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TDP 173: Day of the Moon - Smith 2.02

"Day of the Moon"[2] is the second episode of the sixth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. The second episode of a two-part story written by Steven Moffat, it was broadcast on 30 April 2011 in the UK on BBC One, in the U.S. on BBC America, and in Canada on Space.



[edit] Plot

In the three months since the end of "The Impossible Astronaut", the Doctor, Amy, Rory and River Song have been attempting to track the Silence, an alien race who cannot be remembered after they are encountered. Reunited at Area 51 with Canton Delaware, who had been pretending to work against them, the Doctor plants a communication device in each of the group's hands to record audio of meetings with the Silence. Amy tells the Doctor she was mistaken and is not pregnant.

While the Doctor alters part of the command module of Apollo 11, Canton and Amy visit an orphanage, hoping to find where the girl in the spacesuit was taken from. Amy discovers a nest of the Silence, and a photograph of her and a baby amongst pictures of the little girl from the space suit. The girl enters with the Silence, and Amy is abducted and taken to their time engine control room. Arriving too late to help Amy, the Doctor and his allies find her recording device. Canton is able to shoot and wound one of the creatures, and from it the Doctor discovers the creatures are the Silence, a group he was warned about by several of his foes in his recent adventures. Analysing the now-empty space suit, River realises that the girl possesses incredible strength to have forced her way out of it, and that the suit's advanced life-support technology would have called the President as the highest authority figure on Earth when the girl got scared. The Doctor realises why the Silence have been controlling humanity — by guiding their technological advances, they have used humanity to build a spacesuit, which must somehow be crucial to their intentions. Meanwhile Canton interrogates the captured Silent in the Area 51 prison, who mocks humanity for treating him when they should "kill us all on sight". Canton records this using Amy's mobile phone.

The Doctor uses Amy's communication chip to track her location, and lands the TARDIS in the Silence's control room five days later. As River and Rory hold the Silence at bay, the Doctor shows them the live broadcast of the moon landing. As they watch, the Doctor uses his modification of the Apollo command module to insert Canton's recording of the wounded Silent into the footage of the landing. Because of this message, humans will now turn upon the Silence whenever they see them. The group frees Amy and departs in the TARDIS, while River kills all the Silence in the control room. Amy reassures Rory that the man he overheard her speaking of loving through the communication chip was him, not the Doctor.

River refuses the Doctor's offer to travel with him, returning to her Stormcage prison in order to keep a promise. She kisses the Doctor goodbye, and as the Doctor has never kissed her before deduces that this is her last kiss with him. In the TARDIS, Amy appears unable to remember seeing her picture in the orphanage and claims that she told the Doctor, rather than Rory, when she believed she was pregnant through fears that travelling in the TARDIS might have affected her child's development. As the trio set off, the Doctor discreetly uses the TARDIS scanner to attempt to determine if Amy is pregnant.

Six months later, a homeless man in New York City comes across the young girl, previously seen in the astronaut's suit. The girl says she is dying, but can fix it; before the man's eyes, she appears to begin regenerating.

[edit] Continuity

  • The Silence's 'time engine' set was previously used in "The Lodger".[3] The Doctor describes it as "very Aickman Road", a reference to the house the ship occupied in that episode.[4]
  • When the Silent reveals his species' name to the Doctor, the Doctor has flash-backs to "The Eleventh Hour" and "The Vampires of Venice", the first mentions of the Silence.[4]
  • The Doctor is held captive in Area 51, which he had visited previously in the Tenth Doctor animated story Dreamland.
  • The Doctor and Rory discuss both being present at the fall of Rome. As an Auton, Rory guarded the Pandorica from the Roman era to the present day in "The Big Bang", and the First Doctor indirectly instigated the Great Fire of Rome in The Romans.
  • "Eye Patch Lady" (Frances Barber) briefly appears to Amy in the orphanage, and will return in a later episode.[4]
  • The Doctor is imprisoned within walls of "zero balance dwarf star alloy, the densest material in the universe..." Dwarf star alloy first appeared in the 18th season Tom Baker story "Warriors' Gate", forming the hull of a slave ship capturing time sensitive Tharils. The density prevented the Tharils (who possessed the ability to go out of phase with time) from escaping.

