It's tough reviewing episodes like "Day Of The Moon", which are so thick with incident and swathed in different layers that you end the episode gasping for air, feeling like your brain's been shaken for 45-minutes. As I said last week, there's a certain distancing effect when plots are as knotted as writer Steven Moffat enjoys making them, but I was glad the concluding part of this premiere had a greater sense of cohesion -- by virtue of resolving most of the storyline.
Moffat seems to enjoy reuniting-the-team sequences, as the episode opened with another one set three months after last week's 1969-set cliffhanger, with Amy (Karen Gillan), River (Alex Kingston) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) on the run across Utah from the FBI's Canton Everett Delaware (Mark Sheppard), while a bearded The Doctor (Matt Smith) languishes in a variant of last year's Pandorica prison inside Area 51. I'm still trying to fathom why that was the case, seeing as The Doctor earned the permission of President Nixon (Stuart Milligan) to solve the mystery of the "spaceman" and the crank calls to the Oval Office, but these are the kind of "plot holes" you suspect a repeated viewing or a question on Gallifrey One will patch over.
The Impossible Astronaut", as the details and implications of The Silent villains took over. These sartorial alien memory-erasers proved to be the real stars of the episode, as Team Who devised a way to investigate creatures you forget about if you break eye contact with them. The Doctor later providing high-tech Dictaphones, buried in everyone's palm, which they activate and describe encounters with The Silent for a future replay. Or you can ink your skin with black marks to signify an encounter, Memento-style, although I didn't quite understand why you'd do that once The Doctor had implanted one of his pill-sized bugs...
One again, Moffat proves himself the master of ruthlessly gripping scenes built around fundamentally simple ideas that he stretches to logical extremes. Canton realizing he's made a recording of seeing a Silent over his shoulder, seconds after being given his bug; Amy, dressed conspicuously like The X Files' Scully, investigating a spooky orphanage with Canton; the aforementioned opening sequence, ending with River free-falling off a skyscraper and into the TARDIS, landing in its unseen swimming pool. Really, you could rattle off most scenes and find something memorable in the visuals or twinkling dialogue. Perhaps best of all, the method eventually used to rid humanity of The Silence (which we learn have been pervasive in society for millennia, nudging mankind along like parasites) was both simple, effective and actually made some sense -- with The Doctor inserting a recording of a captured Silent into the famous Moon Landing footage, edited to give humans a psychic nudge to kill any lurking Silents on the spot.
Of course, this story isn't really over. The Silence are too good to dispose with so easily, so they'll be back. Amy's pregnancy (why is the TARDIS scan so indeterminate?) will obviously be a central storyline going forward. And we still need to complete the season's arc by explaining who the little girl is, why she kills The Doctor, and how The Doctor is going to escape what appears to be an inescapable fate only his companions know about! Plus, there's the small matter of why that child is able to regenerate from injuries, exactly like a Time Lord, in this episode's jaw-dropping denouement.
- So -- any theories on who the little girl is? It must surely by Amy's daughter, if the photos on her bedroom table are to be believed. But the child's ability to regenerate surely means that (a) Rory isn't the father, but a Time Lord is? Or (b) Amy spending so much time in the TARDIS has given her as-yet-unborn child the ability to regenerate like a Time Lord? Trouble is, both seem like humongous stretches to be plausible. Amy is unlikely to have slept around, certainly not with a Time Lord! Or was her joke about having a baby born with a "Timehead" right on the money? But how would that work? Have no companions ever had children after leaving the TARDIS? Or maybe the child is River's -- who at some point sleeps with The Doctor and gives birth to his daughter, but Amy becomes her baby's adopted mother? It's not Georgia Moffett's character Jenny from "The Doctor's Daughter", is it?
- Maybe we should be asking not who the little girl is, but who she'll be regenerating into? I'm guessing River Song. There, said it. No, actually -- she's a clone of The Doctor, who we later see dying in "The Impossible Planet"? So the "little girl spaceman" murdered her future self? Oh, my head hurts.
- Time Lords CAN grow facial hair! Did he use the sonic screwdriver to shave?
- Who was the strange lady with the eye patch in the little girl's room? A creepy nanny? The eye patch must be significant. Who is going to be losing an eye at some point? The character is known as Eye Patch Lady (Frances Barber) and is confirmed as returning to the show later this series...
- Rory can remember his 2,000 years spent as a Roman soldier, despite the fact that technically happened to a different Rory before the "Second Big Bang" that restarted the universe. It would be much easier to just say Rory can't remember that stuff, so I suspect the fact he can is a clue of sorts -- right?
- The character of Renfrew at the orphanage was an obvious nod to Dracula's Renfield. I also felt some similarities to the Silence and the sack-cloth headed boy in the Mexican horror The Orphanage, how about you?
- It's confirmed that The Silence have a proto-TARDIS like the one seen in last year's "The Lodger", but it's probably not the same one.