Kill the Moon was the seventh episode of series 8 of Doctor Who. It was written by Peter Harness, directed by Paul Wilmshurst and featured Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald.
Narratively, it saw the Doctor take Coal Hill School student Courtney Woods on a trip to the Moon following her discovery of his true nature in the previous episode. It also revealed the true nature of the Earth's natural satellite, which had been a fixture of many previous stories.
It revisited the Earth's environmentally disastrous mid-21st century as well as the concept of time in flux, with the Doctor choosing to take a step back and leaving the future in the hands of his human company, a choice that would lead to a severe divide between the Doctor and Clara.
Kill the Moon was also notable from a production standpoint. Lanzarote was utilised as a filming location for the first time since 1984 when it stood in for Planet of Fire's Sarn. The production team played upon this — early drafts of the script were titled Return to Sarn just to mislead those who theorised that this story would feature the return of the Master.
The concept behind the episode came to writer Peter Harness in 2011, so initially, it was written for Matt Smith. Harness expressed a belief that the script suited Peter Capaldi more with the Doctor-Clara dynamic playing out better. (DWM 478).
In Coal Hill School, Clara tells the Doctor that her troublesome student Courtney Woods has become worse thanks to meeting him. She's even stolen his psychic paper; the Doctor wonders if it's to get into museums. However, Clara tells him Courtney has been using it to get into clubs. And all of this started when the Doctor told her that she wasn't special; it's very damaging to a teenager's psyche.
Entering the TARDIS, Courtney's already there and has bought travel sickness bracelets in preparation for her travels, which Clara tells her won't happen. The Doctor, on the other hand, is pleased by this news; he has two rules: no vomiting or hanky-panky in the TARDIS. Pestering the Doctor to try making amends with Courtney, he offers to let her be the first woman on the Moon. When asked if it would make her feel special enough, Courtney excitedly tells him yes.
The TARDIS arrives in the cargo bay on a space shuttle, with the trio exiting in spacesuits. Courtney is not pleased; however, the Doctor notes from the window that they are on their way to the Moon, so he didn't go too far off course. He examines the cargo, explaining the objects around them are nuclear bombs, about to arrive on the lunar surface in 2049. The astronauts, Lundvik, Duke and Henry discover them, as the Doctor awkwardly walks around; he asks if they are going to shoot them, telling them to start with Courtney, to make sure she isn't last and afraid. He then adds that he'll take some time to kill, as he might keep regenerating forever.
Introducing himself as an intelligent and benevolent alien, the Doctor asks if the astronauts will still shoot them; Lundvik says no. The Doctor is glad to hear it, before asking what is wrong the yo-yo he is playing with; Clara tells him it goes up and down, prompting him to congratulate her. The gravity on the moon has likely increased; they should all be floating around the room. Lundvik explains the Moon has put on weight, and it's causing havoc on Earth. The Doctor laughs "And so they sent you up here to save the Earth with your bombs."
The shuttle lands, and everyone dons their helmets. Courtney exits first, reciting rather poorly Neil Armstrong's speech. Lundvik explains that Mexicans were previously sent to investigate the possibility of minerals on the Moon, but all that was sent back were screams over the radio. The Doctor wonders if they are a rescue team, prompting Lundvik to reveal that this happened years ago; humanity lost its interest in going into space. Even the shuttle had to be put back together from being a museum ride; her two companions are "third-rate" astronauts.
They find the mining base, and enter; the Doctor tells them that oxygen is still in there, so they can take off their helmets to conserve their suits' supply. However, they soon discover the corpses of the crew preserved in webs and research photos showing deformed landmasses; the Moon is disintegrating.
Henry investigates a cave outside the base and is killed by a large spider, one of which then enters the base and begins menacing the Doctor, Clara, Courtney and Lundvik, and kills Duke. Courtney kills it with a detergent and the Doctor works-out that they're germs. Courtney asks to return home out of fear.
Courtney's taken back to the TARDIS, and Clara tells the Doctor she knows the Moon isn't destroyed, having seen it above Earth in the future, but the Doctor's open to the possibility of it being a hologram or something similar. The events happening on the moonbase are a fluxed point in time — he doesn't know what happens, so the moon could be destroyed, affecting humanity's future.
Going to analyse one of the crevices caused by the corrosion, the Doctor, Clara and Lundvik find Henry's corpse, where he's attacked by another spider, which is repelled by the deterring effects of sunlight. The Doctor jumps down the crevice to gather a sample. The Moon shakes and sheds more of itself. Based on the seismic activity and the amniotic fluid the Doctor finds, he determines that what everyone calls "the Moon" is the egg of the real Moon: the creature within. In 2049, it's hatching, after growing for millions of years. Lundvik wants to know how to kill the moon. The Doctor puts her plan in context — to blow up a new creature with nuclear bombs, something they'll have to explain to their descendants. Lundvik reasons that the Moon's disintegration is causing catastrophic weather effects on Earth, and needs to be destroyed to save the world. Not being from Earth or the Moon, the Doctor chooses not to interfere, insisting that only Humans can decide the future of their planet. Courtney wants to return to be a part of the debate, and the Doctor instructs her over her phone how to bring the TARDIS to him. As soon as she does so, the Doctor departs — leaving only Clara, Courtney and Lundvik to make the choice.
