Sunday, 5 October 2014

Death to Kill The Moon

“Doctor Who” has been generally good through September. However, the latest episode was terrible. I’ll try to be brief, mainly because there’s at least three other posts on this blog that I’ve been meaning to get to... but in the last day or so I’ve seen so many people either: 1) praising this episode for being amazing, or 2) getting annoyed with Clara, that I just... can’t... even. Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

I’m going to do a quick deconstruction of everything that went wrong in "Kill the Moon". However, there will be spoilers, so if you don’t want those, don’t read beneath the image. (Hint: Clara’s not the real problem.)


Don't kill this moon...


I did rewatch the episode to make sure I wasn’t misremembering things. And I grant that some of what follows is personal issues. But some of it is pretty basic. Here we go, in order of appearance.

1) Flashback Episode. I generally don’t like these, ones that start us in the thick of things, then move back in time. It’s personal preference, but I’ll come back to this point later.

2) “She wasn’t special” (regarding Courtney). Something of a shift from “900 years of time and space, and I never met anyone who wasn’t important”. I rather liked that line. But it’s a new doctor, looking at things in a new way, so fine, moving on.

I do not have an issue with the yo-yo.

3) “Save the air” The lights come on, and immediately you can breathe normally? That’s not how that works.

4) “Unicellular life” That... doesn’t seem right either, even if they’re “non-chromosomal”. Also, what’s with the cobwebs then? But okay, suspension of disbelief, I’ll stick with it.

5) “My Gran used to put things on Tumblr” Tumblr is a 21st century invention. This episode takes place in 2049. If Lundvik was 40, she would have been born shortly after Tumblr appeared. The generations don’t make much sense.

That said, to this point, the episode has been perhaps one of the creepiest “Doctor Who” episodes I’ve ever seen (and yes, I’ve seen some classic Who... and yes, I’m no fan of spiders). I’ve been able to overlook things. But we know what comes next.


It slices, it dices, it determines things like...

6) The moon is an egg.

I get that we’re dealing with science fiction, but you can’t just toss that out and not consider the implications. If so, how did it get there? Why is it orbiting? Why is it the last of it’s kind? More to the point, when the sun consumes the Earth several millennia down the road, I do not recall any mention of “saving the moon”. Or any future analysis of the thing, alive or dead. If a huge crater were to appear on Earth, you can’t just brush it off as “it’s always been there”, people are going to WONDER.

I’m hitting my breaking point of credulity here.

7) “It’s your moon, womankind, it’s your choice.”

Okay, whether you MEANT that to be a metaphor for a woman’s right to choose or not, if you’re going to phrase it that way, you REALLY need to consider implications! Dusting your hands, saying “it’s not my problem” and running off to leave the women to decide how to handle a major life decision is NOT BEING A GOOD ROLE MODEL. Show some SUPPORT, particularly given how YOU’RE the reason they’re IN THIS MESS (for at least two thirds of them)! And believe me, we’re coming back to this point too!

But even IGNORING all of that, the problem was the extra mass! How does killing this thing eliminate that mass? This is when I officially threw up my hands. Which is when it got worse.

8) The hull breach. Bizarrely superfluous. Why?

9) “School trip” and Clara’s broadcast.
a) That’s not an answer. The guy has no reason to trust Clara, or broadcast anything she says. For all he knows, she’s the cause of the problem.
b) Clara’s talk of “a creature” makes very little sense without context. Humans didn’t even seem to know about the extra mass of the moon (coming back to that!), so how can they make anything resembling an informed decision here?
c) Clara’s talk about killing an innocent: back to point 1, I felt like initially she was referring to Courtney, the only other person visible in the shot. In another context, I might be applauding the misdirection, at this point I feel cheated.
d) The broadcast is only in English? That sort of eliminates a large portion of the population. Though we had ALREADY eliminated the population that doesn’t have anything which can receive the broadcast! Which brings me to...

10) Turn On A Light.
a) Night doesn’t happen everywhere on Earth at once! The image looked like it was over the Atlantic, so we saw Europe and North America. I guess if you live in Australia, Africa... you don’t get to vote?
b) Not everyone can afford electricity. I guess if you’re too poor, you don’t get to vote? And if you own multiple houses, you can vote multiple times? Nice message.
c) You’re telling me that absolutely EVERYONE got this message, and decided to turn off their lights, in the span of less than an hour? Airports too? National landmarks? No fires burning anywhere?
d) You’re telling me that NO crazy people who wanted to shut down an entire power grid could have taken this opportunity to do so, to sway the vote? Or that a government wouldn’t simply pull the plug? This method seems like a REALLY bad idea.

IT GETS WORSE!


11) TARDIS on a Beach.
a) YOUR OWN EPISODE established “tides drowning whole cities” and “worst natural disaster”. Why is the ocean so calm? Where is this beach?!
b) They look up in the light of day and see a full moon. They JUST looked down from the moon AND SAW THE PLANET IN DARKNESS. Where is the sun?!?

12) “Humanity made it’s choice.”

From point 7. The Doctor’s entire speech about humans “looking up once again” is undermined by the fact that EVERY HUMAN IN 2049 (supposedly, see point 10) actually voted for the OPPOSITE. Okay, so maybe humanity sees the error of it’s ways, but it’s because the decision WASN’T made by a human from 2049, but one from 2014. Except she wouldn’t have been there if it weren’t for the Doctor!! HE is the reason this happened, if HE weren’t there, things would have been different, which is so far from “it’s your choice” that it’s not even funny! Forget fixed points or grey areas, the idea that there was any “original history” here is completely shot to hell! This can't have happened the same way as before he showed up!

I think this is seriously becoming my problem with the show. It’s not that Clara is saving the day all the time. It’s that she’s constantly being put into a situation where she seems to have no choice but to do that. It’s as if, in trying to correct the problem of “ignoring” her character with Matt Smith (which I've previously remarked on), we’ve shot through towards the other extreme without so much as a breath in the middle.

13) The Problem of Mass. The newborn just laid an egg which was, at minimum, equivalent in mass to itself. Which, I suppose, started orbiting. From 9b, that can’t be how that works either. Unless it’s a tribble, I guess.



So it was with GREAT relief that I saw Clara go off on the Doctor at the end. “I’ll smack you so hard you’ll regenerate.” Hells yes. He was not being respectful, he was being patronizing, and while I’m fine with this as his new personality, he wasn’t merely being patronizing to the women, he was being patronizing to the continuity of time, and possibly physics too (the shell just dispersed, huh?).

You go away, Doctor. Don’t come back until you decide to start making sense again.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, at least I'm not the only one with quibbles, and these science issues are even better than mine:
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/10/06/slate_plus_doctor_who_podcast_episode_7_kill_the_moon.html

    ReplyDelete