The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon: More Questions Than Answers!

(As River Song would say: Spoilers!)I just couldn't write anything coherent about The Impossible Astronaut last week, because Doctor Who's Series 6 opener was too much set-up for the second part, and indeed, for the rest of the series. After Day of the Moon, I find I'm able to ask questions and attempt to answer them. Not that I expect to be right about any of it. Now to recap, the questions we were left with at the end of Series 5 are: Who is River Song? Who or what is the Silence and how is it connected to the TARDIS exploding? Who built the TARDIS seen in The Lodger? We got SOME answers, but they just led to more questions. It's gonna be one heck of a season!

The Silents/The Silence
The two words sound much alike. Have we been hearing voices say "Silence will fall", or "Silents will fall"? Or maybe it doesn't matter, and "the Silence" is a word akin to "Humanity". In any case, these are Moffat aliens through and through. Unlike the Weeping Angels which can only move when you're not looking at them, the Silents are edited out of our memory when we AREN'T. And in typical Moffat fashion, they affect the viewer as much as the characters themselves (well, a LITTLE less). So... HAVE we seen them before and forgotten? Fans are now going back through Series 5 to find instances of people directing comments to parts unknown, especially in The Lodger (see Black TARDIS, below). If we weren't aware of them, the same can't be said of others. The Vampires of Venice said they were running from the Silents, and Prisoner Zero knew about them. Certainly, even if they are chased off Earth after 1969, we see one at the Doctor's death in 2011. Still no clue as to their ultimate motives (though they themselves were of the opinion that humans would do well to kill them on sight), but there seems to be a link between them and the Doctor's exploding TARDIS. And does that mean there's a connection to the cracks? The cracks also had a memory editing element to them. Did the Silents come through the cracks from another universe? Are they trying to build a TARDIS so they can bring the rest of their people through? (They tell Amy she will "bring the Silents".) And how long have they been at it? And it seems to hinge on...

Schrödinger's Pregnancy
This is the truly insane bit of the story. The little girl in the spacesuit seems to be Amy's, but how can that be? Well, we meet the child in 1969, but she's been at the creepy orphanage at least since '67. Amy is pregnant in May '69 (and in 2011), but not in July '69. And the girl seems to be, what, 6 or 7? But there's no reason Amy can't have the baby later in her life, but earlier in History, at which point that picture can be taken, the Silents can grab her, etc. etc. But there's more. According to the TARDIS scanner, Amy is both pregnant and not pregnant, and the child definitely has a "time-head" (or whatever you want to call it). She regenerates! I'm sure there will be 'shippers out there who'll say Amy had this baby with the Doctor somehow. I don't believe it for a second. The Vortex/TARDIS could turn Rose in the Bad Wolf, I'm sure a child conceived aboard a flying TARDIS (the effect of one of those honeymoon trips) could indeed have been affected. Amy's vision of the eyepatch lady in the door could be a premonition of a possible future (for her) or past (relative to 1969). Her quantum baby could have her astride multiple realities (one with a child, one without), which flicked her to the eyepatch lady. Amy's pregnancy is for sure going to be the focus of a later episode. And before you ask whether the child is part Time Lord, remember that regeneration is a Time Lord GIFT, not a genetic heritage. Can the TARDIS hand these out to certain special individuals?
I should also mention the post-hypnotic suggestion the Silent gave Amy in TIA to tell the Doctor what he should and shouldn't know. This may be why Amy tells the Doctor about her pregnancy. So is it in the Silents' best interest that the Doctor KNOW about the pregnancy? Do they need the Doctor to investigate the possibility in order to make it happen? After all, THEY need the child, and I believe they need it to pilot their TARDIS. In The Lodger, it needed a Time Lord. The girl has a Time Lord's abilities. It may be that being in quantum flux makes her non-viable, and she IS dying at the end of DotM. The Silents push humanity to go to the Moon so we'll invent the perfect life-support system... FOR this girl. So they may well play a hand in making her this way. If they're always around, they may even have been the ones to put the romantic music on the TARDIS record player to make sure Rory and Amy would conceive it in the proper conditions. Who knows!