Clara thinks they should take the risk, and deal with any possible consequences if/when they happen. Lundvik has only humanity's interests to mind and is prepared to kill the creature to stop the destruction. She activates a timer, after which, she'll detonate the bombs. Ground Control speaks to them over a screen, informing them that Earth's situation is "pretty bad". Clara broadcasts to Earth over the screen, telling them to give their vote. Turning their lights off votes "kill" and keeping their lights on votes "don't kill".
After the timer has elapsed, Earth has voted "kill". Lundvik primes the detonator, but Clara intercepts at the last second and overrides the command, just as the Doctor returns.
Returning to Earth, the Doctor, Clara, Courtney and Lundvik watch from a beach as the Moon disintegrates in space, while the creature it hatched (a massive butterfly-like creature) flies away — but not before it lays an egg, which has become a replacement Moon. The Doctor tells Lundvik that humanity from this point spreads into space, enduring to the end of the Universe because they chose not to kill. Courtney realises how special she now is, being one of the three people to allow Humankind to continue.
With Lundvik having been left safely back on Earth in 2049 (though she will have to make her own way back to NASA), the Doctor takes Courtney back to Coal Hill School, and Clara demands to know what the Doctor knew in order to leave them with such an important decision, threatening him that she will smack him so hard, he'll regenerate. When the Doctor explains why he abandoned her, Clara strikes out and stands up to him. She expresses her anger for him leaving them behind on the Moon, and becomes tearful, then even angrier when the Doctor gives patronising responses to her feelings. The Doctor tries to make it up to her, but Clara is too furious to listen. She tells him that she never wants to see him again or travel through time and space with him again and ends their friendship, leaving the Doctor all alone.
Clara storms out of the TARDIS, which dematerialises. Danny finds her in her classroom, and as he comforts her, she recounts the story to him. Danny tells Clara that her relationship with the Doctor isn't over, because he can still make her angry. Clara asks him how he became so wise, and he tells her that he left the army under circumstances that he only refers to as a "really bad day".
Returning home, Clara goes into the kitchen and pours herself a glass of red wine. She then gazes out of her window at the Moon.
- The Doctor - Peter Capaldi
- Clara - Jenna Coleman
- Danny - Samuel Anderson
- Courtney Woods - Ellis George
- Lundvik - Hermione Norris
- Duke - Tony Osoba
- Henry - Phil Nice
- McKean - Christopher Dane
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- The orange spacesuits worn by the Twelfth Doctor, Clara, and Courtney on the Moon are nearly identical to the Sanctuary Base 6 spacesuits (TV: The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit), one of which was shown to be taken by the Tenth Doctor and worn again by him in TV: The Waters of Mars, and by the Eleventh Doctor in TV: Hide. This time, however, the insignia of Sanctuary Base 6 is not present, unlike Orson Pink's spacesuit in TV: Listen.
- Locations on the first Moon are Mare Fecunditatis, Sea of Tranquility, Sea of Nectar, Sea of Ingenuity and Sea of Crises.
- Prior to 2039, Minera Luna San Pedro was established to search for minerals.
- The secretary at Coal Hill School thinks that Clara gave her a TENA Lady as a "secret Santa".
Cultural references from the real world Edit
- Clara had given a lesson about Charles Dickens and David Copperfield at Coal Hill School before she and Courtney travelled to the Moon.
- Courtney has a Tumblr account, from where she uploads pictures she's taken during her trip; not surprisingly, the Doctor is furious. Lundvik says that she remembers her grandmother uploading stuff to Tumblr.
Story notes Edit
- This episode's original broadcast was followed by a teaser for the second series of fellow BBC Saturday night drama, Atlantis, confirming that it would premiere on 15 November, the week following the Series 8 finale of Doctor Who. Atlantis' first episode, The Earth Bull, was bookended by the initial stings promoting The Day of the Doctor.
- During the writing process, showrunner Steven Moffat told writer Peter Harness to "Hinchcliffe the s** t out of it", in particular, the first half of the episode. (DWM 478) This referred to the period when Philip Hinchcliffe was the series producer (1975-77), which is remembered by fans as especially frightening.
- This episodes plotline bears a striking resemblance to the second book in the "Astrosaurs" children's book series, which were written by Steve Cole, who wrote a few Doctor Who novels.
- 6.91 million (DWM 480)
Filming locations Edit
Production errors Edit
- The Doctor refers to his new cycle of regenerations, granted by the Time Lords (TV: The Time of the Doctor); this marks the earliest reference to the idea that the Doctor's restored ability to regenerate has granted him more than just another set of twelve regenerations. (TV: Hell Bent)
- As he often said in his second incarnation, the Doctor says "When I say 'run', run". (TV: The Power of the Daleks, The Faceless Ones, The Evil of the Daleks etc.)
