by Catriona Mills

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Six: "The Day of the Moon"

Posted 7 May 2011 in by Catriona

No peanut gallery for this live-blogging, and the longer Doctor Who is on a Saturday night, the less likely we are to have a peanut gallery, I think.

Still, I’ve livened the evening up by trying to convince Nick that he really doesn’t need to try and find Vampire Diaries right now, since we’re watching Doctor Who and all. I failed, but I did my best.

And if you’re not watching Vampire Diaries, why not? So awesome, so fast-paced, so funny, and so likely to kill off a major character at least once an episode. Who could not like that?

Am I the only person in the world who finds yachting to be the most boring pastime that rich people could ever come up with? Yes? No?

I suppose there’s always golf. That’s a bit boring, too.

ME: OMG, Moby Dick!
NICK: Do you want to watch it?
ME: Yes! It saves me reading the book, doesn’t it?

Previously, we had Space 1969, a Viking funeral, Richard Nixon, and some creepy aliens who liked killing people.

Also, Amy is pregnant.

This episode, we open with Amy running down a road in the desert, pursued by men in black cars. It’s Utah, which is just so beautiful. Unfortunately for Amy, she comes to the end of a ravine. Canton, calling her “Miss Pond”, pulls up in a car.

AMY: Is that a body bag?
CANTON: Yes, it is.
AMY: It’s empty.
CANTON: How about that.

Amy challenges Canton to remember the warehouse, but he just shoots her.


Canton approaches the Doctor, chained to a chair and hidden behind an enormous beard, in Area 51. He tells the Doctor that Amy had strange markings on her hand and asks what they were.

DOCTOR: Why don’t you ask her?

Then he looks again at the spreadeagled hand in the photo.

Elsewhere, River confronts an alien and adds a mark to the one on her arm. But she’s confronted by Canton, at the edge of a high skyscraper, one that’s still being built.

CANTON: You’re coming with us, Dr Song. There’s no way out this time.
RIVER: There’s always a way out.

Then she throws herself off the 50th floor.

At Area 51, the Doctor is being bricked in by dwarf-star alloy. Oh, wow: Warriors’ Gate reference! So awesome.

Then Canton corners Rory.

RORY: What are you waiting for?
CANTON: I’m waiting for you to run. It looks better if I shoot you when you’re running. Then again, looks aren’t everything.

In the dwarf-star cell, Canton—dragging Amy and Rory into the cell in body bags—reveals that this is all a complex plot, and the invisible TARDIS is in there. The Doctor opens it by clicking his fingers—ooh.

Then (purely coincidentally, I’m sure), he goes to rescue River.

DOCTOR: Amy! Rory! Open all the doors to the swimming pool!

So awesome.

The Doctor reveals that his secret weapon in the war against the occupying aliens is Neil Armstrong’s foot and then we finally go to credits.

Post-credits, we drive up to Arkham Asylum. I mean, some creepy orphanage. It’s Canton and Amy, and they check both their palms are clear before heading in.

Because, as we learn in a flashback, not only is Amy not pregnant, the aliens are everywhere. But people can’t remember them after they (people, not aliens) turn away. Hence the creepy markings on their hands and arms.

The Doctor points out that they’re not fighting an alien invasion; they’re leading a revolution.

What’s been punched into their hands is a nano-recorder, which can be used to record their experiences with the aliens. If they’ve left themselves a message, their hand will flash. That’s a bit creepy, frankly.

Then Canton straightens the Doctor’s bow tie, and everyone stares at him—because his hand is flashing. Because he’s just seen one of the creatures in the TARDIS: it’s a hologram, based on Amy’s camera-phone photo. But even the hologram wipes itself from people’s minds. The aliens, it seems, are ruling the word by post-hypnotic suggestion.

The aim, it seems, is to find the little girl—so we loop right back to the children’s home, which seems a likely place for the aliens to have taken a small child.

This whole section is so Southern Gothic: the walls are slathered with graffiti reading “Leave! Get Out!” And it was supposed to have been closed in 1967: I can’t quite work out if the home is called “Greystoke” or “Greystark”, but it’s creepy, either way.

Canton and Amy separate. It should be required for all the Doctor’s companions to play Dungeons and Dragons: then they’d know not to split the party. Amy, heading upstairs, chats briefly to the Doctor, but he’s a bit distracted by having just been caught sabotaging the cockpit on Apollo 11. So Amy just wanders around this creepy place, leaving herself secret message on her hand recorder and marking her own hands and forehead in the seconds between cuts, before she realises that the entire roof of this deserted dormitory is a nesting place for the aliens.

