So, Dr Who is off with a swing. It took its time, though. It’s good to be thrown into the middle of the action … but it helps to know why we’re meant to care first. Last week’s episode wasn’t really the start to a series; it should have been about three quarters of the way through, having previously introduced Amy + Rory + River to any new viewers. It’s nice to have my intelligence respected by a TV producer who expects me to work it out, but if I was a new viewer starting from scratch, I expect I’d have got about halfway through “The impossible astronaut” before turning off out of irritation. Hey look, they’re all upset that their friend’s dead. But he’s not! Oh, he’s a younger version. So why not tell him what happened anyway? Since when did this guy, of all guys, pay close attention to the sacrosanctity of the timelines?
But that was a blip. Last week was worth persevering with and this week we strike gold, with creepy tensions and some laugh-out-loud moments, the first of which was River’s means of not dying by falling from the fiftieth floor of a building. And the mystery of finding out who the little girl is will keep me more hooked than the weird crack in the wall from last year.
The Moff does have a few leitmotifs up his sleeve that he likes to reuse, doesn’t he? Decaying, creepy locations, possibly with cryptic messages scrawled on the wall. Inscrutable aliens who are nasty because they’re scary and inscrutable but not very good at explaining their motives. Small children in danger. The inability of two people to have a simple conversation going: “look, please can you explain what’s going on?” / “Why, certainly. As you can see, I’m in this spacesuit …” He’s good at juggling them but he doesn’t have that many opportunities to use them left before they start being boring …
So, as the late Nicholas Courtney’s most famous character would have said, onwards!