In the second episode of the sixth series of Doctor Who, there are: prison, tally marks, leaps, swimming pools, body bags, a dam, something in the corner of your eye, President Nixon, a spaceship, and virtually all of this makes little sense when you put it all together. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.
I donâ€™t think I have ever been so frustratingly confused by an episode of television in a long time. Maybe ever.
Iâ€™m not sure I enjoyed â€œDay of the Moonâ€ a terribly large amount, but thatâ€™s not really because it was a bad thing to watch, or that it was poorly written or acted. But this episode was never meant to satisfy much of anything at all that was introduced in â€œThe Impossible Astronaut,â€ and, knowing Iâ€™m now on the exact same page as each one of you, it literally hurts when I think of how long Iâ€™ll have to wait to have most of my questions from the premiere answered, on top of all the new ones introduced here in the second episode.
I canâ€™t imagine what goes through someoneâ€™s head when they decide to follow up that shocker of an opener, where we watch a future version of the Doctor get murdered, with an episode where we watch River, Rory, and Amy â€œdieâ€ in the cold open as well. Steven Moffat, my head cannot take much more brain-meltage. Thank you in advance.
As the trio of time travelers are all hunted down and Amy and Rory are collected and returned to the Doctor, I was absolutely lost as to where this episode was going. Why were they all covered in tally marks in Sharpie? Why were they all in different parts of the world? What happened to make Canton Delaware III suddenly turn on all of them? Did The Silence do something to him?
Perhaps the most frightening of all is the prison that is built for the Doctor, a set of jet black bricks that seal perfectly together by some unnamed technology, designed to prevent any particle from getting in or out through those walls. What had happened, I thought, that made them all turn on this group? Was it because Amy shot that little girl?
Do you notice that my review is comprised of a large bulk of questions so far? Itâ€™s not going to stop from here on out, FYI.
Thankfully, Canton reveals that he is not some brainwashed, evil entity when the door to the black prison is sealed, and the plan is made clear: The prison was built to keep everyone else out. After saving River from her fall by allowing her to jump directly into the TARDISâ€™S swimming pool (BLESS YOU FOR FINALLY USING IT, MOFFAT), the information FINALLY starts flowing to our desperate ears. The tally marks are the count of the number of The Silence each person saw, since they forget them the second they turn away. I love the suggestion presented here thatâ€™s so much creepier than seeing them: The Silence are everywhere. They have been here for a long, long time. (Note: Rory had the most markings, correct? Poor dude. Ugh.)
The vast majority of â€œDay of the Moonâ€ runs with this point and itâ€™s one of the tensest (and strangest) episodes the show has ever given us. As if the tally marks werenâ€™t already a pretty unsettling point for the show to focus on, the Doctor introduces yet another small detail that will probably plague my nightmares in the near future. He implants each of the occupants in the TARDIS with a miniature device that records sound when it is activated by the touch of a finger. He instructs them to activate the device when they see The Silence and immediately begin describing them so that they can start to attempt to identify what they look like.
Even on just that point alone, the Silence are one of the more unique creatures Iâ€™ve come across on a sci-fi show. Obviously, we know what these monsters look like, but because of the nature of their defense mechanism, no matter how many times they look at them, the characters will never remember a single detail about what they look like. That is so…frustrating and frightening! And I think a great deal of the reason why I wasnâ€™t leaping with joy throughout â€œDay of the Moonâ€ isnâ€™t because this is not a brilliant slab of writing–for the most part, it truly is–but because the situation DRIVES ME UP A WALL. Itâ€™s an endless cycle of terror that IS CONSTANTLY FORGOTTEN. Brilliant, but honestly, it tests my patience.
You can even see the same sort of response in the Doctor, moreso than anyone else in this episode. Heâ€™s never faced an enemy that he canâ€™t remember, that he doesnâ€™t fully understand, that he cannot fight because he doesnâ€™t even know when he last saw them. Now that is a really creepy thing to me, and Matt Smith deserves praise for the wonderful way he manages to convey this frustration amidst a lot of his goofy humor and his desperate need to save Amy.
The first example of this is in the scene in the TARDIS, just after he instructs his friends on how to record the Silence. Canton begins to awkwardly adjust the Doctorâ€™s bow tie for no reason at all, and we realize that we, as the viewers, have also been tricked. What works so fantastically about this scene is that the way the scene is ordered, we never see the first time Canton spots the hologram of The Silence, because…well, we would have forgotten it. So weâ€™re left completely off guard, since we probably all expected to see the recorders in use much later in the episode.
Moffat then adds ANOTHER LAYER OF CREEPY to The Silence by showing how they are able to use this weird perception filter as a form of post-hypnotic suggestion. During the moment that the brainwaves are being affected by The Silence, the Doctor tells Canton to turn around and straighten his bow tie, and once Canton does, he obeys the Doctor to a T without the slightest thought.
Yeah, who else understood The Silence EVEN LESS at this point?
