What was the whole purpose of producing the space suit for The Impossible Astronaut? Couldn't the Silence achieve their purpose in simpler methods?

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(I saw all the episodes, feel free to spoiler in your answers)

  • Good question, humanity went to the moon because they needed a space suit. Why? A diving suit is more traditional in a lake!
    – Liath
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 11:48
  • possible duplicate of Why did the Silence mess with Earth history?
    – Valorum
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 12:37
  • The answer is similar, but the questions are rather different. Commented May 29, 2014 at 13:58
  • 1
    @MeatTrademark - The question and answer are practically identical. They need a spacesuit a) to control river and b) because in the future he was killed by River in a spacesuit. QED
    – Valorum
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 17:24
  • @Richard "Why did the Silence mess with Earth history?" is different from specifically asking about the space suit. The Silents (the Confessional Priests) have been around for all of our history. This is one aspect of their existence. Commented May 29, 2014 at 18:16

3 Answers 3


Per my answer here;

The Silence needed the suit to physically control River Song. They're aware of the events surrounding his death (e.g. that he's shot by River Song at Lake Silencio on the date in question wearing an Apollo spacesuit) and must have been quite surprised to find that she had no intention of doing so.

Their reaction was to travel further back into time and guide the development of the human race to the point that they'd developed a space suit capable of being used as a physical control device, turning her into a 'people puppet'.

In the episode 'The Impossible Astronaut' River Song is later reported to have said to the Doctor (at the moment of his apparent death):

"I can't stop it - the suit's in control".

As to why they didn't try something less convoluted (e.g. altering the entirety of human history just to get hold of a space suit that they could have easily replicated themselves) the answer is that it's not been explained.

  • To be more accurate, River said "I can't stop it, the suit's in control" in episode 13, "The Wedding of River Song." There was no discernible dialogue in "The Impossible Astronaut" even though that's when the event first took place on our timeline. Commented May 29, 2014 at 18:44
  • @MeatTrademark - You are, of course correct. I've edited accordingly to make that more clear.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 19:24
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    "why they didn't try something less convoluted" I thought it was established that the Silence never made anything themselves, they always got some other race to do it for them via subliminal messages?
    – Brian S
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 21:14
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    @Liath: Probably because the suit that young River broke out of had literally just been developed, whereas the one that River was put in when they submerged her beneath Lake Silencio would have had time to have been modified and improved.
    – Amy
    Commented May 31, 2014 at 8:20
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    As for them trying something less convoluted, they did, and it blew up in their faces ("it" being the TARDIS and the entire universe with it). That was probably seen as a sign that they needed to go to greater lengths in order to ensure their success, hence their plan to turn the Doctor's death into a fixed point, which would require a lot of complex scheming since the fixed point has to be weighed down by tons of history.
    – Amy
    Commented May 31, 2014 at 8:23

I also think the suit represents that Riversong is kind of in a controlled incubating machine or self preservation armour, being space themed it of course had to be an astronaught suit, it's also potentially the same suite that ages her or twisted her time line against The Doctors as a sort anti Doctor timeline, knowing that Amy and Rory are amongst The Doctors dearest friends, what better way to punish him then by using his friends child as a trained assasin to kill him. And by making sure they never meet properly there after the kill River was to meet him backwards so she new that her task was to kill him, but of course she lived him to much to do so, so the suite can never really control her, when she meets Amy in the suit she's trying to warn Amy, not hurt her.

  • Can you provide any evidence for your answer?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented May 27, 2017 at 23:08

In a later episode I believe it is stated that they needed to over load the suit to prevent River Song from regenerating and force all her R.E. along with the suits power supplying a single blast killing the doctor. Also the original design of a space suit is based off of a diving suit so it would keep River alive long enough under water to have to regenerate when the time comes; it can also be considered a clue to the time that the doctor needs to go to in order to try to save himself while a diving suit would be too mysterious.

  • The child in the suit regenerated because Amy shot her not because the suit forced her to
    – Liath
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 14:48
  • The bullet hole in the face shield was above her head. I thought (and Amy thought) that she missed. Commented May 29, 2014 at 14:57
  • @MeatTrademark but at the end of the episode isn't she seen clutching her stomach? It's been a while since I've watched it
    – Liath
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 16:28
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    The last scene is also weeks or months later, and in New York City, not in Florida where she was shot at. Amy missed. She's clutching her stomach because she's sick, dying of an illness of some sort.
    – BBlake
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 17:08

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