Monday, October 06, 2014

My Review of Doctor Who's 8x07: "Kill The Moon"

Written by Peter Harness
Directed by Paul Wilmshurst

Lundvik: “How do we kill it?”
The Doctor: “Kill the moon?”

I took longer than usual with this episode. Both in terms of rewatching it and posting thoughts about it online. It’s not that I hated the episode, I actually didn’t but unlike “Listen”, I’m not sure if this episode will become a classic in spite of it’s controversial moments.

The premise of the Doctor, Clara and Courtney landing on the Moon in 2049 with a suicide mission crew there to blow it up had a good general concept. I think it’s the bit where the Moon turned out to be an egg and a creature being hatched from it is where things might not have worked in this episode’s favour.

Aside from the pro-life/pro-choice analogies that seemed to rub a certain segment of fandom up the wrong way (I saw them but I don’t think they were meant to be deliberate), the debate as to whether or not a living creature should be allowed to live, even if there’s a risk to humanity is hardly new for the show. The only thing is that it’s been somewhat better handled in past stories.

I liked that the Doctor wanted to let humanity decide their fate. It’s not entirely out of character for him to do that every once in a while (hence the not remotely subtle Hitler comparison) but at the same time, this was a time when that sort of thing could’ve easily blown up in his face. In fact, it almost very nearly did.

Although Lundvik’s misanthropy became grating at certain points (Hermione Norris was playing something of a joyless character, minus at least two small moments), her desire to blow up the Moon and kill the creature was kind of understandable and when Clara gave Earth the choice, pretty much all of them had the same idea as Lundvik really.

As for Clara and Courtney – both of them were against the idea of killing the creature and both of them came up with pragmatic reasons to spare it’s life but at the same time, neither of them had that certain that the creature would simply just move along and pop out another Moon/egg in it’s place. I hate to admit it but in some ways, I was kind of on Lundvik’s side here, even if she wasn’t the most likeable of guest characters we’ve had.

Also the fact that another Moon was just added in it’s place, while lovely, did sort of undermine the danger that the previous forty minutes was trying to portray at breakneck speed. We even had some nasty looking spider bacteria creatures who massacred a previous crew and all of Lundvik’s crew as well. Horrible as it might sound, but the loss of her crew weren’t a great loss to the episode given that they barely had anything interesting to do before they were all wiped out.

As for the other major points of the episode – I have to admit it, I actually liked Courtney. While I’m in no rush to see any more of the character again, I do think she was well utilised in the episode – asking the right questions, showing the right levels of fear, compassion and common sense and even defending herself from one of those spider creatures. Even the reveal of her future was a little neat, if odd at the end of the episode.

However, the argument between the Doctor and Clara – both of them were right and wrong and while Clara isn’t gone just yet from the TARDIS, it’s pretty obvious the seeds to her eventual exit are being sown here. I don’t think Danny was particularly helpful during the last scene but perhaps a little distance just might help the Doctor and Clara as well.

Also in “Kill The Moon”

You have to give Courtney her due – she brought cleaning stuff and those bands to prevent sickness as well. Still can’t believe she ends up as a US president though.

Clara (re the Doctor): “Maybe he’s not coming. In fact, I really don’t think he is. We’re on our own.”

This episode was filmed in Lanzarote and despite the original title of “Return To Sarn” it bore no connection to a certain Fifth Doctor story.

Lundvik (to the Doctor): “That’s what we do with aliens, isn’t it? Blow them up.”

Courtney (to Clara): “I’m really sorry but I’d like to go home.”

As many people have pointed out, Courtney is most definitely not the first woman on the Moon but I got the impression the Doctor was humouring her.

Lundvik (re the Doctor): “Will he? Will he be back?”
Clara: “If says so, I suppose he will.”

The Doctor (to Clara): “I’ve never killed Hitler and you wouldn’t expect me to.”

The blackboard was seen again in this episode before the Doctor and Clara had their fight. I couldn’t make out what was on it though.

Lundvik (to Clara): “Listen, I don’t want to do this. All my life, I’ve dreamed about coming here but this how it ends.”

Wouldn’t Lundvik herself been of an age where she would’ve used Tumblr, rather than her grandmother? Technically, she’s younger than both Clara and Courtney.

Clara (to the Doctor): “You go away, okay? You go a long way away.”

Chronology: Mostly 2049 on the Moon as well as 2014 in Coal Hill I guess.

I’m not sure if “Kill The Moon” will go quite down as the classic it was hoping to do so, but it was certainly an interesting, character driven piece nonetheless with the Doctor and Clara’s relationship probably at an all time low as well. While the trailer for the next episode seem to indicate that Clara isn’t part of the main action, her time with this particular Doctor isn’t quite done yet.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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