Doctor Who: ‘Day of the Moon’ Review & Discussion

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doctor who day of the moon Doctor Who: Day of the Moon Review & Discussion

Check out our review of part 1, “The Impossible Astronaut”: ‘Doctor Who’ Season 6 Premiere Review & Discussion

The second half of the Doctor Who season 6 premiere, entitled ‘Day of the Moon,’ not only kicked-off off Matt Smith’s sophomore season as the Doctor with a bang, but also instilled the notion that if this is a sign of things to come, Doctor Who fans can look forward to what may be the series’ best season yet.

As “Day of the Moon” begins, the gunshot heard from Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) firing upon the little girl can still be heard. Picking up 3 months later, we find Amy being chased through the Valley of the Gods in Utah. With companion Pond cornered by Canton Delaware (Mark Sheppard), an empty body bag thrown to the ground is a sign of things to come for all of the Doctor’s familiar compatriots.

With the time-shifting storyline that Doctor Who mastermind Steven Moffat started in “The Impossible Astronaut,” realizing the actual fate of Amy, Rory (Arthur Darvill) and Rivers Songs proved to carry with it a heavy barrier for entry in terms of believability. Fortunately, the imagery of watching each of the Doctor’s friends being selectively executed served to delay any form of logical conundrum enough for Moffat’s beautifully crafted story to reveal itself.

Since the Silence is intending to reclaim Earth as their own planet, the Doctor, Amy, Rory, River (Alex Kingston) and Canton must venture out into the unknown and unravel the wonderfully rich story of these memory-controlling monsters.

In what may be called a slight shift in genre, “Day of the Moon” quickly finds itself moving from the realm of science fiction into horror. While these two categories tend to blur the lines, and Doctor Who (especially with Steven Moffat) has had its fair share of terrifying episodes, the inclusion of one tiny element proved to top all of the hair-raising moments in “Blink”: a blinking red light.

doctor who day of the moon prisoner Doctor Who: Day of the Moon Review & Discussion

When the Doctor (Matt Smith) first suggested that everyone implant a blinking voice recorder in their hand, one could not help but think back to Russell T. Davies and his ability to fall in love with nonsensical (and sometimes ridiculous) plot progressors. Of course, Steven Moffat is no Davies, and within the first two minutes of mentioning what appeared to be an absurd story point, Moffat once against proved why he is one of the best, as this little blinking light turned out to be one of most successful emotional triggers ever seen in the medium of television.

Venturing through a seemingly abandoned children’s hospital, Moffat used his blinking lights to breathe life into what would have simply been empty rooms. Each corner, no matter how well lit, had the potential to contain the Silence. With their memory-wiping ability in full force, both the characters and viewers were unaware if they had actually encountered these beings until after it had already happened.

Since a break in focus will allow the Silence to wipe their memory, it was the little blinking light that ramped the tension level to its highest possible setting, as a blinking light meant that something had already happened – but you just cannot remember what.

The ability to put so much power in a simple element takes the talents of truly great writer. Even though Moffat has clearly proven this with his past writings, this episode was a sign that there’s much more to Moffat than perplexing mysteries of time and space, or terrifying tales of the world’s overlooked aspects.

doctor who day of the moon mark sheppard Doctor Who: Day of the Moon Review & Discussion

While the eventual conclusion to the monsters known as the Silence wasn’t as fulfilling as the adventures that preceded it, every single supplemental storyline that was seamlessly added certainly made up for it. With Amy Pond both pregnant and not pregnant, and River Songs hinting at something happening for the “last time,” Moffat has certainly planted the seeds for some terrific stories to come.

Of course, the most shocking revelation came from Amy Pond’s inadvertent gunshot victim, as the little girl, who was the focus of much of this episode, finds herself transported to an alley. With a homeless man attempting to help her, the little girl proclaims that she’s dying, and then… she regenerates – she’s a Time Lord!

As this season claims to see the Doctor’s darkest hour, there’s no doubt that this little girl Time Lord will certainly play a part in it.

Until that happens, say, “Hi,” to David Frost for me.

-

Doctor Who airs Saturdays @9pm on BBC America

Follow me on Twitter @anthonyocasio

TAGS: doctor who

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  1. Honestly, considering all the crazy things that happened during series 5, i think its safe to say all of these theories are wrong. I don’t believe the little girl is river song based solely on the fact that so many people are so quick to jump to that conclusion. I think its most likely that a lot of these hints that are being dropped are just to lead people in the wrong direction.

