It heavily featured location filming across Utah. The episode revealed more of the Doctor's relationship with River, and how accustomed he's become to her mannerisms; they seem to be romantically involved. The question of Amy's pregnancy is still unresolved, while another arose with the unexplained appearance of an eye patch-wearing lady who could somehow make herself visible to only Amy through wall slots that manifested out of nowhere. The episode also ended with something of a cliffhanger, with the little girl beginning a regeneration. This was the first on-screen regeneration of a female since TV: Destiny of the Daleks.
Three months after the events of the warehouse, Amy is chased down the Valley of Gods in Utah. She has strange pen markings all over her skin and arms. She is cornered between two SUVs and a cliff-face. Canton Everett Delaware III advises her to surrender. When she wonders if he remembers what happened at the warehouse, he responds by shooting her down.
In Area 51, the Eleventh Doctor, is held as a prisoner in a straitjacket and under heavy security. Canton tosses a file of pictures taken of the markings on Amy to the Doctor, questioning him about their meaning. The Doctor suggests Canton ask Amy himself, getting no response, implying her death.
River Song, also covered in markings, explores an unfinished skyscraper in New York City filled with the mysterious aliens. FBI agents corner her at the edge of the building. Again, Canton advises her to surrender, but she warns them of the alien occupation and smiles sadly before falling off the side of the building.
Back at Area 51, Canton informs the Doctor that they found River. The Doctor notes that the employees are placing blocks of dwarf star alloy in a square around him, knowing that nothing can get past it, not light, radio waves or sound. He then asks Canton what happened to River, learning she jumped off the 50th floor.
Finally, Rory is at the Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona. He runs from Canton and the FBI until they corner him. Willing to give up, Rory asks why he isn't shooting him; Canton believes it would look better if he shot Rory while he was running, shooting him after finishing his sentence.
Back in Area 51, Canton enters the completed cell with body bags containing Amy and Rory. The Doctor questions Canton, wondering if he knows why he is doing this. Canton jokes he wants to let the Doctor know where he stands; in a cell. Sealing the door, Canton explains the cell's material will keep anything from escaping. He then says no one can hear them now. The Doctor congratulates Canton and asks if the door's sealed properly. Once confirmed, the Doctor frees himself easily and Amy and Rory emerge from the body bags. Rory complains about the lack of air holes; Canton jokes that no one's complained before. Amy points out a tiny flaw with the cell; they can't get out without the guards noticing them. The Doctor says she is right; no matter what the guards think they are doing in there, they know they can't leave. He then falls against the invisible TARDIS, opening it for his companions.
Canton then questions the Doctor about River as she jumped off a rooftop. The Doctor explains, "She does that", ordering Amy and Rory to open all the doors to the swimming pool. He parks the TARDIS sideways on the skyscraper right after River falls, catching her. As everyone cleans themselves up, the Doctor tells his companions not to worry as he's got a secret weapon; the TARDIS lands a short distance away from Cape Kennedy, where Apollo 11 is being prepared for launch. River questions the Doctor about his plan; Apollo 11 is his secret weapon? The Doctor tells her it's not because that would be "silly", saying it's Neil Armstrong's foot.
The Doctor implants a nano-recorder in each of his companions' palms, explaining they are to activate it and leave themselves a message each time they have an encounter with the mysterious aliens. When it flashes red, they'll know they've seen one of the creatures. Canton looks towards the doors for a moment and then casually adjusts the Doctor's bowtie, but is horrified to find his nano-recorder is flashing. The message, "How the hell did it get here?" makes them realise there is an alien near the TARDIS doors. It is not real; the Doctor has extrapolated the image from Amy's phone and projected it into the TARDIS as a hologram, yet the effect is the same. The message also contains the Doctor's voice ordering Canton to straighten his bowtie upon turning around.
Turning off the image, the Doctor orders Canton to tell him what the alien looked like. However, neither Canton nor he can describe it. The Doctor then explains that Canton straightened his bowtie because he planted the idea in his head while looking at the image of the creature. Amy and Rory ask the Doctor if the creatures use post-hypnotic suggestion to rule the world. Knowing that the creatures got the spacesuit from NASA, the Doctor decides that they must have taken the girl from a nearby children's home. Ordering his companions to look into it themselves, the Doctor explains that he's off to NASA to do the prep work on his secret weapon.
