Based on my 10 seconds of serious pondering and research, I don’t think the Doctor has been back to the Moon since the 2007 episode “Smith and Jones,” which introduced Martha Jones and had the Doctor dealing with an entire bloody hospital that had been relocated to the lunar surface. Sure, the moon played a major role in “Day of the Moon” — and gave us one of Matt Smith’s finest moments as the Doctor — but as far as I can recall, our very favorite Time Lord hasn’t actually been back to the moon since he still looked like David Tennant. That’s about to change this week in an episode entitled “Kill the Moon.” If that title didn’t tip you off, The Doctor’s going to run into some trouble up there. And it’s looking a bit…spider-y.
Here’s the official synopsis for “Kill the Moon”:
In the near future, the Doctor and Clara find themselves on a space shuttle making a suicide mission to the moon. Crash-landing on the lunar surface, they find a mining base full of corpses, vicious spider-like creatures poised to attack, and a terrible dilemma. When Clara turns to the Doctor for help, she gets the shock of her life.
So far this season we’ve had a lot of show veterans in the writer’s seat, with episodes by showrunner Steven Moffat, Phil Ford (“The Waters of Mars”), Steve Thompson (“Journey to the Center of the TARDIS”), Gareth Roberts (“Planet of the Dead”), and Mark Gatiss (who co-created Sherlock with Moffat). “Kill the Moon,” on the other hand, has a Who newbie in the writing slot. Peter Harness has been working in British TV for several years now, but this is his first crack at penning an adventure for The Doctor. And even though I don’t know anything about the guy, I’m going to predict he’ll serve up a better “moon bugs” story than Apollo 18. It’s a low bar, but it’s a bar.
I kid. Moffat actually called Harness’ script “intense and emotional,” and we can probably throw “scary” into that mix as well. While discussing the story with Harness, Moffat apparently told the writer to “Hinchliffe the shit out of it for the first half,” referring to 1970s Who producer Philip Hinchcliffe, whose tenure saw the show become darker and influenced by Hammer’s horror films.
Even more intriguing are Harness’ comments hinting that something major will unfold in “Kill the Moon,” and I don’t think he’s talking about the spiders. He told Doctor Who Magazine, “I still don’t know how people will take it. I’m in this kind of limbo now waiting for people to see it, and I’ve no idea, really I do not know how it is going to go down. I’ve never seen the Doctor do something like this before.” Yikes.
You can check out more pics and a trailer for “Kill the Moon” below. The episode premieres this Saturday night on BBC America, guest starring Hermione Norris, Tony Osoba, and Ellis George.