Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode55It’s here! The episode you’ve all been clamoring for. (Or many of you have, anyway.) Join Deb, Erika, Lynne, and Tansy as we tackle the big issues (and a precious few that aren’t so big) in yet another divisive episode of series 8. What did we think about killing the moon? Would we have turned off our lights? Did we think it was intentionally evocative of the real-world reproductive rights debate? Do we think the Doctor was justified in his actions? It’ll come as no surprise that we don’t all agree. What we do however, is wade through technical issues to succeed in having a really good conversation about all these things and more.

What about you? Would you have left your lights on? Let us know in the comments!


Also covered:

Bonus links:
Paul Cornell’s Shadow Police books: London Falling, The Severed Streets
Kill the Moon reviews:, i09
Love and War (New Adventures novel)
Two-minute Time Lord

The Doctor Who Book Club Podcast

Download or listen now (runtime 1:22:29) 

Comments on: "Verity! Episode 55 – Murder-Death-Kill the Moon" (72)

  1. Mariana said:

    First thx for that thoughtful podcast!
    @Deb I totally agree with you regarding Danny Pink. During “Caretaker” I was thinking cool down, she’s travelling with the doctor to see stars, what can you offer her? A trip to Paris? 8But thag might be projecting as I prefer to always have a life seperate from my relationships as well 😉
    But during the end of “Kill the moon” I had this feeling as if he was smiling on the inside when she was venting and was “told you so, didn’t I?” and I also have tiny sliver of hope left that he might do something bad or evil (Him being a real baddie is unfortunately out of the question I think after seeing Col. Orson Pink and the young Rupert)
    Also the fact that he is probably going to be Clara’s second prize after having to give up her travels annoys me in advance as I can’t see why he’s so good for her especially. Maybe I’ve been missing something?

  2. I have to say the editing job is very good this week, and I can’t hear the joins. Well done Erika! Like Erika, I didn’t pick up on the political subtext of this episode until Liz pointed it out on Twitter (spoilers from a Spoiler Cop!), but it seems blatantly obvious in hindsight. And like Deb and Tansy, I’m not very comfortable with this subject matter in the show. So here’s the fluff around the edges that stood out to me. This is the first episode this season where nobody says, ‘Shut up!’ It’s especially interesting as there was a moment when Clara might have said it to Courtney, but perhaps doesn’t as she is still in the ‘schoolteacher’ role. And Lundvik’s side-eye as she corrects the gender of the current President deserves an air punch 🙂 I was kind of hoping Erika would title this episode ‘Girls Night Out’ 😉

    So the current TARDIS team is a ‘reboot’ of the original one, with one male and one female teacher and one female student from Coal Hill School, although we haven’t had an episode with all three at once (yet?). Along with the choice of an older actor, Moffat seems to be echoing aspects of the first season. Are there other parallels as well?

  3. The problem with the “utter shite science” of the episode, as I see it, is that it’s not self-consistent (as I discussed in my own review). We can gloss over questionable science if the setting is already fantastical and it makes any sort of narrative sense. But when a story is set where we live, and you break well-known and well-understood laws of physics, that’s when it gets silly.

    My 2¢. 🙂

    • I can understand that viewpoint, but I couldn’t disagree more. Doctor Who has a long history of merging the crazy and fantastical with the real world, and that’s one of the things I love about it. A TARDIS appearing anywhere on Earth does that. A man getting stung by a weird pod, and quickly becoming a giant plant-thing that busts out of a giant English Manor does. A creepy machine that sucks out all your fear and anger and leaves you calm and pliant certainly does. Stone statues coming to “life” and chasing you? Ridiculous. But I’ve just described some of my favorite real-world-based episodes. I fervently hope Doctor Who never strays too close to real sci-fi territory, because I think the magic at the heart of it is what I love best.

      • See the difference for me, with the examples you cite, is that all of those can still be explained with “science we’re not clever enough to understand yet.” Those are the kinds of things I can easily gloss over. But gravity? Conservation of mass? Those are fundamental, and no explanation—even a handwavey, “sufficiently advanced science” one—is even offered. That’s what I couldn’t get past.

      • I do see the distinction. Maybe I just don’t know enough science to recognize what needs hand-waving! As for offering explanation, I used to want that. Now I’m learning it’s often better when they don’t. What’s the point anyway if it’s just going to be technobabble nonsense? Might as well just roll with it. I find that when they do take time to insert explanations (even the flimsy ones), it sometimes drags the plot and pace down with it, so I’m fine with filling in the gaps with headcanon nonsense. 🙂

        Though I gotta say, Seeds of Doom stretches conservation of mass pretty darn far. There’s almost always going to be a fundamental law of science that’s being broken if you look hard enough.

        That said, I can understand being bothered by it. Like I said, I used to be bothered by that kinda thing too. Somewhere along the lime I guess I just learned to let go.

      • It’s definitely a physics thing. As a physicist, this kind of blatant contradiction of first principles really irritates me, but so does the Star Trek style technobabble. But most of the time it just boils down to something that could be fixed with another draft of the script. As I have learned to ignore noisy explosions in outer space, I can (mostly) let it slide.

        So here’s a quick headcanon fix: The space dragon is a pan-dimensional being that transports mass to and from hyperspace, dynamically changing its gravitational field. And although its aspect in our universe is newborn, the rest is fully mature and capable of immediately laying a new egg after hatching. A neat biological fix as well, and doesn’t that appeal to the reductionist in you?

      • I think part of it has to do with my particular academic background (astrophysics). Because I’ve spent so much time studying gravity and its effects, that part really stood out to me. I like your pan-dimensional being explanation, though. That I could live with!

        I was able to handwave the egg laying on the Tribble Principle—a creature that’s born pregnant has been done in SF before. 🙂 Further, leaving 1/6 of its mass behind to restore the gravitational balance of the Earth-Moon system was decent PlotSpackle™. 😉

      • I love “PlotSpackle”! (Sorry. I don’t know how to make the trademark symbol on my phone.) 🙂

      • Haha! Thanks! First used it on my writing blog (The Dryad Chronicles — as opposed to my Doctor Who blog, in my bio). It seems so appropriate in so many situations! 😀

    • Christopher P said:

      I’m going to have to agree with you here. I did enjoy this episode overall but there were issues of scientific credulity that weren’t so much handwaved as flat-out ignored. The deal-breaker for me on the science of this episode was the gross violation of Conservation of Mass.

      I’d have been OK with this episode with even just two changes: first, the Doctor explaining /how/ the mass of the moon might be increasing. Like, him saying either something was artificially exerting a gravitational pull rather than actual mass (and that could have easily been a quirk of the creature’s biology) or saying something about the moon converting ambient energy (sunlight, solar debris) into more mass for something inside the moon. It’s wonderful when Doctor Who flirts with breaking established scientific laws but they still need to give SOME practical explanation, IMO, even if it’s a two-second-long throwaway line. Otherwise it’s just sloppy writing to those of us who know better and Doctor Who is generally much better quality in this regard, on the whole.

      The second is related: WHERE did the mass for the second moon come from? I would have been a lot happier with that, again, if we had some explanation, like maybe the creature re-assembled the fragments of the old moon specifically to protect the Earth (which would have been an awesome realization that the creature was already intelligent and empathetic enough to do that for the Earth). Just spontaneously popping an entirely new moon out of nowhere… honestly, that’s not handwaving, again, that’s lazy writing.

      I’m a bit bothered by the idea that the Doctor wouldn’t have had any clue about the creature in his existing knowledge of human history though. Although there’s a bit of fridge horror if you consider the possibility that something happened in the “old” timelines that killed off this creature before it reached maturity.

      Putting the weak science writing aside though, everything else about the episode was strong IMO. While the strife was uncomfortable, I feel like the Doctor, Clara and Danny all had spot-on characterizations (and I’m even more of a Danny fanboy after this episode!)

  4. Great podcast! By far my favorite Doctor Who podcast of the lot, keep up the good work! I must say that I think Deb is dead wrong about Danny Pink, but I tend to agree with her on most things, so all is well. This series is my favorite of New Who by a wide margin, to the point where I already know that Capaldi is my Doctor (replacing Hartnell if that gives any clues to my taste in such things)

    I will add that as an American male, I had zero idea that this was a story with anything whatever to do with reproductive rights, but seeing as my wife and I decided long ago never to have children, and the aforementionioned maleness, I suppose that is to be expected.

    Also i would have kept the light on, but secretly be hoping to be outvoted by the barbarous masses, so as to get the best of both worlds.

    Finally, the crap science doesn’t bother me even a little. If Doctor Who had to rely on good, or even decent science, then frankly there would be no Doctor Who.

    Thanks for taking the time to make such a lovely podcast.

  5. Jennifer said:

    To me, the Doctor wasn’t acting out of the ordinary by appointing Clara as a representative of humanity because he had done it before. The 11th Doctor in “Cold Blood” had made Amy and another human representatives of humanity in negotiations with the Silurians leader, on how humanity could live in harmony with the Silurians.
    The theme of humanity wanting to kill first before understanding is also apart of the same episode plot.

    I like that Clara stood up for herself but I’m not like Danny Pink. My looming question of him is that with the exit Clara happening soon. Will Danny be gone too? Are we getting a completely new companion soon?

  6. […] Verity! Episode 55 – Murder-Death-Kill the Moon WHOOGLE shared this story from It’s here! The episode you’ve all been clamoring for. (Or many of you have, anyway.) Join Deb, Erika, Lynne, and Tansy as we tackle the big issues (and a precious few that aren’t so big) in yet another divisive episode of series 8.… […]

  7. BeckyB said:

    You can add me to the count that was anxiously awaiting your podcast, because I’ve had so many thoughts about this episode and I was very interested in hearing your polite disagreement on the topics.

