Wow, if your haven’t watched “Day of the Moon,” the second half of the season-opening DOCTOR WHO story, go watch it now, because you can’t read this post without knowing what happened in the story. And, more importantly, what didn’t happen!
I can’t help feeling like there was a lot of overt misdirection; a lot of sound and fury trying to divert viewers from some vital information. Rather than the conclusion to a story, “Day of the Moon” felt very much like the middle part of a trilogy. It’s a link in a chain, not and ending. It’s almost as if show-runner Steven Moffat was expecting viewers to forget a thing or two — as if the Silents were at work. And that last-second reveal of the Little Girl regenerating — clearly designed to knock viewers for a loop! I might almost be tempted to call this episode a cheat, however, I have every confidence that Moffat will come through (eventually) with all the answers. We just need to trust him.
The second part of the story begun in “The Impossible Astronaut” picked up three months later — that’s July 1969 for those keeping score at home (and you will need a scorecard!) — with Amy (Karen Gillan) on the run, in the Valley of the Gods. Canton (Mark Sheppard) was pursuing her, and shot Amy down. Her arms were covered with hash marks. In New York, River Song (Alex Kingston) was seen with hash marks all over her body, as well, and she added another for every Silent that she saw. She was also pursued by Canton. “America is occupied,” she told him, before throwing herself off a skyscraper. Next, Rory (Arthur Darvill) was running across the Glen Canyon Dam, again chased by Canton — who shot him, as well. Meanwhile, the Doctor (Matt Smith) was a bearded prisoner at Area 51, where Canton was building him the perfect prison (yes, another one); one that would be cut off from the universe at large. Canton ordered Amy’s and Rory’s bodies brought inside, and once the cell was sealed, everything was revealed as an elaborate ruse to fool the Silents while constructing a place where our heroes could commune in total privacy. And the TARDIS was inside the prison!
Once safely ensconced within the TARDIS, the Doctor injected everyone with nanorecorders so they can record their impressions of the Silents. Amy revealed she isn’t pregnant. Realizing the Silents must have kidnapped the child from somewhere, Canton and Amy pulled up to Graystark Hall Orphanage, looking for the mysterious Little Girl (Sydney Wade). Meanwhile, the Doctor zipped over to Cape Canaveral and installed…something in the Apollo command module.
In one of the rooms, Amy found a picture of herself with a baby, and then was confronted by the little girl in the spacesuit. Oh, yes, and some Silents. Lots and lots of Silents! When Canton was faced with a Silent, he shot it! Canton summoned the Doctor and River, who found found the spacesuit empty and Amy’s nanorecorder abandoned. Canton recorded the wounded Silent gloating that the Silents should be killed on sight, but humans are too stupid. Then it told the Doctor, “Silents(Silence?) will fall.” The Doctor reasoned that the Silents have been influencing human behavior for thousands of years. So why did mankind suddenly decide to go to the moon? Because the Silents needed a spaceship! Meanwhile, Amy was a prisoner in the proto-TARDIS, where one captor told her, “You will bring the Silents.” But suddenly. the Doctor arrived, with Rory, a gun-wielding River — and a TV! He had Canton splice a clip of the Silent saying, “You should kill us all on sight,” into the moon landing (thanks to a relay that the Doctor helpfully installed aboard Columbia), so that the entire world watched and remembered the post-hypnotic order to kill Silents. All around the world, people turned on the Silents.
The Doctor returned River to Stormcage, where she laid a big smooch on him. The Doctor was shocked. But not as shocked as River, to learn that they’d never kissed before (from his perspective). Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor asked Amy why she told him she was pregnant. “I was,” she said, sheepishly confessing that she didn’t tell Rory because she was worried the baby would have been affected by the TARDIS; it might have three heads. The Doctor did a surreptitious scan, and realized that Amy both is and is not pregnant.
Six months later, in New York, the bedraggled Little Girl told a bum in alley that she was dying., but it was all right. And then began to regenerate — Time Lord-style!
As anyone who saw the episode knows, there are gaps in this story that are so significant, one might almost say they are bigger on the inside (within the context of the story).
Questions Burning Holes in My Mind:
•What happened during that three-month gap in the story? What, exactly, happened after Amy shot at the Spaceman; how did they get out of the warehouse? Why are those events only referred to/glimpsed in passing?
