Saturday, 4 October 2014
Doctor Who: Kill the Moon
"That's what you do with aliens, isn't it? Blow them up?"
Hmm. I didn't much like this one, and yet it got all the big things right. I loved the plot, I loved the beats of the story- and yet it didn't quite come off. The problem, I think, is that both the setting and central conceit with the fixed point in time just feel like a retread of The Waters of Mars. It must be said, too, that, yes, I quite like the more slowly paced style of this season, but this episode dragged.
It's the Moon (played by Lanzarote) in 2049 and not, as some reading pre-publicity would have up believe, Sarn (played by Lanzarote). People have stopped going into space because they can't be arsed, a bit like The Seeds of Death. Things have been getting desperate, the moon had been getting heavier and disrupting gravity, and all humanity has to play with is one antique space shuttle, the last few nukes and some piss-or astronauts. It's a very unglamorous future.
Meanwhile, at Coal Hill School, the Doctor decides to take young Courtney Woods to the Moon to cheer her up, as you do. Clara is not entirely sure this is wise. The Doctor advises Courtney that there's to be "no hanky-panky", as JN-T once famously declared. Oh, and later on the Doctor gives us a Troughtonesque "When I say run, run." And Courtney became President of the USA and "met this bloke called Blonovitch". Lots of references to old stories, and the reason I mention them is to point out that they are not particularly from missing episodes, contrary to many current online theorists who suppose that this season is full of clues to a forthcoming announcement of missing episodes by Philip Morris later this year. That may or may not happen, but im very sceptical about any clues being inserted into the season's scripts. It just ain't happening, folks.
On a more contemporary note, Capafdi's Doctor is forever being asked "Who made you the boss?". And the bacteria-spiders look good, although in close-up it's a shame they used CGI instead of a model.
The central moral dilemma- the moon is an egg, and humanity has the moral dilemma of actually killing the innocent baby or risking extinction, is not one I can identify with, though. What parallel with any real world dilemma is there here, exactly? And arguably Clara is wrong: surely the extinction of billions of humans and an entire planet justifies the unfortunate sacrifice of one life.
I don't blame Clara for lashing out at the Doctor and storming out of the TARDIS. She confides in Danny Pink, with his warning from last episode about the Doctor being a dangerously charismatic officer coming home to roost much sooner than expected. But, as Danny points out, she's angry now. How will she feel when she calms down? I don't think this is the end of her arc. This feels like unfinished business. And the scene also hints at unexplained depths to Danny Pink- again.
Jenna Coleman, incidentally, is amazing here.
This is probably my least favourite episode of the season so far, then- derivative, and based on a moral dilemma too far removed from anything that could possibly happen to possibly bear the dramatic weight that's been placed upon it. That's a problem.