As they all split up to investigate further into the world to find out more about The Silence, Amyâ€™s story takes a bizarre and unbelievable turn for the strange. The pregnancy line from the end of â€œThe Impossible Astronautâ€ is explained away by Amy early on in this episode, as she says she was just â€œmistaken.â€ I thought that the pain The Silence seemed to inflict on people (like River in that tunnel below the ground in Florida) was the explanation for that, but…well, I canâ€™t talk about that yet! Iâ€™m getting ahead of myself.
Amy decides to tag along with Canton as the Doctor, Rory, and River head to NASA to do some unnamed project at the time. The two of them are investigating childrenâ€™s homes near the site at the end of â€œThe Impossible Astronaut,â€ and itâ€™s clear that theyâ€™ve got the right house when they step inside and messages are sprawled in red throughout the house (blood???) and on the body of the strange, strange man who cares for the place. There are no children here, as the place is empty and was closed down two years before. But the man who runs the place believes that it is still 1967 and, like many details in â€œDay of the Moon,â€ this is left unexplained.
Thatâ€™s ok. Because this house hides the worst secret ever and is easily the most frightening encounter with the Silence. As Amy separates from Canton to do more exploring (WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT), she encounters a door that locks itself. In an instant, the recorder in her hand is blinking, and it advises her to do exactly what the messages on the wall say: Get out. Discovering that sheâ€™s covered in tally marks and that her message to herself says that she thinks â€œtheyâ€ are sleeping, Amy looks up in horror to the ceiling to find it COVERED WITH THE SILENCE, ALL OF THEM SLEEPING.
NO. NO, THANK YOU. Also, are they descendents of bats?
From this point on, I donâ€™t know how to describe, yet alone explain what happens here. I donâ€™t know what the room is with the woman with the eyepatch, and why the door changes, or why THERE IS A PHOTO OF AMY HOLDING A SMALL CHILD AMONGST THE PHOTOS OF THE GIRL FROM THE ASTRONAUT SUIT. What? WHAT?!?!?!?!?!
I DONâ€™T UNDERSTAND. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE. I THOUGHT AMY WASNâ€™T PREGNANT. AND OH GOD, THERE ARE CREATURES IN THE ROOM AND SO IS THE GIRL IN THE ASTRONAUT SUIT AND THEN IT CUTS AWAY AND FFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
I donâ€™t understand this house. I donâ€™t understand why itâ€™s there, and why that man is there, and why he thinks it is 1967, and why he needs to protect the â€œchild,â€ and why that girl is inside of the spacesuit, and WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS GOING ON.
I do know this: I am so glad someone shot one of those things. Bless your heart, Canton Delaware III. You make me proud to be an American.
LETâ€™S MOVE ON TO THE DOCTOR. Everyone, he broke into the Columbia. Seriously, the Doctor is my favorite thing of all time forever and ever until the end of forever. And heâ€™s right, there always seems to be that extra part left over.
This episode also utilizes Richard Nixon in a refreshingly hilarious way, because as frustrating and tense as â€œDay of the Moonâ€ is, it really, truly needs some humor. Also, does Nixon count as a companion now??? THAT IS PRETTY AWESOME.
Exactly what the Doctor was doing at NASA is largely unexplained at the time, as expected, and thereâ€™s no time for such details when Canton notifies the Doctor that Amy has gone missing. When they find her recorder, which has defaulted to a live feed, my mind wandered to â€œSilence in the Libraryâ€ and â€œThe Time of Angelsâ€ / â€œForest of the Dead,â€ where a disconnected, distant voice was used for emotional tension. Out of all of them, though, this one (almost) proves to be the most heartbreaking. We got hints of it in the series six premiere, but for the remainder of this episode, I was pleased that so much of the emotional turmoil focused on Rory, whose life has been altered so dramatically by the appearance of the Doctor, and not always in the most positive ways. (Iâ€™m reminded of Roryâ€™s scolding of the Doctor in â€œThe Vampires of Veniceâ€ here.) Heâ€™s lost Amy YET AGAIN, and Arthur Darvill seriously knocks it out of the park in his scenes in this episode. You can see that he is just plain exhausted from all of this traveling, that he is tired and irritated by how often his wife seems to go missing or get into trouble. But this episode introduces a second subplot about how Rory believes that Amy will never feel for him in the same way that she feels about the Doctor. It really is heartbreaking to watch, and I think the scene in which the Doctor asks Rory about the two thousand years he waited for Amy is Roryâ€™s best, a great slab of character growth and depth for him, and it gives me hope that weâ€™ll see more of him in the future.
â€œDay of the Moonâ€ largely corroborates a bunch of theories about where The Silence appeared in series five, from Prisoner Zeroâ€™s warning, to the message in â€œThe Vampires of Venice, to the ship in â€œThe Lodgerâ€–!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!–and I think itâ€™s safe to say the other appearances in â€œThe Eleventh Hourâ€ and â€œThe Pandorica Opensâ€ are intended to be hints towards The Silence. But, of course, I have questions: What does the girl in the suit have to do with The Silence? Why was her suit designed like that? Why do The Silence need Amy to â€œbring the silenceâ€ into the world? Why her specifically?
