The Good: Good performances, Engaging plot progression, Special effects, Concept of the episode's resolution
The Bad: Insular plot with limited character development, Final scene
The Basics: "Day Of The Moon" resolves the Earth's occupation by The Silence in 1969 while leaving a lot for Amy Pond to do!
Doctor Who mysteries are some of the most erratic on television. The executive producers of Doctor Who have tried season-long arcs, but inevitably they have bottle episodes that are only semi-serialized. As a result, most Doctor Who mysteries are contained within an episode or two, with threads that connect to other episodes in a season. "Day Of The Moon" is a second part of a Doctor Who mystery and the irony of it is that it completely resolves one plotline - that of an alien invasion in 1969 - while completely leaving the mystery of the little girl from the prior episode unresolved.
It is impossible to discuss "Day Of The Moon" without some references as to where "The Impossible Astronaut" (reviewed here!) left off. After all, the entire mission in "Day Of The Moon" occurs after The Doctor has been killed and his Companions are reunited wth an earlier version of him. Just after revealing to The Doctor that she is pregnant, Amy Pond shot at the astronaut who appeared to be a little girl. "Day Of The Moon" involves tracking down the origins of the little girl and has The Doctor's team trying to learn about The Silence.
Three months after Amy shot at the Impossible Astronaut, Amy is running through Utah, away from Canton Delaware and his g-men. After Canton shoots her, he returns to Area 51 where The Doctor is being held prisoner. Delaware then hunts down River Song in New York City and then Rory at the Hoover Dam. The Doctor is being blocked into a prison that will keep out The Silence and once it is completed, Delaware reveals that he has saved The Doctor's companions, The TARDIS and they have all learned what they can about the occupying force of The Silence on the Earth.
After implanting a device in each of their hands, The Doctor tasks his Companions and Delaware with finding the little girl who was abducted to become the astronaut. Amy and Delaware visit a children's home where the manager believes it is not yet 1967 and he has no children in his charge. Amy finds a whole hive of the creatures that erase memory. After Amy is abducted, The Doctor, River and Rory begin to learn about The Silence and figure out what the purpose is of the space suit the little girl was in. Delaware gets a video of one of The Silence declaring that all humans should shoot them on sight, which inspires The Doctor to alter history and deputize humanity to turn humanity against the occupying force on Earth. After locating Amy Pond, The Doctor brings the TARDIS to rescue Amy from The Silence.
"Day Of The Moon" marks the first experience Amy Pond has with the apparent hallucination that comes up through the entire season. There is a woman with an eye patch who Amy briefly sees and hears and her appearance is instantly evocative of Rose's flashes throughout the fourth season of Doctor Who (reviewed here!). Moffat starts playing a season-long arc that Davies had done only two years prior on Doctor Who in "Day Of The Moon." The season-long arc for the sixth season of Doctor Who involves a disparity between Amy Pond being pregnant or not and the clues given in "Day Of The Moon" play off information that comes up later in the season.
River Song's arc in "Day Of The Moon" is intriguing. River continues to exhibit absolute trust in The Doctor and she works with Rory quite well. While some of that might simply be that Alex Kingston was not yet aware of the backstory connections between Rory and River, "Day Of The Moon" allows Rory to reach out to River and for her to actually lean upon him. The assignment The Doctor has River and the Companions on comes as Song is reeling in shock from The Doctor's death. River becomes a leader in "Day Of The Moon" and Kingston makes her into both a credible scientist and leader.
Amy Pond is a pretty classic "damsel in distress" in "Day Of The Moon" and Karen Gillan does the whole "see something terrifying and scream" thing fine. "Day Of The Moon" finally begins to add depth to the relationship between Rory and The Doctor in scenes after Amy is captured. Rory has been a supporting character who was so distant from The Doctor's attention that he initially seemed like a cheap re-casting of Micky and The Doctor knows virtually nothing about him. While Rory has been a champion for Amy, he and The Doctor have not actually bonded . . . until now.
The technological device that The Doctor suddenly produces in "Day Of The Moon" is cool and easy for viewers to invest in. What is far less believable is the technology being used in Area 51 to seal in The Doctor. "Day Of The Moon" did a poor job of illustrating how technologically advanced The Silence members were to make it credible that they would have the materials that Delaware could find to seal in The Doctor and his Companions. That said, the special effects and the make-up effects used the characterize The Silence are pretty incredible.
"Day Of The Moon" spends a lot of time examining the nature of The Silence and the mechanisms by which they controlled the mysterious little girl. Unfortunately, the episode comes to an abrupt end before the nature, identity and character of the little girl can be truly explored. The reason that is worth mentioning is that there is an incredibly unsatisfying resolution to "Day Of The Moon" from the fact that The Doctor explicitly mentions they can actually look into the little girl and why the Silence wanted her or they can just go off on some random adventures . . . and the little girl is shown six months later completely alone, so viewers know that The Doctor, Rory and Amy are headed off to do random things as opposed to follow up on the major loose end connecting the alien occupation of Earth to The Doctor's death.
But, a tremendously bad end does not stop "Day Of The Moon" from being unworth watching. "Day Of The Moon" effectively delivers on the promise of setting up a season-long mystery; it is not the episode's fault that it is abandoned in a ridiculous way at the end.
[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Doctor Who - The Complete Sixth Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the sophomore season of Matt Smith as The Doctor here!
For other works with President Richard Nixon in alternate realities, be sure to visit my reviews of:
X-Men: Days Of Future Past
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
For other Doctor Who episode and movie reviews, please visit my Doctor Who Review Index Page!
© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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