Briefly (because I do intend to go back and review all this series’ episodes in a few months, when everyone else isn’t already doing it) …
I love Peter Capaldi’s take on the Doctor, I think that Listen is one of the very best episodes ever, and I thought that Series 8 was shaping up to be the very best of the new series (which for me makes it the best ever).
Then this happened.
We watched Kill the Moon the day after broadcast, thanks to iPlayer. And as it unfolded, we watched the slow-motion car-crash with growing disbelief.
It made no sense at all. Here are just a few of the reasons:
- Single cells do not grow to badger size and evolve legs and teeth.
- Eggs don’t put on weight, they lose it.
- And even if they did somehow put on weight they wouldn’t do it suddenly, all at once, causing a freak tide.
- The moon’s mass apparently increased by 1.3 billion tons. Its mass is 7.34 × 1022 kg = 7.34 × 1019 tonnes, so an increase of 1.3 × 109 tonnes would be an increase of 0.00000000177%. That is like me putting on 0.000177 grammes.
- The tidal range in the River Severn, near where we live, is about 15 m — the third highest in the world. If the moon gained 1.3 billion tonnes, the tide would increase by 0.000000266 mm.
- The life of one being against those of seven billion humans? That’s not even a question. If you’re rational, you kill the one alien without a second thought. There is no other conclusion to reach. “It’s just a baby” is not an argument.
- The Doctor thinks the annoying trouble-making kid from the school should have a say in this decision?
- When an egg hatches, the shell fragments don’t just conveniently vanish.
- A newly hatched animal cannot immediately lay an egg of the exact same size as the one it just hatched from. This doesn’t just violate biology, but basic physics.
- And even if it did, it would hardly be so identical to the moon that the Doctor never noticed any difference in all the times he’s seen it in the future.
- And you could hardly expect the newly-hatched dragon to launch its egg into perfect Earth orbit.
- And and and, uh …
Seriously. Come on.
Perhaps the part that irritates me most is the 1.3 billion tonnes. Someone took the trouble to invent a specific number for this part of the script — the number is mentioned several times. Yet that person couldn’t take literally ten seconds to ask Google the mass of the moon? And no-one else on the production thought this was worth bothering with? How can they all be so shoddy?
There’s so much more I could complain about: the Doctor’s moronic sudden leap into a dark hole, his unexplained reappearance later, the inconsistency of the character of Courtney, the complete lack of curiosity with which the moon team accept the Doctor and his wholly unsuitable companions.
To be fair, I could also talk about how much I enjoyed the last few minutes — after the Idiot Plot was over with, when Clara quite rightly lost her rag with the Doctor. Right on target. I loved “Is there music playing in your head when you say things like that?”
But I felt cheated by the whole episode. Like I’d burned an hour of my life on nonsense. Like I’d tuned in to watch Doctor Who and got My Mother The Car.
What makes it much worse is the near-universal critical acclaim that Kill The Moon has somehow garnered. I just don’t get it. Who is it that likes this episode? Certainly no-one I know: no-one in my family, and none of the kids they go to school with. It feels like there’s a vast Like Kill The Moon conspiracy going on — an enormous joke that someone’s playing on us.
[I you want to read something more positive, you may enjoy my book The Eleventh Doctor: a critical ramble through Matt Smith’s tenure in Doctor Who.]