WARNING - THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR "THE IMPOSSIBLE ASTRONAUT!" PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
DUDE - I EVEN TOOK NOTES SO I COULD DO A DECENT WRITE-UP! AND - THE THING -WITH THE OTHER ONE - AND THE DOCTOR - AND Amy - and Rory... River and... big scary... and... and...
*breathe deeply... it's okay... breathe...*
I am still very much in that shocked-crazy-can't-string-two-words-together mode. But I'm going to do this right now. Maybe coherency will return as I type.
Long story short: File this one under "Mind Sufficiently Blown." This is certainly not the light-and-fluffy season opener of years gone by, that's for sure.
The opening was so unnerving. First, we've got Amy and Rory at home being all cute and domestic - not in the TARDIS at all - while the Doctor's off doing all those goofy things that he's talked about before, but we've never actually seen. River is in prison (still? Well... I guess that makes sense) and they all get those TARDIS Blue (ha - it's canon!) envelopes. We're going along, Amy and Rory get picked up by a San Juan School District bus (I think we played them in basketball once), the Doctor has a Stetson, said Stetson gets shot off by River (yes, I'm finally on first-name terms with the woman. Congratulate me), reminiscing in a diner, out for nice picnic by the lake. The Doctor admits to breaking 1000 years (Eleven hundred and... something I don't remember), he and River are old pals and Rory gets up to speed with the rest of the world.
Right about here I start to think "This is all well and good, but when does everything go batcrap-insane?"
Never again shall I utter those words at "Doctor Who." Well - at least not at a Steven Moffat-penned episode.
I knew the Astronaut was in this somewhere (obviously), but I screamed when it shot the Doctor. I had no idea - no clue whatsoever - and the regeneration... oh well, we've had regeneration fake-outs before - um, no... wait - HE GOT SHOT AGAIN??
At that point everything got a little fuzzy and I'm going to have to rewatch this episode (oh please - I'll probably have seen it five times by next week). How in the world do you have an episode of "Doctor Who" where the Doctor dies-for-dead in the first ten minutes? For a little bit, I honestly bought the fact that we were going to have to start calling the show "River Song" or something like that from now on. Until the Doctor (younger by 200 years) walks out of the door in the diner and everything is okay again (well, okay enough, anyway).
It was an odd feeling hearing River tell the Doctor "Spoilers" and I actually know what she's talking about. I'm not sure I like it. I did like the part in the TARDIS where the Doctor refuses to trust River, but instead trusts Amy. The "fish fingers and custard" line was a nice touch as well.
So... off to the White House. That was a pretty decent Nixon, not gonna lie (though, I'm not sure how historically accurate some of those facts about his presidency are. I'll have to check some of that out later). The scene in the White House bathroom where Amy sees - and unsees - the Silence (is that the Silence? I will say it is until I'm told otherwise) was really freaky, but so brilliantly done. I don't know what else to say about it other than I really liked it.
Okay - the Silence. I'm positive that this is by design (STEVEN MOFFAT, HOW DO YOU LIVE INSIDE YOUR OWN HEAD??) - but I am so frustrated that nobody can remember them when they look away!! I nearly threw my notebook at the TV when Rory turned back into that console room and forgot about them
It's also weird that Rory was the one to go after River in those underground tunnels... but I understood why when they walked into the not-TARDIS console room from "The Lodger" - the Doctor would definitely have recognized it and Amy... well, she might have recognized it, but who knows? But she had to hang back with the Doctor to tell him that ALL IMPORTANT NEWS that she's pregnant (I actually wondered if she was back when she said she felt sick at the White House - but then River Song said the same thing when she'd been looking at the Silence creatures, so I waved it off as a side-effect of facing the Silence).
A word on this: I hate it - hear me? HATE IT - when a significant character in any TV show announces she is pregnant. More often than not, it's a gimmick to get ratings. However, the way that it was revealed here - and just knowing how the Moff works his stories - this will actually be an important plot element for Series 6. Just from the juxtaposition of Amy telling the Doctor and the appearance of the little girl in the spacesuit - I wonder if the two are connected? (I have no idea how they would be, though - just random speculation on my part).
A Few Things I Just Plain Liked/Noticed:
- It's cute that it's the Doctor sending coded messages to River Song now. Sad that he "died."
- There were two "Doctor who?" gags in this episode. To be fair, they also made fun of "Star Trek" twice.
- What wibbly-wobbly? We're suddenly back time paradoxes. Great time for that to happen (/sarcasm)
- The moment I thought "I want to see River Song meeting the Doctor for the first time," River goes into that schpiel about the first time she met the Doctor. And I feel incredibly sad (I did watch "Silence in the Library" again a few days ago).
- Wild Mass Guessing - Neil Gaiman's episode - you know, the one where there's "An old friend with a new face" - could be where the Doctor meets a younger River Song. Maybe they had to cast a different actress to play River's younger self so that's why Alex Kingston isn't in it? I just feel like this season's plot will be a lot tighter than in the past. I don't imagine they'll have too many one-off stories this year. Though if I'm wrong, I'll be the first to admit it.
- The Doctor told Canton "Brave heart." And I SQUEE'd with joy ^_^
All in all, I'm super-excited about this new season. Though I do hope there will be moments where we'll be allowed to catch our breath. If it's going to be one constant fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants ride, then I can definitely see where a summer break is going to be welcome (or I might just go nuts from the effect of the impending Cliffhanger To End All Cliffhangers).
One more thing - this is the first season of "Doctor Who" I get to watch with the rest of the world and I have to give a big, humongous salute to the people who've sat through week-to-week cliffhangers for the past six years - nay, the past nearly-forty-eight years. I didn't realize how spoiled I've been since last June when all I had to do was watch the next episode after a cliffhanger leaves me with my jaw on the floor. Bravo, all you people.