New information about “The Eleventh Hour” & examination of minutiae

The Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond

The Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matt Smith has teased us all with a statement that “The Eleventh Hour” holds a clue regarding the Ponds’ departure. (More about that here.)

That episode has been picked apart pretty thoroughly by now.  I plan to collect here all the anomalies I can find and categorize them as:

  1. definitely explained and deliberate,
  2. possibly or probably explained and deliberate,
  3. unexplained but still apparently deliberate,
  4. possibly deliberate, possibly a continuity error, and possibly plain old plot, or
  5. apparently accidental or erroneous

…and indulge in speculation about how everything fits together. This will probably involve bringing in information or anomalies from other episodes, as the arc(s) of both Series 5 and Series 6 get very wibbly-wobbly. On the surface, “The Eleventh Hour” has the gloss and pacing characteristic of the new series, but below that polish are some very weird discrepancies. I’ll also be disproving, to the best of my ability, the theories that strike me as least-supported or -plausible.

Leave your own speculations and points of interest in the comments — with timestamps so we can all go hunt them down!

(Timestamps are approximate and pictures are blurry, thanks to Netflix’s low quality. I will replace these as I can. The list is now finished; time to figure out what it all means!)

Big Ben clock at 47 seconds into The Eleventh Hour

Twelve seconds later, it’s five minutes later?

  • ~@0:35 — As the Doctor is hanging out the door of the out-of-control TARDIS, the Big Ben clock tower is visible behind him. I can’t read it on the copy available to me right now (curse you, non-HD Netflix!) but TARDIS Index File claims it says 9:10 (presumably, given the darkness, PM).
  • ~@0:35 — Just a second or two after the clock becomes visible behind the Doctor, three bell tones are heard. These sound roughly like Westminster quarters, short melodies which sound like this, played on the quarter-hour. {0}
  • @0:47 — The clock appears clearly for only a fraction of a second and now reads 9:15, although the TARDIS is only a few seconds along its midair path. The hands appear to remain at 9:15 for the rest of the scene. {4/5}
  • The London Eye and the Millenium Dome (both completed in 1999) are prominent in some of these shots, even though they would not have existed when Amy was seven years old. This is trivial to explain away as a function of the TARDIS hurtling out of control through time as well as space {2} or as sloppiness by way of using landmarks for an establishing shot without regard to chronology {5}. But… this is Moffat, and a show about time travel. There’s always a chance Amy’s past isn’t as past as it ought to be.
  • ~@1:50 — Immediately after the opening credits, a bright red pinwheel spins rapidly in the breeze. There is a whooshy wind noise, and a wind chime tinkles; the pinwheel speeds up with the wind noise and then slows down as the noise fades. However, the foliage in the shot barely moves, more in the breeze from the pinwheel than from the breeze moving the pinwheel, and even that leafy movement stops as the camera pans across lots more suspiciously-immobile foliage before reaching…
  • @2:00 — …a swing, very definitely swinging in the… breeze? Despite the implication by the spinning pinwheel, there is no other visible sign of wind. I keep getting the impression that someone was sitting in the swing seconds before we came on the scene. We are treated to more unmoving foliage before Amelia’s voice starts her prayer to Santa.
  • The Doctor’s return visit didn’t cause these movements; in “The Big Bang” @~39:00; the Doctor, during his “rewind”, simply materializes inside Amy’s house and walks out and down the path to where she is asleep on her suitcase, waiting for him. This means that he shows up well after the pinwheel/swing opening sequence in “The Eleventh Hour”. During this scene in “The Big Bang”, even though the swing never quite comes into sight, it can again be heard creaking just out of the frame. I’m going to give this one a {3}, since it shows two different things moving by themselves, presumably as a reaction to wind but without other visible signs of air movement, and strongly implies the same thing again at the other end of the season. That’s no accident, and it was the first thing that came to my mind as a so-far-unexplained anomaly.
  • There’s something about the underbrush behind the swing that bothers me. I can’t quite pin it down, but it looks like there’s a hollow spot or a tunnel back there. It’s kind of creepy. In later shots, it’s just a path from the yard near the house that goes between a tree overgrown with vines and the fence behind the swingset. This may just be weird set design or camera angles. {5}
Amy's kitchen clock at 7:45 into "The Eleventh Hour" reads 9:05.

Five after nine. Time for fish fingers and custard!

