Monday, April 25, 2011

Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut

The Impossible Astronaut

Well, the new season began and there was a lot of Moffat in it. First of all, Molly and I will be doing little mini-reviews of the episodes; probably nothing too in depth--especially with a two-part episode like this one. Anyhow, I've been very excited about the new series to begin, so I'm sure that I was a bit psyched and able overlook some of the flaws in that excitement.

But let's deal with the episode.

The Doctor summons all of his friends together via a mysterious summons for some event. Well, not all of his friends. I mean, Ace is alive and well during this time period, but I suppose once you regenerate, you get annoyed at your old self's friends. Kind of like perpetually going off to college and ditching your high school friends as you have an opportunity to redefine your personality.

Anyhow, they all gather together to watch the eleven hundred year old version of the Doctor make a few references to Amy being pregnant ("You put on a few pounds") and then get killed (point of note, by the way, his clothing stood up very well over the last 200 hundred years). An astronaut arrives and his face is never revealed to us as he kills the Doctor, then shoots him during his regeneration process to kill him fully. This time, instead of just remembering and re-thinking up a brand new healthy Doctor, Amy instead panics and cries. River takes out her six-shooter and fires at the slowly retreating astronaut and the bullets seem to have no effect (important to remember later as Amy will eventually shoot at the astronaut in the cliff-hanger).

The group then meets up with a 900 year old version of the Doctor (200 years before his was killed, by his chronological timeline). The rules of time once more become concrete and absolute since it is necessary in this story and the group realizes that they cannot tell the Doctor about what will happen. So, the Doctor makes another foreshadowing reference to Amy being pregnant ("I'm taking you home so that you and Rory and start making babies"), but ultimately they end up going to the White House to start the grand adventure laid out by the future Doctor's summons.

Well, the TARDIS becomes invisible as it lands, which is kind of odd since they've really hammered in the "perception filter" in the new series and the older series TARDIS supposedly had a chameleon circuit to help hide it (and it was malfunctioning after disguising itself as a Police Box, so that's why it has its iconic shape). Anyhow, they soon discover that there are aliens that are all around, manipulating things, but remain undetected because as soon as you look away from them, you forget that you've seen them. That is a very Moffat idea for a bad guy alien. While I like the idea and I think that it lends to some very creepy potentials, I cannot help but think that these aliens are more suited to be battling Buffy the Vampire Slayer than the Doctor.

Moffat also likes using little kids in as creepy of a manner as possible with the little girl's warnings to Nixon (a little different than, but reminiscent of "Are you my mummy?"). At the end of the episode we find that the little girl is inside of the astronaut outfit, despite not being that tall. Amy claims to be pregnant and shoots at the astronaut/little girl (again, remember River's bullets had no effect). Also, Rory and River found a control panel like that from the episode "the Lodger" and Rory may have been zapped, but it was off-screen and he's cast in later episodes, so he'll be fine.

This was a two-parter and not a lot of questions were answered. I'll have more opinions after the next episode definitely, but I did enjoy my time watching. However, with Moffat's last couple of two-parters, the first episode and second episode have been drastically different in tone, theme and feel (the season closer of series 5, the weeping angels two-parter, the library two-parter). So far only the "are you my mummy?" two-parter of his remained consistent from the first episode to the second.

I was 95% certain that Amy was pregnant before the reveal because of all of the foreshadowing (including the constant sickness and having to throw up for no reason). However, the only reason I didn't have it at 100% is that she drank some of the wine in the episode's start. If she was drinking anything other than wine, I would have been positive. But usually they avoid having pregnant characters do things like that on teevee, just like they usually avoid that stuff in real life as well. It's the avoidance of alcohol that made me guess correctly about pregnancy early in a Fringe episode as well.

As far as predictions: who knows? It's a Moffat episode. He likes to play around with personal time lines more than any other writer. My guess would be that, since the face was not shown of the astronaut who shot the Doctor, that it was not the little girl who was in the suit, but rather it was the 900 year old version of the Doctor in it who shot the 1100 year old Doctor and killed him. That would explain why the elder Doctor knew exactly what needed to be set up for everyone--because he experienced it from his younger perspective and knew exactly what he was getting into (hence his warning that it was vitally important that they Amy, River and Rory did not interfere with the meeting). Having witnessed it as his 900 year old self, he was aware of what would happen as his 1100 year old self and then would know to send out the invitations and tell Canton Delaware to bring some gasoline.  This is also foreshadowed by the Doctor trying on the astronaut helmet and talking about how cool it is. So the episode establishes him wearing part of the suit.

