Here we go again. You think you're tuning in for a straight-forward carry-on from last week's cliffhanger where Amy Pond shoots a little girl stuck inside an Apollo spacesuit off-screen, which would've caused a fury if Mary Whitehouse was still around if it had been on-screen. I mean, shooting little kids in spacesuits at the start of a popular children's prime time TV show? Oh, wait. Doctor Who isn't just a kids’ show -- Sorry, that was Trevor Eve from Shoestring and Waking the Dead making a rude entrance -- but Carl's just pelted him with tomatoes! Where were we? Oh yes … straightforward resolution to last week's cliffhanger. But no, we don't get that!
Instead we get a "three months later" caption! Amy, Rory and River are covered in tally marks and have some left over life clocks from Logan's Run blinking an ominous ruby red in their palms, hunted down by former ally Canton Everett
Of course this is just the start for a nearly brilliant piece of TV over the next 45 minutes, with a few faux pas that drag down which we'll get to later. But for now: As Amy takes in the beautiful vistas of the Valley of the Gods at gunpoint we realize very quickly that Mr. Canton, played by the excellent Mark Sheppard, hasn't switched sides. It’s all a ploy to prevent the Silence from knowing The Doctor's planning a revolution, trapped in a cell of Dwarf Star alloy that cancels out any kind of energy be it light or sound from penetrating it.
Amy, Rory and River climb out of their body bags alive and well and an invisible Tardis waits to take them on their way to Cape Kennedy. Just backtracking slightly, have to say the idea of using the Tardis' swimming pool to break River's fall from a skyscraper in New Yorkwas bloody bonkers! And fair dinkum to Rory for not realizing he was shot on a dam where Jean Claude Van Damme got shot in Universal Soldier. Dam … Damme: Get it? Okay, Carl, I tried. Speaking about the filming in Utah, wasn't it stunning? It'll be a long time until we see anything this panoramic again in Doctor Who although some UKfans will bemoan that the shots at the dam could've been done in Wales! Just as those same fans bemoaned Planet of the Dead could've been filmed in Blackpoolsands instead of Dubai! Budget cuts? What budget cuts?!
To get a handle on the Silence, not easy considering you keep on forgetting them after you've stopped looking at them. What, did I do something? Nah, don't worry, I'm wearing a pair of shades that Carl's given me. See, we're both immune now. We can't see anything now so hence why some of the rest of this review has some terrible typing saasslllsajkalddfffgffffffffff!!!!!
Okay, we can't see them. So Amy and Cantonfollow up a lead on the identity of the little girl in the spacesuit. She's an orphan living in a run-down orphanage type of place that's in need of a lick of paint and some Ikea furniture -- like the graffiti saying "Keep Out" and "Leave Me" and "I won $200,000 on the Lottery!!" in red paint, or blood -- ohhh! That's as worrying as the loony shrink Dr. Renfrew who runs the joint who thinks its 1967! Fact: I was born in 1967! And yes, she sees some strange medical people who think Amy is a dream state and a photo of Amy holding a baby and, yes, a nest of Silence hanging from the ceiling like bats because that's palm light's blinking really fast now. Gotta say when Moffat said he wanted this year to be scary, that was scary stuff heightened by the locations, lighting and effects. Eat your heart out, Paranormal Activity 2!
The Doctor's at Cape Kennedyin the Apollo 11 Lander, messing with wires -- as he does, getting into trouble -- as he does. I loved the bit where Rory broke the Lander model and saluted. And Nixon becomes the latest Tardis crew member! We liked it that every time Nixon popped up he got the American bugle salute! Bet that wasn't mentioned in the Watergate scandal or his interview with David whatshisname!
But then the episode takes a dramatic turn. Amy gets kidnapped by the Silence and it’s a race to find her. Oh there she is in the other Tardis/time ship which belongs to the Silence … or are they squatters, refusing to pay the rent to James Corden? Oh well, another plot line for another day … like we're still not told directly that the Silence pressed the wrong button to blow "the Tardis" up.
Everything hurtles to a close. The Doctor uses the Silence's own power of post-hypnotic suggestion against them by editing in the Silence's own order to kill them on sight -- silly thing to say when Cantonhas Amy's cell phone thingy, eh? And that's my niggle here, as I wish Moffat like RTD would stop using cell phones as a plot device to stop alien invasions. Enough is enough! I have to say using the most watched piece of TV -- Armstrong stepping onto the moon -- was a neat idea, though. We liked the bit where the Doctor and River, backed against each other, shoot it out of the Silence's version of High Noon. Best use for a sonic screwdriver? Build a cabinet -- from Ikea or whatever popular do-it-yourself stores you have in the USA.
So the Silence fell, not with a bang but, well, silent-ish, which was a bit of a shame although I hope they come back quickly because they're brilliant creations. I get a feeling that they will be back. My own red light palm thingy is flashing. However, what's this? Amy gets a discreet scan and she's pregnant -- or not, or could be. Either way Rory's confused and angry that maybe his wife's had a fling with the Doctor, in case the baby has a "time-head" or is he two-timing Amy with River? What a kiss! And wait! That little girl who may or may not be the one who kills Future Doctor can regenerate! What! Moffat: He does like to throw us some curves!
Rounding up, while we wear our nifty dark shades: Great opening story overall. Dark. Twisty-turning plot, which as another niggle may confuse the hell out of new viewers and irritates the RTD/Tennant brigade who would prefer simple Bad Wolf references instead of complex timey-wimey plotting. Hey, new team, new rules. Great scenery, great acting -- even Nixon's nose was brilliant. And plenty of plotlines to think on as time hasn't been re-written so the 11th's still gonna die in 2011 and miss his 50th anniversary. Next week, just to throw us a bit of light relief, we get rabid mermaids and pirates! And no, Johnny Depp isn't in it. But alien bogies are.