Okay, so I haven't quite finished my season 5 re-watching but, as it happened, I don't think I've really forgotten much that was needed to "understand" the opening two parter. It might have helped if I'd forgotten basic physics and left my brain at home but sadly I didn't and whilst episode one really was pretty decent, episode two bombed rather spectacularly.
Okay, racing through episode one as I've not got so much to say about it... didn't like the opening silliness. I'm guessing it was there to demonstrate the passing of two hundred years of the Doctor's life but it went just that little bit too far for my liking. Plus whoever painted that portrait of Smith, they must have taken one hell of a bung to make his body look that good. My money was actually on River getting killed so the Doctor trying to regenerate was something of a surprise (though I'm sorry to say I think I cheered for the wrong reasons when it started). However, I guessed the "younger" Doctor turning up before he appeared on screen but, again, cheered when he got deservedly slapped.
Something to keep in mind is that, as we've seen it so far, River and the Doctor *aren't* meeting themselves in strict reversing order. The 1100 year old Doctor meets River before the 900 year old one does so things are a little mixed up at least from time to time.
Another important snippet from episode one is that putting the TARDIS in invisible mode is a huge drain on its resources. Just as well it only has to stay hidden for a few minutes eh?
The Silent in the loo knows all about Amy, so I'm guessing we can assume that telepathy goes along with their hide-and-seek skills and, whereas I think the mask on its face is superb, the hands look really dumb. I can't quite work out what it is, I think it's the fingers look too wobbly being so long, maybe if they'd had more support in them to make it look like they actually had bones in there... I'm not entirely sure what attacks Canton in the cellar either, the astronaut seems to be far too far away (though it also seems to have the ability to vanish into thin air at the start so we'll see what other powers it seems to have as we go through the season) and the Silents surely wouldn't have knocked him out? So if someone could tell me for sure what whacks him? So yes, a good episode one.
Then there's episode two.
I'm not entirely sure how Amy and Rory manage to stay on the run for three months. Sorry but they just don't seem the sort who'd have had all that much practise at it. River, yes... but Amy and Rory not a hope. But anyway, episode two opens three months later and the Doctor has a beard (and not in the Time Crash sense either!). Really don't know why this doesn't work for me, I'm guessing because it indicates that between adventures the Doctor is off shaving somewhere in the TARDIS. Yes, I know we know there was seemingly a shaving mirror back in the days of the secondary console room, yes I know he grew one when aged in The Leisure Hive and yes I know the Master had one on his face as well but the beard (apart from looking a little fake) just doesn't seem "right" for just three months' worth of imprisonment. What's worse is that the Doctor seems to think his prison is being built out of the densest material in the world. A material so dense that quite large blocks of it can be shifted around by two people with ease! And the blocks can seemingly be supported as a roof with no extra supports. Er, no! If this magic material is the densest thing in the world then two people shouldn't in any way, shape or form be able to move it like that and they certainly shouldn't have been able to build a box out of it (with a magic sliding door but that's just a minor niggle).
Once the prison is complete we find that the TARDIS is inside it in invisible mode which really does make you wonder how long it's been there given that episode one went out of its way to point out that invisibility mode was a huge drain on the power! The Doctor then takes the ship back in time to save River who's thrown herself out of a window. Ummmmm, so the Doctor will now quite happily nip back in time to save someone from certain death? Probably just as well he didn't know how to do this for Adric or Katarina or the classic series might have turned out very differently. This isn't just Moffat bashing by the way, ever since the Doctor nipped back into Martha's timeline in "Smith and Jones" to prove a point to her I've been growing very tired of the casual way the Doctor plays about with the time lines and the rescuing of River Song just happens to be the latest in a long line of sequences that really pissed me off. Just you wait till I review A Christmas Carol, I'll REALLY let rip on that one! So yes, the Doctor now sees nothing wrong with popping back a few days/weeks/months to save the falling River Song (who very fortunately guesses that the Doctor will drop her in the pool rather than onto, say, some mattresses). Oh, and with the new look console room with the police box doors, I'm not sure what must have happened to the Doctor, Amy, Rory and Canton when they flipped the TARDIS onto its side to get River through the doors.
