DOCTOR WHO 6.02 ‘Day of The Moon’

The Doctor and his friends lead a revolution against The Silence. And the mystery of the girl in the Astronaut suit deepens.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Day of The Moon"

Writer: Steven Moffat

Director: Toby Haynes

Previously on "Doctor Who":

After being dropped off back in the present, Rory (Arthur Darvill) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) received a summons from the Doctor (Matt Smith), as did River Song (Alex Kingston) and an old man named Canton Everett Delaware III (William Morgan Sheppard). Together, they witnessed a mysterious Astronaut murder the Doctor, after the Doctor had left cryptic clues for his friends that led them to a much younger version of himself waiting nearby. Hoping to save the Doctor from his fate, River, Rory and Amy conspired to keep the truth from him and convinced him to take them to 1969.

Once there, they tracked down Canton's younger self (Mark Sheppard) and President Richard Nixon (Stuart Milligan), who explained that a young girl's calls about an Astronaut were haunting him wherever he went. Meanwhile, Amy encountered the Silence, an enigmatic alien race that can make humans forget them when they look away. The Silence gave Amy a post-hypnotic suggestion to pass on to the Doctor after she took a picture of it. Later, the Doctor recruited Canton to his group of companions as they traveled to Florida to save the young girl. In a panic, Amy confessed to the Doctor that she was pregnant.

And when the Astronaut appeared to them, Amy grabbed Canton's gun and tried to shoot it… before she realized that the young girl calling for help was trapped inside the suit.

Story:

Three months later, Amy is on the run through the Utah desert as Canton and a group of federal agents pursue her. When cornered, Amy asks Canton if he remembers the night in the Warehouse and in flashback, we see Amy's gunshot fail to stop the Astronaut as the Doctor and his friends flee the Silence. Canton then shoots Amy dead. Later, River spots the Silence in a New York skyscraper before Canton and his men corner her. She then jumps to her apparent death. Even Rory is killed by Canton, before his and Amy's bodies are dragged to the Doctor in his "perfect prison" in Area 51.

There, Canton seals the room and reveals that his cooperation with the manhunt was a ruse, as Rory and Amy emerge alive from the bodybags. Having disguised the TARDIS within the prison, the quartet briefly travels back in time to save River. Once the group is completely reunited, they compare notes on the Silence, whom they believe are everywhere. The Doctor then implants them all with a nano recorder in their hands which can preserve their encounters with the Silence. He even demonstrates the ability to leave a post-hypnotic suggestion on Canton using the image of the Silence from Amy's cell phone.

The Doctor sends Amy and Canton to find the young girl in the Astronaut suit, while the Doctor is soon discovered tampering with the Apollo 11 module at NASA. Rory and River then bring in another companion to get the Doctor out of the jam: President Nixon himself!  Meanwhile, Amy and Canton find the young girl's foster home, whose caretaker believes that it is 1967. In a bizarre sequence, Amy sees a woman who isn't there before finding a photo of herself holding a baby, which suggests that the young girl is her daughter. She sees the girl one more time before the Silence captures her.

At the same time, one of the Silence confronts Canton, who shoots it in response. The group finds Amy missing, with her recorder removed and left behind for them to find. But the device is still active and they hear Amy pleading for help. They also find the now empty Astronaut suit, with the young girl deliberately avoiding them. The group then interrogates the captive Silence, who admits what he is and repeats the often heard message "Silence will fall." Taking the creature to Area 51, Canton arranges medical treatment for the creature and records it as it mocks him. It even says that humans should kill his race on sight.

Back on the TARDIS, the Doctor and his crew finally confront the Silence and find Amy just as Neil Armstrong lands on the moon. And the Doctor uses the captive alien's words to attach a subliminal message of his own to the historic footage, the Silence are forced to flee Earth or face extinction. Some are even murdered immediately by River and ordinary people around the world. The Ponds then reconcile and Amy says that she only thought she was pregnant, but the TARDIS tests are inconclusive. The Doctor also shares his first kiss with River, which is the last one from her perspective.

In the past, a grateful President Nixon is pleased to learn that he will be remembered in the future. He even suggests that Canton can now marry his lover, until he learns that it's a man. Meanwhile, the Doctor and the Ponds go on some new adventures. But six months later, the young girl reemerges in New York. A concerned tramp offers to help the sickly child, but she assures him that she can fix herself. Then as she dies, she regenerates just as a Time Lord would.

Breakdown:

While this episode wasn't quite as mind-blowing as the first part, it was still an excellent "Doctor Who" story.

Last week, I questioned whether the Silence could be as effective as the Weeping Angels and we finally got a glimpse of what they can be through some judicious editing during Amy's sequence in the foster home. By simply cutting to Amy with marks on her skin, we know that she's seen the Silence several times event if we haven't. And that was far more effective than simply showing them each time. The sequence with Canton in the TARDIS near the beginning also used the same effect and actually foreshadowed the ending.

Obviously, the biggest mystery coming out of this is who exactly that little girl is. We're meant to believe that it might be Amy's child, but the regeneration effect suggests that she's a Time Lord as well. That was a great twist to end the episode on and it would be nice to see some more Time Lords on the series again.

Regarding Canton, I really wanted him to say "screw the '60s, I want to come with you!" and just join the TARDIS crew. Mark Sheppard was terrific in both parts of the season premiere, although most of his best lines came last week. Surprisingly, the marriage that Canton wasn't allowed to have was both interracial and gay. I figured it was one or the other, but not both. And I don't believe this is the last time we'll see Canton, even if only as an old man. If the Doctor to have sent him one of those letters, then it implies a higher level of trust usually bestowed upon companions.

And speaking of companions, should we now list Richard Nixon as one of the Eleventh Doctor's companions? It was pretty hilarious each time the crew would produce the President to get them out trouble. Nixon is portrayed as a sinister figure that it was kind of refreshing to see an almost heroic take on him. Although the episode seems to imply that the Doctor helped create Nixon's legendary paranoia.

The one drawback to this episode is that I felt that the gap between part 1 and part 2 was glossed over too easily. We never actually got to see how the Doctor and his friends escaped from their first encounter with the Silence despite last week's episode ending with that cliffhanger. Just jumping ahead like that felt like a cheat.

But that's a pretty minor complaint for another fantastic episode. This could be the best season of "Doctor Who" yet. That's a big thing to live up to, but Steven Moffat hasn't let us down yet.

Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.