The end of â€œDay of the Moonâ€ completes the details of the plan the Doctor had started at NASA earlier and fulfills his statement about more happening in 1969 than people could remember, and while this is immensely satisfying, I knew once the Doctor activated that hacked message from the wounded Silent that this episode was going to ignore the larger questions. I donâ€™t think weâ€™ve seen a series-long mythology so openly and blatantly addressed like this, but I canâ€™t imagine anything else that could span series six than the gigantic set of mysteries unlocked in this epic two-parter. The Doctor manages to neutralize The Silence by using their ability of post-hypnotic suggestion against them–â€œYou should kill us on sightâ€–but they are not definitively gone by any means. They must return to hiding instead, and surely thereâ€™s no better creature that could hide in plain sight quite like The Silence, right?
Just to state it plainly here in the review: River Song is an eternal badass, and I cheered when she gunned down so many of The Silence without breaking a sweat. I like cheering. Cheering is cool. I donâ€™t get to do it often.
As the characters return to their lives, â€œDay of the Moonâ€ continues to deliver more shocking revelations: Canton Delaware III is gay. (ABOUT FUCKING TIME THERE WERE SOME QUEER CHARACTERS IN MOFFATâ€™S WHO.) The Doctor and River share a (somewhat?) passionate kiss, and itâ€™s drenched in heartbreak. The Doctor is surprised by the kiss, since itâ€™s the first heâ€™s ever received from her, but River realizes that, because of the nature of their time traveling lives, itâ€™s her last from him.
Crying a river right now, yâ€™all.
Back in the TARDIS, Rory realizes that in an earlier scene, Amyâ€™s call outs to the man she loved were actually about him, which was the first time in all of â€œDay of the Moonâ€ that I felt any sort of relief. Because NO THANK YOU to Amy falling for the Doctor and leaving Rory. I WILL FIGHT TO AVENGE RORYâ€™S BROKEN HEART. And by â€œfightâ€ I mean â€œyell on the Internet into a void.â€ Still, Rory has a point: Why didnâ€™t Amy tell him she thought she was pregnant? Amy tries to rationalize this as worry, since she didnâ€™t know if the TARDIS would give the child â€œmultiple time heads.â€ (Whichâ€¦.ok, the first place my brain went was that old serial â€œCity of Deathâ€ with Romana as a clock for a head in that drawing that stranger drew. SORRY I COULDNâ€™T HELP IT.) Iâ€™m just worried about Rory and Amyâ€™s relationship if she canâ€™t trust Rory as much as she trusts the Doctor. Donâ€™t get me wrong. The Doctor seems incredibly trustworthy to me, but itâ€™s just a strange dynamic.
The final two moments of this episode areâ€¦..fun. First, the Doctor runs a pregnancy scan on Amy, and thereâ€™s no definitive result. OF COURSE. But letâ€™s just talk about that final scene, far away in New York City, where the mysterious girl from the suit walks into an alley and tells a homeless man she is dying.
â€œ…but thatâ€™s okay, because itâ€™s easy to fix.â€
And with those words, SHE BEGINS TO REGENERATE.
My head. I canâ€™t. I JUST CANâ€™T. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE. WHAT THE HELL.
And throughout all this, I recognize that there was a LOT of good writing in “Day of the Moon,” some new character seeds spread about to explore all four of these characters, and the mythology of series six laid out bare for all of us to ponder and dissect. I love that. I really do. My desire to see more Doctor Who is absolutely cemented at this point, but, on its own, it was hard to watch this episode and appreciate some of the finer elements. So, aside from a few rare moments, I didn’t feel utter joy at the concept. I think that, in the future, once I know all of the details of this series’ arc, I’ll be able to revisit “Day of the Moon” and laugh and giggle and appreciate the pure joy of watching Moffat tease us with so many clues.
But for right now, all my brain is doing is this: ;AKLDFJS :I ;ALKSDHDFHKLS IOU#&!(@#$ RHJ DFDF:KLHJ FDUH UY AD DFLJHS U DFUHSDF JLDSKHDFHJS
- I love when the Doctor tells Nixon to say â€œHiâ€ to David Frost. LOL. SPOILERS.
- We havenâ€™t seen the Doctor taste something to determine more information about it in a long time! I wonder what TARDIS blue tastes like.
- AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH THE DOCTOR WATCHED THE MOON LANDING FOUR TIMES IN â€œBlinkâ€ AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
- Again, this episode utilizes so many places in America quite well. But aside from the few scenes with Amy and Rory out in the desert, this episode is visually a much, much darker outing than the first one. THEMATIC CLUE Y/Y/Y/Y/Y/Y/Y
- “What kind of Doctor are you???” “Archaeologist.”
- â€œSafe? No, of course youâ€™re not safe. Thereâ€™s about a billion other things out there just waiting to burn your whole world.Â But if you want to pretend youâ€™re safe just so you can sleep at nightâ€¦ Okay. Youâ€™re safe. But youâ€™re not really.â€
- MY MIND HURTS. I donâ€™t understand any of this at all WHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYY