Doctor Who: Day of the Moon

The Doctor: 'You're building me the perfect prison. And it still won't be enough.'

Calling this a two-parter is perhaps something of a misnomer. We've had two parts, granted, but was anything truly concluded? Virtually all of our questions were left unanswered. Sure, they managed to defeat the Silence (although I'm pretty sure that's not the last we'll see of them), but what exactly is going on? And then the little girl started to regenerate and, suddenly, I found myself grinning from ear to ear. What a turn up for the books. What a cliff hanger. Actually... just, WHAT?!

It's difficult to judge the effectiveness of a story when we don't yet know what it means. If the resolution is impressive, then we'll no doubt be singing its praises in the weeks to come (and pretending we knew what was going on all along.) Until then, it's hard to say how I feel about 'Day of The Moon.' There's so much we still don't know. Like: who is the little girl in the space suit? Given what we do know (and I use the term 'know' loosely), it's almost impossible to infer anything. Amy being pregnant, along with that photo of her holding a baby, seems to suggest that the child's hers. That's if she is pregnant. Even the TARDIS didn't seem sure.

Was Amy's comment about having a baby with a 'time head' meant purely as a wind-up for Rory (and, of course, for us?), or is Amy genuinely worried about the long term effects travelling in the TARDIS could have on her unborn child? (Again, assuming she's pregnant.) Of course, the emphasis on Amy being pregnant almost certainly means we're being mislead, but who else could the girl in the suit be? An old Time Lord in a new body? All of the known Time Lords are either dead, presumed dead, or locked in the Time War.

Song didn't say 'spoilers' once tonight. She even managed to keep her 'sweeties' to a bare minimum. How depressing that her first kiss with the Doctor was, for her at least, also her last. That dive into the TARDIS' swimming pool had me shaking my head in disbelief, but it was played for laughs, so—mission accomplished—I laughed. But the question must surely remain: who is River Song? And how many more times must I ask that question before we get an answer? Can we really rule out Song being a Time Lord? Her gun toting skills are, clearly, second to none, and we already know she can write in High Gallifreyan, has an extensive knowledge of Time Lord anatomy, and can pilot a TARDIS better than the Doctor. (Who, let's face it, is stylish... but totally rubbish.) Yet, if she is a Time Lord, then why can't the Doctor sense it?

It's feasible that the Moff might've come up with some fiendishly clever way of hiding her in plain sight. That kiss at the end (at last) seemed to confirm that her and the Doctor will become a couple at some point in the future. Song and the Doctor flirting was priceless, as was the Doctor's reaction to her kiss—with the face scratching, the hair twizzling, and the cringeworthy awkwardness. Could the child be theirs? Would a half Time Lord be capable of pulling off a full regeneration? Or would it be more of a half-arsed affair like Jenny's was back in 'The Doctor's Daughter'? Will she regenerate into another child, or will her next incarnation be an adult we all recognise? I'm guessing they won't go down the route of a cross gender regeneration (despite what happened in 'Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death'), otherwise, we could've had a future incarnation of the Doctor on our hands. Now that would be interesting—albeit totally unlikely and probably impossible, but, you know, wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey and all that.

The whole 'Stupid Face' misdirection felt a little contrived. No wonder Rory was confused—although his face is kind of funny looking. But 'dropped out of the sky' being a figure of speech did feel like a bit of a stretch. So why that long, lingering look between Amy and the Doctor? And why was Amy in a photo back in 1969? And who the hell was that crazy woman with the silver eye patch? Now she must be significant! Is Amy dreaming? That would certainly explain the pregnancy. (Or lack thereof.)

I like the way they're developing the Silence. Moffat has this habit of blaming the creaks and groans of our everyday existence on unseen alien terrors. It's ironic that the very thing which makes the Silence so powerful —the fact that they can erase themselves from people's memories—is also their Achilles heel. Their inability to be remembered means mankind can wipe them out without ever knowing they've done so. It's the perfect crime. And let's face it, the Doctor's not exactly averse to nearly wiping out whole species. The Daleks for example. Or his own people. It was a nice turn around, too, that, for once, they weren't fighting off some generic alien invasion—they were leading a revolution. Changing the moon landing footage was a clever solution to the occupation, although it didn't make for a particularly spectacular showdown. Not that high octane blow-outs are Moffat's forte.

So what other questions are we left with? Why do the Silence need a space suit? And we still don't know who killed the Doctor. With the space suit now vacant, anyone could step into it. Unless the girl came from the past to kill him. But if she is a Time Lord too, then why would she want to kill the Doctor? Unless she's an old foe. It's clearly someone the Doctor recognises—but, again, there are so few clues, it's virtually impossible to know who. Or are there clues all over the place and we're just not seeing them?

