I’ve mentioned before how Twelvy seems to be going through a reconstruction from the ground up; his human side having all but been stripped from him since he regenerated. It’s as if he has to relearn everything. For example, after being told his chastising of Courtney last week had led to her feeling unappreciated, he did… Well, nothing. Well, he sneered and he blustered. But at no point did he apologise and say she was special. Perhaps he was working by the principle of if everyone is special than no one is. Not that I particularly like that idea. I spent the first five minutes of Kill the Moon whispering, ‘But… but… but my Doctor thinks everyone is special!’ This wasn’t the Doctor that stayed on Trenzalore all that time. This wasn’t the Doctor who hugged scientists simply because of their curiosity. It really threw me off.
Apparently, this episode had been originally written with Eleven in mind and was rewritten to accommodate Twelvy’s new attitude to life. And maybe that was the problem. I can envision Eleven feeling terrible about what he’s said and then going overboard with an apology.
‘I’m so sorry. LOOK! Here’s the moon! You’re the first woman on the Moon. How cool is that?!’
Hell, I can even see Eleven going back in time to apologize to the caveman whose head he threatened to cave in back in An Unearthly Child. However, the ‘show don’t tell’ approach didn’t work here for Capaldi. It just felt like an excuse to move the story forward.
So, how does he resolve the problem? By taking Courtney to moon, where spiders attacked her, she discovers the moon is in fact an egg holding a winged beast and that maybe, just maybe, she’ll one day grow up to be the president. How’s that for feeling special. But why didn’t he just say it? Obviously, in hindsight, we now know he knew the risks – that there weren’t any outside of the killer spiders – and left it to humanity to decide whether the creature about to hatch from the Moon should be killed or left to live. Or to be more exact he left it in the hands of Clara, Courtney and Astronaut Lundvik (a great Hermione Norris) who was investigating the disappearance of the previous team on the moon. Clara, not wishing to see baby Mothra die, was the one who left it to humanity, calling out to planet Earth to vote on the creature’s future like it was a contestant on Big Brother.
Over the last 48 hours, a lot has been made of Kill the Moon’s seemingly prolife message. To suggest the episode is as right-wing/patronizing as twitter and the like is making, is to project an anger on the show that is time-wasting and unnecessary. Kill the Moon was no more about abortion than The Unquiet Dead was about the evils of immigration. Baby Mothra was the last of it’s kind. Blow it up and you condemn its species to extinction. Clara’s actions didn’t stop an abortion, they stopped genocide. We can all read something into Doctor Who. There are Tumblr sites dedicated to it. Usually I’m happy to live and let live, but on this occasion, I think people might be hearing the sound of horses and thinking it’s zebras. It’s a shame as this is a fairly decent episode that’s getting snarked at for the wrong reasons. I draw your attention to the Doctor not telling someone they’re special. Seriously, I’m gutted.
Would the Doctor have allowed all this if the stakes were unknown? Hard to say, but the fact is in his gargantuan brain, he thought he was showing Courtney she was by allowing her to make a grown up and complex decision. To be honest, it would have been a lot simpler to send her some flowers and an apology note. Which seems to be the impression Clara got and led to one of my favourite scenes in Kill the Moon.
After taking a fair amount of shit from the Doctor in this episode and previous, she unleashed a torrent of anger aimed squarely at his ego and his recent shift in attitude. And whilst she probably didn’t realise it, she was ripping him a new one on behalf of Mel, Barbara, Rose, Jack, Donna, Martha, Rory, Ace, Peri and every other companion who has ever been left out in the cold simply so the Doctor can prove a point.
Deservedly getting several strips taken off him, the Doctor ran back to the TARDIS with his tail between his legs, leaving Clara to contemplate life without him. But not before Danny stepped in to give her a shoulder to cry on. Danny seems to have mellowed out exceedingly after last week’s ball breaking of everybody; encouraging Clara to really think about what she wants to do. Will she go back to the Doctor? Maybe. But then the question is, will he be able to swallow his pride enough to give her the opportunity.
About The Author
My name is John Noonan. I’m a freelance writer that specialises in arts and entertainment. From genre flicks to chick flicks, I love the stuff. So much so, I started a film review blog at earlybirdfilm.wordpress.com. I also contribute to online and hard copy press, including FilmInk magazine.
If you like what you see, I am available for hire. You can contact me via the social media channels above or the form on my home page.