•Who is the little girl? Is it possible that the little girl is the result of the a little science experiment by the Silents, mixing Amy’s DNA with the Doctor’s? Saying something like “you will bring the Silents,” makes it sound like Amy is supposed to somehow give birth to them, but that child is not a Silent. And how is she tied to them? It’s clear the Silents use mixtures of technology, so might they mix biologicals? And since they get others to do things for them, might they have manipulated the Doctor and Amy together to form an amalgamated human/Time Lord girl? But to what end?
•Was/is Amy pregnant? We viewers know that Amy told the Doctor she was pregnant because a Silent planted the post-hypnotic suggestion, “Tell him what he needs to know,” in her mind during “The Impossible Astronaut.” But why would a Silent think the Doctor needed to know that? Is it because the Doctor is the father of the little girl? Again, was (at least) one of the Silents working toward taking out all the others? Was “Silents will fall” some kind of (doomsday) prophecy that certain Silents felt they had to help bring about?
•Who sent the letters? The 1103-year-old Doctor did not get a letter; letter No. 1 went to the 909-year-old Doctor, who was oblivious to everything going on with the Silents. If the older Doctor sent the letters, why is he interfering in his own timestream? And if he is, that means his death is not a fixed point in time.
•Why was River deemed necessary for this mission? Why not, say. Sarah Jane? River felt like a tease for this entire episode. I kept expecting to get some sort of explanation as to who she is, and in the end I actually felt cheated. As it was, the “big revelation” about River in this episode was that she’s a doctor of archeology. Her presence was not really needed all that much; a few adjustments to the script, and River wouldn’t be needed at all. Is she the mother of the little girl, with the Doctor being the father? That would be a classic Moffat misdirection!
•Why did the Silent want to go to the moon? Was there a Silent hidden aboard Apollo — otherwise, why send humans there?
•Why would a Silent say, “Silence (or Silents) will fall”? Was he predicting the demise of his species? Why would Prisoner Zero say such a thing to the Doctor in a taunting manner? And how did Prisoner Zero know?
•What was up with the Eye Patch Lady? She said Amy was “still dreaming.” Obviously this a snippet from much further along in the season, but what could it mean? How much of we saw in “Day of the Moon” (if anything) was Amy’s dream?
•Who killed the Doctor? I believe this is an element from a future story that just happened to unfold in the premiere episode. I think we have been watching at least two separate stories that were unfolding on top of each other. One was the Doctor’s battle with the Silents, and the other contained elements of some other episode(s) — possibly the season finale. (It wouldn’t be the first time the final story has trampled on the first, and every one in between!)
The reveal that the invisible TARDIS was inside the prison, was a cheer-out-loud moment, perfectly punctuated by the Doctor snapping his fingers to open the door. And what a cheeky laugh line to have River dive into the TARDIS pool!
The-Powers-That-Be seemingly got their money’s worth from location filming in the American West, what the majestic Valley of the Gods and the Hoover Dam dressed as the Glen Canyon Dam. (However, there was no filming at the actual Area 51. Or was there…?) On the other hand, only having access to the Utah vista also hemmed in the story, as both Amy and Rory were captured in the same region, which made the story feel a little limited in scale.
Graystark Hall does not sound like an American name at all; that’s what a British orphanage might be called. Nonetheless, Graystark was very spooky, with messages like, “Leave me alone,” and “Get out now” scrawled on the walls in blood-red paint. Amy’s encounter with the Silents was very unnerving, with the marks suddenly appearing on her face, and the masses of Silents hanging from the ceiling like bats.
Rory’s conviction that Amy can hear him, no matter what, and would know that he’s coming for her was another touching testament to their love — just as much as her kissing his “stupid face.” But, oh, his torment! He had to listen to her being so very afraid, and him so helpless… Nice work by Darvill! Rory mentioned that he doesn’t always remember his 2,000 years guarding the Pandorica; only when he tries. The Doctor was there when Rome fell. “So was I,” Rory reminded him.
“Welcome to America.” — Canton, after gunning down a unarmed Silent
“It’s a figure of speech, moron.” — Amy to the jealous Rory
“Oh, Dickie. Tricky Dickie. They’re never going to forget you.” — the Doctor, to President Nixon