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Recap / Doctor Who S31 E1 "The Eleventh Hour"

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The Eleventh Doctor is in.
Amy: Twelve years! And four psychiatrists!
The Doctor: Four?
Amy: I kept biting them.
The Doctor: Why?
Amy: They said you weren't real.

Original air date: April 3, 2010

The One With… the fish fingers and custard and a crack in the wall, the one where the TARDIS crash lands in a garden after suffering through a round of intergalactic ping-pong with Big Ben, and the one where the bowtie comes back after over 40 years.

Written by Steven Moffat.

Last time, David Tennant exploded into a new regeneration and set the TARDIS on fire following the Tenth Doctor's final battle with the Master and Rassilon. This time, we begin where we left off - the TARDIS is rapidly crashing towards London with Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, hanging off of it for dear life. He scrambles back in and manages to crash-land the TARDIS in a sleepy English village — after narrowly avoiding being impaled time-spheres first on Big Ben.

A little Scottish girl is praying to Santa that he will send someone to just fix that creepy crack in the wall. She's interrupted by the sound of a police telephone box parking itself in her garden... on its side... where the (now very much broken) shed used to be, having apparently smashed the shed on impact.

The little girl (Caitlin Blackwood) runs to the window and peers out. Surprisingly, she isn't shocked to see a TARDIS has crashed sideways into her auntie's garden shed. Like any good protagonist, she runs outside and witnesses the newly-regenerated Doctor climbing out, sopping wet (he got stuck in the library, and so did the swimming pool). Totally normal, he insists — it's the Doctor; that's probably true! The little girl, Amelia Pond, is charmed, and lets the Doctor in because she hopes he'll fix the scary wall crack.

He's still in the middle of regeneration trauma, but it doesn't involve comas this time around. He does have serious food cravings, though. Amelia obligingly fills the Doctor's various requests, only to have him reject all the offerings in favour of... fish fingers with custard.

The Doctor remarks on how normal the kid is acting, given how scary most other kids would find this situation. Must be one hell of a scary crack in her wall, he opines. The pair trek upstairs (notice that creepy door), where the Doctor investigates the wall and eventually decides to sonic it open, so as to figure out what's behind it.

So he opens it, and they stare into an alien prison cell. A booming voice repeats "PRISONER ZERO HAS ESCAPED." A giant eyeball — the Atraxi — eyeballs them and the crack closes and heals completely. Well, not quite. See, Prisoner Zero has escaped through the crack at some point without being noticed, and is around here... somewhere.

But before the Doctor can work on that, he hears the Cloister Bell, the TARDIS' signature Oh, Crap! signal. That means the ship is in trouble, so the Doctor rushes out and determines that he needs to take the TARDIS on a quick trip to stabilise her, but don't worry, "Give me five minutes, I'll be right back." Amelia notes that "People always say that." After a quick talk, the Doctor Indianas down into the control — oh wait, back into the library/swimming pool. The doors shut and the TARDIS vworps away. Amelia runs back inside (notice the creepy door is ajar) and starts packing.

She finally finishes and runs (notice the creepy door is wide open) back into the garden. She waits. And waits.

It's daytime when the Doctor vworps back into her garden, in a dead rush: he's figured out where Prisoner Zero is. "Amelia!" He sonics his way into her house and sprints upstairs. "Amelia!" And that's when he meets a cricket bat.

Meanwhile, in a hospital, a nurse called Rory is insistent that his comatose patients are walking and talking. He's brought his supervisor along, saying that they were asking for her, but what they're really saying, all of them, is "Doctor". Rory asks his supervisor to just take a look at his camera phone evidence, but she instead tells him to take a few days off.

Back at the country house, the Doctor wakes up, cuffed to a radiator. A woman, made of legs and clad in a rather risqué police uniform, is standing over him, apparently calling for backup. Amelia hasn't lived here in a long time, she says. The Doctor piques her interest in... a creepy door she's never noticed before.

"Don't go in there!" the Doctor protests. He gets ignored. She goes in — it's totally ordinary. Run down and filthy, but ordinary all the same. Until she sees the sonic screwdriver, which had been mysteriously missing when the Doctor woke up from his meeting with the cricket bat. It's in the secret room, lying in a puddle of goo. Which could totally be explained by having rolled under the door. If it wasn't on the table…

The Doctor tells the woman to get out of there. But she, displaying fine companion reflexes, ignores him, and dawdles enough to catch a glimpse of a scary blue snake-piranha creature. Then she flees. The Doctor gets his screwdriver back, but the system is messed up from that goo. And to make things better, a creepy figure inexplicably bursts out of the room. It's a bloke with a dog. But the creature is still just one being, and it's getting its mouths mixed up. The man is barking at them.

