Doctor Who Series 6.1: “The Impossible Astronaut” by Steven Moffat


**Warning! Here there be spoilers! DO NOT read ahead if you have not watched through Series 6, episode 1 of Doctor Who. If you have, or don’t care, read on, but don’t get mad…**

The Ponds and River Song all receive invitations (in TARDIS blue) from The Doctor (now aged 1103) to help him out, meeting him in America to travel to Space: 1969. They witness the Doctor’s death at the hands of what appears to be an astronaut, which instigates a regeneration cycle. In the middle of the cycle, however, the astronaut fires again and kills him for good. Because their envelopes are numbered, starting with two, they deduce there is another. They return to a diner where they all met, and they come across the next invitee: The Doctor.

This Doctor is aged 909, which means a future version of himself died in front of Rory, Amy, and River. They agree not to tell him about it, as changing the future and giving him “spoilers” could create a paradox in time. Meanwhile, they travel to where the TARDIS seems to be pointing to Washington D.C. on April 8, 1969. However, he’s incredibly suspicious of the group hiding things from him, asking him to trust them. He puts his life into their hands, trusting Amy.

Finally, they arrive in the Oval Office of the White House where former FBI agent Canton Everett Delaware III (Mark Sheppard—in an older form who was also present at the Doctor’s death in 2011) has been called to speak with Nixon about mysterious calls he has been receiving by a young girl. The Doctor intervenes, taking Delaware with him, and they arrive near Kennedy Space Center where the calls originated. They find evidence of alien life and astronauts, which of course reminds them of what killed The Doctor.

All along, from the beginning, Amy has seen an alien in a suit, but as soon as she turns away from it, she forgets what she has seen. These aliens have infested the building that The Doctor and company have traveled to, seemingly luring them and trapping them there. Rory and River are cut off from The Doctor and Amy, and the fully suited astronaut appears as well as the little girl’s screams. Amy scrambles for Delaware’s gun and, as the episode ends, she shoots at the astronaut. As the lighting changes, the astronaut is revealed as the little girl in a spacesuit.

This series’ mystery is revealed in this episode. I think it offers some of Moffat’s mastery of time mechanics, which complicates the horrible certainty of The Doctor’s death. This death is not hinted at or suggested, but seen. If he is to alter this future, The Doctor must break many of the rule of Time, unless, I suppose, he does so unknowingly (still in the dark about the stakes). More and more we receive revelations about River Song (who, I must admit, I am growing to like), and her future/past with The Doctor.

I can’t say I have anything figured out, but I have some ideas tumbling about in my brain. I’m fairly sure that the aliens have something to do with the Silence that will fall soon (referencing the prophecy from the beginning of series 5, not answered in that series)–they edit themselves out of the universe. I also, after talking with a friend, noticed that the consoles they come across in the warehouse at Cape Canaveral are the same as the ones in “The Lodger.” This confirms a further connection. I think they blew up the TARDIS, though I’m not sure if they created the cracks in the universe or if they just came through them. I’m also fairly sure that River is the astronaut who kills The Doctor.

I’ve certainly missed Matt Smith, though I’d like to see a bit more of the David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston depth happening here. I’d like to see a bit of the tortured Time Lord at times. I love the playful, and we do get hints of the deep-seated pain and rage at times, but I’d really like it to burst forth. With stakes such as these, I would hope that it will happen soon.

Plus, we have Amy’s revelation that she’s pregnant (and I’m sure the fanfic sites are all atwitter with trying to figure out how it’s actually The Doctor’s baby). I think this will be an engrossing season, filled with some excellent, compelling, darker stories. I hope that we can really see some of the same themes Davies was working with here, now that Moffat has done his bit to distance himself from his forefather.

Favorite Quotes:

“I wear a Stetson now. Stetsons are cool.”

“I’ve been running, faster than I’ve ever run. And I’ve been running my whole life. Now it’s time for me to stop. Tonight, I’m going to need you all with me.”

“River! Make her blue again!”

Previous episode: “The Big Bang

Next episode: “Day of the Moon

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4 thoughts on “Doctor Who Series 6.1: “The Impossible Astronaut” by Steven Moffat

  1. I’ve missed Matt Smith, though I’d like to see a bit more of the David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston depth happening here. I’d like to see a bit of the tortured Time Lord at times. I love the playful, and we do get hints of the deep-seated pain and rage at times, but I’d really like it to burst forth.

    Totally agree!

  2. Pingback: Doctor Who Series 6, Episode 2: “Day of the Moon” « Elementary, My Dear Reader

  3. Pingback: Trailer for Doctor Who Series 6, part 2 « Elementary, My Dear Reader

  4. Pingback: Doctor Who, series 6.8: “Let’s Kill Hitler” by Steven Moffat « Elementary, My Dear Reader

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