  2. Whatever happened to the Doctor’s daughter from the David Tenent days? Remember she was cloned from the Doctor, which means there’s another time lord running around out there. Could this be her?

    • Yes, her name is Jenny and it would make sense. This brings the question, being that the Silence find Amy and the girl to be so important what role do they play? and Why would the Doctor’s child help them?

    • Haha… Well, in real life, the Doctor (David Tennant) is engaged to his “daughter” (Georgia Moffett), and they have a daughter together.

  3. I am loving the silence! Good to see Doctor Who doing horror style episodes again. That’s what we remember from being kids – hiding behind the sofa because DW is too scary, but still wanting to watch it. I’ve gotta say that I sometimes lose the plot often when it starts getting too complex (short attention span), but I generally just enjoy the ride.

    I’ve given up trying to work out what’s going on with River Song and the regenerating little girl, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

    I’ve really enjoyed DW since it came back on TV and “regenerated” itself. Before it stated up with Christopher Eccleston I was looking forward to seeing a black/female doctor. But I think Matt Smith is great!-easily my favourite. Sorry my post is a bit off topic.

    Being a Brit I love Doctor Who, but i’m curious to know how it is received in other countries? I didn’t think Americans would warm to it. I just thought they may find it cheesy or low budget or something (no offense intended.) I’d love to know where everyone is from and how they think DW is received.

    • motoko, i’m from belgium and I can only tell you my personal feelings. I really enjoy watching it since ecclestone, but there are a few issues IMO.

      First, the fact that it takes a long time for very complicated and impossible situation to be set up, and in the 5 last minutes some crazy thing happens (deus ex machina) and solves everything in a minute, that couldnt be even thought of the whole episode / series. like the ending with Donna.

      Second, Tennant was really a wonderful doctor, and while the new guy is not too bad, he feels a bit too young and acts a bit too much on the comic side. plus, his crew are not the smartest ones. compare that to the time of ecclestone and rose, or tennant and the black girl or donna and you’ll agree it’s going downhill, unfortunately

      those two things sometimes makes it feel like it’s all a young teenager’s show. other than that, it’s very entertaining and nice to watch

      • Excuse me but Rose was thicker than Fish Custard and was slightly more annoying than Amy.

        And Amy is very annoying.

        Martha was the best companion. She had smarts.

        • I guess opinions are personal indeed ;) Martha was the best indeed, but Amy is way more annoying than Rose IMO … but she has better looks, not really sure if it compensates enough though

      • Honestly, dr. Who is one of my favorite tv shows. I’m not a Brit, and so many people love it. It’s like you watch one episode and you’re obsessed. The cgi is great, I don’t think it’s low budget at all. Most TV shows I’ve seen have really bad cgi, dr. Who is very impressive in that area. Love DW!

    • Motoko-

      I am from the US and while not super widely known, there is a rather die hard following here of those who know about it. The re-boot, not the original. Personally, I have been watching since 1981 when I started with Pertwee re-runs. If you want to know how insane some fans are, listen to the Dr. Who episode of “The Nerdist” podcast from 2-3 weeks ago. Was taped in New York when the cast and crew premiered TIA/DOTM here in the US. It was fantastic.

    • I’m an American and I LOVE THIS SHOW. I’ve seen every episode of the rebooted series (Eccleston and up). Really, I think British do fantasy/sci-fi like nobody else, I’m a bit of an anglophile when it comes to my favorite genres.

    • Where have you seen [not] Matt Smith on the big screen? He was the young Harry in the film In Bruges, however the part was cut. After all he did cut off a policeman’s head [for killing Ken's wife] with a sword in the police station. Haven’t seen anything so graphic since Highlander. Quite a different role for Matt, Dr. Who!

    • It’s starting to really pick up a cult following here in the states. I’ve been in love with the show since it’s revival, but BBC is doing a great job at amping up the marketing here in the states. I’m hoping with this series, and a few well placed publicity interviews will help give the Doctor some mainstream notoriety stateside. Lord knows it deserves it as it’s easily the best scifi show on television.

    • I am an American and I love the new series. The old ones bore me a bit but from #9 on I am enthralled. Donna Noble has far and away been my favorite companion. She was smart, kind, self sufficient and best of all she was never “in love” with the Doctor. While I understand how easy it would be to fall in love with him, I am so sick of that subplot.

