Doctor Who "Kill the Moon" Review: Who Is the Doctor, Really?

Doctor Who S08E07: "Kill the Moon"


For most of the episode, "Kill the Moon" was a fairly silly, generic stand-alone adventure of Doctor Who and I was prepared to say as much. There were a lot of interesting and divisive ideas buried in the episode, which focused on a story about the moon actually being an egg—the largest egg in all of the universe, apparently—and the Doctor and Clara deciding whether or not to blow it up to save Earth or let the unique creature live. But it was the last five minutes in which Clara found agency and called the Doctor out for leaving her alone to make a decision that could have potentially determined the fate of humanity that saved the episode for me. It's probably also the only part of the episode fans will remember when they look back on "Kill the Moon" years from now.

Despite the fact people on Earth voted to kill the creature, Clara made the decision at the last second not to go through with the nuclear detonation. And honestly, it didn't really matter what humanity voted to do, anyway, because it was Clara's finger on the button and it was always going to be Clara's decision. By giving humanity the appearance of a vote, Clara was attempting to hand over a responsibility she didn't want, but in the end she was the only person who could actually decide what to do. It's a role the Doctor has played time and again, and he essentially handed it over to Clara this week for reasons that I don't think even he understands (he claimed it was respect, but Clara didn't see it that way), which continued to play into Season 8's ongoing theme of the Doctor not understanding Clara, and struggling to know who he is and what his purpose is meant to be. 

Some of you have suggested there was pro-life subtext here, but I don't watch Doctor Who for possible political agendas, and whether or not the creature lived was not really the point of the episode at all—it was just a means to an end. If you read more into the show's decision to let the creature live, that's your prerogative, but the episode was actually about the Doctor letting Clara down and the subsequent fracturing of their relationship. I didn't even see Clara's hostile reaction coming, but I realize now that it was something I've been waiting to see for years.

Clara felt abandoned this week, and to be abandoned by someone you trust with your life is a horrible feeling. Clara believes in the Doctor because he's the person who always swoops in at the last second with the save—he always has her back, which was the entire point of "Deep Breath"—but that wasn't the case here. He shouldn't have left her alone, but he did, and now he has to deal with the fall out. Having Clara, someone who's always had unwavering faith in him, turn on the Doctor in the episode's final moments was a great moment for her, but an even greater moment for the series. She spoke not only for herself, but for all companions over the years, and if you don't like Clara after all the writers have actually done to give her a life, a personality, and a purpose beyond the Impossible Girl, then you probably will never like her, and you probably found her speech to the Doctor off-putting. But I've come around on her quite a bit since the beginning of Season 8, and those final moments are some of my favorite the show has ever done. Jenna Coleman absolutely nailed the entire scene.

The Doctor—especially this incarnation—is patronizing, and I think it's something fans have really struggled with this season. The Doctor has always been a hero, but he came back different this time, and I personally think that this turn in the story is one of the best things the show has done in awhile. When Danny called the Doctor out last week for being an officer, a lot of fans didn't care for it. They found Danny's attitude off-putting and out of line, but I loved it. I loved that Danny stood up for himself and that Doctor Who finally introduced a character who didn't immediately fall all over themselves to defend the Doctor or his actions, who didn't just believe in him because he's the Doctor. I loved that there was finally a character who didn't go out of their way to please him or listen to him just because it's what everyone has always done. And I like that Clara has also made that leap, because she's also the person who risked her life to save all of his. She existed solely to save the Doctor for a very long time, and now she's questioning him.

The Doctor sometimes tends to think of himself as being more important than or existing separately from the humans he so often protects, and on some level he's not wrong to feel that way. After all, he's a Time Lord with the ability to regenerate, which obviously sets him apart, but he's also extremely intelligent and clever, he's lived for thousands of years, and he has knowledge and experiences that no one else on Earth has or will ever have. He's earned the right to feel and act certain ways, but it doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't call him arrogant when he's acting that way. Having saved Earth countless times doesn't give him the right to act as if he's better than everyone else, but does it mean he always has to be that person? It's a difficult call. Just as Clara pointed out this week, the Doctor walks amongst humans and he breathes the same air that we breathe, which means our moon is also his moon, our world is also his world. He should care about what happens to Earth and its people as much as Clara should and does care, and he shouldn't have left Clara to make a decision as monumental as this one on her own. This entire season Clara has acted as the Doctor's conscience, and it's interesting that she's finally reached her wit's end just when he needs her more than ever.

This version of the Doctor is different from those we've known before, and yet he's exactly the same. He's not any more dark and dangerous than the previous versions of the character—he's still the same man who made the extremely difficult decision to sacrifice his people to end the Time War (let's just ignore the fact that he eventually saved them for now, because even by doing so it doesn't erase his previous actions or make him a different person)—but Twelve is more willing to give in to those darker parts of his personality than his predecessors were, and it's probably a result of having been given more regenerations, something no one has ever experienced before. He's looking at and questioning life in a new way. Does the Doctor even want to be a hero? We've made him into this character who rushes in to save the day at the last moment and we've placed him on this pedestal, but why? He doesn't really know, but do we? The real overarching storyline this season isn't who Missy is or what her heavenly realm is supposed to be but this: Who is the Doctor? He's acting more and more like the humans he thinks are silly, tiny, and predictable, he's making mistakes and letting Clara down, and that's probably more human than anything else he's ever done. The status quo is changing right now, and I think it's setting things up for a nice final arc in Season 8.

NOTES

– "Tell me what you knew, Doctor, or I'll smack you so hard you regenerate."

