Series Eight, Episode Seven
The Doctor, Clara and Courtney Woods end up crashing into a Space Shuttle on a mission to the Moon in 2049, though the mission isn’t intended to just be a visit, they intend to destroy it.
The Moon has been, as the Doctor states, “putting on weight” in recent years, and as the sea tides on Earth are dependent on the Moon’s gravitational pull it has caused chaos, with tidal waves wiping out cities. They investigate what might be causing it, and the Doctor soon finds that the Moon is breaking apart.
There appear to be many giant spiders on the Moon. The image of cobwebs on the Moon shown in the episode and in a lot of the promotional material is spooky enough, but that is nothing compared to the image of the skeletons of astronauts covered in cobwebs. I don’t have anything against spiders myself, but they can be frightening to a lot of people as they do have a scary appearance, which the episode makes use of. One unfortunate Redshirt astronaut gets attacked by a giant spider Alien Facehugger style. But the spiders apparently are a form of bacteria. Yeah, I have to say I didn’t really follow the logic of that one. Are they a bit like the Spiderians of Tarantulan 6 in Futurama, which look like giant spiders but are more closely related to Earth elephants. The giant spider creatures in Kill The Moon though are also something of a red herring. They aren’t the real reason for what is happening to the Moon.
The reason the Moon is breaking up and at the same time getting heavier is because the Moon is actually a giant egg, and the creature that has been developing inside it is about to hatch. This is the moral dilemma which is the main point of the episode. Do they let the creature hatch or do they kill it? The Doctor doesn’t seem to like the idea of killing it, but says that it has to be humanity’s decision, not his, and that the remaining humans on the Space Shuttle, Clara, Courtney and the ships captain Lundvik are on their own… literally, as he gets into the TARDIS and leaves them to discuss it.
The creature itself is innocent, essentially it’s a baby that hasn’t even been born yet, and it may be the only one left of its kind in the whole universe. With no Moon, Earth will have no tides, but perhaps they can be prepared to sacrifice that for an innocent life. But they can’t tell for sure if the creature is harmless, it may go down and attack Earth, and even if it doesn’t, what if bits of the shell begin falling down to Earth causing even more damage?
Basically, Courtney strongly believes without any doubt they should save the innocent creature, while Lundvik sees the situation as a “the ends justify the means” thing, that Earth is more important, so are the human families they have on there and the human race in general, and that sometimes harsh decisions have to be made. She tells Courtney, somewhat bitterly, that “When you’ve grown up a bit you’ll learn that everything doesn’t have to be nice, some things are just bad”. Clara is conflicted. She wants to do the right thing, but genuinely doesn’t know what that is. When they are able to get a broadcast to Earth, she puts it to the world. Turn your lights off if you think they should kill the creature, leave them on if they think they should let it live. The decision seems unanimous, as all of Earth’s lights go off. Despite that, Clara can’t bring herself to kill the creature, and at the last minute presses a button which stops the nuclear bombs that would be used to do that. The Doctor reappears in the TARDIS to get Clara, Courtney and Lundvik off the Moon before the creature hatches.
The TARDIS is transported back to Earth, and they can see the creature hatching. It looked a bit like a dragon on the scan earlier in the episode, but when it hatches it’s more like a giant dragonfly! I think a dragon-like animal would have been cooler, but hey. But anyway it turns out everything worked out fine. The eggshell simply disintegrated, and a new egg appeared in its place. Not only that, but this turned out to be a key moment in human history. The human race had apparently been losing interest in space travel for a while, but the sight of the creature encouraged them to broaden their horizons, and from here on humans begin to leave Earth and explore the rest of the universe, which helps the long term survival of the species.
All’s well that ends well, right? No. Clara is very angry with the Doctor and his attitude towards humans. He put human beings through such a horrible dilemma as some kind experiment or to teach them a lesson. He claims he knew Clara would make the right decision, but SHE didn’t know that, she didn’t know what she was going to decide until the moment she made the decision. She tearfully tells the Doctor that she doesn’t want to travel with him anymore, and leaves. I think this would have been a great companion exit, as would have been The Name Of The Doctor when Clara ended up splintered through time. In any case, it’s very rare we have seen a companion call the Doctor out and put him in his place like that. Jenna Coleman, just like in Listen, was brilliant in this scene, and I’m glad she has been given more opportunity to show what she can do this series.
Kill The Moon was a great episode, the best episode of series eight so far. I liked the imagery on the Moon and the way they used the Moon itself as a Cosmic Egg. It is one of the better attempts the show has done to show a moral dilemma, and that ending scene with Clara confronting the Doctor I think is going to be one of the most memorable from this series.