Canton and Amy head for Graystark Hall, despite it being closed two years ago. They meet Dr Renfrew, who is quite erratic. He leads them inside, explaining that the orphanage will close in 1967. However, Canton corrects him, explaining that it's 1969. Amy goes off on her own to investigate, calling the Doctor to inform him they found the place; with Renfrew like he is and the messages on the walls, there is no doubt. The Doctor, in the meantime, has been busy messing around with the electronics in Apollo 11, adding one of his own devices. After telling Amy that repeated memory wipes can fry one's mind, he hangs up because security has caught him.
Amy continues searching the orphanage, finding a nest of hibernating aliens on the ceiling of a room. Her nano-recorder flashes red; she has left a message warning herself to leave and there are tally marks all over her arms and face. Eventually, she departs, forgetting, but one of the aliens wakes as the door slams behind her.
Down the hall, Amy spots a woman with an eyepatch looking at her through a slot in one of the doors. When she steps inside, the room is empty and the slot is gone. It is a child's bedroom, scattered with toys and pictures of the little girl. Amy discovers one picture of herself with the girl as a baby. While trying to make sense of it, the little girl, still in the astronaut suit, enters behind her, begging for help. Amy apologises for shooting her and tries to explain that she will kill the Doctor in the future. The girl continues to beg for help, confusing Amy further. Two of the aliens enter. Amy screams.
In Renfrew's office, Canton questions what the man has been doing there since the closing of Graystark, learning that Dr Renfrew was told the child must be cared for. A knocking at the door has Renfrew answer to someone and explains that he's being questioned. Once Renfrew returns to Canton, he is questioned as to who was on the other side of the door. However, once Dr Renfrew asks him what he means, the door opens and an alien enters. Canton activates his nano-recorder, asking the alien if it's armed as he hears Amy screaming for help. The alien gloats that its kind has ruled the Earth since the Stone Age, having no need of weapons. Canton shoots the alien thrice, sarcastically saying, "Well, welcome to America."
In the meantime, the Doctor has been caught by NASA security and is being questioned. Despite telling them the truth about being on a secret mission for the president, the Doctor is met with doubt; he tells them that he sent Nixon a message for help. As they laugh at the idea, President Nixon arrives in the TARDIS with River and Rory and orders the Doctor's release. As they depart, the Doctor receives a call from Canton, who is asking for help.
They rendezvous at the orphanage, where Canton is trying to break into the child's room. Amy can be heard inside, crying for help. The Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to open the door, but they are horrified to find Amy missing. All that's left of her is her nano-recorder on the floor, broadcasting her words, and the abandoned astronaut suit; unbeknownst to them, the little girl lurks around the corner, listening to them. On learning Canton has shot one of the aliens, the Doctor rushes to the warden's office to confront the creature. He asks what it is and the alien replies that it is the Silence and silence will fall. This echoes warnings the Doctor has received from Prisoner Zero and Rosanna Calvierri.
Rory, River, and the Doctor set about finding Amy, returning the empty astronaut suit to the warehouse. Canton brings the wounded alien to the Doctor's prison at Area 51, where he is met with hostility as it has been days since he sealed the prison. When they refuse to bring a military doctor on Canton's orders, President Nixon emerges from the prison, having been brought by the TARDIS, and calms the soldiers with a speech. When the military doctor comes and Nixon departs, Canton treats the alien's wounds, which the creature threateningly warns is a mistake. When Canton asks what he should have done, it replies that the humans should "kill [them] all on sight". Canton smugly reveals that he has recorded this on Amy's video phone.
In the Florida warehouse, River and the Doctor dissect the space suit, learning it is the perfect life support machine. This explains how the little girl was able to survive Amy shooting her. It is fitted with at least twenty types of alien tech, meaning the little girl must be very strong to have fought her way out of it. River wonders if the suit could move without an occupant, remembering that the little girl's original phone call claimed the space man was coming to eat her. Rory, meanwhile, is devastated by Amy's disappearance, keeping her nano-recorder with him at all times. In one instance, Amy tells the listener that her life was so boring before he "dropped out of the sky" and that he needs to get his "stupid face" where she can see it. Rory believes she is referring to the Doctor, who tries to reassure him of Amy's love for him by reminding him of the two thousand years he spent protecting her. Rory then wonders why the life support suit looks like something an astronaut would wear. The Doctor explains that the Silence never make anything themselves, being "super parasites", going on to explain that the reason humanity wanted to go to the moon was because the Silence were in need of a spacesuit.
