Doctor Who
DOCTOR WHO: DEATH IN HEAVEN (S8E12)

OK where to start with this one?  There was goodness a-plenty here but at the same time, some jarring elements that just didn’t fit.  Overall however this was a fitting if somewhat depressing end to the season.  While the future of Clara is somewhat up in the air, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor has definitely cemented him into the annals of Who lore as one of the good ones.

Where were we?

In the last episode – Dark Water – Danny has gotten run over by a car while crossing the road and Clara in her grief has managed to persuade the Doctor to take her to him.  Here they meet Missy.  Missy who we’ve seen throughout this series turns out to actually be the Master (by the way – read this post by another fan to get the full history of the Doctor and the Master.  It’s extremely detailed and provides an excellent insight into the character, his motivations and history). We also find out that Dark Water has been converting humanties dead into Cybermen.

Episode Recap

Clara has been detected inside the facility and is now being interrogated by the Cybermen preparatory to being “upgraded”, thinking fast however (similar in some ways to how she acted in the 1st episode of Series 8 – Deep Breath) Clara manages to get them to stall by stating that Clara Oswald is not real – its all a lie – and in fact she is really the Doctor!

Meanwhile, Missy and the Doctor are outside St Paul’s Cathedral where hordes of tourists surround the Cybermen thinking them a simple attraction. One of the “tourists” offers to take a picture of Missy and the Doctor, but she is in reality Osgood – an undercover officer from UNIT.  After she seizes Missy’s weapon, additional UNIT officers surround her and the Cybermen use their rocket boots to escape – one of them however detonating above the Cathedral.

In the Nethersphere the lights start to go out & Seb (Chris Addison) tells Danny that they are going to go home and their bodies are being “upgraded” (note: this was one of the silly bits for me that just didn’t jibe with the whole story … while Seb was played really well, the whole campy, over the top persona just didn’t work considering the end-of-world scenario in progress).

Back at St Paul’s both Missy and the Doctor are sedated and the Doctor just manages to whisper to Osgood, “Guard the graveyards” before passing out.  As the dust from the Cyberman explosion starts to settle, it starts to rain – however the rain seems to only be falling over graveyards.

This water seeps out into the gutters and sewers and eventually finds it way to a morgue where the recently deceased body of Danny lies.  Reanimating his corpse, Danny stalks off in search of Clara whom he finds speaking to the Cybermen.  When he approaches her, Clara not realizing that she’s speaking to Danny further exacerbates by continuing to pretend Clara isn’t real.  He proceeds to knock her unconscious and then destroy’s the  Cybermen that she was speaking to.  Picking up her unconscious body, Danny flies off with her to one of the graveyards where Clara wakes up.  Confronting her again, Danny reveals himself to her and states that Clara needs to help him turn off his emotional circuits so that the pain can go away.

While this is all going on, the Doctor wakes up on “Boat One” where he’s unceremoniously informed that he is now the President of the Earth and all of its military forces are now under his command.   The Doctor goes down to speak to Missy and in a really well done scene, reminds her of all the times that she wanted to take over the Earth and says its a piece of cake!  Missy also reveals that she was the one who’d arranged for Clara to call the Doctor and also for the advertisement in the Newspaper (two of this seasons mysteries answered).

When Osgood correctly surmises that Missy is really the Doctor he offers her a place on the Tardis, but this is unfortunately not to be as the Master quickly escapes – killing her guards and Osgood in the process.  As Missy/The Master calls in her Cybermen troops, Boat One starts to plummet from the sky & Kate is sucked out into the air.  The Doctor manages to make it onto the TARDIS and materializes in the graveyard and warns Clara that if she deletes Danny’s emotions, he will kill her.  Clara disregarding the Doctor’s warning takes the Doctor’s screwdriver and enables Danny’s emotional inhibitor.

[note: another quibble for me is the constant ranting that Danny alive or dead has with the Doctor and officers in general.  While you could state that his deep seated hatred came from an officer forcing him to kill the child we were introduced to last episode, we’ve learned that this is actually not the case and it was a simple accident.  I realize that authority figures in certain positions can definitely be overbearing and obnoxious but I don’t know if it needed to be said and pushed as much as it was]

Missy then appears and gives the Doctor a bracelet that will enable him to control all of the Cybermen.  Stating that this is what he really wants – a way to right the wrongs of the Universe without sacrificing the lives of those he loves.  The Doctor horrified tries to think of a way out of this dilemma and then realizes that Danny despite having his inhibitor turned off, has not attacked Clara comes to the realization that what he needs here is a soldier & not an army.  He throws the bracelet to Danny who puts it on and assumes control of all the Cybermen.  He promises Clara that she will “sleep safe tonight” before flying into the cloud with the rest of the Cybermen and destroying it, himself and the other Cybermen.

Clara about to kill Missy is stopped by the Doctor who doesn’t want her to have to bear the trauma.  Before he can shoot however, a blast from behind seems to disintegrate her.  Turning around, the Doctor realizes that one remaining Cyberman is Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.  The Brigadier has not only saved his daughter Kate, but as the Doctor states:

“The Earth’s darkest hour. Where else would you be?”

has also it seems destroyed Missy.  The Doctor gives the Brigadier a salute before he too flies off into the sky where he also detonates.

Several weeks later Clara wakes up in the middle of the night to Danny’s voice.  He says that the Nethersphere has enough power for one one-way trip but instead of coming through himself, he sends through the young boy he’d killed. He says is sorry and the portal closes, leaving the boy in the hallway along with the broken bracelet.

The Doctor and Clara both meet in a restaurant and the Doctor seeing the bracelet on Clara’s wrist wrongly assumes that Danny had returned.  Thinking this he tells her that he has finally found Gallifrey and that he will now be returning home.  They both hug and you can see that the lie’s they’ve both told to protect the other are making them deeply sad, before the Doctor leaves in the TARDIS.

As the episode ends, there is a knocking at the door of the TARDIS and in walks Santa Claus!  Telling the Doctor that “it can’t end like this” and that neither Clara nor the Doctor are “okay”, the episode ends, getting us all ready for the upcoming Christmas Episode.

Final Thoughts

Overall a really good season with some good, scary villains and stories.  While we’ve seen some of the Doctor’s favorite foes – the Daleks – they’ve been presented in a new light and the Doctor himself has changed.  The Christmas special will hopefully answer the question of Clara and her potential death in the serial and hopefully we’ll also get a chance to see whats going to happen in the next series.

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I'm a geek! I love all things SciFi and Fantasy and have done since I first read LOTR as a kid. Escapism to fantastic worlds filled with weird and wonderful creatures initially for me was via books and comics, but with the recent surge in popularity of this fare in film and television also - I'm in a state of bliss! As the editor of Zone Six, I've been lucky to meet some other awesome authors and writers that share this love and passion. The great Ray Bradbury said - "Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn't exist yet, but soon will .. it will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again."

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