But as they realise she’s there, she forgets them as the dormitory door swings back open.

The Doctor, under arrest by military police, tries to convince the MPs that he’s on a secret mission for Nixon, which doesn’t really work until Nixon turns up (in the TARDIS, flanked by River, in a killer suit and Rory, also in a killer suit) and sweet-talks them out of it. Well, a combo of sweet-talking and bullying, really.

(Rory breaks the model of the lunar lander, salutes awkwardly, and then follows everyone else into the TARDIS.)

Canton, confronting the head of this creepy, deserted children’s home, hears that “The child must be cared for. It’s important. That’s what they said.”

And Amy, wandering the corridors, sees a woman with an odd, metallic eye-patch, peering through a hatch in a door, saying, “No, I think she’s just dreaming.” Amy pushes through the door, now sans hatch, to see a series of framed photographs set out in a twee room: one of them is Amy herself holding a baby. And then the astronaut clomps into the room. Amy demands an explanation, but then the astronaut lifts its visor; it’s a small girl whose face shield has a bullet hole in it.

Amy apologises (a bit of a non-apology) and the child pleads for help before the aliens come into the room behind the astronaut and Amy screams.

Elsewhere, Canton’s interview is interrupted by someone whom the custodian forgets almost instantly. As Canton challenges the alien, he can hear Amy screaming somewhere else.

Canton asks the alien if it’s armed.

ALIEN: This world is ours. We have ruled it since the wheel and the fire. We have no need for weapons.
CANTON: Yeah. Welcome to America.

Then he shoots it. Natch.

Canton calls for the Doctor, who is advising Nixon, and everyone rushes to the creepy room in the creepy children’s room, where they find an empty spacesuit and Amy’s hand recorder, lying on the floor and broadcasting everything an obviously terrified Amy is saying.

Rory is kinda sweet and sexy in this scene. But, of course, as soon as he says he’ll always find Amy, she starts calling for the Doctor.

The injured alien that Canton’s shot is still in the superintendent’s office. The Doctor challenges it, and the alien says that they are “the Silence.” We’re treated to a quick flashback to key moments last season, just in case we’ve forgotten it.

Then Canton strolls out of the dwarf-star cell, trailing Nixon behind him to support his requests for a doctor.

Apollo 11 prepares for lift-off.

River and the Doctor examine the spacesuit, which is filled with alien tech. Apparently, the suit defaults to the highest authority possible, which is why the president keeps getting phone calls.

The Doctor’s a bit distracted by the blue envelopes, but River won’t answer any questions.

RIVER: Our lives are back to front. My future is your past. Your firsts are my lasts.

Rory wonders why the Silence need a human spacesuit, but the Doctor says this is all because the Silence needed a spacesuit.

Apollo 11 lifts off.

The injured Silence, now in the dwarf-star cell, gets medical treatment, and seems bewildered by this.

SILENCE: We have ruled your lives since your lives began. You should kill us all on sight. But you will never even remember that we were here. Your will is ours.
CANTON: Well, sorry to disappoint you. But thanks. That was exactly what I needed to hear. This is a videophone … whatever a videophone is.

In the TARDIS, River wonders if the spacesuit could actually move on its own, and eat its chosen occupants. And Rory listens to Amy talking through the hand recorder, where she talks about the person she really loves, who has a “stupid face” and just dropped out of the sky into her boring life.

That’s cold, even for you, Amy.

DOCTOR: This is kicking the Romans out of Rome.
RORY: Rome fell.
DOCTOR: I know. I was there. (The Romans reference!)
RORY: So was I.

Rory talks a little about his life as a centurion, but we’re all more interested in the impending landing of the lunar module on the moon.

Elsewhere, Amy is apparently about to be subjected to alien experiments.

ALIEN: You are Amelia Pond.
AMY: You’re ugly. Has anyone told you?

She’s no Winston Churchill, that’s for sure.

They tell her that she “will bring the Silence” but the TARDIS turns up, and the Doctor brings out a television. Plus River and Rory.

DOCTOR: She has her own gun and, unlike me, she doesn’t mind shooting people. I shouldn’t like that, but I rather do.
RIVER: Thank you, sweetie.

Then they flirt adorably.

But Amy stops the flirting, and the Doctor moves right back into bombast mode. He tells the Silence that half a billion people are watching the moon landing, and they will never ever forget it.