    I confess that I am an American mother but did not see the abortion issues in the episode until visiting some forums and seeing that as the hot topic. Certainly now I see the parallels but I doubt the show creators were trying to make a statement. Parallels are drawn simply by the similarity of the issues. Courtney blurting out “but it’s a baby” seems like a typical teenage emotional response (the same reason my teenage girl didn’t want us to kill the mouse in the basement) not a political statement.

    I emotionally connected to this episode in a way I haven’t since The Time of the Doctor, and found I was holding my breath as Clara began standing up for herself, and by the end of her speech I found myself sobbing. While I have loved Twelve, I have felt with Clara the loss of the relationship she had with Eleven, and it was so cathartic to have her finally give that voice.

    What wasn’t talked about in this podcast was the amazing overall look, lighting and direction of this episode. It looked amazing. And while I think the whole “gravity” bit was simply a reason to not have to shoot zero G, the coloring and overall feel was cinematic.

    Musically the Twelfth Doctor theme took center stage in this episode. If fans were confused about what the Twelfth Doctors theme was, they are no longer. It was particularly showcased during Capaldi’s speech on the beach about human kind looking to the stars.

    And for the record, I think I’d be turning out my lights too.

    • BeckyB, I am right there with you. I am an American, feminist mother and I was so taken by the “innocent vs. humanity” morality play, that I completely missed all of the egg/baby/choice interpretation. I also agree with you that I don’t believe that was the intention of the production team. Really, who would willingly step into that puddle of …
      I also cried when Clara stood up to the Doctor- couldn’t believe I was crying-and for the very same reason. I really miss Eleven and I don’t want a mean Doctor. On the other, I believe all of this is part of a really great story Moffat is telling and I am with the Verities- can’t wait to watch the season as a whole.

  8. Henrik said:

    That’s not how anything works! [expletive deleted]! Shuttle?! Where did the mass come from? The moon is “falling apart”? Those things are clearly multicellular!  [expletive deleted]

    This is going to be a rather lengthy rant and I haven’t even listened to the podcast episode yet because I’m saving it for when I go for a walk this evening so if you just delete my comment I totally understand.

    I get it. It’s Who. I’m fine with poetic license but [expletives deleted]. Just…

    Why the [expletive deleted] would Earth communications satellites be knocked out of orbit just because the moon is denser? The gravity of the moon isn’t enough to even appreciably affect tides in the Caspian “sea” because it’s too small so why would freaking satellites be irreversibly hit by the increase in the moon’s gravity? And regardless of what stories like this one keeps regurgitating as fact for no good narrative reason the moon is older than a few hundred million years by a margin of several billion. And what if it hatches? Who cares? Apparently it’s put on mass. This just happened now? Over night? And why do we want to blow it up, wasn’t that part of the problem if it hatches? And how are you going to manage to “blow up the moon”? What does that even mean? How is it going to help before you realise there’s a space dragon thing in it? How would killing it stop the tidal forces of the newly massive moon since it’s corpse will still presumably retain the mass? Where did the mass come from?!! And suddenly there’s no gravity in one room and 1G two meters off to the side where we’re supposed to accept that a dog sized and spider shaped unicellular creature capable of spinning webs is about to attack from. [expletive deleted] you.  

    But OK, the core of the plot is that there’s suddenly extra mass that’s messing up tides. Great. The thing hatches and the extra mass moves off by some unknown means of propulsion. Problem? The remains will coalesce back to a moon through gravity pretty quickly, won’t it? I suppose It might throw some bits off toward the earth? It’s hardly implausible that whatever hatches is hungry and decides to eat whatever lives on the planet it’s orbiting I guess. OK. Maybe? No one seemed super concerned about being eaten much though.

    [expletive deleted]. No. Even if I accept how ridiculous the premise is, I’ve accepted crazier stuff, the episode never makes a coherent case for why it’s a serious threat to anyone. Or even really attempts an answer to what actually happened to cause what threat there is! Saying it’s an egg doesn’t solve the puzzle of why there’s suddenly more mass on the moon!

    And we haven’t stopped going into space yet and this thing is set in the very near future. The U.S. Government stopped wasting money on the shuttle boondoggle which was overpriced and inefficient and designed to barely get people and some cargo into low earth orbit. Plenty of countries and plenty of private companies are going into space, indeed many more than have every ventured into space at any time before, and they’re doing it cheaper and much more reliably.
    [expletives deleted] shuttles! Use a rocket, like the miners presumably did from [expletive deleted] Mexico that same future decade instead of a museum [expletive deleted] from fifty [expletive deleted] years ago. It’s like deciding to go across the country but everyone has stopped using long range transportation less than ten years ago and so instead of finding a car or a buss or whatever you decide to steal a locomotive and lay [expletive deleted] track to accomplish your important mission with limited resources. 
    The creature laying eggs at birth was fine with me, actually. Sure, a giant space creature might be born pregnant, seems plausible if genetically risky. A bit insane that it lays an egg the size of the egg it just hatched from though. They didn’t even lampshade how, literally, unbelievable that is. Its cloaca is a TARDIS. No one seems surprised.

    But I should point out some things I like about the episode. Courtney Woods was great. I didn’t mind only asking half the earth to weigh in on the decision and leaving the daylight side out. There was a deadline. You take what you can get. It was probably a statistically significant sample. I do mind lights in entire cities and countries going out at once. Really? Not a gradual dimming as some people leave their lights on and some turn theirs off? I suppose I could reason that all the power companies decided to all make the choice for people by shutting it off at the source? Ugh. [expletive deleted] episode. Not even scary! Was there some moral point at the end about delivery day abortions? The direction was pretty good. Most of the effects were great. The acting was mostly solid.

    We don’t know all shapes and sizes life can take and we don’t have a perfect understanding of physics and biology and economics or history but we do know quite a bit. We know some things with great certainty and it’s not based on arbitrary assumptions or a lack of imagination but careful study and rigorous experimentation.
    Doctor Who is great when it’s wonderfully absurd. ‘Rings of Ahkaten’ was lovely. ‘Kill the Moon’ was not just stupid, which I’ll forgive easily in part because I’m stupid too, but it was aggressively and relentlessly stupid. 
    I’ve read a lot of people responding to criticism of the episode’s science illiteracy by saying “if you’re watching Doctor Who for the science you’re watching the wrong show”.
    Setting aside for the moment certain fans essentially telling other fans that they shouldn’t watch the show if they don’t like this episode I have to point out that I, with what I think is a lot of critics, am not watching the show “for the science”. Just like I’m not watching the show for the grammar and syntax or watching the show for how well lit it is. But there’s a certain base level of competency required in all of those things for an episode to be enjoyable for me and the “science”, or just basic understanding of reality if you will, in ‘Kill The Moon’ is the grammar equivalent of all the characters speaking as though they’ve had major damage to the speech centres of their brains but none of the characters seemingly noticing it or the lighting equivalent of leaving the studio lights completely off.
    Maybe there is the kernel of an interesting story in the episode. It’s great that some people still find it enjoyable. But it’s not nitpicking or watching the show for the wrong reasons to be taken completely out of it by how spectacularly the show misunderstands how the world works on several basic levels.
    At a certain point my suspension of disbelief snaps. Yes, the Doctor has to be able to travel through space and time because that’s the basic conceit of the show. Yes, he’s an alien that looks a lot like a human because we’re making the show on Earth and that’s all we’ve got to cast him with. Sure, something is weird about the moon in this episode. Fine. OK. But then it all starts to just pile on. Once the story has made it to “it’s an egg” it’s already lost me. Clearly there are no rules to this universe. Anything can and will happen at any time if the writer gets a stray notion. Why should I care what happens?
    I could try to understand the moral ramifications of murdering the giant space baby or whatever but any sort of reasoning I do will be meaningless because there’s nothing to base my reasoning in. I don’t think there’s a threat regardless what happens to the moon because whatever happens could literally be anything regardless of what any of the characters say or do. It’s like it’s written by a five year old. A thing happens and then another thing happens. And then another thing happens. And it has space shuttles because those are cool. And spiders are cool, those were there.

    No. [expletive deleted] you. Give the script three or four rewrites and then come back. You can easily keep the spider creatures, just say that they’re like space parasites or whatever and don’t try to make us believe they are unicellular. Easy. As it stands so far this episode is the worst of series 8. ‘Robot of Sherwood’ at least had the decency to be upfront about how dumb it is.

    Sorry for the length and incoherence of this comment. At least it isn’t broadcast on TV as the latest episode of ‘Doctor Who’. Maybe some or most of my concerns are actually cleared up in the episode. I only saw it once and as I pointed out I had already checked out before they got to “it’s an egg”.

  9. sostorm said:

    I’ll have to chime in on the “is this only an american thing” since I am Swedish and lives there. Abortion isn’t a huge thing in Sweden. We have it, we like it, we don’t really talk about i that much. This election cycle has brought it up a bit more since it’s a profile issue for our conservative christian party (conservative in the Swedish sense and not in the American). As a swede I’m surprised when views against abortion surface in our public debate, it’s a very recent thing.

    This being said, I’m not at all impervious to the American debate (fine, I’m a feminist, I’ve read Backlash etc) and our news papers do on a regular basis cover what’s happening with women’s rights in the US. Can you be ignorant of the right-to-choose issue living in Sweden? I think so, but not if you’re reading the newspapers properly. I can’t speak for the writer though, I don’t even know if he reads Swedish, if he doesn’t you can definitely be completely ignorant about this since it’s very unlikely to surface in any conversation you’re having.

    I loved how the Doctor was told off. I’m sure he had his reasons but he did it in a very patronising way. The thing about the training wheels was a very bad comment. He could have argued his side in a much better way that wouldn’t have left Clara feeling like a child.

