I don't know if they're married or not, but their relationship is so clearly…not just friends. I find it hilarious that there are still "River is the Doctor's mother" theories getting bandied about. What kind of relationship do you people have with your parents?

    I'm not sure that I have much more to say yet because this episode pretty much broke my brain. I don't quite believe, yet, that Amy is really pregnant, but I'm willing to see where they go with i Love that Rory and River got to bond. Thought the slowmo right at the end was a little awkward (though nowhere near as awkward as that scene from Merlin this season…Merlin watchers, you know what I'm talking about).

    • NB2000 says:

      I seem to have successfully blocked most of this last series of Merlin from my memory (I have issues with this show, I'll leave it at that). What was the awkward slow-mo?

  7. Jessica says:

    The Silents have made going to the bathroom terrifying for me.

  8. Minish says:

    I'm going to be honest, I've always liked River Song. I've always found her entertaining, badass, beautiful, her smugness was somewhat endearing, and her story was always deeply compelling. But there was always something that wasn't quite there for me.

    And this episode found it. This episode made me LOVE her. I was THRILLED to see her storyline become more grounded. It wasn't just a quirky, unconventional relationship, it was also quite dark. I'm SO glad I got to see that side of her story.


    -LOVE that Rory's getting to play a bigger part than bumbling sidekick.


    -I really want Mark Sheppard to become a regular.

    -"They're Americans!" LOL ILU RIVER.

    -The Doctor motioning the President to carry on with his conversation even though he appeared out of nowhere inside the Oval Office was PERFECTION.





    -Pacing issues.

    -I didn't like the cold open too much. I think I would have rather liked to have seen Amy and Rory's departure than the Doctor being silly.

    -Didn't like the slow-motion bit during the cliffhanger. "III'M SAAAVING YOURRRR LIIIFE!"

    • Shiyiya says:

      Yeah, was not a fan of the slomo.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        but like

        it's motion

        and it's slow

        and it's dramatic

        and it's totally not done a lot.


        • E.L.S.O.S. says:

          I think slow mo is one of those things that is only appropriate in very limited circumstances. That scene was not one of them. I hate how stupid dialogue sounds during slow mo and by slowing this scene down I don't think they got the affect they wanted.

          What I think they wanted was us to feel horror at Amy shooting a little girl by drawing out the 'Amy gets the gun and shoots.' I think they would have been served better by keeping that at live action speed, and then just having the horror on Amy's face slowed down as the realization that Amy may have just murdered a little girl sinks in. And maybe throw in another shot of the little girl with the implication that she's been hit. I'm not entirely sure if Amy actually shot her or not. Or if she did, that the wound was fatal or not. Considering that Amy didn't even look when she shot (noob mistake! Never shoot without looking damn hard at what you're shooting at!) I can totally see her bullet going wide and missing completely.

          But I'm sure we'll see whatever she hit (if anything) in the second part.

          • ldwy says:

            Agree a lot. I'm so late to the comments, I'm mostly just gushing over amazing comments other people have written.
            I think if you'd directed the shot the way you described, it would have been more effective.

            But it's not like it ruined the episode. (I'm in such a fan girl place right now, and they're doing such a good job, I'm not sure that would be possible at this point.) I didn't even hate it. I just think the slomo was unnecessary.

          • echinodermata says:

            You get to do all the rewrites. For everything.

          • Minish says:

            Drama is so much better when you don't have time to digest what happens BEFORE IT EVEN HAPPENS.

          • Elexus Calcearius says:

            Very true. Dialouge, besides a single dramatic cry such as ''noooooooo'' (which gets used too much, anyways) just sounds out of place when in slow-mo. Moffat used Slow Mo at the end of The Pandorica Opens, but there it was too good effect. We got to agonise over the Doctor being imprisoned, Rory killing Amy and clutching her body, and River being forever trapped in a burning TARDIS. It was beautiful and painful. Here it was just out of place.

    • Am I the one who wants to be River Song if They ever catch me and make me grow up?

  9. @anzel89 says:

    I think that this episode was very much a setup one and it's going to need to be a hell of a pay off. I hate to admit it, but to me, it really went very quickly and too a lot of places but never really WENT anywhere at all. *sigh* Outside of the Silence I actually found it really boring. Even the Doctors death was kinda…meh for me because I knew he wouldn't really die and it was just so quick.

    O and speaking of the Silence

    <img src=""&gt;

    Slender Man
    <img src=""&gt;

    …WHO THE HELL WOULD INTRODUCE MOFFAT TO THIS MEME!!! WHO?!?!?! *cries in a corner*

  10. Inseriousity. says:

    Theories Abound

    "Rule 1, the Doctor lies"
    Is it just me who thinks he might've been lying about his age? 😛


    I love love love this episode. Lots of great lines and you've pretty much said all of them in the thoughts section so I don't have to repeat them.

    "THEY'RE AMERICANS!" = lots of panic 😛

  11. who_cares86 says:

    I don't have a clue what's going on in this episode and that's fantastic. "I love not knowing, keeps me on my toes, the day I know everything I might as well stop."

    <img src=""&gt;

  12. I went to sleep an incredibly happy man who HAD A NIGHTMARE ABOUT THE SILENCE BEING IN MY FUCKING APARTMENT
    Oh noooooo, you really did have a nightmare!

    We watched half of the first Sarah Jane Smith serial, “The Time Warrior,” before stopping to watch the premiere.
    At least you didn't have a nightmare about a Sontaran.

    WHO OPENS A FUCKING SERIES THAT WAY? Who does that in the first episode and actually confirms that it happens instead of some trick?
    It's not a trick, but they have to fix it! TIME CAN BE REWRITTEN.

    Something was clearly wrong when, during the picnic, the Doctor mentions that he’s 1,103 years old. Two hundred years passed in his time while only two months passed for Rory and Amy? That didn’t seem to make sense.
    Also, when you look back at those scenes, the Doctor acts VERY differently. He's much more serious than the younger Eleven. Things have clearly happened in those two hundred years.

    Canton Delaware III complimenting the suspect
    That whole scene was hilarious.

    Oh man, we are all totally unprepared, aren’t we?
    Unprepared to the Eleventh power.

    The Silence are among the creepiest Doctor Who villains we’ve ever seen
    FOR DAMN SERIOUS. I love how they took the grey-man design from The X-Files and mated it with the Ood and then apparently painted it with Munch.

    What's creepier is that there is a pause between those two sentences, so, at first, the exchange looks like this:

    "Why did you do that?"


    “I’m going to need a SWAT team ready to mobilize, street maps covering all of Florida, a pot of coffee, twelve Jammie Dodgers, and a fez!”

    I am pressed to think of a better season opener than “The Impossible Astronaut.”
    As is Charlie Jane of io9, who has a really nice description of the episode as using all of Steven Moffat's usual tricks yet still seeming original and awesome. I like the term "puzzle box stories." I do like puzzle box stories.

    • Dragonsong12 says:

      "Also, when you look back at those scenes, the Doctor acts VERY differently. He's much more serious than the younger Eleven. Things have clearly happened in those two hundred years. "

      And his hair, don't forget his hair. My sister and I spent the begninning wondering why it looked so funny, then we were like, "OH, that must be why! Future-Doctor!"

    • WingedFlight says:

      What's creepier is that there is a pause between those two sentences, so, at first, the exchange looks like this:

      "Why did you do that?"

      OH, you're right! Didn't notice it before, but that's so clever!

    • ldwy says:

      Aw jeez, I agree with/love this comment.

      WHO OPENS A FUCKING SERIES THAT WAY? Who does that in the first episode and actually confirms that it happens instead of some trick?
      It's not a trick, but they have to fix it! TIME CAN BE REWRITTEN.

      I think the same thing….but but but…River's explanation for why they can't seems so reasonable.

      Bah. Thinking about all of this way too hard, my head hurts.

    • trash_addict says:

      "Why did you do that?"

      As this bit went on my brain did a little 'WTF, JOY? YAY MURDERING PEOPLE….Oh…okay….' and then kind of went straight back to WTF.

  13. NB2000 says:

    OMG DOCTOR WHO IS BACK! That wait felt like forever.

    First of all, I'm not clear on something. Was this episode set in America? It was so subtle I wasn't really sure if it was meant to be America or not. Definitely America though y/y?

    OH GOD WHERE TO START, okay, I LOVE ALL OF THIS TEAM TARDIS SO MUCH! As I said on the liveblog, in the first scene inside the TARDIS I just wanted to hug everybody. Amy, Rory and River just had a pretty awful pile of knowledge dumped on them and can't tell the Doctor, he knows there's something up but has NO IDEA WHAT. Seriously, massive hugs for all of them!

    Extra hugs for River, her unknowing call-forward to SitL/FotD just broke my heart. Oh honey you have no idea. Luckily you're being a total BAMF throughout to distract us. I love that she can pretty much just walk out of the Stormcage whenever she feels like it. I shipped them anyway but my god were she and Eleven extra flirty this episode, the matching diaries (which <3), the "screamer" liner and Eleven's "Just a friend" yeah when has that ever fooled anyone? So much lovely banter between them.

    THEORIES ABOUND well, a little, maybe. Better to be safe than sorry.

    • NB2000 says:

      I totally called the Viking Funeral before Rory pointed out the boat but it was still sad…except not really because WHAT?! HE CAN'T REALLY BE DEAD…he just can't…it's his show…I…look I don't have any proper theories worked out as to what's going on so just WHAT NO HOW WHAT BUT IT CAN'T BE

      Oh god the Silents, FUCKING CREEPY OMG. Especially the freaking NEST of them outside the Lodger!Tardis. Because my hearing is slightly unreliable I actually thought the first thing the one in the bathroom said was "Join" which would have been really weird but no, it was Joy. Poor Joy

      • nanceoir says:

        I…look I don't have any proper theories worked out as to what's going on so just WHAT NO HOW WHAT BUT IT CAN'T BE

        My theory is vague, but it has something to do with the fact that he knows he's going to die and that what Amy said as her swearing on something that matters is in some way a clue to the Doctor as to what's going on (basically, he wanted to know who sent the numbered invitations and he knows they know but won't tell him, and then Amy swears on fish fingers and custard, which is clearly a him-thing, so maybe he puts together that it was him who sent the invites), so the Doctor can put some plan or other in place so when he dies, he's not really dead, just mostly dead. Or something.

