Doctor Who – Day Of The Moon – Episode review

Watching Doctor Who is becoming increasingly hard work. There’s an element of grumbling in that statement, but I promise this review won’t be all doom and gloom. I did quite enjoy Day Of The Moon.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way – the teasers showed us Canton Delaware going after each of The Doctor’s companions, and the Time Lord trapped within the perfect prison with no conceivable method of escape. MASSIVE RED HERRING, my friends. Ha ha! If you’re one of those Doctor Who sleuths who likes to try and guess ahead (which is part of the fun), then you’ll have found this all very frustrating.

The series is now throwing up all sorts of detrius and it’s impossible for us – as viewers – to tell the legitimate clues from the crap intended to throw us off the scent of this series’ story arc.

Likewise The Silence, who were billed as the scariest monsters to crawl out of Steven Moffat’s fertile imagination. With a neat subliminal message inserted into the famous moon landing footage, The Doctor outsmarted The Silence.

But by using their “you should kill us all on sight” clip, didn’t The Doctor essentially unleash genocide on their race? Isn’t The Doctor against wiping out races?

I also hope that The Silence haven’t been eradicated entirely. I mean, these were the sinister guys linked to the cracks in the universe and the exploding TARDIS. That was a twin threat, wasn’t it? And forgive me if I’ve missed something fundamental about the Edvard Munch inspired aliens – but why were they living in a vast subterranean network of tunnels, and what was their motivation? And where did they come from? And why were they such a sinister threat last year, when they were defeated by a bit of television magic in the 1960’s?

Yes, we’re overthinking it again, aren’t we? But without that information, all we’re left with are bulbous headed critters who don’t carry weapons and who we forget at the first opportunity. Forgettable aliens…honestly.

So, where did Day Of The Moon get it right? Well, as contrived as Canton Delaware’s companion round-up was, it was fun to see them inside the ‘perfect prison’ telling The Doctor what they’d learned. And the scene where the TARDIS ‘caught’ River Song in mid-fall using the swimming pool was a bit of comic book genius.

The orphanage scene honestly baffled me. We’d gone from NASA, Area 51 and aliens into a horror movie. This felt a bit like Moffat had just decided to throw in the kitchen sink – creepy orphanage manager, nests of sleeping Silents hanging from the roof, Amy alone in a locked room, discovering the little girl in the spacesuit and a picture of herself with a baby in the girl’s room. And let’s not discount that strange woman who appeared in a hatch in the door, then the hatch vanished. Just another level of inexplicable weirdness that never got expanded upon.

To be fair, the tone of these scenes was fantastic – forboding, creepy and desperately scary. 

I also approve of the jealousy and uncertainty Rory holds towards The Doctor. Amy seems to be clarifying her relationship toward both, asserting her love for Rory but establishing The Doctor as her best friend. 

And Matt Smith with a beard was a wonder to behold. I think a more rugged look for The Doctor might be something to consider in future.

Of course, the biggest enigma of the evening was the Timelord child regenerating in a New York backalley. Where THE HELL did that come from? There’s bound to be massive speculation as to the child’s role and background. First instinct is to link her to Amy because of the baby picture in her bedroom. But that would imply that Amy gave birth to a Timelord child. And also that Amy shot at her own child. And also that Amy doesn’t remember her child.

The other big question is…why doesn’t The Doctor ‘sense’ another Timelord nearby. In The End Of Time, he was able to sniff out The Master. And he previously claimed that he would ‘know’ if any other Timelords had survived the Time War. Maybe he knows and isn’t mentioning it.

Despite the sensational ending to the episode, it feels like Moffat’s writing is raising more questions than it answers. Maybe he’s harking back to the ‘serials’ from the classic series that took on multi-episode arcs, but in these last two episodes the storytelling has been horrifically complex. I get the impression he’s consumed with building in red herrings to confuse fans, but it feels like he’s leaving behind half-fulfilled plots like the Silence, the mysterious TARDIS control, etc.

What did you think of tonight’s Doctor Who?

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12 Comments

  1. sgreco1970

    Ok, first off -I loved every second of it. I found it to be a massively enjoyable romp. However, I did have a moment or two that bothered me. For one, it bugged me that we did not get to see the incident after the cliffhanger. maybe we will yet some day, maybe its full of stuff they don’t remember so we don’t get to see it yet. But the second moment that irked me, really irked me and that is Amy “missed” when she shot at the little girl. That seemed so anticlimactic. What would have been better would have been if Amy hit her arm or leg and, since she’s a little girl in a gigantic suit, it hits an area of just machinery. Not, oops I missed. Oh well, Moffat does need someone looking over his shoulder to say, “hey, that’s dumb, change that.”

    That said, I found it to be chock full of tid bits, most of which i cover in my post on the timelord girl page. Some I didn’t mention: Rory’s jealousy scene was great and I find him equally enthralling as a dramatic character as I find him hysterical as a comic relief character, something truly lacking in side companions until now. The “drama” of Mickey and Rose was just lame. I never believed Mickey’s performances, and his comedy was flimsy. Rory is just so darn good. Glad to see he got billing above the title finally, he’s earned it.

