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The Doctor is locked in the perfect prison. Amy, Rory and River Song are being hunted across America by the FBI. Terrifyingly powerful aliens have invaded Earth. And it's about to get much, much worse.

Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2011


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.







Why were the Doctor and his friends on the run?

Tuning into Day of the Moon, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d missed Episode 2 and gone straight into Episode 3. Three months have elapsed for our heroes - the Doctor is trapped within the perfect prison, and his companions are on the run from Canton and the American government. It’s an exhilarating opening sequence, showcasing some beautiful cinematography, but it’s aggravating that we never go back to see how they ended up in this situation. The inference is that the Silence, seeing them as a threat, have implanted the order to capture our heroes in the minds of the FBI. Why bother, when they can just blast them out of existence? And why is Canton still at liberty? In fact, why were they on the run at all, if the Doctor can just get President Nixon on the phone to bail him out of trouble? And just where did they get dwarf star alloy from anyway? They didn’t have anything like that last time we were at Area 51. It’s also pretty impressive that they can lift a block by hand. That’s some well-built staff they’ve got there.


The Silence - who are they, and what do they want?

The Silence have been controlling human society since the dawn of history, safely out of sight and out of mind. Both in conception and design, they are among the most effective monster races Doctor Who has ever given us, yet their modus operandi remains obscure. Huge mysteries remain. How and why were they involved in the destruction of the universe seen in The Pandorica Opens? What purpose would that serve? Why did they need NASA to build them a spacesuit, unless it was for the sole purpose of providing life support for the little girl - and if that is the case, why are they looking after her? Why do they have what looks like a TARDIS console room? Since we now know that they are parasites and don’t build for themselves, it’s possible the ship we saw in The Lodger was nothing to do with them, and that they’d cribbed their version off the original creators. On the other hand, it could well be the same ship, abandoned after the Silence were defeated.



How do you defeat an enemy you can’t remember?

It’s in the fight back against the Silence that this episode excels. Leaving messages for oneself is clever and logical, but the tally marks are visually a far more effective method, driving home the horror of being unable to trust your one’s own memories. The deliciously bananas Renfrew provided a stark warning against living in a Silent base, his mind having been rather scrambled, and unaware of the passage of several years since his memories were being continually deleted. The Doctor’s final gambit was a stroke of genius - turning the apparently throwaway element of the Silence’s subliminal messaging into their ultimate defeat, while still retaining their status as the invisible invaders.


Who is River Song?

Well, it’s pretty clear now that she’s the Doctor’s lover, if not explicitly his wife. Of course, there is still much more to learn about her. Who she killed / will kill is still a mystery, as is her penchant for dropping to her apparently certain death out of buildings and spacecraft. One day, the Doctor won’t be there to catch her.



Who killed the Doctor?

We still don’t know why the Doctor died, who killed him, or why her walked calmly to his death. Could it be River Song after all? Or even the Doctor himself? We know the little girl escaped from it, who knows who’s wearing it now. It could even be operating on autopilot.


When will Rory get his happy ending?

Poor Rory. We thought everything was going to be OK between him and Amy, but it seems that time travel puts a strain on even the most romantic of marriages. Not only does his wife get herself in mortal danger every couple of weeks, but she’s in love with the Doctor. Don’t give me any of that stupid face, it’s a figure of speech, rubbish - she’s a good liar, but not good enough. It can’t be long before Rory’s had enough. It’s about time he pulled rank on the Doctor - he’s a thousand years his senior now.


Who was behind the door?

In a bizarre, throwaway moment with ‘stay tuned’ written all over it, an eye patch-wearing Frances Barber opened a magical, disappearing hatchway in a door and spied on Amy. What was all that about? Another mystery for another episode to explain.



Who’s the father of Schrodinger’s Baby

So, is Amy pregnant or not, and if she is, then who’s the father? It seems to be a clear case of an undecided reality here - the TARDIS isn’t sure whether Amy is pregnant or not, then presumably the timeline isn’t either. This is perhaps not unexpected - her timeline has been rewritten after all, due to the effects of the cracks in time, and their reversal. More intriguing still is the identity of the father. Naturally, the most likely candidate is Rory, but who knows? Perhaps in one possible timeline the Doctor failed to keep his braces on. And what of the picture in the little girl’s room? Surely she couldn’t be Amy’s daughter?


Who is the little girl?

Here we have the most tantalising question of all, perhaps. A young girl with superhuman strength, trapped inside a spacesuit by the Silence, and then on the run. She may be Amy’s child, she may not. And in the most unexpected scene of all, she saves her own life by regenerating - or at least beginning to, we don’t know what the outcome will be. Is she a Gallifreyan child? If so, how can she exist? Has the TARDIS itself affected Amy’s unborn child? This is probably a mystery that won’t be solved any time soon.



Is this any way to open a series?

There’s something to be said for the slow burn. Setting up mysteries and drip-feeding answers, rug-pulling and plot-twisting to keep people on their toes could provide a strong hook for viewers and maintain interest in the series over the course of the year. On the other hand, failing to provide any answers to questions that have been brewing for weeks or months and just adding extra questions to the pile is bound to aggravate and alienate as many viewers as it enthralls. The entire episode was beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, but the rapid pace of the story seemed an attempt to cover up the mass of dangling plot threads. How is a casual viewer, on which the series must still rely, going to react to this? Will the surface appeal be enough, or will people just give up on an ever-more complicated show?


On its own merits, Day of the Moon was one of the most entertaining, yet utterly frustrating episodes of Doctor Who yet. The ultimate appeal of this two-part story will hinge on its eventual pay-off later in the year (if it does come this year, and not even later). We can only hope that it’s more of a satisfying Ashes to Ashes-style plot tie-up than a Lost-style mess. The key will be not carrying it on too long. We’ve enough mysteries now; it’s time we had a few answers.


Copyright © Daniel Tessier 2011


Daniel Tessier has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.


For River Song, the events of this story take place prior to The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang, which for the Doctor, Amy and Rory have already happened. As The Impossible Astronaut begins, River is again shown as being an inmate of the Stormcage Correction Facility, from which she was temporarily released in previous adventures, having apparently been sent there for the murder of a “good man” and “hero to many” - an event that appears to have taken place in the Doctor’s subjective future.


Interestingly, this two-parter suggests that the the Doctor and River are not just encountering each other out of sequence - their time streams appear to be running in reverse. Accordingly when they share a kiss at the end of this episode, from Rivers perspective it is their last kiss, whilst from the Doctors it is their first.



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