Other Thoughts:

—Great opening scenes: with everybody dead and the Doctor locked inside a zero balanced dwarf star alloy prison.

—Is the life support suit the reason River's bullets didn't kill the little girl last week?

—What a magnificent full beard on Matt Smith. It was like a character in itself.

—The Nixon plot, despite providing some vaguely amusing gags, felt a little superfluous. I think I'd have preferred less Nixon and more answers. Oh, and has a nose ever looked more like an arse? I didn't think so.

—Loved the nano-recorders.What could have been an absurd plot device turned into a useful emotional trigger. They were also a useful means of ramping up the tension.

—Loved the tip of the hat to David Frost.

—The Silence's spaceship was first seen in 'The Lodger'. Was that planned I wonder? I know Moffat says yes, but really?

—One review, twenty eight questions. If half of them get answered by the end of the season I'll be a happy chappie.

—An excellent episode overall, which may one day be deemed a classic... providing the pay-off doesn't stink.

Quotes:

Doctor: 'This isn't an alien invasion, they live here. This is their empire. This is kicking the Romans out of Rome.'
Rory: 'Rome fell.'
Doctor: 'I know, I was there.'
Rory: 'So was I.'

Doctor: 'Oh this is my friend River, nice hair, clever, and has her own gun. And unlike me she really doesn't mind shooting people. I shouldn't like that...kinda do a bit.'
River: 'Thank you, Sweetie.'
Doctor: 'I know you're team players, and everything, but she'll definitely kill at least the first three of you.'
Song: 'Oh the first seven, easily.'
Doctor: 'Seven? Really?'
Song: 'Eight for you, honey.'
Doctor: 'Stop it!'
Song: 'Make me.'
Doctor: 'Yeah, well, maybe I will.'
Amy: 'Is this really important, flirting , because I feel I should be high in the list right now?'

Doctor: 'Why did you tell me?'
Amy: 'Because you're my friend. You're my best friend.'

Amy: 'I don't want to tell Rory his baby might have three heads. Or like a time head or something.'

Song: 'Our lives are back to front. Your future's my past. Your firsts are my lasts.'

Nixon: 'This person you want to marry? Black?'
Canton: 'Yes...'
Nixon: 'I know what people think of me but perhaps I am a little more liberal...'
Canton: '...he is.'
Nixon: 'I think the moon is far enough for now. Don't you, Mr Delaware?'
Canton: 'I figured it might be.'
---
Also posted at The Time Meddler.

21 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Frankly, Paul, I was hoping you were going to explain what happened in this episode to me. :) I'm so confused! I thought they were hinting that somehow the little girl was the daughter of Amy and the Doctor, but how?

I remember a comedian once said that Nixon had a face like a foot. Every time I see a clip of him, I think, yes, that's it, he looks like a foot.

TheDarkShape said...

Considering The Lodger was the last episode of series five filmed, and that they only chose it over The Doctor's Wife because it's cheaper -- while *still* building the proto-TARDIS -- I'd have to assume that Moffat had the idea in mind.

The little girl is Amy's daughter. The TARDIS kept flickering from positive to negative because it was reading the pregnancy, then when the scanner shifted, it "forgot," and kept repeating the cycle.

River is clearly the Doctor's wife. I thought it was abundantly clear in Forest of the Dead, but whatever. But I'd also put my bet on her being Amy and Rory's daughter, able to regenerate because of the TARDIS' effects on a pregnancy.

Trousers said...

Oh how much have I loved these last two episodes. They've managed to make me alternately laugh, tense up, jump out of my skin and sit there in utter confusion.

I don't have a clue where they're going on most of the mysteries, but I trust in the Moffat. He's been setting some of this stuff up since before he even knew he was going to be showrunner, and he seems to know well enough to plan his pay offs when setting up his mysteries. This is a man who managed to work wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff into a relationship sitcom, I reckon he knows what he's doing. (So no worries about this going the way of Lost just yet.

Mostly I'm just loving how this show is delivering adult drama, whilst still managing to keep its target audience of 8 year olds hooked. We've come a long way from burping wheely bins!

Iago said...

I agree with DarkShape, I think the child is Rory and Amy's and being gestated in the TARDIS/time vortex has caused it to develop some Timelord-y characteristics.

I'm not sure the child is River but it might explain why River couldn't shoot the astronaut last episode and River's warmth towards Rory. There was also the delightful ambiguity of River's phrasing when she asked if her "old fella" has seen her slaughter the Silents while Rory was stood right behind her. It was a very a Moffat-esque play on words. Still, I hope River is just River, a kick ass archaeologist from the 51st century - her relationship with the Doctor feels a touch incestuous if she's Rory and Amy's daughter.

