This is the type of Doctor Who episode that’s so entertaining. What starts as a mundane adventure (if you discount Clara’s pre-credit plea to earth) becomes more and more interesting as events unfold, culminating in a spectacular plot twist. Oh, and it also delves into some serious discussions about responsibilities, actions, and attitudes.
The moon has been increasing in weight and its gravitational pull on earth has had disastrous results. To salvage earth, a crew of has-been astronauts in a second-hand space shuttle plan to nuke the moon out of existence. The TARDIS accidentally lands on the shuttle rather than the moon proper, which forces the Doctor, Clara, and Clara’s precocious student Courtney to work with the three astronauts. (You just know immediately that two of them will not make it to the end of the episode.)
But the moon is not the moon, it’s a gigantic egg. When the time comes to decide whether to kill the embryo or let it live, possibly risking earth’s existence, the Doctor and TARDIS hightail it off the moon, saying the decision is not his to make. He leaves that difficult choice to “womankind:” a teenager, a teacher and an astronaut. Astronaut Lundvik sums up the Doctor best when she says, “What a prat.” What’s not mentioned directly is that all three women, one of them a child, will die if the decision is to kill the moon.
When Clara makes the last second decision to let the moon creature live, the Doctor immediately returns to whisk the three back to earth to watch the hatching. The Doctor says they can thank him, but Lundvik grunts and thanks Clara instead, for making the right decision.
Fed up with the Doctor’s condescending attitude and unwillingness to help them, Clara lays into him. He repeats it wasn’t his earth to save, and adds he knew Clara would make the right decision. Clara retorts she didn’t know if she’d make the right decision. She also exclaims the Doctor does have a vested interest in this world and he shouldn’t have abandoned them. As she exits the TARDIS she tells him to go far away, alone.
Was Clara justified in her outrage? Fans are divided. Some are angry with Clara for her outrage, which leads me to think they believe the Doctor was right to leave the women to make their own decision. At least I’m assuming that’s what they felt, since I am of the other faction. I think Clara was justified in standing up to the Doctor. What he did was unfeeling. And rude.
Is that what the Moffat and company mean when they say this is the darkest Doctor ever? In the season opener, this Doctor said he had a lot of mistakes to correct? Seems to me he’s just adding to the mistakes rather than correcting them.