The Doctor technobabbles and bluffs, until he manages to get his sonic screwdriver working again, at which point he and his erstwhile captor bust a move. But the TARDIS won't let him in because it's repairing itself, and... that's when he notices that the wooden shed he destroyed the night he met Amelia has been rebuilt. About twelve years ago. Incredulous, he turns to the young woman beside him, and realizes, long after most of the viewers already figured it out, that she is Amelia, all grown up. And not a police officer at all, but a professional kissogram. And very cross at him for making her wait for two-thirds of her life.

They walk over to the village centre, and all the speakers in the area are spawning the same message in every language — "PRISONER ZERO WILL VACATE THE HUMAN RESIDENCE OR THE HUMAN RESIDENCE WILL BE INCINERATED". But if all they want is for Prisoner Zero to come out of the house, why is the message broadcasting in the village, and around the world? Unless by "residence" they mean "planet". Amelia (now going by Amy) takes the Doctor to a neighbour's home, where the Doctor gets recognised by a guy called Jeff as Amy's infamous imaginary friend. The Doctor decides to get back into the open, trying to figure something out. At which point the aliens block out the Sun, and then turn the block transparent to make a force field. People take pictures and Facebook their mates without realising they're going to die in twenty minutes and counting.

The Doctor gets his memory working overtime: he saw something weird a second ago. When the sun went out, everyone was photographing the sky... everyone except Rory, who was photographing Barking Man with Dog. It turns out that the man looks exactly like one of his coma patients, and this isn't the first time this has happened. He's gathering photographic evidence to prove he's not insane. He's also Amy's boyfriend, and absolutely speechless at suddenly seeing her imaginary friend come to life. She always made him dress up as the Doctor when they played as kids, she went through four psychiatrists trying to get over her childhood experience, and now he's here and a bit too busy to have a chat and explain everything.

The Atraxi scope the area, but blowing stuff up just won't grab their attention, and the Doctor accidentally fries the sonic screwdriver in the process. So, the guard wanders off and Barking Man with Dog decides to melt away and travel via the drains, heading to the hospital in its true form of snake-piranha, where Rory's supervisor is still checking on the creepy patients.

Amy and Rory have to hurry to the hospital. Rory explains that the monster has taken the shape of his coma patient, and apparently shapeshifting abominations need psychic links to living beings. Therefore, it will go to the hospital for more prey and more disguises. The Doctor steals Rory's phone and Jeff's laptop. Which contains lots of implied porn. "Blimey! Get a girlfriend, Jeff!"

The Doctor quickly writes a harmless virus designed to grab the aliens' attention on the phone, hacks into the international red alert conference call, quickly proves how much of a genius he is and makes Jeff convince the world's nations to implement the virus while he runs off with the phone again. "Oh, and delete your Internet history."

Amy and Rory arrive at the hospital to find chaos. They phone the Doctor to tell him, then run upstairs, as Amy still looks like a police officer (admittedly slightly Stripperific), which gets them in. Once in the ICU, we learn that the Doctor has nicked a fire engine and that a woman and her daughters have escaped from the creature unscathed. One problem — the wrong mouths are spouting the wrong voices again. Amy and Rory back away slowly, and the alien realizes its mistake. Rory and Amy run to the actual ward, and the Doctor arrives with barely a second to spare, crashing in through the window with the fire engine's ladder.

That computer virus has infected everything in the world. Every screen shows "0". Now the Atraxi know that Prisoner Zero is here. And now they're tracking the signal to Rory's phone. The Doctor promptly thwarts the prisoner by SMSing all the photos Rory has taken of Prisoner Zero's coma patient disguises to the Atraxi.

Prisoner Zero switches to a different disguise. Since it needs months of proximity to build up a connection to a physical memory, it's able to disguise itself as the memory of little Amelia and her "Raggedy Doctor". The Doctor sees his new face for the first time. Amy faints and the Doctor and Rory rush to her. The Doctor convinces comatose Amy to fight the monster's mental link by remembering its true form, which she saw behind the scary door. It works.

The Atraxi arrest Prisoner Zero via white light beams, but not before Prisoner Zero leaves the Doctor with a cryptic warning: The Pandorica will open, and silence will fall. As the aliens leave, the Doctor gets quite angry with them and demands that they come back (Rory has some issues with this), to discuss why they just seriously violated the Shadow Proclamation's ethics codes and threatened to blow up a Level 5 civilization. They head back to the hospital, where the Doctor, deciding to ditch the Tenth Doctor's now-ruined outfit, raids the hospital locker room for a new wardrobe. As per usual.

