Kill the Moon was the seventh episode of series 8 of Doctor Who.

Narratively, it saw the Doctor take Coal Hill School student Courtney Woods on a trip to the Moon following her discovery of his true nature in the previous episode. It also revealed the true nature of the Earth's natural satellite, which had been a fixture of many previous stories.

It revisited the Earth's environmentally disastrous mid-21st century as well as the concept of time in flux, with the Doctor choosing to take a step back and leaving the future in the hands of his human company, a choice that would lead to a severe divide between him and Clara.

The concept behind the episode came to writer Peter Harness in 2011, so initially, it was written for Matt Smith. Harness expressed a belief that the script suited Peter Capaldi more with the Doctor-Clara dynamic playing out better. (DWM 478).

Kill the Moon was also notable from a production standpoint. Lanzarote was utilised as a filming location for the first time since 1984 when it stood in for Planet of Fire's Sarn.

Synopsis Edit

The Doctor, Clara, and Courtney go visit the Moon in 2049, where they discover that the Earth's constant companion is a little more than another mere celestial body.

Plot Edit

In Coal Hill School, Clara tells the Doctor that her troublesome student Courtney Woods has become worse thanks to meeting him. She's even stolen his psychic paper; the Doctor wonders if it's to get into museums. However, Clara tells him Courtney has been using it to get into clubs. And all of this started when the Doctor told her that she wasn't special; it's very damaging to a teenager's psyche.

Entering the TARDIS, Courtney's already there and has bought travel sickness bracelets in preparation for her travels, which Clara tells her won't happen. The Doctor, on the other hand, is pleased by this news; he has two rules: no vomiting or hanky-panky in the TARDIS. Pestering the Doctor to try making amends with Courtney, he offers to let her be the first woman on the Moon. When asked if it would make her feel special enough, Courtney excitedly tells him yes.

The TARDIS arrives in the cargo bay on a space shuttle, with the trio exiting in spacesuits. Courtney is not pleased; however, the Doctor notes from the window that they are on their way to the Moon, so he didn't go too far off course. He examines the cargo, explaining the objects around them are nuclear bombs, about to arrive on the lunar surface in 2049. The astronauts, Lundvik, Duke and Henry discover them, as the Doctor awkwardly walks around; he asks if they are going to shoot them, telling them to start with Courtney, to make sure she isn't last and afraid. He then adds that he'll take some time to kill, as he might keep regenerating forever.

Introducing himself as an intelligent and benevolent alien, the Doctor asks if the astronauts will still shoot them; Lundvik says no. The Doctor is glad to hear it, before asking what is wrong the yo-yo he is playing with; Clara tells him it goes up and down, prompting him to congratulate her. The gravity on the moon has likely increased; they should all be floating around the room. Lundvik explains the Moon has put on weight, and it's causing havoc on Earth. The Doctor laughs "And so they sent you up here to save the Earth with your bombs."

The shuttle lands, and everyone dons their helmets. Courtney exits first, reciting rather poorly Neil Armstrong's speech. Lundvik explains that Mexicans were previously sent to investigate the possibility of minerals on the Moon, but all that was sent back were screams over the radio. The Doctor wonders if they are a rescue team, prompting Lundvik to reveal that this happened years ago; humanity lost its interest in going into space. Even the shuttle had to be put back together from being a museum ride; her two companions are "third-rate" astronauts.

They find the mining base, and enter; the Doctor tells them that oxygen is still in there, so they can take off their helmets to conserve their suits' supply. However, they soon discover the corpses of the crew preserved in webs and research photos showing deformed landmasses; the Moon is disintegrating.

Henry investigates a cave outside the base and is killed by a large spider, one of which then enters the base and begins menacing the Doctor, Clara, Courtney and Lundvik, and kills Duke. Courtney kills it with a detergent and the Doctor works-out that they're germs. Courtney asks to return home out of fear.

Courtney uses Tumblr

Courtney has uploaded pictures of the Doctor to tumblr.

Courtney's taken back to the TARDIS, and Clara tells the Doctor she knows the Moon isn't destroyed, having seen it above Earth in the future, but the Doctor's open to the possibility of it being a hologram or something similar. The events happening on the moonbase are a fluxed point in time — he doesn't know what happens, so the moon could be destroyed, affecting humanity's future.