    I also strongly agree with Deb. I think Danny is coming off as very patronising. You can listen in different ways. You can listen in a way that signals respect and selflessness and you can listen in a ‘I know what’s best and let me tell you all about how you feel’-way. I strongly feel like he did the later. I felt that he was just short of invalidating her whole experience by telling her that she didn’t really know what she was talking about. I’m not saying that he was wrong. I’m just saying that you can tell someone what he did in manner that signals respect, which his way didn’t.

    What I object most of in the conversation about kill/not kill the being was the way the dialogue was written. I completely agree with the Verities here, I would have accepted it as only an interesting choice if the wording had been different.

    Lastly I would have liked there to be some consequence at the end. Since they ignored humanity it would have been nice if it didn’t just didn’t slide by (almost) unnoticed. How about a smaller moon, more debris than usual, worse cellphone reception? It felt as if it just ended on a status quo, which really isn’t a satisfying end to me.

    • microtoast said:

      I second the agreement with Deb!

      And also the comment on consequences. What I didn’t like was that there WAS a right and a wrong answer to the dilemma. It was clearly the case that saving the baby dragonfly was the Right thing to do, and blowing it up was Wrong. And since that was the case, the Doctor was a jerk to leave it up to humanity – coming in and taking the correct course of action is what he does. It only makes sense to leave it up to humanity if it is a true decision is involved, a true choice between how best to approach things – with both outcomes equally weighted with equal consequences. In that case, outsiders wouldn’t have any business coming in and telling the locals what to do, because it would be more a question of identity – about shaping who we want to be, rather than figuring out the solution.

      That’s why the lack of consequences bothered me. Because it meant there was no real reason for the Doctor to leave, after all. As a friend of mine commented, if you’re a time traveler, not knowing the outcome is just laziness. But even if you have time travel, you can’t always solve the problems that simply have no good outcome no matter what choice you make. That’s what I felt was needed in this episode, but it wasn’t there in the end.

      • BeckyB said:

        Thank you for articulating what I couldn’t quite put my finger on. This was different from when the Doctor set up Amy or Kate to negotiate for human kind. Even if he left the final decision up to “womankind” he still could have used the TARDIS to get as much information as possible to aid them in making the best decision.

  10. Okay, I had some serious issues with this one.

    First of all, the Doctor tells Courtney she’s not special? What happened to “900 years of time and space and I never met anyone who wasn’t important”? And then he’s going to MAKE her special by taking her to the moon? I’m sorry? So she has no intrinsic specialness, but thank goodness the Doctor is here to make her special with a magical trip? Bull. If only we’d investigated WHY she’s a disruptive influence (maybe she’s very smart and unchallenged at school? maybe she’s got something going on with her family life? maybe she never learned to work with people?), but no, never mind, we’ll take her on a little trip to the moon and THEN she’ll be special. ICK.

    Single-celled organisms. With teeth. And jointed legs. And fur/hair. That spin webs for no apparent reason. I’m all for hand-waving science, but I don’t have enough hands for this one and I’m not even at the moon gaining mass, yet.

    The Doctor’s “it’s your world, your decision”. When in Deep Breath he was apparently close to committing “murder” (ish) for the benefit of humanity? That “don’t underestimate how far I’ll go” rings pretty darn hollow, now. Unless he was talking about how far he’ll bugger off when it’s decision-making time, then fine.

    The whole Doctor/Clara relationship is now very manipulative and bordering on emotionally abusive and I DO NOT WANT. I know that this is building up to something, but I’m having Tegan-so-angry-at-the-Doctor-to-the-point-of-tears flashbacks and I’m not happy about it.

    The “seeing into the future with magical powers” thing. The Doctor having his Yoda moment there was just weird.

    The moon is an egg. And the creature has wings. To fly. Through space. But first it makes roaring sounds. In space. And the egg bits “disintegrate”. Away. Not toward the creature (which is supposedly quite chock full of mass), not towards the Earth. Away. In the wind. Of space.

    I got through Paradise Towers, I can get through this, but am really, really hoping that things turn around soon…

    • Maureen said:

      I completely agree with you regarding the opening scene. The idea that the Doctor would have told anyone that they were not special seems out of character (even for this less friendly incarnation). I can accept that this Doctor finds human beings frustrating and isn’t sensitive to other people’s feelings. But going from “I never met anyone who wasn’t important” to telling a girl she’s not special seems like more than just a personality shift. Does he actually value human beings less than before? Is someone only special if they’ve done something historically significant? That’s what this scene implied and it threw me off on my initial viewing. It didn’t ruin the episode for me, but there could have been other reasons story-wise for a trip to the moon other than to make Courtney special.

  11. I have no idea if I would’ve turned out my light. And I’m about as strongly pro-life in the abortion debate as they come (I’m a conservative Christian mom of 3). But I’m not against pets being euthanized, or even hunting I suppose. I think I kinda agree with the astronaut woman (her name escapes me), sometimes you have to make horrible decisions, for what you hope is the lesser of two evils.

    I saw the abortion issue right away (my husband did not). My immediate reaction was “really guys? you’re forcing an abortion conversation into this story?” and the doctor leaving the “choice” with “womankind” was an eyeroll for me. However, I liked that you could read it both ways, and it wasn’t too preachy either way. Just unnecessary. But not too bad I guess.

    The science bit doesn’t bother me in the slightest, and I don’t really care one way or the other if they get science right or wrong on the show. Maybe it could be a cool way to raise some physics concepts with kids after watching? I don’t know, as my kids are 4 years old and younger so they’re not watching Doctor Who, nor are they asking physics questions.

    I agree with Deb that I don’t like Danny Pink. However, I thought he said the right thing to Clara here. He was a bit know-it-all about it but I think he was essentially right that it’s not a good idea to make permanent decisions in the heat of anger. Also like Deb, I will be glad if it turns out he’s a bad guy, as it will justify my dislike of him, and be an interesting twist to boot. Struggling to figure out what the point of him is, except to give Clara a reason to leave the Doctor. I really don’t want a “handshake, no hard feelings” moment between the two of them at the end of the season, and then Danny and Clara walking away towards the sunset.

    The “tell Courtney she’s special” thing was forced and annoying. It felt like the kids in Nighmare in Silver finding Clara’s picture in a history book and making her to take them on a trip. Just a silly way to get the story rolling.

    I haven’t rewatched this whole season yet, but I rewatched parts of Deep Breath last night. The scene where he is in the Tardis with Clara saying the “I’ve made mistakes” speech, and also the restaurant scene where they’re talking, and finally the last scene between the two of them really jumped out at me. It feels like since that episode ended, I’ve been watching an entirely different Doctor. He was fierce in that episode, but not a jerk. He was dark but not a bad guy. He even had soft moments. He wanted Clara to see him, and not see a stranger. He put his hand on Clara’s in the restaurant. You could tell that it was still the Doctor. there was so much promise in that episode!

    Now, he’s such a jerk I wait and wait for him to do something nice, or to crack a smile (a couple good ones this episode!). And I think it’s Clara’s fault. I think her rejection of him in the first episode and her continued strained attitude towards him really hurt him. And even though she decided to “see him” at the end of Deep Breath, and try to “help him” like the Eleventh Doctor asked, she never really accepted him, and the Doctor feels it. He wanted it to work and kept trying to make it work, because HE knows he’s the same person he always was, but she keeps proving that she doesn’t really enjoy being with him anymore or trust him, and instead of getting more likeable as the season goes on, he gets more and more abrasive. He needs someone different. Clara was great for the Eleventh Doctor, he followed her around like a puppy dog and made her feel important, and she saved him at Trenzalore twice. And I loved those episodes. But she’s not doing much for the new Doctor, except making him more insecure. And I’m over her! Looking forward to the end of her story and the beginning of someone new on the Tardis.

    • Just reread what I wrote and it was kind of negative so I just wanted to add that I did like this episode loads better than the Caretaker. The reveal that the moon is an egg was really cool and I loved the Doctor in that moment. Also the last scene where he’s trying to tell Clara why he did what he did. I feel for him so much in that scene!!!! He tried to do what he thought Clara would’ve wanted and STILL didn’t measure up. Poor guy! Totally sided with him on that!

    • BeckyB said:

      I’m amazed that you are laying all of Twelves abrasiveness at Clara’s feet. I don’t think that the Doctor would change his character in any way because of someone’s opinion of him. He never has in the past. In fact, isn’t that one of the things we love about the Doctor, that he seems to be impervious to social pressures and lives a higher moral law?

      Go back and watch the 7b and see the relationship that Eleven and Clara had. He was quick to take her hand and quick to embrace her, He was always complementary and encouraging. They clearly loved and respected each other. In Verity they even called Eleven a Teddy Bear. Now go back through season 8 and count how many times Twelve has insulted Clara, Ten? Twenty? Forty times? No more touching; the soft moments are very few and far between. Wouldn’t that kind of drastic personality change in a relationship be hard for anyone to deal with? I know that he is technically the same person, but we know that all the Doctor’s incarnations have different personalities as well.

      You said that Clara hasn’t been helpful to Twelve, that she has even been damaging to him, and I’m not seeing it. Yes, she has challenged him on a few things, but that is what he has wanted her to do. I haven’t seen Clara do anything but try to be sportive and helpful in the way he needs, all the time trying to navigate the new landmines of his personality. She has implicitly trusted him in every episode up to this point, even against her gut judgment she has put her life in his hands. In fine, Clara has given the doctor no cause for distress, but has been as supportive as she could.

      If anything, I think the remainder of the season will be Twelve learning more about himself and eventually polishing up his rough edges enough for him and Clara to be reconciled and for this incarnation of the doctor to become a better man. Perhaps, in that process, Clara will learn to understand him a little better too.

      • You’re right, I don’t mean to place blame on Clara for the -entirety- of Twelve’s abrasive personality. But I draw a distinction between “abrasive” and “jerk”. I think this incarnation is rough around the edges, not very empathetic, impatient, and lots of other things in a person that I think would be very hard to get along with. But I also think there’s an undercurrent of vulnerability that Clara has damaged and makes it hard for him to know where he stands with her.