– Is this the most divisive season of Doctor Who to date? 

thekaitling:list:doctor-who-what-did-you-think-of-kill-the-moon/


Comments (223)
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May 12, 2015
Still feel the need to smack Clara upside the head for that stunt at the end of the episode. Yes, the Doctor has his pretentious moments and isn't always the easiest to understand or get along with, but she handled it very poorly. Granted, that was up to the writers and all, but still. I loved Clara before this point.
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Nov 03, 2014
By far my least favourite episode of Doctor Who.
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Oct 20, 2014
This would have been a better story on Sarah Jane Adventures (RIP Elizabeth), more of a kid's story. The whole egg thing was lame as heck. The acting was okay, the dilemma intriguing, but just silly. I could've imagined this as an earlier doctor story, say Pertwee or Baker, but not the newer generation. I always thought they were supposed to be a little more...mature?
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Oct 09, 2014
Episodes like this make me think the writers are out of touch with their audience. This was the show thinking it's a kid's show that could get away with stupid stories because kids set a low bar. There's no need for the sci fi to be this cheesy and stupid. How about a bit of intelligence, sophistication and nuance? Sorry but Clara briefly getting upset in no way compensates for this episode's stupidity. The positive thing for me was that I enjoyed Capaldi's performance here, I think he's really starting to come into his own.
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Oct 08, 2014
That was so awful I laughed nearly all the way through.
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Oct 07, 2014
The episode felt very rushed and I didn't like it until the end when we got to see clara's melt down. Up until that point I kept thinking of eleven and amy and the star whale "NO ONE HUMAN HAS ANYTHING TO SAY TO ME TODAY!" Maybe he couldn't handle that humanity was making this decision again or maybe he was testing clara (which would be unfair after everything she's already done for him) or maybe it really was his way of respecting her and knowing she would make the right call. Any way it really was a crappy thing to do on his part and her blow up was justified.

I've heard rumors that shes leaving and they aren't flat out denying them like they did with matt smith but they aren't confirming them either. So maybe that's what all this is building to. If so it would be a little bit of a shame since she's only just starting to become a fully flushed out character.
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Oct 07, 2014
I wonder if this episode ending is what Capaldi was thinking of when he said on August 21:
"I'm not looking for a new assistant," [Capaldi] told presenters Matt Baker and Alex Jones when questioned. "I don't know where these rumors have started. I've read she may be leaving at Christmas, but I don't even know if she'll get to Christmas, you'll have to watch it and see what happens." (DigitalSpy)
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Oct 07, 2014
It won't happen, but I hope Clara doesn't change her mind and we never see her and the rest of the school again.
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Oct 07, 2014
*ahem* mass cannot be made from nothing (eggs stay the same weight). The moon is not a hundred million years old, it is four billion. A uni-cellular eurkaryotic organism could in no way be that large. A space shuttle can only go a thousandth of the distance it did. The moon is friction-less; wings won't help it land. An aerosole would explode in a vacuum. And did I mention - mass cannot be nade from nothing?

Capaldi is amazing though ^.^
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Oct 20, 2014
It's a TV show.
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Oct 07, 2014
1. Mass can be created from energy (CERN does it in extremely small quantities, as does Fermilab). Still doesn't make it likely, convincing or necessary for the story - the cracks on the moon should have sufficed to send astronauts to investigate. 2. Age of the moon: Yeah, I wonder how they came up with that. 3. These uni-cellular things where kind of stupid I'll give you that. 4. Suppose they slammed a different propulsion system on a space shuttle and it could go to the moon. 5. The space shuttle wasn't build for the moon, the wings have nothing to do with landing it. 6. Yes, aerosole would explode. 7. Did I mention that you cannot make something "bigger on the inside"? ;-)

Doctor Who is Sci-Fi with A LOT of fantasy mixed in. If you want things to be more in line with what we know about science you'll need to watch Star Trek instead ;-)
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Oct 07, 2014
Why is it that so many sci-fi fans have a problem with having actual emotions and god forbid love in sci-fi shows? Are we supposed to believe that in the future logic rules all? Are we supposed to believe that people aren't still PEOPLE?

Or is it just that they feel uncomfortable about the subject and wish that sci-fi would avoid it?

Reading comments complaining about the romance in Doctor Who since the show came back in 2005 has been so tediously predictable.
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Oct 07, 2014
The best scifi is character driven shows like farscape!
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Oct 07, 2014
Personally I love seeing emotions in sci-fi, it gives the show or movie a real base to pull viewers into so when they build this unbelievable storyline its easier to accept. However I do see why some people don't like it and that's because emotions are confusing and unpredictable and to a scientific mind (aka the kind that mostly watches sci-fi) it can be out of their comfort zone.
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Oct 07, 2014
What on earth is going on in Doctor Who? This is the problem when they bring in writers of kids TV - they turn it into turgid kids TV! I mean that episode could oh so easily been the Sarah Jane Chronices. I mean c'mon they even have an annoying & pointless teen in it now! I'm all for change, but NOT for the sake! Peter Capaldi has the potential to be the best Doctor ever. I have genuinely laughed out loud at his sardonic delivery. But the Clara saga - this is clearly leading up to her jogging on. And spare me the love angle. If I wanted that bilge I would watch eastenders! I want the doctor saving the universe, not two annoying teachers getting it on ineptly! Stop using soap opera / kids writers, and you will stop the soap opera storylines! There is too much of that on the BBC already without it parasiting SCI-FI as well!
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Oct 06, 2014
Another episode that I didn't care for much. Except for Clara's stand against the Doctor. She has really come into her own as a character. I feel like the series has no direction at all. If there is an arc coming with the "Heaven" scenes then let's get to it. I don't want anymore Moon egg-type episodes. They're really reaching out there for story ideas. It was full of logical holes. At least have it go down on another planet where you can say the physics are different there. If our moon disappeared and another one reappeared the results would be pretty catastrophic. I'm waiting for something enjoyable and clever guys.
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Oct 06, 2014
the doctor is "pro life"or is it "pro human choice" lol
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Oct 06, 2014
So...what is up with teh 'Heaven' place? Why is it IDENTICAL to part of the Two Streams facility where Amy Pond got stuck for 30+ years in tha tThe Girl Who Waited episode?