And right there, after Armstrong says “That’s one small step for man”, they splice in the captured, injured Silence saying “You should kill us all on sight.”

ARMSTRONG: One giant leap for mankind.
DOCTOR: And one whacking kick up the backside for the Silence!

And that would be the downside of post-hypnotic suggestion.

Then the Doctor tells them to run, but he means himself and his companions, because the Silence are powering up their Force lightning.

River has a gun, but the Doctor only has a screwdriver.

RIVER: What are you doing?
DOCTOR: Helping!
RIVER: You have a screwdriver. Go build a cabinet.
DOCTOR: That’s really rude!

The Doctor runs into the TARDIS, and River dispatches the rest of the Silence.

RIVER: My old feller didn’t see that, did he? Because he gets really cross.
RORY: What kind of doctor are you?
RIVER: Archaeology. (Shoots another alien.) Love a tomb.

Me? I love an archaeologist.

Amy reveals that she really meant Rory was the one she loved, while I was busy typing up awesome dialogue, and then the Doctor tells Nixon to let Canton get married and reassures Nixon that he’ll never be forgotten.

NIXON: This person you want to marry. Black?
NIXON: I know what people think of me, but I’m more liberal …
CANTON: He is.

So Nick called that, and I missed it.

The Doctor drops River back at Stormcage, and she snogs him. The Doctor, unsurprisingly, is a bit rubbish and shaky, but mostly because he’s never kissed River before, much to her surprise and horror.

DOCTOR: You know what they say. There’s a first time for everything.
RIVER: And a last time.

In the TARDIS, Amy is suffering after-effects from her time with the Silence, but the Doctor, while happy to be Amy’s best friend, wants to know why she didn’t tell Rory that she was pregnant. Amy says she told the Doctor because she was worried that the time travelling in the TARDIS might have given the baby a time head, whatever that is.

Then she tells Rory that she’ll take the hand-recorder off him if he doesn’t stop secretly listening in.

The Doctor says that this is all about the little girl, but he’s rather have adventures.

And on the streets of New York, the little girl comes stumbling through an alley six months later, coughing and clutching her stomach.

STREET PERSON: Are you okay?
LITTLE GIRL: It’s all right. It’s quite all right. I’m dying. But I can fix that. It’s easy really. See?

And she regenerates.


Next week: pirates!

Share your thoughts [23]


Wendy wrote at May 7, 10:40 am

I need to know who that child is!!!
Also was that Hugh Bonneville in the pirates preview?


Catriona wrote at May 7, 11:51 am

I suspect we won’t know much more about the child until the season finale. But that was most certainly Hugh Bonneville.


libby wrote at May 7, 12:46 pm

I think Moby Dick might be my favourite book. Well, that’s quite a big call, but it’d definitely be in my top five. I’m looking forward to watching it tomorrow night, but I know that they will have gleaned the bits and pieces of action adventure from what is an entirely different type of book. You’ll still have to read it, I’m afraid!


Catriona wrote at May 7, 12:50 pm

Unfortunately, Libby, whenever I even imagine reading Moby Dick, I can only visualise the hallucinogenic funeral scene from Heathers. Totally ruined the book for me.


libby wrote at May 7, 01:38 pm

Wow. I wasn’t expecting you to say that. Apparently, that was originally supposed to be The Catcher in the Rye.


Drew wrote at May 7, 03:56 pm

I think that this episode has one of the cleverest denouements I’ve seen in Doctor Who, or any other tv show for that matter. It was a brilliant. The Doctor is always very clever in triumph but especially so this time I think.

Not only is there now the mystery of the girl who can regenerate, but there’s also that shot of the woman in the eye patch saying “she dreaming”, that is going to come back I am certain of it.

All is not as it seems.


Catriona wrote at May 7, 10:21 pm

Catcher in the Rye doesn’t contain the word “blubber”, though! At least, not as far as I know—I haven’t read that, either.

Drew, there’s three big mysteries, as far as I can see: the seeming Time Tot at the end, the woman who looks like she stepped out of an episode of Farscape, and Amy’s appearing/disappearing pregnancy. I have a feeling that that wasn’t just an ordinary false alarm.


Drew wrote at May 8, 01:36 am

Yes, I had forgetten about that one. Touchy subject for a show that’s supposed to be a family-rated show. Interesting.


Catriona wrote at May 8, 08:59 am

Why a “touchy subject”, Drew? I only ask out of curiosity, you understand.


