Thoughts on Doctor Who “The Impossible Astronaut”

Rather than doing what I used to do – vague and somewhat crappy spoiler free reviews, I think I will instead focus on my reactions to the episodes as I watch them.

Spoilers ahoy!

Well, let’s face it…Steven Moffat is messing with us now. Last night was the premier episode of season 6 of Doctor Who with “The Impossible Astronaut.” As one can imagine Moffat has continued to shake the shackles of the overdone and frankly tired “repeated meme as theme for season” motif as seen in the previous seasons (e.g. “Bad Wolf”, “Torchwood” etc), and Instead we have been treated to a new idea in which we see something horrendously shocking (i.e. the apparent death of The Doctor) and it’s hopeful resolution. Last season a few folks complained that the show wasn’t wrapped up in a nice little bow at the end, there were still questions left to be answered.  It seems that this season we may get some answers, but we are already getting plenty of more questions along the way.

The first quarter of the episode is a real “WTF moment” as we are treated to the aforementioned “Death of the Doctor”. Amy, Rory, River and a man named Canton all end up with blue envelopes detailing exact coordinates to meet in the American Southwest.  We meet a slightly older, and somewhat “shaken” Doctor, who keeps talking about how he has “run for far too long”.  It can be assumed that The Doctor sent the notes himself as he wanted these people to witness what was to unfold.  Amidst all of the “catching up” and cheerful laughter, an Apollo astronaut or a reasonable facsimile (we still don’t know what it is) rises out of the water and shoots The Doctor with some sort of energy weapon triggering a regeneration, right as we can assume that Moffat is going to tease the twelfth Doctor, another shot rings out dropping him stone dead.

This brings up all sorts of questions like:

Who shot The Doctor?

Who sent the letters, are we sure it was The Doctor?

Why did he only send four letters, wouldn’t The Doctor want more folks to see what happens?

How will this inevitably be resolved?

As you can tell this isn’t the typical beginning of the series “fun romp” that many are accustomed to, instead we have a VERY dark and mature episode full of character development.  In the past year a lot of “trollish” people complained incessantly that Amy and Rory didn’t add to the show and were “just sort of there”, this seems to be exactly what these folks wanted as we are treated to a TON more characterization than what we are used to.  This is especially relevant with River Song, as we are really starting to get clues as to her true relation to The Doctor.  Here’s hoping that we find that out either this or next season!

I believe we are already witnessing this season’s “big bad” a.k.a. the one responsible for the cracks last season and the reason we heard the voice echoing “THE SILENCE WILL FALL” during the climax of last season.  The episode’s principle villains (which we find out are called “the silence” according to the website) have the creepy ability to make one forgot their very existence once they are not being directly observed.  We see this in action many times as Amy, and later River, see the large Tuxedo clad “leader” of the silence and forgot about it each time they turn their head.  This makes for a creature nearly as unsettling as the weeping angels, and would make a great one-off villain, but one thing sticks out that paints these guys as far more important as one initially notices.

When River and Rory stumble into what I can only assume is their lair, they end up walking into a very familiar Tardis-esque ship.  This contraption was revealed in last season’s “The Lodger” an episode where we never actually found out who was behind the whole ordeal.  It was basically assumed that a rogue Tardis-like machine showed up, lost its pilot and was killing people whilst trying to find a new master of the ship.  What we never found out was the person or thing behind the fake Tardis, and what it’s purpose was.  I have a feeling that we are about to find out.

I’ll hold off on any theories and such until we see part two of this opening two-parter, but if this episode was any indication of what is to come, I’m all on board for season six!