Huh... thought there were more people in this picture... || note
"We're not fighting an alien invasion, we're leading a revolution."Three months later.
— The Doctor
Amy is running desperately across a stark red valley, a pen dangling from her neck on a chain and black tally marks covering her whole body. She's in the Valley of the Gods, Utah. Behind Amy are three black cars. She desperately tries to outrun them, but when she comes to a relatively minor slope, she's forced to stop. Canton Everett Delaware III comes out of the car, carrying a body bag. Amy pleads with him not to kill her. Can he even remember why he's doing this? Can't he remember the night at the warehouse?
Amy can. We see a flashback of her missing the astronaut with the girl inside. We see Rory and River desperately trying to escape, and the Doctor pulling Canton along. He had urged Canton to look behind him, where a Silent — the suit-clad aliens — had been standing in plain sight. The flashback is abruptly finished with the sound of a gunshot. In the present, Amy falls to the ground, apparently dead.
Location: Area 51. In the centre of a hanger sits a chained man, bearded and surrounded by black bricks. The Doctor. He's approached by Canton, who drops a photo of Amy before him. He says her whole body was covered in marks, and would he mind explaining why? The Doctor asks Canton to ask her himself, and the agent just looks at him darkly. For a moment, a flicker of sadness passes the Time Lord's face, but he seems far too preoccupied in investigating the bricks. They're encasing him in dwarf star alloy, the densest material in the universe. The perfect prison. "But it still won't be enough!"
Location: New York. At the top of a skyscraper still being built, River Song walks worried among the building material, her face full of fear. Something else moves among the cloth. A horrible finger, a suit, all glimpses of the Silence. River takes the pen, drawing a tally mark on her arm. "I see
Canton comes bursting in with armed agents, guns drawn, asking her to surrender. She babbles about how they're everywhere, across the whole country. The FBI agent replies sarcastically: of course, invisible aliens are invading America. But River knows it's worse than that. They've been here a long time, and America is occupied. It doesn't matter, of course, because Delaware has cornered her at last, and there's no way to escape. River just smiles knowingly at Canton, backs up, and drops gracefully out of a window. It's probably not
the maddest thing she's done, nor the first
(or last) time she does it either.
Location: On top of Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona. Rory runs desperately, his body covered in markings too. He is quickly surrounded by Canton's men. He's told to run — it'll look better if he's shot while running. Rory just stands there, on the brink of tears, when he's shot dead.
Location: Area 51. The black prison around the Doctor is nearly complete. Canton pulls in the body bags containing Amy and Rory and takes the time to goad and lecture the Doctor. His companions are captured and dead, River jumped off the 50th floor of a building and he is encased in the densest material in the known universe. Behind him, the door to the prison shuts. It's completely sound proof. "So I guess they won't be able to hear us."
The Doctor and Canton smile at each other. The Doctor slips out of his chains, and Amy and Rory claw their ways out of the body bags.
The Doctor leans on an invisible shape, snaps his finger, and the interior of the TARDIS bursts into view. They're all quickly ushered into the vehicle, but Canton still has questions: what about River, who dove off a building?
He lands the TARDIS sideways on the building, telling Rory and Amy to open the doors to the swimming pool. River gracefully falls down, dropping through the ship's doors with a splash. A few minutes later, the group reassembles on the TARDIS bridge, and they begin to collect information. Does the Doctor have a plan? He does indeed, and the TARDIS lands before Cape Canaveral, a rocket proudly filling the horizon. River is dubious. Apollo 11 is his plan?
We see a car driving through the rain as it pulls up at an old abandoned looking house. Inside are Canton and Amy, who hold up their hands and check something. With apparently nothing to worry about, Amy exits the car, with Canton following just behind.
Flashback to the TARDIS, where Canton's hand is stung by one of the Doctor's devices. He's dancing around, stinging everyone, much to their protest. He explains that it's a recorder, linked right to your brain so it will always pick up your words. You can activate it and record whatever you see when a Silent appears; your palm will blink red if you've left a message. Impressed, Canton straightens the Doctor's bow tie. Everyone stares at him. Canton sees that his hand blinks red.
Perturbed, he presses the message. It relays the last few minutes: Canton's shocked exclamation of "how did it get in here?", the Doctor telling him to turn around and straighten his bow tie... Canton looks back, and there the Silent is. Menacing as always. It's just a hologram, though, copied from the picture on Amy's phone. Nobody can remember what it looks like even after seeing it. The Doctor also explains that anything you're told to do when you see the alien will stick with you, as a form of post-hypnotic suggestion. That is how the Silence controls the world.