Theories? Theories? Theories? Is the woman Amy? Someone from those times? Somewhere else we've seen?

Also some dude died on account of the Doctor this episode, but no scene in 'Heaven' was shown
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Oct 07, 2014
My theory is they reused the set for budgetary purposes.
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Oct 08, 2014
That's too lazy. It's even the same exact shot and angle. If it's just a reuse it was terribly done.
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Oct 06, 2014
Poll

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Oct 11, 2014
Where's One? He tried to smash a prehistoric human's head in with a rock because he would "slow them down".
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Oct 06, 2014
My personal point of confusion: if the moon 'hatched' and was thusly destroyed or damaged near the point of destruction, supposedly that would destroy the Earth. But if you drop 100 nukes on the moon, wouldn't that also pretty much destroy the moon, and as a consequence destroy the Earth? I thought it was 'damned if you do and damned if you don't', in which case, may as well let the thing hatch. Earth is toast either way.
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Oct 06, 2014
I've never really warmed up to Clara at all, until the last 5 minutes of this episode. Now I've never loved her more! This Dr totally needs telling off, as he's basically a jackass. I hope she leaves him.

But then I wondered, as I don't know the old episodes very well, has a companion ever left the Dr because they just didn't like him anymore?
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Oct 06, 2014
I'm trying to remember why Turlough left, but I don't think it was on good terms. Several Companions left after getting tired of watching people die, or not dealing with time travel well. Nyissa got annoyed that the Doctor didn't help people on a small scale more often, and that set Tegan off too. But Tegan was also very whiney, and very unpopular, whereas Nyissa was extremely intelligent and pro-active.
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Oct 06, 2014
Apparently, a woman named Tegan did that in the old series.
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Oct 06, 2014
This episode was a pathetic farce and quite possibly one of the worst who episodes ever.

Doctor who is supposedly science fiction and, as such you need to at least pay lip service to that little old thing called science, and being fiction it should at least try to make sense.


Questions:
  • Why did the moon beast have big flappy wings? In space them make no sense.
  • How did it manage to lay an egg as large as itself with no visible means of nourishment?
  • With that amount of mass shifting, the earth would be ripped apart. even with the new moon in place, it would have significantly less mass.
  • Are we seriously expected to believe none of the 'dust' was large enough to impact on the earth in any way? The moon isn't a lump of green cheese about 3ft across yanno.
  • Spiders are no eukaryotes.
  • What exactly is the scientific test for 'amniotic fluid'? How would you just test something and say "this is amniotic fluid for some previously unknown alien species.
  • Hasn't humanity already had it's awakening, with various alien invasions by Daleks, Cybermen? etc.
  • "High tide all over the world at the same time". No. That's not a tide. That just a higher water level. If it was a tide caused by a moon increasing in mass, it's be a very high tide close to the moon and an even lower tide than usual on the other side.
etc. I could go on.

I am left wondering if they employed writers from Prometheus.

A massive let down after the excellent "listen".
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Oct 08, 2014
There are solar winds in space, which wings could catch.
The new moon seems a bit smaller to me.
The mass increased very fast toward the end according to the Doctor. It might not have had time to drastically change orbits, etc.
Perhaps the creature had gravity altering powers to save the earth and reform what was left of the moon shell around a new egg, so no dust falling rock, etc.
The spiders were really alien but roughly comparable to viruses or something similar.

but I do wonder how all of earth voted by turning lights on/off when the moon can only see the dark side? The other half could have all the lights on and the moon would not know it! The tie would go to Clara ;)
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Oct 26, 2014
"There are solar winds in space, which wings could catch. "

No just no. Solar winds are not like that. Just because a scientist uses the term "wind" doesn't mean it actually blows like a wind. It is a million million times weaker and made up of radiation rather than gas, like the air.

"The new moon seems a bit smaller to me."

It wasn't but assuming it was, that'd cause earth quakes, tidal waves etc. Instantly and way more than we see normally.

"The mass increased very fast toward the end according to the Doctor. It might not have had time to drastically change orbits, etc. "

But it would plus ... where was the mass coming from? An egg doesn't get heavier as the baby chick grows, what happens is that the baby chick absorbs material from the egg with no change in mass.

"Perhaps the creature had gravity altering powers to save the earth and reform what was left of the moon shell around a new egg, so no dust falling rock, etc."

That's not what we were told. Why did the doctor lie to us with some BS which made no sense and wouldn't have fooled a 3 year old?

"The spiders were really alien but roughly comparable to viruses or something similar."

No, no they were not. Can you name me one virus which has eyes? Legs which articulate independent of each other? Web spinners? Eyes require photo-receptive cells, legs muscle cells to move them etc. Nature does not do this in a single cell. If it did we'd class the things it used as cells, and it would no longer be a single cell.

"but I do wonder how all of earth voted by turning lights on/off when the moon can only see the dark side?"

Well they can only see the near side. They'd have had to stay in orbit for a day on the dark side I guess, so they could see each country vote in order. Of course, such details are beyond doctor who's writers.
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Oct 06, 2014
"Spiders are no eukaryotes."

Uh? Yes they are.


"How did it manage to lay an egg as large as itself with no visible means of nourishment?"

Yes, nevermind the fact that it lays the egg almost as soon as it's born. Was the moon hollow when the creature was just an embryo? Also how did it gain 1.3b (lbs or kg, I don't remember)? Shouldn't the weight change have changed the orbit? Etc.
Yes, you could write pages filled with the plot holes/ignoring of science, I suspect the writers know that—and that's something we can expect from this show. By now we should know better than to nitpick about sciency stuff.
But the point is the ideas, the questions of the episodes are being thought about and discussed, and to me that makes it a good episode.
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Oct 06, 2014
Other science mistakes:

  • the moon is several billion years old, not a 100 of million.
  • without adding mass from somewhere, even if it contained a developing embryo, the moon would not increase mass/gravitations attraction.
  • The Moon’s mass is about 7 x 1019 tons—50 billion times the mass of the creature! Adding a billion tons to the Moon would be hardly noticeable at all;
  • he creature was about the same size as the Moon itself. If it only had a mass of 1.3 billion tons, then its density would’ve been incredibly low. A cube of air 10 kilometers (6 miles) on a side would have a mass of about a billion tons, yet the creature was clearly thousand of kilometers long.
Never mind the science, the teenager wasn't even realistic.
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Oct 11, 2014
It's also impossible to travel in time.
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Oct 26, 2014
Well... theoretically it's possible, we just don't know how to do it.

