Saturday, October 4, 2014

Review: "Kill the Moon"

Just saw "Kill the Moon". Spoilers and all that.

Still there? You were warned...

Where to begin? So this wasn't a Moffatt-penned episode and it was really clear from how the story moved along. The Doctor has apparently been a bad influence on student Courtney Woods, who is mainly a teen brat. Woods, who was interesting in "The Caretaker" has devolved in the episode to whiny as the Doctor's obnoxious manner hurts her feelings. Clara drags the Doctor to Courtney to make him apologize. Instead, the Doctor takes Clara and Courtney in the TARDIS to the Moon, where Courtney can become the first woman to walk on the Moon.

And then things go wrong.

The TARDIS instead materializes on a space shuttle that is landing on the Moon with a trio of astronauts and a crapload of nukes.

It's the mid-21st century (some thirty or so years in our future) and the Moon is causing gravity disruptions that are damaging the Earth. When they all land, the Moon has essentially got Earth-normal gravity, weirding out the Doctor.

The astronauts are coming to investigate a Mexican-sponsored mining base that went dark ten years prior. Oh, and probably use the nukes to blow up the Moon, 'cause that's a great idea.

They find dessicated bodies and spider webs about. Before long, a couple of the redshirt astronauts are snacked on by giant spider-like things. The group runs scared until Courtney kills a spider thing with some Windex she has from class.

Turns out the spider thing is actually a giant germ. There's tons of them living in the ever-widening cracks of the disintegrating Moon.

Before long, the Doctor does some crazy exploration and they discover that the Moon is instead a giant egg for some kind of giant alien beast. The spider things are just the bacteria from the egg.

The remaining astronaut, afraid the hatching Moon egg will destroy the Earth, wants to use the nukes to kill the baby alien. Clara and Courtney, outraged, want to save the alien. The Doctor, weirdly, detaches himself from the discussion and jaunts off in the TARDIS, leaving the decision to the three women.

There's a brief moment when Clara communicates with the Earth to ask Earth to vote over saving or killing the alien by turning on or off their lights. The vote becomes immaterial as the astronaut decides to detonate the nukes anyway, only to be stopped by Clara. Then, as the Moon is hatching, the Doctor returns with the TARDIS and takes the three to Earth.

They watch the alien hatch from the disintegrating Moon (no debris survives to damage the Earth). The alien flies away, leaving behind an egg that is a new Moon.

The Doctor takes Courtney home then Clara, well and truly pissed off at the Doctor for abandoning them, finally tells him off and tells him to go away. She then finds comfort in the arms of Danny Pink.

So... yeah. This was an uneven episode, at best. The spider-monsters were moderately cool (and doubtless will give arachniphobes nightmares for years to come) but otherwise, the rest was pretty much trash.

The Doctor's weirdly-inconsistent and misanthropic behavior just feels jarring and wrong, especially when he decides not to take an active hand in saving the baby alien. The character of Courtney, who was entertaining in "The Caretaker" has slid into boring and ridiculous. And Clara remains sort of vague.

The premise - that the Moon is a giant egg - was probably one of the stupidest plots I've seen in ages, though in all fairness it's very much the sort of thing one might see in a "classic" Doctor Who episode from the old days.

I'm pretty disappointed in this season so far.

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