The home of Critic, Writer and Film-maker: Liam Walters

The Speaking Silence


Written By: Liam Walters

So Doctor Who launched off on April 23rd with ‘The Impossible Astronaut’, and was followed up a week later with ‘Day of the Moon’. This is the first time since before the revival of the show that a series has started with a two part story, and it is definitely a good step forward.

Warning: From This Point Onwards, I Will Be Talking Spoilers.

‘The Impossible Astronaut’ is possibly one of the best series opener’s I have seen. Not only does it follow on from the last episodes quite well, it also gives the Doctor something that I found he was missing too much in the last series… Which is a dark side. Maybe it was just the change of actors and writers, but The Doctor, for most of the episodes, has seemed to have lost that dark side in him, that we had seen quite strongly in Tennant and Eccleston.

In ‘Victory of the Daleks’, we saw parts of it come out when The Doctor raged against the Daleks, attacking them to try to provoke a response, but the strongest example in series 5 was ‘The Beast Below’, in which The Doctor is made left with a terrible choice, to effectively kill an innocent Starwhale, to let it suffer for hundreds more years in unendurable agony, or to let everyone on the spaceship die.

This sequence, I found, to be one of the strongest in the series. It showed that although The Doctor loves the human race, he can sometimes be disgusted with the things that they do to survive. This was brought up in ‘Torchwood: Children of Earth – Day 5’, with Gwen.

Going back to Series 6, quite early on in the episode we see the dark side of the doctor, as he interrogates Amy, Rory and River about who sent the invitations, before moving on to ask river who she is, and who she killed. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of this side of the Doctor, as having the Doctor be happy go lucky as he seemed to be throughout most of series 5 just doesn’t work too well with a character as complicated as the Doctor.

The episode as series opener’s did a fantastic job. instead of having introduce a new doctor or a new companion, they could just instead work on setting up themes and concept which will hopefully play off in later episodes. Theme’s such as the silence being there when The Doctor died, Amy’s on and off pregnancy and the regenerating little girl will all hopefully play into either the half way break, or the series finale.

Although ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ was a fantastic series opener, the two part story was slightly let down with ‘Day of the Moon’. Not that ‘Day of the Moon’ is particularly bad, but certain plot points in it served no purpose.

One criticism has been that there seem’s to be no reason for Canton to hunt down Amy, Rory and River, and for The Doctor to be locked up in Area 51. I must admit, at first I didnt catch the reason as it is said very slyly and the pace moves on quite quickly, but explained in a simple enough manner.

The Doctor and Companions realise something strange is happening, so they get Canton to lock The Doctor in the perfect prison, so that the silence believe the Doctor is no longer a threat because he is locked up somewhere, with his companions having died, and the perfect prison also gives them a place where they can plan without fear of being controlled or seen by The Silence.

At least, that is how I interpreted it.  We aren’t really ever given a real explanation, so I could still be wrong. They could have just decided that it all looked like good trailer footage.

Another problem I have with ‘Day of the Moon’ is that they don’t seem sure what to do with President Nixon as a character. For a lot of the time, he just seems to be there, and only really has 3 notable appearances, one of which breaks all logic. The Doctor and Canton are in the perfect prison for over a day, and the guard points this out to Canton… And then the President steps out of the prison, and no one even decides to question it… And that is at Area 51 of all places.

The final scene just tries to push as many plot twists and series points as it can. We have the snog from River and The Doctor, which adds to their ongoing story of meeting in opposite directions (leaving river on a low note, as she realises as that was their first kiss from The Doctors view, it would be her last).

Then there is Amy’s on and off pregnancy, which many are believing will result in being the reason why Amy and Rory will leave the TARDIS. I think this is a possibility myself, since when the 1103 Doctor see’s the Pond’s, he acts more like he hasn’t seen them in some time, rather than him meeting people who have died.

The final scene, where we see the young girl from the spacesuit regenerate, will probably be one that is either answered in episode 4 of the series (The Doctor’s Wife) or during the finale..

All in all, this is possibly the best series opening story that we have seen during the revived run of the show, being both actively exciting and engaging, as well as bringing concepts from the last series, whilst building concepts for future episodes in the new series.

Even with the few downsides in ‘Day of the Moon’, the story works really well and if we had more series openings like this, I think more people would be drawn towards the series. Unfortunately, this would only work when not having to introduce a new doctor or a new companion.

With Matt Smith having been said to stay on for at least the 50th anniversary, and  with no official news of Karren Gillan and Arthur Davril leaving any time soon, then we will hopefully see what else Steven Moffat can do with future series openers.

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