Going into Kill the Moon I knew very little about the premise of the episode. All I knew was; it takes place on the Moon, it involved a decision between ending one innocent life and the entire human race and the Doctor brings the iconic orange space suit out of the TARDIS wardrobe. Oh, and the fact that spiders were the monster. Actually, now that I think about it I knew quite a lot when you think about what the episode actually consists of, that is most of the episode. Except for the one huge element; that the moon is in actual fact an egg and the monster inside is getting a little bit twitchy.
The jeopardy of the episode is that soon the egg is going to hatch, a baby monster of unknown size and power will soon emerge from the shell. The creature could either destroy Earth, aid it or leave it well alone, not to mention the fact that the billions of tons of egg-shell could rain down on Earth sending us the way of the dinosaur.
I quite liked the more contained nature of this episode, that sounds odd when you think that the episode travels to the Moon and back but most of the episode does take place in one space station on the Moon. It says something about a show when it can leave Earth for the Moon in an episode and it seems contained. All I mean is that most of the key events of the episode take place in one building. However, I believe that due to the theme of the episode this made a lot of sense. The contained vibe of the episode worked with the theme of decision-making, it had echoes of a war room or a leader’s office during a crisis, perhaps a student’s room when an essay is due the next day.
As for the spiders, I actually really disliked this aspect of the show. It seemed like the parasitic spiders were just something thrown in to add a bit of immediate danger. Yet for me it distracted from the main plot and the most interesting part of the episode which was the monster inside the moon and whether or not they should kill it to save humanity. Even the spiders creating some immediate danger fell flat as I found myself being completely unconcerned when they were around. Attempts to make them frightening were lacklustre, compared to the clever horror techniques used in Listen the danger in this episode was pretty poor.
The main positive that came out of this episode was the plot focussing around the monster inside the egg. It was a fantastic moment when the monster emerged from the egg at the end of the episode, the reveal of the monster was not disappointing. Once again CGI was used craftily and favoured art over technology. Doctor Who is great at using its budget to create things that look better than those in shows and films with much bigger budgets. The images of the almost dragon-like parasitic creature spreading its wings and emerging from the shell were impressive and reminiscent of stories from myth. In particular the scene reminded me of something from Game Of Thrones, the mythology and hearsay passed from person to person about the origins of dragons and other creatures were similar to this scene. The huge creature hatching from the Moon and laying another egg in its place restoring the Earth’s tides to normal was more like fantasy than sci-fi but I loved it.
The episodes decision-making premise provided good fodder for brilliant acting. Once again Coleman and Capaldi but on excellent performance, though Capaldi wasn’t present for a lot of the episode. The biggest surprise for me in this area was the character of Courtney Woods, I found myself being happy about her inclusion in the episode. When she appeared at the start I found myself thinking “oh great, another annoying one episode, child companion” However, she was capable and useful, she wasn’t just someone annoying that the Doctor had to constantly save. When she experienced the danger and wanted to go home, I found myself sympathising with her. This was a very human moment, the characters in Doctor Who that are along for the ride in one episode never lament getting themselves into the danger. Writing aside, she was also very well portrayed by Ellis George.
In conclusion, this was another solid episode with an interesting central premise and stellar acting. Although the dialogue didn’t pop like previous episodes and the inclusion of the spiders was really annoying and not needed.