[edit] Outside references

  • Near the end of the episode, President Richard Nixon asks the Doctor if he will be remembered by future generations. Amused by the question, the Doctor coyly remarks that the American people will never forget Nixon, a reference to the Watergate scandal that effectively ended Nixon's presidency. The Doctor also tells Nixon to record every word spoken in the Oval Office, another reference to the Watergate scandal (which revolved around the Oval office secret taping system).
  • The Doctor also tells Nixon to say hi to David Frost. Frost is a British journalist, who had a famous interview with Nixon.
  • During his conversation with the president, Canton confirms that his lover (whom he wishes to marry) is black. Interracial marriages had still been banned in certain states as recently as 1967. This revelation seems to explain Canton's previous statement about being fired from the FBI for "wanting to get married" in "The Impossible Astronaut" until he clarifies that his lover is a "he". Same-sex marriage was not legal in the United States in 1969.

[edit] Production

Steven Moffat, head writer of the new series, said before broadcast that this would be one of the darkest openers to a series ever done for Doctor Who.[2] Director Toby Haynes believed that the darker episodes like "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon" would allow the series to get into "more dangerous territory."[3] The creation of the Silence was partly inspired by the figure from the Edvard Munch painting The Scream.[2] Introducing the alien villains became a "big challenge" for the producers; it would tie in with the loose "silence will fall" arc that carried through the fifth series. Moffat did not wish to end the arc in the previous series, as he felt it would be "more fun" to continue it. Elsewhere in the episode, Delaware was written to be deceptively antagonistic towards the protagonists, which was based on actor Mark Sheppard's past as villains for his work in American television. Moffat was also keen on the idea of having the Doctor imprisoned with a beard in Area 51.[3]

Many of the opening scenes of the episode were filmed on location in the United States. The sequence where Delaware chases Amy was shot in the Valley of the Gods in Utah. Gillan found it difficult to run because of the altitude. The sequence where Delaware chases Rory was shot at the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona. The Dam sequence was the final scene to be shot in the States. The sequence where Delaware chases River in New York was in fact shot in central Cardiff. A set was later constructed in a studio for the jump sequence, and Kingston was replaced by a stunt woman to perform the jump. The scenes set in Area 51 were filmed in a large disused hangar in South Wales.[3]

The Florida orphanage was filmed at the abandoned Troy House in Monmouthshire, which many of the cast and crew believed is haunted. To add the effect that a storm is outside the building, the production crew placed rain machines outdoors and flashing lights to simulate lightning. The Silence were portrayed by Marnix van den Broeke and other performers. The masks caused vision difficulties from the performers, who had to be guided by two people when they have to walk. Broeke does not provide the voices of the Silence, as it would be replaced during post-production. The control room set used from "The Lodger" was used again for this episode. Moffat wanted the set to be used again, feeling it would be a suitable Silence base. The set was adapted to give it a darker, evil feel.[3]

[edit] Cast notes

Ricky Fearon who played the tramp previously played Foreman in the Torchwood episode To the Last Man.

[edit] Broadcast and reception

"Day of the Moon" was first broadcast on 30 April 2011 at 6 pm.[5] The episode received preliminary overnight ratings of 5.39 million viewers, equalling a 30.5 per cent audience share. The episode was down by 1.1 million from the previous week, but was still the second most seen broadcast for the day, behind Britain's Got Talent on ITV1.[6]

Dan Martin of The Guardian liked the episode for its "action, tension, horror and River Song in a business suit," but felt it "sags a little around the middle."[7] Martin believed the scenes with Amy and Delaware in the orphanage was the "fear factor" of the episode.[7]

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Matt Smith Video and New Series Overview". BBC. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Doctor Who boss says season start is 'darkest yet'". BBC. 5 April 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Breaking the Silence". Doctor Who Confidential. BBC. BBC Three. 30 April 2011. No. 2, series 6.
  4. ^ a b c BBC - BBC One Programmes - Doctor Who, Series 6, Day of the Moon
  5. ^ "Doctor Who, Series 6, Day of the Moon". BBC Online. BBC. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Millar, Paul (1 May 2011). "'Doctor Who' audience slips to 5.4m". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Martin, Dan (30 April 2011). "Doctor Who: Day of the Moon — Series 32, episode 2". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 2 May 2011.
Direct download: TDP_173_Day_of_the_moon.mp3
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