Going to analyse one of the crevices caused by the corrosion, the Doctor, Clara and Lundvik find Henry's corpse, where he's attacked by another spider, which is repelled by the deterring effects of sunlight. The Doctor jumps down the crevice to gather a sample. The Moon shakes and sheds more of itself. Based on the seismic activity and the amniotic fluid the Doctor finds, he determines that what everyone calls "the Moon" is the egg of the real Moon: the creature within. In 2049, it's hatching, after growing for millions of years. Lundvik wants to know how to kill the moon. The Doctor puts her plan in context — to blow up a new creature with nuclear bombs, something they'll have to explain to their descendants. Lundvik reasons that the Moon's disintegration is causing catastrophic weather effects on Earth, and needs to be destroyed to save the world. Not being from Earth or the Moon, the Doctor chooses not to interfere, insisting that only Humans can decide the future of their planet. Courtney wants to return to be a part of the debate, and the Doctor instructs her over her phone how to bring the TARDIS to him. As soon as she does so, the Doctor departs — leaving only Clara, Courtney and Lundvik to make the choice.

Clara thinks they should take the risk, and deal with any possible consequences if/when they happen. Lundvik has only humanity's interests to mind and is prepared to kill the creature to stop the destruction. She activates a timer, after which, she'll detonate the bombs. Ground Control speaks to them over a screen, informing them that Earth's situation is "pretty bad". Clara broadcasts to Earth over the screen, telling them to give their vote. Turning their lights off votes "kill" and keeping their lights on votes "don't kill".

After the timer has elapsed, Earth has voted "kill". Lundvik primes the detonator, but Clara intercepts at the last second and overrides the command, just as the Doctor returns.

Returning to Earth, the Doctor, Clara, Courtney and Lundvik watch from a beach as the Moon disintegrates in space, while the creature it hatched (a massive butterfly-like creature) flies away — but not before it lays an egg, which has become a replacement Moon. The Doctor tells Lundvik that humanity from this point spreads into space, enduring to the end of the Universe because they chose not to kill. Courtney realises how special she now is, being one of the three people to allow Humankind to continue. Lundvik is left to make her own way back to NASA.

Tearful Clara

Angry and hurt, a tearful Clara tells the Doctor to go away and never come back.

The Doctor takes Courtney back to Coal Hill School, with her now happy to have had an important moment in her life. The Doctor prepares to take off on another adventure with Clara, who parks the TARDIS. She demands to know what the Doctor knew. The Doctor says he knew nothing, but Clara demands a truthful answer, threatening she'll smack him so hard he'll regenerate.

The Doctor explains that he knew the egg was harmless, but it wasn't his place to choose the fate of humanity. It was time for Clara to take the stabilizers off her bike and let her ride alone. She expresses her anger at him for leaving them behind on the Moon, and becomes tearful, then even angrier when the Doctor gives patronising responses to her feelings. The Doctor tries to make it up to her, but Clara is too furious to listen. She tells him that she never wants to see him again or travel through time and space with him again and ends their friendship, leaving the Doctor all alone.

Clara storms out of the TARDIS, which dematerialises. Danny finds her in her classroom, and as he comforts her, she recounts the story to him. Danny tells Clara that her relationship with the Doctor isn't over, because he can still make her angry. Clara asks him how he became so wise, and he tells her that he left the army under circumstances that he only refers to as a "really bad day".

Returning home, Clara goes into the kitchen and pours herself a glass of red wine. She then gazes out of her window at the Moon.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.

References Edit

Cultural references from the real world Edit

  • Clara had given a lesson about Charles Dickens and David Copperfield at Coal Hill School before she and Courtney travelled to the Moon.
  • Courtney has a Tumblr account, from where she uploads pictures she's taken during her trip; not surprisingly, the Doctor is furious. Lundvik says that she remembers her grandmother uploading stuff to Tumblr.

Story notes Edit

  • This episode's original broadcast was followed by a teaser for the second series of fellow BBC Saturday night drama, Atlantis, confirming that it would premiere on 15 November, the week following the Series 8 finale of Doctor Who. Atlantis' first episode, The Earth Bull, was bookended by the initial stings promoting The Day of the Doctor.
  • During the writing process, showrunner Steven Moffat told writer Peter Harness to "Hinchcliffe the s** t out of it", in particular, the first half of the episode. (DWM 478) This referred to the period when Philip Hinchcliffe was the series producer (1975-77), which is remembered by fans as especially frightening.

Ratings Edit

Filming locations Edit

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
to be added

Continuity Edit

Home video releases Edit

 DVD releases Edit

  • Doctor Who: Series 8 Boxset

Blu-ray releases Edit

  • Doctor Who: Series 8 Blu-ray Boxset

Digital releases Edit

  • The episode was released on Google Play, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video in HD or SD, also available as part of the Series 8 digital boxset. The digital boxset contains various features: trailer, interviews, The Ultimate Companion, The Ultimate Time Lord, Inside the World Tour and Doctor Who Extra episodes for each episode.

External links Edit

to be added

Footnotes Edit

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