        Not only is it a vague theory, it's also really unclear. Whee.

  14. echinodermata says:

    <img src=""&gt;(source)
    Firstly, I personally LOVE the multi-season feel to all this. We've had plot points deliberately left unresolved last season, we have tons of fans going back pouring over every detail of S5 to find any hints for what's to come now. We get an opening two-parter which jumps straight into action. No introducing a new Doctor new companions, we're truly just continuing an adventure. That's the usual television I'm used to, so RTD's Doctor Who was always a bit different for me in the sense that each season was so contained. There's plenty to like about the way those seasons were written as a separate unit, but I like that Moffat is turning a new page and letting his stories build on top of each other. Plenty of people got into DW by starting with S5 of new Who, and I think that works pretty well. But this is quite probably going to be the worst season to jump into uninformed. And that's cool, too.

    So, my number one wish for Amy and Rory is that they get a happy ending. That when they leave the show, as they inevitably will do, they do it because it's their own choice. For that reason, I really appreciated seeing Amy and Rory living together in domestic bliss. They are so adorable together, and are living their lives happily without the Doctor, but without forgetting him altogether. That's what I want them to end up doing. So that beginning scene with them was so nice because it makes such a decision to leave on their part more plausible. He's been gone two months, and it's not like they're anxiously waiting for him, they're just calmly discussing what he's been getting up to.

    <img src=""&gt;(Source)
    Firstly, I love how commonly it's implied to be that River breaks out of prison. "She's doing it again."

    I also love that River and Eleven have had adventures together offscreen. Well, I'd love to see those adventures, but I'm glad the Doctor has more experience with River now. I quite enjoy
    their dymanic when it's more unsure, but I think I like all this banter and friendliness with each other more.

    When I saw the "4" on Canton's envelope, and the "2" on River's, I immediately went OMG River is more special. And then the Ponds were "3"! So we're at the point when the Doctor decides contacting River is a priority over contacting Amy and Rory, at least in srs bzns matters. Won't lie, it made me happy. I love seeing the evolution of their relationship. And I thought her pain at seeing him in that diner place, and her slap and the delivery of "yes it is" was spot-on. Also, that it made the most sense coming from River. Amy and Rory are still more new to the time-travel aspect of meeting the Doctor, so it makes sense that they'd feel more relief and shock than River, who is thinking about the Doctor having planned all this before the previous time they met.

    And then there's that bit where they're in the TARDIS after meeting this younger version of Eleven, and Eleven is doing his happy thing while everyone else, well, isn't. And then he stops, and sits down, and gets so very old again. He knows something's up, and has been trying to act normal, but he has to stop for a moment and confront them about it. It's a really interesting dynamic to see everyone but the Doctor knowing what he doesn't, and having to carry the weight and tension of knowing and keeping this secret from him.

    So the Doctor stops, and confronts River. Because as much as he enjoys her company and likes her, he's still a younger version of Eleven and still doesn't know what to make of her. At this point, he has to defer to Amy to trust. And yet, we know 1103!Eleven made River #2 and the Ponds #3. I know some people get sick of Mofat's timey-wimeyness, but I think the sorts of character stories possible by these kinds of adventures are breathtaking. There's so much room for questions and speculations, and so many things that the audience has to juggle in their mind to make sense of every encounter. I find River and the Doctor together fascinating, and this episode really gave me a lot to think about.


    • echinodermata says:

      <img src=""&gt;(Source)
      For all the flirting between them in this ep, he's still not River's Doctor, and he still has trust issues with her. That River so far has always remembered a Doctor who trusts her, but that she keeps meeting a man who doesn't. AND THEN SHE ACKNOWLEDGES THE FATE SHE KNOWS SHE HAS COMING, AND THAT WE'VE ALREADY SEEN IT IN THE LIBRARY TWO-PARTER. Chills, Kingston and Moffat. That was good. Also, Rory saying he doesn't have to imagine what it's like for the Doctor to drop out of the sky and charm an impressionable young girl. ARTHUR'S FACE! I loved this entire scene. Maybe my favorite part of the ep, aside from the comedy bits.

      (Well, one criticism of that scene: I'm pretty sure River and the Doctor's timelines aren't purely in the opposite direction. At least, I hope it's not cause I really want to see River's last time with him before the library, and I hate to think they've already skipped over it. Also, given the description of that date, it sounded like a Doctor who knew River well, not one meeting her for the second time. Additionally, the point of doing diaries is they don't know where in the timeline the other is. Which makes more sense as time-travelers than them somehow always meeting in a predictable manner.)

      <img src=""&gt;
      I also love this Team TARDIS. I love that we have three companions at once, and that each combination of 2 or 3 or 4 characters has its own unique dynamic that's fun to watch. And then you add Canton/Mark Sheppard, cause why not, and it's lovely. (Although I lol at the fact that one of the most prevalent British tv actors in America is finally doing a British show…in which he uses an American accent.) I loved Rory being responsible for explaining things to Canton, for instance. NEW DYNAMICS: ALWAYS APPRECIATED.


      • echinodermata says:

        Less coherent, and more jumbled, thoughts and things:

        Sorry Mark, I still think Vincent and the Doctor is prettier. But it's definitely a gorgeous ep, of course.

        <img src=""&gt;

        I love the Doctor leaving messages for the Ponds via history. Adorable.

        <img src=""&gt;
        When I saw this, my first thought was 'it's coke – must be Rose.' This meme is kind of insidious, isn't it?

        <img src=""&gt;(Source)

        There was a mighty amount of River/Doctor bits, and I loved them all. Him being very flirty, her following him and flying the TARDIS properly, him calling her "Mrs. Robinson," all the "I hate you" bits, River's "he's hot when he's clever" face and the resulting "shut up," and the fact that River's "quite the screamer." (And somewhat related, this is pretty much the first time…ever…I've liked two canon ships at once. I almost never like the canon ships! And now I like two! THIS SHOW!)

        The Doctor takes notes! And rests his feet on the President's desk like a boss.

        I generally think monsters look creepiest in suits. I've seen it before on other shows, but it's always a great visual.

        "Her name was Joy" made the creatures scary into 'jesus fuck what the fuck Moffat' for me.


        Two of the founding fathers fancied the Doctor. Question is, which Doctor and which men? (I'm also not sure if it's two of the founding fathers as a whole group, or two of the three named.)

        I love that Rory and River get an extended scene together.

        Not sure this warrants the disclaimer, but just in case, THEORIES ABOUND:
        I pretty much never like pregnancy storylines, and especially in scifi/fantasy, but I generally expect Moffat to defy expectations, so I'm quite willing to wait and see where he's going with this. All I know is, I'm not sure if it's somehow fake (given River feels sick too), considering there were possible references to it (Amy gaining weight, the Ponds should go make babies). Then again, those references could be there to distract from the real explanation. (But I kind of want her to be pregnant with the Doctor's baby solely for the wank.)

        And a gif I absolutely had to share:
        <img src=""&gt;(Source)

        • E.L.S.O.S. says:

          If the baby is the Doctor's I may be the wankiest of them all.

          Rory is WAY too wonderful to be cheated on even if it is with the Doctor, Amy! And Doctor, shame on you! If you're going to sleep around with Amy YOU INCLUDE RORY IN THIS AS WELL! And River! And you bring a video camera…. And maybe Jack is there too…. And I'm going to stop now.

          • echinodermata says:

            I just want Moffat to be the biggest troll ever. I want him to troll fandom so badly. idek why, just that it amuses me to think of him amusing himself and petting a cat on his lap whilst evilly typing. Or something.

            Haha, my wank, should it ever happen, would be along the lines of they had sex AND WE DIDN'T GET TO SEE IT? Even if it's Amy/Rory and they legit have a baby eventually.

        • arctic_hare says:

          I love your love of River, and Eleven, and River/Eleven. And it is my love too. <3 I confess, I cheered and thanked her when she slapped him, because from her POV, he deserved it for what looked like a stunt show to mess with them.

          Overall, THIS to your great review. 😀

  15. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    I just realised a great parallel between ATLA and DW but I can't say anything because of spoilers.

  16. barnswallowkate says:

    The Silence = No thank you please. Has anyone collected clips of possible sightings of them from last season? I want to go scare myself some more.

    They better undo the dead Doctor thing by the end of this season (hopefully sooner). They can't just say now for sure that Matt Smith is the last Doctor ever… right?? I hope?

    I went to Monument Valley several years ago and I think I pulled over for a picture right near where the episode started 😀

    • Mandi says:

      Clips of possible sightings. They ordered it by plausibility.
      And they HAVE to correct it. Like Shiyiya said, it would kill the show if they didn't!

      • ThreeBooks says:

        Oh my lord, the thing in Venice is actually kind of terrifying for me.

      • ldwy says:

        Thanks for posting.

        And I agree with you and the original poster–I don't think they'd let Moffat make Matt Smith the definite last Doctor, and I don't actually think he'd do it. There's got to be some way out. That's too final (not for the character, though I would cry and cry) for the show.

      • barnswallowkate says:

        Thanks so much! My YouTube-fu is weak and I kept getting Season 5 or 6 trailers instead of what I wanted.

  17. sabra_n says:

    Mark, I wish I could be in the same place you are about this episode. I want to adore Moffat!Who, to go crazy about the serialization, to invest in the characters and speculate and gleefully await every new episode. But I'm just not there.

    For me, "The Impossible Astronaut" was the same old Moffat song – lots and lots of ideas piled on haphazardly with seemingly no purpose except SUSPENSE and SHOCK and HORROR in a really generic way rather in a specific way that actually works. There's a creepy child and astronauts and cowboys and the Doctor's death and the grey men and Amy's pregnancy and Nixon…you get the idea. My question isn't whether all of this will be tied up but whether it actually has a point as far as storytelling goes. All too often, Moffat seems to be wasting time on stuff that ends up being noise.

    I really, really want to be proven wrong. I really want the second part to blow my mind and turn me back into a slavering fangirl because it's so much more fun to watch that way. I just…doubt it's going to happen.

    • All too often, Moffat seems to be wasting time on stuff that ends up being noise.
      Really? I think the opposite. Charlie Jane referred to his predilection for "puzzle box stories," which is exactly what I like about him. All the things he throws in aren't noise; they're pieces of the puzzle.

      I think the fact that there apparent Silence sightings all throughout season five (we found one in "The Lodger" that's pretty strong, but I'm waiting for someone to find them and compile them into a video) speaks to Moffat's attention to detail and intricate planning.