  • @2:13 — In the establishing shot, Amelia’s house is clearly two stories tall. No third story is visible from the front of the house, and a later shot establishes a very low, flattened roof peak. This is significant because we spend a good chunk of this episode on a landing between the second and third floors. Nothing we learn about Prisoner Zero, even the perception filter talk, explains this. {3}
  • ~@3:50 –Amelia walks down the front path to the TARDIS that has crashed on the shed that was standing near the pinwheel. All the foliage is still, and the chains of the swingset are still moving.
  • @6:09 and @6:35 — as the Doctor tries apples and yogurt, the clock in Amelia’s kitchen reads about 8:30-8:32, also presumably PM.
  • @7:45 — After bacon, beans, and bread-and-butter, Amelia’s kitchen clock reads 9:05.
  • @8:25 — As the Doctor and Amelia are finishing their odd little meals (what is she eating? potato salad? We see her eating it again before her wedding in “The Big Bang”), the same clock reads 9:35. I’ve seen a lot of speculation about the passage of time in the episode to this point, but everything looks to be happening on a reasonable schedule and Moffat is proved not to be sloppy with clocks in a show about time travel. There’s even a ticking-clock sound in all the kitchen scenes without background music. I’m claiming {0} time discrepancy here, despite others’ suspicions. However, I will also accept that Moffat is being meticulous so it will mean more when something doesn’t match up later.
As they finish eating around 8:25, Amy's kitchen clock reads 9:35.

The end of a perfectly normal half-hour snack. No wibbling or wobbling here.

  • Throughout the scenes in her bedroom, we see a child’s drawing between the bedroom door and her bedside lamp that some speculaters have said is a picture of her own house, on fire. I’d call it a {4} if we hadn’t been encouraged to watch closely. Maybe a {3}, but I’m not as confident about this one. I’ll have to see it in HD to form an opinion.
  • We can also see through her open bedroom door that the door to the room across the hall is about one-third open.
  • ~@9:50 — “This wall is solid, but the crack doesn’t go all the way through it… Where’s the draft coming from?” Is this related to the pinwheel and the swing? I know we’re supposed to understand that the air is coming from the prison that Prisoner Zero has escaped, but there’s too much trickery with air currents for me to rest entirely easy. {2}
  • ~@11:20 — The Doctor moves Amelia’s desk to make room for the crack to open. There is a dollhouse to the left of the desk that has been there the whole time thus far.
  • ~@12:00 — When we see the wide-open crack, we can see the wall from to the wardrobe on the left to the low cabinet on the right, including much of the baseboard. Amelia’s body is blocking the lower left corner of the wall, but the blocked area is smaller than the dollhouse was. The dollhouse is gone. Since it’s back @12:50, this is probably a {5}.
  • ~@12:45 — While the Doctor is talking about whether Prisoner Zero escaped “through here”, I heard a rattling/chitinous noise similar to the Silence sound effects used later, but different from the Prisoner Zero gurgle. When I went back to compare this to Silence sounds, though, it sounded instead like part of the background music. Probably a {0}.
Two sets of stairs in a two-story house.

What floor are we on, anyway?