    I think there was a tiny clue dropped for us. Amy sees that tiny door slide open in the orphanage scene, and hears a woman say, “I think she’s dreaming.” Rory is finally asked if he remembers 2000 years of guarding Amy and admits he does. He says, “its a like a door in my mind.” I wonder if, somehow, there is a connection?

    The orphanage scene was, frankly, terrifying. I absolutely loved it. If I were a little kid watching Doctor Who I’d have soiled my pants. Glad to see he’s returning to the “hide behind the sofa” days of Doctor Who.

    If anything, though, the scenes of area 51 and the orphanage seemed rushed and could have been made much more a meal of, but I suspect we have not seen the last of any of it, or the Silents. Your concern that the Doctor’s clever plan wrapped things up too swiftly should be put to rest; we will see them and this plot return several times this season.

    As to your genocide question… Well, its only genocide if humans wiped out their entire race. I suspect, the implication here, is that, were they smart, they’d hit the road. They could stay but they now know what they’d be facing. I think, or would rather like to think, that they just ran away -to be seen again.

  2. grift

    you’re right. this episode was unrelentingly confusing. moffat filled it with so many red herrings (maybe) and hints (possibly) that it just became frustrating after a while. that said, i really enjoyed it while i was watching it, disbelief completely suspended.

    however, all this “secrecy” and trying to mislead the actors and audience really opens up his writing and much of the past few seasons to fan scrutiny, and i’m not sure moffat will be happy w/ the results. don’t get me wrong, i love his writing and series 5 was (mostly) brilliant. but it’s absurdly difficult to keep stories about time travel straight and not leave out any details, especially on a series that spans over decades. i just don’t want moffat’s reign to end like BSG, with unanswered questions that he’ll have to explain away with the always-infuriating “that’s for you to figure out.”

    but on my first watching of the episode, none of this really mattered, it was just a terrifying good time, as only steven moffat can pull off.

  3. Rain

    Have a read! 

    The little girl. Is amy’s daughter. In the little girl’s room there was a picture of amy, cradling a baby. That baby is her. 

    And WHO exactly is the little girl? 

    1. A time lord

    2. River song

    Anyway. Remember river song is in jail? She killed a man, the most wonderful man. That man, is the doctor. The little girl, or river song herself, in the spacesuit, kills him. Remember? 

    Now. The question is. How on earth can river song be a time lord if amy is her mother? Creepy huh? 

    And now to reveal her identity.. we all know this. River song is the doctor’s wife. But now.. no more river. The last things that were said were: 

    Doctor: you know what they say, there’s a first time for everything

    River: And a last time.

    Poor, poor river. What was she saying? She was saying, that was the last time, the last time she will ever be ‘with’ him. :'( >feels sorry for river song< 

    So! When river said ‘I hope my old man didn’t see that’ she was reffering to the doctor as her husband. 

    This is all very confusing.. lots of questions unanswered..

    How can the little girl be a time lord? 

    Why on earth would she want to kill the doctor?

    Will we ever see river song again? 

    And one word. A simple word. who.

     

     

  4. jefft

    OK. Little girl does the regeneration thing, but the Doctor doesnt ‘sense’ her as a Timelord.  Spooky woman looks through a non-existent window and says ‘shes dreaming’

    The little girl is a manufactured ‘Timelord -lite’ creature, hinted at by the opening moments of the the series ‘A Timelords body would be …<valuable resource for lots of bad guys>’ And maybe the events in the orphanage are exactly that: a little girl’s bad dream.

    I ve re-watched the episode a few times now. Each time, my opinion about Amy’s feelings swings back and forth. If you watch it thinking ‘shes lying to Rory’ you’ll find that nothing that she says is definitively Rory-faithful.

    ‘Its a figure of speech’ sounds like a lame excuse, and this is the first time she’s called him ‘Stupid Face’

     

     

  5. redblu

    Personally I love it when TV makes watching an active process rather than passive. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and the theorising session we all had straight after the episode was proof that the ending had the desired effect for us.

    I do agree with the point about more questions than answers. Whether or not this is a good thing will require hindsight, we’re in the DVD generation after all. But the episode it’s self, for what it was, I felt was absolutely stonking. I just hope that opinion doesn’t change with time.

    I’m guessing the “I think she’s dreaming” sequence will turn out to be the most impoortant, as all speculation is focused squarely on the little girl. I don’t think Moffat has left red herrings as such, I don’t think any of the clues are irrelevant, but I do think he’s doing a slight of hand getting the viewers to ask the wrong questions.

    My current guess on the little girls identity is the same as the above posters, but if she is the one who pulls the trigger then that would lead to one hell of a paradox, so maybe not?