      I am also easily swayed by SUSPENSE and SHOCK and HORROR, though.

      • sabra_n says:

        "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" and "Blink" were puzzle-box stories. From the Library episodes on Moffat has been sloppier, IMO. He still brings the funny and he's done some great casting, but the plotting is meh.

        Obviously, I have no idea what's signal and what's noise in the current story, but think of something like "The Beast Below" – what was the point of the Smilers and dumping the "bad" children, again? Not much, plotwise. They were there for scares and atmosphere, really, and not much else. Which isn't the worst writing sin in the world, but it's not what I'd call a tightly-constructed puzzle box either.

        Something about Moffat!Who isn't connecting with me. I mean, I'm grateful as hell to be done with RTD's weaknesses and not cringing when they come up again and again and again, but…an absence of wankery isn't the same thing as the presence of something moving and wonderful. "Vincent and the Doctor" is one of my favorite episodes of anything, full stop, but I just…don't find myself returning to the rest of that season. Not the way I'd like to.

        Give me an emotional connection and I'll start squeeing about little arc clues and such. I was a Veronica Mars fiend, so you know I can be as enthusiastic as anyone when I get going. But nothing about Moffat's mysteries is compelling me to wonder or care.

        • Shiyiya says:

          I think 'bad' children were selected to be dumped because they thought they needed to feed the starwhale? I mean, it being the robots with magic three-sided heads was certainly gratuitous creepy.

          • Mauve_Avenger says:

            Maybe I'm just misunderstanding what you mean, but I'm pretty sure the adults on the ship already knew that the starwhale refused to eat children.

            • Senna says:

              I honestly thought they dumped anyone who strayed too far beyond the rules of society – we just happened to see it from a child?

        • psycicflower says:

          I think part of the 'bad children' being sent below was probably helping to maintain the fear in a police state and since the starwhale didn't eat them they ended up being useful for labour since if I remember correctly we saw them working, if only for a minute.

    • hassibah says:

      I don't feel this way about Moffat in general, but about this episode I do.
      I like a complicated plot and there's nothing wrong with gimmicks when used in an otherwise strong story, but this episode seemed to throw a bunch of stuff he thought would look cool together and the story tieing it all together was tbh not that great. And it being part one isn't really enough explain it, because all his other two parters I actually cared about the plot and the characters by the quarter point-that didn't really happen here. This time I just want to get to the end and forget it ever happened.

  18. knut_knut says:


    However, I do have comments! I was REALLY REALLY WORRIED when the episode first opened because Series 6 Doctor seemed so MEAN and SCARY. Granted, it's probably because he knew things weren't going to end well, but would you want your last words to your friend to be HAY YOU'RE FAT. Unnecessary. I'm glad Regular Timeline Doctor (not sure what to call him) was our usual spunky Doctor. I also wasn't too happy at first that Moffat recycled the time loop thing that he did at the end of Series 5 but by the end of the episode it was the least of my worries and didn't bother me much.

    OH MY GOD THE SILENCE. THEY WILL NOT STOP ENTERING MY NIGHTMARES. THAT IMAGE OF THEM IN THE SEWERS- THAT NEST OF SILENCE AKLDJFASLKFDJA; HAUNTING MY SLEEP EVER SINCE. I love how they kind of look like stereotypical Roswell-esque aliens that really aren't that scary anymore (seriously, whenever I see them I think of South Park) but made TERRIFYING. The fact that they're dressed in wet yet somewhat dapper suits make them so much scarier to me. Like they're almost human BUT MOST DEFINITELY NOT.

    I'm excited to see how Amy's pregnancy will play out too…I hope she's not actually pregnant…

    • ldwy says:

      I also really really liked that they were kind of "ordinary" aliens, but made SO TERRIFYING by Moffatt's evil genius. The human-like outfits definitely ramp up the creep factor, too, especially since "they're everywhere" but you can't remember them makes it so possible that they are influencing everyday life drastically and no one knows.

    • @Chiparoo says:

      Haha, they put more little hints then I realized that Amy was pregnant before she actually spelled it out. I had forgotten that The Doctor had pointed out that Amy had "gained a couple pounds."
      If this really is The Doctor from the future, he would have KNOWN that Amy is pregnant, and was poking at her for that.

      I was in the camp that wasn't surprised when Amy said she was pregnant. I mean, randomly sick and needing to tell the doctor something? yes!

      (Also- why do you hope she's not actually pregnant? It seems like a really amazing twist on the story!)

  19. echinodermata says:

    Something creepy that seemed sort of appropriate: so the moon landing happened when Nixon was president; that's not really interesting news. BUT, there was a speech written for him to deliver to the world should there have been problems with the astronauts during their trip.
    <img src=""&gt;
    The speech reads:

    "Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice. These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding. They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown. In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man. In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood."

    There's some alternate history for you.

    • NB2000 says:

      The West Wing fan in me is going "You always write two speeches". It's still spooky to read the actual one though. Thank goodness it wasn't needed.

    • psycicflower says:

      Can you imagine that speech being what everyone remembers instead of the 'One small step…' Makes me curious about what other speeches are out there for alternative historical outcomes.

    • ldwy says:

      Wow, I'd never heard of this. Thanks for posting it. It's definitely creepy. And it's always strange to think about how public figures are usually prepared for multiple outcomes.

    • Meg says:

      Nixon had some damn good writers. I'm tearing up AND I want to read some alt history of this.

    • Eager_Ears says:

      WOW. So glad he didn't end up having to use this version! Just the idea of the poor astronauts stuck on the Moon gives me chills.

    • PK9 says:

      That speech makes me think of Waters Of Mars…

  20. Anseflans says:

    Oooh, I loved this episode!
    During dinner, I told my parents that I was excited about the new series of Doctor Who. My parents however barely know what it is (my dad knows it's about an alien that travels through time). Then I went upstairs to my room squee-ing like a silly fangirl (which I AM). Then, after 5 minutes of watching, my mum calls me with the message that 'your dad is watching 'Doctor Hoo' downstairs, so come and watch with him!'. So I did. And he kind of loved it, and wants to watch the next episode with me too!
    So maybe I should give him a summary of the most important things to know about Doctor Who. What are the things that I absolutely must tell him?

    That being said: HOW AM I EVER GONNA SURVIVE 'TILL SATURDAY?! This is the first time I'm up to date with Doctor Who, and I HATE WAITING.

    • Stephen_M says:

      Umm… I'd normally give the standard spiel here (Alien, TARDIS, companions, saves universe, runs around a lot) but as he's seen one episode how about asking him what didn't make sense and what he'd like to know? I'd probably also stick to details back to Series 5 as mentioning it started in 1963 (and damn Moffat, how could you NOT have Rory say 'about 6 years' when asked how long Scotland Yard had stuff like the TARDIS in 1969?) tends to scare a lot of people off, especially if they think the sort of dense plotting we saw on Saturday is typical of the show.

    • Kaybee42 says:

      I'd probably just give the usual alien, tardis spiel then a rundown of series 5 stuff- the lodger ending, pandorica, silence will fall etc.?

    • virtual_monster says:

      I don't think there's a better explanation of the series than Neil Gaiman's brilliant summary:

      There's a blue box. It's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It can go anywhere in time and space and sometimes even where it's meant to go. And when it turns up, there's a bloke in it called The Doctor and there will be stuff wrong and he will do his best to sort it out and he will probably succeed 'cause he's awesome. Now sit down, shut up, and watch 'Blink'.

  21. Gimlimonkey says:

    It was a very interesting episode, especially for a season opener. I personally was, of course, not expecting anything that happened, let alone for the Doctor to die at the very beginning. As always when I watch something new or a new season of a beloved show, I blocked out and avoided all things spoiler-related and anything that could ruin anything. I had no idea what was going to happen, just as I have no idea what is going to happen next Saturday because I was covering my ears and going "lalalalalalalalalala" when the preview came on.

    The Doctor's death scene seemed unreal to me. it never really sunk in until a day ago or so. When I first watched it I was going "WTF mate?". And the first thing that popped into my head: David Tennant would have made me cry during that scene. Damn me and my inability to accept change! I like Matt Smith but 10 will always be my Doctor. As it was, it was still extremely sad and shocking, and I loved it when the younger Doctor shows up and everything is alright again, save for Rory, Amy, and River having to keep his death a secret.

    Well, everything is all right until the Silence show up and everything is terrifying forever. I don't even have to go into that. Everything will forever be terrifying.

    As for posting spoilers, I'm not sure how that's possible Mark, unless you mean from the previews. After all, we've all only seen everything 😛

    Edit: Just remembered a fun fact, in which the Mark Sheppard, who plays Canton Delaware III, is the son of William Morgan Sheppard who played the older version of Canton Delaware III in the beginning of the episode

    And finally, this might be theory related, I'm not sure what the definition of theory is for now, but just in case here's some bold so don't read past this if you don't want to hear my thoughts! It seems, with the Doctor's death, as though Moffat has set up a potential for Matt Smith being the very last Doctor. Of course, I would be upset if this were true, since Doctor Who has to last forever or else utter tragedy would reign for all time, but it seems a possibility.

    • Dragonsong12 says:


      I have my doubts that the Doctor will be killed for real here, if for no other reason than because Doctor Who has grown in popularity so much in recent years, and BBC would probably not allow anything that would cut the series short. It just wouldn't make sense. While I realise that Smith may have seasons to go before that point, there are still two more regenerations left (until they find a way to up them) and BBC would want to milk it for all it's worth.

      …additionally, that would be really dull, since we already know the "ending". I'm looking for some big dramatic twist…not to end up right where we started! haha! This is just personal opinion, though, the previous paragraph are my reasons why it probably won't be.

      The interesting thing now, though, since it seemed so real, is how they're going to get out of it. THAT'S what's got me interested.

      • Gimlimonkey says:

        I was thinking the same thing. they'll find a way out of this, just as they'll eventually find a way out of the limit on Time Lord regenerations. It seems like they have an out should someone of evil disposition decide that Doctor Who should end. But still, I agree that it won't end this way, and I imagine that solving this will occur in the season finale (or next episode, whatever). Like you, I am interested on how this will be solved.

  22. Tauriel_ says:

    I've run out of superlatives in order to describe this episode, that's all I'm saying. And I agree that it really does look more like a finale than a series opener.

