(Big old spoilers ahead, sweetie.)
A partial list of the questions I still have after watching this episode twice:
- Did Amy and Rory know just to fall down when they were shot? If so, why didn’t River get the same briefing? If not, what were they shot with and why didn’t any of the other agents notice the lack of blood?
- If the little recorders were telepathic, why bother making their owners speak into them, as opposed to just thinking?
- Was it Canton that captured the Doctor (under a Silent suggestion)? If so, when and how did the Doctor get him back in the good fight?
- If videophones seem like exotic futuristic tech to the 1969 FBI, why don’t they bat an eyelash at dwarf star alloy prison bricks? Where did the bricks come from and why would the Silents want such a prison built?
- Once Amy’s in the room with the Silents who are sleeping like bats, and she’s noticed enough of them to mark herself, why would she look away from them? And why not write something useful, like “THEY’RE ABOVE YOU, SO TRY NOT TO TRIP OVER ANYTHING”?
- Was that orphanage guy trying to imitate Forrest Gump?
- What actually happened in the room where Amy met the little girl? Was it a trap for Amy, or the girl, or just a lucky coincidence? What was up with that disappearing peephole hatch?
- If that little girl was so important to the Silents, why did they let her get away? Maybe so she’ll be in a position to shoot the Doctor when he’s 200 years older?
- Will the Silents find a way to implant a post-hypnotic suggestion during Nixon’s resignation speech (if not way earlier) — something like “just kidding, you shouldn’t kill us on sight, we didn’t really mean that”?
- Is their Dark TARDIS actually a time machine, and if so, can they use it to undo the Doctor’s revolution, or is it something they’re hoping to activate, maybe with the little girl’s Rassilon Imprimatur (?!)?
Obviously some of these questions are things that didn’t seem to make much sense, and others are really interesting riddles that made the episode worth watching. Though to be honest, it was worth watching anyway. Here’s a partial list of the reasons why:
- We’ve seen these characters die enough now that we think they’re really (if temporarily) dead at the beginning, so when they’re not dead at all, it’s actually a terrific fake-out. Not to mention the “perfect prison,” which ALSO sounds like a Pandorica retread until we see it’s a fake-out too.
- River Song. Okay, she’s a female Indiana Jones, she’s implausibly great with a gun*, she very conveniently returns to prison whenever her guest spot is over, and her real name probably is Mary Sue, but like I said last week, I really enjoy her now, and frankly can’t wait until she shows up again. Her arc is really genuinely heartbreaking, at least for me.
- The creepazoid orphanage. Nothing we haven’t seen in horror movies before (the writing on the walls, the unheimlich association of childhood with terror), but nicely atmospheric and well-used here.
- The Dark TARDIS. Always a chilly pleasure.
- Canton’s marriage woes. Called it last week, but it’s nice to be right.
- The regenerating runaway! It kills me that we’re probably going to have to wait at least 3 more episodes before we get another piece of this puzzle.
A complete list of the things I liked about the trailer for next week’s episode:
- It’s probably not a two-parter.
* And a way for the Doctor to condone violence while pretending not to, and he even acknowledges this in so many words, but then again this is the post-Time War Doctor, and he was starting to bend his own rules as early as his fifth incarnation anyway. But still: it seems a touch hypocritical.