Amy wakes to find herself tied to a standing framework, surrounded by the Silence, in their console room. The Silence inform her that she has been with them for several days and that she will help "bring the silence". They order her to sleep repeatedly, but she fights it off just as the sound of the TARDIS materialisation occurs; the Doctor tracked the signal from Amy's nano-recorder to her location. He emerges from the TARDIS and is met with surprise at the appearance of the Silence's lair — "Very Aickman Road. Saw one of these before; abandoned, wonder how that happened. Well, guess I'm about to find out."
He sets a television on the console, telling the Silence that he is not violent, but River will not hesitate to shoot any of them. He asks the Silence why the little girl is so important to them but they do not answer. He gets the television set working for the live broadcast of the moon landing and uses the device he put in the command module to hack the broadcast signal just as Neil Armstrong's foot touches the lunar surface. The image is replaced with the video Canton took on Amy's phone: the Silence saying that humans should kill them all on sight.
This seals the fate of the Silence. Every human in future history will see this famous broadcast. Through their power of post-hypnotic suggestion, the Silence have just ordered their own execution. People who watch the live broadcast obey this order, shooting the Silence without thinking. Enraged by the Doctor's victory, the Silence attack. Rory goes to free Amy, but she orders him to get his "stupid face" to safety. With the Doctor's assistance, he gets her to the TARDIS, where they wait as River kills every alien in the room. Rory, perplexed, asks what kind of doctor she is. River replies that she's an archaeologist, and shoots a remaining member of the Silence without even looking before calmly joining the others in the TARDIS.
They return Canton to the Oval Office and the Doctor tells Nixon to record everything that goes on in the office. Nixon, who has been told that the Doctor is from the future, wonders if the American people will remember him. The Doctor replies that he will never be forgotten. He informs Nixon that all Canton wants to do is get married and insists that Nixon should give his permission and allow Canton to return to the FBI as a parting favour. As the TARDIS disappears, Nixon confirms with Canton that his fiance is black, considering allowing the marriage as he is perhaps "more liberal" than people think. Canton then explains that his fiance is a man, prompting Nixon to remark that "the moon is far enough for now".
River is returned to prison. The Doctor offers her a chance to travel with him but she declines, saying she has made a promise and he'll soon understand. As the Doctor turns to leave, River pulls him into a lingering kiss. When he is confused, she realises that, from the Doctor's perspective, this is their first kiss — meaning that, from her perspective, it may be their last.
The Doctor sends Rory on an errand in the TARDIS, giving him and Amy time to talk about her pregnancy. She admits that she didn't tell Rory about it because she was afraid that her time spent in the TARDIS would give the baby some deformity. Unbeknownst to her, Rory is listening to their conversation via her nano-recorder, which is still broadcasting. She catches him and reassures him she is safe and she is not pregnant. The Doctor, however, is less certain. While he sets the TARDIS on course for a new destination, he has the console scan Amy for pregnancy. The readings flicker back and forth between a positive and negative reading.
Six months later, in New York City, a homeless man comes across the little girl in an alley near 44th Street. Coughing, the little girl explains that she is dying, but it is okay because she can easily fix it. Telling him to watch, she begins glowing and initiates a regeneration, causing the man to flee in terror.
- The Doctor - Matt Smith
- Amy Pond - Karen Gillan
- Rory - Arthur Darvill
- River Song - Alex Kingston
- Canton Delaware - Mark Sheppard
- The Silent - Marnix Van Den Broeke
- President Richard Nixon - Stuart Milligan
- Doctor Renfrew - Kerry Shale
- Gardner - Glenn Wrage
- Grant - Jeff Mash
- Little girl - Sydney Wade
- Sergeant - Tommy Campbell
- Doctor Shepherd - Peter Banks
- Eye patch lady - Frances Barber
- Tramp - Ricky Fearon
- Carl - Chuk Iwuji
- Phil - Mark Griffin
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger and Beth Willis|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
Anatomy and physiology Edit
- Amy explains her fear that travelling in the TARDIS while pregnant would have some sort of effect on the baby, suggesting it could have three heads or a "timehead".
- The Doctor asks Nixon to say "Hi" to David Frost for him.
- Rory reveals he remembers the two thousand years he spent as an Auton guarding the Pandorica with Amy inside, but that he doesn't always have those memories.
- The Doctor and River kiss - for a first time in his timeline and what she thinks is their last.
- When the Doctor, Amy and Rory enter the TARDIS, the Doctor asks Rory to grab some thermocouplings.