Rivers realisation of the last kiss was brutal, absolutely brutal and I think that the next episode we see her, we'll find out who she is. She says as much herself after the Doctor drops her off.

I've got a sneaking suspicion a scene from the finale in the autumn will be the Doctor turning up on River's doorstep with a new haircut and a suit, ready to take her to the Singing Towers. That'll be one way to ensure the audience cries during the finale.

In spite of all the confusion, I thought this was a very strong episode and when you look at how he brought together the last series, with every single episode contributing to the finale, I've got faith that the Moff will answer most, if not all, of our questions.

Mark Greig said...

“I’ll explain later” really should be Steven Moffat’s motto. The most annoying thing is we probably won’t get any definitive answers to any of our questions until the autumn.

Of 2013.

That said, I’ll gladly take Moff’s head scratchers over Russell’s overblown epics any day of the week.

Paul Kelly said...

TheDarkShape: I'm not sure River being the Doctor's wife was made "abundantly clear" in "Forest the Dead". They keep hinting at it, certainly. But it's never been officially confirmed. Song seemed to suggest in ToA that being the Doctor's wife was too simple an explanation.

I do like the idea of the time Vortex causing foetal abnormalities resulting in semi-timelordiness, however. That could work. And I agree Amy being pregnant is the most likely solution. They're ramming it down our throats after all. But, where there's doubt, speculation abounds. If there's anything to be learned from Rory misinterpreting Amy's words over the nano-recorder, it's that things aren't always what they seem.

Great thoughts, guys.

TheDarkShape said...

The guy (I can't recall his name) made the quip about them fighting like an old married couple, to which there's a long, long pause between them. After everything else said in that episode, what else makes sense?

Moving beyond that, in The Time of Angels Amy flat-out asks her if she's Mrs. Doctor. River does say it's not that simple, but she also says "you're good, you're very, very good" without denying it.

Then in The Big Bang, the Doctor asks if she's married. "Yes." Wait, did she think he was asking to marry her or if she was married? "Yes." But was that yes or yes? "YES." Based on what he's asked, yes can only mean, "Yes, I'll marry you," or "Yes, we're married." :-P

I honestly think people are sort of tripping over themselves because it's the obvious answer -- and that's because it's right. Certainly there's more to it than that, but River Song is most certainly the Doctor's wife.

Petra said...

@darkshape thats the point though isn't it? Song didn't deny being the Doctors wife, but neither did she confirm it. And yes Lux made that comment about them being like an old married couple. But again this could just be the writers playing with us. I'm not saying River being the Doctor's wife isn't the best explanation. All I'm saying is that everytime someone says something that seems to confirm it we have something else casting doubts on it. She may just be the Doctors girlfriend. Or something entirely unexpected. The same goes for Amy and the baby. Until we know for certain who the child is every possibility is valid. It would be rubbish if they revealed all in the first episode. I'm sure there will be twists and turns along the way :o)

Sephen said...

I didn't feel this episode lived up to the first episode of the series, the first few minutes felt a bit like it was trying too hard to be clever, and I'm a little bit annoyed by the lack of resolutions, I can deal with questions not being answered straight away but i would at least like a little hint! But this is still one of the best things on TV at the moment.

I also can't help thinking that most adults I know don't really understand what was happening, so how the heck did the target audience of kids keep up?!

zob said...
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Josie Kafka said...

Is there a connection between The Silence and the "Silence in the Library" episode in season four? If so, what is the relationship between the girl in the space suit and the Vashta Nerada, who had a tendency to be drawn to space suits?

(If not, does this mean that Moffat only has two great ideas, and he's just going to keep recycling them? Because that seems like a terrible answer.)

TheDoctorDonna said...

I'm worried about the killing of(and confirming) and onscreen and permanent death of Eleven. Does this now mean there will be no Twelve? Is Moffat shooting himself in the foot regarding the life of the series after Smith, or beginning to plan the end of all, to occur at the 50th Anniversary mark?

Also, a little miffed that River's 'secret' may turn out to be she's just The Doctor's wife. I could've totally called that as early as Forest of the Dead, and Moffat had this huge buildup that the fans may think she's this, but she's really that. I remember someone suggesting she was Jack Harkness somehow, and I hoped that if not, she was at least something equally as outrageous and unforeseeable. I'm bracing for a big let down there to be honest. I'd like to hear Paul's ideas on this.

However, I must commend the cliffhanger. Little girl regenerates? WHOA! I'm going to put my money on her NOT being Amy's child. Why would Amy, even a future Amy, abandon her child to live on the streets in 1969 in New York? Even if she does kill The Doctor? I would think Amy (thought still nowhere near my favorite companion) would have a little more heart to not do that, or if she HAD to dispose of the kid, to do it a more humane way.

