‘Doctor Who’ Review: Episode 6.01, ‘The Impossible Astronaut’

Episode Title: “The Impossible Astronaut”

Written By: Steven Moffat

Directed By: Toby Haynes

Story: The Doctor reunites with Amy Pond, Rory, and River Song in a Utah desert, only to have a deadly encounter with a mysterious astronaut. The experience prompts the companions to seek help from — who else? — The Doctor, and begin an adventure that takes them all the way to a 1969 meeting with U.S. President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office. New enemies make their presence known, and then make their presence unknown, too.

The Who, What and How: It’s been a few months since we last saw The Doctor, and he’s been busy in the time since he saved Christmas. It doesn’t take long for all the usual suspects to gather for a reunion of sorts in Utah, only to have the festivities interrupted by the arrival of what must be the aforementioned “impossible” astronaut.

After meeting with President Nixon, the companions are joined by federal agent Canton Everett Delaware III on an adventure through time and space that introduces a whole new breed of alien. Like the Weeping Angels of prior episodes, these new, terrifying creatures present a significant problem whenever you turn your back to them — except instead of feeding off your potential energy, they’re immediately forgotten. Basically, you look away, and you don’t remember seeing them.

The two-part premiere ends on a cliffhanger, with Amy Pond about to fire on the little girl in the astronaut suit in the hopes of changing The Doctor’s fate.

Final Word: Steven Moffat and the “Doctor Who” crew offer up yet another great episode with Toby Haynes behind the camera — though the episode’s big cliffhanger will likely cause more than a few fans’ heads to explode. Much like they did in “A Christmas Carol,” the cast and creative team show a knack for playing with the wibbly-wobbily nature of time and keeping things moving at a pace that prevents you from pondering the criss-crossed timelines The Doctor leaves in his wake.

The episode also features a few new additions — namely, Canton and the terrifying new creatures — who both make a strong case for themselves to become a bigger part of The Doctor’s universe. We’re only one episode in, and I already want to see more of Mark Sheppard as Canton. The mysterious new creatures give the Weeping Angels a run for their money in scare factor, too.

Of course, “The Impossible Astronaut” didn’t shy away from offering a few revelations, either. Between Amy Pond’s big secret and River’s hints about her relationship with The Doctor, this season appears to be gearing up to answer as many questions as it creates — for example, is it next Saturday yet?

“Doctor Who” airs Saturdays at 9 PM Eastern on BBC America. Keep it locked to MTV Splash Page for more “Doctor Who” news, interviews, and video throughout the season!

Let us know what you thought of the episode in the comment section or on Twitter! You can also follow me, Splash Page editor Rick Marshall, on Twitter!

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