Well that certainly raised a hellavalot of questions.
It is now beyond any doubt that the upper boat team are taking a new approach to the series. This was very much reminiscent of the X-Files or The West Wing. A two part season opener which tells a mostly self contained story, but which also leaves intriguing threads to be developed as the season progresses.
What I Liked:
The whole opening "on the run" sequence and respective "escapes". The fact that the Doctor seems to have manipulated his captors into building a prison that he needs for his own purposes. Everyone writing on themselves to know that they have seen a silent. The Doctor manipulating the fuck out of the silence re-using the Remembrance of the Daleks gambit (trick the bad guys into killing themselves). River Song killing the fuck out of the silence. Spooky evil TARDIS. Amy in a haunted house (which was blatantly shot like the X-Files). Regenerating little girl (Holy Shit. OMFG etc etc). The Doctor's conversation with Rory.
What I did not like:
"3 months later", 3 days would've done the trick really. The "fell out of the sky line"; yes its a figure of speech, its also the very worst figure of speech you could use if your seeking to re-assure your insecure husband about an alien who fell out of the sky and into your life. Nixon; the River/Doctor conversation about him in the last episode (Some good stuff, Not enough) was about the best way of approaching him. Again, as with Churchill last year we get the Cartoon Historical version. Comparing these political figures with the portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh last year or Anthony Hopkins take on Nixon is like comparing a school boy five-a-side with the Champions League final. The difference really is that startling. To be fair the show was caught in something of a cleft stick here; Nixon was president at the time of the moon landings and a family sf fantasy show can't easily go into a debate on the merits of his presidency. But there was the option to exclude him from proceedings entirely or at least give him some more depth. The approach reaches its nadir when the "punchline" of Canton's homosexual relationship is revealed and played for laughs. The Doctor might have wanted to mention J. Edgar Hoovers proclivities here!
I think that Moffatt needs to re-consider the use of celebrity historicals. Twice now major figures have been shoe-horned into SF stories that Classic Who (or indeed the books or audios) would simply have told without.
The Doctor's "genocide" of the silence seems to have caused some ructions. On the one hand Mad Larry archly made the point that it was rather stupid for the silent to order the execution of his own species. This is frankly a case of stating the obvious and missing the point. Who Baddies boasting "you should kill us" is a trope of the series (see most recently the Silurian two parter for a very similar speech). Yes its stupid, but its clear from the episode the silent has been imprisoned for some time and that Canton has been trying to provoke just such a statement for some time. Moreover, if we are going to criticise this kind of plotting, then we may as well give everything in the show post An Unearthly Child a kicking because numerous enemies would have succeeded if they had (1) shut up and (2) killed the doctor rather than banging on about killing him. Moffatt is fully aware of this (Curse of the Fatal Death, I'll Explain Later).
There is also the "ethical" argument against this. I don't propose to spend too much time on this. Firstly, its clear that the Silence exist way beyond the human sphere of influence. I suspect if every human in every time on every world killed every silent they saw, there would still be plenty of them knocking about the universe. Secondly, humanity (and by extension the Doctor) are entitled to act in their own self defence and there is no other way for humanity to defend against the silence given that they can't remember them. Thirdly, contrary to what some would say, the Doctor has previous on this score (just off the top of my head: Macra, Daleks, Jaggaroth, Daleks again, Cybermen, Heamavores, Daleks again, Time Lords).
What was up with the Kid and the eye patch lady?