12 Great Moments From Kill the Moon
Mark McCullough picks out twelve faves from the seventh episode of Series 8.
Note: Episode spoilers naturally!
I’m still not quite sure what to make of Kill the Moon, on one hand I loved it, on the other I was left feeling disappointed. The only thing I am certain of is that it was packed to the brim with many memorable moments. Join me as I countdown twelve of the best:
12. The Doctor’s Leadership questioned
Once again the question of why the Doctor should automatically be in charge is raised, like in previous occasions the answer to the question is addressed in a humorous manner. I’m beginning to wonder if there is anything to the repeated references, especially in the wake of Danny’s remarks about the Doctor being an Officer. Given Moffat’s penchant for subtlety with clues towards his arcs, can we expect to see the Doctor lead an army in the finale? Or perhaps the flip side of the coin where he has to follow the orders of someone else? Perhaps it’s just a character trait of the Twelfth Doctor, but if that is the case, it’s one which has got a lot of attention.
11. Grey Moments
Doctor Who is a time travel show, and sometimes it is important for us to have some rules explained and some insight into what a Time Lord knows. In this episode the concept of moments which are still in flux ‘referred to as grey moments’ are ones which a Time Lord cannot see the outcome and one where a decision can influence the very course of the future. Conceptually it is the direct opposite of a fixed point in time. Another question that comes out of this scene is: Do we believe the Doctor? Given he apparently had knowledge of what would happen once the decision was made, it is possible that this was an elaborate bluff to force Clara into making the decision. However I believe it was more likely that he truly was in the dark and applied his knowledge of other situations to guess with reasonable certainty what would happen.
10. President Courtney
I actually really liked Courtney in this story; she was a very real character who wasn’t annoying and added to quite a lot of scenes. The themes explored within her story were that of importance with the Doctor initially calling her insignificant and causing Clara’s intervention which ultimately set up the events of the narrative. This concept of importance is revisited at the end of the episode with the Doctor claiming that the events of the episodes validated Courtney’s importance as she had inspired humanity to become the great survivors. As it transpired, the Doctor appeared to miss the obvious fact that Courtney already had a significant destiny in that she was the President in 2049.
9. The Doctor Leaves
The Twelfth Doctor is a stark contrast to his New Who predecessors. He’s cold, calculating and selfish, and I absolutely love him for it. This scene illustrates perfectly the edgier side to his character as he leaves Clara and co to make the decision without his input. I really liked this idea as it took away the safety net which the Doctor’s presence normally provides and forced Clara into a position we wouldn’t normally see her. Both the Doctor and Clara were trying to dump the weight of the decision on each other and it is the Doctor who uses his alien nature to his advantage claiming Earth is not his. This claim was slightly jarring giving his evident fondness towards the planet. Another point worth noting is that the Doctor’s departure left the narrative being entirely woman driven. With the abortion undertones and the Doctor’s emphasis on womankind, one can’t help but feel this is a masterstroke adding even more depth to the episode.
8. An Egg-cellent Twist
I can proudly claim to have worked out most of the twists before they happened in several of the previous episodes. If I told you I guessed this one, I would be a liar. I have to say it was just such a brilliant curve ball, totally unexpected yet extremely clever and hinted throughout. There are very few things which can increase in mass without changing their size, and growth within a shell is one of them. The suggestion of amniotic fluid was also a strong indicator as to what was to come. It was a nice feeling to be able to hold my hands up and say ‘you got me’ when the twist was finally cracked open.
7. Pre-Credits Scene
Are they ever going to give us a scene before the credits which doesn’t immediately grab our attention and turn out as one of the top moments of the episode? This week we have a chilling monologue delivered by Clara to all the residents of Earth where she highlights the situation she faces. The moral dilemma is introduced immediately, an innocent life or the entirety of humanity, however it’s exact nature is left hidden until later. Another frightening revelation is that the Doctor has left Clara alone to face whatever the issue is, given the hype about a falling out within the episode, this was probably the most exciting aspect of the opening sequence.
