Matthew The Companion Piece is back again, with our brave team ready to don their fetching orange space-suits and venture out into the hostile alien atmosphere of Doctor Who . This week there’s something very wrong with the Moon, an infestation of very large spiders, and one very important decision to make – should we Kill the Moon ?

There are spoilers from the start, so stop reading now unless you’ve seen this week’s provocatively titled episode.

So, with that warning out of the way, lets start with the absolute biggest spoiler of them all. Apparently the Moon is an egg. Um… how do we feel about that?

Cookie I quite liked that little twist, I thought it added a little something extra.
Paul Err, well my first problem is where did all the extra mass come from?
Matt K Well, anything that was on the old moon is long gone now, or will be.

Matthew Yup, that’s two bits of stupid science already. This week’s gonna be a tough one. But it’s not the first dumb science in this show, and it certainly won’t be the last!

My main problem was that it’s an inherently silly idea, but the episode tried to play it deadly serious, and I just didn’t buy it.

Paul Was it me, or was there a general lack of humour in the episode?
Cookie There was a lot more tension and a darker tone to this week’s episode. Definitely a lot less humour.
Matthew Yeah, this one was super po-faced all the way through, which seems like a bad decision when you’re dealing with the Moon hatching into a space-dragon.
Matt K The Tumblr bit seemed like the only comedy relief for me.
Cookie That was a nice little afterthought, although how you’d have signal and be able to post to Tumblr back in the past is anyone’s guess.

Paul TARDIS.

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“One small thing for a thing…”

Matthew And the “kills 99% of germs” part.

And there’s another thing. Courtney “Disruptive Influence” Woods was an extremely comedic character last week, yet they’ve shoved her into an episode like this where she had no chance to be funny. She felt wasted.

Matt K Well I guess she might be shown as a way for the Doctor to risk his life to save a child like in the last season.

Cookie True, it felt like the Doctor was trying to teach her a very valuable lesson. She was there as a plot device, a little like Clara all last season.

Hopefully next time she’ll have her funny side back on.

Matt K We seem to be getting more and more of a good reason why Clara may leave.

She’s certainly going through a few rough patches with the Doctor.

Paul Was it me or is getting angry at the Doctor not really in keeping with Doctor Who . I mean, he’s a time traveller.

Matthew But he does keep a lot of secrets, and I can see how that would drive you crazy. It did seem a little too much and a little too out-of-nowhere though.

But it was fantastically acted, and that may have made it the best part of the episode for me.

Paul It did seem like Clara was almost broken hearted – even if I don’t agree that she should be.

Cookie I think she was in a way. Compared to Matt Smith’s incarnation, Doctor Capaldi is a lot more uncomfortable around humans.

I agree that it was wonderfully acted and I felt for her. I’d have hated to have been stranded there.

I don’t know about the rest, though. It shows that her relationship with the Doctor has become strained since the regeneration, certainly being left there on their own would have been the last straw. Especially when you consider what’s happened over the last few episodes.

Matthew But this is really the first time since Deep Breath that she’s seemed unsure of the Doctor. Every other episode she’s been enjoying herself as always. This felt like too much too soon, for me.
Paul Definitely felt to me like she’d been more having fun throughout most of the season…

Cookie She has, but then last week for example she felt again like she was being kept in the dark. Don’t forget their argument over Mr Pink as well.

All adds to the tension, methinks.

Matthew I loved Mr Pink’s ominous “bad day” line, by the way.
Paul Adds tension, but it’s still not quite believable for the character.

Matt K It was kinda good to see The Doctor leave it to Clara and the humans to make the decision this time, though, instead of doing it himself.

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Third-hand astronauts in second-hand outfits.

Paul The thing is, he could’ve just gone forward a bit in time and, if they made the wrong decision, come back in time to stop them.

Heck, he could have just left and disarmed the nuclear warheads physically…

Matthew Can’t cross his own timestream. But, yikes, lets not get into a mechanics-of-timetravel discussion about a programme that changes its rules every other week!