    • I’m in the United States and have totally enjoyed Dr. Who since it’s relaunch with Eccleston. David Tennant is my favorite Doctor, although I think Matt Smith is coming into his own with the character.

      As for the campiness, you HAVE watched the original Star Trek episodes, right?? We Americans love our campiness too!! :D

  4. The little girl is omegas daughter. The little girl may be river song but if so why does river song die and not regenerate.

    River song will reveal her identity to the doctor in episode 6. And the doctor looks cautious when looking at the screen on the tardis to check if Amy is pregnant.

  5. I know I’m probably in the minority here, but for mant times I was confused with what was actually going on. So many things happening but going along at a frantic pace, music pounding out in almost every scene. The whole story just lacked any cohesion, but will admit The Silence was good as a villain

    I still like the show, it has an engaging appeal to it, but I just wish they would slow things down a bit so that you can actually digest what’s going on.

    • I know how you feel, lebsta2. I actually had to rewatch the final act over again, because I wasn’t completely sure I knew what had just happened.

      They do love that familiar Doctor Who orchestra number when anything “big” is happening.

      • I’ve rattled on before about Murray Gold’s incidental music being way to intrusive, strident, or at least too “up” in the mix, but I have to say I my attention was so much on the events of these past two episodes that I barely noticed it at all this time.

        The BBC Radiophonic Workshop performing Dudley Simpson’s incidental compositions electronically in the days before synthesizers were commercially available gave the older shows a unique and unsettling atmosphere. Not to get all wistful and nostalgic, just making the point that going full-on orchestral has its own pitfalls; Simpson understood the “less is more” idea – Gold really needs to rein it in occasionally.

        • “toO intrusive”, even.

  6. I’m from Melbourne, and have been a fan of the Doctor since I was watching Tom Baker repeats in the early 80s. It has been a dream come true to see this show revived, and turned into something more gripping and clever than it ever was. Moffat has taken it even further, and now we have a show that is brilliant science fiction wrapped in surrealism and captivating puzzles. I can’t think of any other series, in any genre, that has managed to so thoroughly flood the internet with fans’ theories about what is going to happen. The clues are just far enough out of our reach to leave room for doubt in any theory.
    Anyone know who that woman with the eye-patch was, the one who appeared from behind a peep-hole for ten seconds, and said something about dreaming? Well, I don’t know, that’s for certain, but now I really need to know…

    • No idea who the woman was. It seemed so random that I don’t think anyone has a clue what that brief bit meant, but I don’t doubt that it’ll be important later in the season.

      • Frances Barber was playing her, so I reckon it’s a safe bet the character’ll have a larger part to play later in the season.

  7. I believe child is definitely Amys and Rorys. Karen in a interview said something about a couple of comedic lines coming back into the series. Eg comment about timehead. The suit moved by itself and River said it was self repairing. So did the suit kill the doctor. It might explain why rivers bullets had no effect.

  8. I don’t usually do this, but having read SOOOO many theories on so many sites, I might as well throw in my two sense on some of them…

    The nature and origin of the child: She was scared of the spaceman and begging to be saved. The general assumption seems to be that this is referring to the space suit – but a) she was inside it, and b) it was stated quite clearly that it was being inside the suit that allowed her to tap into the phone lines – therefore she was either a) referring to The Silence as spacemen (which is completely reasonable) OR there is another space suit walking around occupied by persons unknown. Someone rendered Canton unconscious after all…and there was at least one empty suit in the warehouse. Can it move by itself? There was no concrete evidence to suggest this – but there was no concrete evidence to refute it either.

    As for WHO she is (no pun intended) I won’t even begin to speculate – The Grand Moff is so adept at throwing red herrings right at you it seems pointless. The theory that she is River can not be correct however, as River has been identified more than once as human. Unless there is some Chamelion Arch trickery afoot of course… but that would open it up to be just about anyone! All I will say is that there is a two parter on the horizon that deals with cloning and that The Doctor will be cloned. If his DNA can be replicated once…

    The “Lodger” TARDIS is something that I find really interesting. It needed a pilot – and humans were clearly not good enough. Time Lord? That kicked the engine over. SO – in order for the Silence to use it, they would have needed a pilot, and they needed the modified space suit to keep said pilot both permanently alive and contained. We are led to believe that the girl had the strength to break out of the suit by herself… I smell another red herring.

