Reviewed By: Mercury
Review Date: 3/17/19 2:55 pm
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The ridiculous ideas in this episode make it the equal worst episode of the New TV Series of Doctor Who, maybe slightly even worse than the totally illogical The Wedding of River Song from Series 6 and alongside In the Forest of the Night from later in Series 8 which is sadly just as bad. It is also one of the bottom 10 Doctor Who TV stories of all time in my ratings nearly as bad as Timelash and The Twin Dilemma. However, as with almost all Doctor Who episodes it is not ALL bad so unlike some reviewers I do not just slap a 1/10 rating on it despite my hatred of some of the ideas shown. Even the 7th Doctor story Delta and the Bannermen which is the worst ever Doctor Who TV story in my opinion gets 2/10 from me overall and the acting, production values, effects, action and dialogue in Kill the Moon is light years better than Delta and the Bannermen. In fact, this episode goes along reasonably OK until the stupid explanations behind events start to be revealed later in the episode. Writer Peter Harness has made a really disappointing flop out of this.
The Doctor takes Clara and her pupil Courtney Woods to the Moon in response to being accused of making Courtney feel unimportant and 'not special'. They then discover things are very wrong as the Moon has far increased gravity due to it gaining mass and is breaking up. An Earth expedition of mostly old aged astronauts has been sent to destroy the Moon to diminish the threat to the Earth from it breaking into large pieces. Huge spider like creatures are found to be existing on the Moon and begin to attack them all. All this is quite intriguing and enjoyable and the episode appears to be heading for a decent level filler episode. But then the revelations begin and it all falls apart.
The terrible idea of the Moon being an egg of a giant space creature is very silly and hard to accept because it undermines all we know but even then you could almost get away with that in the context of the show. It is far worsened by that egg hatching only for the creature to miraculously produce a new egg of the same giant size immediately afterwards thereby conveniently replacing the Moon. This is insultingly dumb. How could a creature immediately lay an egg of similar size to the egg it just hatched out of? It makes the whole premise maybe the silliest idea ever in the show even worse than Moffatt's numerous epic but illogical resolutions such as how he ruined the River Song arc with silly contrivances.
Once the reveal is made it makes a lot of the other scientific aspects of the episode also look badly thought through with the 'spiders' being giant bacteria etc. In addition to the very silly science the climactic parts of the episode are bungled in terms of losing all the excitement and seeming a clumsily presented moral dilemma with the Doctor strangely abandoning Clara without advice and Clara making a decision which endangers the whole of humanity. It just does not remotely ring true. Then we get Clara having a horrible tantrum and criticising the Doctor so badly that it is hard to see that Moffatt and writer Peter Harness see the Doctor as the hero of the show at all. If he is such a bad person why are generations of children going to continue loving him and watching the show?! Director Paul Wilmshurst has not managed to find a way to make this exchange or any of the bad story elements work.
The episode could just about have been rescued as an acceptable filler if they had the Doctor staying and advising Clara over the momentous decision and the egg hatching and being replaced by a new egg being laid by an even larger parent creature arriving on the scene - it could even perhaps have been a Star Whale, previously introduced to the show, instead of an unheard of kind of space dragon. They could then possibly have suggested the hatched baby grows to be the same Star Whale from the story The Beast Below providing some background to how those improbable creatures come into existence and an idea that they save the creature that ultimately saves a large section of the human race. That still would have been a far from perfect story but it would be better than the poorly resolved episode we have.
The plus points are the great Peter Capaldi, the decent spider like monster attacks (before we know what they are), the mystery early in the episode and the dialogue up until things start falling apart later on. The expedition leader is decent but pretty bland and the rest of her team are not given any character at all. The idea of the Doctor taking them to the Moon to apologise for saying Courtney was 'not special' is a bit silly and the young girl playing Courtney Woods is NOT that special. To be fair she is not that unbelievable as a typical modern teenager but she is quite annoying and wooden.
I hate the premise of the episode once it is revealed and the whole resolution is rubbish. I do give credit for the positives of acting, action and interest in the first half of the episode so I think a fair score is 3.5/10. The following two episodes Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline are absolutely terrific and it is so weird that two poor episodes like this and In the Forest of the Night sandwich two brilliant new classics.