Also, I'm going out on a limb and calling the little girl a new character (after all, not EVERYONE has to be Romana). She's a child lost as a result of the Time War, almost as old as The Doctor but with a mind warped enough by The Silence to forget her past.

And The Silence aren't gone yet. No way in hell can there be multi-season buildup to this for it to be concluded in the season opener. Also Josie Kafka's idea regarding The Silence and Vashta Nerada are definitely something to think about. Was this a huge subplot dating back TWO full seasons?

At least we have our series-long story arc elements: Amy's 'baby,' Little Girl/Unspecified Time Lady, River's Identity, The Silence.

zob said...
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Anonymous said...

So maybe Song is Mrs Doctor and also perhaps the child of Amy and Rory. We know she killed the best man she knew - could potentially be Rory, her father??

The Doctor clearly isn't the best at commanding the TARDIS - who did Song learn from then? She knew how to fly the Tardis long since we met her, so could be someone that in the Doctor's timeline, doesn't know how to fly the TARDIS yet.

No idea all all about about the little girl at the end...

Paul Kelly said...

The Doctor Donna: I agree that Song being the Doctor's wife would be something of an anticlimax. As you said (and as Petra intimates above), it's just too obvious. It would be the worst kept secret in the whole show. I'm holding onto River words that being his wife would be too simple. If that's all she is, then, like yourself, I'll be pretty disappointed. I like the idea of her being a Time Lord. I'm not sure I like the idea of her being Amy's daughter. The Doctor in a relationship with Amy's hot daughter seems all kinds of wrong.

I'm also unsure on who the little girl is. Again, they keep spoon feeding us plenty, and then immediately confusing the issue. Whether they're telling the truth or not, I have no idea. Oh, and I answered your other comment in the other thread.

And no, quite right, not everyone has to be Romana...lol. That made me laugh :o)

Josie: If there's an episode in season seven called "Silent but deadly in a space suit" you might be on to something :o)

Eco78 said...

Regarding River being the Doctors Wife, everybody seem to be missing the obvious, "your first my last", if there ever was a wedding as soon as it was over River wouldnt know anything about it on there next meeting, she said he first met her when she was a young woman so whats the betting the first time River meets the Doctor (and the Doctors last) is the time of the wedding?

By this time he knows and trusts her, realising this is the last time he will see her and what an important role she plays in his past, and he plays in her future he marrys her and tells her his name so she can gain his trust on his first meeting, thus creating a wibbley wobbley time loop that Moffett just loves :)

The Doctor Donna said...

Okay, one of my fellow Who-watchers just suggested the Little Girl is DONNA'S daughter! I really wanted to smack her. If she is Donna's half-human half-Time Lady spawn that SOMEHOW made her way to 1969 and into the hands of The Silence, I'll eat my cat for dinner.

I have to admit, the rumors that The Silence wasn't a new breed of alien but something much, much more sinister (thought I admit they were creepy as heck) at the command of Omega would've rocked my socks. Also, I know for certain they must be back, because it occurred to me just now that we still haven't been told how they can control the TARDIS.

And does anyone else want Canton to come back? Somehow? Someday? Somewhere? Because I do. I really do.

Ben said...

As long as the Moff dosen't keep piling on the questions, dosen't know how to answer then and so says, "well, it's all about the charactors, not the mystery that we blatantly made up to keep you watching," I'll be happy. But I doubt it. This is definately all planned out, and its making for compelling viewing.
Forgotten how surprising DW is under the Moff. We never quite get the same thing. I for one can't wait for more.

TheDarkShape said...

River and the Doctor aren't moving directly in reverse, though. We know that before River goes to the Library, she meets the Doctor and he takes her to the Singing Towers. That certainly didn't happen between Midnight and The End of Time.

River is the Doctor's wife. Get used to that fact, folks. But that doesn't mean she doesn't have some other mystery to her. I wager she's Amy and Rory's daughter -- the girl in the space suit -- and I don't think it'd be creepy at all.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Excellent episode and the ending was suitably interesting too.

ian said...

hmmm... i might be the only bloke that has some reservations in regards to the "smith" doctor. now, had there never been a tennant, baker, pertwee, eccleston, and davison......then i might find his characterization of the doctor more accepting. but, as it is, "goofy," was the first season; a cross between the scarlet pimpernel, jack sparrow....and a goof, seem to mark the second season. although, i did find the noel special rather entertaining. nevertheless, dr who is still one of the best sci fi shows on the tube, and i will probably be a fan for years to come - mainly because i like the ideal of the doctor. as far as the smith-doctor....i will just wait to see what lies around the corner.