    The Silence are FUCKING CREEPY. I literally shivered as I watched the episode on my laptop, huddled under my blanket. I was seriously AFRAID. Not even the Weeping Angels managed this (they were more of a "give-you-a-heart-attack-shock-effect", with the sudden transformation into evil grinning monsters).

    My favourite bit? Nixon and Canton suddenly noticing the Doctor and the Doctor just waving his hand in a "you guys carry on" way. 😀

    Two hundred years passed in his time while only two months passed for Rory and Amy? That didn’t seem to make sense.

    He's a time traveler. 😉 He obviously went off and spent 200 years adventuring before coming back to 2011 to meet the Ponds.

    His character, Canton Delaware III, is a man intrigued by mystery and one who hasn’t lost his sense of humor along the way.

    He's a fantastic character and Mark Sheppard makes him even more awesome. <3 CED3 for the next companion, y/y?

    And there’s either a huge mistake or a purposeful inclusion in that same episode when Amy is packing for the Doctor’s return and a shadow walks past her door.

    That was supposed to be the "future Doctor" rewinding back through his time stream, but the full scene was cut from The Big Bang.

  23. Anon says:

    I just rewatched The Lodger and that alien ship was definitely from there it's too similar for it not to be.

  24. JonT says:

    Do we know for a fact that the forgetable are the Silence? Are we just assuming it or did I miss something?

  25. redheadedgirl says:

    I'm confused. What the hell is this Silence you're talking about, mark? I don't remember any Silence.

  26. Victoria_Allen says:

    This episode was fantastic! I was sitting on the edge of my couch in my snuggie, and my dad kept asking questions:
    “Who’s that?”
    “Where are they?”
    “What’s that blue thing?”
    He was doing it on purpose to be annoying :/

    • Victoria_Allen says:

      Sorry! Ignore this, my computer’s on the fritz.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Ha! Yeah, that's sucks. This is why I employed a cunning plan to get my family obsessed and up-to-date last year, so when the Doctor began to regenerate it wasn't "ACCCK, What's happening?" it was "WAIT, THAT CAN'T HAPPEN."

      Although, my sister constantly going on about how much she hates River did sort of annoy me. (You don't need to tell me every time she's on screen.)

      • Helena says:

        The phone rang FOUR TIMES while me and my mum were watching this, and my dad walked in and started talking loudly just as Amy was about to tell the Doctor her 'something important'. Next Saturday, phones are banned from the vicinity and I'm putting some sort of sign on the door. All I need now is to think of an awesome Silence-related pun… Suggestions?

        • Elexus Calcearius says:

          Well, my pun power does seem to be escaping me, but if you want a good passive-aggressive way to get your point across, pretend to forget you know they’re there every time you look away. They should get the point.

          Also, unplug the phones when they aren't looking.

        • trash_addict says:

          No pun….just write 'SILENCE WILL FALL'.

          …Might come off as a bit bossy!

  27. monkeybutter says:

    So much well-deserved smacking-around in my teevee shows this weekend 🙂

    Like you said, it's hard to make scenery like that look bad, but damn the scenes in the Valley of the Gods and Lake Powell were gorgeous. So striking. This is a fantastic way to begin the new series, but I can't really think of what to say other than keysmashes. It was incredibly impressive, but I have no idea where it's going. That's a good thing! Every word out of River's mouth was perfection, and I was mesmerized by her interactions with the Doctor. I also wish Rory had more to do, but he was funny in the background. Please don't be electrocuted, Rory.

    That reminds me: I love the Pond's house. There are little details like gladiator figures and a vase of sunflowers in the background that make me smile. It's a perfect home for them.


    So, after thinking about it and reading the liveblog comments, I don't think Amy is pregnant, and I don't want her to be pregnant. I think the older Doctor teasing her about weight gain or settling down and having kids was either a joking reference to her incorrectly thinking she was pregnant, or better, he was planting the idea of pregnancy so her subconscious could fill in the blanks that the Silence was leaving in her memory. Perhaps to prevent her from telling him about the Silence too early? I can't wait to see how this is resolved!

  28. karate0kat says:

    Yeah, I was pissed at Time Warner for dropping BBCA, but the more I hear, the less upset I am. Commercial free watching FTW!

  29. thefireandthehearth says:

    Yayayay Mark watching Doctor Who again! ilu mark

    First things first: OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH FUUUUUUU-

    <img src=""/&gt;

    Yes, thank you thar, Silence thing, for haunting my nightmares until the end of time. How to sum up my feelings about this episode… I'll start with something simple. I was actually rather fond of the Nixon portray in this episode- it's very easy to go the "baby-eating monster" route with him, and not for no reason. Still, he' a lot more ambigious than that. Forever lol-ing at the "Hippie!" "Archaeologist!" banter. Also, that bit about Easter Island? I KNEW IT!

    <img src=""/&gt;

    Everyone's banter/dialogue was excellent. I forever love the interactions with the TARDIS family, and I'm enjoying how the Moff's shaking things up, both with the series format and the "Doctor and female companion" format. Everyone's just so good together, what with the Doctor and River's eternal flirting, Amy and the Doctor's adorable friendship, Amy and Rory the wonderfully married, River and Amy being sweet together, Rory and River surprising camaraderie, and the Doctor and Rory's rad bromance. A full TARDIS is a happy TARDIS. And what with Canton- omfg Mark Sheppard must know more.

    River, it needs to be said, is forever heartbreaking. I've always been intrigued by Kingston's character, and her scene with Rory in the tunnels just breaks me into tiny pieces.

    <img src=""/&gt;


    Straying away from the character relations, there was such a high level of HSQ that I was pretty much flailing like a palm tree by the end of it. The Silence are fucking terrifying to me- I'm the most forgetful person in the world, and the idea of a creepy-face snappily-dressed freakshow making my mind go poof is forever horrifying. I need to know more. MORE, MOFFAT, YOU MAGNIFICENTLY NIGHTMARISH MAN. Y U FEEDING ON MAH TERROR?

    • OMG the Easter Island statue. Dying of laughter here!!

    • attackwomb says:

      ok. this! this is why i LOVE mark reads, and mark watches, and the comments. when i watched The Impossible Astronaut and River said that someday she was going to meet the doctor and he wouldn't know her at all – i was confused, because, um, hello Ten! I got that she was meeting him out of order, but not necessarily a completely opposite order. thank you mark for clarifying that for me. i am happy with the Whoverse again, because the timey-wimey stuff is sorted and makes sense.

      and thank you thefireandthehearth for the visual of river – initially, when she says in the episode, "and i think it's going to kill me", i thought only in the sense of when she says to Donna, about Ten not recognizing her "it shouldn't kill me, but it does". but the fact that she "dies" (does she really? does that count?), puts a whole new spin on what she said in The Impossible Astronaut. my creys forever!

    • Patrick says:

      Wait, that Silent is wearing a monocle, but where is his top hat? A monocle without a top hat? That is absurd and ungentlemanly, good sir.

      Well, maybe we just can't see the top hat because the picture cuts off the top of its head, but I don't think he has the requisite hat.

  30. Victoria_Allen says:

    This episode was fantastic! I was sitting on the edge of my couch in my snuggie, and my dad kept asking questions:

    “Who’s that?”

    “Where are they?”

    “What’s that blue thing?”

    He was doing it on purpose to be annoying :/


    -The Doctor cant be really dead, that would end the show if Matt Smith wanted to leave!

    -Why does anyone bother putting River in jail? She only stays there if she doesn’t have anyplace better to be.

    -The Silence: creepiest thing ever, y/y?

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I always watch Doctor Who in my snuggie! ^^
      It also gives me something to hide behind if it gets too freaky. 😉
      My dad is always saying that they had to make do with regular old blankets to hide behind when he was watching Doctor Who in his day!

  31. FlameRaven says:

    I actually watched this episode on TV with my roommates and a friend, which was so much better than watching it by myself on my computer, especially with how brain-breaking this episode was. This was only the 2nd episode our friend had seen, so that was a fun experience too. After the Silence killed Joy, we had to explain to her about how Moffat is the king of nightmare fuel.

    Afterwards, we all freaked out together ("OH GOD DID AMY JUST KILL THAT KID?) and I forced myself to think about Portal 2 to make myself feel better. Which if you've played Portal 2, is saying something.

    I'll have to rewatch the episode to really wrap my head around this, but thoughts:

    -Can I just say how much I love what they've done with shooting in the US? Beautiful scenery, and they get to work in the moon landing AND Roswell (because the Silence are totally similar to the typical Roswell alien) and I love it. Although Washington DC is not the most powerful city in the country. Really, it's not. (That's New York.) As an American who loves this show and bemoaned the fact that they mostly only ever land in England, it's a welcome change.

    -Also: "THEY'RE AMERICANS!" "DON'T SHOOT DON'T SHOOT!" brb laughing forever.

    -One quibble though: wtf was with that shot of the White House? It was completely wrong: too squished and too close to the street. Could they not get stock footage or something?

    -I don't think Amy's really pregnant. It just doesn't feel right. Also why would River be sick too? I think it's a side-effect of the Silence's mind-whammy.


    -I actually didn't like the behind-the-scenes bits after the commercials each time. They were cool, but I found them distracting because the plot was so intense.

    -Cannot wait for next week, omg. Although at least I have Game of Thrones to keep me busy as well.

  32. Karen says:

    I can’t figure out how I feel about this episode, and I think I’m going to have to reserve my final judgment until after I’ve seen the second part next week. This week was a lot of set up, and I though the opening dragged a bit. But I think the plot has some potential. Although, I am SO over the timey wimey nonsense. Like NO ONE really believes the Doctor is dead for good. They’re not ending the franchise with Eleven. And I was kind of amused by how long it took Amy to figure out that the Doctor that burst out of the back of the diner was a younger version of the one who they just saw die.

    But for me, the biggest thing I took out of this episode was the conversation between Rory and River. It made me feel so sad for River. But then it made me feel really skeeved out. This tumblr post does a decent job of explaining the issues I had with it. I don’t agree with it 100%, but it does raise some really good points to consider and hits on some of my issues with what River said to Rory.

    And was it just me or was the Doctor being an exceptional douche in this episode? Telling Amy she looked like she put on weight, going to take the Ponds home because they should be making babies, “Legs, Nose and Mrs. Robinson” all made me give the Doctor a bit of side eye.

