Since this was only the first half, we actually don’t even have all the pieces to the puzzle to start talking about the story, let alone make informed judgments on what we’ve seen. In light of Moffat’s love of playing with the timey-wimey aspects of the show, half of what we thought we’ve seen could be right out the window in a less than five minutes next Saturday. Trying to make judgement calls now is an exercise in futility.
I think the best thing to do in these situations is take a page from Kate Monday and play “What Do We Know?”
What do we know?
-The Silence fall right into Moffat’s concept of creepy monsters. His last entry into the monster canon were The Weeping Angels, which were both terrifying and completely one note. You couldn’t take your eyes off them, or you would die. The end. Makes them difficult to be reoccurring characters, as we saw in last season’s two parter “The Time of Angels” & “Flesh and Stone.” With the Silence, Moffat has found a new way to stretch that motif into something that could work in a variety of settings. The moment you stop looking at them, you forget they existed. So you have to keep looking at them in order to defeat them, but looking away doesn’t equal death, it just means they win.
-Amy says she’s pregnant. This has to be taken with a grain of salt. Now, we know in Torchwood, they got some tension mileage out of “Gwen told Capt Jack she was pregnant before she told her husband,” so this might be going in that direction, since it’s obvious Rory doesn’t know. But she might not actually BE pregnant. (At least, not yet. I am expecting a real pregnancy story line to come at some point this season.) Her telling the Doctor this might just be some post hypnotic suggestion from the Silence, since that seems to be their thing. Or, you know, she could really be pregnant.
-The Doctor, 200 hundred years in the future right now, gets shot, and then shot again during regeneration, so he can’t come back. (Total random moment–when did they film these episodes? How did they know that the Adele song “Rolling In The Deep” they played in the diner scene to help establish the “present day/right now” of events would in fact be the Number One charting song in the US/UK this week? Things that make you go hmmmmm.) Of course, this will be resolved, because there is NO WAY Doctor Who is going to commit to ending this series with Matt Smith’s doctor. I’m just as certain that it won’t be resolved by the end of next week. Mostly because you don’t do something THAT BIG and then just toss it and move on. That was a pretty emotionally scarring moment for all involved (both on screen and off), so my guess is that this, coupled with defeating the Silence, will be our “Bad Wolf” season through line.
-SPEAKING of emotionally scarring, but DAMN do I love me some River Song. I’ve always guessed that the “we keep meeting in the wrong order” really was much more “he’s going forwards/she’s going backwards” than they let on. Tonight clinched it, both in its reference back/forward to “Silence In The Library” and in her realisation that the 1100 year old Doctor she meets at the top of the episode (and then sees get killed) is the Doctor who’s done everything with her that she remembers. The Doctor who is her equal will never be the Doctor she gets to be with. I totally teared up hearing the way her voice thickened when she said “Spoilers” in the diner.
-RORY. I think I might just love this guy. Just Love. Everything from “In all fairness, the universe DID blow up,” to his being the one to explain just WTF is going on to Sheppard’s character, to his banter with River was all just awesome. (Also awesome? That after he finished explaining to Sheppard exactly WTF, Sheppard’s first words to the Doctor were “Nice Wheels.”) I think I might like Rory better than I like Amy. He certainly makes a good case for a solo male companion.
-Finally, what do we know about the identity of what is inside the space suit. Well, we can get all paranoid about River’s declaration that “she shot the greatest man she ever knew” and the fact that the first time we saw her in “Silence In The Library” she was wearing a suit very much like that, and jump to conclusions. (Corners of the internet are busy jumping to the conclusion that the baby Amy might be carrying is in fact River, so jumping to the idea that it’s River in the suit is actually mild.) But I’m not sure I buy it, mostly because if it was River who shot the doctor, that’s in her past, so she would have known she was about to shoot him, yes? No? Did that make any sense? Damn timey-wimey stuff.
-What I’m pretty sure of is that we’re going to probably see the 1100 year old Doctor at least once more before this two parter is over. Perhaps locked up in Area 51 with a beard, a la the promos? Somehow that logically adds up. Getting a few more answers from the 1100 year old Doctor and then having to keep them from the 911 year old Doctor just makes good plot development sense. I look forward to it.
On a final note, the whole accidentally realising they were going to need a Richard Nixon after they decided to set the episode in 1969 is probably my favorite bit of trivia. It’s the sort of thing that reminds you the writers of this series are thoroughly British, and don’t usually blunder about in American history. Also, the American accents? Not So Good. Obviously, they need a lesson from Jamie Bamber in How To Speak American.
Best Line of the Night: “Oh look, this is the Oval Office. I was looking for the Oblong Room. I’ll just go.”
Very much looking forward to next week’s resolve of the current mystery, and the rest of the season with The Silence.