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REVIEW: Doctor Who 8×07 “Kill the Moon”

Tensions run high in this dramatic offering from Doctor Who, which includes a shocking revelation about the moon, human history being changed forever, and the Doctor nearly regenerates thanks to Clara threatening to slap him.

Venturing to the moon as an apology for not thinking of Coal Hill student Courtney as special after last week’s trip out to the stars, the Doctor, Clara and Courtney find themselves surrounded by nuclear bombs as they crash land on the moon’s surface. Discovering the truth behind these bombs, the Doctor leaves Clara, Courtney, and a bitter astronaut to decide the fate of their home planet.

What was promoted as a particularly scary episode is, ultimately, an episode far more invested in drama than shock – when it does scare (and Doctor Who has a track record of being rather exceptional at this), “Kill the Moon” does so with rather mild ease. The germs are menacing enough, yet they’re somehow unoriginal in their appeal, and feel more like something Ridley Scott would have made a film out of.

But of course, the germs weren’t the focus of the episode’s real charm. That came from Clara expressing some feelings that I’m sure, at some point in our lives as Doctor Who fans, we’ve all felt towards the Doctor himself. Having taken the stabilizers off her bike, he leaves Clara to not only fend for herself but for Earth as well, refusing to help her when she so desperately needs it. What follows is her frustration at being a companion to someone like the Doctor, coupled with the Doctor’s infuriating justification of his actions.

It’s a fine rebuke to critics who have recently been calling Doctor Who nothing more than a children’s show, because it’d be difficult to imagine how a child could process the scene near the end in the TARDIS when Clara lays into the Doctor. It’s also another sign that events are slowly building to a grander level, after last week’s additional revelations (or rather, hints) at Missy and Heaven, and is immensely intriguing as to how these two elements (Clara and the Doctor’s relationship and the connections of Heaven) will play into each other.

But “Kill the Moon” itself is still an enjoyable episode, even without the context of the Doctor’s and Clara’s toxic relationship. The idea of the moon being an egg is entertaining yet somewhat forced – if the moon really is an egg with a dragon-like creature inside, what was it doing for all those hundreds of millions of years, just being lazy?

Overall, “Kill the Moon” is a solid adventure, with more than enough drama to satisfy those critics who complain about Doctor Who. Hang on, isn’t that what I’ve been doing throughout the majority of the season so far…?

Overall grade – B

+ Clara’s confrontation with the Doctor

+ The production values of the moon

– The speedy executions of most of the astronauts feels like a very lazy version of Alien

Extra Thoughts

When Clara sends the video message to Earth, telling them that the moon isn’t actually the moon but is instead a living creature and that she needs their help to deice what to do with such a thing (kill it or let it live), it seems highly unrealistic that the majority of the planet not only make the same decision, but appear perfectly happy to accept that the moon isn’t the moon at all!

What did you make of “Kill the Moon”? Let us know in the comments section below or let us know via Twitter!

About the author

Fred McNamara