After stripping and changing in front of his new companions (which Amy doesn't exactly mind), he makes it onto the roof and starts Talking the Monster to Death while trying to decide on a new tie.

He questions the Atraxi — is Earth a threat? Is it a criminal planet? Does it violate the Guard planet's own laws?note  And finally: is it defended? And by whom?note  The eyeball visualizes images of various Who monsters note  and the preceding incarnations of the Doctornote . The Eleventh Doctor steps through the projections shown (more precisely, Matt Smith symbolically steps through David Tennant's face), his new outfit now complete with a bow tie and tweed jacket, and tells the Atraxi to run. For once, the alien threat decides to be smart and value their existence and listens to the Doctor... promptly nopes the hell out of Earth's atmosphere, and allowing them all to live.

The TARDIS is working again, with a fresh paint job, a new lamp, a Hartnell-style St. John's Ambulance Badge, and brand new desktop theme; the Doctor approves, describing it as "Oh, you sexy thing".

At night, Amy Pond wakes up, having heard the unmistakable sound of the TARDIS. She runs downstairs to meet the Doctor. He decided to keep the stolen clothes, figuring it's a reasonable reward for having saved the Earth a billion times over by now. Also, it's been two years since he last saw Amy. He thought it was a few hours. Again. She's appropriately pissed off at him for that but, regardless, he invites her to be his next companion, shows her (and us) the new console room and receives a new, green sonic screwdriver to replace the burnt out RTD-era one. Amy agrees to come with him, so long as he can have her back by tomorrow morning for an unspecified appointment. And eventually, they leave.

We're left in Amy's room, now quiet, and linger over all her childhood drawings and handmade dolls of Amy and the Doctor and the TARDIS. And then we see the wedding dress, and we begin to have an idea what Amy's appointment might be.

Meanwhile in the TARDIS: First Episode

A DVD-only extra scene. Amy asks the Doctor why his time machine is a police box seemingly made out of wood, and if that isn't a bit unsafe if it is supposed to travel through time and space. The Doctor explains that the police box is only camouflage, and explains the function of the chameleon circuit: the TARDIS automatically analyses its surroundings, carefully picks a form that allows it to blend in with the local environment... And then, every single time, it disregards that data and disguises itself as a police box from 1963, says the Doctor, while admitting that the circuit is probably broken. Amy then asks him how long it has been broken. "Oh, not long..." answers the Doctor, with a hint of embarrassment.

Amy then asks him if he really is an alien. The Doctor answers that from his point of view, she is the alien. Amy wonders if the Doctor is a space squid or a tiny slug dressed in a human suit, but, a bit offended by this, he assures her that he is just as human as he appears. Amy tells him she is done with her questions, but the Doctor tells her she's just begun; he throws a switch on the TARDIS console, opens the door and shows her outer space.

When Amy says that the space outside looks like special effects in a studio, the Doctor proves it's real by pushing her out of the TARDIS, leading into "The Beast Below".


