Sunday, October 5, 2014

So - That Happened

Recap/Review of Doctor Who Series 8, Episode 7: "Kill the Moon" - Spoilers!

Well - an episode that's bound to divide fandom. LIKE WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY OF THOSE YET!

I jest, of course (or do I?)

One thing I have loved about Series 8 is that these episodes have been increasingly less about the monsters or alien threats or other sci-fi trappings and more about the characters involved in these adventures. Ultimately, "Kill the Moon" is about how far the Doctor can push Clara and how far she is willing to allow that to happen. I think on one level, Clara realizes that her travels with the Doctor have pushed her to become more than she ever could be as an ordinary person with a job and a social life and that's it. That could be why she does it (why do people do anything, after all?) But what happens when that become too much? Or when Clara is asked to make an uncomfortable choice? Or follow an uncomfortable instruction from the Doctor - whom she loves and trusts?

The Twelfth Doctor is not a comfortable Doctor. Many past incarnations of the Doctor have been thus (the First Doctor was. So was the Sixth. Eight had some frightening moments in Big Finish. Even the precious Fourth Doctor had his spiky moments. And lest I forget - even my dear Fivey had periods of ruthlessness. So, this is not new). And I think we've forgotten that in the New Series (hell, even the New Series Doctors have pulled this crap. Time Lord Victorious, anyone?) The Doctor's moral code is not humanity's moral code (though there is some overlap, to be sure). The Doctor is not always your bestest-best-bud who's going to take you on lovely little outings for picnics in the park and tell you you're a darling child. He's doing his own thing in his own way and not a care for what his human companions think - you'd just better sit down, shut up, and do what he tells you to do. At the same time - he's conflicted by this. The overarching theme of "Am I a Good Man?" is the Doctor trying to map out his morality alongside the morality he's acquired from being around humans so much. And sometimes, that leads to disaster.

So, you have all these story elements that you want to include in a story. And you need some kind of impetus to make this scenario happen. How best do you go about doing this?

By making the moon into an egg, of course!

While all of the Fandom Intellectual Eliterati have been worrying themselves silly over the nuances and implications and intense discomfort they feel over this story (quelle horreur!) - I heard the line "The moon is an egg" and my expression has been something like this ever since:

So - forgive me if my reaction is more lukewarm than most others. Because... the moon is an egg. This information will assist you in enjoying the rest of my thoughts here.

When the cold open starts with Clara begging Earth to help her save an innocent life - I thought it was Courtney who would be in danger (I swore I saw her in a promo - and, yep, I was right). But no... she was standing there next to Clara when the shot pulled back. After the opening titles played and we find the Doctor (not in his Caretaker uniform) walking the halls of Coal Hill with Clara and discussing Courtney's self-esteem problems, I was kind of all "Well - that came out of no where." The last time we saw Courtney, she was tossing her cookies on the TARDIS from being space-and-time-travel sick (is that a thing? I guess it is now). Was the inclusion of Courtney a red herring? Or was it vital to reminding Clara of her life on Earth and her responsibility to her job and her students? I tend to think the latter, personally.

Random astronauts - yeah, don't really care about them either way. Beyond them being an intro to the story and the plot. Also - don't the events of "Kill the Moon" almost negate "The Waters of Mars" in some way? Like, this is ten years (wait - *does math* yup) before the fixed point of Bowie Base One happens. And here is ANOTHER fixed point in time that has implications about humanity's eventual trek out into space? Well - I can buy that. The Doctor saying that time is in flux and everything's getting jumbled about kind of fixes that.

But guys -  THE MOON IS AN EGG!! I just don't know where to go beyond that. Like - HOW do you not notice that in years and years of watching the skies and other assorted space exploration? I just... I don't know what to say about it. It's almost like a Big Lipped Alligator Moment, except the rest of the episode hinges on it, so it's not like they don't mention it again. (and how does bacteria grow into being monster alien spiders??) But still it's... THE MOON IS AN EGG YOU GUYS!!

I seriously... I've got nothin'.

Fast forward to the end. Clara is (understandably) pissed that the Doctor up and left her and Courtney to make this humongous decision in the midst of this terribly dangerous situation (at this point, it doesn't matter what the situation is - I'm ignoring the details for now because they just make me go "WHAAAA???") And Clara pulls a Tegan Jovanka - she calls him out on his bullshit and leaves the TARDIS. And, also like Tegan at the end of "Resurrection of the Daleks," she has second thoughts about her choice to leave the Doctor, but by then it's too late to change her mind (or is it?? Jenna Coleman recently tweeted out about wrapping up filming on the Christmas Special, so who knows?) And Danny, just like he promised, is there to help Clara make sense of her decision. He is supportive and helpful and honest and probably the best person for Clara right now (I adore Danny Pink, just so you're aware). And we leave, wondering when and if Clara will return to the Doctor - and if the Doctor is going to clean up his act and start behaving better. Or if he'll still be a pretentious jerk like he has been to this point in Series 8 - maybe mend his ways a little bit. Take this twist of Clara walking out as a wake-up call that he'd better shape up or else.

I guess we'll find out next week. In the meantime... the moon is an egg.

(still not over it)

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