Saturday, March 21, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: The Impossible Astronaut

Nerdist Tool

Now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd go back to one of my great passions...bashing The Whorist (or as it's generally known, The Nerdist), in particular their Doctor Who reviews by one Kyle Anderson.

Mr. Anderson (now doesn't that sound sinister) in my view, has rarely if ever met a Doctor Who post-Rose story that he hasn't loved.  I don't mean liked.  I mean L-O-V-E-D, to where that particular episode is the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time...until the next episode when THAT becomes the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time.  It's gotten to be almost a point of parody to see how Anderson rarely finds fault with a Doctor Who episode.  I don't mean just to nitpick on a few things.  I mean give a bona-fide negative review.  Even I, someone who has been vociferous in my condemnation for many NuWho episodes, do admit when I see a good one (like Flatline or Mummy on the Orient Express).  Anderson, however, will almost always find something to wax rhapsodic about, even on something as atrocious as In the Forest of the Night

I was intrigued by this, so a little research was required.  I went as far back as I could regarding Anderson's Doctor Who reviews, and the earliest one I could find was the Series/Season Six opener, The Impossible Astronaut.  What I've done is taken Kyle Anderson's review verbatim, and offered my own 'translation' to the text to see what Anderson is, in my view, really saying.  I also throw in my own thoughts as to what is being said.

I hope this will be a fun and informative journey into the strange mind of the Functioning Nerd.

I present Part 1 of The Nerdist as Whore: The Impossible Astronaut*.  My 'translations' are in red.

WARNING!!! If you haven’t seen “The Impossible Astronaut” yet, do not read this until after you have. I’m gonna get speculative on your asses!
I'm going to put in the most outlandish guesses and hope one of them gets Moffat's attention and gives me credit (and validation). 

Wowzers. Talk about hitting the ground running. Doctor Who‘s series 6 premiere episode didn’t give its audience any time to breathe, as Steven Moffat & Co. serve up one of the most puzzling and shocking episodes ever.
Everything was typical Moffat...rushed, convoluted, and full of wild twists that if I thought about them, wouldn't make sense.  Fortunately, I'm not paid to think.  I'm paid to serve as publicity man for The Moff.
What stood out the most was the sheer scope of the undertaking.


It felt like we were watching half of a feature film and not an episode of television, which is due in no small part to the stellar work of director Toby Haynes, who has now directed five (counting next week’s conclusion) episodes in a row.
Technically, we WERE watching half the story because this is a two-parter, but it was really exciting so I forgot there was a Part II in all this.
The Utah locations really did add a great deal of realism and believability to the usual fantastical events.
Location shooting made things look REAL because I can actually go visit these places and take selfies where The Doctor was!
The shock of the pivotal scene in act one, which I’ll address in a moment, was perfectly underscored by Haynes’ direction and the pristine lake/beach surroundings. The performances were uniformly good, which is a given by now,
I never find fault and will never find fault with the acting, even if it were on the same level as Plan 9 From Outer Space.
and since we know all of the principals very well at this point, we can simply jump into the adventure with them without having to be introduced, something we’ve not had in a premiere prior to this.
Every year, we have to wait for newbies to catch up, but this year we don't have to bother because we all assume we know who everyone is.  We also don't need anything like an introduction because we are all in the know.

Now for the part of the review where I discuss specific things and add my own wild speculation, so just prepare to be wowed (hardly).
Hardly?  Is it me, or does that make no sense?  Did he mean 'handily'?  Or did he mean to say we weren't going to be very wowed and thus, emitted a Freudian slip?  I figure he meant we would wowed in a hard fashion, but wouldn't 'massively wowed' have been a better phrase? 

-Steven Moffat delivers another of his now-standard time-and-mind-bending stories,
Same-old, same-old.  Moffat will never come up with anything really original again, but I'm easily pleased.
this one being a proper mystery with almost none of the action movie tropes that we’ve come to expect (I imagine those will happen next week).