  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade:
    Amy: Will that door hold it?
    The Doctor: Oh yeah, yeah, of course! It's an inter-dimensional multi-form from outer space; they're all terrified of wood.
  • Action Prologue: The cold opening, with the freshly regenerated Eleventh Doctor trying to keep himself from falling out of a burning, out-of-control TARDIS.
  • All There in the Manual: Steven Moffat has said in the commentary for this episode that Prisoner Zero was arrested for impersonating an army. Although, as the next thing he says is that this is ridiculous, and Rule Zero is that Moffat lies, it's debatable how canon it is.invoked
  • Apocalypse How: The Atraxi threaten to cause a Class 5-6 by incinerating the Earth via Orbital Bombardment if Prisoner Zero doesn't vacate the human residence in time.
  • Arbitrary Scepticism:
    • Rory's boss sees the coma patients talking, but still disbelieves that he saw them outside and refuses to look at his cameraphone.
    • In "Meanwhile in the TARDIS", Amy can't accept the evidence of her eyes when the Doctor opens the doors to outer space, saying it must be a hallucination or special effect. The Doctor just laughs and shoves her out the door. At the start of "The Beast Below", she's floating in space with an awed expression on her face.
  • Arc Number: Invoked; the Doctor has every single digital device in the world reset to bear the number 0. As in Prisoner Zero.
  • Arc Words: "Silence Will Fall" and "The Pandorica Will Open".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Rory: You just summoned aliens back to Earth. Actual aliens. Deadly aliens. Aliens of death... And now you're taking your clothes off.
  • Astronomic Zoom: Begins with one, although thankfully they didn't reuse the one from "Rose" again.
  • The Backwards Я: The MΨTH logo on Jeff's laptop and some of the hospital equipment.
  • Badass Boast: "Hello, I'm the Doctor. Basically... run."
  • Batter Up!: Amy with a cricket bat. Poor Doctor.
  • Big Bad: Prisoner Zero.
  • Big Damn Heroes: DUCK! [cue ladder through window]
  • Big "WHAT?!": When Amy reveals she's little Amelia all grown up, the Doctor says "what" several times, getting louder each time.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • To young Amy in the beginning:
      The Doctor: You know when the grown-ups say that everything's gonna be fine, but you think they're lying to make you feel better?
      Amelia: Yes...
      The Doctor: Everything's gonna be fine.
    • In "Meanwhile in the TARDIS", when the Doctor explains how the chameleon circuit "works":
      The Doctor: It's camouflage. It's disguised as a police telephone box from 1963. Every time the TARDIS materializes in a new location, within the first nanosecond of landing, it analyses its surroundings, calculates a 12-dimensional data map of everything within a 1000-mile radius and determines which outer shell would blend in best with the environment... And then it disguises itself as a police telephone box from 1963.
      Amy: Oh. Why?
      The Doctor: It's probably a bit of a fault, actually. I've been meaning to check.
      Amy: What, it's a police box every time?
      The Doctor: Yeah. I suppose, now you mention.
      Amy: How long has it been doing that?
      The Doctor: Oh... you know. Not long...
  • Bookends:
    • In this case, it's more like chapter ends. When we first meet Amy and she first meets the Doctor she is in her nightie, 14 years later on her first trip in the TARDIS, she is wearing a very similar nightie.
    • Amy knocking the Doctor out with a cricket bat and handcuffing him to the radiator is later revealed to be the front bookend to River punching him out and cuffing him to a pipe.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Before we find out the apparent policewoman is a grown up Amelia, Karen Gillan speaks with a very good English accent.
  • Britain Is Only London: Deliberately averted. Amy lives in a rural part of England. Moffat has said that something of a pet peeve of his during the first series was that, while they had all of time and space to play around in, they seemed to spend an awful lot of time in London.
  • Broken Bird: Amy Pond. As young Amelia she clearly has abandonment issues brewing. When the Doctor leaves her for, in his words "Five minutes" (she says that "everyone says that"), she grows up with a lingering resentment and a rather short temper. We finally see her shell start to crack when the Doctor invites her into the TARDIS for the first time, confirming that everything he told her as a child was really true.
  • Broken Record: Prisoner Zero will vacate the human residence, or the human residence will be incinerated. Repeat: Prisoner Zero will vacate the human residence, or the human residence will be incinerated. Repeat: Prisoner Zero will vacate the human residence, or the human residence will be incinerated...
  • Brought Down to Normal: The Doctor has no TARDIS, no sonic, and only twenty minutes to save the world from the Atraxi.
  • The Cameo: The Patrick Moore. Who is apparently a Dirty Old Man.
  • Captain Obvious: "Do you know what the crack is? ...It's a crack!"
  • Chaste Hero: The Doctor is completely oblivious to the fact that Amy's "policewoman" outfit is much more Stripperiffic than a real one would be. It turns out to be a kissogram costume.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The smiley face apple Amelia gives the Doctor later gets used to convince her to help him out by proving that he really was gone for just a few minutes.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Both the man with the dog and the woman with the children are shown as coma patients early in the episode before Prisoner Zero takes their form.
