Doctor Who Blog

Silents Will Fall

Just as the first episode had a mind blowing beginning, the second part of this story, Day of the Moon had a mind-blowing ending. But what about the stuff in the middle? What did you think? Sound off in the comments.

The latest TARDIS file will be up by Wednesday.


Brilliant stuff, with a mindblowing ending. Fantastic performances all-around. And an intriguing “Rose Tyler in Poison Sky”-style moment teasing a future episode for good measure. What’s concerning/annoying me is how negative many people are towards this episode and this season. They want their Doctor Who in bite-size chunks, and the idea we’re into a 13-part story - that much is clear right off the bat - isn’t sitting well with them. The ratings in the UK apparently took a big hit (though there are other factors like a poor lead-in impacting that, not to mention the BBC’s insane scheduling). I for one find the current season richer in many ways than what has come before. Yes, OK, Moffat stole a bit from RTD’s playbook with the Doctor getting the entire world involved in defeating the Silence, but who cares - it was cool. And I’ve seen some upset that the Doctor essentially killed a race (or did he?), but he’s done it before (Time War, anyone?) and the previous episode illustrated they didn’t have the good of humanity at heart. I hope we see Canton again; I liked his character (and I wish people would give the whole “gay agenda” thing a rest - I’m not even gay and I find that offensive; must we call any appearance by a gay character part of an agenda?). I wonder if, for River, her next adventure will be to the Library?

Posted by Alex  on  05/01  at  03:18 AM

Overnight ratings are increasingly bad barometers of any trend. There are more and more timeshift and iplayer ratings, especially at this time of year. Doctor Who still was 2nd to Britain’s Got Talent for the night as it has been for years now. Better to talk about ratings or moan about fans moaning about ratings in too weeks when you find 1-2 million added to that figure

Posted by Graeme  on  05/01  at  04:25 AM

@Alex: The DW news-page reports very healthy final UK viewing numbers for The Impossible Astronaut (~8.8 million), quite consistent with earlier season premieres. The overnights for yesterday’s episode were down a bit, but as time-shifting is becoming increasingly important, it is just too early to know what the “final” numbers will be. 

I’ve been impressed with the opening two-parter, but recognize that Moffat is pursuing a somewhat high risk strategy; we’re probably not going to know the answers to this story’s puzzles and mysteries for some weeks. So will the ‘average’ viewer be inclined to follow along?
I just hope the pay-off is sufficient. LOST (for example) kept adding mystery upon mystery but (probably because they didn’t really have a clear long-term plan) couldn’t quite manage to wind everything up.

Posted by Andrew B  on  05/01  at  10:24 AM

Alex: River’s next adventure with the Doctor would be Pandorica/Big Bang, since she’s going in the opposite direction to how we’re seeing his encounters with her.  She hasn’t done that yet.  Or the Angels.  It might be interesting to view all her stories in the opposite direction one day and watch her ‘character development in reverse’, at least from our point of view.

Posted by Julie  on  05/01  at  11:49 AM

So, I was right cheesed off with this ep when I saw it last night, not that I’m not OK with hints (and blatent scenes) of a series arc, but I felt there was too much missing.  Admittedly my mind was a bit pre-occupied at the time, so I watched it again this morning and was somewhat happier, I did pick up on a few things I’d missed before.  However that being said, a lot of the answers were of the ‘blink and you’ll miss them’ type - if you didn’t catch a certain word or something in the background, then forget it.  I feel a lot ‘less-likely-to-re-watch’ or new viewers would have it all just sail over their heads and end up too frustrated to keep going - and be too confused when the threads on the arc are picked up down the line to be able to follow those properly. 
On the other hand, I suppose a less-invested viewer might not need to know every little answer or pick up on every clue, as they probably don’t dissect it the way many of us do. 

As said, I was more satisfied after the 2nd viewing, but I still feel there was a lot left out.  I didn’t expect to get a resolution to the 1103yr old Doctor being killed, or the possible baby, or the little girl, but I did want to understand more of what happened in 1969 - namely the missing 3 months.  How did the Doctor get captured?  Presumably for some reason he and the TARDIS materialised in Area 51 (since the TARDIS was there with him all along), but why? If the TARDIS was just invisible, why didn’t the guards bump into it?  When and how did Canton and The Doctor hatch their plan the escape? Was being captured part of this plan?  What about River, Rory and Amy - they must have been together long enough to agree to mark themselves the same way when they saw a Silent, but how did they get separated?  When did they find the photo on Amy’s phone and realise what was happening? To me it really seemed like we saw parts 1 and 3, and missed part 2.  If we get part 2 later, then fine, but I doubt I’ll ever get all the answers.