It was confused and threw a lot of questions at us, questions that at the end of the day will probably not be answered or be really outlandish and illogical answers to where they won't make sense if thought them out.  Fortunately for me, my idea of a 'proper mystery' is Sherlock, not Canon.  I don't care HOW Sherlock survived his fall and don't care if I ever get a definitive and logical answer because I don't watch Sherlock for the mystery.  I watch because of how Sherlock and John make me feel.  Besides, we sure to get lots of action next week, at least action in terms of what's on the screen.  I don't mean to imply I personally will get any action myself.
By the end of this episode, we know almost nothing and are left with numerous questions that need answering, just the way I like it.
Told you I was easy to please.

-I liked how we were brought back into the Doctor’s world by having Amy and Rory reading about his exploits in the book and seeing him on TV.

Just like ME!

Aside from being funny, it makes me think, like they do, that he’s trying to get their attention.

Just like ME!

I have to assume it’s for something other than the eventual envelope they receive as they surely would have known it was from him anyway.

Like time-filler.

-The first Doctor we see claims to be 1,103 years old, meaning he’s been traipsing around for about 200 years since we last saw him, yet he looks exactly the same as the second Doctor who says he’s 909. Surely, this will be explained, probably.

Timey-wimey spacey-waysy.

-The Doctor has led his companions, plus the older version of Canton Everett Delaware, III to this one specific moment, and only Canton 3 seems prepared for what’s about to happen. The Astronaut appears, though we don’t know who it is, and shoots the Doctor, causing a regeneration which is immediately ebbed when he’s shot again and dies. This scene made me very sad, as I think was the point.

Steven Moffat makes me cry.  I cry at every quasi-emotional moment on Doctor Who, because that's what Whovians do: cry.  A Lot.  Like I cry at every episode of Sherlock.  It's not like the bad old days, like with something like Planet of the Spiders where I couldn't feel the emotion of the Third Doctor's farewell to Sarah Jane.  Nothing pre-Rose can be as good as anything The Moff dreams up.  Besides, this is something unique: we've never seen the Doctor die before.  It's not the Doctor has some sort of limit on regenerations or anything like that. 

We’ve never seen this happen, obviously, as this would be the absolute end of the Doctor’s life.

Told you.

Canton 3 brings a can of gasoline over to burn his body and they load him up on a nearby row-boat and send him burning into the lake. Now, there are a number of red flags that popped up to make me think this was all a ruse on the part of the Doctor. 1) He tells them in the diner earlier that he’s been running, faster than he’s ever run. This would explain all the popping up in history books in various times and spaces.

Because, you know, he never pops into history in various times and spaces.

I think it’s pretty clear he’s been running from the alien in the suit. 2) The alien in the suit appears at the site of the death to watch. I think the death and funeral were all for his benefit. The Doctor wanted to stop running and he knew the only way he could was to die, or for them to think he has died.

After all, even I know you aren't really going to kill of the main character right now.

3) Canton 3’s appearance at the scene, along with the gasoline he was instructed to bring, point to him being involved in a cover-up and not, like the others, just witnessing a horrible event. He was an FBI guy after all. 4) Lighting his body on fire is a good way to dispose of the evidence, i.e. no way for anyone to examine his body.

Although, in the future, cremation will be found to be a form of torture, because they are really still conscious and can literally 'feel the burn'. 

-They go back to the diner to see 909-year-old Doctor, and are understandably shocked and annoyed at him, or his future self, for making them watch him die and then have to see him again, younger and totally unaware of what’s happened.

WOWSER!  The Doctor is alive?!  Totally didn't see THAT one coming!

I really like the way Matt Smith plays him in this and the following TARDIS scene. He hates it when people know more than he does, especially if it involves him, which explains his combative relationship with River Song.

Matt Smith's funny.  He made the Doctor look like a permanent idiot. 

-They go to the Oval Office in 1969 to help President Nixon and younger Canton 3 with the mysterious phone calls. These calls are being made by a child calling for help. How can the child be calling the President? Why is she ONLY calling the President? And why can she call the President wherever he is? This, surely, has something to do with the omnipresent alien-in-the-suit.

It is called The Impossible Astronaut for a reason.