  • Chekhov's Skill: As much as being a kissogram can be considered a skill. The costume is useful when she needs to gain entry to an otherwise-inaccessible wing of the hospital.
  • Clothing Damage: In-between regenerating and the opening of this episode, the Doctor's lost the suit jacket, and spends most of the rest of the episode looking beaten up, until he gets fed up with the "raggedy" look.
  • Clothesline Stealing: A variant. After Eleven gets tired of being called "the raggedy Doctor", due to wearing the remains of Ten's outfit, he steals clothes from the hospital changing room, including a vast selection of ties, to create an ensemble he likes. Rory and Amy call him out on this, and he calls the theft fair in exchange for saving the Earth.
  • Cool Starship: Giant flying crystal snowflake starships with a giant eyeball?
  • Compressed Hair: Amy reveals her impressive red hair from under her police hat during The Reveal that she's not a policewoman who's arrested the Doctor, but a kissogram in a police costume.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The montage of previous monsters and all ten previous Doctors, before the Doctor tells the latest alien to "Run".
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: The Doctor rejects the perfectly good food Amelia offers up, and opts for custard and fish fingers instead. It has rapidly undergone a Memetic Mutation with many anecdotes online of what this actually tastes like (with varying results). It's ironic since the fish fingers used in the scene were merely cakes breaded in coconut.
  • Creator Provincialism: Steven Moffat set the first episode of his tenure in rural England because he noted how the majority of the previous era was set in London.
  • Creepy Child: Prisoner Zero as little Amelia is surprisingly effective.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Jeff gets a speech from the Doctor exhorting him to "be magnificent" in order to save the world.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Doctor's in fine form this episode.
    • "Oh yeah, yeah of course! It's an interdimensional multiform from outer space; they're all terrified of wood."
    • "Oh that's good, fantastic that is. Twenty minutes to save the world and I have a post office. [looks at it] AND IT'S SHUT!"
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Rory, apropos the Atraxi.
    Rory: You just summoned aliens back to Earth. Actual aliens. Deadly aliens. Aliens of death.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The Doctor has an Oh, Crap! moment when, after fleeing Amy's house, he hears the Atraxi message broadcasting on every communications device, and realises "human residence" means the entire planet.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Or, rather, triple. "Eleventh hour" is an idiom meaning "in the nick of time", it's the Eleventh Doctor's first episode, and the episode itself is an hour long.
  • Dying as Yourself: An odd forced inversion, in which the Doctor convinces Amy to dream of Prisoner Zero's true form so the Atraxi will recognise it.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Amy doesn't take her eyes off the Doctor changing clothes.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    The Doctor: You're not the first lot to have come here. Oh, there have been so many. And what you have to ask yourself is... what happened to them?
    [the Atraxi shows pictures of the previous known incarnations of the Doctor, finishing with an image of the Tenth Doctor through which the Eleventh Doctor then steps]
    The Doctor: Hello. I'm the Doctor. Basically... run.
    • While to a certain extent all Doctors are bit nutty just after regenerating, the scene in which Eleven gets to know his new taste buds is quite a good summary of his character.
  • Establishing Series Moment: Whereas Davies before him and Chibnall after him open their runs on a scene establishing the companion(s), Moffat instead opts to begin with a slapstick sequence of the Doctor narrowly avoiding a Groin Attack, heralding a more Denser and Wackier take.
  • Everything Is Online: A computer virus causes a mechanical flip clock to reset. It was "a tiny bit alive" after all, and the Doctor is a genius.
  • Exactly Exty Years Ago: Twelve years have passed since the Doctor met Amelia.
  • Faceless Eye: The Atraxi, which are just giant flying eyeballs surrounded by a crystal snowflake.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Although obvious to the audience, our Celibate Hero fails to notice anything odd about the policewoman who's captured him, such as the extreme brevity of her hemline.
  • Failure Montage: The newly-regenerated Doctor and Amelia's many attempts to find a food he actually likes.
  • Fair Cop: Amy appears to be one, but it's just a costume.
  • Female Gaze: Amy eyes up the Doctor as he changes clothes.
  • Fiery Redhead: Amy was pretty even-tempered as a kid, but by the time she's grown up she has quite the temper. She bit her psychiatrists (all four of them) and gives the Doctor loads of grief over leaving her for 12 years (and then two more!).
  • Flat "What": Amy is about as fond of it as the Doctor himself.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Amy speculates that the Doctor is actually some kind of squid thing in the "Meanwhile in the TARDIS" extra scene.