- The Twelfth Doctor again shows aloof practicality when somebody dies. (TV: Into the Dalek, Time Heist)
- The Doctor uses not killing Hitler as an example of not interfering with the course of history. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus, TV: Let's Kill Hitler)
- The Doctor previously propounded upon the life-producing qualities of amniotic fluid in his fourth incarnation. (TV: City of Death)
- Earth of the mid-21st century is worse for wear environmentally compared to the start of the century. (TV: The Waters of Mars, Aeolian)
- This is not the first time the Doctor faced a terrible choice about millions of innocent humans or an innocent alien lifeform. (TV: The Beast Below) This time he decides not to be involved. As happened previously, his companion solves the dilemma; unlike then, here it is the Doctor rather than the companion who realises that there is no dilemma.
- The Seventh Doctor previously encountered the Process, another creature that hatched from an egg resembling a moon. (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible)
- The Doctor deliberately chooses to take a step back in the face of a potentially apocalyptic event, leaving humanity to choose the future. The Ninth Doctor initially took a similar approach upon witnessing what appeared to be humanity's first contact with alien life. (TV: Aliens of London)
- The Doctor previously used a yo-yo to assess the gravity in his fourth incarnation. (TV: The Ark in Space et al.)
- The Doctor spied a prototype version of the Bennett oscillator, using it to deduce that the year was 2049. He has previously indicated that a modified version of the Bennett oscillator was from the late 29th to early 30th century. (TV: The Ark in Space)
- Clara mentions the previous time the TARDIS disappeared and the Doctor said it would "turn up". (TV: Cold War)
- The publication date of David Copperfield is written on the whiteboard as 1850. This date is correct, but Clara had previously argued with the Doctor over the date of Pride and Prejudice. (TV: The Caretaker)
- Courtney suggestively teases "Mr Pink," referring to her knowledge of Clara's relationship with Danny Pink. (TV: The Caretaker)
- The Doctor erroneously thinks Courtney has vortex manipulators. (TV: The Empty Child, et. al.)
- The Doctor is concerned that Courtney has posted pictures of him on Tumblr. (TV: Asylum of the Daleks)
- Clara believes that the Moon can't be destroyed in 2049 because she knows of its existence in the future. Sarah Jane Smith once made a similar comment about the impossibility of Earth being laid waste by Sutekh in 1911; Martha Jones thought that the world couldn't be destroyed in Shakespeare's time; and Donna Noble said as much about the possibility that Agatha Christie died in 1926. In all of these cases, the Doctor explained that time was in flux, and the future beyond that point was uncertain. (TV: Pyramids of Mars, The Shakespeare Code, The Unicorn and the Wasp)
- Lundvik likens the chunks of falling rock from the moon to "whatever killed the dinosaurs." What killed the dinosaurs was, in fact, a freighter from the 26th century, which had been warped back in time 65 million years before crashing into the Earth. (TV: Earthshock)
- The Doctor tells Courtney where to find a pile of DVDs in the TARDIS, and that putting one into the console would bring the TARDIS to him. He also states that if Courtney doesn't hold onto the TARDIS console, it will leave her behind. (TV: Blink)
- Humanity had lost interest in space travel by the middle of the 21st century. (TV: The Seeds of Death)
- Danny understands the Doctor "pushed Clara too far", as he said the army did with him. (TV: The Caretaker)
- The Doctor tells people to watch their language after using the word "bloody", including his companion. The Tenth Doctor told Wilfred Mott not to swear when he said this word in front of him. (TV: The End of Time)
- The Tenth Doctor previously intended to take Rose Tyler to the Moon so that she can become the first woman to step on its surface. (PROSE: I Am a Dalek)
- In his tenth incarnation, the Doctor took Martha Jones in 1969 to see the Apollo 11 moon landing. (TV: Blink) Martha had once been taken to the Moon along with the rest of the hospital in which she worked. (TV: Smith and Jones)
- In his second incarnation, the Doctor took his companions Ben, Polly, and Jamie McCrimmon to the Moon. (TV: The Moonbase)
- The Doctor claims that Courtney will eventually become the President of the United States after marrying a man called Blinovitch, implying the man who created the theory of the Blinovitch Limitation Effect on time travel. (TV: Day of the Daleks)
- Unless the American Constitution is amended between now and 2049, however, Courtney becoming the US President is at best unlikely. This states specifically that a US President must be a native-born citizen (for example, the Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger is not eligible, despite his popularity), and both Courtney's parents seem very English. (TV: The Caretaker)
Home video releases Edit
DVD releases Edit
- Doctor Who: Series 8 Boxset
Blu-ray releases Edit
- Doctor Who: Series 8 Blu-ray Boxset
Digital releases Edit
- The episode was released on Google Play, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video in HD or SD, also available as part of the Series 8 digital boxset. The digital boxset contains various features: trailer, interviews, The Ultimate Companion, The Ultimate Time Lord, Inside the World Tour and Doctor Who Extra episodes for each episode.
- In the US, the series was released through digital streaming services Hulu and Netflix with a subscription.
to be added