- River's scanner is branded Magpie Electricals.
- The Silents claim they have been on Earth since the "wheel and the fire".
Story notes Edit
- This episode had the working title Look Behind You.
- This is the first two-part opening since Attack of the Cybermen as well as the first multi-part opener of the post-2005 series.
- The Doctor mentions David Frost, referencing the famous interviews by Frost of Nixon and the film Frost/Nixon. Michael Sheen, who played Frost in the film, appeared as the voice of House two episodes later in The Doctor's Wife.
- During the TARDIS' momentary hover against the side of the skyscraper, there is an elder or younger self of each of the TARDIS' five occupants elsewhere at the same instant:
- Canton Delaware's days- or weeks-younger self is several floors above, having just seen River Song back-flip into apparent oblivion.
- River's decades-younger self Melody Pond is somewhere between Coco Beach, Florida and Manhattan.
- The Doctor's centuries-younger self, the Third Doctor, is in Great Britain, working with Liz Shaw for Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and attempting to repair his disabled TARDIS. (TV: The Ambassadors of Death)
- Rory Williams' and Amy Pond's decades-older selves are presumably within a few miles away, living their post-companionship lives. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan) In the case of Amy, however, her elder self is the only Amy Pond existing at that moment, as the apparent Amy aboard the TARDIS is a Ganger avatar linked to Amy in the 52nd century at Demon's Run's infirmary. (TV: The Almost People, A Good Man Goes to War)
- During the Doctor's three-month-long imprisonment at Area 51, his tenth incarnation, was stranded with Martha Jones in London for several weeks without the TARDIS. (TV: Blink) Their second-third incarnations are in Great Britain, as an adjunct to, and then employee of, UNIT, (TV: The Invasion, Spearhead from Space, Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Ambassadors of Death)
- While the Eleventh Doctor and his colleagues are defeating the Silence late at night on 19 July (early morning 20 July in the UK and on Moon), several successive loops of the Doctor's tenth incarnation, Martha Jones, and the Doctor's TARDIS are off-camera with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to witness history. At the same time, the Doctor's third incarnation is either in the UK or in Earth orbit. (TV: The Ambassadors of Death)
- The Doctor tells Nixon that he has to tape everything that he says in his office or else he won't know if the Silent has affected him. This is a reference to the Nixon tapes, with the famous eighteen and a half minute gap in one of the tapes.
- The opening narration by Amy, while standard for broadcasts in the United States, Australia, and Canada, is absent in the Canadian broadcast.
- This marks the first time that a female regenerates onscreen in a Doctor Who production, discounting the Minyans in TV: Underworld, Romana's partly-onscreen regeneration in TV: Destiny of the Daleks, and Jenny's revival in TV: The Doctor's Daughter.
- This story shares similarities with the 1988 John Carpenter film They Live, in which the protagonist discovers a hidden alien race living amongst humans, using subliminal messages to influence their development. The Doctor's method for defeating the Silence, broadcasting the aliens' voice and subliminal control via television to command humanity to kill its secret rulers, closely resembles Ray Nelson's 1963 short story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning" – the basis for They Live.
- Though she never uses it, River is seen wearing a vortex manipulator following Amy's abduction. When the Doctor takes River back to the Stormcage Containment Facility, she has removed it again.
- 7.30 million (36.7% market share; UK final)
- We will see River Song as a child. This was to be proven true in TV: Let's Kill Hitler.
- This episode will air the day after The Impossible Astronaut This has been proven false.
Filming locations Edit
- The prequel to The Impossible Astronaut was shot on 11 November 2010. Other scenes shot that day included the scene in the 'perfect prison'. These sequences were shot metres from each other as the Oval Office stood about half a dozen paces from the Doctor's cell.
- Large Shandon Lecture Theatre, Main Building, Cardiff University, Park Place, Cardiff (scenes set in NASA)
Production errors Edit
- When River backs toward the edge of the building, she's still a few inches from the edge before she falls back.
- In the scene when President Nixon arrives to bail out the Doctor, he and River follow the Doctor back into the TARDIS. Then when the camera focuses on Rory, you hear the TARDIS doors close, but when it shows Rory again, they're still partially open.
- Close examination of the television sets shows they only have one tuning dial, clearly marked "UHF". American television receivers of that era would have had two mechanical tuning dials, one for VHF and one for UHF. Sets from the UK would presumably only have the UHF dial if it was a 625-line PAL set, as VHF had only been used for the 405-line System A transmission that was the original BBC signal standard.