-Amy, feeling sick, goes to the bathroom and sees the alien-in-the-suit and then witnesses, via another poor soul, that people only remember them while they’re looking, and when they turn around, they forget. These are some scary-ass aliens creatures, not the least of which because they can scream and make people pop.

These new aliens are scary because they make people explode.  They can also scream rather than shout "Exterminate" or "Delete"!

These are, apparently, “The Silence” we’ve heard about. Now, we’ve been told all last year, at several points, that “Silence will fall,” which we’ve generally taken to believe that something horrible called Silence will take over everything and whatnot, but what if it means they will fall like the Roman Empire fell? Perhaps, then, the Silence falling is a good thing as it means they wouldn’t be around anymore. Eh, eh? Food for thought. The Silence tells Amy she must tell the Doctor what she knows she must not.

Won't she forget?  Just a thought.

-Based on the things the girl says, the Doctor determines that the calls are coming from a place a few miles away from Cape Canaveral, where NASA is located. In a series of underground tunnels, River and Rory investigate and find, and subsequently forget, a nest of Silence and eventually reach what looks for all the world like the TARDIS-like ship from last year’s “The Lodger.” River also says earlier that worse days lie ahead for her.

Foreshadowing.  I like foreshadowing.  I also like that River always knows more but always refuses to tell. 

When Rory asks her about it, she says she dreads the day when the Doctor no longer recognizes her, given the nature of their out-of-sync relationship, and that it will likely kill her. (IT DID!! [kinda]).

I hope River disappears soon.  Still, if they are going backwards (his future/her past) shouldn't she know LESS as time goes by?  If I were travelling in reverse, going from age 30 to age 18, how would I keep my memories of things that have not yet happened?  Oh, right: timey-wimey. 

 They are then set-upon by Silence and it looks as though Rory might again die.

Seriously?  How many times does Rory have to be the fall guy?

-On the surface, the Doctor, Amy, and Canton 3 investigate the stolen space suits and stuff and eventually Canton hears something and runs after it. Amy remembers she has to tell the Doctor something, and that it’s very important. They find Canton knocked unconscious. Amy tells the Doctor she’s pregnant just as the astronaut appears. Without thinking, Amy grabs Canton’s gun and shoots it, trying to save future Doctor, but fails to notice first that it has lifted the visor to reveal the little girl inside.

Now that’s a pretty intense cliffhanger and we’re left with the following questions, or at least I was: 1) Is the girl in the space suit really a little girl? 2) Are we supposed to infer, because of what Amy had just revealed, that the little girl is Amy and Rory’s daughter?

Yes, because Moffat likes convoluted plots and simplistic answers simultaneously.

3) How could a little girl be walking around in a full size astronaut suit?

Even 'timey-wimey' can't make sense out of that.

4) Is the space suit actually a TARDIS, which might explain the presence of the console room and “iconic” image released a few weeks ago with the Doctor, Rory, and Amy AND the TARDIS in the visor? 5) I hope this isn’t the case, but is River Song the child of Amy and Rory?

Because THAT would be really, really STUPID!  Not even The Moff would be THAT idiotic or predictable!

6) Since both Amy and River complained of stomach problems, does that mean River is also pregnant?

MORE SHIPPING!  MORE SHIPPING!  And besides, who wouldn't want a sex scene between a fifty-year-old woman and a thirty-year-old man? 

7) Is the little girl in the suit the same person as the person in the suit who shoots the Doctor? (I doubt it)

HA HA HA HA HA!!!  Cue Vincent Price...


8 ) Have I run out of questions? Maybe for now.

I guess we’ll just have to wait to see if any of these questions/predictions I have come true, or are even relevant.

Next Time: Aragon vs. Anderson: Day of the Egg

*As I consider this a two-part story, I had one review for Impossible Planet/Day of the Moon.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Views are welcome, but I ask that there be no foul language. Any comments with either vulgar words or that are bigoted in any way towards anyone based on sex, race, religion, or any other protected category will not be published. Keep it clean and keep it respectful. Thank you.