When Mulder and Scu...sorry, Canton and Pond investigate the orphanage we get introduced to the creepy janitor (I get the feeling we might see him again at the end of the year) and we're told that too much exposure to the mind wipe from the Silents drives you round the bend. Now think back to how many markings Amy and co collected on their bodies whilst they were on the run and also think about how many times each random human probably (allegedly) sees a Silent. Why isn't the whole population completely bonkers by now? Still, the sequence with Amy in the locked room is a sign that Doctor Who can still do creepy when it wants to! And then we get the hatch in the door that disappears once Amy goes in the room and a mysterious woman's voice as she looks in. That'll definitely be picked up, could the room have been a TARDIS in disguise?
We eventually find out that the Silents have been manipulating us pretty much since the dawn of time and that then raises some more questions. Are we so dumb that we couldn't have evolved ourselves and secondly, why did it take the Silents thousands of years to get us to build a space suit? Is the story seriously trying to say that the Silents couldn't push us any faster? After all, the Doctor was terrified of Ace leaving her gheto blaster in the 60s in case it sped things up too much? I guess the Silents aren't as intelligent as they're trying to make out. I also wonder if they change their look depending on human fashion, or if they've always worn a suit and tie. Personally I can't wait to see one in a ruff....
Then we get to the big scene. The bloody awful scene that pretty much shatters my faith in Doctor Who. It's NOT the fact that the Doctor gets humanity to begin mass murdering the Silents (though it's pretty clear he didn't have any sort of backup plan and it looks like it was always going to be this or nothing), we've seen the Doctor desperate before (Vervoids, Warriors of the Deep, Genesis of the Daleks and so on). What I really, deeply and thoroughly object to is the fact that Matt Smith's "Doctor" looks as though he's actually enjoying what he's doing. He came across as completely lacking in remorse or any kind of guilt. He was smiling, he was bounching up and down at the thought. There was no sorrow, no "There should have been another way" moment, this was the Doctor ordering the deaths of thousands of living beings and not giving a damn about what he was doing. To me, thats not Doctor Who, that's not the Doctor, that's some character I'm not sure I want to follow. I certainly now no longer believe that whatever the Doctor does it's done with life as the most important thing.
Follow this up with something of a weird and major plot hole... the Doctor says that half a billion people will see the footage and will continue to see it for thousands of years but the other implication is that neither Amy nor Rory have ever seen it as they show no "pre-programmed" tendancy to kill Silents on sight. Right from the very start of episode one Amy should and Rory should have been desperate to kill the Silent that we saw in the sunlight but no, not a single twitch in the trigger finger is evident. Bit of a cock up there eh.
After the shoot out, River says something along the lines of "I hope my old man didn't see that". Now, given the Doctor was in the room with her, does this (thankfully) mean that River ISN'T the Doctor's wife and that she's married to someone else? I really hope so...
The Impossible Astronaut set things up superbly well. Then along comes The Day of the Moon and really seems to do nothing other that spectacularly mess things up in a desperate attempt to try and look mysterious and set things up for the rest of the year. I'm guessing that we'll be visiting the 60s again at some point and Amy will be responsible for the Silents being underground in their TARDIS-like room, I'm guessing the little girl that River thinks is human will turn out to be a human/TimeLord hybrid that the Silents have made with all their gadgetry and I'm guessing that it'll never be explained how humanity can go about massacring thousands of Silents and no one ever noticing what happens to the bodies. Do they just pile up and no one notices them? Do people trip over them constantly but not know why? It's a badly thought out, completely non-Doctor Who solution that didn't have any place in the episode.
Bring back the Fifth Doctor. He knew there should have been another way, this Eleventh one is just a git.