    P.S. I know that there are a couple of things in this episode that are going to tempt people to post spoilers from Buffy. PLEASE DON’T DO IT. Mark is planning on watching it later.

    • monkeybutter says:

      That was a good read, and I agree with a lot of it. I love River when she's interacting with the Doctor, but I hate that she spends the rest of her life waiting to meet him again. I feel awful for her, and while I'd like to think that this isn't a tragic romance and rather an accident of fate, I don't think that's what Moffat is going for when he has her predicting her grief and death when the Doctor doesn't know her. I love when she's in control, confident, and kicking ass. I want more for her than the Doctor, I guess is what I'm trying to say.

      The Doctor was totally being a douche, but not out of character for him. I want to see how this whole pregnancy plot is resolved before I pass judgment though.

      ETA: I'm also slightly annoyed by the River/Doctor meetings because I hate The Time Traveler's Wife, and I can't get the weirdness of that relationship out of my head when I'm watching.

      • barnswallowkate says:

        I hate The Time Traveler's Wife

        Unrelated to the ep but WHY WAS THAT BOOK SO BAD. I read it because people said the first River Song eps reminded them of it, so I thought it would be good, but it was not! I think the movie was somehow worse but I only saw ~30 minutes of it.

        • Karen says:

          I saw the movie. The best part was Eric Bana's ass. lol.

        • monkeybutter says:

          I can't even explain how and why I hate that book, it was just so unsatisfying. I never saw the movie, thankfully.

          • barnswallowkate says:

            I can probably explain my hate at length but I guess that's better left for the forums.

            I normally love Rachel McAdams and after 5 minutes of the movie I loathed her character, so it was really really bad.

            • monkeybutter says:

              Yeah, and I'm afraid my hatred of Clare and her life dependent upon meetings with Henry is adversely affecting how I see River, whom I really really like, and who actually has a personality and a forceful presence. It's not entirely fair to River and the show, but when she says things like "I live for the days when I see him," it sits wrong with me mostly because my frame of reference has been shaped by that awful book. I should have never read it.

              I think I'll be happy with River if Moffat will just get on with her story. I want to see the murder that landed her in Stormcage so that I know she's not sitting around, doing penance, and waiting to break out for the next adventure with the Doctor. I want to see a hint of her outside life so that "I live for the days when I see him" doesn't feel like she's just going through the motions and filling in the blanks until their next meeting. I know she's better than Clare, I just want to see it.

        • Gil says:

          I blame the child-perviness

    • thefireandthehearth says:

      Thanks for linking us to that! You raise some excellent points, especially about how the conversation adds a whole new layer of skeeviness and ickiness to the River/Doctor relationship. I'm really kind of sick of Moffat's "girl meets Doctor and obsesses over him her entire life" trope. I much prefer the idea of River being confident, strong, and the Doctor's equal in attitude.

    • mkjcaylor says:

      Until she met Luke, Sarah Jane lived for when she would meet the Doctor again. She specifically states that at a point in the first season of SJA. And then she finally finds a reason to live for herself and for someone else (Luke), turning down the Doctor when he offers her a spot as a companion again.

      I always have really liked and respected this storyline, and thought that Sarah Jane's transformation from needy woman to independent single mother was brilliant, and I was always glad that RTD chose to portray her that way.

      River Song needs some transformation like this.

      • hassibah says:


        I didn't like River's monologue, just because I thought it was kind of gratuitous and repetitive and unnecessarily rehashed things that had either had already been said by her or implied over the course of her run on the show and I really didn't need to be TOLD about it again when the nature of their relationship had been SHOWN to me beautifully in previous eps.

        But yeah, it's kind of a huge stretch to say that she is at all unique as far as companions relating to the Doctor in this way go, I'll have to call shenanigans on that.

        • ArrogantSage says:

          But yeah, it's kind of a huge stretch to say that she is at all unique as far as companions relating to the Doctor in this way go, I'll have to call shenanigans on that.
          It's so weird how easily it is forgotten that many of the companions suffer from this very same problem. And honestly, if someone like the Doctor truly existed who wouldn't feel this way? Just looking at new Who is enough to see that it runs through all of the companions in some way or another. Rose thought her life was over when she thought she wouldn't see the Doctor again. She even managed to rip a hole in dimensions to see him again. Martha had googly eyes for him, although once she stepped away, she never gave me the impression that she was existing just to see him again. Donna started off not wanting to be a part of this only to spend time searching him out later and she never had plans to leave him (creys). And Amy is raring to go anytime he calls!

          • hassibah says:

            Yeah, it's also true of male companions like Wilf and Capn Sexy who waited, what, 100+ years to meet the Doctor again? Generally, I don't really like that and think it's kind of overthetop (like Donna being unemployed for a year but spending all her time hunting down the Doctor, and she's not exactly the type to just sit around and be in awe of him) but it's an overall issue I have with the show and how everyone relates to its hero-River's actually one of the less extreme cases. Actually the first two times we see her she gets the Doctor to respond to her call because it suited her-not the other way around. But that's just another reason why I didn't like the monologue, it actually felt weird coming out of her mouth.

        • AllisonWonderland says:

          Longtime Mark Does Stuff lurker, first time poster jumping to say that I accidentally down-voted you as I was trying to up-vote, sorry! I'm on an iPad and the thumbs up/down buttons are just so damned small. 🙁

          Your unpopular opinion is spot on.

          • hassibah says:

            It happens to the best of us! Either way thanks for stopping by to let me know somebody actually agrees with the first half of what I said.

    • Psi Baka Onna says:

      When I first heard the speech, I thought the "I live for the days" bit was just a turn of phrase; her way of saying "I long for the excitement of running" kind of deal. She is an adventure seeker so to me it made sense that she'd live for the odd turns her life takes whenever the Doctor's around. I thought the "just a girl" part was alluding to a time when she was still naive and not necessarily a child. Maybe just out of university and working as an archeologist for the first time? Like as an apprentice or an intern or whatever when something happens that draws in the Doctor? Something like that.

      After reading that blog post, however, I realise that there maybe a chance that I'm subconsciously editing out the one big problem I have with River's character: her need to have the Doctor acknowledge her. The way she's written does at times make it look like her entire life revolves around her man and it is disturbing. I'm glad the speech exists because it puts her behaviour during the Silence in the Library two parter into a new light – that she was facing her fear of having someone she cares about forget her rather than being mopey because her boyfriend can't remember her & so isn't paying her enough attention – but I'm seriously hoping that her back story is similar to the one I've painted of her rather than her being yet another Amy.

    • redheadedgirl says:

      I'm not going to address everything in the post, just a few things.

      First: "I live for the days I see him" I think doesn't mean "I sit patiently and don't feel like I don't exist when I don't see him." Clearly, she has other things she does (even when she is sitting in Stormcage- she's an archeologist, she EXISTS and lives without him. I think that the best days or her life are when she gets to see him- not that the other days are automatically bad, but the days she gets to see the man who is basically her soulmate are wonderful (plus, you know, crazy-ass adventures).

      I mean, Reinette did the same thing- she had a full life without Ten- she would have preferred to be with him, obviously, but she continued to [i]be[/i] without him. She didn't sit passively, she was still a leading force in France. Just because you're waiting doesn't mean you aren't doing other stuff while you're waiting.

      And just like the Doctor was given the choice to rewrite time or not with River, she has the same choice, too. Even though she told him "don't you dare, not one line," he still has the "time can be rewritten" and he chooses not to. I imagine she has the same agency to make that same choice when she is that impressionable young girl.

      (and as for that, I'm in my 30's and still call myself a girl. So that doesn't neccesarily mean that the Doctor showed up to an Amelia-sized River. We don't know yet.)

  33. Stephen_M says:

    Moffat really does have a knack for writing companion-worthy one-offs doesn't he? Nancy, Renette, Sally, River (well, not a one-off now of course but back then…), Father Octavian and now Canton.

    Oh, and I'm now waiting for Moffat to reveal that the 1103!Doctor fixed the camelion circuit and the TARDIS had decided the proper form for a lake in Utah was an open-topped boat….

  34. redheadedgirl says:


  35. Wow, damn. Well, I'm glad I downgraded my cable package months ago and watched the UK episode instead. Also, I hear they had some sort of pre-credit thing with Amy explaining the series AFTER the teaser??

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, it felt Katara explaining the Avatar world before every episode of ATLA. I get that they're trying to expand their US audience, but it was weird and unnecessary.

    • agrinningfool says:

      Oh that wasn't part of the actual episode? GOOD. I hated that! I sat there going "…Good God, please don't do this at EVERY new episode.."

  36. NB2000 says:

    :O is he? I haven't actually seen a picture of him out of make-up. I know his name (Marnix Van Den Broeke) is almost as awesome as Canton's though.

    Edit: Investigated on Wikipedia/IMDb…wow

  37. echinodermata says:

    I laughed, but I'm generally a lot less on the gun enthusiasm than other Americans. (Waves from California? Is that explanation enough?)

  38. echinodermata says:

    Yeah, I think it's actually a pretty beautiful speech, but so creepy.

  39. Dragonsong12 says:

    I can't speak for all of us, but I personally found it pretty funny. Stereotypes like this played for laughs is kinda fun! And we have done some things to deserve it, haha!

    Now, if someone dismissed my thoughts because they considered me a gun-toting extremist, I'd have a problem with it, as I personally don't really like guns, and even if I did, it wouldn't make my opinions unimportant, but Dr. Who isn't doing that. It's all in good fun. 😀

  40. monkeybutter says:

    Canton Delaware III, number 800 on the Enemies List. I liked the paranoia in Nixon's characterization. Nicely done.

  41. redheadedgirl says:

    First off, I don't think the Doctor and River meet in EXACTLY reverse order. I think the general progression is back-to-front, but if it was truly back-to-front there would be less need for the diaries, and the story she told about the last time she saw in Series Four (he took her to a picnic or something, and was so sad) wouldn't be true. And it was too real not to be true.

    Second: MOFFATTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!

    Third: AHahahha, I told you on tumblr that I had nightmares because of the list of Possible Silence sightings in Series 5. AND NOW YOU CAUGHT THEM AHAHAHAHAHA (I did not go down to the dark basement to get my laundry last night because I was scared. I am a huge wuss. JSYK.)