As for letting humanity decide for themselves – isn’t introducing two hand-picked humans who shouldn’t ever have been there in the first place kind of cheating?

Things would have gone completely differently if the Doctor never passed through, whether he “directly interfered” or not. He still changed the outcome.

Cookie I guess you could call it cheating, yet it felt like the Doctor really wanted to teach them a lesson. Perhaps building up for a later event.

He knew more than he was letting on. That’s for sure.

Matt K Not sure how many times the Doctor has actually left the humans to work it out, though, apart from that 2-parter in Season 5. That could have been an interesting future.
Paul I can kind of understand why he did what he did, but I could also believe he rigged the game (if you know what I mean).
Matthew What I did really like is why he rigged the game. The idea that humanity needed a reason to look upwards because we’ve all lost interest in space felt very real and very current. And very sad. I really responded to all that “last shuttle” stuff.
Cookie That it was. I loved how now the humans will take to the stars and reach out beyond this galaxy as well. Ties in with what’s happened before in both audio and classic Who .

Matthew And Capaldi almost in tears talking about it. Great stuff.

…except that he said it while looking at a space-dragon that they shouldn’t have been able to see in the daytime laying an identical new moon-egg offscreen to explain the continuity. The stupid stuff really distracted me from the good stuff in this one.

Paul I can totally see that. Although I can’t remember if that day in history had even been mentioned before (that the moon “hatched”).

I feel like it could have been, but it might have been just a throwaway comment.

Cookie Nope, we’re gonna have to find a TARDIS and see for ourselves.
Matt K But avoid the giant spider antibodies. *shudders*
Cookie It’s OK, we’ll take plenty of Domestos !
Matthew Were those germs supposed to be single-celled organisms, or did I hear that wrong? Because, again, that’s super dumb.

Paul No, I picked up on that as well. Although that was the least problematic thing for me.

What is it with “antibodies” this season…

Matthew Did the spiders work for us as monsters, ignoring the bad science?
Matt K Kinda reminded me of face-huggers (just a bit).
Paul The whole “spiders which can live in the vacuum of space” mainly reminded me of Lost in Space (the movie with Matt Le Blanc).
Cookie I quite liked them, they added that needed fear to bolster the story.
Matthew I liked them – and the part where you saw them crawling all over each other in the darkness was incredibly creepy – but the fact they were forgotten about in the second half really bothered me. They ran through the spider stuff far too quickly.

Matt K

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Space-Ebola.

After that whole spray business they did seem to no longer be relevant.

Cookie They did seem to just disappear into the background a little.

Matthew It felt like they were only there to give the Doctor a reason to vanish for two minutes and discover that the Moon was an egg.

I’d actually have much rather watched the Doctor crawling around inside the Moon and making that discovery but, again, glossed over really quickly.

Cookie They seemed to lose their creepiness, when that happened. Agreed would have added a little more spice if they had followed the Doctor into the hole.
Matt K Guess they couldn’t afford to have a closer look at the creature.
Cookie Shame, would have loved to have seen it even closer.

Matthew Well, it might have been a bit too similar to The Satan Pit , I suppose. Especially since they were wearing the same space-suits!

Nice callback, I thought.

Paul Yeah, I noticed that.
Cookie Very true. I wonder if he kept them as a souvenir?
Matt K I guess it could have looked like that, but they would need a lot of spray bottles!
Matthew Another callback I liked was when they talked about regeneration, and confirmed that the Timelords took his limit away. The BBC can keep making Doctor Who forever now! Hooray!

Paul Yep. Noticed that too!

It also means that the Timelords must be immortal but choose not to be.

Matt K I always thought he could be referring to that when Matt Smith made a cameo in Sarah Jane Adventures and told the kids he could keep going and going.

Matthew Crazy theory time: Does the Doctor now being immortal have anything to do with the sudden appearance of a mysterious “afterlife” where people kinda regenerate when they die?

Did the Timelords break death ?