And I still want to know where the 1103yr old Doctor left his TARDIS!!  Unless…the Lodger-ship IS actually the TARDIS from the future…hmmm.

Re Amy…I’ll throw out one idea about her possible pregnancy/the little girl.  Perhaps when Amy and Canton went to the Children’s Home, she was transported back to 1967, had the baby girl and forgot about it, and that Renfrew (a play on Renfield from Dracula?) was raising it for the Silents for the past two years. I know the timeline for the girl’s apparent age is off, perhaps during those three months she was captured by the Silents and taken further back to give birth, or the aging is accelerated.  Timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly.  But who is the father?  It can’t be Rory if he’s plastic, and he must still be since he and The Doctor had that wonderful scene talking about being a Roman and waiting 2000 yrs.  Unless Rory’s a fully-biologically-functioning Auton.
Maybe it was lab-conceived with Time Lord DNA and implanted into Amy, which would make sense for the regeneration if the baby is the little girl.  (And this just popped into my mind - if she is a product of The Doctor’s DNA then maybe she could regenerate into him - the 1103yr old one who died?)

I loved the last scene with River realising that it was her last kiss.  When you put that in context with what she said last week (and what we already know happens with Ten), it was heartbreaking.

Clever to have the Doctor insert the recording of the Silent into the moon-transmission (although it should have been one word earlier - before “man”, based on all the controversy about how Armstrong should have said “a man”!)
It did seemed silly to me that any government/space agency would actually have let Apollo 11 blast off had they found somebody messing around in the capsule within days of launch.

Still wasn’t overly enthralled by Nixon, although it was hilarious how The Doctor told him to ‘record everything’.  LOL, so now Watergate is down to our favorite Time Lord too!

Love how The Doctor opened the TARDIS with a finger-snap, since it was River who told him he could do it in the Library.  And this is really farfetched because I doubt Moffat had the whole story plotted out way back when - but it makes you wonder if it’s all connected.  ‘Silents in the Library?’ 

I don’t believe the implication is that The Doctor causes humans to kill all the Silents,  I think he expects them to leave Earth now that they’ve been found out. 

Whatever it all means, I am sure of one thing, that Moffat has done it to me again.  It’s not enough that he’s got me nervous around statues and ticking clocks, sidestepping shadows and afraid of gas masks, now I’m looking down my hallway and wondering if there was something there that I no longer remember seeing!
And that - for now anyway - is good enough.

Posted by Julie  on  05/01  at  12:45 PM

I thought the new episodes were excellent, and whatever hullaballoo is going on about the show’s disconnectedness suggests to me that folks aren’t getting the point…or that might be the creators’ point…not to get it…anyway, all the missing pieces are the pieces missing because of the silents. What’s missing will become clear. For example, how is it that River was surprised that the Doctor forgot that kiss…it’s because he’s lost some of him memory, and it was the Silents who took it…that kiss was with it…there’s not a little time gap, but A HUGE gap of time missing where somehow the baby that AMy not only conceived but was subsequently held somewhere for that photo. THe child is clearly Amy and the Doctor’s the child. Maybe genetically engineered, but Amy’s clearly the mother and the child clearly regenerated. The Silents made a point of having Amy tell the Doctor she was pregant. Why? So at some point he would know that the girl is his. Now, who’s in the suit that kills the Doctor? It’s either the little girl, Amy or a Silent. SOme deal with the Devil he’s made to ensure the continuation of the human race. That’s what I think…spoilers! Speaking of which, the relatioship that River has with the Doctor, based on the Library Episode has never made sense to me.

Posted by Laurie  on  05/01  at  01:05 PM

“How did the Doctor get captured?”
Because he went to Area 51.

“but why?”
To track down the aliens.

“When and how did Canton and The Doctor hatch their plan the escape?”
They did it before the Doctor got captured.  As for how, they had a long boring discussion that I’m glad we didn’t see.

“how did River, Rory and Amy get separated?”
They had an exciting adventure.

“When did they find the photo on Amy’s phone and realise what was happening?”
At some point.