    • Reddi says:

      agreed about back to front. Why compare diaries if they know they go clearly opposite each other timeline wise? And how does she know Amy and Rory here if they are going backwards in her timeline? She didn't know Rory in TBB.

      • Well, Rory had never existed when he was in TBB, so my guess is River, like Amy, is well enough acquainted with Rory in her timeline that his erasure would have effected her memory too, despite her status as a time traveler?

  42. Reddi says:

    I'm american, i've shot guns, my kids have (almost) all shot guns, and I thought it was hysterical.

  43. psycicflower says:

    ‘A mysterious summons you think I’m just going to go.’ Well yes. Unless you only pay attention to mysterious summons if they’re delivered via psychic paper. I love the various sides of the Doctor we see in this episode. You’ve got the child like side with all the astronaut gear, the trying to act cool with his speech in the president’s chair and being angry and annoyed when he knows that everyone is keeping secrets from him. I don’t think he’s used to his companions keeping things from him, especially when it’s clear it’s something important.
    ‘I'm being extremely clever up here and there's no one to stand around looking impressed. What's the point in having you all?’

    ‘You were my second choice, Mr. Delaware.’ ‘That's okay. You're my second choice for President, Mr. Nixon.’
    MARK SHEPPARD I LOVE YOU! I love Canton. He’s clearly good at what he does if Nixon called on him and I love how he recognises that the Doctor can help and gives him a chance. I also love how everyone’s just going about their business in the TARDIS while Canton is still by the door trying to take in what’s going on and then how utterly unphased he is once he accepts what’s going on. Interesting that he wasn’t kicked out of the FBI because of attitude problems but because he wanted to get married and it was a crime. Gay? Or were there still laws against interracial marriage in 1969?

    ‘Life signs?’ ‘No, nothing that’s showing up.’ ‘Those are the worst kind.’
    I think the Silence are another example of Moffat making normal things scary. We’re always forgetting little things here and there and we never once think of it as anything sinister. They’re endlessly creepy in that we know they’re there and we’ve seen Team TARDIS’s horror when faced with them but they don’t have the faintest idea that they’re in any danger. While Rory and River being confronted with corridors full of Silence is terrifying, I think it’s a great example is when Amy is talking with one in the bathroom in the White House and Joy walks out of the stall. The fact all it takes is for her to turn her back and she doesn’t know anything’s wrong is terrifying. Especially when it keeps happening. Also she says they never fix the lights in that bathroom, is that implying that the Silent is in there on a regular basis?

    Random things I love but didn’t know how to fit in.
    -How many stamps did the Doctor put on those letters?
    -The future Doctor has a diary!
    -The painting!
    -The Doctor sends the most unique postcards through time.
    -‘I thought it would taste more like the gums.’ If only Doctor, if only.
    -Explanation about Time Lord burial/cremation
    -Easter Island and Jim the fish
    -‘You think you can just shoot me?’ ‘They’re Americans!’ ‘Don’t shoot! Definitely no shooting.’ (I’m sorry for laughing Americans)
    -‘Do not compliment the intruder.’
    -‘Oh look this is the oval office. I was looking for the oblong room.’
    -‘Ah back with us Canton.’ ‘I like your wheels.’
    -‘What’s going on here?’ ‘Eh nothing. She’s just a friend.’ ‘I think he’s talking about the possible alien incursion.’ Aw bless, the Doctor’s in the denial phase of having a crush.
    -‘I hate you’ ‘No you don’t’
    -‘Richard Milhouse Nixon. Vietnam, Watergate. Some good stuff, too.’ ‘Not enough.’ ‘Hippie.’ ‘Archaeologist’
    -Okay all of the dialogue between River and the Doctor.


    • vikinhaw says:

      Also she says they never fix the lights in that bathroom, is that implying that the Silent is in there on a regular basis?

      I don't know why but is so funny to me. The Silent uses the ladies bathroom and then just stands there for a while. 'oh don't mind me, move along, nothing to see'

    • MissDirect says:

      You're totally the first to bring up this niggling question that's been bothering me re: CED3 wanting to get married getting him tossed from the FBI. Must know! My personal bet when I first saw the episode was that he's gay, since the supreme court ruled anti-miscegenation laws as unconstitutional in 1967, and therefore it wouldn't be illegal, although he'd probably have run up against some social stigma etc considering this story takes place merely two years later.

  44. kaleidoscoptics says:


    The entire time I watched this episode my mind was pretty much repeating "WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK." Hell of a way to start a season, killing your main character like that. One thing that I cannot comment on enough is just how incredible Matt is at playing the Doctor as someone who has lived for a very, very long time. When he's at the picnic scene and knows he is likely about to die, he has this look on his face that speaks of decades of experience and hardship. Like so many people have said, Matt is magnificent at subtle acting. This is even more apparent in the very next scene, where his companions run into him in the diner right after having seen him die. He's surprised and confused, but trying not to show it because damn this is starting to feel like a trap. It's incredible how much you can see in just his body language and mannerisms.

    Every time we see River Song I love her more. That's really all I can say here. I did have a moment of "Oh god not this again" when she said she (had?) loved him, but it makes sense. Also, how on earth did they manage to get the "I'm a screamer." line into a kids show? xD I laughed so hard I missed the second part of the quote.

    As for everything else: STOP. THEORY TIME.

    – Amy's Pregnancy: I doubt it is a real pregnancy. She was getting nauseated every time she saw the Silents, and most likely it is A) messing with her mind or B) she is confused and assumed "Nausea + Need to tell something Really Important to the Doctor = Pregnant." Otherwise I will be somewhat disappointed with Moff.

    – I don't think that River and the Doctor are really going 1:1 against each others' timelines, or else there wouldn't be much reason to keep the diaries. It's probably more of an average thing. After all, I doubt we'll see "Jim the Fish" or other minor adventures on TV.


    – Most likely we aren't going to 'solve' the Doctor's Death until the season finale because Moffat lives on terror and incorrect fan theories.

  45. TDM says:

    Did you like The Time Warrior, Mark? I'm fond of that episode!

    Not gonna say much about this episode as I think other people will cover it 🙂

  46. monkeybutter says:

    I shouted it along with River. It was hilarious and true to life. 🙂

  47. Stephen_M says:

    You too huh? On reflection I REALLY shouldn't have played the entire single player game on Friday night / Saturday then let my brain relax with a Moffat episode…. not the best plan ever that one. Although now I want to see Eleven get his hands on a portal gun…

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      I'm sure you'll appreciate then that the Silence is still alive….and while you're sleeping they'll be still alive….

  48. BBQ Platypus says:

    "It’s weird to be up-to-date with Doctor Who, since most of the point of the site is to progress through fandoms in utter ignorance, but at the same time, I could not be more excited about the concept. I’m realizing that as we all progress through series six, on the same page for once, I am automatically going to have a community of thousands of people who WANT to discuss the intricate details of the series, who will offer up wildly unlikely but fascinating theories as to What It All Means, and we will all get to express our HEAD SHATTERING SURPRISE at once. And that is beautiful to me."


  49. Kaci says:

    You covered most of my feelings about the episode quite well in your review, so instead I'm just going to put this out there:

    Damned if I don't seem to be the only person on the internet who doesn't find The Silence creepy or scary at all. I really, really loved the episode, don't get me wrong, but everyone else seems to be like OMG INSTANT NIGHTMARES and I'm just like, "…okay? If…you say so…"

    And Moffat's monsters usually scare the crap out of me, so I don't think it's just a general, "Moffat's sense of scar doesn't fit mine," or anything.

    I don't know. I like them, I just don't find them any more creepy than any other Who monster.

    • buriedbooks says:

      I didn't find them scary on first watch, just vaguely creepy and interesting.
      It was only later that night, as I thought about the idea of them, that I actually got close to scared. And kind of worried of turning around.

    • Anon says:

      I don't find them scary either, i think of them as the Oods tentacle less cousins.

    • Shiyiya says:

      Your house could be full of them, right now, and you would have no idea. Watching you. In your bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, all the time, there, and you never know.

  50. thefireandthehearth says:

    Hrmm. Guess my comment had spoilers or was too big/silly to get past moderation. Ah well, I should proof-read my stuff moar better. Here, have a picture.

    <img src=""/&gt;

  51. knut_knut says:

    I laughed! Is there a stereotype in the UK that all Americans own guns (or can at least shoot them)? When I went to Japan I was asked repeatedly (by members of my own family even) not if I owned a gun, but how many guns I owned.

  52. Reddi says:


    Hope that worked.
    I'm not sure Amy is really pregnant. She was having wine without concern a few hours before she told the doctor, and while a few sips of wine is not a problem for most pregs, I thought the scene was odd. And she did not even think to tell the doctor until the Silent stole Joy's voice in order to command Amy to TELL the doctor something. So I believe the pregnancy is something the Silent has implanted in Amy's mind.

    River… I'm going back to a theory I had when watching Silence in the Library (ARRGH! That title! It means something different now!). How does she know his name? Perhaps because he was living for a period of time in her head. I think River might have looked at Donna horrified, because she will experience something simliar (but recover). That is, I think when he was dying, he used her (with her consent) as a human fobwatch, preserving his conciousness in her mind. This implies he's found a way to do so without harming her… but he did that with Donna, too (it involved donna forgetting– perhaps with Astro-River it's temp forgetting). So he's not really dead, he's just 'fobwatched' in River. When he gets his body back (only need one cell? What did the Master have in that ring? A few cells of timelord?), he can leave River and resume his life. And River… she's left with knowledge of his name.

    Okay, there are a few problems with this theory– for one, River has all sorts of time lord knowledge like how to fly a TARDIS so it makes more sense if this happened earlier in her time stream, but she seemed shocked by the doctor dying in this opener. But I'm just about sure he preserved himself either in the astronaut or perhaps in a device similar to the one he captured River's consciousness in SitL.

    end absurd theories

  53. monkeybutter says:

    Unless shyfully has a Nielsen box, I don't think that'll make a difference. I'll probably watch it a second time on BBCA, but for the first watch, I'm gonna use a proxy to watch on iplayer. It was pretty bad.

  54. NB2000 says:

    I spent most of last week playing Portal 2, finished it last night. Aside from release day I tried to limit myself to playing in fairly short (3-4 hour) sessions. After the first day I went to sleep with GLaDOS' voice stuck in my head.

    I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone but, I was struck earlier today how part of the ending is awfull similar to what's going on in this DW episode (that's really vague and even people who've finished won't know what I mean).