    Pretty sure the Doctor didn’t commit genocide, they make a big thing of flashing back to the vampires of venice and reminding people that the silents are on other worlds, this means that they must have some method of travelling between planets (unless ofcourse you’re thinking they simply came through the cracks?). But my reading of the events was simply “get off this planet”.

    There’s also the possibility that the Doctor had a sort of post hypnotic suggestion to take that course of action, we know the silents are capable of this, and the silent in the impossible astronaut was very keen for the doctor to know about them.

    All in all, yes a lot of questions, but on the other hand, as I said last week, I’m enjoying the state of hypothesising about where the show is going. It’s so rare arcs like this pay off in any show though so I’m remaining cautious.

    1. sgreco1970

      I agree, I love the fact that they’re giving us so much meat to pick over after the episodes. Rushing to this forum after viewing the episodes is half the fun for me πŸ˜‰

      What do we make of the fact that Amy was kept, in a dark place, by the Silents for “many days?” They didn’t seem to have any obvious agenda. What were they up to?

      I noted that even the Silent said, “Silence will fall” to the Doctor. Perhaps its, “Silents will fall,” but even so, it seemed very odd to hear it from the Silent himself. After realizeing its Silents and not Silence, I always assumed they meant “the Silent Empire will fall” but now, after hearing the Silent say it, I wonder if there isn’t yet another meaning.

      The one big disappointment for me in this episode was the loss of the cliffhanger moment from the previous episode. When we last saw Rory and River, they were cornered in a room with Silents at the door buzzing with electricity. River looked back and cried, “Rory!!” When we see them next in the new episode, they’re running down the hallway together. How did they escape? What happened to Rory? I guess we can assume River shot em up and they trounced out together, but that’s sooo anticlimactic. Another unanswered question was; who thumped Delaware over the head? A Silent? hardly seems their style. The Spaceman little girl? Seems very odd behavior.

      I posit there is a missing scene, a scene we won’t get to see nor understand until later in the season, possibly at the end. A scene where we finally get to see just what happened and my guess is we’ll see the Doctor skirting around himself, Rory, River and Amy, knocking out Delaware, perhaps even being the unseen person behind the door asking the orphanage director what Delaware wants. Sure, moments later we see a Silent enter, who gets shot, but we’ve never really seen them question anyone. Despite him not remembering he had the conversation, it could still be the Doctor. I feel there is much missing info and it might be misisng on purpose.

      We now also have River’s “promise.” Did she promise to stay in Stormcage? Did she promise the Doctor? It was a brief line, but with many implications.

      Of the little window sliding open moment, I can only assume its going to relate to a different episode down the line and my gut tells me it may be unrelated to the main plotline. Moffat certainly is seeding things throughout the season, I can’t wait for the payoff.

  6. pirho

    I have to admit I didn’t like Matt as the Doctor at the begining, (i mean really how can you follow and act like DT?) But he is doing a great job!  Now as for Canton, I love the fact he wants to have a gay interacial marrage in 1969, nice little twist.

     

    The regenerating child in the ally, if this is Amy’s child then it’s not River.  Although we have no proof that River is not a Time Lord, nor do we have proof that this child is one.  Remember, the episode “The Doctors Daughter” Jenny had allt eh atributes of a Time Lord but not actualy being one.  Also it would be very weird if that kiss was from daughter to Father.

    And, The Doctor may not be the father of the child, it may be a side effect of traveling though space and time.  (A child with a time head to quote Amy).  Or how is this for a twist, the story comes full circle and that child actually is Susan Foreman, the doctors grand daughter.

    1. sgreco1970

      hehe that was one of my theories last week and its entirely plausible, perhaps even the time has come for some explanation as to how susan could be his grand daughter. The only problem is, she would need to pop back a few more years in time to synch up with the original series, but heck thats what a TARDIS is for.

      here’s how I think it could work:

      The doctor marries River, who turns out to be a Time Lord. The Doctor has been tricked by a perception filter before, making him unable to sense the Master, so River has had one. She gets pregnant and gives birth to… Amy Pond.

      Amy, also Timelord, WAS detected by the Doctor, that’s the real reason he keeps her around -he must find out how a Time Lord could still exist. Amy gets pregnant, and give’s birth to… the doctor’s grand daughter, Susan.

  7. Gerard McGarry

    Can I just say – in response to sgreco1970 and the rest of you – that I’m as glad each of your come to Shout to talk about each week’s Doctor Who episode. Some of the theories that get churned out are totally bonkers and some are pretty plausible, but I do love picking over the details with each of you!

    And can I also say, the best moment of the episode which I forgot to mention was River’s unintentional rhyme – “Your future’s my past//Your firsts are my lasts.” Very beautiful summing up of River’s relationship with The Doctor.

    1. grift

      i want to echo your sentiments. i was getting frustrated that so few of my friends watch doctor who, and i had no one to discuss the show with. and then i found this site last night. i look forward to many more geek-outs in the future.

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