Monday, August 25, 2014

Doctor Who--"Day of the Moon"

“Day of the Moon” sounds like someone might be dropping breeches before the end credits. Those of you with your fingers crossed for Karen Gillan will be disappointed. So will anyone else holding out hope for another character. The title actually refers to the Apollo moon landing, which plays heavily into the resolution of the silence story. For now, anyway. I assume we are not done with them this series.

Right off the bat, I liked this episode far better than part one. But it was still enormously overcomplicated and trying too hard to be clever. Steven Moffat is obviously dropping in all sorts of subtle points which will become more important in the overall series, but feel out of place at the moment. I can appreciate a writer attempting to make a deeper than usual show, but it does feel strange when the future repeat value when a viewer understands everything that is happening is a richer experience than watching the first time around. Some bits are too obtuse, I guess is the best way to put it.

The episode is the darkest we have seen in a long time. It begins months after the end of the previous story. The cliffhanger is resolved in such a blink and you will miss it manner that one has to wonder why it was set up in the first place. The real story begins with Team TARDIS being hunted down by Canton Delaware after they have spent all this time doing recon on the Silence. They are are “killed” by Delaware and taken to Area 51 where the Doctor has been held prisoner in the interim. It is all a ruse to get them together so they can surmise a way to defeat the Silence, who have ruled the Earth since the Stone Age through the power of suggestion.

The Doctor decides to use the moon landing and a highly unfortunate statement by a captured silence that humans “ought to kill them on sight” to broadcast that message to the whole world watching on television. Human do rise up to kill every Silence they see. The aliens are forced to flee Earth or face their own genocide.

The silence kidnap Amy in the middle of it all. Her kidnapping serves no real purpose other than some character development for Rory. His vow to find her anywhere harkens back to his guarding her inside the Pandorica for 2,000 years. His dedication makes his eavesdropping discovery Amy is pregnant and appears to hint it might be the doctor’s rather than Rory’s more painful. Rory is almost as put upon as Mickey Smith used to be.

The Doctor may very well have something to do with the baby. Any discovers photos of her with the same little girl in the space suit while searching a nest of Silence. The very last scene of the episode shows the little girl months later claiming to be dying, then regenerating like a Time Lord. Since the Doctor performs a discreet medical scan on Amy, he surely suspects something is up.

“Day of the Moon” is entertaining, but very little of it has to do with defeating the Silence. If more than ten minutes of screen time is devoted to their defeat, I would be shocked to know it. The bulk of screen time is hints at what is to come in the future. I am anxious to find out, mind you, but what an odd way to resolve a two part story. It is unusual to cast aside the main story in order to ask more questions.

Nitpick for old school Wholigans: When the Team TARDIS members are being “killed,” River Song actually does die by plunging out of a skyscraper. With the rest of the team assembled, the TARDIS travels back in time to position itself under her in order to break her fall. Although she died originally, the Doctor changes events to save her. But wait--he has said in the past that is against the rules of time travel. More specifically, he refused to travel back in time to save Adric after he sacrificed himself to destroy the Cybermen back in “Earthshock.” Can this be reconciled? Perhaps the doctor no longer cares about the rules of time since the Time Lords are gone. The Tenth Doctor was keen to break the rules there towards the ends of his tenure. The Eleventh Doctor maybe more so.

“Day of the Moon” is more exciting than the premiere. It can be puzzling in parts with the knowledge you do not know how long you will have to wait for a pauoff, but anticipating that you need to know this stuff to appreciate the impending payoff nakes it a must see.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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