Heather wrote at May 8, 09:45 am

Watching that episode gave me so many WTF?!? moments – eye-patch lady, the time-travelling foetus, and the regenerating girl – I feel like I need to debrief. I definitely need to perch in the peanut gallery. . . so many missed opportunities to really let the “‘Merican” out. :)


Drew wrote at May 8, 11:54 am

The pregnancy I mean. It looks for all intents and purposes as if Amy is carrying the Doctor’s child somehow. We can assume that there was no sex so how did it get there? If it’s some form of artifical insemination then that’s what I mean by touchy.


Catriona wrote at May 8, 12:37 pm

Oh, I so didn’t read it like that, Drew. I thought you might have meant touchy in that she had miscarried, where I assume she interpreted it (however accurately) as a false alarm.

All I got from the episodes was that she was worried about what her life as a time traveller might have done to a foetus. I didn’t pick up any hint that she had any doubt as to Rory being the father. Her reluctance to tell him about the pregnancy, it seemed to me, was dependent solely on questions of the baby’s health, not on questions of paternity. Even Rory didn’t seem to have any doubts about paternity, and he can be pretty touchy about any issues pertaining to the Doctor and Amy.

I’m sure people online are speculating madly about this, but I didn’t think even for a moment that Amy thought the baby was the Doctor’s.

(Though I have my own suspicions about how the Silence are involved in this, given that they told Amy she would “bring forth the Silence/silence.”)

Heather, there are always seats in the peanut gallery for you! But Saturday nights … it’s a bad time for people with a social life to sit in my living room and shout things at Doctor Who. Except en masse, obviously.


Drew wrote at May 8, 10:55 pm

But there’s the link between the little girl in the room and Amy, and then she regenerates. I don’t think Amy thinks the Doctor is the father either, it’s just that somehow there’s Time Lord DNA in there, or so it seems.


Catriona wrote at May 8, 11:10 pm

Ah, I see! Mis-interpreted your comment again.

There’s definitely Time Lord something going on with that child, I don’t argue that. And it does look as though either Amy is the child’s mother, or is supposed to think she’s the child’s mother, or is in some sort of caretaker role to the child from an early age. One of those.

My personal opinion (no spoilers: I have no idea what the truth is or even what rumours are going on out there) is that this is the doing of the Silence, in those three or so days before the Doctor et al. came to rescue Amy. Admittedly, that doesn’t explain why Amy thought she was pregnant before the Silence kidnapped her, but I’m not going to let that stop me from speculating.

After all, artificial impregnation is what aliens do, isn’t it? It’s their whole reason for being, as far as I can tell from reading account of alien abduction.


Heather wrote at May 9, 08:58 am

Catriona – Regarding your comments above, I was just thinking that if the Silence kidnapped her prior to this episode (I mean the Silence have been on earth forever and if they’d run into them previously well, they would have all forgotten that they had), it could explain how she thought she was pregnant before we ‘see’ the Silence kidnap her.


Catriona wrote at May 9, 09:08 pm

That would be colossal cheat, storywise, though. Don’t you think?


Tim wrote at May 10, 05:32 am

Do you want some typos? ;)

> That would be colossal cheat, storywise, though. Don’t you think?

Why? It might have happened in the three months between these two episodes.

‘The Romans’ is set during the reign of Nero, which is not a good reference for the fall of Rome; Rory and the Doctor are presumably referring to something later. (My guess is the Visigoths’ sack of Rome in 410, as the Pandorica was there at the time.)

There are several dominoes still to fall, but I think this story is clumsy, poorly paced and thematically incoherent. Yet another mysterious race that has manipulated humanity throughout history to some unknown end, with abilities that function as needed for the plot. (We’re going to ‘seen out of the corner of the eye’ again?)

The Doctor seems surprisingly unconcerned that a frightened little girl with strange powers is lost somewhere.

River now says that she and the Doctor are meeting in reverse; previously, their timelines weren’t synchronised in either direction, which I found more interesting. (If it’s a simple reversal, why do they need to check their diaries?)

The ‘action’ scene in the Silence HQ was laughable, particularly River’s twirling finale. On the other hand, having Nixon turn up with ‘Hail to the Chief’ was barely funny the first time.


Catriona wrote at May 10, 05:56 am

Depends on what you mean by “the fall of Rome”. If we take Nero as the apex of imperial decadence, then his reign could legitimately be seen as the moment when Rome began to eat itself, and thus as the beginning of the long, long fall of Rome.

