Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Boy, it’s good to have Doctor Who back, isn’t it?

Back when the mid season split was announced I thought it would be a bad idea, as the show would lose the momentum it had built up with the first 6 episodes. I shouldn’t have worried. And plus, it made me even more excited for some new Who with the 2 month break in between.

And what an episode to start off with; a frothy, light, fun episode which is the norm for (mid) season openers, but at the same time a mythology heavy episode that answers a hell of a lot of questions. Moffat juggles all these balls, and never once drops one.

From the opening crop circle gag the episode never really slowed down, and I feel it did a much better job revealing the big plot points much better than “A Good Man Goes to War’s” clunky gear shifts. Here they seemed organic to the story rather than the rushed cliffhanger ending of the mid season finale.

The revelation that Mels was actually Amy’s daughter completely caught me (and I assume many others) off guard and is actually the kind of trick Moffat’s been pulling since he took over the reins of Nu Who, especially so this series: “You named you daughter…after your daughter.” It’s the kind of thing I always wished Doctor Who would be but never was in the RTD days – timey-wimey. In a series whose title character is a time traveller, you should expect some paradoxes thrown in their every now and again.

In fact I’ve been thinking just how different these two eras of Who have been. I mean, RTD Who would never have been this complicated, but then Moffat Who will never have anything like the “Here Come the Drums” from the Master episodes way back when. Both were great, but it’s a testament to this new production team that they feel like two completely different shows now, as they should.

Acting wise, Matt Smith has rarely been better, balancing the humour and pathos of the Doctor perfectly and showing (once again) an incredible knack for physical comedy. Alex Kingston has a ball as the newly regenerated River Song, at the start of her story. At this stage I’ve given up trying to work out her timeline though, and am just going with it. I often think the writers have a flow chart in their writing room just to pinpoint exactly where what version of River is where in relation to the Doctor, because it’s very confusing to follow. Oh, and I’m saying this now…River Song? I unabashedly and unashamedly ‘would.’ I wouldn’t even feel bad afterwards. Arthur Darvill as Rory continues to be Who’s secret weapon, and would steal the show if it weren’t for Matt Smith. He makes Amy a better character and often gets all the best lines - “I’m trapped inside a giant robot replica of my wife. I’m really trying not to see this as a metaphor.” Karen Gillan is pretty much the same as always, kind of robotic. Which admittedly worked, at least for some of this episode. Still, she looks good in a skirt though.

We also got a lot of questions answered. Sort of. We now know that The Silence are not a alien race, but rather a religious movement (interesting) searching for the answer to the Question (more interesting); that the little girl who regenerated in New York in The Day of the Moon is River (was that also the girl that was in the spacesuit? And if it was, wouldn’t River know that she had already killed the Doctor by the lake in Utah? Maybe I should get myself that flow chart); that the TARDIS itself was who taught River to fly her; that the Doctor now knows when he’s going to die; and River gets her TARDIS diary from the Doctor himself.

Also, I loved the robot justice system thing, populated by hundreds of little tiny people. Such a great idea (dealing out justice to those from history who have done terrible things), and also they made a reference to JFK. Throwaway? Maybe. But knowing Moffat, probably not. Remember Jacketgate?

In fact the only downside to the episode was that ‘evil’ River was perhaps played a bit too broadly as well as the aforementioned timeline questions. Hopefully we aren’t strung along for too much longer.

All in all though, a fantastic episode. 5 stars from me.

And Hitler’s still in the cupboard!

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