Writer: Stephen Moffat
Director: Adam Smith
Producer: Tracie Simpson
Series: 5, episode 1
Companions: Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill)
Summary: As a result of “The End of Time”, the newly -regenerated Eleventh Doctor is repairing a crashing TARDIS. It lands on its side on the yard of a little girl named Amelia Pond. She has been praying for someone to check out a scary crack in her wall. After satisfying his craving for fish fingers and custard, the Doctor investigates. He hears a deep voice warning that “Prisoner Zero has escaped”. But before he can do anything else, the Cloister bell goes off. The Doctor tells Amelia to wait five minutes and he’ll come back for her. However, he returns to find her all grown up and with a job as a kiss-o-gram.
Meanwhile, Rory Williams, a nurse at the nearby hospital, has discovered that comatose patients have been calling for the Doctor, and he is told to take time off.
Amy and the Doctor find Prisoner Zero and the sonic screwdriver is damaged in the ordeal. They escape and discover the voice belongs to the Atraxi, who have been broadcasting their message over anything electronic. They meet Jeff Angelo and his grandmother, who recognizes the Doctor from Amy’s drawings as a child. With Jeff’s laptop, the Doctor discovers the message has been broadcast worldwide.
The Doctor and Amy head to the town square, where he discovers a vacant duck pond. That’s when they meet up with Rory, who’s the only townsperson not taking pictures of the blocked sun. He is instead taking a picture of Prisoner Zero, who has taken the form of one of the comatose patients. The Doctor realizes Prisoner Zero has been using the patients as a psychic link. The Doctor attempts to use his sonic screwdriver to attract the Atraxi, but it’s to damaged. He uses Jeff’s laptop and Rory’s phone to create a virus instead.
The Doctor has Amy and Rory head back to the hospital, where they are chased by patients Prisoner Zero has revived. Fortunately, the Doctor arrives. Prisoner Zero then forces Amy into a coma and creates Amy’s younger self and a duplicate of the Doctor. The Doctor tells Amy to imagine Prisoner Zero’s true form, forcing Prisoner Zero to copy itself, which alerts the Atraxi. Prisoner Zero is apprehended, but not before telling the Doctor “Silence will fall!” (the arc words for this season) The Doctor calls the Atraxi back, and changes clothes while heading to the roof. He tells off the Atraxi, ending with “basically…run!” He runs back to his newly-repaired TARDIS. Two years later, the Doctor picks up Amy and the adventure continues.
Review: While the story was interesting, to be honest, I didn’t really get to like Matt Smith’s portrayal of the new Doctor at first. That didn’t really happen until a few episodes later. Amy and Rory were pretty fun. I was intrigued to see where this new direction was taken.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Continuity: Perception filters were also seen in “The Sound of Drums” and the Torchwood debut episode, “Everything Changes”. We again hear “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” from “Blink.” The Doctor opens the TARDIS by snapping his fingers like he did in “Forest of the Dead.” We see images from “Rise of the Cybermen”, “Doomsday”, “Fires of Pompeii”, “The Runaway Bride”, “Planet of the Ood”, “The Time Warrior”, “The Sea Devils”, “The Christmas Invasion”, “Father’s Day”, and “Silence in the Library” during the Doctor’s “basically…run!” speech. The Doctor references his previous incarnations solo adventures (“The Next Doctor”, “Planet of the Dead”, “The Waters of Mars”, and “The End of Time”). When Prisoner Zero is forced to reveal its true form, the Doctor’s line is reminiscent of The Master’s taunt to Adric in “Castrovalva” when he made a copy of him to lure the Doctor and his companions. The Third and Eighth Doctor also stole outfits from hospitals in their first appearances. This is the third time the sonic screwdriver has been destroyed. (“The Visitation”, “Smith and Jones”) The Doctor meeting Amy at different points in her life mirrors the plot of “The Girl in the Fireplace”. The Doctor fought menacing beings residing in cracks in “The Awakening”. Earth was called a Level 5 planet in “City of Death” and “Voyage of the Damned.” This is the fifth time that the Shadow Proclamation has been referenced. It was also referenced in “Rose”, “The Christmas Invasion”, “Partners in Crime”, and “The Stolen Earth”. The Cloister Bell rang for the first time in “Logopolis”. The Doctor mentions the TARDIS’s swimming pool, which was first seen in “The Invasion of Time.”
Trivia: Caitlin Blackwood, who played the child version of Amy, is actually Karen Gillan’s cousin.