Post Game TV Recap: DOCTOR WHO "Day of the Moon"

NEIL GAIMAN Talks His DOCTOR WHO Episode

With The Silence bleeping themselves out of Mankind's collective memory, it seems challenging indeed for The Doctor to fight an enemy no one seems to recall. However will he pull it off? Let's find out together, shall we?

DAY OF THE MOON

by Steven Moffat

Directed by Toby Haynes

The episode jumps ahead three months from the end of the previous, with The Doctor in custody, and Canton Everett Delaware busily chasing down his friends. Luckily it's all a subterfuge, intended to give his companions a chance to research the aliens who have been guiding Earth from behind since the secret was to bang the rocks together. While they presumed The Doctor was in an inescapable prison, he sneaks away with the help of a still-cloaked TARDIS and some help in high places. He sneaks equipment into the lunar module and sets up a scheme to make sure The Silence don't remain secret for long. Amy's not pregnant (except for when she is), and the mysterious little girl in the spacesuit seems to know a trick that only a handful of people in the universe are able to pull off; she's okay with dying, and shoots out an incredible amount of energy...

A gripping climax to the first two-part season opener, and the first since the Colin Baker adventure Attack of the Cybermen. As did the last season ender, it starts more plot points than it ends, giving multiple threads the start that will be addressed throughout the series. Not as much opportunity for humor here, as the stakes remain high for much of the episode. A great adventure, one that serves to entertain as well as set up a solid storyline for the series.

GUEST STAR REPORT

Kerry Shale (Dr. Renfrew) Plays a lot of Americans on British TV (he's from Canada, which, similarly, plays a lot of America) but will be recognized as much for his voice as his face. He does a lot of voiceover work, including for Thomas the Tank Engine, the voice of Gnasher the dog on the (British) animated Dennis The Menace (shown here in the US on The Hub) and was the voice of Fuse, Ulala's engineer in Space Channel 5 part II.

THE MONSTER FILES - The Silence bear some similarity to one of Steven Moffat's other creations, the Floofs, seen in the short story Corner of the Eye. Like The Silence (and Prisoner Zero as well, though without the use of a Perception Filter), they remain invisible and out of sight, meddling in people's lives in tiny ways; stealing their pens, moving that thing they just put down, etc. The concept of aliens hiding in plain sight was also seen in the John Carpenter film They Live, also with a television-centric climax. 

Memory-editing is also a recurring concept in science-fiction, with the Neuralyzer from Men in Black, the drug Retcon from Torchwood, and just last season, the people of Starship UK were kept blissfully in the dark about the secret of The Beast Below. Poor Leonard Shelby had to make notes on his skin as well in Memento, directed by a man that we've apparently never heard from again. Shame, really, he showed such promise...

BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS - Trivia and production details

THREE MONTHS LATER - We had a similar jump in time in the beginning of Last of the Time Lords - The Doctor was the prisoner of The Master for a full year while Martha Jones walked the Earth like Caine, spreading the word of The Doctor in preparation for the final battle. In the same fashion, The Doctor remains incarcerated as an act of misdirection, so his friends can collect more information about their unseen and unremembered enemy.

WHAT IS A "UTE", EXACTLY? - The beautiful scenery of Monument Valley, Utah got more screen time this week, as well as that of the Glen Canyon Dam.

In a few years, Henry van Staaten will be building a massive subterranean vault for his collection of alien artifacts, including the "Metaltron", which will eventually be revealed to be a Dalek, from the episode of the same name. and come to think of it, he too has had his memory wiped. One wonders if he'll recover those memories some day.

GIVE US A ROOM, CLOSE THE DOOR, LEAVE US FOR A WHILE - In The Invasion of Time, The Doctor used a similar trick - he had his President's chamber lined with lead so no transmissions could be beamed in or out, which finally allowed him to speak freely to Borusa and reveal his plan to defeat the Vardans.

ARE YOU MY MUMMY? - A mysterious youngster who could access phones without a connection was seen in The Empty Child. Moffat has a number of motifs he likes to return to, like the aforementioned liking for making the commonplace creepy, like shadows and the like.

"There's always a way out" - This is the second time River has made a literal leap of faith, expecting to be grabbed by a waiting Police Box. She pulled the same stunt (again) at the beginning of The Time of Angels, that time out of the airlock of a starship.

"What kind of Doctor are you exactly?" - Might be a bit of a slip here. In Silence/Forest, she's a doctor of archaeology, but in Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone she makes a point of being surprised at being called "Doctor Song". And yet here, she once again describes herself as a doctor of archaeology. It is rather hard to keep it all straight, both for the writers and for the character, but it suggests that possibly her back-to-front relationship does pop around a bit, or she may be lying in spots...or that they just got it wrong. Time shall tell.

