Doctor Who: Kill The Moon – The Spoiler Review by John Rivers (TV review).

October 7, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More

Please be warned that the review below contains spoilers. if you haven’t yet seen Peter Harness’ episode of ‘Doctor Who’ series eight ‘Kill The Moon’ then I suggest you check out Geoff’s review here: If, however, you have seen it, take one small step for man and read the review below…

Dear BBC

How can the moon be an egg? The very concept is ridiculous! Granted ‘Doctor Who’ is essentially the story of an aged galactic wizard who travels through time and space in an old police box, but making the moon an egg is truly stretching both believability and credibility.

Yours disgustedly

Mrs Trellis, North Wales


By its very concept ‘Doctor Who’ can’t be scientifically accurate. Granted ever since day one the show has traded-off an educational remit with complete impossibilities or as Douglas Adams might have it, very high improbabilities. In fact, it’s largely been down to script editors and writers deciding on whether the science content has been thought through or not. After all, David Whitaker thought you could travel through time using some static electricity and some mirrors. The above letter to ‘Points Of View’ though has been largely representative of some of the reaction I’ve seen online to ‘Kill The Moon’. For some reason though the Moon is sort of sacred.

A few ‘Doctor Who’ stories have taken place on the Moon in the 21st century. At the beginning of the century, the Judoon land on it. By 2070, man is controlling Earth’s weather from it via a Gravitron and by the end of the century, T-Mat is making instantaneous travel across the Earth possible. For the Moon then to have been found to have been a giant egg and replaced with a new one in 2049, you might be a little upset, too.


Continuity quibbles aside though ‘Kill The Moon’ is a good piece of drama, excelling at the new series’ skill of dropping the audience into episode 4 of a classic series story. The central dilemma of the story is articulated to us by Clara directly from the episode’s pre-credits sequence: Destroy something that could kill all life on Earth or let it live. If we’d had more time, this could have become a neat remake of ‘Crimson Tide’ on the Moon with Clara taking on the role of the first officer vs Hermione Norris’ best Gene Hackman impression. Instead, the decision time, handed over to the population of the Earth to make in what is the world’s most intense round of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ phone-in voting, takes up a small part of the episode. Instead, Paul Wilmshurst devotes the opening of the story to giving us some tense, ‘Alien’ style menace, all fish-bowl, lit-up space helmets, abandoned bases, cocooned bodies and astronauts screaming in agony as giant moon spiders attack their faces.

This was excellent stuff, scriptwriter Peter Harness apparently being given the direction by Moffat to ‘Hinchcliffe the shit out of the first half’ with Hermione Norris providing a grim doom-laden commentary to proceedings on a shuttle full of nukes to an equally grim looking Doctor. Capaldi here is having great fun channelling his earlier selves, using a yo-yo to test gravity, telling people to run when he says run and name-checking Blinovitch. It’s also though perhaps the pinnacle of a bell-curve running through this series called ‘The Doctor’s an arse’. While last week’s episode showed him to have a complete failure of understanding Clara’s emotions, blinded by his own prejudices, this week he makes another error of judgement when he abandons Clara, Courtney and Lundvik to make the decision on behalf of the whole planet whether to kill the creature soon to emerge dragon (a ‘Clangers’ reference?). It’s a pretty harsh way to teach responsibility, especially to Courtney, played by Ellis George with the right balance of cockiness and teenage boredom. Courtney wants to be special, so the Doctor gives her and Clara the opportunity to prove it to him. Clara quite rightly though finally blows. She has nothing to prove to the Doctor anymore and his actions are those of a man failing to understand when he is needed. If only for reassurance that Clara will do the right thing.


Unlike Ian and Barbara, Clara has the comfort of going home and getting away from the galactic wizard. The eruption of emotion though has been coming for a few weeks, in what is perhaps one of the most realistic portrayals of the Doctor and companion relationship for a long time. My hope now though is that they’ve pushed the Twelfth Doctor as far as he should go in making him hostile towards his friends. The curmudgeonly personality works when it’s abrasive and challenging to the foes and idiots that he encounters, not his companions. It has made for a compelling series though and provided a dramatic tension that felt forced or absent in previous series.

Overall, then ‘Kill The Moon’ succeeded for me because it was able to cross a broad range of ‘Doctor Who’ themes and play up to them: the monsters in the dark, a moral decision, the dangers of knowing the future and humanity making positive choices. Any complaints? Well Tony Osoba, returning to the show for a THIRD guest appearance was a bit under-used. Would have like to have seen more of him.

© John Rivers 2014

all rights reserved


Doctor Who: Kill the Moon:

Doctor Who Extra: Kill the Moon:

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Category: Doctor Who, TV

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  1. Ian says:

    You do know this was a didactic debate about abortion, don’t you – where even the entire world voting to kill the foetus doesn’t stop the Doctor allowing it to live? Choice, you see, choice!!

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