Spoiler alert: While we will discuss what happened in last Saturdayâ€™s episode, weâ€™ll avoid talking about any future plot details.
Despite giving us a good-old fashioned cliff hanger at the end of “The Impossible Astronaut” â€” Amy taking a shot at the little girl in the big astronaut suite â€” the follow-up episode does not pick up directly where it left off. Instead, we jump several months ahead with Amy, Rory, and River on the lam while the Doctor has been imprisoned â€” in Area 51, naturally â€” and then jump back and forth with flash back to fill in the pieces. The team’s new “ally,” secret agent Canton â€” ably played by Battlestar Galactica actor Mark Sheppard â€” is hunting them down across the US. Their mission is to see how extensive is the infestation of the Silence. The answer: they are everywhere and have been her for millennia.
So, how do you defeat an enemy who is everywhere but you can’t remember as soon as you look away? (First Steven Moffat gave us the Weeping Angels who turn to stone when you are looking at them; now Moffat gives us the Silence who, essentially, cease to exist as soon as you look away. It seems as if Moffat has been reading a lot of the french philosopher Michel Foucault, who also had a thing about the power of the gaze.) According to the Doctor “We’re not fighting an alien invasion, we’re leading a revolution.” The Doctor’s solution turns out to be ingenious and direct: feed all of humanity a subliminal message to rise up against their oppressors, played at a moment that almost all of humanity will be watching: Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon.
River: Apollo 11’s your secret weapon?
Doctor: No, no, it’s not Apollo 11. That would be silly. It’s Neil Armstrong’s foot.
But that all happens later in the episode. After rescuing the Doctor from a cell made of Zero Balanced Dwarf Star alloy (that’s right up there with “reversing the polarity of the neutron flow!”), the team has to split up again to track down leads while the Doctor goes on a secret mission to “NASA” (i.e. Cape Canaveral) to place something in Apollo 11 capsule that will allow them to broadcast their alien subversion message.
Oh, and Amy’s not pregnant. Or, well maybe she is. Or she’s not. We can’t be too sure, but that’s what happens with the timey wimey wibbly wobblyâ€¦ stuff. This entire episode is told in flash-forwards, flashbacks, and I think there are even a few flash-sideways.
â€¦which is I think how Amy and Canton arrive at Graystalk Hall Orphanage, looking for the small girl in the space suite. The caretaker for this orphanage, a Mr. Refrew, is obviously unhinged, and the entire house is filled with graffiti, saying things like “Get Out,” andâ€¦ OK, this whole part of the episode is incredibly X-Files â€” with Amy looking particularly Scully-eque â€” and loads of seeming non-sequiturs like an unknown woman with an artificial eye at a door saying “No I think she’s just dreaming.”
This is one episode you will have to watch a few times through to make complete sense of.
Unlike most Doctor Who episodes, this story does not tie together very neatly at the end. Although it looks as if the Silence has been defeated, it’s clear that there is a lot more to this story. The end of this episode leaves us with seemingly more questions than it actually answered:
- How and why were The Silence manipulating events last season?
- Why does The Silence need the girl?
- Why is the girl in the space suite and how does she get out?
- Why does The Silence need a space suite?
- Did the person in the space suit (we’ll assume it’s the girl) really kill the Doctor?
- According to the life support software, the girl is human, but incredibly strong. But she’s regenerating at the end of the episode, so she must be a Time Lord, right?
- Is Amy pregnant? If so, is the little girl her child? If so, The Doctor her father? If not, is Rory? If he is, does that mean that Rory is not an Auton? Earth girls may be easy but I don’t think a lump of plastic could get one pregnant.
- If the girl is a Time Lord, which one is she? The Doctor’s daughter with Amy? The Doctor’s female clone from the episode “The Doctor’s Daughter”? Could it even be Romanadvoratrelundar, last seen stranded in eSpace? I can hope, can’t I?
Obviously “To Be Continued.”
Great lines from this episode:
Amy: Is this very important flirting, because I feel I should be higher on the list right now.
River: What are you doing?!?
River: You have a screwdriver. Go Build a cabinet!
Doctor: That’s really rude!
Rory: So, what kind of doctor are you?
River: Archeologyâ€¦ love a tomb.
Doctor: You could let me fly itâ€¦
River: â€¦or we could go where we’re supposed to.
Next time: Pirates and Mermaids!