He drops Amy and Canton off to try to find where the unknown little girl was taken from, while the rest of them go off to NASA. At the orphanage, they discover that the place looks more and more like it belongs in a horror movie. The man running the place is confused and distracted, and doesn't even seem to know what year it is. On the wall, large red messages are scrawled; "LEAVE ME ALONE" and "GET OUT". Canton goes to talk to the man, while Amy begins investigating, briefly calling the Doctor (who's broken into Apollo 11) to say they think they've found the place. She wanders into an old dorm room where empty beds line the wall. The door closes behind her with a thud
. She turns around quickly, desperately trying to open the door, which is locked. Then she notices that her palm is glowing red.
She listens to the message; they're here, they're asleep, just get out. She turns around quickly, and when her reflection is illuminated in the glass by lightning, she sees her entire face covered in black markings from her own pen. She turns around quickly and finds the Silence, hanging from the ceiling like bats, menacing even in sleep. She finally makes her escape, but the moment she's in the hallways, she shakes herself, unable to remember what just happened. She wanders down the hallways and sees a door. A hatch opens up; bright light shines through, framing the face of woman with an eye patch
. "No, I think she's dreaming," the woman's voice says.
Amy runs up to it, just as the hatch closes. She opens the door but finds nothing but an child's empty room on the other side. Furthermore, there's nothing on the door but smooth wood. Perturbed, she wanders around. The desk is lined with photographs of a little girl, from every age from baby to toddler to six years old. And a picture of Amy, holding a newborn baby.
The astronaut comes into the room. Amy, now seriously frightened, begs for an explanation. She's sorry she tried to shoot the little girl, but she knows she shot — will shoot
— the Doctor. The girl only asks once again to be saved, and then the Silent comes into the room.
At NASA, the Doctor had been captured for breaking into Apollo 11, fiddling with the wiring and basically breaking the law. He claims that he's on a mission from the president, but his captors aren't exactly believing him. Until Nixon walks into the room, River and Rory at his sides. He congratulates the men for their good work and dedication to America, and says what fine work the Doctor is doing, even if he is confused by what exactly that work is. The Doctor is set free, and cheerfully leaves. Oh, and Rory manages to break a scale model of the lunar module and can't feign an American accent.
Canton is in an office, asking the forgetful orphanage man questions. He barely seems to know why he's here. He knows that he must take care of the girl, because "that's important. Yes". He talks to someone through a crack in the door, but when Canton asks who, the man has forgotten what just happened. A Silent comes in, and Canton subtly turns on the recorder in his hand, and begins asking the creature questions. How long have they been here? Do they have weapons?
Turns out that they've been here for a long time. A long, long time. Since humans discovered fire, since we developed the wheel, they have been here, and have manipulated us since. They don't even need weapons. They just take the technology of whatever culture they're leeching off, and implant post-hypnotic suggestions to steer innovation into the right direction. And right now, what they need more than anything is a space suit, though it'll be a while before we find out why. So they steered humankind towards the moon.
Canton hears Amy scream in the background, and decides that Americans do
need weapons. He shoots the Silent and runs after Amy. He hears her screaming behind the door, and is about to break it down, before the Doctor appears and opens it with the sonic screwdriver. They burst through, but find Amy nowhere in sight, although her screams fill the whole room. The astronaut's spacesuit lies on the ground, ripped open. On the ground, a little red light flashes. They pulled the chip out of the hand, and the feed is still going live; they can hear Amy screaming and pleading. Rory vows that he will save her, and that she knows he will, because Amy should always know.
To track her down they investigate the spacesuit, which seems constructed as a life support system for a human girl, albeit one who is strong enough to break out of it herself. Rory, holding the chip, listens to Amy's screams, wishing he could help her. Now she's talking, as if she knows someone who's listening. She says she loves "you" — whom, Rory doesn't know — even though "you" think it should be the other one. But oh, what she would give to see his stupid face again! Her life was so horrible, so boring before he dropped out of the sky...
The Doctor comes to console him, saying that he's doing everything he can to find Amy, but if they don't defeat the Silence it could happen again. They have to drive the Romans out of Rome, figuratively. Of course, Rome fell, but then the Doctor knew that. He was there. But then again, so was Rory. He can still remember, all those years, waiting by the Pandorica for Amy. Not all the time, since he manages to lock the memories away when they're too painful. But 2000 years still rattle inside his brain.
Back in Area 51, the wounded Silent has been imprisoned in the Doctor's old cell. Canton has got a doctor to treat it, even though that doctor can't remember doing so. The Silent is confused. Why do they help him? Canton records everything on Amy's video phone as the creature rants, "You should kill us all on sight! But you won't remember."