    • FlameRaven says:

      I was definitely NEVER PREPARED for that ending. Although the achievement for it is amazingly appropriate. I actually didn't realize the pun between the event and the achievement name until I read TVTropes today. Wow. I'd like to go through again and grab more achievements and just relive the story, but sadly I had to take the rented game back, so I'll have to content myself with actually playing Portal, which I haven't played myself.

  55. Shiyiya says:

    I know what you mean, it felt REALLY brief.

  56. monkeybutter says:

    The worst. I've never watched in real time before, but maybe they delay the new episodes so they can edit in commercial breaks more cleanly. I'm just glad they didn't cut any scenes — maybe that's what they were proudly touting, ha!

  57. Reddi says:

    I was shocked when the credits rolled. I thought I'd seen about twenty minutes of the ep when it ended!

  58. sabra_n says:

    In this particular instance I found it funny. That might be because I'm a dirty liberal, though. 😛

  59. Shiyiya says:

    I'm an American and I loved it 😛

  60. NB2000 says:

    Aaaah, yeah an Arthur/Gwen scene explains why don't remember it. Not fond of how their storyline has been handled and things like that are why.

    • karate0kat says:

      I actually do like them, but holy shit does Merlin like to pile on the cheese. And that was just pathetic.

      I actually appreciated most of that ep, though, because we actually got to see them talk about something other than what a great king he'll be someday or how much it sucks that they can't be together.

  61. Stephen_M says:

    Still makes me chuckle that the entire series is basically a love story, or at the very least a story about those sort of relationships you know you should back away from but can't…

  62. buriedbooks says:

    I'm blaming it on either emotion (unlikely, but hey) or the astronaut having some sort bullet immunity or forcefield or whatever.

  63. redheadedgirl says:

    She said, "…of course not" when her bullets had no effect.


    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      • redheadedgirl says:

        I mean, it *could* be something as simple as "well, of COURSE anything that can kill the Doctor won't be affected by bullets. OF COURSE NOT auuuuugh."


        She knows something. RIVER KNOWS THINGS.

        • Hinn-Raven says:

          She did hit, but it had no effect, and "…of course not" refers to the fact that she has a 6 shot gun, she shoots it 5 times, and the sixth bullet is in the very cool stetson.

        • Reddi says:

          She does know things. And I think she might have already figured out they are now involved in some time loop thing. For some reason she can't shoot the astronaut, and she realizes what it is, because she's guessed at least in part what the doctor has set up. I have not, however, any idea what he set up.

      • jackiep says:

        It's been a standing joke for years in this program that monsters always seem to be immune to bullets. The Brig was always joyous on those rare occasions when bullets actually worked!

  64. Shiyiya says:


    I will be SO SQUEE if we get Sylvester McCoy coming back. Or ACE, ACE IS THE BEST FOREVER.

  65. marstorr says:

    I loved Canton Everett Delaware III because I live in an Everett now, but I'm from Delaware. That's awesome.

  66. NB2000 says:

    Yeah I made the mistake of reading the achievement list before playing so I knew what was coming but it was still AMAZING to actually see for myself. I'm definitely going to try and get the achievements I missed, I managed one this morning but 'm not sure if I'll have time to do any more this week. That's actually part of why I pushed myself to finish last night, I didn't want it hanging over me while trying to study.

    I still haven't actually finished the first game, I've had it for about a year and meant to try and get it done before 2 came out. I didn't manage that.

    • FlameRaven says:

      We read the achievement list as well, so we were able to predict the final boss, but even seeing the picture for the ending achievement didn't spoil me. Although at least they foreshadow it enough so that, while still completely ridiculous, it does make some sort of sense.

      • NB2000 says:

        I have to admit I didn't pick up on a lot of it mostly because I was in "Got to play, got to play, keep going omg" mode the first time through, so reading all of the moments on TvTropes was a serious "Woah" moment. Nice work by Valve on that.

  67. FlameRaven says:

    I laughed. I live in the middle of Indiana and there is seriously a large shop I used to have to drive past to get to the grocery that's just called 'BOB'S GUNS' or something like that. The stereotype, although not applicable to everyone, is at least justified. What other country maintains a clause in their Constitution that they have to keep guns around so they can overthrow the government if they need to? Because that's why we have the 2nd Amendment. I think we deserve a stereotype as being a little gun-happy.

  68. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Loved that line! 😀

    I swear, when I went on holiday to New York with my family, everyone was convinced we'd get shot! We do tend to have a rather a paranoid view of Americans and guns. 😛

  69. @BklynBruzer says:

    He was in the 2007 Transformers movie too, that's where I recognized him from. It's like the Sheppard family all have careers as "Hey, it's that guy!" guys.

    • virtual_monster says:

      And twenty years earlier he was Blank Reg in the series of Max Headroom.

      • Patrick says:

        And he was in an episode of NCIS as the guy who was psychologically torturing Ducky back when he was a doctor in a refugee camp.

  70. Tauriel_ says:

    Regarding the origins of Silence…

    <img src=""&gt;

    Y/Y? 😛

  71. Openattheclose says:

    The Silence are among the creepiest Doctor Who villains we’ve ever seen
    Mark, I don't understand what you mean by this. We still haven't seen the Silence.

  72. I knew Eleven wasn't really permanently gone forever, but I teared up anyway, all because of Amy's reaction. Karen Gillan's haters can please shut up forever now.
    Initially, Amy's extreme reaction puzzled me, but later I realized that of course Amy would take the Doctor's death incredibly hard. She's known him since she was a child, and she worshipped him. He's been such a huge part of her life, even though they'd only spent a few months traveling together. She was appropriately devastated.

  73. carma_bee says:

    I don't know how good I'd be at talking about this episode besides saying that it was really awesome and I loved every bit of dialogue in it, so I'll share some pictures.

    I really liked seeing Amy and Rory's house. I was looking through screencaps last night and I had to look in the background to see what's in their house.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    I like how there's a picture of them in costume, and it's a different one than the one we've seen before, it's cute.

    They also have sunflowers by the window, and a little Roman centurion statue on the shelf, which I thought was nice.

    And I really like Amy's nail polish this episode.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    From the Confidential:

    Matt doing his dancing for the black and white stuff
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    When he was filming the WWII scene. Oh Matt…
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">


    This episode hurt my brain. I've rewatched it once and my friend and I discussed everything and talked about pretty much everything you and I have talked about. We talked about a couple theories that I don't know if we'll ever confirm until the series gets rolling.


    • Really? "everything you and I have talked about"? Cause we totally had a personal conversation about this episode Mark. Oh god, Moffat, what have you done to my brain.

  75. jennywildcat says:

    I know no one else will care about this, but I'm from Utah and I squeed with so much joy at seeing Team TARDIS running around in my neck of the woods. Granted, I'm actually from the western part of the state and they were in the south, but where I'm from is just as desert-y and vast and pretty – maybe not as epic as Monument Valley, but we do have some very cool-looking mountains (here's one pic:… ). Also, when I was on my high school basketball team, we did play a school from San Juan County so when I saw the school bus that Amy and Rory get off when they're in the middle of nowhere, I was grinning like an idiot. I was just so happy to have all these personal connections to my FAVORITE SHOW EVER.

    Okay – done rambling about that. Thank you all for your indulgence. ^_^

    Something I really loved that I haven't seen much about – "River, make her blue again!" I don't know why, but there was something about that line of the Doctor's that I just adore. Maybe it was because it was the first proper appearance of the outside of the TARDIS in this episode (it was in the background when 909!Doctor came out of the diner, but you couldn't see it very well) or it was Matt's delivery of the line – squished up on the floor by Secret Service guys. But it was a brilliant line.

    Honestly, I have ZERO theories about what's coming. Every time I think of something plausible, something else comes in and says "But that can't be right because of this…" So I've just been rewatching "The Impossible Astronaut," sniffling over the Doctor's "death," giggling at "Legs, Nose and Mrs. Robinson" and cursing Steven Moffat's name all over the place for his UNENDING CRUELTY OF MAKING ME SCARED OF EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD!!! (Right now, I keep thinking there's something moving in the corner of my eye, but it's just the shadow of a tree branch moving outside my window). Gurh… I feel a stomachache coming on…

    (Is it Saturday yet?)

  76. Kim says:

    You know what that reminded me of? It reminded me of Goblet of Fire when the mailman knocked on the door to deliver the Weasley's invitation. It had so many stamps on it that he was curious. I mean, I guess I don't know exactly how many stamps you need for a letter in the UK, but there seemed to be more than normal on the invitation to Rory and Amy (and River, too). So maybe their mailman thought it was funny as well.

  77. azurefalls says:

    THEORIES AND SPOILERS ABOUND but no spoilers in the actual comment, don't worry.

    Any of you seen the 'Sightings of the Silence' posts going round? Here's one from me.

    But basically, the long and short of it is this: REWATCH SERIES 5 AND YOU'LL SEE SILENTS/CE EVERY-FUCKING-WHERE. Probably where there's absolutely nothing and we're just making it up, but that's the beauty of it, don't you think?
    Check this out, from Big Bang 2:
    <img src=""&gt;
    Also if it's a crewmember what the fuck are you even doing?

    I yell a lot, sorry :/
    But yeah, theories and spoilers abound on my blog, so Mark, stay awaaaayyyy (not that you would be inclined to read my rambling rubbish).

    You've pretty much said everything I would have said about the episode, so I'll just say this: PRETTIEST EPISODE OF DOCTOR WHO TO DATE, except maybe Eleventh Hour. Basically, series openers RULE ALL. Also, SCARIEST DOCTOR WHO EPISODE SINCE THE EMPTY CHILD. Jegus Moffat I hate you sometimes. NO MORE SLEEPING FOR NICA.

  78. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Man, I just love Mark Sheppard, but it's too distracting now whenever I see him! He's just been in so many things!

    As soon as I saw him I thought: 'Hey, it's that lawyer guy from Battlestar Galactica!' And I remember when I saw that for the first time I thought: 'Hey, it's that pyromaniac guy from The X Files!'
    …and so on, and so forth.

    I swear, the older I get, the more actors I keep recognising in stuff! Is there just a general shortage? Or am I watching too many shows?!?!

    • mkjcaylor says:

      I saw Badger– I mean Mark Sheppard first in Firefly. And I love love love his accent. So I could not get over his American accent, and I felt it was a complete crime to wave his face all around and tell me he was in it but then take away his lovely voice.