    River & The Doctor’s relationship? She may have said they were moving further away from each other, but I am absolutely certain that this isn’t meant to be taken literally. She is aware that the day is coming when he finds out who and what she really is, after all, and that’s when everything changes. She may well be referring to this, and not a literal journey. It has been stated that she has met more than the two incarnations (she has a diary with ALL his faces, after all…) and that they meet out of synch. There is nothing linear about their meetings, or there would be little to no need to synchronise diaries!

    The only thing I know for sure? Canton, and The Silence WILL be back!

    Oh – and the woman with the eye patch features later in this half of the series as a full blown character. Still dreaming? I doubt The Moff would pull a “Dallas” on us and make everything following The Dream Lord episode from S5 a collective dream, but I won’t rule it out until the end of the series!

    And I’m sorry, but that went on a lot longer than I had thought it would…

    • Oh – and I forgot to mention – there seems to be an assumption that The Silence are still present in 2011, but that scene was set chronologically within the episode at a point before they had gone back to ’69 and dealt with them, so it’s an assumption that doesn’t hold up.

  9. I’m probably in the minority here but I hated this episode. It felt as if the whole thing was a triumph of style over substance. There were some absolutely fabulous aspects like the creepiness of the Silence and the creative and dramatic use of the little red blinky light but the rest of the story just seemed really thrown together and disconnected. This felt like part 3 of a 4 part episode. I’m all for setting up hooks for the rest of the season but they should at least have wrapped up the current story before moving on to another.

    I’m willing to give a pass on the identity of the child and whether the Silence is really gone and who the lady with the eye patch is and whether or not Amy is pregnant and who shot the Doctor. These are mysteries for another day.

    What I can’t forgive are the plot wholes that only affect the current episode and make it, as a whole, less enjoyable. The episode opens with Canton hunting Amy, Rory and River. No one ever explains why. Is this the hypnotic influence of The Silence? If so why is Canton not affected by this influence. The Doctor is captured and the guards happily build his prison using a building material that should exist in their world.

    After the crew is back together it’s revealed that they have been marking their body to count their encounters with the creatures. That’s dramatically useful but logically improbable. Why create a method of tracking encounters with creatures when you don’t know there are creatures to encounter in the first place? It’s a classic first cause conundrum.

    Next they determine that their number one priority is to find the little girl in the suit. By the end, that number one priority is forgotten and they head off. As I said, I don’t expect all mysteries to be answered by the end of the episode but they could at least have made sure that this episode could stand up to basic scrutiny without the need of a gaping leap of faith. But maybe I’m just missing something.

    • I got lost a little myself during this episode. But I may have a couple of answers for you. Canton was only chasing Amy, Rory, and River in order to bring them to the Doctor. I’m not entirely sure why they had to put up that pretence in the first place. It may have been specifically to build the prison. Remember they are in area 51 so alien technology is known there. That’s why they have those crazy bricks. I assume that the wounded silent is still in the prison in present day or maybe has recently escaped and that is who Amy sees during their picnic. I think they kind of know silents are there because of the picture Amy took. So they mark themselves while looking at them so they don’t forget. As for them not looking for the girl, I have no clue. It’s like they just completely forgot or e everyone but the Doctor did. Hope I have helped some!

    • I happily add myself to that minority! This episode feels entirely like a setup for things to come, without much attempt to conclude a story billed as having part 1 of 2 and part 2 of 2; and that left me feeling cheated — more questions than answers. A story with a begining and an end should be able to stand up on its own, even when an obvious sequel is coming. This one does not. You are absolutely correct that it asked for too much of a leap of faith, especially in regards to how they came to be collectively aware of The Silence; if you forget them every time you look away then how did you get to know enough about them to keep track of how many you’ve seen? And why/how did the Doctor and his companions become public enemy #1? How was the Doctor captured — a pretty mean feat considering he can go anywhere and time he wants, whenever he feels like it. Yes, this was episode 3 of 4 and none of us aparently remember seeing #2! I fear that Dr. Who is heading away from what made it cool in the first place — a toungue in cheek sci-fi series — to something that takes itself a bit too seriously. I did enjoy this episode, but I suspect it is because I am a die-hard fan of DW. If this had been my introduction to the series I think I might be looking for some other way to keep myself amused during the next episode.