Cookie Umm, I wouldn’t say so. They’ve always had the power but as a rule kept it to just 12 regenerations. They found that any more and the Time Lord tended to go a little nuts!
Paul Ah! That might explain a few things…

Matthew Ok, final topic. I’m a little worried about bringing this up, because I’m fairly certain I’m going to stick my foot in my mouth. But I feel like we need to cover it anyway…

Do we think this episode was about abortion?

Cookie Hmm not sure – but it was certainly about giving another life a chance.

Matt K It did seem like man wasn’t afraid to kill an unborn alien just to prevent egg shells from falling the skies even worse then what happened to the dinosaurs.

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Don’t worry, they only eat krill.

Paul Hmm… In a way, I can kinda see it. Though I think it’s probably a bit of a stretch.

Matthew See, that’s weird to me, because after the Doctor left “womankind” alone to decide the fate of an unhatched creature, it seemed like a really intentional message, and it coloured the whole episode for me.

Coupled with all the “tell Courtney she’s special” stuff, and how “unique” and “beautiful” everyone kept saying the creature was, it just left a really unpleasant taste in my mouth.

I understand that I’m possibly reading into it in a weird and unintentional way, but the episode honestly seemed to scream this message at me.

Matt K Yeah, it certainly put a lot of pressure to choose to protect the world by killing an unborn alien child that didn’t mean any harm.

Cookie I can see where you’re coming from, but I don’t think they had that intention in mind. I could be wrong though.

Paul It’s really weird to have that analogy in there. Doctor Who has never really tackled a message like abortion in that way before…

Would that mean that the Doctor is pro-choice (because he left the decision for others)?

Matthew That moment certainly felt that way, but the rest of the episode can’t seem to make up its mind.

It could be read as Clara making her own choice instead of letting society dictate it to her (pro-choice) – or it could be read as Clara making the decision for everyone else against their wishes, saving the “baby” (and they did call it that) at any cost and regardless of the risks (pro-life).

To me it felt more like the second one, but maybe they were going for the first.

Paul This episode did leave me out in the cold – which is interesting because I usually like the difficult moral quandaries (it was the reason I was actually willing to give the “darker” Doctor a go). But I think, in general, it was the science aspect that put me off.

I feel like the Doctor does need to start developing a bit more too – we need to see him thaw. Because all the best characters start off with flaws and they grow over the series, and the Doctor shouldn’t be an exception.

Matt K Another non-Earth episode (even if it’s on the Earth but future) and an interesting moral confliction. Though just using a bunch of nukes seemed like a cheap way to deal with it.

Cookie I quite enjoyed the episode, it wasn’t the strongest. Yet it had an interesting twist and we got to see the Doctor and Clara’s relationship hit even rockier ground. It was wonderfully acted.

I would have liked to have seen more of the spiders and what the Doctor saw for himself down the hole, though.

Matthew This episode was a difficult one for me. There’s stuff in here that I honestly loved – the hopeful and inspiring message about space-exploration chief among them, but also the really strong acting and the powerful atmosphere and design. But the serious tone never really matched up with the ludicrous premise or the incredibly rushed nature of the story.

Maybe I still could have enjoyed it despite that, but the whole episode was eventually eclipsed for me by its very loud and very unfortunate subtext. The message, however you read it, was so overpowering that I honestly can’t judge the episode on its own merits now, and that sucks.

There’s a moment near the end, where Clara is yelling at the Doctor and he’s just utterly confused and doesn’t know what to think. And that’s how I felt about Kill the Moon .

What about you, readers? Did you pick up on any weird messages, or are we reading too much into things? Did you enjoy this one, or was the dodgy science too much? Let us know, as always, via the comments below, on Twitter , Facebook and Google+ , or by switching your lights on and off so we can see them from space.

That’s it from The Companion Piece , but we’ll be back next week when, judging from the trailers, there seems to be a suspicious absence of Clara. How will Capaldi manage in his first solo adventure? Find out, here, when he faces a Mummy on the Orient Express !

  • http://www.nerdsassemble.co.uk/ Emily King

    I found it incredibly satisfying when Clara finally told the Doctor how she really felt.