Meanwhile, Amy is being kept hostage in a spaceship that looks suspiciously like the one from "The Lodger"
. The Silence say she's been there for "many days", but she can't remember any of it. One thing she does know is that they are in trouble now, because wait until they see who's coming. True to her words, she's barely finished speaking before the magnificent "VWORP, VWORP
" of the Doctor's ship fills the air. The Doctor, Rory and River spill out, confident as ever. The Doctor boasts to the Silence that if they attack, River will shoot them dead, if she isn't too busy flirting with him, of course. Have they seen what's on telly? It's the moon landing, about to occur in less than five minutes. One of the most famous pieces of film in human history, so famous that every human from this day forward will look back on it in with pride and awe.
On the television, Neil Armstrong steps out. The Doctor calls Canton, who connects Amy's phone to a device. On the screen appears the film of the captured Silent: "You should kill us all on sight!" It's repeated and repeated, while across the world everyone sees the clip, promptly forgetting it. But the suggestion remains. Everyone has been ordered by post-hypnotic suggestion to kill any Silent they see. The Silence signed their own death warrant
Of course, they don't take to that very kindly, and promptly begin to attack. River begins shooting the hell out of them, while Rory desperately tries to break Amy free of her shackles. It's no use, and Amy tells him to get his "big stupid face" out of there. Suddenly, Rory realises that it was
him she was talking about. The Doctor releases Amy using his screwdriver, and they make their escape under the cover of River's gun.
Canton is dropped off again in Nixon's office, and the Doctor tells Nixon that Canton wants to get married. Nixon is quite happy to defy people's expectations of him and be open-minded towards Canton. He suspects that Canton's partner is black. He didn't
expect that it would also be a man. The moon is far enough for now, Nixon comments with some shock, and Canton's marriage plans will have to be postponed a few more decades.
Once in the TARDIS, Amy tells Rory that he's a moron: of course it's him she loves. He challenges her about the "dropped out of the sky" line, and she tells him she was talking metaphorically.
They drop River off at the Stormcage prison, and she and the Doctor flirt some more. Finally, River pulls him in for a kiss. He reciprocates after a moment, looking rather flustered and confused, and extremely undecided on where to put his hands. (He settles on hiding them behind his back.) River says he's acting like they've never done that before. "We haven't"
, he replies. As the Doctor backs away in the TARDIS, he says there's a first time for everything. The ship de-materialises, and River simply looks mournful. "And a last."
On-board, the Doctor and Amy have a heartfelt conversation. How is she? Amy says she can't quite remember everything (the most significant "everything" being what she saw in the child's room), but the Doctor isn't talking about that. Her pregnancy. Then Amy says that it was a false alarm, but that's still
not what the Doctor is talking about. Why did she tell him, but not Rory? Below, Rory listens via the microphone to Amy's voice. Amy explains that she was afraid that having done all this time travel while pregnant would affect the fetus. What if it had three heads? Or a Time Head? So that's what she wanted to ask a few months ago
"Oi, stupid face." Rory looks surprised, and comes out of hiding. Turns out they knew he was listening, and he really shouldn't spy on them. Rory accepts that, but come on, he's a nurse. He's good
with pregnancies. Glad that they're all settled, the Doctor asks, what should they do next? Find the mysterious little girl? Or go and have wacky adventures? He settles for wacky adventures, pausing just briefly to have the TARDIS scan Amy to see if she's pregnant. The screen says positive. Then negative. Then positive again. Positivenegativepositivenegative...
"Six Months Later." Cut to a dark back alley, where a homeless man wanders around looking for food. The girl from the astronaut suit appears out of the shadows, clutching her chest. The man looks concerned, and asks the little girl if she's all right. She's just dying. But that's okay, because she can fix it.
She holds out her hands, which begin to glow. The man runs away in a panic as the the girl's whole form is engulfed in orange light, and she explodes with the full force of regeneration.
- Action Girl: River Song.
- Action Prologue: Our heroes running for their lives through scenic parts of America.
- Alien Invasion: "It's not an invasion. It's an occupation."
- Alone With Prisoner Ploy: At Area 51, Canton Delaware walls the Doctor up in a "perfect prison" from which no sound or particle can escape. Which of course is what the Doctor wants.
- Aluminium Christmas Trees: Many fan reviews referred to Canton's desire to marry his partner as "anachronistic", argued that this wouldn't even have occurred to someone in 1969, and so on... but the episode is set only ten months before a gay couple did apply to be legally married.
- Apocalyptic Log: The messages from Amy's transmitter.
