Boob Tube Breakdown – Doctor Who: Put ’em in a body bag

Doctor Who: Series 6

“Day of the Moon”

Aired: April 30, 2011

Writer: Steven Moffat

Director: Toby Haynes

“You want to watch that – me when I’m confident.”

– The Doctor

This week brought an end to Doctor Who’s two-part “American tour,” but being only the second episode of the season (and following up a premiere episode that did quite a bit of plate spinning) it still left a lot of issues unresolved. Luckily, while it may not have been a particularly informative episode, it was definitely a fun one that managed to give The Doctor and his companions a satisfying victory over The Silence (at least, for now).

The opening sequence was highly enjoyable, though quite gimmicky. While it was fun to watch unfold, having Canton track down all three team members and pretend to gun them down seems like a ridiculously elaborate and unnecessary plan. It was also unclear if the team was in on it or not, since we see River jump off a building to avoid being shot (which could either be seen as a reckless deviation from the plan or River legitimately doing a header off the 50th floor just to avoid being gunned down). Also, considering that Nixon is used throughout the episode as a way to smooth things over for the team, I’m not sure faking Amy and Rory’s deaths just to get everyone inside Area 51 was really necessary.

But that was beside the point, of course. It was fun to see Amy being chased through the Valley of the Gods. And it was fun to see River dive fearlessly out of a skyscraper. And it was definitely fun to see The Doctor with a crazy beard and a straight jacket chained inside Area 51. So while it was all fairly ridiculous, Steven Moffat gets a ton of style points for the execution of it all. It was definitely a smart way to get the most out of their on-location shooting in America, even if it was far from the most logical plan in the world.

After the opening, the tone of the episode shifted to somewhere between a really dark episode of Scooby Doo and a really entertaining “Monster of the Week” episode of The X-Files as agents Amy and Canton started poking around Graystark Hall Orphanage. Once inside the creepy old orphanage, we were treated to the delightfully disturbing man in charge, a cluster of The Silence sleeping on the ceiling and lots more to ponder about the whole Amy Pond pregnancy mystery.

The climax of the episode was a really fun bit of Doctor Who cleverness. Inserting the footage of The Silence ordering everyone to shoot them on sight into the moon landing reel was a brilliant (and, given The Silence’s ability to make us forget we saw them, actually quite plausible) idea and it was a very satisfying way to outsmart the aliens. Seeing River gun down the whole room full of them after The Doctor had basically already defeated them seemed a bit jarring and out of place on this show, but I’ll admit that watching Alex Kingston in that scene was so much fun that I (like The Doctor) was strangely comfortable with it.

And another thing …

  • Definitely quite a lot of gun play in these two “American” episodes of Doctor Who. After the joke last week that the Secret Service would actually shoot The Doctor and Amy taking a shot at the little girl in the space suit, this week we had Canton shooting one of The Silence and River taking out a whole room full of them.
  • It’s an easy joke, but The Doctor telling Nixon to record everything that happens in the Oval Office just to be safe is hysterical.
  • That salute Rory gave was by far one of the worst I’ve ever seen. He looked pretty smooth in those glasses though.
  • In addition to officially finding out that our creepy villains from last week are called The Silence, it also seems the link Courtney Enlow posted in the comment section last week was onto something – Moffat threw in a ton of Easter Eggs last season hinting at the existence of The Silence (which, if you missed the link in the comments, you can read here). Also this week, the control room where The Silence keeps Amy prisoner is identical to the empty control room The Doctor stumbled upon in last season’s “The Lodger.”
  • As I mentioned in the opening, we are left with a handful of questions that we’ll have to wait until later in the season to get answered. I think the most glaring questions we are left with are:

    • Was Amy really pregnant or not? And if she has a baby, will it have a time-head?
    • Is the little girl really a Time Lord? If so, could she possibly either be the love child of Amy and The Doctor or a regeneration of Jenny from “The Doctor’s Daughter”?
    • Who was in the space suit when The Doctor was killed? Or, since we now know it can move on its own, was it the suit itself that shot him?
    • What’s the deal with the odd one-eyed woman who pops up in the door of the orphanage saying Amy is dreaming?
    • And, most importantly – why did The Silence blow up that poor woman in the bathroom? In hindsight, that seems totally unnecessary.

Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff

  • Continuing with last week’s explanation that River and The Doctor are on opposite ends of a timeline, this week we saw what was their first kiss from The Doctor’s perspective and their last kiss from River’s perspective. As viewers following The Doctor’s timeline, I suppose that means we will be seeing more snogging in the future.
  • There was a three month gap between the last episode and this one. I have a feeling we will eventually learn an interesting thing or two took place during that time period as this season unfolds.
  • Over the past two episodes, there have been quite a few instances of The Doctor being in the same place multiple times, which could theoretically cause horrible paradoxes. Last week the older version of The Doctor invites his younger self to Utah on the day he is gunned down and this week The Doctor has to jump back in time to catch River in midair, meaning he is simultaneously in New York City and locked up at Area 51 at the same time. So far he hasn’t crossed paths with himself, but if he does it could be bad for the universe (or not, depending on the whim of the writers at the time).

Gratuitous Amy Pond photo of the week

Written by Joel Murphy. If you enjoy his recaps, he also writes a weekly pop culture column called Murphy’s Law, which you can find here. You can contact Joel at murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.

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