  79. One of the reasons I got into Doctor Who back in '08 had to do simply with space travel. I love space. I love Astronomy and planets and black holes and nebulae. You get the drift. It is fascinating to me to learn about the universe and how expansive it really is. As a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut and travel to the great beyond. Imagine my mortification when Congress announced that they were terminating the Space Shuttle program effective this summer. I was devastated. No more trips to space??? How about landing on the moon again or expanding the ISS or even reaching Mars? I knew that this would set back space exploration decades.

    I don't know if this is Moffat's way of calling out attention to this great error. Not only is the season premiere set in America but we travel to Florida, they talk about NASA and the Kennedy Space Center, it's the 1960's the prime in American space exploration. He could've picked anywhere but the focus is on America's fascination with space and the obstacles they tore down to get there. Thank you Mr. Moffat for this. I take as an ode of remembrance to the fascination this country once had on reaching past the stars.

    Having said that, epic lines are epic:

    Doctor: "River, TURN HER BLUE AGAIN!!!"

    River: "Bless."

    Conrad: "I like your wheels."


    I know a lot of people keep mentioning that there are references to the Silent (Silents? /Silence? YO QUE SE?!) in Silence in the Lib and the Lodger but the first thing I thought about when River was talking about tunnels and those gooey green things sprouting out of it, was The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood. What if they're are some mutated version of the Silurians?? That stretcher bed (for lack of a better word for it) looked so similar to the one Amy and the boy's father were lying in. Or maybe, they're another race who came to conquered the Silurians and are now coming to conquer the Humans?

  80. xpanasonicyouthx says:


    great another image to terrify me with.

  81. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    I need this. I need it.

  82. Shiyiya says:

    I love Amy too, but I have bits that I go eh on (misogynocostuming, the fact that if she was poly she'd make sense but as it is she's just kind of really a dick to Rory, the part where she kind of sexually assaulted the Doctor). Ace is just EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL AND NOTHING HURTS. This is probably pretty much down to writers and the fact that Moffat appears to be a douche.

    • ladililn says:

      Wasn't the short skirts Karen's choice for the character? How would that be, as you say, "misogynocostuming"?

      • Shiyiya says:

        Because Moffat has explicitly said that Amy's sexy outfits are intended to "bring in the dads"?

  83. This is the first time I've ever been able to watch Doctor Who in (almost) real time thanks to iTunes season pass, which is BEYOND EXCITING for me. I actually felt a little disappointed in the opening of the episode because I was like, "What? What's happening? They're not with him? Who's the painter lady? WHAT IS HAPPENING ARE YOU TRYING TO PISS ME OFF." But then we got to America and that GORGEOUS scenery and that OMG scene by the lake.

    I think that scene for me could pretty much be summarized by the word, "… Buh?!?!"

    The camera shots were amazing, the dialogue was snappy and awesome (particularly the Doctor/River exchanges), and it just thrills me to see Doctor Who in America. And then there's The Silence and the endless horror and the confusion and the sadness and the WTFWTFWTF.

    So excited for this season.

  84. Karental says:

    I was incredibly disappointed. If I wanted to watch a mystery, or "Lost" or "Twin Peaks" I would watch them. I want the Doctor…and his companion having adventures. Moffat is turning 50 years of Doctor Who into something unrecognizeable. I will keep watching, and see if he redeems himself, but I've been a Doctor fan since 1977 and S.M. is losing me.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      What is it exactly that's disappointing you? I'd be interested to know,if you could elaborate a little?


  85. sarasingsout says:

    I loved it, and I'm from one of the areas where people are… especially enthusiastic about the right to bear arms. Yeah, that's probably a good way to put that. Of course, I'm also a raving liberal, so my opinions should not be viewed as representative.

  86. sarasingsout says:

    The wait for iTunes isn't too terrible. They had Impossible Astronaut available by Sunday morning here on the East Coast.

  87. Shiyiya says:

    You wouldn't be upset by them being there if they didn't hurt you? Watching you all the time isn't enough?

    (I feel like I should be making some sort of 1984 reference here.)

  88. Shiyiya says:

    To go to sleep Saturday night, I had to decide that Vashta Nerada happen everywhere, and Silents are everywhere here, so the Vashta Nerada eat the Silents and therefore there are no Silents in my house AND the Vashta Nerada are full and thus won't eat me. I LIKE MY LOGIC OKAY.


  89. Reddi says:

    Canton is awesomeness. When Rory and Canton are on the screen at the same time, it's an explosion of awesome.

  90. Anonymous says:

    This episode = mindfuck.

    Seriously, I was going WTF throughout the whole episode and ugh! Steven Moffat, you kill me.

    The thing that stood out to me in this episode is how much better they have gotten at producing the sets and costumes. I'm really glad they went to America because it was beautiful. And about the costumes, think about the Slitheen from the first episode who were green and farted all the time (I cannot stand the Slitheen in case you couldn't tell). Then (if you can remember) think of the Silence. With their horrible eyes and no mouth and big hands and they are in suits! Basically while I was watching the Slitheen, I was thinking, "Eh." But watching The Silence I was thinking, "Holy God, what is that?!? Kill it. Kill iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!"

    Also, it took me until the time we saw them in the tunnels to wonder why they are wearing suits (I was a little distracted by THAT FACE) but I realized even aliens can want to look cool. To the Doctor, bow ties are cool, and the Silence, looking dapper is cool. Also, I was talking another Doctor Who lover about this and think about The Silence strolling around Costco for suits (it seems like they got to get them in bulk).

  91. Kaybee42 says:

    well they kind of have? Ten said to wilf "I can die. If I'm killed before I can regenerate then I'm dead", didn't he?

  92. Fusionman29 says:

    Here's something that shocked me when I first heard.

    Moffat has a son. And before the scripts are filmed he has his son read the scripts. How old is this son you may ask?


    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      Is this the same son who suggested the title for "Flesh and Stone?"

    • psycicflower says:

      I can't decide if that makes him an amazing dad (can you imagine getting to read Doctor Who scripts before everyone else) or a terrible person for probably traumatising a young child for life.

      • Radagast says:

        At least he gets the scary stuff in a simpler context – words on a page, not a completed episode.

        Of course, given the imagination inherent in a 7-year-old mind, that may not be much help.

    • virtual_monster says:

      That sounds like a smart move to me.

      Given that the majority of the UK's seven-yearolds will be watching the episode and, it being a family show, they're part of the (admittedly wide-ranging) audience, road-testing it on his son makes a lot of sense.

      Although it must be interesting when the script includes things like the crack from his bedroom wall.

  93. Reddi says:

    agreed. it wasn't Adams!

  94. carma_bee says:

    I think that the Silent are making her think she's pregnant.

    I like that idea. It seems more interesting to me than her actually being pregnant.

  95. Anonymous says:

    I forgot to mention this earlier, but I noticed that the people in Silence in the Library were wearing space suits….hmmmmm.

    Oh and that space ship was totally in the Lodger. I felt really clever for a second because I thought it was going to tie in and that the little girl would be the emergency program on the spaceship trying to lure people to it. But um nope… she was an astronaut instead.

  96. avpmlessthan3 says:


    This is basically what I posted the other day on the liveblog, but I decided to post it again over here under theories.

    Let's all revisit one of my favorite episodes, shall we? Here's a little snippet from "Blink."

    <img src=""&gt;

    1969, did Tennant say? The year of the moon landing, WHICH HE ATTENDED.

    <img src=""&gt;

    Yes, yes, this is all good. But David Tennant is gone, it's the Matt Smith show now, what does Ten have to do with– OH SNAP LOOK AT THAT SERIES SIX TRAILER WHAT IS THAT??

    <img src=""&gt;


    Theory: Ten is going to come save the day. That, or be the person inside the space suit. I WOULDN'T PUT IT PAST MOFFAT TO MAKE THE DOCTOR KILL HIMSELF. That's how 11 knew who was in the suit in the beginning, BECAUSE HE ALREADY KILLED HIMSELF AS TEN. GENIUS, OR GENIUS?

    Now I'm off to try to remember whatever it was I forgot.

    <img src=""&gt;

  97. fakehepburn says:

    I'm just putting this out there:
    I watched this episode on Saturday.
    On Sunday morning, I did not feel good.
    I did not feel good on Sunday night.
    Today I still do not feel good.

    Some kind of internal balance has been upset by the content of this episode, and I dearly need some resolution if I am going to correct it.


  98. Sunshowers says:


    Well, uh, I only have one theory, really.

    Could The Silence actually be good guys? Of course, I'm basing this on absolutely nothing apart from the fact that my kneejerk reaction to them was the same as my first WHAARGAARBL response to The Ood, and they turned out quite nice! Could "Silence will fall" be a warning rather than a threat??

    Aaaaaaaaahh I love being at this point in the series where we all have no idea wtf is going on BUT IT IS OKAY BECAUSE WE ARE ALL TOGETHER IN OUR IGNORANCE :'D

    • Kaybee42 says:

      I was also totally wondering if they were trying to help the doctor, but had totally messed up morals or something! And then I thought they were like the aliens from Children of Earth, with the whole joy thing, so that's how shit I am at predicting….

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Ok, your 'WHAARGAARBL' just made me choke on my water from laughing! 😀
      I swear, that's exactly the noise I made when we first saw the Silence.

    • Radagast says:

      Joy's death aside, there's nothing to indicate they're malicious. And if they need to kill a sentient being in order to speak (they are called 'Silent'), then maybe they see that as a necessary sacrifice.


      • Sunshowers says:

        Exactly! And was what happened to her even an actual "death?" I mean … yeah, explodey electric cloth-flying-everywhere effects aside … maybe she was just removed somehow? And what if it wasn't even the lady the Silent was talking about when it said "Her name was Joy?" WHAT IF IT WAS THE KID IN THE SPACESUIT HE WAS TRYING TO TELL HER ABOUT.

        Man, IDEK, this is the most insane intriguing plot ever and I love it.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      I had actually thinking the same thing; after all, Prisoner Zero taunted that "Silence Will Fall", and if the Silent were evil, falling would be a good thing. But after they killed Joy, I became more doubtful.

    • Chris_RC says:

      I just posted a similar thought on page 6. Hadn't made it through this far in the comments yet. Guess I wasn't alone in wondering that.

Comments are closed.