As always, DO NOT READ unless you're caught up on Series 8 of Doctor Who! As River would say: *spoilers*
This week we learned that the moon is actually an egg for what appeared to be the Great Moon Moth from the 1967 movie, Doctor Dolittle, and that if it looks like a spider, acts like a spider, and spins webs like a spider, it's actually just bacteria. The funny thing about this episode is that I was really enjoying it right up until I wasn't. Doctor Who has always been a pretty campy, little show with wild stories and a cheap budget. The writers have always had to come up with quick, over-simplified explanations for complicated issues to make a fanciful story work and/or cover up their lack of a robust SFX budget. It has honestly been a big part of the show's charm. It really felt like we were getting a taste of that kind of clever-yet-silly writing in 'Kill the Moon': If the moon is an egg, then the gravity on the moon will slowly increase as the creature grows and its density increases. That's taking a lot of liberties with the math, but I can live with it, and now the production crew has a tidy excuse for not using an obscene amount of wire work to simulate actual lunar gravity. No clue how to explain giant spiders on the moon? Easy, just say that they're not really spiders; they're actually giant space germs. Poof! Problem solved. Again, their taking a lot of liberties with the science here, but it gives the episode a scary monster and lets them use those sweet web props.
|What?? I don't look like a unicellular organism to you? Poppycock!|
See? There is an alarming amount of disbelief I am willing to suspend to be entertained. The moment, however, that I stop being entertained, my willingness to let things slide flies out the window faster than air being sucked through a vacuum. Look, I could fill up this entire article just discussing all the science/math/physics liberties the writers took in this episode, but let's instead discuss the issues that had me going from being entertained to literally yelling and throwing my arms up in the air in disgust (seriously, that happened). In my opinion, the last 15 minutes killed this episode. The moment The Doctor essentially told Clara "I'm out" and her reaction was to decide that the only decision she was willing to make was to not make a decision, I was done.
|"Look, Courtney, we're going to assume that everyone else on Earth agrees with what that part of the planet thinks because fuck logic, that's why!"|
I get that this was supposed to be a horrible choice, and The Doctor was trying to make a point by leaving, but really?? The Doctor decides that he is going to force Clara to make an impossible decision with little explanation other than to tell her to "take the stabilizers off your bike" and then literally leave her, a student he's gone out of his way to belittle, and a scientist they just met to decide the fate of his pet planet (oh, and their decision will probably result in their deaths). Now, obviously, he stuck around to see how this all turned out, but that is irrelevant to the three people he just left to die. They hatch a ridiculous plan to let the citizens of Earth decide for them by turning their lights on or off (ignoring the fact that one cannot see the entire surface of the Earth from the moon in 45 minutes). Only when the rest of the planet (supposedly) collectively says "kill this bitch with extreme prejudice" does Clara suddenly decide that she does want to make a decision, and it's the exact opposite of what everyone said they wanted. Clara basically just played the classic, frustrating, shitty friend game of: "Do you think I should do X?" "No, I think that's a horrible idea." "Ok, I'm gonna do it anyway." Screw you, Clara, everyone knows that's a dick move.
Then, (because that wasn't quite enough ridiculousness) the Giant Moon Moth breaks out of its egg, stretches its wings, and somehow manages to lay a new egg exactly the same size as the one it just hatched from (again, physics be damned!) in exactly the same spot. This was the moment the yelling happened, so I almost missed The Doctor actually saying: "That's what we call, a new moon." That happened. That little gem managed to escape the editing room floor and make it into the show. I...I don't even...Just...No.
This is yet another episode where Clara's personality suffers from serious inconsistencies. In one episode she's oh-so-clever and handles everything on her own, in the next she's a blubbering idiot who can't survive without The Doctor, and in another she's little more than useless set dressing. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's maddening! The only real consistent theme I've noticed between The Doctor and Clara this series is that their interactions have progressed into a disturbingly creepy, abusive relationship. The Doctor is constantly an asshole to Clara (which is actually something I was hoping for because I loved the snarkiness of the older Doctors), and she has just been taking it, passively, and making excuses for his behavior to others. It's been getting progressively worse as this series continues, culminating in her speech at the end of this episode in which she tells The Doctor to shove off. If I thought for a minute that this was actually how Clara's time as a companion was going to end, I'd be delighted. It's not. She's going to go back to him. Even Danny told her she's full of shit when she claimed to be "done." The reason I love Martha (despite her being one of the most disliked companions of the New Who era) is because she left the TARDIS and The Doctor because she saw how harmful her relationship with him was. She was able to return later as a more complete and sure character, but she made the hard decision to leave. Clara is not making that decision, obviously. She might miss an episode or two at most, but we all know that she's coming back despite the fact that she clearly shouldn't. That makes me sad. That makes me very, very sad.