6x01: the impossible astronaut


Apart from being absolutely visually stunning, The Impossible Astronaut is possibly the best series opener ever, it’s just so solid, and introduces us to the wonderful Canton, who really should have returned at some point in Matt’s tenure as the Doctor. The Doctor’s death scene is one of the most shocking and beautiful scenes the show has produced, I just love it!!

Don’t think about the Diner’s presence in “The Impossible Astronaut”

Don’t think about Clara seeing still-alive River, not-yet-an-author Amy, and the two Elevens… One looking absurdly young, younger than she’s ever seen him, one not too far away from when she first encountered him in person (though those 300 years he was Eleven pre-Trenzalore were basically like the minute difference between your early 20s and 30s)… 

Don’t think about Clara marvelling at how innocent he looks compared to later. 

Don’t think about Ashildr reminding her that she can’t interfere too much. 

Don’t think of him inexplicably finding a pile of dry clothes after unshrinking himself from the remains of the Tessalecta. 

Don’t think about this perhaps being Clara’s way of taking one last good look at him before going to Gallifrey. 

Don’t think of Clara picking up on Amy’s accent and realizing, “Oh, that’s why.”, and going to the control room with a sad but content smile on her face as she remembers Twelve. 

I just finished watching “The Wedding of River Song” and that was probably one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I wanted to make sure that my criticisms about the show were justified and after watching the episode, I realized just how much I dislike it.

Some thoughts about the episode:

  • The plot was confusing

Because I’ve seen the episode before, I was able to keep track of it. However, my brother - who has seen a few episodes of the show - was completely lost. I had to keep pausing Netflix to explain what was going on. Every time, he’d shake his head and ask, “Why is any of that necessary. I don’t get it!”

I understand that fans tend to gravitate toward complex plots, but casual viewers such as my brother aren’t going to be able to understand what’s going on and thus you’ll lose their viewership.

  • Rule #1: The Doctor lies

No. Just no. This idea blossomed when we met River Song, whose whole relationship with the Doctor is based on “one day we’ll be in love” and “spoilers.” River gives a speech in the end of “The Wedding of River Song” in which she says something along the lines of, “I’m not supposed to tell you this, because it could mess with time and stuff, but I’m going to anyway.” This and many other instances establish River’s character as forever a mystery, to be generous. But to transition River’s habits over into The Doctor and claim that he’s always been one for lying? No.

While I’m on the topic, let’s move on to…

  • River/Doctor

All I remembered from this episode was that the Doctor and River get married (which, hello episode title.) But I forgot just how nasty the Doctor was to River. He talks down to her the whole episode. Here’s a few examples:

The Doctor: I don’t have the time, nobody has the time. Because as long as I’m alive, time is dying. Because of you, River.

River: Because I refused to kill the man I love.

The Doctor: Oh you love me, do you? (He moves toward her.)     

Amy: Get him!

The Doctor: Oh, that’s sweet of you, isn’t that sweet, come here you. (The guards pull him back.)     

River: I’m not a fool, sweetie. I know what happens if we touch. (he grabs her arm forcefully.) Get off me! Get him off me!

and this:

River: Am I the woman who marries you, or the woman who murders you?

The Doctor: Oh… I don’t want to marry you.

and this:

River: I’m a child of the TARDIS. I understand the physics.

The Doctor: But that’s all you’ve got is a distress beacon?      

oh, and here’s this gem:

River: I’ve been sending out a message. A distress call. Outside the bubble of our time. The universe is still turning and I’ve sent a message everywhere. To the future and the past, the beginning and the end of everything. “The Doctor is dying. Please, please help.”

The Doctor: River! River! This is ridiculous! That would mean nothing to anyone. It’s insane. Worse, it’s stupid! You embarrass me.

I don’t ship Eleven/River. But I believe that River Song loved him, as much as someone who was brainwashed into trying to kill and then love the Doctor is able to.

Listen to how the Doctor treats her. She couldn’t kill him because she loves him. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to try to kill someone you love, even if you knew it was the right thing? But instead of saying that he understands, the Doctor spits in her face. How can you watch them get “married” after listening to the Doctor treat River in such a manner? And don’t give me some kind of excuse, like, oh, the Doctor was just stressed out and thus entitled to his anger.

  • The Ultimate Question

Since when does the Doctor’s name matter so much? He chose his own name, Doctor, for a reason. It stands for everything he believes in (or used to believe in; I don’t think Eleven cares about anything besides himself anymore) and that’s what matters, not his birth name.

Furthermore, how could the Doctor’s name bring about the end of the universe? I just…I don’t understand? I’m really trying to and I can’t, because it makes no sense. Before Steven Moffat took over, the Doctor wasn’t this shining superstar that all the evil beings in the universe were hell-bent on destroying because they knew that his name had catastrophic properties.

I could go about the enormous plot holes in the episode, but that’s already been dealt with by a group of people more eloquent than I. So I’ll leave this where it is and end it by saying that I’m glad I rewatched the episode, because as much as it sickened me, I’m relieved to realize that my initial feelings about Moffat’s era have only been confirmed.