mondyboy (mondyboy) wrote,
mondyboy
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Doctor Who: Day of the Moon - Review Part Two

So what did I think of the actual episode...

... well I enjoyed it (but you could probably tell that from the previous post) though I thought it had issues.

Let's start with the negative first:

I enjoyed the first five minutes because it sets up the manipulative nature of the Doctor for this story.  But I also don't think that Moffat entirely pulls it off.  As I understand it the Doctor wants the Silent to think that he's not a threat, that he's been captured and the prison being built will ensure that he can't do a thing to stop their plans.  Of course the killing of his companions only cements that.  At the same time, once the prison is built, the Doctor will have a place that is shielded from the Silents.

But... why does the Doctor remember The Silents - or at least is aware of them enough to create a plan this clever?  But more then that, where did the US Army / Government get all that Dwarf Star alloy?  And how did two blokes have the capacity to lift it and move it?  As I said in Part One, I'm enjoying the lack of exposition and the need to figure things out, but there are times when an explanation is needed.  And I think here is a case where Moffat put coolness above plot logic.  For me it undermines that mostly wonderful opening (though the swimming pool bit is inspired).

I didn't like the over the top moment of flirting between River and the Doctor once in the "lair of the Silents".  It's not because I'm a prude, it's just because it feels so belaboured and we've-been-there-done-that.  It's as if Moffat thought the episode needed a light moment.

And on that scene as a whole, the action bits are a bit awful.  Haynes' direction is mostly great, but the shooting of the Silents is a mess of CGI and River being cool.  The screw driver gag nearly saved it... except the joke is old.  The fact that it's topped off by River shooting a Silent over her shoulder made it all the more annoying.

One of the more offensive moment isn't the gay joke - because I laughed - it's the fact that the Doctor would rather go off and have adventures than actually search out a little girl whose potentially lost and afraid.  I don't normally say this sort of thing but - my Doctor wouldn't do that!

OK, now with the positive:

I loved the manipulative Doctor.  As Henry Potts pointed out on JadePagoda TV, this is the most NA-ish Doctor Who story we've had.  He was more referring to the dark and potentially violent end, but there's also the fact that the Doctor, here, has a plan that he doesn't bother to tell anyone else, other than a cryptic remark that they have a secret weapon, Buzz Aldrin's shoe-print on the moon.

And so with his plan in mind the Doctor sets a transmitter up on the nose cone of the Apollo 11 and gives his companions recording devices that he hopes might capture the voice of a Silent that he can later use.  (He already has an image of the Silent via Amy's mobile phone).  The scene where he gives the Scooby gang the nano-recorders is the scene where Moffat seeds the idea of a post hypnotic suggestion.

That said, you can hear the plot grinding a little when they capture a Silent who happily gives them exact line of dialogue they need.  It's convenient and undermines the cleverness of the Doctor's plan.  But, the shape of the plan and the idea that the Doctor uses the Silents own hypnotic suggestion to beat them is (a) very clever and (b) something I didn't see coming.  It's also bereft of technobabble, which is always a plus in my books.

I also like the portrayal of Nixon.  Moffat could have made him into a slavering arsehole, but rather he decides to take the view that at least initially Nixon could be reasoned with.  The Tricky Dicky joke at the end was also funny, if obvious.

Aside from the action scene mentioned  above I enjoyed Toby Haynes direction and his visual eye.  I loved Matt Smith as usual, thought that Karen Gillian was excellent, which is big praise from me because I often find her annoying, and I thought Arthur Darvill was wonderful.  Moffat has made the smart move of making Rory more than just a babbling idiot.  He's a man who remembers 2,000 years of protecting his girl, a man who'd do anything to make sure she's OK.  He also broke a bit off the lunar module which made me laugh.

The jury, for me, is still out on River Song.  Sometimes I love her, sometimes I think she's a bit too self aware.  But I am curious to see where Moffat takes her arc.

And, overall, I loved the ambition of the episode and the two parter.  Not all will agree, and some will think they could have pissed out this episode, but I really think that Moffat has lifted the bar.  He's telling a big story, and so far resolution and answers have been hard to come by, but I'm genuinely excited to see what happens next.

And the regeneration scene at the end reminded me that Doctor Who can still WTF you.

8/10 for both episodes.

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  • 43 comments

  • I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas

    I am Providence is a terrific novel.  It’s a murder mystery set at a Lovecraft convention.  This might sound cringeworthy at first, the sort…

  • When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord

    The conceit that underpins this terrific coming of age novel is the idea that beginning with puberty the kids of a mid-western town…

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    Experimental Film by Gemma Files is a damn fine ghost story.  It’s not a genre that I particularly like – last year I read a couple of…