Besides, that is different and all scifi does it. They make up new technologies and as long as it follows its own internal rules (something else Doctor Who frequently fails on) that's cool. When you break the rules set out in grade school science about the common properties of pretty much every day things we actually know about (which doctor who does) ... that's wrong,
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Oct 06, 2014
Re Eukaryotes: Sorry that's autocorrect for you! They're called 'prokaryitic unicelular life forms' in the show. Which spiders are not.
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Oct 06, 2014
They were huge spider-shaped bacteria, not spiders... yeah, I know, I know. I have now idea why they would even mention what they are since it's completely irrelevant to the plot.
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Oct 06, 2014
"Explain how you can get complex structures like segmented legs, jaws and eyes without cells. Multiple cells. With nuclei."

Like I said, I know, I know... they looked multicellular and differenciated to me too. They should just have said "yes they are alien spiders from the moon, so what".
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Oct 06, 2014
Explain how you can get complex structures like segmented legs, jaws and eyes without cells. Multiple cells. With nuclei.
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Oct 06, 2014
I don't think they have shown such basic disregard for common sense before. It was truly awful.
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Oct 06, 2014
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Oct 06, 2014
Ah, finally a really strong episode this season. Some other were good, but his stand out. And just like you, in saying 'stands out' I'm not speaking of just another generic DW story, I'm speaking of Clara and her calling the Doctor arogant. I grew to like Clara a lot during this season, but after this episode, she really started to shine
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Oct 06, 2014
Could not have said it better myself

I thought Capaldi would be the death of The show, BUT with the way the writing of this seasons character is going i am actually loving it
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Oct 06, 2014
I think it's obvious that the show was weaving in some kind of abortion statement, but it did a fairly bad job of it. On the face of it, there is no mother and there is no nonviable fetus.

It even goes to heavy-handed lengths to make another poor attempt at related statement. It kills off(!!) the male astronauts and it makes the male Doctor abandon a close friend at a time of great difficulty(!!) to force a situation where only females can decide. But this fails to portray the analogous "it's solely the pregnant woman's choice" (an argument which I personally think has merit). Instead we get a sort of "nosy neighbors committee" making the decision.

I tried extending the analogy to the Earth itself being the mother. While that sort of works, because this "problem pregnancy" threatens the life of/on Earth, the analogy would require all human life of "Mother Earth" to decide, which isn't just women.

FWIW, I would call this episode a pro-choice stance, not pro-life. I mean, they are given/making a choice. In a pro-life situation, the authorities would be requiring the birth to happen, not death; nobody else would get a say, and any dangers specific to each particular situation (i.e. danger to Earth and all humans) could not be considered.
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Oct 06, 2014
I found this episode enjoyable, I really love Twelve and his darker side (Eleven beeing my favorite). At the end of the episode, I remember an earlier one :

Remember the Star Whale? The one that was transporting the United Kingdom through space? All of humanity had fled earth but the UK lacked a spaceship so they used the whale, torturing her so she would always carry them.
Amy and Eleven found out about the whale and, at the end of the episode, came up with different ideas: Eleven tried to render the space whale brain-dead so it would no longer feel pain from the torture but Amy chose to save it by pressing the "Abdicate' button. In the end, the space whale continued to carry the humans, but with no pain.

Do you think that maybe Twelve remember this episode (consciously or not) and decided to let Clara choose, like Amy did? There was a lot of similarities, including the creature beeing last of its kind. Maybe he thought humans were better fitted to make their own choice regarding their species? If so, it was a interesting to see how it ended for the 2 Companions.

I'm pretty sure that, would they have been on Gallifrey, the Doctor would have told Clara to mind her own business if they came to an argument. He would want to make his own choice. He might let her advise, but not interfer (at first at least).

If that was it, I don't think he handle it too well. Maybe he should have stayed with her, if only for support.
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Oct 06, 2014
I thought the prolife assumption was very funny (and cynical).

It's about bombing what you don't know. :-) Strangely enough pro-lifers usually don't have a problem with that.



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Oct 06, 2014
Some things that crossed my mind:

- They 'borrowed' a lot from the movie Pitch Black. I even thought that would be the main deal.
- This episode pointed out a couple of fundamental flaws in the series out loud: if you can travel time, what's the fuss? Why not go in earlier? Why not see what happens? Is that maybe what the doctor did when he left Clara?
- Didn't think it was that special for clara to fall out. Almost every companion has a couple of missing episodes where the doctor hooks up with someone else. He will return, she will have doubts for a few seconds.
- I think that the storyline of this episode was a bust because we all knew what would happen. Yes, the bird/dragon laying another egg was the most logical conclusion. Although a suddenly disappearing moon would have destroyed a lot of cities and entire countries.


I still like this doctor. And I like Clara.


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Oct 06, 2014
Another very good ep but Clara way over-reacted - I mean come on she's supposed to know The Doctor better than anyone. Still a fun ep and I'm looking forward to seeing how the doc fares without Clara tagging along next week... 8/10.
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Oct 06, 2014
Just my opinion but they should of gave the new doctor a new companion at the start like they did between Tennant and Smith. I think for me it would of made the season more enjoyable. But hey what do i know i just watch the snow not make it lol
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Oct 06, 2014
Seems like we're slowly saying goodbye to Clara, which makes me not like the new Doctor. Rather feels like the Doctor is pushing her away.
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Oct 06, 2014
One of the better episodes of the season.I'm definitely starting to have fun with this season and I'm really warming up to Capaldi,but Tom Baker is still tops with me.Looking forward to a solo Doctor episode next week!
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Oct 06, 2014
Ok, chunk of text incoming.