No: even I don’t believe what I just said.

In all honesty, I just got a little excited by the inter-textual references. On the other hand, the reference to “Warriors’ Gate” is unimpeachable (now that I’ve gone back and fixed the typo, anyway).

I could be reading this incorrectly, but I didn’t think the Doctor was unconcerned about the girl: I thought he was putting on a bold front of unconcern to disguise an underlying fear: I thought the same was true of his attempt to take up knitting or learn to fly a bi-plane rather than to go to 1969 in the first place.

However, I have been known to be wrong before (see above re. fall of Rome).

I had no problem with the finale in the Silence HQ from an action point-of-view. (I did think that some of the greater issues at play there were rather glossed over, and in a hurry, too. I’m assuming they’ll come back, but what will be the impact of their return of they’re not laid out on the table to some extent in the first place?) But as an action scene? Didn’t bother me. I’m of an age and temperament where I just enjoy watching women of a certain age shoot things, and I’m not ashamed of that. Alex Kingston isn’t far off 50, and that’s an age when roles often dry up for women (until they age enough to play stately duchesses, anyway). So a role like this, where she’s travelling in time and space, flirting (and not creepily—not generally, anyway) with a younger man, and shooting things? No wonder she seems to be having the time of her life.


Tim wrote at May 10, 06:10 am

Good point re his apparent unconcern.

I didn’t mind having the action scene; I just thought it was light on tension and excitement.

> (now that I’ve gone back and fixed the typo, anyway)
You still have ‘leasing a revolution’, for one. ;)


Catriona wrote at May 10, 06:40 am

So I do! And it took me a good two minutes of staring at it to realise what I actually meant. I admit: those ones, where the word is actually spelt correctly while also being completely wrong, are the ones I tend to miss when I do the post-blogging read-through.

(Case in point: I’ve just caught “release what I actually meant” in this very comment, luckily before I posted it.)


richard wrote at May 14, 07:03 am

Why haven’t I read this till now? What have I been doing? Has some alien race manipulated me into forgetting I read this last week? Who can say…? (Although I am now suspicious of the Forget checkbox at the bottom of this comment form.)

I loved this ep, with a capital LOVED. I’ve seen there’s a lot of angst about it on the interwebs, but I so don’t care. I thought the whole Armstrong thing was genius (like, “something borrowed/something blue” genius); the haunted orphanage truly creepy; and the swimming pool jape whimsically silly. That’s just about the balance I’m after. There are plenty of quibbles (particularly the thought of thousands of dead Silences, having been gunned down by hypnotically suggested Americans, who then turn away and forget to clean up the corpses) and contrivances (please speak clearly into this videophone) but they don’t deter me at all. And stand around and listen to me waffle while I set up a “portable” telly is an old school Who gambit, surely?

And, um, maddeningly complex story arc? Regenerating children? Weird door-hatch/eye-patch people? Bring it on!

There’s something more than Amy’s on-again-off-again pregnancy going on. Rory said he sometimes remembers being a Centurion. The memories come back like a door opening in his mind. I think he’s also existing in two states.

I also take River’s statement that she and the Doctor are living their lives in opposite directions to be poetic licence, rather than literal. But I think they’re not meeting now in the sequence she was expecting. I think she was genuinely surprised that was their first kiss (from the Doctor’s POV). At the end of The Big Bang she told the Doctor that the next time they met he would find out who she was, and “I’m sorry, but that’s when everything changes.” Well, that didn’t happen…

Anyway, I’ve ranted for long enough. Pirates to watch, apparently. I have suitably dampened expectations…


Catriona wrote at May 14, 08:17 am

Oh no, Richard: the “forget” button is just so you don’t have to cope with the burden of knowing that this blog is powered by an imprisoned, tortured space whale. Nothing so sinister as hypnotic aliens.

I agree that I also didn’t think that the comment about their lives running in directly opposite directions was meant to be taken literally: else, as Tim points out, why sync their diaries? But the idea that River might think they’re running in directly opposite directions and is now wondering why that doesn’t seem to be the case is an intriguing one.

Do you think maybe the Silence corpses are cleaned up in stages?

What’s that smell? Oooh, alien corpse in the corner! I’ll just fetch the bucket from the kitchen. Where’s that smell coming from?


richard wrote at May 14, 09:52 am

…which, it has to be said, is pretty much how most of my cleaning gets done.

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