Doctor Who, Kill the Moon review: Peter Capaldi is far darker than Matt Smith and David Tennant

The twelfth Time Lord was at his most uncompromising and reckless as he abandoned Clara and 'disruptive influence' Courtney Woods on the Moon

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The Independent Culture

The Doctor took the moral high ground this week and left it up to humanity to decide whether or not to kill the Moon.

Moral dilemmas have come up time and again in Doctor Who. From the seminal ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ to sentencing a Slitheen to death in ‘Boom Town’ to torturing a Star Whale for the greater good in ‘The Beast Below’.  

This week was about the right to life of a potentially dangerous life form versus the existence of humanity and it was watchable stuff.

Capaldi's Doctor was just as harsh as ever. He made an abrupt and mysterious departure to let a school girl, a teacher and an astronaut decide the fate of the Moon - and the Earth.

With the twelfth Time Lord there is none of the flirty silliness of Matt Smith or David Tennant’s capering - Capaldi is as abrasive as walking through Glasgow on a blustery midwinter's night.


Hermione Norris made a guest appearance as the astronaut Lundvik but again, Ellis George was the star of the episode.

From the stereotypical 'disruptive influence' we saw last week, she developed into a multi-dimensional character and something of a little heroine with her idealistic determination to do right.

The Doctor saw himself as above humans and chose not to interfere - much to Clara's anger.

Jenna Coleman impressed again with her fury as she held the Doctor to account. This is the grown up assistant the Time Lord needs to keep him in check.

Will Clara now leave the Doctor for good? It would be a shame considering that she has finally become a fully-fledged character in her own right, as opposed to merely a plot device.

‘Kill the Moon’ was an enclosed space adventure with all the claustrophobia that an episode like this demands. The spider-bacteria creatures were a wonderfully hideous touch, not to mention relevant, given the giant spider invasion facing Britain at the moment. It was hardly the strongest episode of the series but it was no car crash either.

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Next time on Doctor Who… British singer Foxes and comedian Frank Skinner appear in this exciting episode set on the interstellar Orient Express. Oh, and there’s a mummy on the loose – once you’ve seen it you only have 66 seconds to live.