        Maybe I shouldn’t have worded my original post so strongly! I just have a bad vibe from Clara this season and I usually side with the Doctor. We’ll see how it all plays out!

  12. I haven’t listened to the ep yet and now I’m a little bit scared to! I can’t bear the abortion ‘debate’ being brought into things – can’t we please have one thing not about politics please? The Doctor is always opposed to killing things, and the danger of allowing the hatching to happen is never fully established. It’s just people wanting to kill a thing because they’re afraid of it, which, again, the Doctor always opposes. Courtney’s ‘but it’s a baby!’ reaction is I think a fairly typical young-person reaction; it can’t possibly be dangerous if it’s only a baby, and she doesn’t see why the adults are afraid. I didn’t fear things as much when I was 15 either: I rode horses and babysat infants without a single thought for all the things that could go wrong, while now either one terrifies me. I have trouble imagining that the abortion angle even occurred to the writers, let alone that it was intentional.

  13. PS I hope I would have the courage to leave my lights on. I’m generally disgusted by a humanity that is willing to destroy in order to preserve its precious status quo. ‘Torchwood: Children of Earth’, anyone? ‘The Beast Below’? A species that commits such acts is not much worth preserving.

  14. Richard S. said:

    I’d love to have commented on the science of Kill The Moon.

    Unfortunately, my Bad-Science-ometer developed a serious flaw during the shuttle crash scene, and from then on it just showed this angry red glaring light all the time which, frankly, no DW episode could possibly contain the amount of bad science it was registering.

    There was a small explosion from my device when Hermione Norris’s character said, “There’s no water on the moon,” so I couldn’t hear the rest of that dialog, which must’ve gone something like:

    “…except for the relatively large amount of water locked in the minerals on the surface which was discovered sixty years ago, in 2009, by several lunar probes.

    “This, of course, led to the science news headline on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014, which revealed the likelihood that most of the water on the moon was in particle form, blown onto the surface by the solar wind, and not smashed into the satellite in vast icy chunks by water-bearing comets and asteroids as previously thought.

    “And, yes, Doctor, in case you’re wondering, that research did indeed inspire the very self-same Mexican mining operation of ill-famed notoriety that we have just crash-landed right alongside, although I’d have thought it more likely that, given the political situation in the 2010’s, it would’ve been China or India up here.

    “For further reading, Miss Oswald, Miss Woods, see such articles as the veeeery slightly racist headline ‘Spicy Space Race: India Aims For The Stars’ in last week’s… I mean, the October 4th 2014 issue, of New Scientist magazine.”

    I’m guessing that’s the gist of the dialog I missed. And, yep, it was a small but implausibly lengthy explosion there from the Bad-Science-ometer.

    Just as well it’s broken. If it had been functional and it had been monitoring your latest podcast, it would have spewed out some patronising claptrap about how you girls can’t get your poor little brains around science (and what is that teaching your daughters!!!), but you can sure as Hell talk the hind legs off a spidergerm on the subject of Pregnancy.

    In which case (the Bad-Science-ometer might continue, in patriarchal finger wagging mode) why not think of this ep’s science in terms of stuff you understand and witter on about all the time.

    Instead of: Why did that mass come out of nowhere?, think: Where is the baby’s food source?

    And instead of: How the heck did that dragon produce that satellite?, think: Is it really physically possible to give birth to something considerably larger than yourself, or does it just FEEL that way?

    Oh, I am so glad my Bad-Science-ometer is broken. Mainly because I sat back and watched the episode for what it was and it was awesome! It had the bloke from 1970s prison sitcom Porridge who (I’d forgotten) was also in two of my fav classic stories of classic DW, which he remembered fondly & proudly on DW Extra.

    And Phil Nice! THE Phil Nice whom I once had the pleasure of seeing in his hilarious live double act with Arthur Smith, at a college Freshers’ Week comedy night waaay back in nineteen-hundred-and-(cough)ghty-(cough)ive.

    Other ep highlights… Courtney! Space shuttle in canyon which would’ve previously padded out the whole of a classic-era’s episode three. More Courtney! Yes! Huge game-changing speech Clara gave the Doctor that she should’ve given Danny last episode so as to balls up the whole entire plot-arc of the season.

    Inasmuch as any episode has everything to do with a particular issue that the viewer can’t help but notice in a writer’s work, I really loved the whole tackling the issue of wildlife conservation and animal rights, as highlighted by Courtney’s “It’s just a baby,” echoing the title of the popular BBC series “Natures Miracle Babies” which examines the work of captive breeding programs for endangered species across the globe. Yes, that series has come in for criticism as to whether it’s the correct venue for such debate, and whether the solutions it presents are too simplistic, something you seem to have mentioned yourselves on this podcast.

    But still, the classic dilemma of preserving wildlife only to endanger a nearby human settlement… it’s an item of topical relevance all across the world, from elephants in Kenya to wolves in Kirkculbrightshire (sp?), so kudos to Peter Harness for tackling the subject.

    The episode’s other item of topical relevance, at least in the UK news media of the past week, is the health risk posed by coming home from work, heading straight for the kitchen, and pouring yourself a glass of wine.

    It’s a silent killer of a ticking healthcare timebomb!!

    (To be serious for one sentence, there’s a strong medical case to say that might be no exaggeration.)

    It’s an issue that my mother has really been concerned about for years, and that’s why she refuses to watch any TV show (i.e. Outnumbered) where the characters engage in such irresponsible behaviour, which she thinks of as encouraging the viewers to do the same.

    The scene where Clara comes home from work, heads to the kitchen, pours herself a glass of wine? At last! It’s all falling into place!

    Strax gave Clara the prognosis of (spectacular) FLUID retention. The head teacher described Danny as a bit of a lady KILLER. Danny builds deep structures in which to contain vast amounts of LIQUID.

    THESE are the clues that Moffat has been hiding in plain sight, right there in front of our noses, just waiting to be discovered… while he does something totally and utterly different.

    I loved, loved, loved Kill The Moon. God knows I shouldn’t have, but I did.

    The light on my Bad-Science-ometer is now well and truly OFF. Hope there’s someone somewhere out there knows how to fix these things.

  15. Richard S. said:

    Oops, 2049 setting of episode minus 2009 of actual Indian probe discovery of lunar water, equals forty, not sixty, years. That’s the kind of mistake just sets of the whole internet and invalidates the credibility of my entire argument. And the liquid in Danny’s well? Thatt’ll be a Moffat tribute to that Poe story, the one about the Cask. Or not.

  16. Ethan said:

    Total agreement with Deb on Danny – as guy who knows guys that act that way, he’s pretty much out to get her to stop travelling.

  17. Laurissy said:

    I’ve got to admit this is the first story which I plain did not like. It’s rather odd to me that people see this as looking back at the hinchcliffe era. It reminded me more of the Troughton era and the base under seine mentality. You’ve got an enclosed space, a ticking clock and a small cast. I think the reason why it doesn’t work for me as an Hinchcliffe episode is for that style of episode to work, you need a villain, a focus point, something to be scared off. When I watch something like terror of the zygons or pyramids of mars. There is a clear malevolence that must be overcome and that’s where the horror comes from that there is somethign coming to get you. This episode lacks that threat and ends up being rather limp. I was just really not scared of these monsters, their only purpose was to kill the extraneous cast members. Now then I’m not saying there shouldn’t be innovation, there absolutely should but I’m sorry of this makes me shallow but I need a god damn villain for these kind of episodes to work. I need to be afraid of something that seems like an actual threat. The designs were really cool though I don’t get why they decided to disappear part way through the episode.

    So I honestly didn’t pick up on the pro choice prolife stuff. To be honest the first thing I thought of when I saw this moral dilemma being laid out was the dark knight. I just flashbacked to those two ferries. In both cases humanity is being tested and in the dark knight they only just pass. When compared to that this seemed pretty limp in comparison. I mean in that story they just passed but both ships made the choice to do the right thing. In this story we have Clara try and give the people a choice in a way that it is so nonsensical it makes me laugh and doesn’t hold up to the barest amount of scrutiny. I would have so much respect for this episode if Hermione Morris had pointed out how stupid it was and it doesn’t matter, we have to make the decision now. Then Clara votes with Hermione Norris and kills the creature with only Courtney voting against and then at the last second Clara changes her mind. Don’t make this a test for humanity, this should have been focused on Clara’s humanity and her limitations. In fairness I think I could live with the moon being an egg if it wasn’t for how stupid the logistics are of voting.

    Also I think this episode is a poor retread of waters of Mars, it had the themes of going out into the stars and being explorers and humanity being tested, the doctor being a dick. I think it was done a lot more effectively in that story and there was a threat which was terryfying. No one else has bought it up so I guess it’s just me. So that’s my two cents.

    • I also got a base-under-seige vibe from this one! For me, it was the situation being one in which the characters are the last hope, the very last people to be able to fix whatever crisis is happening.

      I see what you’re saying about Waters of Mars, and that’s an interesting take. The parallels to previous episodes people have been making are to Beast Below and The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, both 11th Doctor, but I think the Doctor himself is much closer to the 10th in Waters of Mars. His arrogance for sure is very similar, but it’s also in the Doctor’s patronizing attitude towards humans and their space exploration. Both the 10th and 12th Doctor regard mankind’s efforts as admirable, but talk about them in the ways some people might admire a dog who can jump through a hoop; the Doctor is impressed and even moved, but he’s not inspired by people like Lundvik or Adelaide Brooke, he just appreciates them while remaining secure in his superior knowledge.

      Thanks for pointing out that relationship! I think it’s helping me parse through my feelings on this episode (which are still very mixed, even after reading countless recaps and reviews, and listening to Verity! and RFS, ack!)

