Friday, May 6, 2011
The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon Review!
The Jayne Gudkov Review – The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
The Doctor and crew come to the United States once again, but this time they are actually running through the Utah Desert as opposed to reanimating a Dalek in a museum beneath Salt Lake City... jumping out of a building in Manhattan instead of fighting off Daleks in the sewers beneath the island. Our heroes are visiting Cape Kennedy, the former (and present) Cape Canaveral - renamed in honor of the American President who had the vision that America could put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960's.
In fact, the Doctor had visited America on a few other occasions throughout the show's history. The first Doctor visited Tombstone in the Arizona Territory just in time to witness the famous Gunfight it the OK Corral, as well as the Seventh Doctor landing in San Francisco on the eve of the new Millennia only to be shot in another gunfight and regenerate into the Eighth Doctor in San Francisco.
I have to say that I was proud that the BBC, in conjunction with BBC America, came here to the US to film this story. To the best of my knowledge (and that of Wikipedia), this is only the third time that the show has been filmed outside of the UK, the first being the Fifth Doctor story “Arc of Infinity” filmed in Amsterdam and the second being the 10th Doctor story “The Fires of Pompeii”, filmed in Rome [Tom Baker's "City of Death" is another, Planet of the Death another again - congratulations Wikipedia - Ed].
OK, enough of that and on to the story.
What I loved (other than the story being filmed in the US):
- An enemy that is forgotten as soon as they are out of sight
- Canton Everett Delaware III (the home of the American Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio, the State of Delaware, no sure about what the “Everett” means) - the character played in 2011 by William Morgan Sheppard, father of Mark Sheppard, who played him in 1969 – very cool
- Stetsons – always cool – even when being shot off of your head.
- A 9 year old girl regenerating in the streets of New York in January, 1970, thus setting up the BIG MYSTERY for this season as in “Who is this little girl”?
- That the cell they were building for the Doctor in Area 51 was made of Dwarf Star Alloy, something not heard of since the 4th Doctor's travels in E-space
- River's line about being quite the screamer – VERY saucy
- The Doctor telling Richard Nixon that he needed to tape everything that went on in his office, which he did, as history tells us
- Slipping in the subliminal message in the static burst in Neil Armstrong's historic “That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” quote. It does explain why there was static break in the middle of his famous quote
- That they used actual American TV footage from the broadcasts of the moon landing featuring iconic American news anchorman Walter Chronkite
What I hated:
- After all the build-up last season with the “Silence will Fall” silliness with Prisoner 0 and Rosanna Calvierri spouting about it in a threatening way, it ended up being a prediction that the Doctor would defeat The Silents, at least that's how I take it now, in hindsight
- Yet another appearance by the Tardis-like console room first seen in “The Lodger”. I don't think The Silents in 1969 had any more to do with it than whoever dropped it on top of Craig Owens' flat in 2011, both alien forces trying to use it for their own means.
- That the Doctor tells everyone that The Silents need a spacesuit and that the only place to get it is in Florida in 1969 – what do they need it for and why only then? And what did they use it for? Spacesuits built like that are still being used by American astronauts to this day and the whole thing with trapping the little girl in there, what's that all about?
Here's what I think:
- There has been much speculation out there in Internet Land that The Rani, last seen during the Seventh Doctor days, is set to make a comeback, much the same way The Master did during the Tenth Doctor's time. What with the Universe basically being re-created last season, I guess it's possible for The Rani to be re-created, or some other Master-like female enemy to come on the scene.
- At first I thought that maybe Amy was River's mother. That would have been cool in a kind of timey-wimey, yet symmetrical way. Things seemed to be heading that way, for me at least, until the girl goes on regenerating (6 months later and in an alley in New York City, some 930 miles away) something she evidently has some sort of knowledge of since she says, “I'm dying, I have to fix that, it's easy really. See?” To me that tells me she has some previous knowledge of regeneration, not something that we have ever heard River talk about in relation to herself.
- I think there was a huge clue about the nature of the little girl when Amy was babbling about being afraid of the effects the Tardis could have on the embryo, something about having a “time head”. I think that the Doctor's scan of Amy lends credence to this one theory of mine, that her unborn child is time traveling as a result of its exposure to the Tardis. Remember that the Tardis is a living being and might be reaching out to this new life in some way we don't know yet and it would explain why she has a knowledge of regeneration
- Whoever this child is (the lady with the eye patch????), it will not become evident until the very end of this season, some time in the Fall
Two last points to make you all nuts, if you are into trying to figure out the bigger mysteries of the season. In a “Confidential”-like special shown after the second episode called “Dr Who in America” there were two statements made regarding the upcoming season:
1) that the crew who came over here were given a scene to shoot that made no sense, but they were told it would make sense later...
2) there was something that happened in “The 11th Hour” that would be explained in either the 11th or 12th episode this season.
That's one serious story arc!