Doctor Who Recap & Review: The Impossible Astronaut

The Impossible Astronaut


Directed By: Toby Haynes
Written By: Steven Moffat

It’s safe to say that most of us here at Technicolor Commentary are big fans of the BBC sci-fi romp Doctor Who. Last year, Steven Moffat took over the reigns from Russell T. Davies and made perhaps one of the better seasons yet, following closely behind season three (TCC opinions may vary). This year Moffat starts the first episode of the new season off with a bang…literally.

After a lengthy vacation (roughly two centuries), The Doctor summons Amy, Rory and River Song to meet up with him at the Utah-Arizona border. They are also joined by someone who reveals himself to be Canton Everett Delaware III. The reunion is short-lived, however, when the gang gets a visit from a mysterious astronaut. The Doctor tells everyone to stay back and goes to confront the being. Without much provocation, the astronaut shoots The Doctor with an energy blast and then fires again as the Doctor attempts to regenerate, which kills him.

But before everyone has a chance to grieve too much, an earlier version of The Doctor meets up with them, oblivious to his fate. Wary of creating some kind of paradox by spoiling The Doctor’s fate, Amy, Rory and River instead relate Delaware’s info and they all go back to 1969 where Richard Nixon is being plagued by nightly phone calls from a creepy little kid.

The gang stumbles their way into 1969 by way of the Oval Office, getting tangled up with White House Security. A younger Canton is intrigued by what the gang is saying and sways the President to let them help out.

Feeling a bit under the weather, Amy excuses herself to the restroom and meets up with a Silent, who completely disintegrates one of the unwitting patrons. Amy takes a picture with her mobile phone but forgets everything that transpired when she exits the bathroom.

When she returns, the Doctor has solved the puzzle of the phone call, which sends them off to Cape Canaveral. They all shuffle into the TARDIS and head off, not realizing that Canton has jumped on board as well. He goes through the requisite shock of “bigger on the inside” and then follows the gang on their investigation.

The episode ends with Rory and River Song finding themselves surrounded by Silents in the faux-TARDIS that made an appearance in last season’s episode The Lodger and Amy revealing to The Doctor that she’s pregnant before getting a panicked shot off at the astronaut that killed the Doctor earlier.

River Song

Here’s what we at Technicolor Commentary thought:


The Doctor/River back and forth is fantastic. I will admit to being biased for at least 9 reasons. I am just about useless for a real review since this is a multi-part episode and I have issues with trying to suss out how I feel about individual pieces until I have seen the whole. It feels like a great start, but I would honestly feel differently about it if the second wasn’t so great. I need to keep reminding myself that this one isn’t penned by Chris Chibnall.

Mark Sheppard is my hero.

Nitpick: I found Amy’s solution to remembering The Silence odd. She had the phone out, took a picture, but didn’t think as far as MMS or even calling her husband’s phone. IIRC she even knows The Doctor has a mobile roughly on par with hers.

The Doctor And Mark Sheppard


I am so glad to have the Doctor in my life again. This episode was great, even if the beginning did make me send an all in caps Tweet with questionable language. I loved him just lounging on the car with the Stetson. (*swoon*) And I really do love when him and River banter back and forth. Of course one of the best things? Mark Sheppard (and his Dad)!

Also there was a lot of this episode I mostly heard and not saw, because I have issues with creatures/people that don’t have a mouth. And those alien things were scary as hell to me. As far as the plot/story? I loved it, got swept up in it and I am not going to ruin it for myself by over thinking it and spouting theory. Is it next Saturday yet?

RiverSong With A Gun


Pros: The interplay between River Song and The Doctor. Seriously, the chemistry of these two is quite awesome. Amy is toned down some from her firey, fifth season self and I think I kind of like it. Mark Sheppard is great in what little screen time he has in this episode, but that’s like saying we breath air. And the Silents? Yeah, I’m definitely a fan of the way in which Moffat has turned the Whoniverse scary.

Cons: The tacked on intro from Amy Pond before the opening credits. Don’t really care if it’s a way to catch up the new viewers on the premise of the show or some other explanation I don’t know about. All I know is that it’s poorly done and a bit on the obnoxious side. Not really sure how I feel about the whole “killing” the Doctor thing. Thanks to all the promotion and the fact that there’s no way BBC would end a show like this any time soon, there was virtually no weight to his death scene, which is what I’m assuming they were shooting for. Sorry, but I was not as bummed as Amy was.

Did you see the episode this past weekend? What did you think? Are any of us off base or did you agree completely? Sound off in the comments!

  • One minor correction:
    “They all shuffle into the TARDIS and head off, not realizing that Canton has jumped on board as well.”

    The Doctor said, as they were running to the TARDIS, something along the lines of “Canton, whatever you do, don’t follow us into the blue box and shut the door behind you,” inferring that the Doctor knew all along and fully intended Canton to follow them into the TARDIS (and shut the door behind him). ๐Ÿ™‚

    Other than that, I pretty much agree with your assessment (except that Canton didn’t show up on the beach until after the Doctor was shot and killed; and that you neglected to mention that Amy saw the Silent in the desert before going back to 1969); and I am very much looking forward to next week. It was a great start, but it will be interesting to see how things play out in the next episode.

    I think this episode brought a lot of great humor to it that we’ve only seen glimpses of in past episodes. For instance, the comment I mentioned from the Doctor above; the Doctor insisting that he be given a fez while he’s trying to find the creepy little girl; the Doctor’s rant about boring things happening on Tuesdays and Sundays, but great things happening on Saturday nights (which happens to be the night on which Doctor Who airs on television – at least in the US), the fact that River’s codename in 1969 was “Mrs. Robinson”, etc.

    • Heh. Yeah, I tried to keep the recap brief and to the point. I had an earlier draft that was much much longer. ๐Ÿ™‚

      The humor WAS great. The Doctor and River Song have such a great chemistry together and I may have squee’d in delight during the exchange between them when they get to the place in Cape Canaveral. “The “He’s hot when he’s clever” face.”

      The bit near the end where River Song lamented the distance growing between her and the Doctor was also a nice touch, although I’ll admit I’m still a little foggy on just HOW their timelines are messed up. I always look it up, figure it out and then forget after a few days.

      Also, I wasn’t aware that those ugly aliens WERE The Silents until I read up on the episode for the recap. Did they actually refer to them as Silents or was that just inferred through something outside of the episode?

      • I didn’t hear them refer to the aliens as “Silent” in the ep at all (though, we were getting a massive storm at the time, so our DirecTV kind of crapped out once or twice). I simply inferred it from your recap. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • LOL, and I inferred it from Wikipedia. I was wondering if I was the only one to miss this detail. Seems like it might be an important one to let through unmentioned. Unless that information is part of a reveal in the second part…

          • Question answered tonight. I guess whoever referred to them as “The Silents” (or maybe “The Silence”) had already seen the second part of the premiere.

          • Oh okay. So, in other words. I’ll find out when I get to the episode later this evening. ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Canton arrived just before the Lake Spaceman. While people were wondering who it was that drove up, River notices Lake Spaceman. Now Canton didn’t come down to where they were sitting until after The Older Doctor was killed.

  • Great read, really loved your review, I still have some questions which need answering for the next series like will the question be answered :P?