Just a quickie: I know it’s been a while and I no I didn’t post a review at Christmas. It will be on later this week before I review part 2 of this weeks episode. That being said…ALLONS-Y!!!
Amy and Rory Pond along with River Song are summoned to America by The Doctor. After a sunny picnic, the three watch in horror as The Doctor is slain by a mysterious figure in an astronaut suit. Moments later, a younger version of The Doctor appears before them unaware that they just witnessed his demise. Pulling together pieces from their mysterious summons, the time traveling quartet travels to Washington D.C. for a meeting with President Nixon and ex-FBI agent Canton Delaware. The only thing worse than the mission they are about to embark on is the horrific image of The Doctor’s death burned into Amy’s memory…and the mysterious and fearsome suit clad UFO’s stalking their every move.
It’s back baby, it’s back. And what can I say about this first episode of Series 6…well only one three lettered acronym…WTF??????!!!!!
This episode grabbed you from the get go with the reunion of The Doctor, Amy, Rory and River followed by The Doctor getting killed during regeneration thus making him DEAD dead. Then The Doctor showed up just fine, stunning everyone and earning a smack from River. The first fifteen minutes were a lot to take in at once and I’m still trying to piece it all together right now.
Initial shock and bewilderment aside, this was a great episode and a great start to Series 6. Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Davrill and Alex Kingston stepped back into their roles as if no time has passed. Each actor and actress has returned with the same fire and feeling of fun that made The Doctor, Amy, Rory and River characters to love to begin with. Matt Smith in particular continues to prove that his astounding performance in Series Five was not a fluke. He continues to impress as The Doctor, once again pulling future and past dualities with the wise old man who accepts his own demise and the highly energetic kid who flies into danger despite the obvious warnings in front of him and around him. And plus, even though I heard it in the trailer at the end of “A Christmas Carol” the line The Doctor says while sitting in the President’s chair, guns pointed at him, still makes me chuckle: “I'm going to need a SWAT team ready to mobilise, a street map covering all of Florida, a pot of coffee, twelve Jammy Dodgers and a fez.”
A particular standout in this episode was in the guest star department. You may recognize Mark Sheppard, who played Canton, from other scifi genre shows like Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. He has always been a dependable guy and Mark continues to show such evidence here in this episode as the ex-Bureau agent who has an open mind but has a smart aleck wit that makes him so cool. He is one of the few guest stars I’ve seen who has quickly caught onto how the TARDIS works and completely accepting it, at least for now.
The Aliens featured here are being called members of The Silence, the force that blew up the TARDIS and formed the cracks in the universe in Series 5. If these guys really are members of The Silence (is it a race or a conglomerate, I’m still not sure) then boy has The Doctor gone up against the wrong guys. From mind wiping to blowing a woman away Doctor Manhattan Watchmen style, these guys are vicious. It will be all the more intriguing to find out what their endgame is for Earth and The Doctor. And what is up with a child, the little girl calling Richard Nixon, trapped in an astronaut suit that will vaporize The Doctor at some point in the future? I know I’ve said it before and I know I will say it again but even though The Doctor has survived the end of the world, the end of time AND the end of the universe, how the hell is he going to get out of this one.
The Impossible Astronaut was an example of how to present a good setup for something bigger. Steven Moffat has delivered an episode that retains the charm and fun of Doctor Who we’ve come to love since his takeover as Head Writer. But he has also given us plenty of questions to mule over until the following week when we get answers (maybe) to all the questions running through our heads. The death of The Doctor; The Silence; River’s identity; the child in the astronaut suit; this is a lot to deal with all at once. And I think that Steven Moffat and Matt Smith are more than up to the task of delivering in full. It’s just a bummer to realize after watching an episode this good that the series is going to be split into two halves a la Burn Notice. That two-three month wait for more episodes come June is going to be torture.
Next Week: On the run from the FBI and Secret Service, companions covered in black marks, The Doctor with a beard, The Silence, the conclusion? Series Six is just getting started.