The two big questions, as I see it, are: Why did The Doctor/Clara do what they did? And: Was The Doctor/Clara right in doing so?

So why do I think The Doctor left them/Clara to make this choice and then just bugger off? I think there were a few reasons. 1. We are so used to The Doctor being the guy who makes these massive, difficult decisions. But did we ever stop and think about HOW he "learned" to make these decisions? How many times has he had to make these choices? Has he always gotten it right? I think a part of this was to help Clara understand what it's like. What is feels like to be the one to have to make such a tough decision. What it's like to have people put that weight on your shoulders and expect you to make the right call.

"But he knew more!" You cry. "He knew what would happen and they didn't!". But you're wrong. All he "knew" were general facts about eggs and babies...and he'd already pointed out that this egg was the only one like it in existence (as far as he knew). He was only guessing. (His only other "knowledge" was that humans go out and spread to the far corners of the galaxy...after pointing out that he didn't know which choice would be made, thus mostly rendering that point moot. Maybe the near destruction of Earth by the moon caused a renewed interest in space travel and THAT is what led to humans going everywhere) An educated guess, sure, but it wasn't information that the other 3 didn't have. And that is point number 2.

Are these The Doctor's decisions to make?W e're so used to him being the stallion to make the decisions, did we ever stop and ask if it was right for him to be the decider? If the rest of the universe didn't exist, just the earth and the moon, this is a decisions humans would have had to make. Aliens didn't get them to the moon, aliens didn't give them the tools to kill the creature. Is this a decision for Humans or The Doctor? In fact, he went out of his way to make sure they had all the information they needed to make the choice. And then he left it in the hands of the person he most trusted to do what he would do (note, I didn't say make the right choice. He could have been very, very wrong) Is this right or wrong? I don't think there is a right or wrong answer here. I think this episode is great for having us think about these things.

Now for Clara. This is much simpler. Why did she have such a breakdown? Because she's human, and having that sort of decision resting on your shoulders is unthinkably miserable and stressful. If she HADN'T had a breakdown, it wouldn't have been believable. Once again we'd gotten used to our heroes casually making tough decisions and then just laughing it off with a witty one liner we forget that that ISN'T how humans actually react.

Whether or not what The Doctor did to her was right, whether or not his reasons for doing so were good or bad, her reaction was, I think, correct. If I were suddenly told by the person I expect to make a decision that, instead, I had to decide the fate of every human that is alive or will be alive...I'd probably have a melt down then and there. Just because Martha was so casually willing to kill all humans doesn't mean Clara being a wreck about it is weakness. I think it's far more believable.

Were there problems with the episode? Sure. Cool though the spiders looked...was there a point in their existence other than to add some tension? Eh, probably not. Were them some plot holes and inexplicable actions? Of course. This is Doctor Who. But on the whole, I really liked this episode, and felt that it asked, subtly, some really good questions and gave us some great insight into our characters.
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Oct 06, 2014
Overall, I enjoyed the episode, but Moffat's getting short on ideas and resorting to pulling things out of his arse.

Capaldi is acting more and more like the 4th Doctor (Baker) who's regeneration was somewhat addled due to Doctor #3 (Pertwee) dying from some really nasty radiation that pretty much destroyed all his brain cells, or so it was explained at the time. Baker may have been annoying and aloof, but while he teased Sarah Jane and other companions, he did show appreciation for their company and sacrifices.

#12 isolates himself from just about everything and walks around like humans are an annoyance. Does not seem to have feelings for humans, even his companion. Treats Clara like crap quite a bit with constant insults and degrading comments. Constantly messing up everyones age. Thinks Clara looks older than he does, thinks Courtney is 35 years old. He also makes really stupid mistakes and appears to have issues with short term to long term memory conversion. Not sure where Moffat is going with this.

The 2 male astronauts should have been wearing Red spacesuits, as the were both dead 5 minutes into the episode. At least Moffat let us know their names before killing them off. The astronaut that went back to enable the bombs (Henry) appeared to be suffering from dementia, and never did make it back to enable the bombs.

The little girl saying "Am I Not Special" made me want to slap her. The Spider Germs- Bacteria with actual heads, legs, and mouths full of razor sharp teeth? They appeared to be multi-cell organisms to me. Why not just say they were a parasitic life form and leave it at that. it would at least have been believable.

Every single light in North America being turned off within a 60 minute period in the middle of the night. Most the the stray light in cities is from street lights and other lights that are on dusk to dawn timers or photo eye devices. These are not so easily switched off, especially by government employees in the middle of the night. When Clara first looked out the window, Spain was still in darkness but heading into dawn. The US was in full darkness, which extrapolates to the east coast being about 3am and the west coast being about midnight, so everyone is pretty much asleep and unable to comply with the broadcast. All the hippies and lunatics that live in California would have left their lights on as they live outside of reality anyway.

Thought Capaldi came off as a real dick at the end with Clara. She was obviously angry and traumatized and feeling betrayed. So instead of just trying to explain and/or help her, gives her some glib comments. This to the person that sacrificed her life when she jumped into his time stream. He jumped in and pulled her out, but it still happened and all those Clara's in the past still are out there. If not, he would have never made it this far. The only reason he didn't die at Trenzalore is that the "Church Lady" came to earth and retrieved her, and she pleaded with the Timelords through the crack in the universe to help him, so the dumped some regeneration energy into our universe for him.


