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Feigning normality since 1973

Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon

Filed in: Doctor Who.

Before I begin, and on a related note, Paul Scoones sent me some updates a while back for Another Time and Space, which are now online.

So, "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon" is the two-parter opening series 6, and they screened on Prime here in the last couple of weeks. Steven Moffat appears to have decided to do away with the Russell T. Davies series plan, and is now doing his own thing, which is good. However as a season opening, I thought the story lacked something. It seemed to spend half its time busily setting things up for later in the series, so the story had less time to develop its own plot. The first ten minutes of "The Impossible Astronaut" are taken up with a diversion which fails to be resolved by the rest of the story, and in the end we're left with far more questions than answers.

But I guess that's how we get hooked. Spoilers beyond the cut.

A Silent zaps Joy

Did you know lightning doesn't show up in mirrors? It's true!

The Doctor calls Amy, Rory and River to the middle of a remote region of America so they can witness his death, so he can send them and his younger self on a mission to 1969. It's unclear what relationship the mission has to his death, other than that Amy sees a Silent standing around (if they're kicked off the planet in 1969, why is one still around? Has it been hiding?) and the fact that the Doctor's killed by an astronaut, and there's one in '69.

In '69, they visit the White House, where the Doctor puts together information to track down President Nixon's mysterious caller to Florida. Also Amy encounters a Silent in a rest room, and realises that you forget about them when you stop looking at them. They head to Florida in the TARDIS along with Canton Everett Delaware III, an ex-FBI agent. In Florida, they find an abandoned warehouse with alien tech, Silents in the basement, and a young girl in a space suit. Also Amy is pregnant. And she shoots the girl, assuming her to be the astronaut who killed the Doctor in 2011.

We then skip forward three months - the Doctor's in the care of the US government, while Amy, Rory and River have been roaming the country making marks on their skin whenever they see a Silent. They have a lot of marks. With Canton's help, they meet up, and the Doctor's fortunately had time to think of a plan. He pops over to Florida and does something to the Apollo capsule so it will play a transmission when Neil Armstrong sets foot on the moon. It's entirely unclear what he was planning to play, because they don't get hold of a Silent until much later.

Meanwhile Canton and Amy visit an orphanage, in which it turns out the Silents have been taking care of the little girl. Amy sees a woman with an eye-patch who disappears almost immediately and has no relevance to the plot, and also finds a picture of herself holding a baby, and then gets captured by the Silents. Canton, however, manages to shoot a Silent, and they use Amy's phone to record it talking. That message gets inserted into the Apollo transmission somehow, so the Silents are now in deadly danger from all humanity! Also they rescue Amy and River shoots a bunch of Silents.

And so the Doctor drops River back off at prison, and Amy says she's not pregnant after all, while the TARDIS scanner says she is or isn't, maybe. Meanwhile, the little girl regenerates.

If you could follow all that on first watching, you're a better person than I. I've watched the episodes a few times each and I'm still picking up details. An enjoyable start to the series, but with it raising so many questions, it feels less like a self-contained story and more like a massive setup for things to come.

Posted May 29, 2011 11:18 AM

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