Aired 30 April 2011
‘Day of the Moon’ serves as a fantastic conclusion to the events set up in ‘The Impossible Astronaut,’ maintaining the pace and thrills throughout. However- as is increasingly the case with Doctor Who– despite the utterly excellent series of events that filled the running time, it’s the ending that will garner the most attention and discussion. The young girl undergoing an apparent regeneration opens up a whole new series of questions not only regarding who she will become but for the entire programme in general since no Time Lords should remain. There are some clear hints that Amy is the girl’s mother, even though Amy seems to think she is not pregnant and the Doctor’s scans prove inconclusive, but what exactly does that mean if true?
As for the conclusion of the story proper, it likely comes as little surprise that the moon landing was used to swing events against the Silence, but the progression of events leading up to this all make perfect sense and the overall execution of the recording within the moon landing video is absolutely a memorable victory considering how great the threat is that the Silence pose. The jump ahead three months rather than continuing on directly from the events at the end of ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ initially comes as a bit of a shock, but it’s all explained well and and puts everyone where they need to be.
It’s that threat that causes the Doctor and his companions to need to devise new ways of thinking to both confront and defeat these foes. Instantly forgetting the Silence the moment they turn away, they instead rely on recording devices and marking their faces and hands when they come in contact. The sheer number of marks is eerily effective in showing just how sinister and ever-present the Silence are, but the recorders provide an added effect in allowing Rory insight into some of Amy’s thinking. Fortunately, though she is portrayed as a very strong character who enjoys adventuring in the TARDIS, she reaffirms her love for Rory without hesitation and without knowing she is being recorded, putting to rest some lingering doubts about how committed to Rory she truly is.
Alex Kingston, thankfully, is given a bigger role to play in this episode, becoming a flat-out action hero in one scene and emotionally dropping the biggest hints yet that the Doctor and she are a couple in another. It’s clear at this point that River will be a recurring character, but the exact relationship between these two certainly seems to be progressing into matrimony territory, though not at the same time or in the same order for both. Regardless, River Song remains such a fascinating and absorbing character that it’s always a joy to see her interact with the cast, even if she does keep her secrets close to her vest.
Doctor Who rarely verges into horror-type settings these days, but the children’s home offers a darker and more unsettling environment than most, again thanks primarily to the Silence and what repeated exposure does to the mind. Fortunately, though, Steven Moffat is unafraid to interject comedy into the scarier proceedings, and even though the visual of River Song diving into the TARDIS pool is sure to evoke some cringes, it does serve to lighten the mood and distract at least temporarily. Most of the comedy, surprisingly, revolved around Nixon who is again immaculately played by Stuart Milligan. Canton telling Nixon who he wants to marry is a genuinely funny moment, but it’s also great to see Watergate linked to the Doctor, no matter how inadvertently.
In the end, this is an astounding conclusion to what already a standout opener. The Silence have already solidified themselves as a serious threat and it’s clear that they’ll be back to wreak havoc in the future as their plans continue to be put into motion. They seem to be in control of a ship that hearkens back to the one in ‘The Lodger,’ and they seem to be raising the young girl for some hidden purpose. It’s impossible to discuss all of the finer events and performances that occur in ‘Day of the Moon’ without writing a novel, but the entire sequence of events is astounding from beginning to end and gives each character great moments. Matt Smith continues to astound with the range of emotions he can portray and the comedy he can summon in an instant (even in a space capsule), and this series is off to an absolutely perfect start that has perfectly delivered on its big ambition.