  • ~@13:00 to ~@13:20 — Shots on the landing bracketing the Doctor saying “in the corner of my eye” show a hallway on the left, an upward staircase on the rightand a downward staircase on the left. We know from @2:13 that there is no third story. I can’t make this {3} any brighter a red, especially in an episode that goes on to repeatedly mention perception filters. When River visits Amy’s house in “The Pandorica Opens”, this staircase is still present.
  • ~@13:35 — As the Doctor and Amelia run past the swing, it is now still.
  • ~@13:50 — “Give me five minutes; I’ll be right back.”
    “People always say that.”
    Is Amelia referring to her parents, to other people who disappeared into the crack in the Universe, or to something we don’t know about yet? This might just be a chance for Amelia to display vulnerability and for the Doctor to demonstrate that he takes her seriously. On first watching, I saw it in hindsight as a way to add pathos to Amelia’s long wait. I wouldn’t be suspicious here if we hadn’t been told there was something to discover. {2}
  • ~@14:30 — The TARDIS kicks up a wind when it dematerializes, as it usually does.
  • As Amelia runs back in, the swing is still, even though the TARDIS just dematerialized from the same spot it appeared in when materialization seemed to blow the swing around. Keep an eye on the swing; it does more tricks.
  • ~@14:40 — Amelia runs past the stairs, moving from the front door to her bedroom. Both doors at the other end of the hallway are closed.
  • ~@14:45 — Amelia re-enters her room. Her desk is no longer in the middle of the floor. This is most obvious when she ducks under her bed to get her suitcase and we can see the middle of the floor clearly. As she packs, we can see that the dark blue curtains behind her are closed. (In “The Big Bang”, her curtains are dark green brocade instead.) Are these discrepancies due to carelessness? Has Prisoner Zero been rearranging her furniture as well as peeking out her window? {2/5}
  • ~@15:10 — Amelia runs past the stairs again. The right-hand door at the other end is now partially open. This is almost certainly because Prisoner Zero is in the house, as that’s the room grown-up Amy sees it in later. {1} The visible wall of that room appears to be TARDIS blue; it may be the same blue wallpaper as the rest of this floor.
  • @15:25 — Amelia runs past the stairs again on her way out the door. The right-hand landing door is now almost completely open. Stippling or staining is visible on the wall. The door opens inward and is hinged on the right, but there is another door immediately to the left. The initial impression is of a closet, since the room cannot extend to the left without extending behind the neighboring door, and the hinges are on the wrong side for it to extend to the right. (We later see that it does extend to the right, forcing anyone who enters to walk around the open door.) A patch of light shows under the door from the right side of the room. We learn later that there’s a window in that room, but at this point, it’s dark outside. This is all Prisoner Zero stuff. {1}
  • ~@15:52 — We see Amelia sitting on her suitcase from within the house through partially-open drapes. A dark humanoid figure runs past the window. This has been explicitly stated to be the future Doctor, from “The Big Bang”, come back to tuck Amelia in and tell her about the old/new/borrowed/blue box. However, the “The Big Bang”, the Doctor materializes in the front hall; we can see up the stairs to the twin doors. The front door is right in front of him, and in the next scene he is outside. There’s no reason for him to run through the kitchen. I’m troubled by the time interval, too. Amelia sits down perky and alert, determined to stay up and wait. She’s still sitting upright as the figure runs past, and remains upright when it leaves the frame toward the front door. When the future Doctor comes back to tuck Amelia in, she’s lying down asleep on her suitcase. No excited child would fall so fast asleep she didn’t awaken when picked up in the handful of seconds it takes the future Doctor to run down the front path. The shadow figure could easily be Prisoner Zero, though.
  • @16:10 — The take with the running shadow continues into a clear and deliberate front-and-center shot of the clock accompanied by very obvious ticking noises in an otherwise completely silent room. The clock now reads precisely 11:30. We know exactly when the shadow passed the window. The shot holds, then fades into an identically-framed shot of the same clock, now reading 10:20, and we hear the sound of the TARDIS.
  • ~@16:15 — As the TARDIS is shown materializing, the swingset is visible behind its transparent outline. The swing is moving again. What, you thought we were done with that? It’s not materialization wind. The swing is moving before even the transparent outline appears, while the surrounding foliage is still. This is quickly obscured by a dust cloud as the foliage begins moving as well, and then by the TARDIS itself. {3}
  • ~@16:15 — We can now see a fence behind a thin screen of vines behind the swingset. This looks different from before. Earlier, the houseward legs of the swingset were almost straddling the two clumps of grass just to the right of the path; here, it’s definitely a foot or two away and looks farther back from the path. Here, the overhead bar is roughly parallel with the quite-visible fence; in the earlier scene, I can’t find the fence even when I’m looking for it, but the back legs of the swingset seem to angle toward the path. It looks to me as though it’s been moved. I think this is either part of ongoing, intentional, unresolved swingset weirdness or just a positioning discrepancy between shooting one scene and the other. {3/5}
Moving swing behind materializing TARDIS

I’m telling you, that swing is creepy.

The third story does not exist.

  • @16:28 — We get an excellent view down the staircase to the front door, with the back of the other staircase rising from the landing to a third story that doesn’t exist. Well, unless there’s a perception filter involved or something, but I haven’t noticed any of those in Moffat’s reign.

Not even a little bit.

