The Doctor pulls all manner of historical stunts to get the Ponds' attention -- which makes zero sense, if you even think about it for like one second -- and finally invites them to a picnic with River and the old man version of Canton Delaware III (a.k.a. Badger Lampkin, whom we'll meet later). An Apollo-era spaceman shows up and murders the 1100-year-old Doctor, in a way where there's no regeneration possible: He's just dead. The end.
Amy and River, of course, freak right out -- although as usual, River seems to know more than she's telling -- and then amidst much whinging and funeral-planning, our usual 900-year-old Doctor shows up, having received the fourth of the invites from his 1100-year-old self. Amy and River freak right out once again, but get everybody on board with keeping his murder a secret from our Doctor until they can somehow set it right. (River doesn't think it's possible, Amy's all "time can be rewritten blah blah" like usual. Also, they both have stomach pains that either have to do with the Silence or, in Amy's case, the Rory spawn parasites inside her womb.)
The three of them head back to 1969 to help Richard Nixon with a spaceman-related problem, and we finally meet the Silence: They look essentially identical to the Gentlemen from Buffy, and you completely forget they exist except when you're looking for them. Amy has a run-in with one of them that is super-eerie, and then forgets about them despite having snapped a pic with her phone that will probably be pivotal next week.
After much running around and cleverness, Rory and River find another one of those super-creepy homemade TARDISes like in "The Lodger," along with a system of caves that runs underneath our entire planet and contains lots of the Silence. Meanwhile, Amy and the Doctor upstairs run into the scary murderous spaceman, and of course Amy shoots him on reflex... Only instead of a Doctor-killing spaceman in there, it's a cute little girl.
Next week: The invisible mind-control conspiracy of the Silence inspires this clever bit, on the eve of the Moon landing: "We are not fighting an alien invasion, we're leading a revolution." Presumably, we'll learn nothing about River and more than likely have the murder hanging over our heads for the rest of the season. Still, a good opening: Those lovely desert panoramas, the wonderful faces of Matt Smith and Karen Gillan on our screens once more, and the ongoing tragedy that is the mysterious Dr. Song? Could have done a lot worse.
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An aristocratic pirate-looking King in support hose comes running through an old house looking for the Doctor, and finds him sneezing underneath his wife's petticoats, so he goes to the Tower of London and then is spirited away by a twenty-foot magical sphere.
Hundreds of years later, Amy finds this of interest, even though from our perspective all of this already happened, so she's just reading about history, and none of this
part of the episode makes sense.
The Doctor gets caught doing something somewhere dogs are barking, and Amy's all "It's like he's being deliberately ridiculous, trying to attract our attention!" even though that makes no sense, and the Doctor appears, fez and all, in a Laurel & Hardy episode, which goes unnoticed. It has been two months since the wedding.
Rory: "So what are you saying? Do you really think he's back there trying to wave to us out of history books?"
No, because that is ridiculous. All of this stuff already happened. Although given Moffat's feelings about women -- "I've already explained the jokes to you," Rory whines about the black and white comedies -- it's entirely possible that Amy just discovered history books and thus thinks that everything that ever happened is a message from the Doctor.
There's disrespect for or confusion about time travel -- Moffat hallmarks -- but this is just disrespect for... Time. A TARDIS-blue envelope arrives, both for Amy and Rory and, ages and galaxies away, for River Song. Funny bit here with the Stormcage soldier-guards, as usual:
"You'd better get down here sir, she's doing it again. Dr. Song, sir, she's... Packing."
A schoolbus (why?) pulls up to nowhere on a highway, and the kids get out as told: There's the Doctor, hanging out on the hood of a car in a Stetson, looking absolutely fantastic. Lots of hugs, and then River blows the hat off his head with her gun. Stetson's may be cool, but that's even cooler.
The Doctors do diaries -- River, awesomely, in re: Easter Island: "They worshipped you there! Have you seen the statues?" -- and Amy explains how things work with River and the Doctor. (For now. The mechanics of their storylines gets rewritten every time she appears.) "They're both time travellers, so they never meet in the right order."
Sad Doctor, being needlessly cryptic about why they're all there: "I've been running, faster than I've ever run, and I've been running my whole life. Now it's time for me to stop. And tonight I'm going to need you all with me."