WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS!
This season of Doctor Who has been pretty divisive so far to say the least, and it’s either been a season where you’ll hate it or fall somewhere in the middle, with no real standout episodes so far, but a high level of consistency was kept despite this. However, that changed with Kill the Moon – offering one of the best episodes of the new season and, not counting the specials, probably one of the best episodes of this season and the last season together. It featured Capaldi at his best, a bonkers plot as well as a surprising twist that helped establish it as one of the best episodes of the season, a feat that may or may not be topped by what is to come.
The Doctor and Clara take Coal Hill pupil, one of Clara’s students, Courtney Woods (Ellis George), to the Moon in the year 2049. Following an intriguing opener that sets the tone for the rest of the episode, Kill the Moon manages to be Doctor Who at its darkest once again. There are no outright scares this episode, but Kill the Moon still has a very much darker tone than Bank Heist, for example.
The plot was certainly an interesting one. The trio find themselves on the Moon that has actually gained weight, throwing lunar cycles out of sync and thus creating tides big enough to sink entire cities and provide a dramatic effect on the whole of humanity. Their only allies are a bunch of astronauts, who were rapidly getting killed off one by one in a desperate race against time. As a result, much like most of the episodes so far this season, this was one of the most high-concept ones to date and it’s great to see just how well it was pulled off with Peter Harkness making an excellent first script for Doctor Who. Fingers crossed he can come up with something equally awesome again, and he’s certainly going to be a writer who I will look forward to seeing more work from in the future.
Kill the Moon was unpredictable, full of tension and a great success with an emotional ending that gave Jenna Coleman one of her best performances so far. We also benefited from some monsters that actually worked for a change; whereas previous villains from this series have mostly been forgettable, the Alien-esque Moon Spiders were more than welcomed with a good use of CGI to prevent them from looking too out of place.
I’ve already briefly mentioned Jenna Coleman’s excellent performance but the rest of the cast also put in a great showing, helping to further enhance Kill the Moon as my favourite episode of the season so far. Refreshingly for TV drama, Ellis George’s Courtney Woods is far from annoying and handles a teenage girl clearly out of her depth very well. In comparison, Hermione Norris’ astronaut character allowed for a great guest appearance, with a well acted delivery. And that’s before we even get to Peter Capaldi’s performance, which is as good as always.
Kill the Moon then, is excellent and probably one of the better episodes of the entire series, with an exciting, pulpy title to boot. It packs everything you could want in an episode of the series and ends on an interesting note that works pretty well, and with an episode entitled Mummy On the Orient Express hitting next week, things can only get even stronger from here.