  • ~@18:35 — I guess you might argue that because the ceiling is lower over the hallway, the stairs go up to a crawlspace/attic to the right — but that doesn’t explain why they go so far up that the top step seems inches from the ceiling. Also, you’d have to climb over the railing to get to it, because the handrail goes all the way up, too. Nobody ever seems to notice the extra stairs; maybe it’s just a narrative decision to permit the audience to see what the characters don’t. I need to comb through “The Big Bang” to see if this is visibly different.
  • ~@20:45 — The Doctor asks Amy to look where she’s afraid to look — “the corner of your eye. Look behind you.” Amy is next to the stairs. As she turns, she scans right past the extraneous staircase to the doors at the end of the hall.
  • ~@21:45 — Amy opens the right-hand door and turns right into the room. The wall opposite the door is very close, forming a small hallway that runs to the right.

The Front of the House of Escher

Daytime view. Those are trees in front of the house, not ivy climbing it. Still no changes in 12 years.

  • The geometry gets weird here. Remember when the Doctor tells grown-up Amy that he asked her to come with him because her house was so very wrong? We didn’t understand the half of it. Let’s pause to work it out.
    • The front door is at the bottom of the lower flight of stairs.
    • At the top of those stairs are the twin doors; immediately beside the stairs is the hallway so much happens in.
    • The front-and-center upper window is the one above the radiator Amy handcuffs the Doctor to.
    • The upper left (we’ll pretend we’re facing north and call it upper west) window is Amelia’s bedroom. During her prayers (~@2:25) and when she runs to the window to look out at the TARDIS, we see that she has dark blue floor-length drapes open and white lace sheers behind them; that matches this picture. The wall with the crack is almost certainly the exterior wall on the west side of the house.
    • The upper east window belongs to the room she runs into to grab things (one of which seems to be a teddy bear) while packing.
    • The lower west window is the kitchen; this picture is from the beginning of the episode, and that gap in the drapes is the one we’re looking at Amelia through when the shadow runs past. Scenes early in “Amy’s Choice” establish that the kitchen has another widow directly opposite this one, so the kitchen runs the full depth of the house on this side.

      The dream house in “Amy’s Choice” is more convincing than the “real” one.

    • However, “Amy’s Choice” shows different landscaping, a brick house instead of the plaster facade, two chimneys instead of one, a completely different roof, and a number of other differences, mostly involving looking more like a house and less like a conceptual drawing of a house — odd, since the house in “Amy’s Choice” is a dream and the house in “The Eleventh Hour” is supposed to be reality. Since that episode also takes place in a dream world, it may not be a trustworthy source. However, it does show a good shot of the house from the southeast corner; we see a ground-floor bay window on the side, an upper east-facing window bracketed by ivy near the front corner and an ivyless upper east-facing window behind it that Prisoner Zero looks out of in “The Eleventh Hour”. We can also make out that the back of the house does not extend as far east as the front rooms do. This almost wrangles the layout of the house into making some kind of sense.
    • I don’t think we know what the lower east window is. It may be the room in which Amy discovers her father in “The Big Bang”. So we have one south-facing window unaccounted for; it’s downstairs, is a bay window, has no shutters, and is not boarded over. Why do I mention that?…

  • Facing the door Amy has entered, one should be facing north, toward the back of the house. Amy walks north through the door, immediately turns right/east, and walks through a narrow entryway. We next see her in the hidden room, with a window in the wall to her right. Thr window is either boarded over or has very dilapidated shutters outside.
  • I really want to know about that wall to the right of this shot. If it makes a right turn turn where Amy is standing, then as she walked through the narrow part, the rest of the room opened up to her left, further toward the back of the house. That makes the wall at her right hand an east/west interior wall, and its window would look into the room behind the door in the hallway between Creepy Door and the room across from Amy’s. There’s no normal explanation for it to have a window and sunlight. Not even a courtyard would fit; the hallway door is so close to Creepy Door we’d have to be looking directly into that room. On the other hand, if it’s just a standalone bit of wall rather than a corner — that is, if what we’re seeing is the other side of the wall that was at her left hand when she walked through the entryway — that window faces east (by our arbitrary orientation) rather than south. It would be just a few feet east of the east wall of the stair hall. Since we have no idea what windows are on the east side of the house, this is more possible. It’s still pretty weird, though, since we know the house extends a whole room’s width beyond that, both from the front view and from the presence of other rooms on that side of the hallway. There isn’t a room’s width between the end of the wall and the windowed wall in the shot of Amy standing in the room. Everything we’ve seen of the outside of the house makes it look like a big box with flat sides. If that window faces east, it’s smaller than the space it should occupy to maintain the box shape. If it faces south, it’s looking into the room next to it, which would make sense if the room were just tacked on to the outside of the house — but then the room next to it would have to be an addition, too, to maintain the box shape.
  • This house is weird stylistically, too; on the outside, it’s one flat facade, almost like a child’s drawing, all right angles, flat planes, and simple lines,  with very little decoration except the ivy and the small TARDIS-blue ledges under the windows. On the inside, half the doors are out of plane with their walls and each other, none of the trim or moldings match, every room is either painted blue or done up in TARDIS-blue wallpaper; the minimalist trim on the outside is TARDIS blue, as well. Even the front door is… TARDISoid. Something is wrong with this house, and it isn’t just Prisoner Zero.