  18. Oh dear. People are complaining about the SCIENCE? Show me the Doctor Who story with immaculate science, and I’ll show you a flying pig. Anyhoo, back to the stuff that matters…

    Being a Scot, I saw a definite parallel with our recent referendum. A choice between YES or NO, influenced by fear of the unknown. Moffat’s Scottish agenda? Yup.

    The pro-choice stuff was not lost on me, but it’s not so much of an issue in Scotland so I didn’t focus on that. I thought it was a great, complex, grown-up episode, and I think that Moffat lied to us again. We DO have a split series this year: up to this episode, and after this episode. I think the Doctor’s reaction to Clara’s (entirely justified) dressing down will set him on a new track. I think Moffat is trying to do with Capaldi what RTD wanted to do with Colin Baker.

    But I could be wrong. We shall see, and I’m thrilled to find out! I’m still loving the programme, and I’d forgotten how much fun a horrible Doctor could be. 🙂

  19. ccarol said:

    Just wanted to thank you for another great Verity episode. It’s so nice to see that there are still places in the fandom where there can be thoughtful discussion and polite disagreement.

    For what it’s worth, I liked “Kill the Moon” very much, dodgy science and all. One of the things I liked the most is that there are no easy answers: all of the characters have an understandable point of view and are arguably “right”. So I can cheer for Clara dressing down the Doctor (she is so awesome), and at the same time understand some of his reasoning, and sympathize with both of them, and it is _so heartbreaking_, it’s lovely.

  20. Thanks, Verities, for another really fun podcast. Love it! You always point out themes and theories that I never see.

    I have lots of thoughts and theories of my own, but I’ll keep it short. I think Moffat has been writing an angry Doctor. I think he is still recovering from a 900 year long war on Trenzalore and he is irritable, impatient, self-focused and tired. I think he is also afraid. When seen through this lens, a lot of the Doctor’s words and actions make sense, especially this episode. Did you notice how happy and excited he was when he showed Clara and the others what was in the egg? Then, when they expressed ambivalence about whether to kill it or not, he immediately became angry and perhaps, disapointed. I believe he left Clara to decide because, in that moment, he was mad. Tired of the responsibility of saving earth from itself over and over again, I think he left in a huff. If you look at what he says as he is leaving, he is clearly angry.
    “We don’t do anything. I’m sorry, I can’t help you. Earth isn’t my home. The moon isn’t my moon. Sorry…now you’ve got the tools to kill it. You made them and you brought them up here all on your own with your own ingenuity. You don’t need a Time Lord. Kill it or let it live. I can’t make the decision for you.”

    I think Moffat has done such a great job at building up tension throughout the season, that Clara telling the Doctor off felt very authentic and reflective of the emotions of the audience. Loved that scene-watched it three times.

    So, we’ll see where this is going ,

  21. terminuspodcast said:

    Listening to this now, but I wanted to pause and share a meta about Twelve and Clara’s relationship that I loved on Tumblr:

    A big TL;DR from it was that the Doctor was giving Clara control over the situation because he knows that she prefers to be in control and he was gifting her that. It was his awkward way of being respectful to her and I think he was genuinely surprised by her reaction to that in the end. I don’t think he was being consciously malicious in any way. It’s easy to see him in a negative light, but from his perspective, he likely thought he was doing good by her.

    • terminuspodcast said:

      As an aside, upon watching it I didn’t see any allegory for women’s reproductive rights, personally. In fact, the idea didn’t even occur to me until I saw many people up and arms about it on the interwebs. I watched it a second time with this is mind and can sort of see it if I squint, but overall still didn’t see it. (FWIW: I’m a woman, but childfree)

      Not saying those who did wrong, of course, but for me personally, I just not only associate abortion issues with the birth of a HUMAN child, not a creature or animal — there are no animal abortion issues to my knowledge — but also this was not a fetus per se but a creature about to hatch and the mother — if it even had one, hence the possible parthenogenesis — was no where to be found. I mean, it was hatching from an egg — something that would be external to a mother’s body and pretty weak as an analogy to pregnancy, IMO. Plus, its not saying killing all unborn babies is wrong, just this one that might destroy all life on the planet below.

      No, to me it was more about how dangerous its hatching could be to life on earth and weighing the pros and cons of that with what information they had at hand. I mean, FWIW, I’m very-very-very pro-choice, but again, I just really didn’t think this was taking an abortion angle, yet alone pro-life. YMMV. I’ve heard Moffat has said that it wasn’t the author’s intent.

  22. lbphilly said:

    This has been a very nutritious discussion (as the director of the Rosenbach Museum is wont to say) about the comnplex issues raised by a troubling episode.

    I totally didn’t pick up on the pro-life / pro-choice thing about the egg. And I’m a mother, grandmother and (groan) impending great-grandmother myself so I have mommy credentials. In fact, I was momentarily stunned when I first saw this issue raised in the reviews, followed by “of course people would see it that way.” Given Lynne’s sharing about the decisions she had to make and her comment that she didn’t originally see it as an issue of reproductive rights, I feel a little less defensive about missing it than I did when I first saw the issue raised on Twitter and/or a review. When I watched it, I saw it more as the more general moral dilemma: what is one alien life weighed in the balance against the possible destruction of humanity?

    And here I part company with a number of the Verities. I was also all right with the Doctor leaving Clara, Courtney, and Lundvik to make the decision, as both a vote of confidence in their judgment and possibly a way to boost Courtney’s sense of worth and confidence, and possibly Clara’s. Poor stupid alien, his attempt to do the right thing cut no mustard with Clara. A-plus to Jenna Coleman for her blisteringly intense and pitch-perfect performance. But oh, boy, I think Clara had the wrong end of the stick on that one.

    In fact, as I think about it I get even more annoyed at her preachiness: Clara doesn’t get to have it both ways. Either she’s all grown up and teacher-y and preachy and telling the Doctor how he must treat Courtney or she’s a kid asking The Dad to fix the situation. She can’t pick and choose her degree of grown-upedness. Unlike Courtney, she’s not a teenager any more. If I were in the Doctor’s place I’d be annoyed at Clara’s role-switching and I might have said something about taking the stabilizers off the bike, too. In fact, I might even have gone so far as to tell her to put on her big girl pants. You want to tell the Doctor what to do? Here — you do what the Doctor does.

    Back to Courtney: Courtney got it right when Clara wanted to switch from teacher to friend — no, I prefer to call you Miss, Miss. Sort out your roles, Clara, and don’t dump on clueless aliens by not being able to figure out what you want this nanosecond.

    Courtney is cool! I want to see more Courtney. She’s all over the place just like a real teen-ager. Bravado, fear, attempts at mature behavior, boredom — I loved it all. “It’s a chicken!” “It’s a bay!” I think she’s a perfect foil for Capaldi’s Doctor and I wouldn’tobject to having her as at least an occasional companion. I think there would be something deliciously Donna-ish about the relationship. And a sensitive narrative arc about her growing as a person would also be wonderful to watch.

    As for Mr. Wounded Soldier…. YES!!! Someone who really doesn’t like Danny Pink. I think he was only giving Clara the classic “make no decisions in anger” because he knows she’ll blame him if she left the Doctor that way and lived to regret it. I’m with the commenter upstream who detected traces of satisfied smirk in his reaction. (I also thought there was something pretty controlling in that last scene in The Caretaker. I was really with him when he gave the Doctor tit for tat in the Yes, Sir! scene, but he blew it when he got all sanctimonious and line-drawing with Clara on the sofa. His response here just built on my sense of unease left over from the last episode.)

    Oh, and I wonder. Does Danny, as an orphan/abandoned child, have authority issues?

    I believe all the Verities have touched on the prickliness of this episode, how difficult it was to watch, how difficult it is to like this Doctor — in the cuddly Matt Smith sense. Like Erika, I finished the episode thinking, “I don’t know if I can watch this a second time.” But I did, and was more comfortable with it after a second (and partial third) viewing.

    But I really relish this doctor. He’s short on the feels and long on the thinky bits. This Doctor and this series force us to stretch in ways we’re not accustomed to. I am more engaged with this series than I’ve been since Eccleston, possibly more engaged than with the Eccleston series. (And where is it written that we *must* like the Doctor? Did we like Morse? to offer up an example from the detective genre… Or any number of other uncuddly main characters? Did that stop those shows from going on and on and on?)

    Where do I come out on that final question: would I or would I not have turned out the lights? I don’t know. I suspect, as was observed on the Elsenets, that someone would have given my electricity provider the thumbs down and the decision would have been taken out of my hands.

    • lbphilly said:

      Bah. Meant to write “It’s a chicken! It’s a baby.” Stupid tiny type.

    • “Back to Courtney: Courtney got it right when Clara wanted to switch from teacher to friend — no, I prefer to call you Miss, Miss. Sort out your roles, Clara, and don’t dump on clueless aliens by not being able to figure out what you want this nanosecond.”

      — Just wanted to throw in a comment about this: I read this moment as Clara recognizing that they could die very soon so who cares about titles and formalities? Calling someone by their first name is informal (at least in a teacher/student relationship) but it’s also a mark of confidence and trust. I thought it was a really tender moment, and I kind of loved Clara for it. And Courtney’s response was classic and just perfect. A really subtle piece of revealing character development through dialogue.

  23. Just re-listening to a few bits I missed…Tansy- loved that you pointed out that Doctor Who has a long history of *shite science* AND a long history of fan complaining-perfect!!!

  24. I’m going to try and make this short and sweet. The various topics raised in this podcast are contentious. I commend you all for addressing them. As always you were entertaining, respectful, and insightful.

    1. Danny Pink. I feel rather strongly there is no actual evidence in the written stories to support a reading of Danny Pink as anything other than a true gentleman who is actually giving Clara space to make her own decisions about all things—while also expressing his own heartfelt preferences. I hope all couples, of any gender combination or tenure, can experience the same. Time will tell, but Deb is extrapolating to a conclusion that I submit is not supported by the evidence. Full disclosure: I am male.

