In which the Doctor takes off his caretaker coat and puts on a space-suit for a touch of lunarachnophobia.
It is 2049, and Clara is on the moon with Courtney Woods. She’s contacting Earth about a terrible decision has to be made: an innocent live versus the future of all mankind. Any thoughts?
And while future mankind is pondering this, back in the nowadays we find out that Courtney Woods has been using her barf-inducing trip in the TARDIS (and the Doctor’s psychic paper) to reassess her entire existence. The Doctor has failed to reassure her that she is special and she’s so desperate for another trip she’s brought cleaning products and some anti-sickness wristbands.
With extremely poor grace, the Doctor offers her the chance to be the first woman on the moon. But as always, something goes awry. They land on a recycled space shuttle in 2049, complete with Earth-like gravity and 100 nuclear bombs. They’re not on the moon, well not yet anyway. One almighty crash later and there they are. A door opens and the angry-looking crew walk in, lead by Captain Lundvik.
The Doctor talks his way out of trouble by offering Courtney as a sacrifice and testing the gravity with a yoyo. It turns out the moon has increased enormously in weight, with catastrophic consequences for the people of Earth. That’s what the bombs are for. Time for a stroll on the surface, Courtney first, to go and investigate a former mining base. The last space mission humanity undertook, over 10 years previously.
Lunvik sends a worried Henry back to the shuttle to prime the bombs, and the rest of them are alarmed to discover cobwebs and the desiccated remains of the mining crew. With the power back on, the Doctor explores the mining database, discovering that there are no minerals on the moon, but huge fault-lines running across the surface. The moon is falling apart.
Henry is killed by something hiding in a cave. And inside the mining base, there’s a noise like a scream, and some scuffles, and then…
Just at the wrong moment, Duke comes in, and the spider-like creature attacks and kills him, then goes after Courtney, who has become trapped on the wrong side of the door and has started to float. Courtney’s cleaning stuff comes in handy after all, killing the creature, which turns out to be (deep breath) “a prokaryotic uni-cellular life form with non-chromasomal DNA.” It’s a germ, and the floating is because the moon’s increased bulk seems to be able to move.
Courtney asks to go home, so the Doctor puts her inside the TARDIS (again, grumpily). Clara wants to leave, reasoning that the Doctor would know if the moon had broken up in 2049 or not. But the Doctor explains that the fate of the moon rests on the shoulders of the only people left there, and that’s them and Lundvik.
They go off to investigate on the surface, and the Doctor is attacked by a germspider, then drops his yoyo in some lunar amniotic fluid. Then he jumps into a crevasse. Clara and Lundvik find Henry’s body, and watch the Space Shuttle fall into another crevasse. Then a drenched Doctor arrives and they rush into the mining base to discuss the Doctor’s findings. It turns out the germs are bacteria and the moon is an egg. An egg with a colossal beast inside. A unique and beautiful colossal beast.
Lundvik wants to kill it, to prevent the shell of the moon from raining down upon humanity, and Clara and Courtney (on the phone) feel sorry for the creature. So, what to do? Well whatever it is, the Doctor will not take part in the decision. He wants the humans to sort it out, telling Clara “it’s time to take the stabilizers off your bike,” and then disappearing in the TARDIS, leaving Courtney behind.
So, what to do? They have an hour before the bombs go off and a lot of thinking to do. Which brings us back to Clara calling Earth. She asks humanity to make their choice. To switch off all electric lights, visible from the moon, if they want the creature to be destroyed, and to leave them on if they want to take a chance and let it live.
Over the next hour, they watch from the mining base as the Earth’s lights go out one by one. A decision has been made. And then, at the last second, Clara steps forward and disarms the bombs.
As soon as she does so, the Doctor arrives, taking them down to a beach on Earth with a perfect view of the moon. They watch as the creature hatches, looking like an enormous butterfly dragon. The Doctor explains that the birth of this creature is what will inspire humanity to explore and populate space for the rest of time, lead by Captain Lundvik herself. And it even lays an egg—a new moon—so that the Earth’s tides can return to normal.
Which might seem like a happy ending, but for the small matter of Clara and the Doctor. Clara is beyond furious that the Doctor left her to make the decision about the future of humanity on her own. It’s an ugly scene, and ends when she tells the Doctor to clear off and leave her alone.
Back in school, Danny talks Clara down, helping her to realize she may not be finished with the Doctor just yet, not until she can say it calmly to his face, and she ends her bad, bad day staring up at the moon from the window of her flat.
Next time: “Mummy on the Orient Express”
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