  • Foreshadowing: Besides the Arc Words mentioned above, there are couple of other things hinting at the main Story Arc of this season:
    • The Doctor comes across a pond that Amy calls a "duck pond", even though there's no ducks there.
    • In a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, when the Doctor invites Amy inside the TARDIS, one of the background monitors is showing a shape similar to the crack on Amelia's wall.
    • The meaning behind the phrase "Silence Will Fall" will be explored throughout Eleven's lifetime, and its origins revealed in "The Time of the Doctor".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Amy runs outside in her nightie, passing by the stuff including her wedding dress from the slow pan at the end of the episode.
  • Giant Eye of Doom: The Atraxi, natch. Particularly the first one seen, when the Doctor sonics open the crack in Amelia's bedroom.
  • Glamour Failure: A variant. Prisoner Zero can take on the form of multiple people as long as they are connected (a man walking a dog, a woman holding hands with two children, etc.). However, it can't quite get the voices right (the man is growling and barking, the woman's voice is coming from the little girl's body), blowing its cover.
  • Groin Attack: Eleven, hanging on to the out-of-control TARDIS for dear life, narrowly avoids damaging his meat-and-two-veg on Big Ben's spire. Seriously, the gap is two or three inches at most — ouch!
  • Harmful to Minors: The then-seven-years-old Amelia Pond is clearly frightened of a crack in her bedroom wall, which she can hear voices out of. When the Doctor meets her, he even notes that she's quite brave and that the crack must be extraordinarily strange to scare her so much. It's also shown that Amelia's aunt — her only guardian — not only doesn't believe there's anything wrong with the crack, but is often not home to care for her. It turns out that the "crack" is an opening to a parallel dimension, which an alien prisoner escaped from. Because the Doctor jumps through time 12 years instead of 5 minutes, Amelia unknowingly spends most of her life living with an alien criminal hiding in her house, creating a mental link with her to steal her form. While this obviously plays off of a child's fear of things like the bogeyman and seemingly mundane details, there's also the parental fear of danger coming to a child because of not taking their worries seriously.
  • Human Alien:
    Amy: And you're an alien.
    The Doctor: Well, in your terms, yeah. In my terms, you're an alien. In quite a few people's terms, probably.
    Amy: What kind of alien?
    The Doctor: Well, you know, a nice one. Definitely one of the nice ones.
    Amy: So you're like a... a space squid, or something... Are you like a tiny little slug in a human suit?
    The Doctor: [indignant look]
    Amy: Is that why you walk like that?
  • Humiliation Conga: After the Doctor's violent regeneration, the TARDIS is forced into lockdown while it rebuilds itself, a situation made worse by the sonic likewise exploding halfway through the episode. He's also whacked with a cricket bat and looks "raggedy" all episode. It's one of those days.
  • Hypocritical Humour: After the Doctor rudely demands Amelia cook all sorts of food for him, only to claim they're disgusting, poisonous or evil once he actually tastes them, Amelia takes one last peek into the refrigerator.
    Amelia: We've got some carrots.
    The Doctor: Carrots? Are you insane?
  • Impersonating an Officer: After knocking the Doctor out with a cricket bat, Amy puts on her kissogram patrolwoman's uniform, fakes an English accent and tells him she's called for backup.
  • Internal Homage:
  • The Internet Is for Porn: Strongly implied to be whatever Jeff was looking at on his laptop in his room. The Doctor even tells him to get a girlfriend. Then, as he leaves after guaranteeing him a job with computers, the Doctor tells Jeff to delete his Internet history.
  • Jumping-On Point: With the RTD era ending on a reference-heavy, cameo-packed grand finale, we now get a new Doctor, companion, sonic screwdriver and TARDIS set all at once.
  • Kill It with Fire: How the Atraxi intend to deal with Prisoner Zero and the human residence. "INCINERATED!"
  • Magic Countdown: As admitted in the DVD commentary, the Doctor's "twenty minutes" lasts about forty-five.
  • Male Gaze: The first we see of grown-up Amy; a slow pan up her short-skirted legs.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Combined with awesomeness.
    The Doctor: Twenty minutes. Run home to your loved ones and kiss them all goodbye, or stay and help me.
    Amy: No! [she proceeds to trap his tie in a car door and demand an explanation from him]
  • Meaningful Name: The expression "eleventh hour" means "in the nick of time". It also references the fact it's one hour long exactly and that it's the first full episode with the Eleventh Doctor.
  • Meaningful Rename: Amelia to Amy, very pointedly. Amelia is "a bit too fairy tale".
  • Mobile-Suit Human: Amy wonders if the Doctor is one of these, "a tiny little slug in a human suit". He's rather taken aback at the suggestion.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Amy is dressed in a police outfit with a very short skirt for most of the episode.
  • The Nth Doctor: Matt Smith makes his debut as the Doctor.
  • Narrating the Obvious: Rory: "Did he just bring them back? Did he just save the world from aliens and then bring all the aliens back again? […] You just summoned aliens back to Earth. Actual aliens, deadly aliens, aliens of death, and... now you're taking your clothes off. Amy, he's taking his clothes off."
