You have to wonder what the people at the BBC who come up with the criteria for what makes a companion – something that a lot of people have seemed to enjoy making obsessive lists about- are thinking. Apparently, Astrid Peth, the character played by Kylie Minogue in “Voyage of the Damned” is an official companion despite never even seeing the Doctor’s ship, while Courtney Woods, who took two TARDIS trips in subsequent stories, isn’t. And it can’t be because the Doctor made the invitation to Astrid and she accepted before she died, because he also made the same invitation to Lynda-with-a-Y at the end of series one and she also said yes before she got killed.
Anyway, you can’t help but like Courtney. She goes to the moon 35 years in her future and the first chance she gets, she posts pictures on Tumblr.
It’s easier to squint and ignore the breathtakingly dumb science of “Kill the Moon” from a distance. I think when it first aired, the revelation about what’s happening and how it is resolved just felt so amazingly stupid that it overwhelmed everything else, but everything else about this story is actually incredibly good. It’s the first Who adventure written by Peter Harness – he’d do the fine seven-part adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell for the BBC the next year – and I think it moves a bit too fast in the beginning. I’d like to have spent a little more time with Capaldi and Coleman speaking a little less frantically about how the Doctor’s thoughtlessness has affected Courtney. Once we’re in 2049, it’s excellent.
And once we’re back in 2014, it’s excellent again. Clara really did become the companion who should have left many, many times. Maybe this should have been her goodbye. Coleman is amazing; she’s so furious and I mostly agree with her. The Doctor is being incredibly manipulative in this story. Sure, it means we’d have been robbed of what should have been her farewell scene in “Death in Heaven,” and what should have been her farewell scene in “Last Christmas,” and what should have been her farewell scene in “Face the Raven”… but you see what I mean?