Episode Highs:
*The Doctor saying, "Brave heart, Canton". This is a reference to the fifth Doctor's (my Doctor's) comforting words, "Brave heart, Tegan."
*River's speech about each knowing more about the other as the other knows less about them was kind of touching. I'm actually not a big River fan, but this is actually the first bit of empathy I've had for the character.
*Yeah. Matt Smith's face does looks like one of those Easter Island statues.
*"Fish fingers and custard", followed by the Doctor's small smile at Amy's words was really nice.
*It was nice to see the 900 year old Doctor trust and like River a lot less than the 1100 year old Doctor. It builds that the 200 years that passed establishes more of their relationship (off-screen, of course).

Episode Lows:
*Amy and Rory's suggestion that the Doctor was being absurd in history to "wave to them through time" really means that the Elton Pope (from "Love and Monsters") and the LINDA really should have had a much easier time tracking down the Doctor's exploits in history.
*Cool baddies, but really much better suited fighting Buffy. Even appearance-wise, all I could think about was the baddies from "Hushed".
*I think Moffat tried to stick too much into this episode and the pacing became a little stunted to try to force the cliff-hanger. And also Moffat's two-parters from the past make me think that the next one will be a complete change of direction, pace and mood.
*Amy's pregnancy seems unnecessary. Since the reboot, the new series tends to focus more on the companions, which bums me out a little bit. But I think that the pregnancy isn't true. Beside drinking the wine, it just seems too irresponsible for Amy and Rory to want to go running around with Amy pregnant. So I'm sure that will be resolved in some way by the end of the next episode.
*I hate it when episodes make the title jokes in them. You know, like "I'm the Doctor." "The doctor who?" It annoys me. And this episode did it twice.
*Fetal alcohol Rory Jr.

Molly: (As always, I'll be transcribing what I can from Molly as she says it. We're at my computer as we do this review and I'll type her answers as she gives them. Her review will be in a Q&A format due to her age.)

Chuckie: So, what did you think about the episode of Doctor Who, "The Impossible Astronaut"?
Molly: Um, I liked about it that it was funny.

Chuckie: What was funny about it?
Molly: Everyone got letters and they all showed up and the astronaut shooted the Doctor. But I don't know why the little girl did that and then the Doctor was alive again, but you said it was a younger Doctor so he wasn't dead yet and that just didn't make any sense.

Chuckie: Yeah, time paradoxes can be like that. Was this episode scary?
Molly: Not really.

Chuckie: So what did Amy tell the Doctor at the end of the story?
Molly: You can call her Amelia.

Chuckie: Okay, what did Amelia tell the Doctor at the end of the story?
Molly: She was pregnant.

Chuckie: What do you think that will mean?
Molly: Um, she's going to have a baby. Like the other girl is pregnant. The one that was at Mike's.

Chuckie: Yeah, but I mean do you think that Amy will run around with the Doctor if she's pregnant?
Molly: No, because remember she's going to have a baby. Maybe she'll find a stroller and then she can.

Chuckie: Good point. Tell me a little about River.
Molly: She says, "Hello, Sweetie," and... (she climbs up onto her chair and leans over onto me and whispers into my ear.) ...she said in the future, she'll marry him

Chuckie: Why did you need to whisper like that?
Molly: Cause I didn't want anybody to hear it.

Chuckie: So, was this a good episode?
Molly: Um, kinda. Because there were some bad parts.

Chuckie: What was bad?
Molly: Um, that the girl that Amelia Pond shoots in the astronaut costume.

Chuckie: But overall, did you like it?
Molly: Yeah.

Chuckie: How would you rate it: Excellent, Good, Okay or Bad?
Molly: I'd rather rate is medium.

Chuckie: You're a girl after my own heart.
Molly: Thank you, Daddy.

Chuckie: Anything else you want to say about the episode?
Molly: I don't know what is going to happen next.  I want to hear all of the story now, so I didn't want it to end.

Chuckie: But we'll have to wait to next week, right?
Molly: Yeah.

So that's our review. I'm reserving my full opinion until we see how the story pans out. I liked it and there were cute and fun moments, but I do have some reservations about a couple of things, but they may be resolved with the next episode. I think Molly and I both rate it about a medium, though my opinion could raise or lower after seeing the conclusion.

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