    2. Allegory. I genuinely do not believe this story was crafted intentionally to even address the question of the reproductive rights of women, much less advocate for one position or another. Not all fiction (and nothing in real life) is an intentional allegory. Lynne and Michael’s thoughtful (and probably difficult) choices are NOT a metaphor for pro-life. They are ONLY an example of one family making a choice for themselves. From what little I can know from afar, I am reasonably certain they do not regret their choices. I am also reasonably certain they do not criticize choices made by others—that is what being pro-choice means. Like real life, fiction can be about something, but not be an advocating metaphor for one or another interpretation. Full disclosure: I am unreservedly pro-choice.

    3. Science. Yes, there were many circumstances in this episode that we understand to be impossible given our understanding of physics. Localized gravity is impossible. Of course the shuttle crashed without an atmosphere. I sincerely doubt single-celled creatures as large as those spiders are possible, whether they spin web-like material or not. And on and on. But that includes the bloody TARDIS! The pedants apparently can accept a chameleon circuit, a watch that makes someone invisible, and a dimensionally transcendent object that doesn’t appear to consume fuel? They can accept regeneration, the Matrix, selective memory erasure, and TIME TRAVEL ITSELF!? These are ALL impossible as far as we can tell. This is a fictional universe, a wonderful shared fantasy that is literally PREDICATED on impossible physics. Tansy is right, there is a long history of critiquing bas science in Doctor Who. It’s a teaching/learning opportunity when it happens. But I am 10000% with Erika: Bad science does not detract from Doctor Who, it undeniably is what MAKES it Doctor Who! Full disclosure: I live in physical reality and also enjoy fiction.

    Okay, sorry. Neither short, nor terribly sweet.

    As a personal addendum: I want to thank Lynne for trusting the Verity! audience and sharing her personal family experiences. The willingness to make these discussions personal and even intimate is exactly why Verity! is a great podcast. Verity! at its core is warm, open, frank, and honest. Thank you all for making it that way.

    • Henrik said:

      OK. I probably shouldn’t engage but whatever.

      Yes. Every fan of the show accepts that lots of the things that happen in the show can’t happen in reality.
      We’re fans of the show. We get that it’s fiction and we enjoy it and its imaginative storytelling. We love the show and care about the quality of how it’s put together, as I’m sure most fans whether they were onboard with ‘Kill The Moon’ or not do.
      That’s why it’s so irksome to first watch an episode that goes out of its way to get basic everyday facts wrong for no narrative reason and to then get to hear from other parts of fandom that we’re watching our favourite show wrong.
      The concerned expressed about ‘Kill The Moon’ isn’t pedantry. Pedantry would be asking why there are stars visible in the sky when the camera is clearly exposing for the well lit astronauts walking on the daytime surface of the moon but I have seen no such petty complaints.

      Why repeat the wrongheaded factoid that the moon is only a 100 million years old? Why put a number on the amount of mass added to the moon when that number is blatantly wrong? Why call the spiders ‘prokaryotes’ when they could have just been vague “space parasites”? Why not just add a line to handwave the added mass by having the Doctor postulate that it’s an inter-dimensional thing siphoning it from elsewhere or something instead of pretending like “it’s an egg” covers it? Why is it an ancient, unreliable, expensive to launch and not designed for going beyond LEO space shuttle instead of just a near future or even current day rocket designed to take cargo as far as the moon? Why state that there’s no water anywhere on the moon? Etc.

      Unsatisfied fans like myself, or (if I understand him correctly) Phil Plait in his blogpost at Slate, aren’t asking for the show to fundamentally change. We love the show! We love the silly! When there’s even the slightest reason to take liberties with what is technically true in the real world in order to tell a better story the show should absolutely go ahead and take those liberties.

      But when simple facts are well understood and easily checked by anyone with access to a search engine or Wikipedia and there is no reason to change them for the story or in some cases even mention them (correctly or arbitrarily altered) for the story and you still include fact sounding specifics that are incredibly wrong you run the very real risk of needlessly making the episode unwatchable for a lot of fans.

      It’s great that lots of fans don’t mind. But lots of fans struggle to invest in the story when, through dozens of examples in the first half of the story, the writer demonstrates that any aspect of reality may have been arbitrarily changed to its opposite in the story without warning and for no discernible purpose. A show put together like that can still be entertaining but a lot of us are going to struggle mightily to find it engaging.

      That’s not the same as there being a time machine in a show about adventures through time and space. That’s not even the same as the moon being an egg for a giant space creature in an episode about something mysterious happening with the moon.
      That’s rather not knowing if the nuclear bombs in the episode will explode or implode if the button is pressed (or not pressed). That’s not knowing if the space dragon might suddenly need to be blown up for it to successfully hatch and Clara then being scolded by the Doctor for not triggering the bombs.
      That’s there being, somehow, at least the mass of one and a half moon still hanging up there at the end of the episode while everyone acts as though it’s all back to normal.

    • Gotta side with Henrik on this. Whether you call it “sci fi” or “sci fantasy”, you can’t make the the “sci” part so wobbly and hard to hurdle that you take viewers out of the show. There are basics like GRAVITY that if you’re going to mess with it (or use it as a major plot point) that you need to at least make an effort to make it plausible (inter dimensional being or whatever).

      The fact that this episode happens in the same season as “magic gold arrow in the side of the ship fixing the engines” makes me really wonder if Moffat even *cares* anymore about this sort of thing.

  25. can I pick up on a minor problem with this episode: it’s set in 2049. That’s only 35 years from now.

    I’m going to be 27 next birthday, and I fully expect to be alive and still watching new episodes of Doctor Who in 2049.

    If Hermione Norris character Lundvik is the same age as her actress, she was born in 2002/2003 – so she isn’t a woman of another time period at all…. her Granny didn’t put things on tumblr, SHE put things on tumblr. She probably had her first opinions about reproductive rights formed in the midst of a SJW battle. Clara probably baby-sat for her. Courtney probably bullied her at school.

    The fact that the writer obviously didn’t get out his calculator and work out just how far in the future he was setting his story seems to be typical of his sloppy approach to matters of fact…

    like why did he make his giant space spider parasites unicellular? That’s just egregiously, unnecessarily stupid.

    That goes back to the big problem I had with this episode: it didn’t feel properly thought out. I will put up with plenty of science/history abuse for good Doctor Who, but I can’t put up with an episode feeling lazy or ill-considered, and that’s what this episode felt like to me.

  26. Just wanted to delurk a minute to say that Deb, you are not alone on the Danny Pink thing! He is insufferable. Which is really disappointing because I quite liked him in the earlier episodes of the season.

  27. Jason M said:

    The only black characters we’ve had up until now have been pathetic. Mickey was a spineless dimwit, and Martha was pouty, needy “not-Rose”

    Danny Pink is the first positive black male figure in Doctor Who.
    A character with some depth and backstory, and because he isn’t passive and deferential to a white woman it makes him a jerk?

    If a female is assertive and opinionated she is a strong character, but the black male is villain material?

    Every week I listen to you all discussing how this or that female character is or isn’t great because…
    What show runner had better females,
    I think to myself how nice it must be to have that luxury.
    Having characters you can relate to and critique…

    The Mary Sue had an article out about how there hasn’t been a woman writer since 2008
    There have been over 30 women involved in important aspects of the creative process of Doctor Who from it’s beginning.
    Writers, Directors, producers…

    But there hasn’t been a black anything since 1963, and only one non white which was Waris Hussein.

    • chris kim said:

      Very well said. I think Danny is a long overdue addition to the Whoniverse, and i find the idea that he is being villified by some to be a bit repugnant. My reading of him is that he strong, vulnerable, honest, and supportive, all at the same time. Quite a feat in tv writing.

      • I think that the criticisms of Danny come from people not adequately seeing his perspective, and how little he knows when compared with the audience…
        if I suddenly found out that someone that I knew pretty well, who I trusted and I thought trusted me, was secretly sneaking off to do stuff that might get them killed with someone like Twelve… I wouldn’t be happy about it. I might very well phrase my objections in ways that seem wrong, ways I might regret later but honestly… who hasn’t ever said something in the wrong way in a high-stress situation when a relationship is at stake?

        Thought experiment:
        It’s 2004, you’ve been in a developing romantic relationship with someone that you think is going well… and then they suddenly tell you that they joined the Army several months ago, they’re leaving for a tour in Iraq tomorrow, and then they introduce you to their commanding officer who shows contempt for your work and refuses to believe in your intellectual accomplishments? And your partner just stands there…

        Think about it that way, and it’s hard to see why Danny is giving their relationship a chance.

    • This. I think that Danny is *complicated* but that doesn’t mean he’s evil. I think we’re seeing him struggling with something that looks very much like PTSD, and trying to figure out how to maintain a healthy relationship with Clara as he realizes that life with the Doctor could do something similar to her.

      I also think that Danny’s method of communicating sounds to me like that of a *soldier* — the emphasis is more on being clear than necessarily *kind,* and he may fumble a bit, but I still think that his heart is firmly in the right place, and I dearly, dearly hope that he does NOT turn into a villain on us. THAT would be a heartbreaking betrayal.

      Although I disagree vehemently about Martha in this case. Yes, she was treated as “not-Rose,” but Freema did her best to make that character a whole person with a life of her own, even when the writing for her particular plot didn’t lend itself to that. Martha. Was. Awesome. and you will not convince me otherwise.

      And I absolutely agree that having some non-white folks behind the scenes is HUGELY necessary, across the entire industry, but doubly so in a property as big and as popular worldwide as Doctor Who.