  • National Stereotypes: "You're Scottish; fry something." Ironically, written by a Scottish author.
  • Necktie Leash: Amy not only drags the Doctor by the tie, she locks it in a car door to get information out of him. After that, the Doctor wears a bowtie.invoked
  • Nephewism: Amy has no parents, only an aunt.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Variant. The Doctor tells Amy that he has heard every possible reaction to the fact that the TARDIS is bigger on the inside. Amy responds, "I'm in my nightie." He probably hasn't heard that one before.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Millennium Bug notwithstanding, resetting all the computer clocks in the world to zero would royally mess up all sorts of society's critical systems.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Upper Leadworth is a sleepy middle-class village somewhere in the Home Counties. It's also the location of a crack in the fabric of time itself.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • Amy has the Doctor handcuffed and he lets slip where Prisoner Zero is hiding. She starts walking towards the door, and he's screaming at her not to open it, but she walks through anyway... the appearance of the giant piranha-eel thing suspended from the ceiling directly behind Amy's head is actually a bit of a relief compared to the empty, dusty room that's always been in your house but you've never noticed it that the Doctor is yelling to get out of now.
    • During the scene where the Doctor confronts Prisoner Zero, the hospital room they're in is amazingly quiet. Far quieter, in fact, than a room with several patients in it should be. Especially since there is noise from outside once Prisoner Zero is gone.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: After the Doctor accidentally skips forwards twelve years instead of five minutes, the rest of the village end up believing that "the Raggedy Doctor" is Amelia's imaginary friend, and are weirded out or charmed to actually meet him. Amy is less pleased, in part due to the four psychiatrists she'd been made to visit (and then bite).
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: When Prisoner Zero takes on the Doctor's form, he hasn't looked in a mirror since his regeneration, so his reaction is "Well, that's rubbish. Who's that supposed to be?"
  • Oculothorax: The Atraxi are a Giant Eye of Doom that can fly through outer space.
    "Prisoner Zero will vacate the human residence or the human residence will be incinerated. Prisoner Zero will vacate..."
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Doctor has his own when he realises that it's been more than five minutes, and something may have happened to Amelia Pond.
    • Jeff for a second when he realises he'll have to hand over his laptop.
    • When the Doctor hears "Prisoner Zero will vacate the human residence or the human residence will be incinerated" is being broadcast all over the world in every language, and he realises they don't mean Amy's house, they mean they are going to blow up the planet.
    • The Atraxi get the hell off of Earth when they realise they've been tangling with the Doctor.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: When the Doctor first meets grown-up Amy, she's faking an English accent. He doesn't realise who she is until she reverts back into her natural Scottish one after they've run out of the house.
  • Parking Problems: The Doctor crashes the TARDIS in Amelia Pond's back yard... on its back. He has to use a grappling hook to climb out.
  • Percussive Maintenance: While examining a TV the Atraxi have hijacked, the Doctor whacks the remote to get it to work.
  • Police Are Useless: The Atraxi's solution to catching Prisoner Zero is to just blow up the planet if they can't find it within the time it will take to blow up the planet.
  • Present-Day Past: As lampshaded in the commentary, the Millennium Dome and London Eye can clearly be seen in the opening scene, when the subsequent scenes take place in 1996. This is only noticeable on later viewings, as there is nothing to suggest that the opening isn't set in the present day until later in the episode. Although it was a goof, Word of God is that the TARDIS simply travels back in time between the pre-credits and crashing in Amelia's garden in 1996. (The Tenth Doctor's last visit to Earth near the end of the previous episode took place in 2005, so the TARDIS must have travelled back in time at some point after that.)
  • Pajama Clad Heroine: The Doctor hauls Amy off on her first adventure still clad in her nightie.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: A minor example, but with a big impact: Moffat was inspired by a crack in the wall of his son's bedroom.
  • Retool: The first major one in the new series; New Doctor, intro, theme, companions, TARDIS console room.
  • Room Full of Crazy: At least Room Full of Slightly Off-Kilter: Amy's room full of "Raggedy Doctor" drawings and toys. Then recall Rory saying that Amy made him dress as this character a lot when they were growing up.
  • Runaway Bride: Amy already knows that the Doctor isn't reliable when it comes to appointments, yet she still chooses to run away on the eve of her wedding based on his promise that they'll be back before tomorrow.
