I learned at least three things from this episode. The first thing I learned is that British people apparently call training wheels “stabilizers.” The second is that in the near future these same “stabilizer” using Brits take over NASA from the Americans. Finally, the third is that in a spot where I believe the last two Doctors would have expressed moral outrage and harangued their silly humans, this Doctor chose to aloofly extricate himself from the situation, leaving said humans to their own devices.
As opposed to being exuberant most of the time and having the occasional outburst, XII is generally sort of cranky, aloof, and a bit condescending, cooly exiting when Clara seems to desperately want some moral outrage on his part to make her decision easier. The Doctor taking off when he did was certainly a dick move, but I can’t go so far as to say I disagree with it. Having said that, Clara is right in telling him off as well as in what she says to him. He is patronizing, exploitative, and occasionally abusive of humans to be sure.
On that note, I think this was a good episode for both of them, as well as in general. Jenna Coleman was particularly convincing here and I think Clara’s actions will prove beneficial for her character. The Doctor needs a good telling off here and there and I think he escapes them by overwhelming people with his intelligence and his ability to whisk people away through time and space, thus distracting from his shortcomings.
There’s a lot I really liked about this episode. For one, I’m drawn to episodes of any great Science Fiction series where the characters are faced with a serious ethical dilemma. Star Trek, Lost, and Battlestar Galactica (Revisited) did this particularly well and I think Who usually does a good job with it too. Also, there’s just something extra special about Doctor Who installments that take place within our Solar System (think “Waters of Mars”, Russell Davies’ masterpiece in my opinion). The tension and eeriness go way up, I think because they’re necessarily tethered to our own familiar cosmic reality. Those episodes feel really close to home and that really worked to their advantage with “Kill The Moon.” Also, the moon is just great. If you don’t believe me, go look at it.