  10. Who the heck was the timelord child?!

  11. donna is a timelord

  12. I’m from the US. I first sneeked a peak over my father’s shoulder at a Tom Baker episode as a child and believe Dr. Who is the best Brit export next to Banofee pie (try it, you’ll like it.) I often wonder what happened to Jenny, the doctor’s daughter as well. I’m perplexed over the silence’s warning to Amy. “Her name was Joy. Your name’s Amelia.” This said just before it prompts her to tell the doctor about her pregnancy. She must tell the doctor what he must know and what he must never know. In the case of Rory being the father….he’s a 2000 year old duplicate. Anyone else question his ability to pull that one off when his best trick is a flip-top hand with gun inside?

    • I think the pregnancy was from before Rory became an android.

    • It seems as if the series forgot about him being a robot or at least he has. In all the episodes after the last centurion, he hasn’t used his flip hand gun, he almost dies a couple times (once from almost drowning), and he even gets older in some cases, and that’s not including the whole pregnancy thing. I don’t know if he became full human over time or what the case is but Rory seems to have forgot that he is a robot and that he needs an oil change every three thousand years, but hey this is Dr. Who we are talking about.

      • Um….he’s NEVER been an android – he WAS an Auton (which is living plastic, not robotic), but when the universe was reset in The Big Bang, so was Rory. He is human.

  13. I think she could be the Doctor and River’s daughter. The confusing evidence we’re given in the last two episodes includes the picture of Amy with a baby, but the baby is not necessarily the little girl, and it’s also possible that if it is the little girl, maybe Amy was just taking care of her, or just in the picture with her. More confusing evidence is that we find out that the Doctor and River appear to be romantically involved, in his future. So this leads us to think that maybe the Doctor has a child, and most likely it would’ve been with River. On the other hand, the little girl could just be some refugee from Gallifrey that we haven’t heard about yet.

  14. I’m getting really sick of hearing this “the little girl is River Song” thats not possible is River was a timelord the Doctor would know and it states several times that she’s HUMAN!

  15. Just for the record, I’m an American. I began watching Doctor Who in the early-to-mid 1970s when the local PBS station was showing the Pertwee era shows. I’m not sure what year that was–I think that Baker had already taken over the role, but in those days it was the norm that the show only made it to America months or years after being aired in Britian.

  16. at least that River Song is not from the parallel world
    and came to save her beloved doctor
    But who is this mystery woman actually
    The doctor seems to know more than anyone else
    could be the doctor’s wife in the future?
    the little girl who was regenerating
    could be their daughter?

  17. I thought this was such a good episode!! I know there were some downsides but overall I think it was awesome and it’s just made me want to watch so much more!! This blog http://www.filthynation.com/2011/05/doctor-who-day-of-the-moon-wtf/has some interesting theories! It says that River could be Amy’s daughter!! It’s quite interesting! lol.

    x

  18. Why couldn’t the girl be the daughter of Amy and The Doctor?

    I wonder if it means anything that there have been things on people’s hands (blinking recording device & curse of the black spot) in each of the first two episodes?

    • Because that would require that they had engaged in activities that they apparantly haven’t engaged in.

  19. I now believe that Amy Pond is River Song maybe crazy but is the Pandorica Opens ending River gave Amy her blue diary blank the same one that she has when she and the doctor are going through their lives and River knew she would have to change her name other wise the Doctor would know who she is.

    • True, she did. but at the end of the episode, post wedding reception, the doctor hands the diary right back to River with all the writing back fully intact. the reason why it was blank was because the Doctor closed that time rift by throwing himself into it, in turn erasing him from all history. it wasnt until his return that all the writing had reappeared. but i like where your head is at. thinking outside the blue box.

  20. Anyone else concerned by the somewhat nightmare-fuel implications of the ending? The Doctor has just programmed a significant portion of humanity, present and future to be compulsive xenocidal maniacs.

    These humans are going to spread out across the stars slaughtering anything which looks like a Silence.

    Great work Doctor; you just created the Imperium of Man.

  21. The girl:

    Most people would think she is the child of Amy, maybe it is so, but there is also a just as much possible option: The girl is THE Doctor, of the future

    We know The Doctor gets younger with every regeneration, who says he couldn’t because some cause in a future regeneration swap gender? Regeneration is like a total Rebirth anyway.

  22. Okay…thinking in Whovian terms…River is Amy’s daughter…Amy is River’s daughter…it’s obvious

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