“Day of the Moon” Review – SPOILERS!!!
By Kyle Anderson on May 2, 2011
The second half of the series premiere of Doctor Who raised a lot more questions than answers, but it’s the beginning of the year, so it didn’t really have to answer much. “Day of the Moon,” while not as cinematic or as, to be honest, engaging as “The Impossible Astronaut,” still offered a huge amount of creepiness, excitement, and the requisite amount of Doctorishness to keep me satisfied and entertained. Moffat’s script is kind of all over the map logically, though, which I will get to in a moment. The cast, again, were very strong and in particular Arthur Darvill as Rory continues to stand out. I mentioned that the episode was less cinematic, but that is more to do with there being fewer exterior scenes and less to do with Toby Haynes’ excellent direction. Haynes’ work has proven to be among the best, up there with Graeme Harper and Euros Lyn.
For more specifics and the like, read on. (SPOILERS GALORE)
-One thing that put me off this episode a little initially is that we jump to three months later so quickly. We don’t see the direct ramifications of the cliffhanger and only get a little bit of it at all. I really felt like “Day of the Moon” was the third part and we just didn’t get to see part two.
-It’s never really explained why Canton needs to pretend to hunt down the members of Team TARDIS in the first place. If the Doctor is so tight with President Nixon, why are he and his friends being doggedly hunted? If it were the Silence using posthypnotic suggestion, why is Canton not affected? Again, I feel like most of this would have been explained in that hypothetical second part. More likely, this was just Moffat’s way of making an exciting and confusing pre-credits sequence. There is no narrative reason given for the whole Area 51 section or the “inescapable prison” being built because there’s seemingly no need for either one.
-Amy’s not pregnant anymore… or is she?
-I really liked the idea of them having to mark on themselves whenever they encounter the Silence. It adds a visual creepiness so we know there are lots of them about but we don’t actually have to see them. The scene where Amy walks around the abandoned orphanage is incredibly creepy and made even creepier when she suddenly sees markings on her arms, and then more on her face. Excellent depiction of it. Plus, the pack of them sleeping on the ceiling might be the most disturbing single shot the show’s had.
-The orphanage: Why? The Doctor says something about how the Silence probably wouldn’t take the little girl too far from their “base” in Florida, but why would they need to take her anywhere? That is all sort of glossed over. Again, though, visually, the orphanage is flawless and all of the writings on the wall of “Get Out of Here” and stuff like that were incredibly effective. That poor Dr. Whatever-His-Name-Was. He’s merely a shell of a man and his odd Plantation-Southern drawl made him all the more creepy.
-Okay, brass tacks: the scene with Amy in the little girl’s room in the orphanage. What the hell is going on there? First of all, we see a woman with a metallic eye patch through a window in a door who says she’s just having a dream. Uhh, what now? Then when Amy opens the door, there’s no longer a window and no eye patch woman inside. I honestly can’t even begin to figure out who this woman is or what she’s doing or why. Is she talking about Amy or the little girl?
-Next, Amy sees a bunch of pictures of the little girl and one of Amy holding a baby, presumably the little girl. The obvious implication is that this little girl is somehow Amy’s, but my question is: Why would the little girl have a bunch of pictures of herself in her room? Is this room actually the little girl’s room at all? I’m sort of doubting that now.
-Finally, the astronaut walks back into the room and lifts the visor revealing the little girl, a bullet hole in the glass. She again asks for help, but before Amy can do anything, she’s set upon by Silence. Clearly, Amy is very important, as is the little girl, but how are they connected?