6. New Moon
The climax of the episode makes it into the top half of our memorable moments. In truth its potential meant it should have been much higher than where it ended up, possibly pushing for scene of the episode. There is no denying that it was a very nice scene that tied up all of the loose plot threads nicely. The Earth was safe and we were shown the tides return to normal. There was a new moon high in the sky, and the creature had left without harming Earth. This was accompanied by beautiful scenery and music, and all was well. So should have been a near perfect scene, except it isn’t. It undermines the sense of threat throughout the episode, there is no sense of lasting consequence apart from for the characters themselves. It may seem like a weird criticism, but it is too perfect, everything is too neat which essentially makes the resolution an anti-climax. And let’s not get into how a creature less than a few minutes old is able to lay an egg, not only is the resolution unsatisfactory, it lacks in logic too. Don’t get me wrong, it is a sweet and poetic ending to the narrative and I do like it. It just could have been much better.
5. Reach for the Sky
The ‘what happens next’ speech delivered by the Doctor was one which resonated well with the reputation of humanity within the Doctor Who universe. The revelation that Clara and by extension Courtney had set in motion a chain of events which inspired humanity to begin their journey across the stars reaching out and spanning the universe is a nice tough. It also resonates well with the introduction to the newly formed TARDIS trio at the beginning of the episode. However, there is a slight issue here in that the idea of the inspiration for humanities space travel has already been attributed to Adelaide Brooke in The Waters of Mars, so how the two fit together is up to the viewer’s imagination.
4. Danny the Wise Man
I think I may have found my new all-time favourite Doctor Who character in the form of Danny Pink. Thankfully he made a small appearance in this week’s episode to soothe Clara after her fallout with the Doctor. One of my favourite aspects of his character is the hints at his troubled past, something which we are treated to more of here. It would seem that he is indeed a very wise man as he is able to learn from these experience s and impart the relevant knowledge to others. This particular quote: “Because you’re still angry. You never finish with anyone while they can still make you angry” I found to be most true, you can only be angry about something you care about. In fact it’s a quote I can probably relate to in my opinions towards this episode. I want to love it, but there are a few barriers preventing me, hopefully nothing a re-watch can’t fix.
3. The Decision
The climax to the tension was when Clara, Courtney and Lundvik are faced with the decision to kill the Moon or to take the risk and let the Moon live and face whatever repercussions that would bring. There is no doubt that the scene was perfectly executed, it was tense and frightening and kept the viewer guessing right until the last moment. I actually thought they were going to do it at one stage, but I was glad that Clara intervened when she did. It may also be worth mentioning the similarity between the moral dilemma that the characters faced with that of a woman who is considering abortion. This comparison only serves to drive home the thought that the decision faced is an impossibly difficult one.
2. No Likey, No Lighty
I love this scene more than any other in the episode because of how intelligent it was. Don’t get me wrong, the very concept of allowing the people of Earth to vote in the decision of what to do with the moon was always going to be fundamentally flawed. But it doesn’t matter! What the scene illustrates is Clara’s ability to think on her feet and improvise some sort of solution to the problem she faces. I am always partial to images of Earth from space and these are particularly powerful in this instance when the lights go out to condemn an innocent creature to death. The planet in complete darkness symbolic of the evil within humanity and the desire for self-preservation was the most powerful image of all.
1. The Argument
The argument between Clara and the Doctor is probably the real highlight of the episode; to be honest these top four are all interchangeable as they are on par with each other. I hate to see my favourite characters falling out, but the execution of this scene is so good it’s frightening. This moment allowed Capaldi and Coleman to shine in their respective roles as the Doctor and Clara. I’ll admit it was hard to pick a side between the two protagonists, but I think I find myself siding slightly with the Doctor. The scene itself is quite striking and was rather unexpected as it was juxtaposed with the ‘happy’ resolution moments before. It’s one of those scenes however which will be judged by its lasting impact. It needs consequences otherwise it is just for drama, something which prevents this episode from being truly spectacular, keeping it firmly in the position of a good episode which could have been a great one.