N050 Silence in the Library




 

A tonne of foreshadowing and a very common courtesy unit, plus the very first appearance of Professor River Song (on our timeline)



The Doctor and Donna are summoned via Psychic Paper to The Library, a planet-wide library in the distant future, full of actual, bound, printed-on-paper books, but oddly devoid of people.

Meanwhile a mysterious young girl in present-day England, with inexplicable visions of the library, and of the Doctor and Donna, is being interviewed by the equally enigmatic Dr Moon.

Cut back to the library, where an old friend of The Doctor’s whom he hasn’t met yet, Professor River Song, is leading an expedition for the Felman Lux corporation, and where an alien force appears to have taken over.

This is part one of the magnificent Steven Moffat two-parter comprising Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead.

 

 

Oh, and check out this neat teaser we put together moments before pressing record, because why not?

2 Responses to “N050 Silence in the Library”

  1. 100 Watt Walrus

    You really need somebody on the podcast who knows “Doctor Who” backwards and forwards so that instead of spending 5 minutes pulling incorrect theories out of the air about the Doctor/River timelines, someone could just explain it to you.

    Nobody ever said the 24-year night with 12 was River’s last night. It’s very, very clearly said it was their last night *together*. River goes on to have my other adventures, some of which involve meeting other Doctors, including this episode, which is the last time River meets the Doctor, and the first time he meets her. (Caveat: Her data ghost — the digital form she takes when stored in the Library — haunts 11 at Trenzelore, and it’s implied that’s not the first time she’s done it.)

    Now, if you want to talk about Moffat screwing up with inadvertent retcons…
    – It’s made clear in the Capaldi episode that she knows it’s their last night together — which is a *huge*, idiotic mistake on Moffat’s part since she clearly *doesn’t* know that in “Library.” Or more likely than it being a mistake, since he’s Moffat, he probably just didn’t give a fig because he’ll *always* chose an emotional whammy over continuity or even common fucking sense.

    Reply
  2. Tracey | @yecartniatnuof

    Tracey here. Oh so very much to say about this one. In preparation for the debut of River Song, I have watched every episode with River. In chronological order from her point of view. I now bring you the River Song perspective.

    Let’s do a rundown of River’s life up to this point, shall we? She was born Melody Pond, time baby! Snatched from her mother just days after birth she was raised in a decaying orphanage by a combination of a group of Silents, a brainwashed caretaker, and a semi-sentient space suit. She escaped only to live on the mean streets until she finally found her parents Amy and Rory and enrolled in school with them, masquerading as a classmate. Sometime after graduation, she caught up with Amy and Rory on a day they were with the Doctor. She coerced them into traveling to the office of Adolf Hitler, where she planned to kill the Doctor. She poisoned him and was captured immediately by the Tesselecta who began torturing her. The Doctor’s pleading on her behalf made her regret what she’d done and after the Tesselecta released her, she used all her remaining regenerations to save his life. It also landed her in the hospital, spent and weak. Thus began her quest to learn everything about the Doctor, and in so doing, she fell in love from afar. The Silents and Madame Kovarian weren’t done with her however, and they forced her back into the spacesuit at Lake Silencio to await her target. At the appointed time she arose, took aim and fired. She ripped all of space and time apart as she made herself miss the Doctor, but he still had one trick left, which he revealed to her. They said wedding vows and she shot the thing that was not the Doctor, walking back into the lake once more. After this they had many encounters; for most of them the Doctor was unaware of their marital status. She was there at the opening of the Pandorica, she did her best to feign ignorance at the child who kept phoning Richard Nixon, and she comforted him after losing the baby Melody Pond. She encountered the weeping angels twice with Amy and Rory. At last one night while she was attempting to pull off a jewel heist/murder of epic proportions the Doctor revealed himself once more, with a new face. They extricated themselves handily and spent the next 24 years together on the surface of a beautiful planet watching and listening to the singing towers of Darillium. They parted ways both never expecting to see the other again; River having long suspected the night on Darillium was to be their last.

    This is the scenario River Song is living- She has had an entire lifetime of memories with the Doctor. They’ve been to eternity and back together. They’ve saved each other’s lives and trusted one another with their deepest secrets. Yet this Doctor has never met her, and she doesn’t know.

    River sent the psychic message, but perhaps she didn’t really expect any reply. She knows her diary is almost filled. Still she’s clearly overjoyed to see the Doctor. A fresh miracle. She can’t stop smiling at him, even as he advises them they are in grave danger.

    This and the next episode mark the only time she will spend with Tennant’s Doctor. She must be assuming this face comes after Matt Smith, NOT before. She’s lost the list of his faces some 24 years ago. A mistake that is about to cost her.

    She tries to sync up their diaries, to his bewilderment. Then it dawns on her what’s happened. She’s arrived so early in his time stream that he doesn’t know her. She must have known his first encounter with her was inevitable. But nothing could have prepared her for this moment.

    Yet, danger is all around so she gets to work, assisting the Doctor, who is her Doctor yet somehow not her Doctor too. And it’s almost funny to watch his difficulty interacting with her. The look on his face when she pulls that sonic screwdriver out is PRICELESS.

    Well, now you’re sick to death of hearing me chatter on about River, I suppose I can address the rest of the episode. From the get-go this is a very suspenseful and confusing episode. It took me several watches of both parts to figure it all out.

    I found the looping deadman’s voice a really compelling element. It is after all, in so much of our mythology that something of us can linger on after death. They overdid the repetition by the end of course, but still it’s a very neat concept. Creepy as hell though.

    The “flesh aspect” (those faces on the information nodes) is pretty weird as well. I don’t think it would have been nearly as good without Donna’s reaction. Her reactions to the weirdness help us as the audience buy into the creep factor in this episode. Great stuff.

    Tate is nailing it in this episode. There are so many tone changes. She has to be freaked out, incensed (hands!) compassionate to Miss Evangelista, cheeky (ripping up the contracts), and finally absolute calm as the flesh aspect node.

    I wasn’t going to include a reference tracker here (I mean the entire episode is one giant reference to River Song right?) but oh my God, at 31:45 I can see a picture of a wolf and a blonde on the wall as CAL talks to Dr. Moon. Rose?

    Rating: I’m fine, and you?

    Reply

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