Last night’s Who required being slept-on to try and quantify what it was I had just witnessed on my TV screen – to be honest my jaw was still agape this morning when I approached this review.
From watching the preview on last week’s The Caretaker, Kill The Moon seems to exude the kind of bold awesomeness that has come to typtify this new Capaldi era.
However, Kill The Moon really has come to signify all that is worst about new Who. Not quite Robot Of Sherwood episode terrible but more an issue with the way the whole modern show is written.
The good, first; the visuals were outstanding, filmed in Lanzarote and colour-tainted in a computer to represent the surface of the moon. It’s probably the best representation I think I have ever seen brought to screen.
Capaldi’s Doctor continued to show his trademark obstinate ‘devil-may-not-care’ attitude, spending most of this episode taking a backseat from proceedings and sneering loudly at the important choice facing humanity. It’s just the tonic after years of the Doctor meddling and going all gooey over humanity and Earth.
And now the bad. Firstly; Who is a science fiction show and we have come to readily accept that an alien humanoid travels in a time machine – through space and time. But within this science-fiction realm, there does (surprisingly) exist a limit to credibility which can be bent and sometimes broken.
Think Tennant’s Doctor pulling the Earth in his Tardis in Journey’s End, Smith’s Doctor versus a pumpkin head sun in Horns Of Crapha-tan or even many Tardis’s hiding Gallifrey in Day Of The Doctor.
Some things in this universe just do not work and no matter how fantastical the premise, it does need a shred of credibility to guide it. It wasn’t the moon being an egg, it wasn’t even the fact that it was hatching into a giant flea – so much.
It could have been a bold (and rather cool) precedent to have the moon completely obliterated, in the Who universe. But they decided to completely unwrite everything the episode had strived for, by having the newly hatched giant flea lay a new moon egg. I.E. Which exactly replaced the weight and density of the old moon and in doing so, completely undermined any credibility that the episode had struggled to garner.
Secondly; why does Who insist on continuing to write completely one-dimensional teenage or children characters; I.e. Courtney. Despite having been taken to the moon in a time machine and almost killed by a germ-spider, she still spouted the same old token tired teenager lines. “I’m bored” and “Got any DVDs?”. Perspective needed!
Considering that young people are the show’s target audience, why are they still writing such banal and patronising one-dimensional young characters? A.k.a the 2 kids from Nightmare In Silver – time for a rethink Who writers.
Next, some of the science-fact in this universe was so bafflingly poor, it did make you think why can’t they lay the fact on a bit more and make it a touch more realistic, whilst educating their young audience?
Earth style gravity on the moon because of a giant flea. Seeing darkside Earth’s lights from the moon with a pair of binos, landing on a beach near the sea after the moon was destroyed (high tides anyone?).
The list goes on but highlights why even science-fiction needs a small dose of reality to underpin it’s grandiose ideas. 80’s Who writer Christopher Bidmead’s; ultra-science facty Peter Davison episodes, were pretty derided for being too much the other way but at least they tried to inject a real-life science air into proceedings.
Finally, Clara’s character took a real step back, after last week’s three-way mutual understanding gained between the Doctor, Clara and Danny Plank in The Caretaker.
Clara sent the Doctor away because she felt betrayed he had dropped her (and one of her pupils) into a life-and-death decision over humanity and buggered off in the Tardis without interfering – or helping.
Is this the same Clara that volunteered to selflessly sacrifice herself – many times over, (without help from the Doctor) by jumping into the Doctor’s past timeline in The Name Of The Doctor? Thought so but at times its like the writers forget their own character’s past.
Maybe this is setting the seed for her eventual departure but at times the fact different writers write for Who, some of the character-based continuity goes straight out of the window.
I assume this was to give us a break from Clara. Who, due to the way the new show is going, is pretty much anchored as the main character – as the Doc comes and goes every week – as he pleases.
I could go on but I guess you get the gist. You see Who seems to be struggling with its own core-ethic lately. Is it a show for kids, or does the new darker tone (and on an hour later) mean – it needs the brakes taken off and steered more towards adults?
Turning the moon into a giant egg and destroying it, was a bold move indeed but if the writers can’t commit to their own imposed reality (by undoing this action straight away); then why should the viewer?
A missed opportunity – for a great episode!
BBC1 – 8:35pm- Saturdays