Series 6 (2011)

Episode title: The Impossible Astronaut
Featuring: Eleventh Doctor
Companions: Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song
First shown: 23rd April 2011
Related articles: Silence, Canton Everett Delaware III
Guide: The first episode of the sixth series starts in England where the Doctor is caught, naked, under the dress of a woman who has been painting him. As punishment the Doctor is thrown into the Tower of London, from which he subsequently escaped. Further exploits of the Doctor throughout recent history (including World War 2) are seen before we flash forward to Amy and Rory, together in their new house. Amy is reading from a history book all of the exploits of the Doctor and ponders with Rory whether he is waving at them through the pages of history. As Rory dismisses such a theory, we see the Doctor wave through the TV in a Laurel and Hardy film that Rory was watching. The pair then receives a “TARDIS blue” envelope containing a time, a date, and a set of co-ordinates in America. River Song, still in prison, receives a similar envelope and sets off to join Amy and Rory in America. There, the trio meet the Doctor, who has aged almost 200 years to 1103 years old since they last saw him. The Doctor takes his companions to a diner where they catch up, and the Doctor says he is taking them to 1969 for an adventure. However, before this the Doctor takes them on a picnic to a nearby lake. At the picnic, Amy sees a figure in the distance, but the moment she turns away, she forgets that she saw anything. A new man arrives above where the four companions are dining who waves at the Doctor. The Doctor then orders his companions not to interfere with anything as an astronaut rises out of the lake which he goes to deal with. The Doctor greets the astronaut with familiarity before the astronaut shoots the Doctor with some form of green energy twice. The Doctor begins a regeneration cycle, but is shot again… and killed.

The Doctor begins his regeneration cycle.

The Doctor’s companions don’t believe he is dead, until the man from the hill comes down with a can of gasoline, and confirms that the Doctor is dead. The four give the Doctor a Viking style funeral, burning his body on a boat found by the lakeside before the man introduces himself as Canton Everett Delaware III and gives River his identical “TARDIS blue” invitation. River notices that the invitations were numbered, and that between Amy, River and Canton, they have invitations 2, 3 and 4. The trio return to the diner to find the first invitation belongs to the Doctor himself. But this Doctor is 200 years younger than the one they just saw die, aged only 909. The trio fill the Doctor in on what’s occurring, without mentioned that they saw him die, as River says they can’t do that. The Doctor however does not trust River to just follow her instructions, but does trust Amy. So the four of them travel to Washington DC in 1969, landing inside the Oval Office of the Whitehouse where President Nixon is being plagued by mysterious phone calls from a young girl who called herself “Jefferson Adams Hamilton”. The Doctor overhears all of this but gains a younger Canton’s trust in being able to help the President. While the Doctor works on tracing where the phone call is coming from, Amy sees an alien figure in the doorway to the Oval Office and remembers seeing the figure on the hill by the lake earlier. But when Rory distracts her and blocks her vision of the alien, she immediately forgets seeing it. She complains that she needs the toilet but when she gets there, the alien is waiting, who kills a member of Whitehouse staff despite Amy’s pleas. However, the moment Amy leaves the bathroom; she forgets she ever saw the alien, despite taking a picture of it on her mobile phone. Back in the Oval Office, the Doctor has tracked where the phone calls are coming from to a building near Cape Canaveral in Florida. The Doctor travels there in the TARDIS with Amy, Rory, River and a curious Canton.

The Doctor, Amy, Rory, River and Canton in the TARDIS

In the building, they find the phone used to call the President has been cut, along with lots of space equipment and ancient alien technology. River warns Amy that they might meet the astronaut that killed the Doctor in the future but warns her that they can’t stop it as it would create a paradox if they did. River decides to explore some tunnels below the building and encounters the aliens in them. She rushes up to warn the Doctor, but immediately forgets them by the time she returns to the surface. She goes back down again, this time with Rory, and the pair delve deeper into the tunnels, where the find a room containing a control panel similar to the one seen in the Series 5 episode, The Lodger (Series 5 : Episode 11). River asks Rory to keep an eye out, whom then also meets the aliens, but of course, when he turns round to warn River, he has forgotten them. River looks up and sees something and shouts Rory’s name but we do not see what has happened. Back up on the surface, the Doctor, Canton and Amy hear the cries of the little girl and rush off to find them, but Amy keeps the Doctor back saying she has something important to tell him, while clutching her stomach. They rush off anyway to find Canton knocked unconscious on the floor and an astronaut approaching them. Amy tells the Doctor she’s pregnant, then turns and shoots the astronaut with Canton’s gun, just as it raised its visor to reveal the face of a young girl. The episode ends on this cliffhanger.

This episode is the first of a two part storyline. You can read the second episode guide of the two parter by clicking here.
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