This week’s episode of “Doctor Who” was originally written and intended for our last Doctor, Matt Smith, but it just never made the cut for whatever reason. The story has been reworked and made scarier for the Peter Capaldi Doctor and is now presented thus. Maybe when they thought controversial would be more scary… Meet me after the jump for “Kill the Moon.”
A Cry for Help
As we open we are presented with a dilemma, and similar to another frightening episode from the David Tennant era, “Midnight,” a time table. Clara is begging for help, with troublesome student Courtney Woods in the background, and says The Doctor is gone and a decision must be made to save mankind. The man who usually saves us is gone, yeah, we’re thinking the worst.
When The Doctor, in his usual cold manner, insults Courtney, the school terror, she takes offense. To make up for it, as The Doctor is wont to do, he decides a quick trip through time and space will remedy the situation – and if not, make them all forget about it, for a while at least. Problem is, that quick trip takes them to the future, in a crashlanding space shuttle full of nuclear bombs on the moon. Yeah, that’s not going to help.
The Gravity of the Situation
The Doctor and his two companions quickly run into the astronauts flying the junker. After some leaning and jumping experiments, followed by the return of Tom Baker’s yo-yo (!), we learn that there’s a gravity problem in the moon. It’s getting denser, causing tides and floods on Earth. Yeah, it’s so bad, that mankind has sent up an antique space shuttle full of nuclear bombs to destroy it.
The problem is… the moon is alive. It’s taken millions of years to come alive, but it’s a slow riser. And it’s not just alive, more accurately it’s an egg, and it’s getting ready to hatch. Now before you start thinking about the chicken and the egg and what came first, think about the science of this. Removing the moon will cause more havoc and destruction, right? And giant creatures are usually referred to as monsters, so whatever hatches from that egg the size of the moon, it probably isn’t going to be good. We’re screwed.
Eight Legged Freaks
There’s something else going on on the moon however. It may be a more immediate threat than The Moon, ahem, I mean The Egg, but apparently this lifeform has fleas. More specifically they are bacteria that look like spiders the size of badgers. And if there’s one thing “Who” fans know, it’s that giant spiders are scary. Hello, remember the Racnoss? That was one scary giant spider.
When Courtney gets trapped behind the rest, one of these spiders finds her pretty quick. Right out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Courtney takes out the spider with, you guessed it, Windex. It kills more than 99% of all germs. Unlike The Doctor’s granddaughter, and like any other fifteen year old girl, Courtney is a bit freaked out and wants to go home. At this point, I’m realizing that maybe I don’t like this new Doctor as much as I thought I did. Courtney would have made a great companion for most of the other Doctors.
The Doctor insists that this, the hatching of or the destruction of the moon, is a moment fixed in time, like the inability to kill Hitler. We come full circle. He refuses to do anything, and bails on everyone. Then we come full circle to Clara’s plea for help. Now we’ve seen these kinds of decisions before in the new series, most notably in “The Beast Below” and “Flesh and Blood,” but what bothers me most this time out is the preachiness of the situation.
Is this a Pro-Life/Pro-Choice thing being metaphored here? Are we really being asked to kill a baby? And if we are, has The Doctor made a very clear Pro-Life decision? The more I thought about it, the more disgusted I became. I probably know now how many folks felt when the original “Star Trek” series jammed messages down the throats of viewers, some willing and some not, back in the sixties. I did not like this. “Doctor Who” has always had a moral center, but I do not like this political swing here.
I’m not the only one who did not like this situation, but maybe not for the same reasons. This idea of no outright villain and a problem that could have been solved had The Doctor just been forthright is becoming a troubling pattern. And it seems as though Clara has had it. He forced her to make the scary decision of killing the baby or letting it live – even though The Doctor most likely knew the outcome, but allowed her to make the right decision. He knew she would make the right decision he says. Sound like an abortion storyline from a bad soap opera to you? Yeah, me too.
Clara tells him to shove off, and runs, of course into the arms of Danny Pink. He comforts her and assures her he knew this would happen. There has been much speculation about the true identity of Mr. Pink, and some folks have thrown out the possibility of The Master. I never bought it until this scene. There is just something sinister about this gentle ‘I told you so’ that creeps me out just a bit. Is he The Master?
Odds and Ends
There are things to love here despite the spots of ill will. There’s the callback to the Tom Baker Doctor with the yo-yo, and also the DVDs from “Blink,” but my favorite part was when The Doctor first meets the astronauts, and he gives them an option to shoot him. He tells them they’ll just have to keep shooting because he’ll keep regenerating, and he doesn’t know how many more of those he has these days. Classic.
And with the good, there is always the bad. The Doctor was sooo concerned with the lifeform inside the egg, but didn’t seem to care about those spider things. What’s up with that? Combine this with his genocide of the aforementioned Racnoss and it might seem like The Doctor has a problem with spiders. I guess I’ll have to dig up my copy of “Planet of the Spiders” and rewatch…
Next: Mummy on the Orient Express!