Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Day of the Moon (part 2): Still confused but I'm ok with that.

I'm still wondering about a few's beyond ratings, it's an event, a cathartic break with the tension building since first we met River Song. All together now... I'm confused and I'm ok with that. Last Saturday's Doctor Who was less an exercise in telling a one off story and more pushing the envelope of the River Doctor arc along. If anything the whole The Silence thing was more of a damp squib. From it we got some great lines about Tricky Dickie and some brilliant banter between the Doctor and River. What we didn't get was a memorable alien story like we might have got in Arc in Space or Kroll in the Key to Time arc. I would even venture to say that The Silence were about as scary as the Zarbi ( giant ants)  in The Web Planet, if anything , they were boring wallpaper to the real star of the story, that being the three big clues dropped in our laps by Moffat. 

Least scary monsters since the Silurians?
The Silence fail on several levels, not least of which, convincing scary monsters. Why I ask you if we can see them  and then promptly forget them, do they even need to zap us? Compared to other aliens resident to Earth, such as the Silurians, The Silence seem to be some benign growth with us "Since the wheel and fire". So what precisely have they done to us???? Such horrible things as make us advance our science at a steady pace, presumably things we would have done eventually with or without them. Made us fight terrible wars? Surely also something we don't need help with. So frankly as threats to the Human race, hardly up there with the octopi from space that use our children as some kind of narcotic.  Then there's the costume, Men in Black with Greys faces???  We don't remember them, why even dress? And if they wear clothes, why not the original space suits from when we discovered fire? Lastly the way our Doctor dispatched the things was so predictable I sussed it a few minutes in, well actually when Amy took the snap on her mobile. All he needed was to get the injured Grey to say that stuff about how we should shoot them all on sight. Again WHY??? To be honest, if the worst they are guilty of is Hitler, George Bush ( either one), Margaret Thatcher and big oil, then I'll take that  as the price for getting the tech we needed to get to the Moon, penicillin, and telly. To quote the People's Front for the Liberation of Judea, " What have the Romans ever done for us besides..." The Silence were rubbish and window dressing. An epic fail to use the parlance of some people much younger than me. 

So what was so great about Day of the Moon? Clearly it wasn't about saving the Earth from two dimensional paper cut out monsters hardly capable of scaring a 3 year old. And if we're honest the sense of jeopardy you got from seeing Gandalf  "die" in the film was present from part one through to part two, even the body bags didn't bother me half as much as they should have. I never once for a second believed the Doctor was in any real danger or dead. I am assuming The Moff will find a way to pull the fat out of the fire, as I suspect were most of us watching. In a bit of a ham fisted way, he's asked to us to wonder about a few things, set us some tasks to solve between  now and end of term. Professor Moffat was so busy laying the ground work for the series finale he forgot to write a story that puts in danger and makes us climb behind the setee. Why was there a lot " Three months later" stuff? It seemed  a little half baked and poorly thought out. For example, where was the scene when they figured out Amy had a picture, they could see them  but would forget them when they turned away? Somebody please get the deleted scenes file. Where it worked was where we needed to sort future present and past Amys, Doctors and Rivers. If we string the clues dropped along the way in the order they actually happened ( in relation to linear time), we will know who the Time Lady regenerating at the end was, who was in the space suit when future Doctor was killed in a potential and still avoidable string of events  and of course who the hell River Song is and why she's travelling in the opposite direction the Doctor is. 

Which begs the questions.Where is River's Tardis? Is it the future version of the current Tardis?Can a Time Lord or Lady be in fact travelling on an opposite time line from another Gallifrean?  Wouldn't it be more a case of bumping into each other in a disjointed series of times in the past and future? Besides you can only regenerate in a string from first to last regeneration. Any way you slice it, even time travel has rules and we can't ignore them. So the answer is obviously staring us in the face if we could only clear the excess growth in the way. This at very least screams a Gallifrey ep or three. OOOO Time Lords again !  About bloody time. Quick question folks, Matt Smith in full beard. Neanderthal much?  Personally I'm glad he shaved.

Another high point, however tiny detail it is to some, was the use, if only in our imaginations, of the store room and the Tardis swimming pool to save River ( see Gandalf remark earlier). Finally Moffat is reopening the set design budget and preparing us to see the long neglected interior of the ship that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. I know, I know, endless corridors at BBC centre, disused buildings and the occasional potted plant, while a Sontaran chases our heroes for what seems like  20 minutes but is in fact at least two 30 minute segments. It wasn't all bad if you recall; we had Peri's bedroom, Peri in bed, Peri wet in her room, in fact everybody else's rooms... the zero room, other control rooms, clothes closets, the heart of the Tardis where the bells toll, so many places, so many dangers, so many laughs. Being stuck in the front room was getting boring and it looks like all that is about to change.We hope.

Who is she?
I won't bother even trying to sort out the threads in my head or prove my theories right now, I will just sit back and enjoy the show as it does the striptease that will finally answer the questions that grow ever more strident in their asking. "It's all right, it's quite all right, I'm Dying, but I can fix that  ". I do however wish for one thing, if we are going to treat the weekly ep as less important than the overall arc of the series, I would hope the monsters and dangers are a bit more compelling than The Silence or having River chuck herself off the  top floor of a building to her "death". Moffat can have done better and I expect  more of an effort from here on in.  Here's hoping the pirates aren't little more than "Carry on sailing".  Still confused but expecting to enjoy the ride if the stories avoid the predictable radio serial cliffhangers you know the hero will get out of no matter how ridiculous. Holy Fake shark on your leg Batman! How ever will we get out if this pickle? 

Join us next week same Doc channel at the same Doc time! This time Pirates. Can't wait? See the new trailer for The Curse of the Black Spot on the official BBC site.

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