Every synopsis of the latest episode all vaguely mentioned the same key point, a terrible decision must be made. What’s ingenious about this script is that this supposed terrible decision is presumed to the audience to be based on just will they ‘Kill the moon’ or not; whereas the episode has another more significant dynamic point in which Clara has to decide whether to leave the Doctor or not. The latter poignant scene is likely to impact the audience more as it changes the standard friendship between Clara and the Doctor; apparently Clara has now had enough!
It’s safe to assume that she won’t be absent for long, you may recall to Season 6 when the Doctor dropped off Amy & Rory to Earth so that they were only absent for one episode; well essentially the same technique will be used as she’s returning for ninth episode, ‘Flatline’. That’s not to say that once she does return to the TARDIS, that they’ll all be jumping along the shores of a cheerful planet forgetting about their dispute, but rather that there could be some possible awkward conversations in the TARDIS console as the two can’t immediately forget the troubles in this episode.
So what happened? The episode starts alike to how it ends; The Doctor and Clara are arguing. The same Doctor who’d once say that in all his life he’d never met someone “who’s not special”, upset Courtney by acting on his complete opposite impulse. Capaldi’s Doctor has been known to act more hostile than before, which is perhaps why Clara ends up becoming so upset with the Doctor. Her Doctor (Matt Smith) wouldn’t have been so blunt, but would have rather sugar-coated the whole situation whilst prancing around the TARDIS, her Doctor would’ve (metaphorically) held her hand whilst Clara makes her own decision (as he did for Amy in ‘Cold Blood’); but alas, the Doctor has transformed his characteristics to darker attributes, as indicated by the premiere episode. Clara, unsuited with this fierce Doctor is practically at the Doctors throat the whole episode, uncomfortable with bringing her student alongside her. As the episode progresses, the Doctor and Lundvick debate about the morality of “killing” the moon to save the Earths population.
What’s intriguing about this episode is how much the Doctor alienates himself from humanity. It’s not as though he’s never done it before, he acknowledges he’s not human and perhaps superior to everyone else all the time! However this time the Doctor claims to just sees ‘grey areas’, and not the whole picture. Therefore in some capacity, we are to assume he knew the outcome of either choice of “killing the moon” to save Earth or to sacrifice everyone else. You may be questioning as to why. We know he’s a changed man, this is the same man who took control between a human population and a Star Whale and was angered that humanity placed him in such a devastating choice; hence why did he not intervene as he has done before? Perhaps because now the Doctor knows there’s more to his life than to just rely on humanity. The Doctor understands that Galifrey is safely locked away in another universe and has the potential to return one day, where he can finally make peace with his race – therefore he could be seen as becoming more accepting to the fact that he isn’t human and therefore has no need to become involved in human matters.
The events lead to Clara having to make the right decision, which is acted out beautifully. Hermione Norris has an absolutely convincing role that her character has lost everything in Earth, with her cold responses and manipulative techniques to convince Clara and Courtney to side with her, causing the scene to send chills down my spine. Regardless of how ridiculous the situation sounds on whether they should “Kill the Moon”, there’s a high level of intensity from the actors behalf, the camera angles and frightfully believable CGI to the spiders – everything about the build up to the episode seems well coordinated.
Nonetheless, the episode still wasn’t able to completely captivate me as it should have done. Whilst frightful, it was not yet to the levels of ‘Listen’. The episode was humorous, yet not to the levels of ‘The Caretaker’. However the episode was intense, but anti-climatic at the same time. The reason the choices between killing the moon or not was difficult was due to both having negative repercussions, however by letting the moon hatch, nothing negative physically happened to Earth. In fact, the whole episode essentially becomes irrelevant to a point as all these sequences were just to build up tension to the actual hidden ultimatum; should Clara look past the harsh behaviour of the Doctor or not. This scene alone had the best pay-off than any other Doctor Who episode. Never has a companion actually stood up to the Doctor as much as Clara ‘the control freak’ has in this episode. She’s put up with quite a lot of the Doctors bastardly behaviour, yet finally she uprises against the Doctor, causing me to be unsure whether to grit my teeth or smile in glee – the anticipation to the Doctor needing a confrontation like this was practically killing me; the ever-growing conflict between the two is just intoxicating the campy friendships which used to take place in the series, constructing more realistic portrayals of characters.
The episode wasn’t perfect, but it was damn near it for sure.
+ How horrific did those spiders look? The growing intensity in the episode was fantastic, it’s a shame they were side-lined in the end though.
+ Jenna Louise Coleman, you deserve as many awards as television ceremonies can offer. The breakdown of Clara from accepting how the Doctor treats her is outstanding.
+ Courtney: “Do you have games in here”, The Doctor: “Don’t be Stupid”.
– “Is there music playing in your head” was a fantastic description of how the series tends to overlook dynamic scenes by playing cheerful music, (just as the previous scene did when showing the results of the moon), it felt anti-climatic, but the line alone felt very contradictory and more of a peeve than to me to accept it as an ingenious meta joke.