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Oct 06, 2014
Don't know why you keep refering to Moffat when this is one of the only 2 episodes of this season that have not been written by him...
About the episode, yeah, the light thing is a massive plot hole... the main source of illumination are public city lights which people wouldn't have turned off, also Clara gave the choice to only half of the Earth (sorry people who actually are awake!), but there was really no plausible way to involve all of humanity.
It wasn't the first (or even the biggest) plot hole of the series, I found the episode enjoyable and appreciated the point if wanted to make.

Also: "my grandmother used tumblr"... come on Hermione, the episode is set just 35 years from now and you're not that young... you're the one who used to put stuff on tumblr!
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Oct 06, 2014
This is from "Moffat explains why the doctor did not die at Trenzalore"

But what do I know about Trenzalore? There’s a big monument that looks very like my TARDIS. There’s a temporal fissure leading to my timeline. Maybe it’s my grave. Maybe, one day, it’s my burial ground. Maybe it is something else entirely, and we got it all wrong. Don’t know. Don’t plan to find out for as long as possible. The main thing is, Clara still jumped into my time stream, and ended up helping me through all of my life. All that is established, unchanged – but there’s wiggle room!
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Oct 06, 2014
I was glad the Doctor stopped being a pussy. I can understand his frustration with everybody sitting around crying (me on thursdays with TVD). I am a little disappointed there was no big bang! But I was happy is was an episode where the doctor told everyone else deal with it! My grandma hates the internet, no really she does. Yes this doctor is patronizing, but you can't blame for not wanting to save the day all the time and expecting others to step up to the plate. He made Clara cry because she doesn't understand how hard it is to made the tough choices. Now she is starting to see the life the Doctor lives with and if she wants to tag a long she has to take the good with the bad.
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Oct 06, 2014
Garbage episode, and garbage season. So far the Capaldi ERA sucks... Sorry it's time to face facts this season has been 7 episodes of pure crap.
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Oct 06, 2014
I totally disagree and feel this has been a very strong - if a bit odd - season. Loving Capaldi era!
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Oct 06, 2014
But the important question is.......will you continue to watch the series knowing you will be continuously disappointed?
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Oct 06, 2014
I am enjoying this incarnation more and more with each episode. He is raw and funny and ... like ALL regenerations of the Doctor, quite quirky in his own way. This was a great episode... Loved all the new ones so far for their own take on the character. Great job I reckon!
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Oct 05, 2014
So... I guess we now know the Doctor can regenerate again over and over and possibly not only 12 times...and I really do not like this Doctor.. I am sorry if this upsets people but it is how I feel. I will continue to watch because there really is nothing on Saturday and it MAY get better.
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Oct 06, 2014
Rule 1: The Doctor Lies
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Oct 05, 2014
The other question, and apologies if it was already asked, is... did the Doctor set the whole thing up?

If he hadn't taken Clara there, then Lundvik would almost certainly have pushed the button... and doomed the creature and humanity. He also presumably helped to create the timeline where Courtney (somehow, given that darn Constitutional place-of-birth requirement) becomes President of the U.S.

I suppose that makes him vastly manipulative and scheming. But then, on the other hand, that raises the whole timey-wimey question. Since "The Sensorites" in the first season, we've seen a humanity who could only exist the way it did, spreading out among the stars, because of the decision that was made in 2049 by Clara.

So did the Doctor have any choice but to take Clara to the Moon in 2049 so that she'd push the button that would ensure the last 50+ years of Doctor Who existed?
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Oct 08, 2014
President Courtney? She either had dual citizenship or USA added England as the 55th state Iraq, Afganistan Mexico and Canada were the others. Read your 2045 history books folks!
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Oct 06, 2014
I just re-watched the episode on iPlayer with the captions on. When they first get back to the shuttle and stick Courtney in the Tardis. Clara wants to get back in the Tardis and leave. The conversation below follows.

Clara says: Because I've been in the future and the moon is still there. You know the moon is still there right?
Doctor replies: Maybe it isn't the Moon. Maybe it's a hologram or a big painting, Or a special effect. Maybe it's a completely different moon.

So he appears to know at this point that the future moon is actually a New Moon. I suspect he knows this is a turning point in the future of Man, one of those fixed points that must always stand. Man would panic and get it wrong and destroy the creature, and their future would lead down the other path to eventual oblivion. We know from the Waters of Mars he cannot personally change these events or it ends badly. He knows Clara and her mind, so he put her in that situation knowing that she would be the only one to make the correct choice. The choice needed to allow Humans to survive to the end of time. So while he could not personally interfere, he could Stack the Deck to make sure the future went down the right path.

The part of the Tardis that is alive, exists in non-linear time. Is the Tardis somehow obligated by its pure creation and existence to make sure these fixed points are not messed with? The Doctor left, and 3 humans made the decision without any outside interference. He left Clara there with minimal advice because he could not give her anything more. Once the decision was made he was there within seconds to cart them away. Almost like the entire process was being monitored by someone or something besides himself.
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Oct 05, 2014
"first season" of the original series, that is.
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Oct 05, 2014
I guess the main conflict/contradiction here was, does the Doctor let his companions and humanity make their own decisions, as he did here? And if so, how does he cut the umbilical cord? Does he do it suddenly and abruptly, as he did here? Does he give them gentle pep talks first?

It seems to me that part of it is that while the 12th Doctor looks like a father figure, he doesn't want to be a father figure. He looks like the 3rd Doctor, but he acts like the 4th and 6th Doctors.

As opposed to the 5th Doctor, who didn't look like a father figure but seemed to want to be one.

The 12th has said that he's fixing mistakes that he's made, and one of them is that he's patronized his companions and made their decisions for them, and got upset when they disregarded him. And to some degree humanity as well. Remember when Harriet Jones made her own decision on how to deal with the Sycorax, and 10th took her down because he didn't approve?

