Kill the Moon

STORYLINE

Clara is concerned about Courtney's recent behavior. Ever since the Doctor told her she was nothing special, the school girl has been acting up. Clara tries to convince the Doctor to give the poor girl some encouragement in order to make her feel special. Instead, the Doctor offers to give Courtney the opportunity to be the first woman to walk on the moon.

But when Courtney, the Doctor and Clara step from the TARDIS in their space suits, they find themselves in the cargo bay of a space shuttle in the year 2049, a shuttle that is about to crash land on the moon, and a shuttle that is full of nuclear bombs.

After coming to a stop on the surface, the Doctor and his two companions are promptly confronted by the ship's three crew members. It doesn't take the crew much convincing to allow the Doctor to help them with their problem.

Something is wrong with the moon. It has begun to put on a bit of weight. The problem is, that weight is having a disastrous affect on earth. The plan was to send this old mothball space shuttle full of nuclear bombs, along with its inexperienced crew, and blow up the moon. The thinking is if they obliterate the moon, the problem will go away.

The Doctor and his two companions, as well as the three shuttle crew members, get into their space suits and head out to explore the abandoned mining operation left on the moon. The troubles with the moon began when this mining base was first built and it seems a logical place to begin their investigation. What they find are plenty of cobwebs and a few remains of the station's personnel.

The shuttle crew is able to get the station's power back on, and thanks to survey photo's left by the mining crew, the Doctor is able to determine that the moon is in the process of falling to bits. A sudden quake accentuates that point. 

As the ground shakes, the lights once again go out. This time, however, the Doctor and the others hear skittering noises coming from the dark. Their flashlights catch the approach of a huge spider-like creature. The Doctor cautions them all not to move. He believes the disgusting critter is detecting them by movement, not by sight. They must slowly try to make their way to the only exit from the room.

Just as they are about to make a break for it, an unsuspecting shuttle crew member returns from trying to fix the station's power. The others use the distraction of his brutal death by spider to make it out the exit door. The Doctor, Clara, and the shuttle Commander make it out, but Courtney isn't so fortunate. She is a bit to slow and is trapped behind. As the spider pounces toward her, it looks as if she is a goner, but a desperate Courtney reaches for the can of germ killing house cleaner she just happens to be carrying in her back pack. She sprays the spider creature liberally, and it has the desired effect, the critter shrivels up dead. Now that he has a chance to scan it, the Doctor realizes the creature is not really a spider, but more like a giant oversized germ. A frightened Courtney is taken back to the TARDIS where she will be safe.

After a little consideration, Clara doesn't believe that the moon will be destroyed. Afterall, she's been to the future, and the moon is still there. And besides, wouldn't the Doctor know if the moon had ever been destroyed before? But the Doctor explains that this is a grey area in time, a moment when important things are decided, and even he isn't sure which way they will fall. The moon's fate hasn't been decided yet.

The Doctor, Clara and the shuttle Commander leave the base again to explore a little further. When they come across more of the remains of the mining crew around a mine entrance, they also find more of the creepy germ spiders, a lot more of them. Are they the cause of the increased weight of the moon? The creatures seem to be swarming and multiplying in the caverns beneath the surface.

In one such pit, the Doctor finds traces of amniotic fluid. He, of course, can't pass up this oddity, and very quickly plunges into the dark cavern. As he jumps he tells Clara and the Commander to return to the safety of the TARDIS. Before they can make it back to the shuttle, however. another quake shakes the ground and opens up a crack in the surface. They watch in disbelief as the hole swallows up the shuttle and the TARDIS along with it.

Before they have time to fully react, the Doctor suddenly returns from his exploration of the pit. He doesn't seem too concerned about the fate of the TARDIS or poor Courtney who was inside it. He is, however, interested in sharing what he has learned from his trip beneath the surface. It seems the moon isn't just a hunk of rock, and it isn't just breaking apart. It is actually an egg that is about to hatch. The creature that emerges will obviously be massive, but it may also be the only one of its kind. All the Commander can think is "How do we kill it?"

The Doctor agrees that, yes, the nuclear bombs in the shuttle would be enough to kill it, but Clara and Courtney, who has made contact by phone, don't like the idea of killing something that is just trying to be born. Does that justify the millions of people who might die when the moon breaks up? And who knows what this huge creature might turn its attention to once it is born, maybe it will feed on the earth. The Commander is determined that the bombs must be used.

Not wanting to be left out again, Courtney does as the Doctor tells her, and is able to get the TARDIS to transport itself to the Doctor's location. Meanwhile, Clara isn't sure what the right decision is. She looks to the Doctor to tell her what they should do, but he has decided to stay out of it. It's not his decision to make. It's not his planet or moon. He won't make the decision to kill the creature or not for them. He in fact jumps into the TARDIS as soon as Courtney arrives in it, and leaves the three of them to decide humanity's fate.

With the Doctor gone and time running out, the moon is quickly beginning to break apart. Clara is determined to find the correct answer. She doesn't really want to kill this innocent creature, but the Commander makes a persuasive argument for how many millions on earth may die so that this one life form can be born. Once the button is pressed, they will have an hour before the bombs will go off. Hopefully, the Doctor will return for them before they die.

With so much weighing on her, Clara decides the choice is too big for her to make alone. Thanks to the stations communication system, she is able to communicate with earth's entire population. She puts the choice before them. She asks them all to leave their lights on if they wish to give the creature a chance to live, or turn them on if they wish to kill it. Clara and Courtney watch with trepidation as they can see the lights from earth going out.

It seems the choice has been made, and the Commander gets ready to press the detonation button. But before she can press it, both Clara and Courtney step up and press the abort button instead. As soon as that choice has been made, the Doctor returns in the TARDIS. He orders them all on board and transports all of them back to a beach on earth. The four of them watch as the moon explodes and as a massive winged creature emerges from the dust. Nothing seems to have changed on Earth. The remnants of the moon disintegrate.

With the decision having been made, the Doctor is now able to see a clear future that wasn't visible before. The creature will endure until the end of time as it explores the universe. It turns toward space to leave, but before it goes, it leaves something behind. It lays an egg, leaving the Earth a brand new moon to take the place of the old.

With everything restored to normal, it's time for the Doctor to return Courtney home. However, Clara seems a bit perturbed with the Doctor. She doesn't like that the Doctor put her in such a position to have to make such a horrible choice. She almost made the wrong decision, and she is quite upset. So upset that she tells the Doctor that she wants him to go away and never come back. She angrily exits the TARDIS, but does she really mean it?

Danny councils Clara by phone not to make such a decision when she is angry. Only when she is calm can she tell the Doctor to leave for good. Clara heads back to her home to contemplate her feelings...