  • Running Gag: The Doctor's first visit to Amelia leaves behind an unmistakable impression, leading to an obsession with her "imaginary friend" for quite some time, long enough that seemingly everyone in town, from the local hunk and his granny to her (sort-of) boyfriend, has a reaction to seeing "The Raggedy Doctor" in the flesh. Cue Amy's exasperated looks and quietly asking people to please shut up about it.
    The Doctor: Cartoons?
  • Running Time in the Title: "The Eleventh Hour" is, in fact, just over an hour long.
  • Self-Plagiarism:
    • The guy who's surfing porn and seriously needs to get a girlfriend is called Jeff.
    • The line "I've put a lot of work into it" (re: the Earth/universe) is taken from the also-Moffat-penned The Curse of Fatal Death.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Amy, who is first seen aged seven, then 19. Then 21. The Doctor doesn't recognise her the second time and still thinks of her as the little girl that he ate fish fingers and custard with.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Doctor's rejection of one food after another is reminiscent of the scene in Winnie the Pooh in which Tigger says "Tiggers like honey/yuck, Tiggers don't like honey." It even sounds similar: "Oh, I love apples" [chomp] "Yech! I hate apples." It seems to fit the Doctor's personality as a bumbling, manic, impulsive genius.
    • The Eleventh Doctor's Badass Boast near the end brings to mind Inigo Montoya.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Amy is consistently doubting the Doctor and his claims on the justification that she grew up.
  • The Slow Path: The first time the Doctor disappears he returns 12 years later, the second time he comes back 2 years later. Amy is not happy either time.
  • Sniff Sniff Nom: How the Doctor realizes that the replacement shed for the one he destroyed with the TARDIS has been there for 12 years. Just a little taste!
  • Staggered Zoom: The episode used this to follow the Doctor's thought process in examining the scene involving Rory photographing Prisoner Zero. Though it's really more of a wandering, meandering series of cuts which focus on different objects and people with varying levels of zoom. The navigation is a little off, you know, due to the regeneration.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Atraxi, putting the "alien" in "alien police" with their big eyeballs and crystalline web ships.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The Doctor pulls a Stealth Bye on Amy and Rory when they're on the hospital roof — and they were both closer to the door than he was.
  • Stealth Pun: Combined with a Brick Joke here: when first running through the village, Amy points out the empty duck pond to the Doctor. Later, when he makes his Big Damn Heroes entrance at the hospital, he texts her "DUCK!" Duck, Pond!
  • Stocking Filler: Amy as a Fair Cop.
  • Taking You with Me: Prisoner Zero nonchalantly observes if it can't escape execution then "let there be fire"; that of the Atraxi detonating the entire planet and its inhabitants, that is.
  • Talkative Loon:
    • You thought the Tenth Doctor had this trope bad? Eleven gives two long speeches in just this episode.
    • In "Meanwhile in the TARDIS", as she tries to process what's happening Amy Pond finds herself babbling about all kinds of inconsequential matters, like why does the Doctor have a time machine made of wood and does he need to change the bulb in the light on top, and randomly switches topics back to his bow tie and how stupid she thinks it looks.
  • That Man Is Dead: In this case, That Little Girl Is Dead. "Amelia Pond hasn't lived here in a very long time."
  • That Poor Cat: When the Doctor throws the buttered bread out the door, it hits a cat, as indicated by the loud meow heard from off-screen.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. There were four of them. Amy kept biting them for saying the Doctor didn't exist.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Young Amelia and companion Amy, played by real life cousins to boot.
  • Totally Radical: "WHO DA MAN!?... Oh, fine, I'm never saying that again."
  • Trust Me, I'm an X: "Trust me — I'm the Doctor."
  • Tsundere: Amy swings between "Oh my God it's my Doctor!" and "Twelve Years (and four psychiatrists)!"
  • Twist Ending: Amy's wedding is tomorrow.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Prisoner Zero mixes this with Creepy Monotone when the Doctor forces it into its true form.
  • Wham Line:
    • In-Universe, The Doctor is on the receiving end of one:
    The Doctor: This is important! Why did you say six months?
    • The Atraxi give Prisoner Zero twenty minutes to vacate "The human residence". At first, this appears to be Amy's house, but the Doctor eventually says, "The human residence. They're not talking about your house, they're talking about the planet."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The duckless duck pond.note 
    • Jeff seems to be set up to help UNIT, but we never see that subplot again.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: In "Meanwhile in the TARDIS" the Doctor opens the doors while they're IN SPACE! (protected by the forcefield, of course).
    The Doctor: Do you know what I keep in here?
    Amy: What?
    The Doctor: Absolutely everything.
  • You Need to Get Laid: The Doctor tells Jeff as much when he says "Get a girlfriend".


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Doctor Who S 31 E 01 The Eleventh Hour


The Atraxi

The Atraxi, which are just giant flying eyeballs surrounded by a crystal snowflake.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

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