Silence in the Library
The Doctor: Books! People never really stop loving books.
Episode star rating:***** (out of a possible five)
This is Steven Moffat’s fourth (full-length television) story for Nu-Who now. Intriguingly, the second, third, and now this fourth story all feature the ideas of two levels of reality. (E.g. 1700s/the 51st Century, Sally/the Doctor on DVD, and now the Library/the girl who watches the Doctor on TV and in her mind.)
This allows Moffat to play various games in these stories, including meta-commentary on the viewing experience of watching an episode of Doctor Who, though with this story these meta comments are more pronounced and to the fore, with the Doctor talking of “Spoilers”.
“Who are you to me?” “Again, spoilers.” This exchange happens between the mysterious River Song and the Doctor, who carries a book of her own, literally the story of her life with the Doctor. Except this is Chapter One for the Doctor and she is on a different page, so to speak. She knows how the story goes for the Doctor from here.
Moffat doesn’t stick to the expected script for Miss Evangalista. I thought she would save the day at some point after her early scenes, but instead her “ghosting” scene was extraordinary. It was reminiscent of HAL’s “Daisy, Daisy” moment from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey – and not the only reference to this film. Archaeologists in spacesuits, and Dave(s) being the other references.
The cliffhanger really is amazing. A strange kind of looped music is created from the “ghosting” of Proper Dave and Donna-Statue’s chant, unsettling the viewer. What will happen next? I just don’t know.
This episode was utter brilliance.
Update of morning June 7th, 2008 (before part two of story):
Small pictures added to the text of the review, plus these pictures which show there are even more references to the Kubrick film than I originally thought…
2001: A Space Odyssey (HAL)
Silence in the Library (CAL)