Posted by John  on  05/01  at  01:12 PM

Laurie - The Doctor didn’t forget kissing River before, because he never has kissed her before.  Remember what she said earlier in the episodes - something along the lines of “the first times for you are the last times for me”. 
River’s timeline is moving in the opposite direction to his, so the last time he saw her was the same as the viewer…in the Pandorica/Big Bang.  But the last time she saw him prior to this encounter, would be an adventure he hasn’t yet had (and we haven’t yet seen). grin

Posted by Julie  on  05/01  at  01:52 PM

John - rofl and thank you.  I never have to wonder again!

Posted by Julie  on  05/01  at  01:53 PM

OK John (or anybody else), my question is what happened (at the end of the Impossible Astronaut) to Rory and River in the nuTardis control room, while the Doctor, Amy, and Stanton were chasing the girl in the space-suit? The flash-back in Day of the Moon shows Rory and River emerging from the tunnels just as the Doctor, Amy, and Stanton flee the Silent. But what (if anything) had happened in that control room?

Posted by Andrew B  on  05/01  at  02:02 PM

They were chased out by the monsters.

Posted by John  on  05/01  at  02:25 PM

@Andrew. I agree the numbers aren’t that bad. I’m just coming from the perspective of having seen media reports of the “Doctor Who is losing viewers” variety and a blogger for a Chicago newspaper calling for the show to be cancelled. There are plenty of mitigating circumstances, and I agree overnight ratings are useless in 2011. But it doesn’t stop the fact that people who don’t approve (for whatever reason) of the current regime will use these numbers to support their view, and I’ve seen this self-fulfilling prophecy playing out with the Star Trek franchise (lots of people stopped watching Enterprise not because the show was “bad” but because of reports of the plumetting ratings, never mind UPN had mitigating circumstances up the ying-yang) and I’d hate to see it happen with Doctor Who.

The thing that is taking getting used to for some people is Doctor Who has become a telenovella, and I think that’s fantastic. Because not only does it add depth to the storytelling, it vastly increases its rewatchability - note Julie’s comments about being “cheesed off” on the first viewing, but catching more on the second. The ironic thing is, people are complaining about the serialized nature of the show, forgetting that for 26 years it usually took between 4 and 14 weekly episodes for an entire story to pan out, and the show rarely (actually never) made use of the “Previous on Doctor Who” devise. You had to pick up the pieces on your own if you missed an episode. You didn’t have DVD releases and downloads and webpage synopses. Yet the show seemed to do fine for a quarter-century.

Posted by Alex  on  05/01  at  02:27 PM

@ John: Thanks. [smacks forehead] Why didn’t I think of that?

Posted by Andrew B  on  05/01  at  02:33 PM

Andrew, I know you’re being sarcastic. But seriously, what do you think you’re missing? Why can’t we use common sense to fill in the blanks?

Posted by John  on  05/01  at  03:16 PM

@ John: No, actually I wasn’t being sarcastic. Your suggestion might be spot on. Very “Occam’s razor”  and all that.

It’s just that something did seem about to happen to River and Rory, but we never saw it. So I was just wondering if it was significant.

Sometimes I don’t know if a particular story element is an important plot device, or a figment of my imagination. Damn that Steven Moffat for being so clever. smile

Posted by andrew B.  on  05/01  at  04:51 PM

I agree with above. There was too much missing. Many points were brought up in discussion as an after thought to describe why something had happened rather than show it…the unravelling was sadly lame and the whole plot just too bizarre and zany. By chance I watched the last episode of Christopher Ecclestone that happened to be on and my God!! The effects, the drama, the sensationlism - Bring back Russell as sadly (and I am devastated to say this) but the new series is pants and I so luv Matt Smith as Dr Who so you can imahine hoe upset I am to be confused over a show rather than enjoy the journey. Please please please lets see an iprovement before I take medication for my depression!!!

Posted by Paul Brett-Warren  on  05/01  at  10:13 PM

@Andrew B & John

What if what happened in NewTardis, is that Rory was zapped, but (stealing ideas from everyone here) can’t be killed b/c he’s plastic? Anyhoodle, Rory and River will have forgotten anyways since you can’t remember after seeing the Silents.

