‘THE IMPOSSIBLE ASTRONAUT’/’DAY OF THE MOON’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Silence will Fall
The Doctor, Amy and Rory are back!
This is Series 6 of ‘Doctor Who’, starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and Alex Kingston! It was Matt Smith’s second season in the new series of ‘Doctor Who’ and has thirteen episodes. Series 6 was divided into two parts, as Part 1 was shown in the spring of 2011 with the first seven episodes.
I have vivid memories of watching this series in 2011. This isn’t my favourite series of ‘Doctor Who’. I’ve found Series 6 to be a rather convoluted set of stories. There was a story arc about the Doctor’s death that permeated the whole of Series 6. I felt it was too confusing and it had me feel unsatisfied.
Lately, I’ve re-watched Series 6 of ‘Doctor Who’ to get a better understanding of the stories. I’m clearer about what’s going on, but I wish it was clearer from the first time I saw Series 6. It seemed to me that Steven Moffat was trying to be too clever, as he makes it a huge puzzle for the audience.
I don’t know whether children who have viewed this series would have understood the stories. I thought the science-fiction concepts were difficult for kids to understand. But there are some good moments to be found in Series 6 as well as the bad, which I hope to explain while I review this series.
‘THE IMPOSSIBLE ASTRONAUT’ (Part 1)
N.B. Watch the prequel for ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ before this episode.
This first episode of Series 6 is the first of a two-part story by Steven Moffat to open the season. It is set in America and the Doctor with Amy, Rory and River Song go off on an adventure to Space: 1969.
This is an intriguing episode to start the series. When I say intriguing, it’s where the story arc of the Doctor’s death starts…with the Doctor actually dying in the tale. Are you still with me on this so far?
In 2011, the Doctor summons his friends Amy and Rory to meet him in America. Having not seen him for a long time, Amy and Rory respond to the Doctor’s summons. River Song gets summoned as well.
Whilst having a picnic on a beach in Utah, the Doctor and his friends see a strange astronaut walk up from the sea. The Doctor goes to meet it and soon gets shot by the astronaut until he ends up dead.
Shocked and upset, Amy, Rory and River see the Doctor burned out to sea. Believing the Doctor to be no more, his three friends become shocked and surprised as they see the Doctor alive at a diner.
It turns out that the Doctor who died on the beach in Utah is a version from the future. The Doctor that Amy; Rory and River meet in the diner is an earlier version, who doesn’t know he’s going to die.
This is where it gets complicated, as Steven Moffat sets in motion a puzzle on what will happen to lead to the Doctor’s demise in the series. Unanswered questions are made at the end of this TV tale.
Matt Smith returns as the Doctor in Series 6. It was intriguing how the Doctor gets killed at the beginning of Series 6, only to return alive and well later on. I did wonder what would happen to him.
Karen Gillan returns as Amy. I liked the moments when Amy’s distraught seeing the Doctor’s death on the Utah beach. When Amy asks the Doctor to trust her, she says ‘fish fingers and custard’ to him.
Arthur Darvill returns as Rory, the faithful husband of Amy. I was pleased to see Rory more involved in Series 6 and as a proper companion after Series 5. I did like it when Rory is clearly out of his depth.
Alex Kingston returns as River Song. There’s still a mystery going on about her with who she is and what she means to the Doctor. There’s also a promise about who River truly is later on in the season.
The guest cast also includes Mark Sheppard as FBI agent Canton Everett Delaware III; William Morgan Sheppard (Mark Sheppard’s father) as older Canton and Stuart Milligan as President Nixon.
This story features the first appearance of the Silence, a new terrifying and scary monster. The Silence are terrifying when you look at them. But when you look away, you completely forget them.
‘The Impossible Astronaut’ episode ends on a cliff-hanger that is very unusual. Amy reveals to the Doctor that she’s pregnant! Hey?! This is before she shoots the astronaut, who is actually a little girl.
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 2 of ‘The Complete Series 6’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there’s a commentary with Arthur Darvill; producer Marcus Wilson and line producer David Mason. There’s the prequel for ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ with Stuart Milligan as Mr Nixon. On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘Coming to America’.
‘DAY OF THE MOON’ (Part 2)
The second episode takes place three months later after ‘The Impossible Astronaut’. It was strange to start the second episode without directly resolving the cliff-hanger in its usual traditional manner.
It begins with an unusual opening sequence, as Amy, Rory and River are running for their lives by Canton Delaware. I found it a shock and a surprise when Canton shoots off the Doctor’s companions.
But it turns out Canton hasn’t turned bad at all. He was helping the Doctor and his friends by sealing them in a prison made of dwarf star alloy in order to hide from the Silence as they get in the TARDIS.
In the three months since the first episode, the Doctor, Amy, Rory, River and Canton have been trying to find out what these Silence monsters are all about. They’re about to get closer to the truth.
I found the concepts of the Silence monsters interesting. They seem to edit themselves out of your memory when you look away. They also seem an impossible enemy to defeat when they’re on Earth.
The Silence are terrifying, as the notion of them always there in Earth’s history and manipulating people subconsciously is shuddering. But the Doctor and his friends have a method to sort them out.
I liked it when the Doctor plants a nanorecorder in the hands of his friends to record audios of their meetings with the Silence. They also mark tallies on their arms and faces to help them to remember.
Canton and Amy soon visit an orphanage where they hope to find the little girl inside the astronaut suit. The orphanage scenes at night were creepy, especially as the Silence are on the ceiling like bats.
Amy experiences some strange things during her visit to the orphanage. As well as seeing the Silence, Amy sees an Eye-Patch Lady in a window and she finds a photo of her as a mum with a baby.
It was pretty tense when the astronaut enters the little’s girl bedroom with Amy inside. Amy is scared and can’t understand what the little girl means to her before she’s taken away by the Silence.
It was emotional when Rory finds Amy’s recording device and she’s still speaking. He wonders who she’s confessing her love to and it gets pretty tense, as it could have been either the Doctor or Rory.
I liked that some of the tale was set in 1969 when the Apollo moon landing between Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took place. This was something I studied at school as a kid and I knew the event well.
This was an interesting take on the special space event, as footage of the Silence is used during the TV transmission of the first moon landing. Soon everyone knows the Silence and a revolution begins.
Eventually, the Silence are ‘silenced’. I was pleased when it was Rory that Amy confessed her love to and I found it really interesting that the Silence’s control room was similar to the one in ‘The Lodger’.
This two-part ‘astronaut’ story has been enjoyable. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about who River Song is; whether Amy is pregnant and why the little girl is regenerating at the end…
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 1 of ‘Series 6 – Part 1’, there’s the ‘Monster File: The Silence’, which looks into the creation and development of these new monsters.
On Disc 2 of ‘The Complete Series 6’ of ‘Doctor Who’, the ‘Monster File: The Silence’ can also be found on there. On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘Breaking the Silence’.
‘The Impossible Astronaut’/’Day of the Moon’ rating – 6/10
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