      • Thank you Lynne! This is the first direct reference to Danny’s undoubted PTSD as a motivator for his actions I’ve heard from the Verities. What has been described as male privilege and patronizing towards Clara by some is not unlike some things I’ve seen from both men and women service personnel who have suffered PTSD after combat or humanitarian missions. Moffat has done an admirable job riding just on the right side of that fine line where Danny’s relationship with Clara could either flourish or turn toxic. Media usually tends to focus more on the latter than the former so it’s good to see the other side for once. I do, however, find it sad all of you seem to append your comments about Danny by hoping he doesn’t ‘turn into a villain on us’. I’ve seen no evidence of this being a possibility.

        I see Danny as a man who has kept himself closed off from the world following a horrible experience; and who has finally opened himself to someone, namely Clara. As a soldier he is strong but he is also incredibly vulnerable and feeling, in the emotional sense, his way back to a normal life. Clara has a lot of power here. She can hurt him very, very deeply and is, apparently, on her way to do so.

        I must say that, in terms of Danny’s PTSD, this also changes his exchange with the Doctor in the TARDIS from a patronizing clash of alpha males over the “possesion” of Clara to the Doctor being a proxy for the officer(s) he holds responsible for his psychological wounds. Far from being patronizing to Clara, I think Danny sees his earlier self in her and wants to keep what happened to him from happening again. To be honest, you could have substituted a younger brother (if Danny has one) for Clara as the Doctor’s companion and Danny would have lashed out at the Doctor in exactly the same way.

        Anyway, keep up the good work. My weekly Doctor Who podcast consumption isn’t complete until I get to listen to Verity!

  28. I forgot to say thanks to the Verities for another entertaining and thought-provoking listen, and particularly to Lynne for being so open about her own experience.

    On the subject of the Doctor being likeable, I agree with Lynne. I think that if you look through the entire run of the programme, he’s been a bit of an anti-hero quite a lot of the time, and it’s only really in the Tennant and Smith eras that he’s really started to resemble a full-blown “hero”. But I suppose the sudden switch back to a grumpy, impatient, and apparently callous Doctor must be a bit shocking for a lot of viewers.

    Someone (I’m not sure if it was in Verity or another podcast!) mentioned the similarity between the new Doctor-Clara dynamic and the one between Holmes-Watson in Sherlock, and I think it’s interesting that fans who can accept Holmes being a complete git throw their hands up when the Doctor behaves that way. Of course Holmes and the Doctor are not the same character, but they have lots of similarities. Again, I suppose the difference is that Holmes is usually characterised that way, but there’s such a contrast between the 12th and 11th Doctors.

    In view of all that, I think Moffat et al are being exceedingly brave by going down that route. It would have been so easy to go for another lovable, cuddly Doctor and I’m so glad they took a risk and shook things up a bit. It may not be comfortable for all viewers, but it’s certainly making things interesting!

  29. My first two reactions to Kill the Moon amused me. First, after Clara gave her big pre-credits speech/plea and the theme started up, I muttered, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

    Then, after the moon is revealed to be an egg about to hatch a giant space dragon-bird, I actually giggled. Because the exact same thing that happened in one of Peter David’s Star Trek New Frontier novels! A planet that starts breaking apart turns out to have been an egg for the supposedly mythical Great Bird of the Galaxy.

    I loved Clara telling the Doctor off. I love the Doctor being an unlikeable grouch. I feel really sorry for Danny Pink.

    Why? I suspect that Danny Pink will turn out to be the dreaded Soldier Redshirt of the Apocalypse. He will be killed while following the orders of the Doctor during the season finale’s big battle, thus delivering the final blow to the crack that has developed in the Doctor’s relationship with Clara, bringing about her (announced) departure during the Christmas Special.

    When Danny asked Clara why she wasn’t scared, because he believes she should have been. At that very moment I knew he was doomed to be the painful example of why she should have been scared.

  30. Much enjoyed this podcast! Thank you!

    I would turn the lights OFF in the situation as explained — because I honestly couldn’t believe humanity would survive the loss of the moon. Makes me wish I knew more physics. However, if I stopped to think first, I would instead grab my dinner out of the fridge, knowing that the power to my neighborhood was about to be shut off by the rich and powerful, and make sure I knew where to find the flashlights and the hand-crank radio.

    So relieved that Clara told the Doctor off. I too was concerned in the previous episode that she was letting everybody walk all over her. That was a fabulous moment.

    The moral dimensions for this episode wowed me. It was lovely to see all the allusions to The Beast Below and also to Water on Mars. In both of those episodes, the Doctor made the wrong choice, but he was so charming and kind about it. In this one, though, he avoided making those mistakes but was a total manipulative jerk. It’s a beauty.

    • Surprisingly humanity would probably survive without the moon. The biggest changes would be weaker tides caused by the sun, more extreme weather patterns and the earths axis would become more unstable.

      The biggest problem wouldn’t directly be humanities survival so much as some parts of the ecosystem we rely on. Eg some sea creatures rely on specific tidal sequences which could destabilise fish populations which is an important food source. If sudden weather changes killed out huge sections of pollinating insects it would have a knock on effect.

      Humanities survival would depend on its ability to compensate for damage to the ecosystem. Maybe every household would have mandatory beekeeping and vegetable gardens.

      I do love your comparison to previous episodes. The main difference for me was that in Kill the Moon I thought the Doctor made the right decision and that he was a complete git because of it.

      Both his actions towards Courtney and Clara were perfectly logical but required a severe emotional disconnect. Making up for insulting Courtney by giving her a reason to never doubt that she’s special, by putting her in mortal danger when an apology would have sufficed. Entrusting humanities decision to Clara the human he trusts the most and removing himself so as to not influence their decision, which involves brutally abandoning a friend when they most need emotional support.

  31. I too have recently had to consider whether I would have an abortion due to health reasons (ended up not), I also had a D&C not that long ago, and I have to say that abortion rights did not occur to me at all on watching this episode. Everyone I know and asked would have supported me. However, where I live abortion is an uncontroversial topic (seen as personal), unlike the USA. I can see the link between “pass the Bechdel test” and “babies” the scriptwriter made, am still not convinced he meant it to be a morality tale about human abortion rights. That would seem pretty …gauche in my country, and I am fairly sure in Britain and Sweden too.

    • * Obviously, I’m currently pregnant. Did not link my foetus to that of the giant unborn dragon thing at all (I saw the episode as more about threatened species competing), though I in no way am delegitimising women who did, or who found the story to hit waaaay too close to home for them. I wonder whether the writer being male made him less sensitive to how it might be seen by women, or whether he *was* trying to tell women how it should be. He obviously was thinking about women and babies when he wrote it, I mean, c’mon, is there any other reason for this show to have three women and no men in one room making important decisions?

      • I am also currently-pregnant and have had all the genetic screens in the last few weeks: I didn’t get it either. You Are Not Alone. 😀

  32. rhianonjameson said:

    I’ll echo what a number of the comments already said: while I understand how one could read this episode as saying something about reproductive choice (and if that’s how you see it, fine), I think that completely misses the mark. The creature is not a fetus, there’s no “I don’t want a child for reason x” issue, and the creature is not the offspring of any of the decision-makers in the episode. Rather, this is a story about what kind of chances humankind is willing to take. Do we kill this unknown thing because it might endanger us, or do we embrace the unknown in a hopeful way?

    I’m also a little baffled at Clara’s anger (and the view of most of the Verities that her anger is justified). How is it possibly patronizing for the Doctor to defer to the humans on what, as he points out, is a decision that affects humanity? Sure, it’s out of character, but unless you think he *knows the outcome* and thus is just giving Clara the appearance of choice, I don’t see the patronizing. (Yes, he clearly is pleased at the choice, but that’s entirely consistent with his character.)

    Sorry, Tansy, but I disagree with “You can’t just go around telling teenagers they’re not special.” The Doctor did it in an especially cold way, but that’s exactly the message teenagers need to hear.

    Finally, I’m not a Danny Pink fan either, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. I suspect it’s because we have no sense of how much time has passed during Clara and Danny’s relationship, so it seems rushed. Having said that, though, I’m quite confused by Deb’s unhappiness at Danny in this episode. At one point, Deb said something along the lines of not wanting to hear about Danny’s experience as a male having a bad day. But Danny experiences everything as a male, so… he shouldn’t say anything? He was drawing on his experience not as a guy but as someone who has had a “bad day” (and presumably a serious disagreement with his superior officer) to both empathize with Clara and to say, quite selflessly, that she shouldn’t make decisions in anger, which is generally good advice in a wide range of situations.

  33. You folks really do a great job with the podcast. I wish I could be there and offer an occasional comment because of what you’re discussing.

    First the episode immediately got 5 points (out of 10) for having a scene that actually startled me. That’s rare for a Doctor Who episode. Bravo.

    I wondered if the main dilemma faced by the human characters was related to issue of abortion although minimally so. I wondered if I noticed it because I’m from the States and how prolonged and intense the issue has been here for the past 50 years. Likewise, I don’t think it was accidental that all the human characters were female who were faced with making the “choice” regarding having a baby (on a grand scale). You folks really raise a lot of problematic issues in regards to this story-line. Spot-on. Kind of highlights the need for more women to be involved with the writing.

    I didn’t mind the so-called science. I see Doctor Who as science fantasy. It has always had preposterous events included in stories that are then explained by scientific mumbo-jumbo (as opposed to magic mumbo-jumbo). This episode reminded me of the kinds of fantastical, bizarre, strange, weird science fiction pulp stories of the 1920s/30s with really odd, preposterous storylines compared to post-WWII SciFi (at least in the US). Way out there. Almost psychedelic-like. Given how a golden-arrow saved the day in a preposterous way earlier in this season, I assume the weirdness and oddness of these endings are intentional.

    Great special effects and production design. And nice acting, too.