- The audio of the moon landing playing in the final confrontation between the Doctor and the Silents is incorrect. You can clearly hear Armstrong say "engines stopped", identifying the audio clip as from the landing of the Eagle Lunar Module, which occurred several hours before Armstrong stepped on the moon. When the Doctor finally points to the screen, the audio and video are of Armstrong's historic first step.
- In the orphanage, Doctor Renfrew is holding a cloth in his right hand, then there is a shot of Amy and Canton, and then when the camera cuts back to Doctor Renfrew, the cloth is in his left hand. After another shot of Amy and Canton, the cloth is back in his right hand. This is either a production error or he passed it to each hand between shots.
- River Song mocks the Doctor for brandishing his sonic screwdriver in a gunfight and tells him to go "build a cabinet", similar to a conversation Captain Jack had with the Ninth Doctor. (TV: The Doctor Dances)
- The War Doctor later mocks the Tenth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor by asking if they were going to "assemble a cabinet at" Queen Elizabeth I's soldiers. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
- Ironically River herself would brandish her sonic trowel at King Hydroflax's guards in such a manner. While she is able to stun the guards, she has no effect on Hydroflax himself and states that the trowel, like the screwdriver is not a weapon. (TV: The Husbands of River Song)
- River's stunt off the side of a building mirrors a successful escape strategy employed by the Eighth Doctor during his chess match with General Tschike following/prior to the events in the East Indies ReVit Zone. (PROSE: Alien Bodies)
- The Doctor tastes the "TARDIS blue"-coloured envelope in an attempt to gather information as he does with other things. (TV: The Eleventh Hour, The Hungry Earth) a practise his predecessor did. (TV: Tooth and Claw, The Idiot's Lantern)
- Rory mentions that he was there when Rome fell. (TV: The Big Bang)
- The Doctor recalls Prisoner Zero, a silent Venice, and a voice claiming "silence will fall". (TV: The Eleventh Hour, The Vampires of Venice, The Pandorica Opens)
- Despite having previously stated his dislike of guns (TV: The Sontaran Stratagem, The Doctor's Daughter, The Impossible Astronaut) the Eleventh Doctor notes, much to his regret, he likes that River uses a gun.
- The Tenth Doctor was previously held as a prisoner in Area 51. (TV: Dreamland)
- The Doctor opens the TARDIS with a snap of his fingers. (TV: Forest of the Dead, The Eleventh Hour)
- The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones watched the Apollo 11 moon landing four times. (TV: Blink)
- Dwarf star alloy is again used for its dense, impenetrable qualities. (TV: Warriors' Gate, The Family of Blood)
- When the Doctor discovers the Silence's underground lair, which is nearly identical to the interior of the 79B Aickman Road timeship, he makes the comparison, describing it as being "very Aickman Road". That ship also contained the deceased body of an alien, which distinctly had the same number of fingers as the Silence. (TV: The Lodger)
- When Canton tells the Doctor that River jumped off a skyscraper, he replies, "It's okay, she does that", referencing her leap out of an airlock. The Doctor once again positions the TARDIS to catch her after she makes the seemingly fatal leap. (TV: The Time of Angels)
- The Doctor orders the doors to the swimming pool to be opened. (TV: The Invasion of Time, The Eleventh Hour)
- The Doctor says that the dwarf star alloy is being used to build the "perfect prison", a term also used to describe the Pandorica. (TV: The Pandorica Opens, The Big Bang)
- The Fourth Doctor previously displayed admiration (albeit reluctant) for Leela's killing skills in PROSE: Match of the Day.
- The FBI forced Canton to resign because they disapproved of his same-sex orientation, reflecting the attitudes toward homosexuality at the time. Likewise, Ianto Jones angrily responded at Clement McDonald, who grew up in the sixties, for calling him "queer" concerning his relationship with Jack Harkness, though he used 1965 as a reference date. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Three)
- River Song is seen wearing a vortex manipulator. (TV: The Pandorica Opens, The Big Bang)
Home video releases Edit
This story was released as Series 6 Part 1 with The Impossible Astronaut, The Curse of the Black Spot, The Doctor's Wife, The Rebel Flesh, The Almost People and A Good Man Goes to War on 11 July 2011.
The episode was later released in the complete series 6 boxset on both DVD and Blu-ray on 21 November 2011.