But I don't think he knows how to fix this particular mistake. Assuming that you think that the way he did it here wasn't the way to go about it, as Clara did. Presumably he did lie to her about knowing how it would turn out. Then again, would it have been better if he said, "Oh, I know how this is going to turn out. But I'm going to let you do it anyway." That seems patronizing as well. When you're a near-omniscient being when it comes to how Earth's history goes, anything you do is concerning it is going to seem patronizing. So he may not be the only one who isn't clear on how to make his companions and humanity more independent.

But as Danny noted, Clara isn't exactly unbiased. It appears that she'll be returning within the next episode or two, so apparently she does think differently about how the Doctor treated her.
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Oct 05, 2014
"Doctor Who finally introduced a character who didn't immediately fall all over themselves to defend the Doctor or his actions"

Well, nu Doctor Who, at any rate. Anyone remember when Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart would ignore the Doctor and do what he damned well felt was best, including blowing up Silurians when the Doctor didn't approve?
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Oct 05, 2014
I do. I was thinking the other day that if 12 had come after the Silurians, then the current hating for soldiers would have been justified.
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Oct 05, 2014
Well, he did come after the Silurians, right? :) I suppose it could just be remembering that whole thing and finally deciding, "I guess I hate soldiers after all."

Then again, technically speaking, the Brig was an officer rather than a soldier.
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Oct 05, 2014
"She spoke not only for herself, but for all companions over the years"

In fairness, the Doctor hasn't typically abandoned his companions over the years, either. Although the sixth and seventh Doctor were pretty much dicks to their companions.
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Oct 06, 2014
#7 had a wonderful relationship with Ace.
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Oct 05, 2014
Capaldi is a fantastic Doctor and Coleman is, by far, the best companion in the series. The episodes so far are a bit lackluster. I liked this episode though, except for that year 10 student. Gosh. Uninspired, boring character with no acting skills. Pointless.
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Oct 05, 2014
I've always thought the 7th Doctor's season was the worst and most divisive. And I thought the 1st Doctor was the most arrogant and patronizing incarnation ever. Capaldi has brought some of the classic Doctor aesthetic to the modern Doctor Who show. But I feel he's brought the best of that older Doctor; it's the writers who are bringing the wierdness to the story lines.
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Oct 11, 2014
Which 7th Doctor season? He had 3.
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Oct 13, 2014
All of them. The Trial of a Timelord was amazing in spite of Colin Baker, not because of him.
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Oct 05, 2014
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Oct 05, 2014
I don't know if it's the most divisive season, but it's for sure the most inconsistent. I can't believe how loose and uninterested on actually plotting a story this thing is, while still being so willing to zag when you'd expect it to zig and stop being self-congratulatory and predictable for a second.

It keeps making me very, very furstrated, to be perfectly honest, because it finally abandons the victory lap feel of the last few seasons, which felt like bad self-insertion fanfic... and instead it becomes so sloppy and indulgent that it feels like fan fiction anyway, just by virtue of being horribly plotted, rushed and unable to hold back and build a foundation for each episode instead of rushing for the payoffs.

Did we need a whole supporting cast of redshirts that just take the crew at face value and then die without anybody giving a crap? I actually think we did, but in that case, they were owed a story to be told. They were characters with nothing to do, because the show was too busy getting to the breakup scene that was clearly the only reason for the episode to exist.

Guys, I think I've made up my mind. I think I am ready to just say it. Doctor Who is a bad show. There is talent here, but no restraint. It's a disinterested child phoning in a class assignment at the last minute. Sometimes, no matter how talented you are, you need to do the legwork or you get an F.
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Oct 05, 2014
You know what... bullpucky!
Over the last few years, an openly complaining new and old set of companions complaining that the Doctor does nothing but take them out into the great wilderness of space and time, sometimes giving them no information whatsoever and treating them as the "little people". Barely giving them the respect of their own ability to have opinions, let alone the ability to make decisions that are of any decent impact.

It has even been associated with the Doctor that when he appears, people, or other species, tend to die. Mostly because of HIS decisions. It's ALL his fault. It doesn't matter the intent of others, it's all at HIS feet.

The Timelord Victorious. Remember THAT one? Remember the time he DID decide things would turn out differently? Remember the response by those he saved for having done so?

So, for once, for ONCE, he left the ultimate decision in the hands of a female companion who had traveled with him, been shaped by him even indirectly, a "present day" female teenager, and a hardened female leader of the world that had faced the early stages of the Moon's cracking. Left the ultimate decision to THEM.

You point out the "pro-life" agenda. Maybe. Intentional or not, maybe. But I see something else. I see a long traditional strawman argument that "if women had always been in charge, there would have never been war, never violence, never crime". Guess what? That history of war, discovery of explosives and making them practically used, led to space shuttles and their predecessor rockets to the Moon. It led to the eventual understanding of how to build a nuclear bomb, of which they needed many.

And, now, those three supposed non-violent gendered individuals must argue whether to kill an innocent alien baby, speculating on what it may do if it survives, threatening the lives of all of Humanity. Or let it be born, potentially leading to the death of every Human being (a speculation prior to the use of those bombs or leaving it alone). Ok, non-violent, no blood on your hands gender, go! You have a history of the stereotype that you would do no harm to ANYONE. That NO ONE would die from your decisions. Regardless of what a scripted result was, it's in YOUR hands.

So the Doctor let THEM make the big decision. No Timelord Victorious here. No "I know what's going on but I'll tell you little people later" here. YOU decide. YOU cause life to be lost, or not by some chance, but it's on YOU now.

And Clara is unhappy about this? Having been exposed to the Doctor, learning how HE would handle various situations with HIS personality and attitudes, she's ticked because he trust HER to make the big decision?

And everyone in fan land is expected to be supported of Clara throwing her tantrum because, suddenly, she CAN'T pass of the big decision to the Doctor?

