by Catriona Mills

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Six: "The Impossible Astronaut"

Posted 2157 days ago in by Catriona

This is my first live-blogging with the new computer, and my first since I drank three glasses of wine.

One of those is a lie.

Still, we’ll see how we go, shall we?

As always, please excuse typing errors until I have a chance to read through the live-blogging after the episode ends.

Discussing the rapture with my father:

DAD: I thought the dead were the first to go? And then the living followed?
ME: Not the unrighteous dead. They rise from their graves and try to eat our brains.
DAD: Bloody hell.
ME: So you should buy a shotgun. Or at least some good running shoes.
DAD: Maybe I should just start going back to church?
NICK: Well, they make a compelling argument.

Nick’s just pointed out that we paused the TiVo. So if you’re wondering why we’re not already five minutes through Doctor Who, that would be it.

Still: gratuitous rapture conversation. That’s worth being about five minutes behind the broadcast, surely?

Aw, in memory of Lis Sladen. Whimper.

But now we have people in wigs chasing after the Doctor: Mam thinks he’s Charles II. Not the Doctor: the main be-wigged chap. Anyway, the Doctor is under some woman’s crinolines.

Elsewhere, Amy is reading something from a history book to Rory, while Rory puts the groceries away.

Apparently, the books also contains the Doctor’s attempts to escape from a POW camp. Amy thinks he’s being “deliberately ridiculous” to attract their attention—and she might be right, since she just got an invitation in TARDIS blue.

So did River Song.

And this leads to the best line ever, as a security guard says, “You better get down here, sir. She’s doing it again. Dr Song, sir. She’s … packing.”

I love River so much.

They’re all off to America. Somewhere in the depths of the US, where the Doctor, reclining on an old convertible, says, “Howdy.”

He’s wearing a Stetson: “I wear a Stetson now. Stetsons are cool.”

But River shoots it off his head, anyway.

Elsewhere, River and the Doctor sync their diaries. They have a lot more in common than the usual.

Amy asks the Doctor what he’s been doing, and he says he’s been running. “Faster than I’ve ever run. And I’ve been running my whole life.”

He says that tonight, he needs them all with him.

The Amy voiceover for foreign markets is awful and patronising. We know this. We know this already.

Credits!

Utah is pretty. Very very pretty.

The Doctor claims to be 1103, and to have drunk wine, but he spits it out anyway, saying he thought it would be more like the gums.

Amy sees something on the horizon, something with a domed head, and Dad says, “Oh god: what’s that?”

But that’s a story for another time.

A four-wheel drive pulls up, and Dad says, “Oh god: what’s this?” He’s easily startled by television programmes.

At the same time, an astronaut climbs out of the lake, and the Doctor tells them to stay out of whatever’s about to happen. What happens is that the astronaut lifts his visor, they talk for a while, and then the astronaut shoots the Doctor. Amy tries to run, but the others grab her. The Doctor starts regenerating, apologises, and then is shot again in the middle of his regeneration cycle.

This time, it’s River who screams and runs towards the Doctor. She knows what this means. And after she scans the Doctor, she empties her revolver into the astronaut, who doesn’t pause in his slow descent into the lake.

As they grieve over the Doctor, the man in the four-wheel drive comes down with a can of gasoline, says that this is most definitely the Doctor, and that he said they’d need the gasoline. River says they have to cremate him, because “a Time Lord’s body is miracle, even a dead one.”

River says, “We’re the Doctor’s friends, and we do what the Doctor’s friends always do. As we’re told.”

So they give him a Viking funeral.

MAM: I didn’t think he’d stay in the show for such a short time.

I love my credulous, easily frightened parents.

River asks who the mysterious, gasoline-carrying American is, and he says he got an envelope. It’s number 4.

“I won’t be seeing you again,” he says. “But you’ll be seeing me.”

River’s distracted by the envelopes. She, Amy, and the mysterious man (Canton) got numbers 2, 3, and 4. So who got 1?

Luckily, they walk into a diner where the number 1 envelope is sitting on a table.

RIVER: When you know it’s the end, who do you call?
MAM: Ghostbusters?

Of course, number 1 is the Doctor. River says this is cold, but Amy hugs him, and then the Doctor hugs Rory. And then River slaps the Doctor.

DOCTOR: Okay, I’m assuming that was for something I haven’t done yet.
RIVER: Yes.
DOCTOR: Good, I’ll look forward to that.

Of course, this Doctor is only 909. And he hasn’t done all the things that he and River had done when they first met in this diner.

River won’t tell him what’s going on, defaulting to “Spoilers”, but they all pile into the TARDIS.

DOCTOR: Rory, is everyone cross with me for some reason?
RORY: I’ll find out.

Instead, they have a secret discussion about how they can’t let the Doctor know he’s been recruited by his future self, because he’s interacted with his own past self.

AMY: He’s done it before!
RORY: And in fairness, the universe did blow up.

