Doctor Who S6 E1: The Impossible Astronaut – Commentary

Posted: April 25, 2011 in Scifi
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******SPOILERS AHEAD******

Anxious to see something new in the world of scifi, Doctor Who Series 6 was the perfect fit to fill that void. It is by no means, one of the best episodes of the Doctor but it does cram in a great deal of storytelling in 1 hr.

One of my favorite moments belong to River Song. I have not only grew to love but watching her throughout the episode and remembering the loss of Elizabeth Sladen – Sarah Jane, I could easily see a spinoff series for this character.  For the first time, I truly had a sense of who she was and what she was about. There was a line where she was talking to Amy about her first meeting with the Doctor and the profound impact that had on her life. Much like Sarah Jane, River can hold her own against the Doctor and whatever the universe will throw her way. I want to see her more.

Amy’s revelation about her pregnancy to the Doctor as I read over the weekend will play a larger role over the course of the series. My thought was the reveal of the little girl in the astronaut suit to be Amy’s child in some weird timeline experiment going horribly wrong. We’ll see how it turns out but I did have a gripe how it ended. Towards the end, we see the astronaut that killed the Doctor at the beginning of the episode. Amy was able to get a shot from the gun belonging to the unconscious Canton Everett Delaware III and in an almost cliché scene, we don’t know who Amy shot but at the last moment, we know that the Doctor was okay but then there was this look of horror on Amy’s face. While we, the audience, are led to believe that Amy injured or killed the astronaut, we see in the upcoming previews shows the astronaut alive with a grazed bullet mark on the helmet. I’m not sure if Moffat, the show’s runner, meant for this to happen but this poor decision does not leave me with an OMG moment but now I know that the astronaut is okay for the most part.

Rory. Poor Rory. As I was beginning to see an all to familiar pattern with the third wheel à la Mickey as seen in earlier series,  no longer was he the bumbling idiot, Rory became something more towards the end of Series 5. In my eyes, he was a worthy companion to break up the potential unrequited love scenario between Amy and the Doctor. Finally, we had a trio that would show us some light-hearted fun that the series really needed. The 2 mini episode “Time” and “Space”, after last year’s christmas episode, best exemplifies my point about the fun aspect of watching this show. Sadly, in this premiere episode, Rory remains not as major player but just someone along for the ride. Granted, this is just the first episode but I want Rory to continue to be a wonderful character as I remember him from the last season.

Finally, we get to the Doctor. Matt Smith as our latest doctor picks up his almost maniacal pace of always being several steps ahead of his companions. However, this time around, I felt a sense of ease watching Matt playing the Doctor. It’s as if Matt broke in a new pair of shoes and he is truly comfortable to play the Doctor his way. There was a great moment between the Doctor and Amy which rewarded fans who paid attention. As this story goes, the Doctor, age 1103, was killed only to see the early Doctor, age 908, show up several scenes later. Fearing that telling this early Doctor of what had happened would cause a paradox, they needed this Doctor to go back in time to 1969. Not believing anyone, Amy came up to bat.  The Doctor asked Amy to swear on something that mattered to her. Her response, “Fish fingers and custard.” “My life in your hands, Amelia Pond” was the Doctor’s response. Brilliant!!!

The overall story still left me wondering how all of this will be worked out. Then again, isn’t that the point of watching Doctor Who?

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