- Arc Words: "Silence will fall."
- Area 51: Where the Doctor is kept prisoner.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: River and the Doctor.
- Badass Back: River.
- Badass Beard: The Doctor grows one during his time in Area 51.
- Badass Boast:
The Doctor: You're building me the perfect prison. And it still won't be enough.
Silent: This world is ours. We have ruled it since the wheel and the fire. We have no need of weapons.
- Badass Bystander: The entire human race ends up becoming this.
- Badass Gay: Canton.
- Batman Gambit:
- That Silent really should have chosen its words more carefully.
- River's "suicide" can be seen this way. She jumps with the knowledge that Canton will tell the Doctor what she did, thus enabling the Doctor to save her through time travel. This is a habit of hers.
- Beam Spam: River goes Death Blossom at the finale.
- Betty and Veronica: The Doctor and Rory again. Amy chose Rory again.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Eleven in a nutshell.
- Big Damn Heroes: The TARDIS and crew arrive right in the Silence's inner sanctum just when they think they've won. Of course.
- Bond One-Liner:
- "Welcome to America."
- "Love a tomb."
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Poor Dr. Renfrew, because his mind was continually addled by the Silence ordering him around. He even tries to warn himself with writing on the walls but he doesn't understand the message.
- Buffy Speak: The Doctor did a "clever thing" to Apollo 11.
- Call Back:
- Canton's shooting of the Silent proves the truth behind the Doctor's fear from the previous episode, that yes, Americans do think they can just shoot you.
- As the Doctor remarks, the Silence's ship is the same sort seen abandoned in "The Lodger".
- Casual Danger Dialog: River and the Doctor repeatedly do this.
Amy: Is this really important flirting? Because I feel I should be higher on the list.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Amy's phone from the previous episode becomes this.
- The TARDIS' invisibility circuit, also introduced in the previous episode. It ends up coming in handy when the Doctor and Canton need a way to sneak the TARDIS into the military's dwarf star alloy prison.
- Ceiling Cling: The Silence hang upside-down from the ceiling in the orphanage, in an early contender for "Most disturbing thing seen this season".
- Combat Pragmatist: Canton. Also, River.
- Continuity Nod:
- The Doctor uses the Silence's Exact Words against them, a trick he picked up from the Daleks.
- The Doctor tells the Silence he is going to give them a chance to surrender and flee, then tells them he is just joking, because it isn't Christmas. Also likely a reference to "A Christmas Carol".
- The Doctor flashes back to the phrase "Silence will fall" said by Prisoner Zero in "The Eleventh Hour" as well as the appearance of the control room in "The Lodger".
- Flashing back to an arc phrase being a device previously used in Series 1 with "Bad Wolf".
- Canton boasts the Doctor will be contained in the perfect prison, which is the same way the Pandorica was described.
- The prison is made of bricks of dwarf-star alloy, as was Rorvik's slave ship in the 4th Doctor's story "Warriors' Gate". It was used for its property of being able to contain time-sensitives (Tharils in that case). The same material is also used to make the chains with which the Tenth Doctor bound up Father of Mine in "The Family of Blood".
- Rory remembers his 2000-year penance as the Centurion guarding the Pandorica, and tells the Doctor he is doing the same thing now, persuading him to go and rescue Amy.
- A character is in an old, abandoned house whose walls contain messages, as in "Blink".
- As in the Eighth Doctor book Alien Bodies, one of the TARDIS crew jumps out of a window in a tall building and relies on the TARDIS being in the right place and time to catch them. River seems to be making a habit of this.
- The Doctor mentions he was there when the Roman Empire fell; we know he was at least there when Nero burned it down.
- River tells The Doctor that he should use his sonic screwdriver to put up some cabinets. In "The Doctor Dances", The Doctor defends his sonic screwdriver by saying "Never had a long night? Never had a lot of cabinets to put up?"
- And River swan-dives into the swimming pool. We actually get to see the swimming pool in the first episode of "The Invasion of Time". Even better, it contained Leela.
- The reason the girl was calling Nixon is because the alien tech in her suit had a default setting to broadcast distress calls to the highest authority it could find. This is similar to other concepts Moffat has used (such as the om-com in "The Empty Child", the Clockwork Robots' behaviour in "The Girl in the Fireplace"), and the spaceship in "The Lodger", where apparently nonsensical behaviour is explained by malfunctioning alien tech being Literal-Minded.
- Cool Car: The Jeeps.
- Cool Spaceship: The Saturn V rocket and Apollo 11.