    The shut door Prisoner Zero is about to walk through is on his right. In the background, on the left, we finally see the sixth door.

  • ~@25:20 — Prisoner Zero walks into the room on his right. That door was clearly closed when he first came out of his room; in subsequent shots, we couldn’t see the door because it is recessed. At this point, though, the door is already open. When did it open? Might be important, but probably a {5}. Prisoner Zero then looks out a window, which at this point is closed. My best guess is that it’s on the east side of the house.
  • ~@25:55 — The Doctor and Amy run out of her house and down the front walk while she explains why she’s dressed as a policewoman. They turn to the west of the path and run to the TARDIS, which is in front of the swingset and billowing smoke out the windows. It took me a long time to decide that the TARDIS is actually roughly where the Doctor parked on arrival. The doors are facing the opposite direction, though {4}.
  • The Doctor notices a shed in the same spot as the one he smashed the last time he visited. Amy says it’s been replaced. The Doctor says it’s gotten old again, and realizes how long he was away. What nobody comments on is that it’s the same shed — the same design, the same materials, everything, right down to the little purple flower growing in the window box. This, combined with the way the vegetation didn’t change or grow in twelve years, strikes me as very weird. It’s like every time something in that house changes, something else puts it back the way it was. And I don’t mean Aunt Whosit hiring a carpenter.
  • The Doctor asks Amy why she told him it had been six months when it had been twelve years. He insists that her answer is important. Should we take this as The Meta Word of Moffat, or just the Doctor being doggedly curious?
  • !@26:15 — Prisoner Zero barks out the window, now open,  and Amy turns to her left. If they are standing next to the fence on the eastern side of Amy’s front yard, this is consistent with her looking along the east wall of the house. The shot of Prisoner Zero is framed such that we can only see a couple of feet of the wall south of the window, unable to tell if it’s recessed beyond that point.
  • @31:25 — “What’s that?”
    “It’s a duck pond.”
    “Why aren’t there any ducks?”
    “I don’t know. There’s never any ducks.”
    “Then how do you know it’s a duck pond?”
    “It just is. Is it important?”
    This exchange is referred to later. In “Victory of the Daleks”, when the Doctor is trying to convince Churchill to destroy the “Ironsides” (Daleks) @6:20, the Doctor asks Amy to “tell him… about the Daleks.” Since the Battle of Canary Wharf, and the later abduction of the entire planet, have both been referred to as events people should remember, the Doctor assumes Amy will side with him and tell Chirchill the Daleks are hostile. Amy has no memory of the Daleks, though, even though these events took place only six and four years previously, certainly recently enough for Amy to have been grown enough to remember them. “They invaded your world, remember? Planets in the sky. You don’t forget that.” In “Flesh and Stone” ~@21:41, the Doctor considers: “Cracks, cracks in time, time running out, no, couldn’t be, couldn’t be, but how is a duck pond a duck pond if there aren’t any ducks? And she didn’t recognize the Daleks.”~In the same episode @23:50, the Doctor wonders why “the Cyberking, a giant Cyberman, walks over all of Victorian London and no one even remembers.” In “Cold Blood”, `@40:00, after Rory’s body is absorbed by time energy from the crack, the Doctor tells Amy to keep Rory in her mind so she won’t forget him. She reminds him that “on the Byzantium (she) still remembered the clerics because (she is) a time traveler.” He counters that “They weren’t part of your world. This is different; this is your own history changing.” I’m looking for some consistency here, and any case I can make for there being no anomaly is weaker than the idea that there is. If we take “your world” very literally — the Dalek and Cybermen attacks that Amy forgot are part of the history of her planet and her nation, while the clerics were walk-on parts in the events of her life — it makes sense for her to remember the clerics but forget the invasion. But then, the ducks, if there were ducks that were eaten by the crack, would have been part of her home town; why would she not forget them, too? Or if she only gained the ability to remember things despite their vanishing from history once she had traveled in time, why would she remember ducks who were there and gone before she ever set foot in the TARDIS? It’s a weird, tiny thing, that duck pond, but it might mean Amy is lying about something, or there’s something we don’t know about her nature or her past {4}.
  • ~@32:45 — “No, hang on, shut up! Wait! I missed it! I saw it and I missed it! I saw, what did I see? I saw, what did I see? I saw, I saw, I saw…” A swoopy-zoomy camera path focuses our attention on: a stout man with white hair and sideburns, wearing a red t-shirt and a blue jacket with a light tan collar, holding up his cell phone; an elderly man and woman sitting side-by-side on a park bench, each wearing a red shirt with jackets partly or mostly concealing them; a woman in a phone booth holding up a cell phone; Rory holding up a cell phone; Prisoner Zero in his man-and-dog shape; and a careful second sweep of Rory, holding up his cell phone but facing a different direction from everyone else, in his scrubs, with a hospital badge issued on 30 Nov 1990 {3}. It’s repeatedly established that “Amy’s time” is 2010; this event takes place two years before. The badge means Rory has been working at that hospital for 18 years. It’s been twelve years since Amelia was seven, so she would have been one year old when Rory’s badge was issued. Just how much older than Amy is Rory? He doesn’t look old enough to have had a job when she was an infant.
  • We see the Doctor looking startled, and then a clock reading 11:30 exactly.
  • Many of the people in this sequence are wearing shirts that are all the same red; we also see it on cars, the telephone booth, a fire engine, and even the underside of the Doctor’s tie. There aren’t many other red values in this sequence, so this one stands out like the doorknob in The Sixth Sense.  Even Rory’s red pen is this same color. {4}
  • ~@35:10 — The Doctor tells Amy that the first order of business is to “stop that nurse!” (Rory), but when they get to Rory, the Doctor takes his cell phone from him and asks him why he’s taking pictures of  “a man and a dog” instead of what’s going on in the sky.
  • Jeff’s bedroom clock says 11:40 as the Doctor writes the counter-reset virus. The Doctor says he has ten minutes left. This is in keeping with the clock in the village that said 11:30 when there were 20 minutes left, although it ignores the time that passed between leaving Amy’s house and seeing the village clock.
  • ~@42:30 — Amy’s cell phone is very close to the ubiquitous red.
  • ~@44:25 — “Twelve years, and you never even knew that I was there.”  This implies that Prisoner Zero had not been in Amy’s house for very long before the Doctor arrived the first time.
  • ~@45:15 — “You came to this world by opening a crack in space and time. Do it again. Just leave.”
    I did not open the crack.”
    How did Prisoner Zero manage to climb out of the crack into Amy’s house when everything else gets sucked into the crack and erased from history? Or is PZ just choosing not to correct an erroneous assumption on the Doctor’s part by letting the statement that it escaped through the crack stand unchallenged?
  • ~@55:05 — The TARDIS is in roughly the same spot we left it, but the doors are now facing the house (northish) instead of the fence (eastish) as they were when the Doctor and Amy ran out of the house, or the path (westish) when the Doctor first parked it.
  • ~1:00:14 — Amy is looking up, taking in the TARDIS and grinning, when she suddenly makes an absolutely horrified expression instead. It’s gone, and replaced by her determined face, by the time she turns to the Doctor to ask, “Why me?” Some people have speculated that she sees a Silent in the TARDIS at this point, but forgets it by the time she starts speaking. However, she also goes back to looking afraid when she says “there’s a whole world in here” while looking around again.