Black TARDIS
Some have started calling the TARDIS from The Lodger the "Black TARDIS", so I will too. We now know (or guess? the Silents DO steal technology rather than make it) it belonged to the Silents. It was abandoned presumably because the Silents had left Earth or been killed. We see the same set in this story, but get a little more information. River's scan reveals its tunnels go all around the surface of the Earth. What does that mean? Did they turn the entire Earth into a TARDIS? Take control, then send the planet through space and time looking to expand their empire? A bizarre idea, but they wouldn't be the first to try and turn Earth into a big, inefficient spaceship, would they? And maybe this is a coincidence, but the pilot's limited vocabulary of "Help me", sure sounds a lot like the little girl hologram used by The Lodger's Black TARDIS to attract passing souls. That's where it took its template or I'm reading too much into things?

River Song
We're getting closer to knowing the truth about her, though she now says she met the Doctor when she was a young girl (I'm reading this as naive, not as a child) and he knew everything about her. A lot of stories are alluded to, though most seem to take place during the 200 years between the present Doctor and the Doctor who dies in 2011. I'm thinking we'll need an episode at some point that hints at a whole life between the two characters, in which they have tons of adventures (perhaps played like A Christmas Carol's many Christmases).
Who she killed, what her exact relationship is with the Doctor... that's all yet to come, though I still refuse to entertain the notion that she is some past character regenerated or recast, not even Amy's daughter. It just doesn't work for me with what we're actually shown.

The Doctor's Death
Obviously, the Doctor's death needs to be undone, because River has said she needed a guide to tell the different Doctors apart. She would have met TWO if Matt Smith is the last Doctor. I think the big question here - apart from who the astronaut is, as the girl did free herself from the suit, unless she must return to it to live in a second incarnation - is WHY the Doctor called those four to witness his death. It has to be some kind of long game to prevent his death, the seeds of which were planted in 1969. It's a paradox. The dying Doctor introduces Canton III to his companions, which will lead them back to Canton in 1969. Presumably, they would have gone to 1969 anyway, except now the Doctor is leery about the whole trip. It probably doesn't happen how it did the first time around, but what's different? He still lands in the White House, still meets Nixon, is introduced to those tapes, and so on. Fighting the Silents still happens. The only really different thing is that he's suspicious (the invitation is brought up again in DotM). What unseen precautions does that make him take? We haven't seen a resolution to this yet because we don't discover at the end that the astronaut and Silent were wiped from 2011. More questions!!!

And now just stuff I liked...
"Apollo 11 is your secret weapon?" "No, that would be silly. My secret weapon is Neil Armstrong's foot!"

Canton III: Awesome character. He can take the piss out of anything. Nixon was his second choice, the Doctor gets only his maps, and he takes the Secret Service down, like, 100 pegs.

The Doctor's firsts are River's lasts. Great set-up, and so, so sad.

Amy's Choice II: Oh don't go there. Not cool. Ah, I see. All a bluff. You're a mean one, Mr. Moffat.

Next Week: Pirates!

19 comments:

snell said...

A couple of more questions:

**In TIA, River also "felt a bit sick" when she went underground. That can't be a coincidence. Is River pregant/not pregnant as well? Is it an effect the Silent have on women (or women time travellers, at least)?

**The future Doctor (let's call him Doctor 1103)...where was his TARDIS? How much of what he said is true? Heck, is he even really the Docotr? An awful lot being taken on faith...

**Re: regeneration being a gift. Ah, but what about The Doctor's Daughter? No gift there...maybe the child is, somehow, another reconbobulated clone-type thing. And an upcoming episode is entitled The Doctor's Wife, which almost seems to deliberately remind us of Jenny...

Siskoid said...

Jenny didn't regenerate though. It's the ecosystem matrix energy healing her as it did the planet. Look at the scene again. The energy she breathes out is green rather than gold.

snell said...

I would say a)The Matrix conveniently didn't revive any of the other dead on the planet (although there's a corkin' good idea for a Dr. Who zombie story--a terraforming process that ends up raising the dead!). If you want to say that it was a unique interaction between her unique biology and the Matrix...I would require time and beer to formulate an adequate response.

b) The Doctor did think that it was possible she might regenerate. Yeah, it was obviously mostly wishful thinking, but it would saeem to indicate that, on some level, he doesn't think it's a gift but an inherent biological property...