    Additionally, I really like the dynamics between Clara and the 12th Doctor. Sometimes this doctor needs a good spanking. I like that he needs a spanking. And I like that Clara confronts him and gets frustrated with him. This Doctor reminds me somewhat of 1, 4, 6, and even 9 while Clara reminds me of parts of Sarah Jane, Tegan, Peri, and Donna. I like it. 🙂

    I typically judge Doctor Who by how entertaining it is. I thought this was entertaining although not stupendously so. I give it a 6/10 (which for me is not a bad rating).

    Thanks again for your conversations and podcast.

  34. celtic_chris said:

    I really enjoyed this episode & the series so far. I like the alien Dr (Tom Baker was my Dr. (though I started with Pertwee & miss the 4+ episode to a story))
    Now to this episode,
    I saw it as a morality play presenting the Dr Who dogma
    “Look optimistically in to the future, choose wonder above uncertainly”
    so the reproductive issues, didn’t see them & don’t think “the Moff & co” saw it either.

    As a dilettante the science playsa conscious part in my enjoyment of Dr Who. It was the lack of any hand waving to explain the Wibbly Wobbly science that annoyed me. The Doctor saying the creature was a “Pan-dimensional being” would’ve smoothed the problems over (thanks @verrilicious). Peter Harness is an accomplished & experienced writer his is new to Sci-Fi point view.

    I had hoped that Clara would be around for another season as in 7B she was a plot device & in 8 she is a companion

  35. So I am a little late to the party, and will probably echo or repeat some things already said, and will try to touch on some things without getting too long winded…

    First I will say that I am on the “like” side of this episode.
    The dodgy science didn’t bother me much, as I think over the course of a ton of episodes, part of the charm of the show is the melding of science with some softer slippery explanations in service of the ideas put forth. I don’t think the show ever really tried to go the “hard sci fi” route and base everything in reality…and with so much potential for overlap/retconning/contradicting it might be a nightmare to try and do so.
    The mass of the moon changing I didn’t worry too much about. If I was willing to accept the planet being relocated or being towed by the TARDIS, I couldn’t really call foul now.
    The “bacteria”….well, as a molecular biologist, my brain did call foul on the instant identification of the spider as a prokaryotic uni chromosomal organism, when it clearly had teeth, etc., and wasn’t…I would think adding a word… “like” ….it’s “like a bacteria” without saying it IS….probably would have made it more palatable. But I didn’t really care because they were pretty cool. Look squirrel! BUT, I think the question came up about the webs, and while bacteria don’t do that, there are plenty that secrete all sorts of materials, and can create biofilms, etc. so that I felt could translate. But, having them be a Cloverfield like parasite indicative of a larger beastie…was a cool idea.

    The big question….even being a male viewer I did pick up on the abortion parallel right away 😉
    I did like the exploration of this dilemma, and the fact that it didn’t squarely fall on one side or the other. I did also appreciate the 3 generations of women deciding (that Deb or Erika picked up on)…3 perspectives, one who is a child, one who wants a child, and one who doesn’t. Also a fun parallel for me, because I am watching with my 2 sons, who are 22 and 11….I really appreciated that the doctor left, because, at least as he saw it, it was a question about bringing life into the universe. And yes, he has opinions. And they are probably valid, but ultimately, he can’t understand it in the same way as the women.
    Listening to you guys talk about pregnancy decisions, I also thought about when my wife was pregnant with our 2nd child, and we had a similar decision or thought process, based on some prenatal screening. And while we both talked and cried and planned for all contingencies, and I could say what I thought, whatever we did could never effect me the way that it would her. I could not be connected to that situation in the same way.
    I am loving that the show is asking stuff like this. What I love is that literally, any episode can be about anything, or any tone. And maybe the goofball science was a way to keep the rest of the story light in the face of the rest of it?
    hmm…what else…? I guess I felt more that the Doctor wasn’t telling Courtney she wasn’t special “until”….but he just doesn’t want to have to tell her, or explain to her how she is…he can’t even hug someone. Knowing it and showing it are two different things for this doctor.
    I haven’t gotten the negative Danny vibe, but more that maybe, he sees in Clara where he has been, and knows how it messed him up…I don’t know, but I did appreciate him coming back this episode and doing more listening than talking.
    ok so this is long…and I am not sure I said much :p anyway, thanks for the podcast…great fun listening…hope to chime in some more

  36. James McCrort said:

    The Moon and Courtney – The Truth

    Why do you believe Courtney? If your daughter said – look mummy or look daddy – the moon is an egg or a space creature has laid an egg which looks like the moon, would have believed her? I don’t.

    I’m getting a bit worried about you all – and others – since a lot of you bloggers, which is not a rude word, so far have seemed to have swallowed this idea, though not the moon. Don’t try, its uncooked like this idea. I’m wondering if this is some secret Zygon plot to take over the blogosphere.

    That’s start at the end, which is a very good place to start. If the moon which appeared at the end was not an egg, what was it? The obvious answer, applying the principle of Okham, is that it actually is the moon, the real moon – so where did it come from? The answer is from the past, from the time the egg that was hatched to look like the moon was laid.

    Therefore, we can conclude, that the great space mother, just before she or he laid the egg, kicked the original moon through space and time to just after the time it judged its baby would be born. The arrival of the moon would be enough to drive the hatched creature away beyond our dimensions where it would be safer.

    So why did mother do this? Well, why was the egg disguised to look and behave like the moon? The only answer that seems right was to protect it from predators – those other space mothers or fathers – who might want to eat, or even deconstruct the egg!

    There is a problem that you smart women or Zygons, if you were trained in the humanities (which obviously Zygons would study) should realise, the density of the real moon.

    If you’ve boiled an egg, you will know that it tends to float on water, because its density is less than that of water, while a stone with density greater than one sinks. This means a moon-egg would weigh much less than our moon and would have less gravity. This would be detectable by its effect on earth when the swap happened.

    The space Mom – who could well be called Debs – must therefore have provided the means to give her egg-moon extra gravity; a gravity creating machine – a graviton; so it would be perfectly understandable that this machine started not working properly when the creature began its hatching
    ing of the moon’s gravity.

    You didn’t really believe that the Sheriff of Nottingham would have given anyone a real solid gold arrow. It was fake! J

    I notice that Danny expects Clara to level with her but so far hasn’t levelled with her which seems like a double-standard; could it be his secret is Missy? Did he already know about the doctor?


    • BeckyB said:

      While your theory is a good one James, do be careful about implying that others are foolish because they did not generate the same head cannon as you.

      Perhaps this species has a unique reproductive method that involves having 2/3 the mass of the hatching baby be an egg, ready to be produced upon birth. Perhaps there is a perpetual fetus and an egg, an egg inside an egg.

      Who knows. It’s all just head cannon. Believe what you’d like, and let others do the same without condescension.

  37. Philip said:

    I like how Verity! discusses fandom on a regular basis. I’d like to hear an Extra episode in the off season about how fandom can become an unhealthy thing and when it crosses the line. Whether it’s Doctor Who or anything else, it’s disturbing when people become so vitriolic and combative about something meant for entertainment. I appreciate that Verity! is done by knowledgeable, passionate fans of Who that know how to maintain a level head.

  38. Eggs are sometimes gruesome:
    ‘Nuff said, the frickin’ lights in my house are getting are shut off!

    For the record, I didn’t see the ep as being about abortion as much as I saw it about what John Adams called “the tyranny of the masses.” The majority are not always right and the individual must be protected. A side I would expect the Doctor to take.

    Great podcast, very thoughtful. Can I request a special Doctor Who Legacy episode? I’m getting my butt kicked on the easy level of the fan area. 😦

  39. Sarah B said:

    I also missed the abortion reference, although my (male) partner got it. I feel as though I should have, especially given that I am pregnant and have *just* gone through the genetic counselling phase (thankfully without needing to consider that option, but I am 40, so we’d spent a lot of time thinking about it). Anyway. With that in mind, I get more bothered by the idea of the vote – what would I vote, does voting to let it live drop me on the pro-life side? – although in the moment my household was mostly annoyed by the idea that only half the earth would get a vote, regardless (and not Australia, never Australia), because of the time allowed. I think Courtney’s response was totally age-appropriate, and may not have been an editorial comment at all, regardless.

    I did see the episode as a moral question – the doctor interferes/doesn’t interfere, tests his companion, all these things keep coming up. I don’t dislike this doctor (which is interesting, because I very much disliked Colin Baker’s “dark” and nasty doctor, and that’s what I was afraid we would get when they started talking about him not being so likeable); I’m beginning to wonder how much the “soldier” byline is an arc of the Doctor working through his issues with his new knowledge of his role in the Time War and all the crap he put himself and the universe through as a result of thinking he’d committed genocide. I was also wondering if (name?) female astronaut was this week’s “soldier” stand-in? Given her position as the boss of blow-it-up (the moon, the space dragon, whatever), that might fit the narrative.

    The main science problem I had was the idea of the spiders as unicellular; I mean, those legs and webs are hardly flagellar, are they? Also, the question of parthenogenesis loomed large with the brand new moon (and how is it in exactly the right spot? And how are the waves on the beach all nice and normal while they’re watching the moon break apart and hatch a new moon with appropriate mass?)

    And finally, are the two male astronauts the only really-dead people this season who haven’t met Missy on-screen? If the Doctor in fact dropped everyone off in the next episode, I think they might be. I may have obsessed about this during the credits of the Orient Express episode.

  40. Squibby said:

    Interesting episode. I believe the Verities may have missed the overall metaphor. Its a lot bigger than reproductive rights.

    I took the metaphor to be about the rebirth of the middle east and seeing the beauty under the temporary infestation, and the rebirth of a new culture. A change which needs women to make it work…. against the fear of western countries saying No

  41. Lee Carroll said:

    This is the podcast I’ve been liking for! This was the best discussion of this (months-old but still so awesome) ep on the webs, or ever.

    Did the doctor know the moon dragon baby would be OK? someone TELL ME PLEASE

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