The pinwheel and swing are definitely both deliberate and strange. They might have still been reacting to the wind stirred up by a just-departed TARDIS; nothing else is blowing around in the opening shot, but at the very first, we don’t have the detritus from the destroyed shed to show that off. Given how still the leaves are, though, that seems less likely than the idea that both objects were set in motion by something besides wind. The “wind chimes” might be part of the music; the whooshing noise might be something else. I can’t think of a good reason the plants wouldn’t react to real wind when the pinwheel and swing do, though. We might speculate that they were set in motion by the Silence, always just moved out of frame as we look, but why would the Silence sit in a swing or spin a pinwheel? These are childhood activities, childhood objects; it’s easy to dismiss them as being present to establish the life of Amelia-the-child, but the swing at least persists into Amy’s adult life and continues its odd behavior. (And why does the pinwheel stay gone when the shed reappears, identical  down to the flower?) Doctor Who, and especially Moffat, can’t do something as simplistic and humdrum as “ghosts”; it will have to be an invisible entity, or Schrodinger’s Melody. It could be a clue to some secret nature of Amy’s — she’s a Time Lady, she’s an alien who fell through the crack into an abandoned house and took up residence, she’s another plot by the Silence or a construct made by the Master — but then why would the light from the Pandorica restore normal parents and allow the house to change in “The Big Bang”?

