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“Day of the Moon” Review – SPOILERS!!!

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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  1. Mymosa says:

    I am stuck back at the scene in the orphanage, it is a good point that the child would not necessarily have pictures of herself, but a mother would. It could be that the woman with the eye patch is a “nurse” watching over Amy. Amy did spend a lot of time in her childhood getting mental help because of her meeting with the Dr. This was made clear even after she brought the Dr back to life at her wedding when her mother commented on how many psychiatrists they’d sent her to. What if the Silents targeted Amy from when she was a child (Prisoner zero knew about the Silents and he lived in the home with her all those years, as did the vampires) to draw the Dr to her. He stated he was drawn to her because of the crack in her wall, and in one interview Karen Gillan states that we will see more about the effects that her childhood has had on Amy.

    The woman with the eye patch keeps saying something about she’s dreaming. If they did use Amy to create a baby why would they keep her alive and locked in a room? Are all the episodes since the 11th Dr started all about the Silents manipulating the Dr using Amy as the bait?? Even the Dr has said it’s all about Amy. Maybe the “Amy” in the adventures with the Dr, is not the real Amy, because the real one is locked in that room? Even with the issue about Rory, maybe all of them were a plant to lure the Dr in by the Silents.
    I think the Dr does shoot himself to correct a timeline issue.

  2. Christine says:

    I completely agree with what you say about Rory and Amy. I even mention it in my review that I did of the episode×2-day-of-the-moon/

  3. joeanon says:

    favorite part is where Rory breaks the dish off of the lunar lander model.

  4. DouggieDoo says:

    I think it’s entirely possible that the prison wasn’t exactly built for the Doctor. Perhaps it was a ruse at first, but was eventually meant to hold a captured Silent at some point. The Doctor needed to have that video recording in the moon transmission, so maybe it was meant as an interrogation room. Either way, what ever happened to that Silent they captured? Did they eventually kill him, or is he still there in Area 51? Will we see the prison again later in the series?

  5. Captain Fnarglebips says:

    I’m still troubled by the Doctor’s seeming endorsement of genocide. The Doctor is usually selfless enough to try to save the scary monster that just tried many times over to kill him–he couldn’t even bring himself to eliminate the Daleks in “The Parting of the Ways.” How had the Silence earned racial extinction at the hands of the Doctor?

  6. Matt Boyd says:

    The inescapable prison was created so that the slience could not know of the plan that happens at the end of the episode. I believe the reason there seems to be a hole in the story is that the plan was made in the inescapable prison. Was Amy actually pregnant with the Doctors baby? The little girl is a time lord. There are pictures of an adult Amy holding a child. Is the little girl in the spacesuit Amy’s daughter? Is Rory now immortal forever or is just till they open the prison that Amy is in? I like Idea #5

  7. PapaFrita says:

    I liked the banter between River and the Doctor in this one. She’s less cocky and he’s more familiar with her. I’m assuming the banter will continue to improve in their next meeting, then become more one-sided as River knows the Doctor less and less.

  8. Sheena says:

    So many theories… just blew my mind on a lunch break.

    One thing I haven’t read though – I think Moffat framed this episode like a finale. It’s so conclusive — yay! the Silence are dead! — yet it leaves open so many questions about what happened in between. I think the rest of the season will answer those questions, then the finale (or the midseason “finale,” which is supposed to happen this time round) will drop some other huge bomb… like who River really is or how the heck the Doctor evades death. It’s a episode reversal I’ve never seen in a show before… and it’s the ultimate cliffhanger and very clever because of course the Doctor beats the Silence… he always beats his enemy. Instead we have to wait for all the unknowns in between!

    Thanks for geeking out, everyone!

  9. Avant1963 says:

    @Tim – I was doing the same thing as you – except I had to only go through 48 posts to realize that no one mentioned it.

    My wife said the same thing as the people you were with – that she would have never caught it. And me – as soon as I saw that there was going to be a transmission of some sort immediately said – “It has to happen at the “a” flub!” And it did. Awesome stuff.

  10. JuJuCam says:

    My read on the TARDIS scanner pregnancy test flickering (on the second viewing) was that Amy’s uterus is in some sort of quantum state of being both impregnated and infertile at the same time. A weird timey-wimey Schroedingers kitten. With perhaps the result somehow hinging on factors that may or may not occur in the timeline’s future but in her past, or vice versa. Timey wimey stuff is difficult!

  11. tim says:

    @Avant1963 I hate you. i read through 50 posts and was all excited about being the first person to mention it. That was one of my favorite parts and no one i was with caught it. this is why moffett is a genius.

    Side Note: I don’t really hate you, just that i’m bummed someone right at the end beat me to it. good on ya.

  12. JustlikeonTV says:

    Yes, a thousand times yes. This has always been my theory too and I am rock-solid on it. It makes so much sense, right?

    At any rate, I think it’s an elegant, Moffat-ish idea. If he’s got something better I can’t wait to be surprised, but my money’s on River=TARDIS.