Episode 6.2 – “Day of the Moon”
Spoilers for the entirety of Series Five as well as “The Impossible Astronaut” (6.1), “Day of the Moon” (6.2).
As I said in my review, the first episode of Doctor Who‘s Series Six —”The Impossible Astronaut” — was filled with elaborate narrative arcs and characters on the brink of disaster. The second part to this two-parter serial — “Day of the Moon” — does nothing in the way of answering questions or alleviating any of the tension introduced in the previous episode.
We last left The Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) in an abandoned warehouse in 1960s Florida. Much to The Doctor’s respective shock and horror, Amy revealed that she was pregnant right before shooting a child encased in an astronaut’s suit. While this happened, it was suggested that Amy’s husband Rory (Arthur Darvill) and the mysterious River Song (Alex Kingston) may be killed by the even more mysterious “Big Bad” of this series, the Silents. This cliffhanger was expertly established by the deft pen of writer Steven Moffat. The resolution of this cliffhanger, however, left much to be desired. “Day of the Moon”, though head and shoulders above most Doctor Who episodes, suffers greatly from rehashing of story-lines (read: Rory), terrible pacing and a complete lack of logic.
The Doctor set out on a rescue mission in “The Impossible Astronaut”, an attempt to find the scared child who haunts President Nixon – but also discover what she meant by the astronaut who is coming to eat her. So, why would The Doctor run away from this scared little girl, entrapped in an space suit seconds after Amy attempted to shoot her? This is a man who would move worlds for a crying child, yet in “The Impossible Astronaut” he just runs away? This kind of inconsistency runs rampant throughout “The Impossible Astronaut” — to the point where I had to double-check whether or not Moffat was this episode’s writer. This is uncharacteristic for him, to say the least. Some of the other major inconsistencies and logistical errors include:
- How did Rory and River get away from The Silents?
- Why are the FBI faking their chase of The Doctor, Amy, Rory and River?
- Nixon could have just provided the “safe space” prison immediately. Why didn’t he?
- How did the TARDIS get in the prison without The Doctor or River?
- Why does Canton (Mark Sheppard) need to “kill” the TARDIS Team? Couldn’t The Doctor just use the TARDIS to get his friends, as he was untied?
- How did Amy and Rory pretend they were dead — to the FBI — without being physically injured?
- Canton travelled a lot to “kill” the companions. How did Amy and Rory survive for that long in those body bags?
- What the hell is going on?
There are more — believe me, there are more — and these examples are only from the first ten minutes of the episode. These inconsistencies aside, the episode was visually-gorgeous, boasted strong performances from its leads, and provided enough narrative fodder for at least the rest of this series, if not another. Questions included: Who are the Silents? Is Amy pregnant? Who was the one-eyed woman? Who is River Song? The big one: Who is the little girl in this episode’s final moments? Again, there are more questions, believe me.
Moffat, thankfully, gives us a little sneak into that first question and allows those suit-wearing, Buffy-esque monsters to reveal that, yes, they are the Silents. With the TARDIS Team assembled, Canton is provided with the background for the Silents. It’s been three months since the events of “The Impossible Astronaut” (and six from “A Christmas Carol” (5.X), if you’re counting in relation to the possible pregnancy, like me). The Doctor and his companions have arranged a bit of technology that will help them remember the Silents.
Unfortunately, however, this raises more questions. How does the TARDIS Team even remember that they have forgotten the Silents? Personally, I’m guessing this is because Amelia is an anomaly in regard to time/space and especially memory, given that she lived with the Crack in her wall whilst growing up. That, partnered with the image on her phone of the Silent, lead to her explaining it to the others, etc. However, in the TARDIS, it is revealed that an image of a Silent becomes itself a Silent, where Canton cannot remember seeing the projection once he’s looked away. This is very much in the same vein as the Weeping Angels. The Silents, in fact, are bleeding into Weeping Angel territory throughout “Day of the Moon”. It’s as if you’re safe from the Silents as long as you’re looking at them – much like the Angels. This trope is used heavily in the final confrontation of this episode and it is only at the last second that the Silents seemingly remember they can disintegrate anything they want with a wave of their hand. In “The Impossible Astronaut”, I was completely terrified of the Silents. In “Day of the Moon”? Not so much. If they killed a couple red shirts and maybe harmed a companion or two, I’m sure this opinion would have been drastically altered.
Whovians out there are starting to ask, “Has Doctor Who become too complicated?” I’ve waxed on about inconsistencies and questions but, right at its heart, Doctor Who is a children’s programme. (Apparently.) In the post-Lost television landscape, complicated, mystery-heavy narratives are simultaneously revered and rejected by the same community. In Series Five, Moffat was able to maintain this franchise’s family-friendly “roller-coaster ride” themes all while casting aside the sentimentality and fan-servicing notorious under the helm of Russell T. Davies. Moffat managed to do this while adding his own spin: empowered female companions, terrifying monsters and complicated, rewarding narrative arcs. But has Moffat gone too far? Is Doctor Who too complicated as of Series Six?
If you’re asking for my opinion, well, I watched Lost religiously. I don’t mind a bit of complication.