Amy’s house is so weird I don’t know where to start. All the mismatched planes, doors, trim boards, and doorknobs, with all the matching blue wallpaper and drapes. It’s like a dollhouse, or a very advanced child’s art project, or (a bit like) a TARDIS. The foliage never changes, never moves in the wind except from the TARDIS, never grows in twelve years. The crumbly bits and evidence of decay don’t change from one decade to the next; it never gets new paint, but the flaking paint never kipples further. The only change in state of decay in the whole season comes at the end, when adult Amy wakes up in her bedroom at the end of “The Big Bang”; then, her windowsill is repaired and painted, her walls are a different color, and she has new dark-green brocade curtains and different bedclothes. Until that point, her whole house seems locked in some kind of stasis. It’s like a Tim Burton set, a distillation of a mood, but lacking many qualities of a real place.

Amy’s forlorn commentary on abandonment might possibly, just maybe, mean something, but it doesn’t seem like enough time elapsed between the opening shot and the Doctor’s departure for her to have given up on the return of anyone who set the pinwheel and swing in motion, and we have much better candidates for the Unexplained Anomaly.

How did Prisoner Zero manage to climb out of the crack into Amy’s house when everything else gets sucked into the crack and erased from history?

Ultimately, I think even this leaked clue is a red herring. There’s lots more unexplained from “The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang”; I don’t think we’re done with the Silence, no matter what the Doctor managed to do in 1969.


ADDITIONAL INFO: — summary and tropes list


5 thoughts on “New information about “The Eleventh Hour” & examination of minutiae

  1. I like most of your points, but you miss one set. The bedroom curtains moved a few times. The curtains were open when when Young Amelia was rushing back into the house after The Doctor leaves for his 5 minutes (with or without an outline of a Weeping Angel in it). The Prisoner Zero door is closed tight. When she gets upstairs the curtains are also shut tight. When she goes across the hall to get something for her suitcase they only show the now open door where Prisoner Zero hides, but not the staircase. When Amelia returns the curtains are open. There is more in this house than just Amelia and Prisoner Zero. Did it hide in the closet or go up the stairs that lead to whatever is upstairs? Maybe it’s the same type of stairs that’s in The Lodger. And maybe the house isn’t on fire. I could make out a yellow glow, but it really didn’t look like flames. And yep, there is so much TARDIS blue in that house from the front door to the wall paper to the curtains. Creepy.

  2. I considered including the curtains, but decided against them since they’re reasonably well-defined by Prisoner Zero, who shows a penchant for looking out of windows. Nonetheless, you’re absolutely right; with all the suspicions that there’s something else in the house as well, the curtains deserve comment.

    My pet theory on the “something else in the house” — completely unsupportable but to much fun to resist — is that it’s Rory.

  3. In “The Power of Three”, at 39:00, the Doctor mentions “worlds to save, swings to… swing on.”

    Is this the beginning of wrapping up these discrepancies? Does the Doctor go back to park his TARDIS on Amy’s house, using a perception filter or a repaired Chameleon Circuit to disguise his TARDIS, and keep an eye on her while they wait for him to show up? Does a fouled attempt to insert himself in his own timeline without crossing it cause the explosion of the TARDIS — either in Young Amelia’s time when the newly-regenerated Eleven arrvies, or with River Song at the console in 2010?

    In typical Moffat fashion, a thousand things have just been implied, without any actual answers provided.

  4. The more I think about this, the more I become convinced that the Doctor is the unknown entity living in Amy’s house when the new-minted Eleven first shows up. I’m even talking myself into the idea that the house IS the TARDIS, or is affected strongly by the TARDIS being attached to it, or is somehow generated by the TARDIS.

    Now I’m talking myself into the idea that the Ponds are living with little Amelia, too, or are nearby raising Melody… you know? This is a new post. I’m off to write it.

  5. Pingback: How the Ponds leave? | Spoilers, Sweetie!

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