[alert-announce]Verdict: 3 out of 5 stars. Jenna Coleman may be excellent, but her character Clara is far from it. An opportunity for continuity was missed, too. But space spiders are terrifying.[/alert-announce]
After The Caretaker, I wondered where the writers would take Clara’s character. If last week’s Clara (Jenna Coleman) was reaching the teenage years, this week she’s in total “I hate you get out of my life” mode, with all the logic of a rebellious teenager to boot.
Kill The Moon starts off with the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) taking Clara and her student Courtney Woods (Ellis George) to the moon so Courtney can feel special. Because the Doctor initially said she wasn’t. Go figure.
The trio find themselves instead on a space shuttle that’s about to land on the moon. It’s 2049 and the moon has been severely affecting the Earth’s climate, wiping out most of the population and all of the satellites. A team of astronauts from a depleted US space programme, led by Lundvik (Hermione Norris), have travelled to the moon using a space shuttle that’s more museum piece than transportation in a last ditch attempt to save humanity. By blowing up the moon. Surprise, they have nukes on board.
Clara tells the Doctor she’s been further into the future, and the moon is still there, so they obviously did not destroy it. The Doctor gives her one of his Time Lordish answers about it being a moment in time with the events yet to be decided, and he cannot get involved, but hangs around to prod stuff anyway.
They find a previous mining colony run by a Mexican expedition, and discover corpses wrapped in what look like spiderwebs, which at this point any sane and logical person would turn and get the hell out. But the team persist in their mission, which obviously leads to two members being killed by space spiders. Because webs = spiders.
The Doctor eventually discovers the reasons for the seismic activity on the moon, and that the space spiders aren’t really spiders after all, they’re just really big germs. The moon, it seems, is an egg, and it is about to hatch. Not knowing whether the creature inside will destroy the Earth, Courtney, Clara and Lundvik debate its fate, with the Doctor saying he will have no part of this and leaving in his TARDIS.
The trio put humanity to a vote, if all of humanity lived on one side of the planet and had access to telecommunications and electricity after a worldwide catastrophe. Lights on if you want to let the creature live, lights off if you think “kill it nao” is the best course of action. Unsurprisingly, humanity decides to shaft the unborn creature and votes to exterminate it with extreme prejudice (I made that last part up, they just said to kill it).
At the last moment, Clara can’t go through with it and stops the countdown. As she does so, the Doctor appears, orders them all into the TARDIS, and brings them back to Earth just in time to witness the moon hatching and the creature flying off into space.
The Doctor reveals that that moment when all of humanity was watching the moon was what gave mankind new motivation to travel to the stars and spread throughout the universe. A new moon is left in place of the old, a new egg, because giant space creatures lay eggs after they hatch.
After Lundvik and Courtney leave, Clara explodes at the Doctor, angry that he left such a major decision to her. The Doctor counters that the fate of the Earth should’ve been left to humans, but Clara shoots back that the Doctor has made himself a friend of the Earth, and therefore such a decision is his too. She tells him he never wants to see him again, then runs away into the arms of Danny Bah Pink (Samuel Anderson).
She tells him she’s done with the Doctor, but Danny says the fact that she’s angry means she isn’t ready to move on. We also learn he left the army after “a really bad day”. I guess we’ll find out what that means soon.
Let me get this off my chest, I am really, really disappointed that the egg didn’t hatch into a Star Whale. I get it, whales are supposed to be mammals and don’t hatch from eggs… BUT SPACE MAGIC. And it would’ve been a nice touch, considering the similarities between the Kill The Moon and The Beast Below and how the Star Whale chose to come back to save humanity when the Earth was dying (for real this time).
Interestingly, the episode was originally written for Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, so perhaps that might have seen a return of the Star Whale. Who knows. I was also hoping for something that might hint at a continuity with The Waters of Mars (which takes place in 2059), in which David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor/Time Lord Victorious does the exact opposite of what Capaldi’s Twelfth did, and offers a good contrast.
I have to say, I thought Jenna Coleman’s acting was excellent, especially when she raged at the Doctor. I could feel the emotions she was trying to get across.
What I didn’t understand was why Clara was so pissed at the Doctor in the first place. This was basically the Doctor saying “I get it, you’re an adult now, you can make the decisions that matter”. The Doctor said he left the decision to her out of respect, but she’s angry with him for that. What do you want, Clara? Seriously.
Yes, she’s probably the first companion in recent years to lash out at the Doctor like that, but she’s really got no reason to. I mean, this is the girl who jumped into his timestream. The girl who convinced all three incarnations of the Doctor that there was a better way to end the Time War. And she gets mad at him because he felt she was capable of making the right decision with the fate of ONLY mankind involved?
Kill The Moon is by no means a bad episode. But it’s not very good, either. Adding in a Star Whale or Waters of Mars reference would have been nice, but what really needs to be sorted out is Clara Oswald.
What did you think of Kill The Moon? Let us know in the comments below.