Also, have more faith, what happened down there is sure to pop up later in the season. Even though everyone seems to think this story arc is done, I reckon we’ll be revisiting it throughout the season. Obviously the Doc and co have to figure out what’s up with the little girl and who wants to kill the Doctor…

Posted by KatieD  on  05/02  at  04:01 AM

Regarding the “agenda” thing, think of the days of stories like “Happiness Patrol” where the urge to make an Important Comment about Margaret Thatcher made an already difficult story completely incoherent. It wound up driving viewers off and when there were finally no more new episodes only the truly hard core fans (like me, I admit) felt any sense of loss.
This is science fiction, after all, and the opportunities to raise difficult social issues in all their complexity are virtually endless. But if you’re going to do it, do it in a way that invites people to explore the issue and consider all the implications and possibilities. Nobody tunes in Doctor Who to learn Andrew Cartmel’s opinions on the issues of the day. People tune in to have Andrew Cartmel tell them a good story with interesting characters that hopefully makes their lives a little brighter. And in telling that story, a writer can challenge the viewer’s/reader’s beliefs and maybe provoke a “hmm, I never thought of it that way before” reaction.
But when a show just beats people over the head with a “this is the right opinion and you’re a neanderthal if you don’t agree with it,” it has the opposite effect. It drives people away. It’s easy to say “fine, I don’t want people like you watching my show anyway…” But is that really the kind of community we dream of? I always thought the spirit of the Doctor was to bring people together to strive for noble ends.
FWIW, I respected the way the marriage issue was dealt with in The Impossible Astronaut. I got what they were getting at and saw it as part of a well-rounded picture of Canton’s character. The way it was made part of the story seemed to respect my intelligence, trusting I could figure out some stuff for myself. Then they came back with the follow up in the conclusion which seemed to have a “just in case you were too stupid to figure out what we were saying in the first part…” spirit. Yeah, I got it the first time, thanks.

Posted by PJ  on  05/02  at  09:58 AM

These last two seasons have a knack for leaving stuff out, but somehow manage to put on a good show. To answer someone’s question they left out any good explanation of the missing 3 months because the couldn’t explain it. They couldn’t explain how they ever got to a point where the could remember the Silence. But, I’m glad they didn’t go with the cheesy time travel enhances one’s perception. So are we suppose to believe that the agent is under the alien suggestive mind control in hunting everyone down. Hmmm… but at the same time he is planning against them too. Why did they ever get to the point where the needed to be hunt down by the service in the first place? They were working together at the end of episode 1. Ahh..we are back with no other explanation than that it must be the aliens doing. The agent goes from being a fired agent to working in Area 51 building a prison out of alien material. Who’s brilliant idea was this? This is like a batman episode now. Let’s build a pandorica to hold the Doctor instead of just trying to kill him or steal his technology. Yes, you’ve created a scary new race. Bravo. But they are idiots and you would think they’d be able to easily monitor what any person is doing, and zap them without them even knowing it.

Posted by James  on  05/02  at  04:00 PM

Well, I should point out here that there IS at least one other regeneration-capable person in the Who-verse, who happens to be female to boot (is gender mutable in regenerating?): Jenny. I’m just saying.

Posted by cct  on  05/03  at  05:19 AM

I have to say I’m finding the characters all rather tedious and I am just rather bored by the Charlie, Rose, Donna, Amy and now Amy’s baby etc being crux points of the universe. I probably missed someone else in books, comics or audio that this has been done with as well. Will we ever escape this overdone concept which is such a staple?

Right before my eyes so many things seem old and stale from the Doctor and River to Amy and Rory who totally dominate the story.

MG actually had some good music in this but balanced off by the usual horrible stuff as well. What this story needed is more silence!

The set up over a 13 episode season with questions that hopefully will be answered satisfactorily is something I appreciate but really I’d rather have good self contained adventures. I really hope Moffat doesn’t get himself confused on this because it can be so easy to. Then again IIRC he himself said he’s put things forward that he won’t address like people not remembering Daleks and what if any differences there are in the recreated universe from last season.

One wonders why the Doctor hasn’t figured out he sent himself a message or has he and just isn’t telling? Why does he know so little about River who as 10 he must have met a bunch of times (in less than 2 years)? Why doesn’t he find out more which he easily could (like why she’s in jail) it just seems against the way they portray the Doctor much of the time as a know-all. Then again they also paint him as being very stupid in regards to the Tardis but then totally genius in using it to escape. It’s one thing to have a bit of supposed comedy but not to the point of undermining the integrity of the character and the show. 

