Doctor Who, Season 8, Episode 7
Kill the Moon
Written by Peter Harness
Directed by Paul Wilmshurst
Peter Capaldi – The Doctor
Jenna Coleman – Clara Oswald
Samuel Anderson – Danny Pink
Ellis George – Courtney Woods
Hermione Norris – Lundvik
Tony Osoba – Duke
Phil Nice – Henry
Christopher Dane – McKean
Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!
Quick Summary: In order to make up for calling her “not special,” the Doctor agrees to take Courtney Woods to the moon in the near future. When they get there, they find out that the moon seems to be collapsing, which puts the Earth in danger. A crew of astronauts have come to the moon to see what can be done.
Once there, they find out that the moon is an egg and is about to hatch. The Doctor says there are two options here: kill the hatching creature with nukes or let it live…though letting it live could end up destroying Earth. He ends up leaving the humans to make the decision without his involvement, which ends up creating a split between him and Clara. In the end, she tells him that she is done traveling with him (though she will probably be back soon).
- I did think the plot conceit to get the characters to the moon was really, really dumb. The Doctor made an offhand comment that “she was not special” so he decides to take her to the moon…where bad things happen. As I said in last week’s review, I found Courtney to be a VERY annoying character, and I didn’t think she really added anything to this episode. She got scared, she pouted in the TARDIS for a while, and then decided to get back involved in the story, only for Clara to pretty much ignore everyone else and do what she thought was right. She pretty much was just parroting the same things Clara was saying during the “big decision.” I am glad that Courtney didn’t save the day, as that would have made this episode unbearable, but at least it would have made some sense for her to be in this episode if they had done that. Instead, she was just there and annoying me.
- Also, it was not really clear why the astronauts brought nukes to the moon in the first place. They had no idea the moon was an egg until they got there. Maybe in case the Daleks or Cybermen were on the moon causing these problems? And how does a newborn creature lay an egg that is bigger than itself? Really, there were quite a few little questions like that that could have threatened to make this episode collapse into itself…BUT…
- BUT, I thought the episode was good enough to allow me to accept the little problems and questions without letting them get in my way of enjoying the episode. We get some interesting moral questions here. What are you willing to do to ensure the future of humanity? When Clara brought that question to the population of Earth, it seemed like everyone said “screw the baby alien, we want to live.” And then Clara decided to follow her own instincts and let the alien live. I love these big moral questions, and sci-fi is at its best when it tries to deal with them.
- The best part of this episode was when Clara called the Doctor out on his bullshit at the end of the episode. He claims that he was trying not to interfere with an important decision that humanity had to make, but she felt that he was being a patronizing asshole. The part I loved about this conversation is that both sides had legitimate points. The whole scene was very well acted, and definitely felt like some of the most real moments we’ve seen in Doctor Who. The Doctor needed to be taken down a few pegs, and Clara hit him hard.
- I liked the quick moments of political commentary sprinkled throughout the episode. By the 2040’s, Earth had pretty much abandoned the space program entirely. Lundvik comments that they were “3rd rate astronauts on a 2nd rate ship.” Because of the decision Clara makes at the end of the episode, the space program will be reignited and humanity will eventually spread out through the universe. There were a lot of big ideas here, and it was never real heavy handed. I have complaining a lot about the dismantling of the space program over the last few years. I would definitely rather spend more money on rockets to the moon than rockets to kill our enemies in the search of glory, gold, and god (AND OIL). So it was cool to see Doctor Who address some of these issues.
- Also, Hermione Norris was great as Lundvik. This was a woman who has seen hope pretty much die on Earth. She understood the hard choices that needed to be made, and seemed willing to make them without flinching. Courtney and Clara were looking at the creature as a baby…but Hermione had friends and family down on the Earth that needed to be her first concern. She actually reminded me of Journey Blue from Into the Dalek.
- The giant bacteria (who looked like spiders) that the heroes encountered on the Moon were really cool looking and pretty scary. They really gave the first half of the episode the whole “hide behind the couch” scary that Doctor Who excels at. Sadly, I can’t seem to find a good picture of them online…all of BBC’s promotional pictures for this episode seemed to be “pictures of characters in space suits.” I did think it was kind of lame that they could be killed with cleaning fluid, but if you follow the conceit that they are giant one-celled organisms, I guess you have to allow for the simple way to kill them. Doctor Who: Ignoring Science and logic since 1963.”
- All in all, I thought this was a really good episode. I know I am getting redundant, but I have really been enjoying this entire season. Peter Capaldi brings a lot to the character of the Doctor, and Jenna Coleman plays off him really well. I am really curious how next episode will be because Clara seems to have left the Doctor (I don’t expect that to last).
- Next week’s episode Mummy On the Orient Express – A lot of people have been asking for a Clara-free episode, and it looks like they will get their wish next week. This one sounds bonkers, but I am really looking forward to it. The Orient Express…IN SPACE…attacked by a mummy. Why the hell not? Count me in!
Final Score: 8.0/10: There were some flaws to this episode if you give it much thought, but if you just take it as intended, it is a very good episode with some important questions.
Tags: Doctor Who, Jenna Coleman, Paul Wilmshurst, Peter Capaldi