About time! It’s seemed like ages since we last had a full series of scrumptious Doctor Who episodes to tuck in to, and that’s a problem that Steven Moffat has addressed this year by splitting the sixth series in two halves, a masterstroke that’ll prevent us from doing too much ‘gawping for more’. However, it’s not the only thing he’s chopped up, as this years’ opening story is, for the first time ever, being presented in two parts.
Billed as the darkest curtain-raiser in the show’s long and bountiful history, The Impossible Astronaut is an atmospheric, adventurous, exciting and above all that, relevant episode right from the start. And by ‘relevant’, we don’t mean to say that the big bad of this episode is Kate Middleton in prosthetic, but rather a vital cog in the Doctor Who story-clock, answering a number of the questions left at the end of last years’ finale, including the big one: Just who is River Song?
Yes, after three previous head-scratching appearances, we finally find out just who the character we first saw in Silence in the Library as a ‘time travelling architect’ is, and it’s well worth the wait. Alex Kingston delivers a typically spot-on performance to accompany Matt Smith and Karen Gillan’s usual solidness.
A special mention must go out to Arthur Darvill as well, AKA Rory Williams, making his debut as a ‘proper’ companion, one half of the first married couple in the TARDIS. Previously a largely comic figure, Rory has increased in stature in a similar manor to Mickey Smith before him, the words leaping off the page via the previous series unsung hero, Darvill.
But what a page it is, Steven Moffat once again at the helm, giving us the kind of script that got him the job in the first place. Fast paced, dark yet still undeniably funny, The Impossible Astronaut could just be the episode that properly ‘cracks’ America, funnily enough the very location in which it is shot, focusing around the Doctor’s latest ‘Historical celebrity’ encounter, president Richard Nixon, following in Barrack Obama’s footsteps and appearing in an episode of Doctor Who.
It’s time, then, to set all alarms for 6:00, to get to the telly that little bit early and to sit back and enjoy yet another masterpiece from the Doctor Who team. Make the most of it- There’ll only be seven this spring.