Obviously something is terribly amiss with River who really seems to know very little about the Doctor at all for someone with a huge book about him so another ongoing mystery.

It probably makes more sense than I made of it because I really was bored of a dark and stormy night and flashlights and “creepy” dark corners.

So I guess I missed it but why didn’t the Silents pop them all like balloons? Odd to give them that power and not use it. Just say they only have suggestion. Well the finish was better than “Look up my file and run in fear.”

Posted by Ryan  on  05/05  at  08:20 AM

I think we’re being way premature to declare that “too much was missing” and they’re “leaving stuff out” and not being able to explain the missing 3 months. Remember this is a 13-chapter story, for all intents and purposes (we’ve had those before - Trial of a Time Lord and Daleks Masterplan). Nothing in my opinion can be said to have been left out until we see episode 13. And then even I wouldn’t put it past Moffat to introduce something to carry on to Season 7. In fact, with Phil Collinson revealing a few weeks ago that plans were being formulated for the 50th anniversary way back in 2008, I wouldn’t put it past SM to set things in motion 2 years ahead of time.

Remember, up until the last 10 minutes of “The Big Bang” we all thought “Flesh and Stone” contained the worst production-related continuity error in the history of the franchise.

And people are starting to add up the things that suggest the events of this season were being set up a while ago. Aside from “The Silence will Fall…” Who did Amy shout “Hey?” to in “The Lodger”? Why was River’s first episode - which, according to the chronology set out by RTD’s book was aired after Moffat had agreed to become the new showrunner - called SILENCE in the Library?

If people want the standalone stories, I think they’ll be disappointed. Me, I’m revelling in the fact we’re getting a Doctor Who storyline of major proportions here (even with digressions such as Black Spot, and even then how do we know?). I’ve seen other long-term storylines fall apart (Lost, nuBSG) but I have confidence that Moffat will be able to pull it off.

Posted by Alex  on  05/05  at  03:13 PM

I thought it was a brilliant piece of work, but I will side with the critics on not enough explanation or too many logical jumps.  I don’t need everything wrapped up nicely, and the purely LOST track taken now is very cool.  But it can’t be the case that we just accept holes that seem to be in place to create nice set pieces.  I wasn’t as bothered until I read this thread and John’s answers really illustrate how bad it is.

It’s not that we are missing three months, but that the whole chase down the companions and build the perfect prison makes no sense.  The Doctor can’t really be being held, as we see him pull on Nixon as a get out of jail free card.  They don’t need a thought proof prison to talk free of the hearing of the Silence when they can just dematerialize the TARDIS.  And they can’t be afraid that the Silence at in the TARDIS because they go inside before discussing anything important.  And who are they trying to fool with the pretend hunt down and killing of the regulars EXCEPT FOR THE VIEWERS.  That’s just bad.

That only counts for the opening 6 minutes and a poor wrap up to the cliff-hanger though.  A quibble compared to the rest of the two-parter.

Posted by Morgan  on  05/06  at  03:50 AM

Here is something people might find interesting:

If you look on the BBC Doctor Who site, there is a page for every episode. If you read through the Fact File, there are lots of words in italics, which are often oddly placed. If you take all of the words from the Impossible Astronaut fact file, you get, “All the secrets you can seek can be found here on the Webb,” and the same for the Day of the Moon: “Found your message! You’re alive but what secrets d’you mean my friend?”

This might mean absolutely nothing, but I think that it’s worth watching.

Posted by Demosthenes  on  05/06  at  12:36 PM

Regarding The Impossible Astronaut:

Has anyone else noticed in the scene when Amy, Rory, River, Doctor first return to the TARDIS (after the diner scene at the beginning of the episode)and Amy and River go below deck to talk and then Rory follows, someone follows Rory.  You have to keep looking at the upper portion of the screen and not follow the action to catch it.

Initially I thought it was just a production glitch but after viewing it a couple of times I realized it couldn’t be.  The person’s physique looks very much like that of the Doctor’s.  I have no idea what this means.  Any ideas?

Regarding Day of The Moon:

The regeneration of the little girl occurs six months after the main action in Day of The Moon, but is this not nine months after the the very beginning of all the action (i.e. the beginning of The Impossible Astronaut)?  Is this significant?

Posted by Lara  on  05/06  at  01:17 PM

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