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The Impossible Astronaut

Spoliers sweetie…
It has aired in the UK/USA/Canada but net yet in Australia…
They’ll have to wait until after The Wedding.


Numbers: About 6.5m watched it “live” in the UK, which is the lowest for a series opener of “The New Who” but the weather was lovely here and it won it’s slot and it followed on from a game show of utter moronicity called, “Don’t Scare the Hare”. It will be very interesting to see what the numbers are in total and really interesting to see what they are for next week. Really interesting.

I’m a Whovian of course so I don’t really know what a casual viewer would have made of it. Don’t get me wrong – I liked the pace and I liked that Moffat hit the ground running but… The show needs new viewers or the BBC will wield the axe.

I read the review and comments in The Guardian. Much of what follows riffs from those comments but forgive me if I fail to trawl through the thread and acknowledge them individually…

So who is the astronaut that shoots the Doctor? Is it the little girl? It doesn’t have to be of course (Amy appear to kill it, River previously can’t). The neat answer is that River is the astronaut who is also the little girl. River states she was a little girl when she first met The Doctor. Someone suggested that and also that River is Amy’s daughter (Amy stated she was pregnant). She felt stomach pains (morning sickness? or something else?), but so did River which lead to a flight of fantasy that Amy is carrying River and River is carrying Amy… Which is a bit silly.

Evidence for: the bad guys here are The Silence and River first appears in “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead” – also a Moffat. Sydney Wade, the actress who plays the astronaut little girl, played the role of Alex Kingston’s daughter in ITV’s Marchlands. Her character’s name? Amy. Hmm…

Evidence against: River in the space-suit – looks like a chain yank by Moffat. Note in “Silence in the Library” River first appears in a space suit.

Furthermore, are Amy and/or River pregnant? Amy blurts that out to The Doctor as something important she’d meant to tell him… Now I thought she’d remembered the Silence in the Restroom (sounds like a title for when Moffat gets his funding cut… – “Yes, Pond, we are in a toilet but do you notice anything interesting about it…”) before she blurted that out. OK, rather than go down the garden of forking paths let’s assume neither Amy nor River are pregnant but The Silence have in their awesome arsenal the capacity to cause menstrual cramps (another idea for a budget-cut series there Steve my old china!). More likely Amy is pregnant (The Doctor notes she’s “put on a couple of pounds”) with Rory’s child and the TARDIS crèche will need a lick of paint. This must have happened to you… You feel the need to say something really important and immediately pertinent to the currently stressful situation and it slips and you reveal some other truth instead. Either because of her ‘phone picture (which will matter*) or because of something innate in Amy (something in her eye perhaps) Amy has the ability to semi-recall The Silence – enough to know there is something but not what. I like the later because it sort of explains the “miracle” which was the resurrection of Rory. Maybe Amy’s crack goes both ways? There will be no sniggering at the back!

Sundry other points…

One Guardian comment riffing on the more outlandish pregnancy ideas suggested that Amy will give birth to a red-haired companion from the past – Bonnie Langford. Oh, all vileness!

Doesn’t Canton Everett Delaware sound a bit like a three way intersection too?

Then there is the series structure – 7+6 and not a straight 13. In my end is my beginning. Two cliffhangers. This two part starter is the end of one – at least.

*Or not. It depends on when the wave-function collapses and whether a photographic device is an observer. Trust me physicists can argue that one ’till the cows either come home – or don’t.

8 Comments

  1. SteveThePigeon says:

    Presumably the baby isn’t Rory’s as his is a plastic roman mannequin, maybe the doctor’s baby?

  2. NickM says:

    No, Steve. Nice try but no cigar. It’s stated quite explicitly at the end or series 5 that Rory is fully human again. Note I said “miracle” – that’s quoting The Doctor.

  3. Simon Jester says:

    Nick,

    I think you must have popped out of the room at some point, because Amy explicitly tells the Doctor that she is pregnant, fairly near the end of the episode.

    Interesting to see Mark “Badger” Sheppard playing CED – I hadn’t realised it was him until watching Dr Who Confidential.

    Any guesses how they’re going to get around killing off the Doctor – eg. branching time streams? Or are they really going to kill off Dr Who permanently, after Matt Smith?

  4. NickM says:

    I said,
    “Furthermore, are Amy and/or River pregnant? Amy blurts that out to The Doctor as something important she’d meant to tell him…”

    I know she said it but it doesn’t make it true. It seemed odd to me that River had the same stomach pains. OK, so they could both be pregnant but that would be silly – the Doctor would have to turn the TARDIS into a sort of daycare centre. Fortunately it is bigger on the inside…

    Er… no. Ratings are the only thing that could kill Dr Who permanently. Anyhoo my understanding is that As to what rabbits Moffat has in his hat I dunno but the key point here is that the Dr Who is killed is 200 years older than the other one. That has got to be important. My best guess is that the explanation will not be satisfying. Moffat doesn’t like killing leads. He didn’t even properly entirely kill River did he? So basically it is in no sense a real death despite what Moffat might have said and he is a bullshit merchant par excellence. Anyway, I suspect the first tranche of the series (after “The Day of the Moon”) will be set before this.

    I knew it was the Dr for the chop. Had to be. He’d already “killed” River, he couldn’t realistically kill Rory again and if it was Amy then… What would you do with Rory?

  5. NickM says:

    PS. The old CED was played by Mark Sheppard’s dad.

  6. Lynne says:

    I suspect the reason for the low viewing numbers is for the same reason I switched off half way through last year. The series was dire. However, I did tune in on Saturday and rather enjoyed what ensued so I’m back to watching again in the hope that the improvement will continue. Having not seen the last half of last year’s series I’m afraid I’m unable to speculate about the astronaut. Besides, I prefer to wait to see for myself.

  7. RAB says:

    Watched it twice now, once at my mum’s with her wittering “Why can’t we watch the Snooker, instead of this rubbish” (what is it with little old ladies and Snooker?) and once on iPlayer, and can’t make head or tail of it.

    Quite enjoying it though. But isn’t Dr Who supposed to be a Kids programme? How the hell are kids supposed to get their heads round this level of layered nuance and plot convolution?

  8. Paul Marks says:

    RAB – my aunt (92 Friday after next) is also a snooker television watcher.

    So you have a point.

    As for Doctor Who – missed the episode, will miss them all.

    Saturday is a work day – and the park is active late into the evening this time of year.

    So Nick will have to tell me all about it.

    I would talk to my friends in Ulster (they are Doctor Who fans) – but they have rather more unpleasant things on their minds right now.

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