Doctor Who: Death in Heaven

Picture shows: PETER CAPALDI as The Doctor, MICHELLE GOMEZ as Missy, Cybermen
(courtesy BBC America)

The Doctor and The Master face off with some Cybermen!  Plus: most of this season’s overarching themes get some sort of resolution.

It’s the season finale of Doctor Who!  When we last left things, Missy revealed herself to not just be your garden-variety Doctor Who villain, but the latest regeneration of The Master1, who’s now starting turning all of the Earth’s dead into an army of Cybermen.  That’s a lot of Cybermen, you guys.

All in all, this was a great wrap up to the Missy storyline and an impressive Eighth series.  As I said last week, this is my favorite season of the show since Matt Smith’s first year as the Eleventh Doctor.  Michelle Gomez was divine as the latest version of the Doctor’s greatest nemesis, and did the perfect amount of scenery-chewing as a demented Mary Poppins.  There was also a nice wrap-up of Clara and Danny’s story.  Danny’s resurrection as a Cyberman who hasn’t been fully activated yet was a great close to the solider/officer threads that have been running through his contentious relationship with the Doctor, and although Doctor Who returns to the “Power of Love” ending a little too often these days, it’s been a dark enough series that I’m happy to let this one slide.

Clara’s storyline this season got its own wrap-up as she managed to lie her way out of defeat at the hands of the Cybermen lurking in the W3 building by claiming she was the Doctor2.  After feeling like Clara was a bit of a blank cipher in her time with Eleven, I’ve loved the characterization she’s been given this year.  I recently mentioned to a friend who didn’t find Clara likable that I didn’t think she needs to be likable – the biggest story through these 12 episodes has been the dark side of the Doctor-Companion relationship and how the power to travel anyplace/anytime is a hard thing to resist once you’ve had a taste.  Clara is moody and emotional and really should take a long-term break from flying with the Doctor.  The end of this episode, where she and the Doctor both lie about their situations and go their separate ways makes it seem like this may have finally sunk in, but things were a little too low key to truly be a good-bye between these two.  Plus, Christmas is just around the corner.

Scattered Thoughts:

  • Seriously, though, there’s no way Clara’s gone yet – the departures for most past companions of the modern era have all been more dramatic than this.  Even if Jenna Coleman decides to leave the show, they’ll write her a goodbye that’s stronger than this.
  • Also not gone?  Missy.  That last beam was blue, not red – I figure like most versions of The Master, she found a way to escape.
  • UNIT!  Always lovely to see them (even if my favorite Osgood, who seemed like a great potential companion, got destroyed)
  • The Doctor responding to being called President of the Human Race was one of my favorite parts of the episode
  1. I am still kicking myself for not figuring out the whole Missy = Mistress = The Master earlier in the season  
  2. even appearing in the credits sequence, although I didn’t see that touch as particularly necessary  

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About Ben Smith 228 Articles
Ben has been writing about TV, music, and pop culture in some form or another since 2009, including stints at Mental Floss and Temporary Obsession. When not solving puzzles of some sort or consuming pop culture at a frightening pace, he can be found collecting shiny pieces of the internet at E-mail: