Sunday, March 22, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: Day of the Moon

Now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd go back to one of my great passions...bashing The Whorist (or as it's generally known, The Nerdist), in particular their Doctor Who reviews by one Kyle Anderson.

Mr. Anderson (now doesn't that sound sinister) in my view, has rarely if ever met a Doctor Who post-Rose story that he hasn't loved.  I don't mean liked.  I mean L-O-V-E-D, to where that particular episode is the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time...until the next episode when THAT becomes the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time.  It's gotten to be almost a point of parody to see how Anderson rarely finds fault with a Doctor Who episode.  I don't mean just to nitpick on a few things.  I mean give a bona-fide negative review.  Even I, someone who has been vociferous in my condemnation for many NuWho episodes, do admit when I see a good one (like Flatline or Mummy on the Orient Express).  Anderson, however, will almost always find something to wax rhapsodic about, even on something as atrocious as In the Forest of the Night

I was intrigued by this, so a little research was required.  I went as far back as I could regarding Anderson's Doctor Who reviews, and the earliest one I could find was the Series/Season Six opener, The Impossible Astronaut.  What I've done is taken Kyle Anderson's review verbatim, and offered my own 'translation' to the text to see what Anderson is, in my view, really saying.  I also throw in my own thoughts as to what is being said.

I hope this will be a fun and informative journey into the strange mind of the Functioning Nerd.

I present Part 2 of The Nerdist as Whore: Day of the Moon*.  My 'translations' are in red.

The second half of the series premiere of Doctor Who raised a lot more questions than answers, but it’s the beginning of the year, so it didn’t really have to answer much.

I'm sure things will be wrapped up neatly and clearly by season's end and even if things aren't, by the time we get there I'll like totally forget about all that came The Silence.

“Day of the Moon,” while not as cinematic or as, to be honest, engaging as “The Impossible Astronaut,”

It was boring.

still offered a huge amount of creepiness, excitement, and the requisite amount of Doctorishness to keep me satisfied and entertained.

How many times do I have to say it? I'm really easy to please and require little in the way of thinking while watching.

Moffat’s script is kind of all over the map logically, though, which I will get to in a moment.

It didn't make sense within the episode itself, and I worry it won't make sense when we get to the season finale.

The cast, again, were very strong and in particular Arthur Darvill as Rory continues to stand out.

I identify with the schmuck who will never get the hot girl.

I mentioned that the episode was less cinematic, but that is more to do with there being fewer exterior scenes and less to do with Toby Haynes’ excellent direction. Haynes’ work has proven to be among the best, up there with Graeme Harper and Euros Lyn.

For more specifics and the like, read on. (SPOILERS GALORE)

-One thing that put me off this episode a little initially is that we jump to three months later so quickly. We don’t see the direct ramifications of the cliffhanger and only get a little bit of it at all. I really felt like “Day of the Moon” was the third part and we just didn’t get to see part two.

Moffat couldn't think of a way out of something, so he just skipped it altogether, and in a rare turn, I wanted an explanation.  Even though he has two hours to tell his story, Moffat couldn't pull it together.  Bummer. 

-It’s never really explained why Canton needs to pretend to hunt down the members of Team TARDIS in the first place. If the Doctor is so tight with President Nixon, why are he and his friends being doggedly hunted? If it were the Silence using posthypnotic suggestion, why is Canton not affected? Again, I feel like most of this would have been explained in that hypothetical second part.

I actually noticed some plot holes that weren't answered, and let's be honest, probably won't be answered, so I'm wasting my time expecting any.  Therefore, I better just speculate.

More likely, this was just Moffat’s way of making an exciting and confusing pre-credits sequence. There is no narrative reason given for the whole Area 51 section or the “inescapable prison” being built because there’s seemingly no need for either one.

Oh right, I forgot: Doctor Who ISN'T suppose to make sense.  It's British. 

-Amy’s not pregnant anymore… or is she?

I'm so stoked we're getting a mystery and domestic drama all in one!

-I really liked the idea of them having to mark on themselves whenever they encounter the Silence. It adds a visual creepiness so we know there are lots of them about but we don’t actually have to see them.

It'll make for an awesome (and cheap) cosplay.

The scene where Amy walks around the abandoned orphanage is incredibly creepy and made even creepier when she suddenly sees markings on her arms, and then more on her face. Excellent depiction of it. Plus, the pack of them sleeping on the ceiling might be the most disturbing single shot the show’s had.

-The orphanage: Why? The Doctor says something about how the Silence probably wouldn’t take the little girl too far from their “base” in Florida, but why would they need to take her anywhere? That is all sort of glossed over.

Plot hole, or merely a leap in logic?

Again, though, visually, the orphanage is flawless and all of the writings on the wall of “Get Out of Here” and stuff like that were incredibly effective.

I don't care about plot holes or leaps in logic.  It looked AWESOME! 

That poor Dr. Whatever-His-Name-Was. He’s merely a shell of a man and his odd Plantation-Southern drawl made him all the more creepy.

Southerners are creepy and scary.  The typical Southern person is Blanche DuBois.

-Okay, brass tacks: the scene with Amy in the little girl’s room in the orphanage. What the hell is going on there?


First of all, we see a woman with a metallic eye patch through a window in a door who says she’s just having a dream. Uhh, what now?

Like, if I'M confused, just think what a person with average intelligence is going through, one who actually wants logic in their stories.

Then when Amy opens the door, there’s no longer a window and no eye patch woman inside. I honestly can’t even begin to figure out who this woman is or what she’s doing or why. Is she talking about Amy or the little girl?

I'm like so totally lost. 

-Next, Amy sees a bunch of pictures of the little girl and one of Amy holding a baby, presumably the little girl. The obvious implication is that this little girl is somehow Amy’s, but my question is: Why would the little girl have a bunch of pictures of herself in her room? Is this room actually the little girl’s room at all? I’m sort of doubting that now.

I know I'm going out of my comfort zone by trying to think while watching, but I can only take so much before even I start stretching for compliments.

-Finally, the astronaut walks back into the room and lifts the visor revealing the little girl, a bullet hole in the glass. She again asks for help, but before Amy can do anything, she’s set upon by Silence. Clearly, Amy is very important, as is the little girl, but how are they connected?

Andy, you have NO idea...

-Canton, being the bad-ass that he is, shoots a Silent and they are able to take it back to the unnecessary impenetrable prison. But they went to go pick up Nixon first just so he could explain everything? What sort of sense does that make, as, presumably, Nixon would have to be the one who initiated the manhunt for everybody, and yet he seems to be perfectly genial the whole time. (I need to get over this, but the Area 51 thing was a waste of a good idea)

In a rare turn, Moffat introduced something and totally wasted.  It's like the guy almost forgot how to write, which is impossible because Blink forever covers a multitude of sins.

-The Silent reveals to the Doctor that they are, in fact, the Silence and that they will fall. Two things: 1) This moment was entirely wasted because we’ve known for weeks that they’re called the Silence. Could have been a decent reveal, utterly lost because we already knew it.

Oh, Moff, not even the most devoted Moffian could go along with this, and I'm the biggest whore of all.

And 2) Why would they themselves know about their own prophecy of falling? I really like the Silence as an entity and Moffat, being the evil genius he is, has wrapped a lot of UFO and alien abduction myths together in them. First, they look like the “Grey Alien” we’ve all grown to know; Second, they wear black suits, not unlike the Men in Black; Third, they make people forget them once they aren’t looking, which both ties back to the Men in Black as well as “missing time,” which a lot of abductees or people who’ve encountered aliens claim to experience.

Steven Moffat is throwing a lot at us, and I don't think it's holding together, but hey, he's in charge so I defer to him.  After all, I think he's a real genius, like Shakespeare-level genius.

-A lot of attention was paid this episode to Rory still feeling inadequate when compared to the Doctor and believing still that Amy would rather be with the Doctor than him.

Where would Rory get such a silly idea like that?!

By the end of the episode, Amy proves twice that she loves Rory and Rory alone and THAT, my friends, had better be the end of it.

I'm really, really tired of this faux-love triangle business and wish they'd stop bringing up to create 'drama'.

I suppose it was necessary that Moffat address the issue, but I’ll be very happy to not have to deal with a perceived love triangle anymore. Rory is awesome and has more than earned a place in both the TARDIS and Amy’s life. So there.

Since I see myself in Rory, I have to say he's awesome.  He's awesome.  I seriously believe that.  Compared to Rory Pond, characters like Jamie McCrimmon or The Brigadier just flat-out suck. 

-HUGE SCENE: They take the astronaut suit and inspect it and find that it’s composed of a great deal of alien technology. River inspects it and sees that the little girl is human, or at least the suit was set up to support human life. It’s also clear that the girl must be insanely strong if she broke out of the suit. The suit is also, somehow, able to support itself and is kind of alive since it begins rebuilding itself. Perhaps the suit acting on its own accord kills the future Doctor (I doubt it).

That's a bridge too far, even for me, and I'm really lenient about things like plot or logic.

The Silence have been taking technology from other races and planets forever, which would also explain their TARDIS.

-Aboard their TARDIS, Amy is tied up and is surprised to learn she’s been there for a couple of days.

Amy Pond.  The world's only kick-ass damsel in distress.

The Doctor and them arrive and he does his clever bit

Matt Smith talks a lot.

and eventually turns the entire human race against the Silence, all being tied back to the moon landing.

It's not like they landed on an Egg or anything as idiotic as that.

I thought this was very smart and a good use of the era in which it was set. However, I’ll be damned if we’ve seen the last of the Silence. Clearly, they’re still involved in the Doctor’s life and indeed the universe as a whole.

We found an element of the continuing season-long arc!  Score one for me!

-River Song is awesome.

Not only does she just kick a lot of ass but I’m really starting to like the relationship she has with the Doctor. He’s beginning to open up more with her and be more flirtatious, and she’s not quite as know-it-all-y like she gets later in her life. I enjoyed the character always, but this two-parter was the first time I really GOT her character. She’s living in the terrible backwards world where the longer she lives, the less this man she loves knows about her. That’s immensely tragic and explains a lot of why she is the way she is in the earlier episodes we’ve seen.

I'm into cougars.  I like psychopathic women.  She should be the star of her own show...which is strange because I thought she already WAS the star of Doctor Who.  Come to think of it, she may be living backwards but strangely, she keeps knowing more and more, not less and less. 

-Amy isn’t pregnant, but she is, or was. The Doctor’s scanner keeps flickering between positive and negative. Hmm…

Yeah, the TARDIS should be able to detect something that a stick dipped in urine would easily find, but we need some way to create and build up drama/mystery.

Well, I guess that’s all the important stuff to talk about. I can’t think of anything else worth discussing… except…

-The little girl frigging REGENERATES! What!?!?!?! This is Moffat making sure we’re awake and I love it.

I, Kyle Anderson, am a pathetic whore, a shill for someone who pays my bills and gets me invites to cons.  Moffat can screw with Canon regarding regeneration all he wants.  I just want to be dazzled by bright lights, so screw logic!

I have several theories as to what this could mean which I will list for you right now.

I'm going to speculate and write fanfic for each scenario, each wilder than the one before.

1) She’s just a kid. The astronaut suit she was in, being made of a bunch of different alien tech, somehow rebuilt her using Time Lord stuff which she now has the ability to use.
2) She is Amy and Rory’s daughter, but the Silence (or some other alien?) took her and did weird experiments on her. I still think just because there’s a picture of Amy holding a child doesn’t necessarily mean she’s holding THAT child OR that that child is hers.
She's Amy and Rory's daughter.  Getting warmer...

3) She’s River Song, though that seems less and less likely the more we know about River, i.e. she ain’t a Time Lord.

Can't be. That be too easy and really too dumb to accept.  River Song a TIME LORD?  Perish the thought! Who'd be stupid enough to put THAT idea into people's heads?  There's just no way River Song can be Amy & Rory's daughter, or have Time Lord DNA.  Ain't happening.  No way, no how.   

4) She’s River and the Doctor’s child, again unlikely since River would surely have known and been more emphatic about helping her.
I SO want the fifty-year-old and the man old enough to be her son to have sex, and I'd like to see Susan Foreman's mother as a little girl because I'm sure everyone thinks River Song would make an awesome Grandmother and that Verity Lambert and Sydney Newman had exactly this kind of woman in mind when they created the show.

5) She is a Time Lord child that the Silence kidnapped a long time ago for experimental purposes.
Which, to hold to established story, must have happened right before the Doctor blew Gallifrey up.

6) The Silence are growing their own Time Lords using the Doctor’s regenerative energy and Amy’s embryo.
7) Something else no one’s thought of yet because Steven Moffat is incredibly clever and likes to show it off to us.

Does that meet my quota of praising Steven Moffat?  I wish I were as smart as Steven Moffat because Moffat understands what Moffat writes, and I don't.  Therefore, I must really be dumb.

All in all, “Day of the Moon” was a fun episode, if not a perfect one.

It was a letdown after The Impossible Astronaut, but it sure looked cool, and we got a non-Doctor regeneration.  How AWESOME is that?!

Whatever happens, this series has set itself up to be incredibly different in narrative style as well as schedule. I’m really looking forward to the next few, non-mythos-weaving episodes.

I'd like to watch a Doctor Who story that stands on its own and isn't part of a longer story arc that isn't as good as Steven Moffat thinks it is.

Just to tide you over, he’s the prequel and trailer for the next episode, “The Curse of the Black Spot.”

Pray the episode isn't as bad as the trailer makes it out to be.



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