I think by now we’ve firmly established that the latest Doctor is anything but warm and fuzzy. Peter Capaldi is a different sort of Time Lord, a god of time and space who judges those around him and has no time for playing nice. And sometimes, that no nonsense attitude can work. But other times, it can backfire spectacularly, as we saw in last week’s Kill The Moon episode. Spoilers to follow…
As far as stories go, it’s a pretty cool concept idea, that treads on some familiar waters. The Moon is increasing in mass, a young girl wants a chance to feel like her life means something and a companion is pushed to the breaking point. And in the mix of all this, is the Doctor and his superior attitude. Once again, it’s not enough for the Doctor to involve people in a life or death scenario, but he has to judge them as well. Because this Time Lord, clearly isn’t interested in always saving the day as he has done for millennia now.
In fact, it’s all about allowing humanity to find it’s own path in the cosmos and make their own decisions, something which appears to be the driving force behind this Doctor. Unlike in The Waters Of Mars, the Doctor isn’t there to play nice. Hell, if it had been the tenth or eleventh Doctors in this episode, the tale would have been resolved pretty quickly with a quick explanation and a jaunt towards safer waters in the TARDIS to watch the Moon hatch and lay a new satellite for the planet. This episode itself is, in many ways, the complete opposite to The Waters Of Mars then.
But it’s the unsettling attitude of the Doctor that steals the show. He clearly knows what’s going to happen. Hell, he’s been to the Moon in the future before, in a previous incarnation. And yet he decides to only share enough information to freak the people around him out, while leaving the duller characters to suffer a horrible fate at the many limbs of spider-like bacteria, observing their reactions all the way.
But what really makes this story special, is that parallels a certain other hot topic at the moment: The fact that humanity has stopped reaching for the stars. Our destiny lies in the galaxy around us, but in this episode, humanity has given up on space travel by 2049. The spark to explore is no longer there, with the Doctor realising that this needs to be rectified if we hope to survive until the end of time.
And well Disruptive Influence gets her chance to shine, it’s poor Clara who finally reaches a tipping point, telling the Doctor to clear off. At least for a week or two. And that’s something that must be said for the new series. The episodes may be hits one week or a miss the next depending on your taste, but Doctor Who certainly isn’t playing it safe this year. In many ways, the show is experimenting with pushing that envelop. And over the long run, I think that we’re going to get a Doctor Who series that will feel as fresh as the day that the show was first commissioned.
The Doctor is becoming an anti-hero of sorts, and he certainly doesn’t feel as heroic as he usually does. There’s going to come a time when the Doctor will need to examine himself, when he finally decides if he is a good man or not. And I’m curious to see where this direction eventually ends up.
Last Updated: October 6, 2014