Good grief!
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Oct 06, 2014
I say Mr Pink is unhealthy influence on her.
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Oct 05, 2014
Not as good as previous three episodes but better than first three. Next time leave Courtney in London. Loved the idea that the moon was an egg. "Tell me what you knew, Doctor, or I'll smack you so hard you regenerate.'' &3
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Oct 05, 2014
I think you're on to something about the new set of regenerations. He said as much something like if I die here, now I regenerate again and again and again. He has become immortal at a time he was ready to die. That is more then enough to screw you up a bit.
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Oct 05, 2014
"I loved that Danny stood up for himself and that Doctor Who finally introduced a character who didn't immediately fall all over themselves to defend the Doctor or his actions, who didn't just believe in him because he's the Doctor. I loved that there was finally a character who didn't go out of their way to please him or listen to him just because it's what everyone has always done."

I feel like other companions have fallen into this role as well in the past, just not so much in New Who (although, Donna does fit the bill a bit). A lot of the Doctor's male companions and some of the female non-human companions were people who didn't just fall all over him. Ian, Steven, Zoe, the Brigadier, Leela, Romana, and Turlough are all people who fit into this role, at least to start.
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Oct 05, 2014
I would also add in response to the question "Is this the most divisive season of Doctor Who to date?" no. It's not. There were plenty of divisive seasons of Old Who. This might be the most divisive season of New Who, but I think that's because it's a combination of people not used to this new, very different Doctor, people still not entirely on board with Clara, and people getting fed up with Moffat's way of story telling. Even if you're okay with some of this, chances are you're not okay with it all, causing this to be a less than great season so far. Personally I like Clara and Danny (although I still don't get the Doctor's reaction to Danny and his sudden anti-soldier attitude), I'm a bit undecided on the Doctor (he's not my favourite, but he's not my least favourite either), but I'm increasingly frustrated by Moffat. I don't think he's an asset to the show anymore, at least not as a showrunner, and it's time for that to change.
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Oct 05, 2014
I think this episode confirmed my suspicions that Danny Pink exists for the sole purpose of creating pointless drama between Clara and the Doctor.
I get the feeling that if Danny hadn't said what he did to Clara at the end of the previous episode (or perhaps if 11th was the one to have forced Clara into making the decision instead of 12th), Clara would not have blown up like she did at the end of this episode. I'm not saying the Doctor was justified in what he did, I'm just saying it's an issue that probably would have been worked through in times past.
That said, what kind of point was the Doctor trying to make? I like the more curmudgeonly direction this Docotr is taking, but this seems a little over the top. Previously, the only time I can recall when he forced a companion to make a life changing decision was when he forced armory to choose to rescue Young!Amy, thus erasing Old!Amy from existence, or rescue Old!Amy, forcing Young!Amy into several years of running/hiding/fighting for her life alone (Not a hard decision, if you ask me. They really made too big a deal about it in the episode). But now he's forcing a companion to decide between the fate of the earth, or an innocent baby. Seriously, what the heck?
Of course, in times past, Clara would have gotten the Doctor to take a third option. She might have told him to move the egg away from earth's orbit and replace it with a new moon. This is the girl that inspired multiple incarnations of the Doctor to rescue Gallifrey instead of blowing it up. Why she didn't do the same in this case is beyond me.
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Oct 05, 2014
But what makes the Doctor more qualified to make that decision than Clara? Or anybody else for that matter? He said he didn´t know what was going to happen. So he had exactly the same information that Clara had to make that decision. And he is right. He´s not human. It is not his planet and not his people. He can leave at any time and go somewhere else. So why should he decide the fate of humanity time and time again and not an actual human being? Somebody who will actually be affected by that decision?. That´s what pretty much all the companions (and the rest of humanity) do. When the time comes to make a decision they stand stand aside at look to the Doctor to shoulder the responisbility.
Maybe the Doctor is just fed up with being forced to decide for everyone else and then get blamed when things don´t work out. He is not humanitys Messiah. There will come a moment when a monumental decision regarding the fate of humanity will have to be made and the Doctor won´t be there for whatever reason. Maybe he just doesn´t want them to keep waiting for him to show up until the decision is out of their hands.
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Oct 05, 2014
So, my earlier comment was more about story structure, but as to the substance of the episode....

I do find this whole thing of the characters now calling the Doctor out on things (it was my bipolar feeling about Danny last week, I was cheering him early on but annoyed with him with his ultimatum to Clara) interesting. And as I think of Clara's speech, I almost feel like there is subtle ret conning going on here and I hate to give the justification. But while this Doctor is the same that made the choice to sacrifice Gallifrey, he also isn't exactly. This Doctor knows Gallifrey is out there somewhere to reach now. When it was gone, he could have a bit of more possession over Earth and humanity. It was almost his substitute home. Now, he doesn't need it as much and is almost going through the motions of who he has most recently been. But he doesn't exactly have the self actualization to realize the fundamental change in him. I have a feeling next episode where we have the Doctor by himself on an adventure to perhaps be the one that makes him realize some things about himself and, on an off chance that might move this whole Missy storyline forward. Fingers crossed.
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Oct 05, 2014
for the first time in years I couldn't even finish watching the episode. I can't stand this new Doctor, and the story lines are so bad I'm done watching this.
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Oct 05, 2014
I think they're getting Clara ready to leave the Doctor to stay with Danny.
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Oct 06, 2014
Yes, that does appear to be obvious. Notwithstanding that there is zero chemistry between the two of them
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Oct 05, 2014
Off the top of my head I can't think of any time when the Doctor was not, on the whole, patronizing. Sometimes he's sweet and patronizing, sometimes he mixes it in with sentimental argle-bargle as he does in "Kill the Moon," when Clara zaps him for perhaps imagining background music, sometimes he's quixotic and weird about it, sometimes he's as unpredictable and determined to hand humanity their own destiny, as this time out--but he's always been a vast, superior alien who treats real humans as both precious--and as despised morons. Even the ones he loves.

Part of what's great about this season, and this incarnation of the Doctor, is that it pushes hard on those old bits of embedded dishonesty--and some of us are relieved, amused, and delighted.
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