Siskoid said...

It all depends on what you want to believe is current canon. It was a gift in the classic series (think of the Master being offered an extra 12 in The Five Doctors), but post-Time War, who knows. Maybe the TARDIS now imparts it. Or the Time Lords retrofitted all their genes somehow to make better soldiers. Anything's possible at this point (and the BBC has made a point of announcing the 12 regen limit is off). Who knows?

Darius Whiteplume said...

I am no Who specialist, but wondered why at the end when Amy saw the Silent again on the horizon she did not want to kill it?

Siskoid said...

Good question. We don't know what the original timeline was like. Maybe the Doctor DIDN'T beat the Silents so roundly originally, and only manipulations seen here lead him to effect the Armstrong Gambit.

Or maybe Amy has never seen the moon landing footage. It's possible.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Ah, but Amy saw it live... :-)

Siskoid said...

Oh wait, you don't mean 2011 (the end that is the beginning), you mean at the end of Day of the Moon?

Because there is no scene like that after the moonlanding.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I was sure it happened again after the moon landing, but I have certainly been wrong before.

Nizbel said...

I also don't really buy into that its Amy's dauther or the Doctor's. It doesn't really mesh it seems. There is this one theorie that the Doctor gets younger with each regeneration, so the little girl is an futur regenerated version of Doctor. Regenerated and got younger physically and mentally. Would explain why Amy is holding her in that picture.

Green blast that kills the Doctor quite like his sonic screwdriver. Maybe killing his past self to fix something in the timeline. Meh. all really weird.

Craig said...

Amy (and Rory) weren't moved to curbstomp the pre-broadcast Silents because the broadcast didn't include it in their subjective timelines until the Doctor added it.

And other people are calling it the Black TARDIS? I thought that was just me using the blindingly obvious phrase.

Craig said...

Also, Jenny's regeneration/revival/Genesis Planet effect is just one of those deliberately-up-for-interpretation things. The Source energy looked rather regeneration-y if more green, and the Master's regeneration had a bit of green in there.

Siskoid said...

For me, the most compelling evidence of Source vs. regeneration is that Jenny DIDN'T in fact regenerate. She healed/came back to life, but suffered no physical change.

Craig said...

That could be the fifteen-hour "handy spare hand" window, or another example of the Doctor being really bad at regenerating compared to the average Time Lord.

When I statted Jenny out for DWAITAS, I kept it ambiguous, because I felt that was what the show was doing.

Siskoid said...

I wonder if Jenny will ever appear again.

Craig said...

Since she's alive because Steven Moffat said "could we not kill her after all?" and in last month's Doctor Who Magazine he talked about an idea for an episode where we catch up with various characters including Jack, River and her, I'd say it's possible.

Siskoid said...

That would be fun!

kingbeauregard said...

Amy is pregnant and not pregnant. If there are two conflicting timelines being played out, and one leads to disaster, I could see the Doctor needing to put an end to one of them. That could include killing one version of himself. This could have something to do with making sure the Silents don't have a pilot, even an unwilling one.

As the owner of multiple cats, I find that Simple Solution can take the piss out of anything, even better than Canton III. His laundry technique hasn't been thoroughly explored, however.

kingbeauregard said...

... And I just remembered that Rory can sometimes keep the memories of Roman times out of his head, and sometimes not. But his Roman adventures didn't even happen in this timeline, so Rory shouldn't be able to remember any of that. Multiple incompatible timelines, I tell you.

Let me pull another pointless guess out of my butt. The Timelord race is dead and gone, we know ... but I suspect Moffat will bring it back, not after its end, but at its very beginning. With all of the Doctor's interacting with humans, I wonder if he is unintentionally planting the seeds of the Time Lords into mankind, so that the Gallifreyan race will somehow spring from the human race. Donna Noble has got a lot of Time Lord in her, Amy's hypothetical child can regenerate, the Doctor's Daughter is out and about with complete Gallifreyan DNA.

 

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