Amy can’t cope with the idea of the Doctor’s death, but River says neither the Doctor’s death nor her own frightens her: there’s a much worse day coming for her.

The Doctor is basically letting the TARDIS have her head. She wants to land in Washington in 1969, but the Doctor wants to try knitting or bi-planes instead.

DOCTOR: Don’t play games with me. Don’t ever, ever think you’re capable of that.

The Doctor wants more information before he jumps into this, but he won’t trust River.

DOCTOR: Why are you in prison? Who did you kill? Now, I love a bad girl, me. But trust you? Seriously?

He will trust Amy, though, because she swears on fish fingers and custard.

And then we get a Western version of the Doctor’s theme, and it’s fabulous.

Canton Delaware (Badger!) is being recruited from a pub, by a man who’s representing President Nixon.

RIVER: Richard Milhouse Nixon. Vietnam. Watergate. There’s some good stuff, too.
DOCTOR: Not enough.
RIVER: Hippy.
DOCTOR: Archaeologist.

The Doctor is trying stealth mode, but River is having to run after him fixing all his mistakes. Have I mentioned lately how I love her?

The Doctor leaps out of the invisible TARDIS into the Oval Office, right as the President gets his nightly mysterious phone call from a creepy child. Oh, creepy child, do you add anything to society in general? Or are you just creepy?

The President turns around in the middle of claiming that he can’t trust anyone to find the Doctor in the middle of the Oval Office. He turns to flee back into the TARDIS, but knocks himself out on its invisible door.

The Doctor has River turn the TARDIS blue again, and then tells the President that he’ll take the case. But the Secret Service want to shoot him, anyway.

The Doctor claims to be on loan from Scotland Yard, and introduces his associates: the Legs, the Nose, and Mrs Robinson. But Canton steps in to support the Doctor against the Secret Service agent who tells him “Mr Delaware, don’t compliment the intruder.”

CANTON: Mr President, that man walked in here with a big blue box and three of his friends, and that’s one of the men he walked past. One of them is worth listening to.

As the Doctor’s looking at maps, Amy spots another one of the weird people she originally saw at the lake. But as she turns back to Rory, she forgets what she’s seen. She asks to go the bathroom, and the Secret Service reluctantly comply.

In the loo, Amy sees another of the creepy intruders. She challenges this one, and asks him why she forgot. Also? The toilet is really fancy.

Someone comes out of the loo, and seems to think the alien is a co-worker called “Ben.” But she forgets the alien as soon as she turns her back on him: twice. And then the lights flicker, and the alien electrocutes her to death.

It’s probably not Ben, then.

Amy, figuring that they can only remember the aliens while they see them, takes a photo with her camera phone.

AMY: Why did you have to kill her, anyway?
ALIEN: Joy.

Ooh, creepy.

The alien tells Amy to tell the Doctor what he must know and what he must never know, but by the time she leaves the toilet, she can’t actually remember anything.

Still, she manages to freak the Secret Service agent out with her tiny, futuristic phone.

Meanwhile, the Doctor works out where the child is calling from, declares that there’s no time for a SWAT team (or, though he doesn’t say so, a fez) and dematerialises.

DOCTOR: Canton, on no account follow me into this box, and shut the door.

The Doctor points out that the girl is not giving the President her name: she’s giving him the street address.

DOCTOR: Dr Song, you’ve got that face on again.
RIVER: What face?
DOCTOR: The “he’s hot when he’s clever” face.
RIVER: This is my normal face.
DOCTOR: Yes, it is.

Canton is mostly impressed that Scotland Yard has a machine that can travel in space and time.

AMY: Cool aliens?
DOCTOR: Well, what would you call me?
AMY: An alien.

The phones are cut off, but there’s a little girl around here somewhere, with all the alien and human tech, and the Doctor wants to find her. Amy mainly wants to try and save the Doctor in 1969 so that he doesn’t die in 2011.

River finds a tunnel and immediately heads down it, though the Doctor warns her to be careful and they flirt with each other a bit.

CANTON: So what’s going on?
DOCTOR: Nothing. She’s just a friend.

I absolutely love the growing relationship between these two for reasons that I don’t have time to cover here.

The tunnels are full of aliens, but River forgets them as soon as she turns her back on them. And then she heads straight back down the tunnels.

DOCTOR: Rory, would you mind going with her?
RORY: Yes, a bit.
DOCTOR: Then I appreciate it all the more.

I also like Rory’s “British tourist” look. Shorts FTW!

Rory and River explore the mysteriously old tunnels, and as River unlocks an irresistible locked door, Rory asks what the “worse day coming” for her is.

RIVER: When I first met the Doctor, long long time ago, he knew all about me. Impressionable young girl. Think about that. This man falls out of the sky, and he’s mad and impossible and wonderful, and he knows everything about her. Imagine what that does to a girl.
RORY: I don’t think I have to.

River explains that they’re travelling in opposite directions. Some day, she’ll meet the Doctor, and he won’t know who she is, and she thinks it will kill her.