-Canton, being the bad-ass that he is, shoots a Silent and they are able to take it back to the unnecessary impenetrable prison. But they went to go pick up Nixon first just so he could explain everything? What sort of sense does that make, as, presumably, Nixon would have to be the one who initiated the manhunt for everybody, and yet he seems to be perfectly genial the whole time. (I need to get over this, but the Area 51 thing was a waste of a good idea)
-The Silent reveals to the Doctor that they are, in fact, the Silence and that they will fall. Two things: 1) This moment was entirely wasted because we’ve known for weeks that they’re called the Silence. Could have been a decent reveal, utterly lost because we already knew it. And 2) Why would they themselves know about their own prophecy of falling? I really like the Silence as an entity and Moffat, being the evil genius he is, has wrapped a lot of UFO and alien abduction myths together in them. First, they look like the “Grey Alien” we’ve all grown to know; Second, they wear black suits, not unlike the Men in Black; Third, they make people forget them once they aren’t looking, which both ties back to the Men in Black as well as “missing time,” which a lot of abductees or people who’ve encountered aliens claim to experience.
-A lot of attention was paid this episode to Rory still feeling inadequate when compared to the Doctor and believing still that Amy would rather be with the Doctor than him. By the end of the episode, Amy proves twice that she loves Rory and Rory alone and THAT, my friends, had better be the end of it. I suppose it was necessary that Moffat address the issue, but I’ll be very happy to not have to deal with a perceived love triangle anymore. Rory is awesome and has more than earned a place in both the TARDIS and Amy’s life. So there.
-HUGE SCENE: They take the astronaut suit and inspect it and find that it’s composed of a great deal of alien technology. River inspects it and sees that the little girl is human, or at least the suit was set up to support human life. It’s also clear that the girl must be insanely strong if she broke out of the suit. The suit is also, somehow, able to support itself and is kind of alive since it begins rebuilding itself. Perhaps the suit acting on its own accord kills the future Doctor (I doubt it). The Silence have been taking technology from other races and planets forever, which would also explain their TARDIS.
-Aboard their TARDIS, Amy is tied up and is surprised to learn she’s been there for a couple of days. The Doctor and them arrive and he does his clever bit and eventually turns the entire human race against the Silence, all being tied back to the moon landing. I thought this was very smart and a good use of the era in which it was set. However, I’ll be damned if we’ve seen the last of the Silence. Clearly, they’re still involved in the Doctor’s life and indeed the universe as a whole.
-River Song is awesome. Not only does she just kick a lot of ass but I’m really starting to like the relationship she has with the Doctor. He’s beginning to open up more with her and be more flirtatious, and she’s not quite as know-it-all-y like she gets later in her life. I enjoyed the character always, but this two-parter was the first time I really GOT her character. She’s living in the terrible backwards world where the longer she lives, the less this man she loves knows about her. That’s immensely tragic and explains a lot of why she is the way she is in the earlier episodes we’ve seen.
-Amy isn’t pregnant, but she is, or was. The Doctor’s scanner keeps flickering between positive and negative. Hmm…
Well, I guess that’s all the important stuff to talk about. I can’t think of anything else worth discussing… except…
-The little girl frigging REGENERATES! What!?!?!?! This is Moffat making sure we’re awake and I love it. I have several theories as to what this could mean which I will list for you right now.
1) She’s just a kid. The astronaut suit she was in, being made of a bunch of different alien tech, somehow rebuilt her using Time Lord stuff which she now has the ability to use.
2) She is Amy and Rory’s daughter, but the Silence (or some other alien?) took her and did weird experiments on her. I still think just because there’s a picture of Amy holding a child doesn’t necessarily mean she’s holding THAT child OR that that child is hers.
3) She’s River Song, though that seems less and less likely the more we know about River, i.e. she ain’t a Time Lord.
4) She’s River and the Doctor’s child, again unlikely since River would surely have known and been more emphatic about helping her.
5) She is a Time Lord child that the Silence kidnapped a long time ago for experimental purposes.
6) The Silence are growing their own Time Lords using the Doctor’s regenerative energy and Amy’s embryo.
7) Something else no one’s thought of yet because Steven Moffat is incredibly clever and likes to show it off to us.
All in all, “Day of the Moon” was a fun episode, if not a perfect one.
Whatever happens, this series has set itself up to be incredibly different in narrative style as well as schedule. I’m really looking forward to the next few, non-mythos-weaving episodes. Just to tide you over, he’s the prequel and trailer for the next episode, “The Curse of the Black Spot.”
-Kanderson thinks Silence is golden
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