I should’ve choked on the words in that title, but I absolutely stand by them. RTD fan or not, I am on the edge of my seat here. Let me clarify—I love RTD’s premiere eps, but never has one scared the pee out of me and left me with a billion questions this way. I can’t help but be impressed.
First? I was not expecting body bags.
I wanted the episode to start where The Impossible Astronaut ended, with Amy shooting the little girl in the spacesuit. Should’ve known that just isn’t how Moffat rolls. Instead, Amy is run down in the desert by Canton Delaware, who was a friend last time I checked! The image of his men throwing that body bag in front of Amy was powerfully evocative–shocking, with an extra touch of horror.
But the orphanage was just ridiculous.
Amy and Canton (friends again, his defection just another twisty trick from the Doctor) are looking for the little girl in an orphanage, and find a dimly lit building with a haunted caretaker. You just know the aliens are inside, and it’s all downhill from there. There’s graffiti on the walls in blood red: the words “Get out”. The caretaker doesn’t know how it got there but Amy sees the same words on his wrist. So not good.
Then Amy’s in a dark room with rows of empty beds (had a quick, pleasant flashback to Nine in Series One, the hospital scene in The Empty Child…aww, I loved Nine). The door shuts and she can’t get out…that’s when she sees that her hand is blinking red like an answering machine in the 80’s.
Did I mention that the Doctor implanted a recording device in their hands to keep track of alien sightings?
Last week in The Impossible Astronaut, we learned that looking away from the aliens causes a person to forget having seen them. The device is supposed to solve the problem. But here’s what makes it interesting, what, actually, makes it positively ingenious. When Amy met the alien last week the audience might have been omniscient, but this week? Oh, we’re stuck in Amy’s head. That means if Amy sees an alien, we won’t know until that light is blinking—and if Amy misses time, so do we.
Fear builds in quick flashes—Amy runs to the window and sees her arm covered in ‘crap, I saw an alien’ tally marks, but just a second glance shows the marks all over her face; scores of sleeping aliens are hanging from the ceiling (funny when the Krillitane did it in School Reunion, not so much this time); some weird lady talking through a hatch in a door that suddenly has no hatch—by the time Amy went into the little girl’s room, I’ll admit, I was scared. Deliciously so.
There’s another Badass-Extreme moment for River Song. Amy’s rescued in a room full of aliens (reminding me of Nine and Captain Jack saving Rose from the middle of the Dalek fleet in The Parting of the Ways), which have been revealed as the Silence. River guards the Doctor while he stalks around being brilliant, and their banter sizzles. Great stuff, but she’s best when she starts taking the aliens out one by one, spinning gracefully as she rains destruction on their enemies. Much like the Doctor, I’m getting kind of attached to her. They had their first kiss and it was both awkward (the Doctor flails his arms and acts as if he’s never been kissed before by anyone, never mind River) and sad (River realizes that his first kiss with her must be her last with him).
The romance of Amy and Rory took a few harrowing twists and turns this time as well. Rory and the Doctor arrive at the orphanage too late to find Amy; all they find is her little red recorder, which is somehow still recording her although no longer physically attached. Rory tells her he’s coming for her and the Doctor explains that she can’t hear him. Rory, looking less than friendly, responds with, “She can always hear me, Doctor. Always. Wherever she is and she always knows that I am coming for her, do you understand me? Always.”
Sweet, but Amy takes some of the wind out of his sails by pleading for the Doctor to come rescue her. Later, a desolate Rory is holding her device when she starts talking about someone with a stupid face that she loves…you can see his spirits lift until she says, “My life was so boring until you dropped out of the sky.” Even I thought she was talking about the Doctor.
Luckily Amy is rescued and she refers to Rory’s stupid face. All is well again, until she starts talking about last week’s mystery pregnancy. She told the Doctor she was, now she tells him she isn’t. The audience knows that Amy saw a picture of herself holding a baby in the creepy little girl’s room, but she can’t quite grasp the memory. When the Doctor asks why she told him instead of Rory, she admits she had worried that the pregnancy would have been affected by her time traveling, whether or not her child would come out with a ‘Time Head’. Funny, but now there is doubt again for Rory (who is naturally eavesdropping), because why would the kid have a ‘Time Head’ unless the mom messed around with a Time Lord? Only it turns out Amy knows he’s listening, so then she must’ve been just messing with him. Right?
Except for this mind-blowing ending:
Questions, questions, questions. The aliens here were the Silence and now they’re defeated. Can that really be the end of it after they spent the entire fifth series hinting about ‘The Silence Will Fall’? That would seem anticlimactic and so seems unlikely. Amy is and isn’t pregnant; that girl is always weird. There’s a little kid out there who regenerates and the suggestion is that Amy is her mother. So Rory still has something to worry about after all?
I’m excited. I’m intrigued. And I’ve already said I’m impressed. This series is going new places, and this time I’m going with it.
Bring it on, Moffat.