December 11, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Doctor Who “The Impossible Astronaut”

The Doctor's friends see him get killed by a mysterious astronaut, but he sure looks OK later.

Hey, Mark Sheppard!  I love that guy!  He chews all the best scenery in the sci-fi shows I see him in, and now he’s on Doctor Who!

That may not be good for the Doctor.

I mean, the Doctor between seasons/series apparently decided to get up to all kinds of trouble.  The kind that makes history books that Amy and Rory are reading in the present.  He even slipped into a Laurel and Hardy movie.  He must get into trouble when he’s on his own, but then the pair get an invite to join him over in America, so off they go.  River gets one in her future jail cell, so she goes too.  And the Doctor is there, being his usual friendly and weird self.  But then, after a picnic and talk of 1969, the group spots a strange astronaut nearby.  The Doctor goes over to the figure and…the astronaut shoots the Doctor dead.

For real.

An old man nearby, one Canton Edward Delaware III, identifies himself, says the others will see him again but it is his last time encountering them, and provides enough gas for a Viking funeral for the Doctor, killed before he could regenerate.

Yes, he’s really dead.

But then there’s a weird bit.  See, Rory and Amy got an invitation marked “#2”.  River was #3.  Canton was #4.

So, who was #1?  Who did the Doctor trust the most?  As the trio ask that at a diner…in walks the Doctor, 200 years or so younger but looking the same.  This is a Doctor who hasn’t died yet.

The others aren’t sure if they should tell him anything.  So far, they don’t.  Not even about the alien Amy saw but didn’t remember as soon as she looked away.  Plus, the Doctor doesn’t trust River because, well, there’s so much about her he doesn’t know even if his older, deader self did seem to trust her more.

Anyway, the answer is in 1969, and that means going to the Oval Office.  In the TARDIS.  With the invisibility shielding up.  As the younger Canton Edward Delaware III (this one is Mark Sheppard) is getting a request for help from Richard Nixon about a weird phone call he gets every night no matter where he is asking for help.

If you’ve guessed the Doctor steps out of the TARDIS and gets caught, good guess.  Also, when his companions do step out, he needs to be reminded that Americans are more likely to shoot someone.

I am not sure how I feel about that assessment.

Point is, the Doctor rather easily figures out where the kid is, and Amy sees that alien again in the bathroom.  It says to tell the Doctor, but it also kills a woman who looks at the alien and forgets as soon as she turns away rather frequently.  She wasn’t even scared of the thing.  And even if people don’t remember this creepy alien, who I think I spotted in that crowd that tossed the Doctor into the Pandorica, won’t they notice when Joy never gets back to her work station?  Amy does take the thing’s picture, but she has a bigger plan:  save the Doctor’s life by taking out that astronaut first.

By then, the Doctor found the place the scared child, a girl, has called from.  It’s in Florida, and one quick TARDIS ride there later, he, Canton, Rory, Amy, and River are looking for the child.  The thing is, Amy never quite got to explain things to the Doctor and isn’t even sure she should.  River, who guessed Amy’s plan, says something about how it probably won’t work.  But then Amy spots the astronaut near the unconscious Canton and swipes his gun, shooting at the figure…only it’s faceplate is up, and it’s the little girl who was calling for help.

Good job, Amy.  Shooting kids is never the right thing to do when the Doctor is around.