And we know it will, because we’ve seen that day.

I love her so much.

But they open the door, and though Rory can’t remember the aliens any more than anyone else can, they find a control room that shows that the tunnels run under the surface of the entire world.

Wait, Canton is gay? Nick reckons that’s the reason behind the “I just wanted to get married”/“That’s not a crime, is it?” discussion. I did not get that.

Also, a child is screaming somewhere, Canton is knocked out, and Amy is pregnant.

DAD: Well, why is that so important now?

Dad doesn’t really get “sexual tension”, thank goodness.

But the astronaut turns up, and Amy grabs Canton’s gun and shoots … what turns out to be a child.

DAD: But it’s not a real child?
ME: Well, we don’t know.
DAD: It’s too much for me, this.

Me too, Dad. Me, too.

Public Service Announcement: Season Six Doctor Who Live-blogging

Posted 2158 days ago in by Catriona

The live-blogging for season six of Doctor Who begins this weekend, as soon as we remember/bother checking whether it’s on Saturday night or Sunday night.

My parents are up this weekend, but can’t be relied upon to actually say anything funny, at least not under pressure.

But the usual peanut gallery will be back for later episodes and, hopefully, the usual commenters, too.

Remember, this season is really only half a season for now. But it does contain Neil Gaiman’s episode. Does life really have anything better to offer than that?

Okay, maybe professional success. A published novel. Babies. Puppies. Sunsets. Coffee. Sleep. Raindrops on roses et al.

But still: Neil Gaimain. Writing Doctor Who. What kind of sunset could compare to that?

Holiday Snaps Part Three: Seascape

Posted 2160 days ago in by Catriona

Holiday Snaps Part Two: Belligerent Birdlife

Posted 2161 days ago in by Catriona

Holiday Snaps Part One: Sunset

Posted 2161 days ago in by Catriona

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Fifty-Four

Posted 2168 days ago in by Catriona

ME: I wish we could get rid of that mirror at the end of the hallway.
NICK: It’s not good, is it?
ME: I can’t ever walk down there in the middle of the night without thinking, “Oh no! What if the person walking towards me in the mirror isn’t me?”
NICK: Now I’m going to worry about that.
ME: You’re doing it wrong, honey. Your job is to say, “That’s not going to happen, honey, because that’s crazy talk.”
NICK: It is crazy talk. But I’m very susceptible to crazy talk.
ME: The mirror-person’s going to get us for sure, now.

Farewelling the Old Place

Posted 2170 days ago in by Catriona

The exodus from our main teaching building began last week. When we return (if we return, in my case, I suppose), the building will be shiny new.

And we certainly need shiny-new teaching rooms—hopefully, these ones will have windows. Windows would be awesome.

But I admit to a strong fondness for the old building, where I completed my graduate degrees and met my partner. So this is just pure nostalgia, really, before the building is gutted and rebuilt.

I’ll definitely miss the mysterious but deeply ’70s ceiling decorations:

I’ll miss the funky fonts and the building’s resistance to ordinary, non-textured walls:

I’ll miss the of-its-time stairwell sculpture, which I always wanted to touch, but never did:

I’ll even miss the staircase that I feel down on more than one occasion:

Dear Michie Building: you were rather ugly in some ways, and your hallway carpeting was older than I am. But you have a certain charm, for all that. Let’s hope they don’t strip all of that away from you.

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Fifty-Three

Posted 2174 days ago in by Catriona

NICK: Why don’t you appreciate my singing?
ME: It’s not your … strongest skill.
NICK: I appreciate your diplomacy, but I’m going to keep singing anyway.
ME: And so you should!
NICK: A man’s reach must exceed his grasp, Treena.
ME: I’ve never understood that phrase, but it does explain why you keep dropping things.

Early Morning Nostalgia For A Mostly Plastic Childhood: Part Three

Posted 2179 days ago in by Catriona

Early Morning Nostalgia For A Mostly Plastic Childhood: Part Two

Posted 2179 days ago in by Catriona

Early Morning Nostalgia For A Mostly Plastic Childhood: Part One

Posted 2179 days ago in by Catriona

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Fifty-Two

Posted 2179 days ago in by Catriona

ME (shouting from the study to the kitchen): Nick, are you mocking my taste in music?
NICK (shouting back from the kitchen): No!
ME: Then why are you singing “Scarborough Fair” in a broad Somerset accent?
(Pause)
NICK: I’m just amusing myself. It’s all a bit of fun. Unrelated! No one got hurt.

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Fifty-One

Posted 2180 days ago in by Catriona

ME: Honey? Am I allowed to buy things on iTunes when you’re not here?
NICK: Of course! Ours is a shared harvest.
ME: You don’t get my stuff. Also? I ate your cashews.
NICK: Fair enough.

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Fifty

Posted 2180 days ago in by Catriona

ME: Nick, please don’t make your “Why did I shack up with someone with a uterus?” face.
NICK: It’s not that face! That face is completely different!

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