"It's not Apollo 11, that would be silly" - While the moon landing has not been a plot point before, the Saturn 5 rocket has made a LOT of appearances on the series. The launch of the rocket has been used as stock footage on Doctor Who numerous times in place of expensive miniature work. It was always funny how many alien ships all seemed to look exactly the same as they took off, no matter what they looked like sitting in the gantry.

"You have to tape everything that happens in this office, every word" - BWAH-HAH...OK, sorry.

'I've seen one of these before...abandoned - wonder how that happened." - Not that it wasn't keenly obvious, but there's the verification that The Silence's ship is indeed the same as the one that was on Craig Owens' flat in last season's The Lodger.

BIG BAD REPORT - The Silence may be defeated on Earth, but all it's really done is create another alien race with a mad on for the Doctor. It's already been said we'll be seeing them (so to speak) throughout the series. With the spaceship from The Lodger confirmed to be from the same manufacturer, the return of Craig and Sophie in the second half of the year will almost certainly be connected to them.

The portrayal of River Song seems at a crossroads in this episode. They play up the pathos of her relationship in the story, driving it home with the "first kiss" at the end. Throughout the episode, she and The Doctor are positively flirty with each other; he's simply having fun, but it seems more than that to her. It's how she expects their relationship to be, which why his admission that they've never kissed (from his point of view) was more crushing to her. At the beginning of the story, he's much more confrontational and mistrusting of her, but it doesn't last. After her heartfelt speech in Part One, she comes all guns-a-blazing in the last fight, once again suggesting that River's waters run deep.

And while it got just a moment of mention onscreen with The Doctor examining the envelope again, the killing we saw last episode is still dangling in the ether. The Future Doctor clearly sent himself and his friends back to cause the events we've watched, but to what end, other than his own?

CLEVER THEORY DEPARTMENT - The mysterious little girl was being housed in a suit that kept her safe, kept her alive and kept her imprisoned. She didn't even need to eat. In short, she was walking around in a mobile Pandorica. Considering the last Pandorica was designed to keep a Time Lord trapped, the sight we saw at the end of the episode ties into that nicely.

"There's about 20 different kinds of alien tech in here" - This suggests The Silence has access to many planets and their technology. While it's likely just coincidence, the plastic tubing covered with the mossy fungus stuff looks like the organic tech of the Zygons, who only had one appearance on TV, the eponymous Terror of the Zygons. But considering they went to the trouble of rebuilding one of the original suits for the recent Doctor Who exhibits, there may be some remote credence to the rumors that have been swirling that they may be making a reappearance.

Amy's Delicate Condition may be explained as being in a state of causal potentiality - unless a certain event occurs in the past, she's only possibly pregnant. It's similar to the Heart of Gold only being able to save Ford and Arthur in the Earth's past if they can figure out how to signal it in the future from the second series of the Hitch Hikers' radio series. The other possibility is that, similar to the events of The Time Traveler's Wife (a book I'm making far too many comparisons to for my own tastes), her child may be "unstuck in time", either as a result of her travels, or perhaps her partner. No, I don't mean The Doctor (I pray I don't), I mean Rory, who was erased from time and reintegrated by the amazing stubborn memory of Amy Pond. That too may be a factor. Doesn't quite explain why River was getting urpy, tho...

And the last of the shockers was clearly the topper. Regeneration is only done by Time Lords, so this certainly creates many furrowed brows. But consider; there are a couple Time Ladies potentially puttering about:

--Susan Foreman's actual relation to The Doctor has never been definitively verified. He seems to make it clear that they are both from Gallifrey in An Unearthly Child, but "Grandfather" may well be an honorary title, considering his (apparent) age.

--While Jenny (The Doctor's Daughter) isn't precisely a Time Lady, her ability to revive herself after her apparent passing certainly suggests there's more than a bit of The Doctor's abilities were passed on to his genetically-engineered progeny.

The episode two weeks off has strong suggestions that we may see another female Time Lord, so there's certainly a lot more we'll be learning on this subject soon.

NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO -

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me. Or is that the wrong company? The Curse of the Black Spot will leave its mark on you in a week's time.

Vinnie Bartilucci got most of his early Doctor Who information from a book called Monsters Who's Who which he took out of the library so many times it probably bears his genetic imprint. His blog The Forty Year-Old Fanboy is a far-too-revealing look at the mind of a man who can recite all the members of Captain Napalm's Nuclear league of Liberty from memory.

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