Doctor Who Recap: Kill the Moon
By Edwin Davies
October 14, 2014
Clara's rebuke to The Doctor is truly an astonishing moment, and one of the best scenes that Jenna Coleman has had since she joined the show. It's the deepest the show has ever explored the relationship between not only The Doctor and his Companions, but also his relationship with humanity in general; the way that he sets himself up as a protector while remaining separate from those he protects. He abdicates responsibility from making a decision in order to respect Clara's choice (at least, that's how he frames it after the fact), but he also abandons her and leaves her to face a terrible situation more or less alone. That she ultimately made the right choice is immaterial when placed against the betrayal that went into that decision. In terms of character development, it really feels like a quantum leap forward for Clara, and hopefully represents something that the show can build on.
Given how the episode ends, with Clara angrily leaving the TARDIS seemingly hellbent on cutting herself off from The Doctor, the show will have to reckon with the aftermath of that scene. It certainly feels as if the writers have forced themselves into a position where they have to rethink how The Doctor relates to the people around him, something which the series has been consciously moving towards by making Capaldi's take on the character so imperious, arrogant and difficult. After years of the show struggling to make its big narrative arcs work, I'm thrilled that the big story this year seems to be rooted almost solely in the characters, and that the show is using such a huge canvas to explore its relationships. "Kill the Moon" was one of the boldest episodes of Doctor Who, and one that rivals "Listen" in its potential to attain future classic status.
- I was pleased to see the episode directly bring up the "killing Hitler" question when considering the implications of killing the moon creature. It's a story type that the show has explored before - most notably in the classic Tom Baker serial "Genesis of the Daleks", in which The Doctor is given the opportunity to destroy the Daleks before they were created but ultimately decides not to - but this feels like one of the most emotionally powerful iterations of it.
- Not to dwell too much on the abortion subtext, but it's certainly interesting that the show had the central debate take place between three women. I'm on the fence about whether or not that was a smart choice on the part of the writers, or an incredibly cheap one that heightened the emotions of the scene artificially.
- Having the moon "put on weight" so that it has more Earth-like gravity is certainly a novel way of getting past the need to recreate the moon's lower gravity.
- "You cannot blame a baby for kicking." Jenna Coleman really was spectacular in this episode.