- Creepy Child: The girl. Of course, she isn't necessarily bad. We think.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: River vs. the Silence. Game, set, match.
- Damsel in Distress: Amy is kidnapped. And thanks to the nano-recorder they leave behind, the others can still hear her.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mark Sheppard, as usual:
(Amy and Rory pop out of body bags)
Rory: These things could do with some air holes.
Canton: Never had any complaints before.
- Distressed Dude: The Doctor is chained up in Area 51.
- Don't Be Ridiculous:
River: Apollo 11 is your secret weapon?
The Doctor: No, no; it's not Apollo 11. That would be silly. It's Neil Armstrong's foot.
- Eagleland: There is an awful lot of gun-play in this episode....
- Easily Conquered World: The Silence's ability to mind-wipe people meant that this essentially happened. They didn't even have to bring weapons.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Eventually River is just twirling around and firing seemingly at random. But still hitting her targets.
- Exact Words:
- The Doctor assures Nixon that people will never forget him... then adds "Say hello to David Frost for me". Nixon doesn't really look reassured.
- The Silents end up being defeated when one of them proclaims "You should kill us all on sight!" unaware it was being filmed, which then becomes a post-hypnotic suggestion to the entire human race when the Doctor broadcasts it over the Moon landing.
- Canton really was kicked out of the FBI for wanting to get married. To a man.
- Faking the Dead: Canton smuggles Amy and Rory into the Doctor's cell in body bags.
- First Kiss / Last Kiss: The Doctor's first to River. River assumes that it's her last to the Doctor. (It's not.)
- Five-Man Band: The Doctor and his companions officially become one in this episode (a rather rare occurrence in this show) as River and Canton briefly join to main trio for the fight against the Silence.
- Flirting Under Fire: The Doctor and River, to Amy's annoyance.
- Genre Savvy:
- Our heroes put tally marks on their bodies so they can track their encounters with the Silence.
- Canton really is a "Why don't you just shoot him?" kind of guy.
- The Greys: The Silence are basically just your standard Greys mixed with pure horror.
- He Cleans Up Nicely: The consensus seems to be that Rory looked pretty damn good in his '60s-FBI attire.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: We still don't know why the Silence monkeyed with the TARDIS in series 5.
- Historical-Domain Character: Richard Nixon
- Historical In-Joke:
- The Doctor tells Nixon to tape everything that happens in his office as it's the only way to be sure he hasn't been compromised by the aliens. He apparently kept following the Doctor's advice even after the episode.
- He also tells him about all the horrible things in the universe that would love to destroy Earth, and that we will never truly be safe. Nixon was quite well known for being paranoid.
- And his parting words to Nixon: "Say hello to David Frost for me".
- Another one: the audio glitch in the moon landing transmission of "One small step for man..." was caused by the Doctor splicing in his secret message. Of course, you don't remember the aliens' "you should kill us all on sight" message when you view the landing transmission on YouTube because you're supposed to forget completely about them the moment you look away.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Silents have been controlling humanity using hypnotic suggestion, which the Doctor ends up using to persuade humanity to kill them.
- Hollywood Density: The dwarf star alloy is said to be the densest material in the universe. Fair enough, white dwarf stars are among the densest objects in the universe, only beaten by neutron stars and black holes. So there's no way two people could move those bricks, as they would weigh thousands of tons. Presumably, it's an alloy.
- Human Notepad: The tally marks used to note any encounters.
- Irony: One line of River's dialogue, in light of "A Good Man Goes to War."
River: My old fella didn't see that, did he? He gets ever so cross.
- Magnificent Bastard: Canton plays the entire Secret Service like a fiddle, even tricking them into helping the Doctor escape. Then again, Mark Sheppard has some experience in that department.
- Meaningful Name: Renfrew → Renfield, the brainwashed sycophant to Dracula in Bram Stoker's opus.
- The Men in Black: The episode opens with our heroes being hunted down by government agents in black suits and dark glasses and taken to Area 51 to keep the aliens secret. The aliens themselves have many MIB-ish qualities, and can probably be assumed to be the in-universe inspiration for the trope.
- Military Salute: Going hand-in-hand with his inability to fake an American accent, Rory salutes the NASA scientists using the British style of saluting, not the American style.
- Mind Screw: The Eye-Patch Lady.
- Mysterious Waif: The girl.
- Nightmare Face: The Silents. Sweet Jesus...
Amy: You're ugly. Has anyone ever mentioned that to you?
- Noodle Incident: Apparently they scouted every state in the three months they were running from the FBI. We still don't know how long the Doctor was a prisoner, how he got the TARDIS there... and why was Rory at a dam, of all places?
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