TV SHOW: Doctor Who
SERIES/EPISODE: 8.12 ‘Death in Heaven’
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Steven Moffat/Rachel Talalay
Missy (the Master) reveals her plan to create an army of Cybermen from Earth’s dead, and the Doctor joins forces with Kate Lethbridge Stewart and UNIT in an attempt to stop the inevitable invasion. Meanwhile Clara has an emotional reunion with a resurrected Danny Pink, who has been brought back as a Cyberman.
Well this was certainly a brilliant way to end what I think has been Doctor Who’s best season since the beginning of 2010, as this episode had action, emotionally-charged drama, which was dripping in atmosphere as it also created another scary TV-moment that would have had young kids scampering behind the sofa to watch it from there (which is an ever continuing hallmark for the 51 year old show).
And also for the first time since the show was revived back in 2005, it has managed to make the Cybermen feel like a genuine threat again. The scene of them climbing out of their graves just had so much atmosphere and a growing sense of dread, what with the dark clouds and wind swept cemeteries as we see the hands of the metallic monstrosities breach the earth and grasp at the air. It was so very reminiscent of classic Zombie-horror movies (Night of the Living Dead comes to mind), as well as the fact that these Cybermen could now fly. So just like with what Doctor Who did with the Daleks back in 1988 (in the episode ‘Remembrance of the Daleks) by showing that they could chase you, even when you went up/down a flight of stairs.
The Cybermen could now chase you anywhere, even high into the sky. Which is where the biggest action set-piece took place as the Doctor’s Silver Nemesis ripped apart the UNIT plane named ’Boat one’, where the Time-Lord was actually given the title ‘President of Earth’ (well if you were going to give that job to someone, it would be the Doctor wouldn’t it).
Now there was a great build up to this scene, what with Missy killing Osgood (Michelle Gomez was amazing, and I will get to that later on), but then all hell broke loose and people started dying left and right (it even looked like Kate would be one of the casualties, but she would end up being saved by her Father the Brigadier, who was now a Cyberman).
But the biggest (or the fist-pumping) moment came when the Doctor was sucked out of the plane too, only for him to skydive down to a falling TARDIS before being squished on the ground below.
Now I can’t mention other big moments without going into the individual performances, and so I will start with the Hero or more so Anti-Hero himself…the Doctor.
Peter Capaldi has proven over the course of series Eight that he is not only more than capable, but was born to play the role of the Rogue Time-Lord (just as David Tennant was before him). And we have had glimpses of every aspect of his personality throughout this series, but it was in this finale where we saw the whole package and Capaldi was a revelation once more.
Especially after having spent the entire series soul-searching with one question that no one, not even Clara could really answer (‘Am I a good Man?’). He finally found his answer though, which we (the viewers) already knew, but Capaldi sold it with so much joy and self-realisation that we could believe it that it was the first time he had ever figured it out. And there was the quiet rage he displayed after discovering the Gallifrey was still lost, beating the TARDIS control-console with his fist. The Actor was on an emotional see-saw in this episode, going from happy to sad to angry and back again at the snap of a finger.
Jenna Coleman and Samuel Anderson both went the extra mile to show us that love could conquer all boundaries (even those guarding the afterlife) and the pair did a tremendous job, building on a series long story as well as the strong chemistry both actors shared. Danny was the hero of the episode, sacrificing himself not once…but twice in the span of 60 minutes (first with blowing himself and the other Cybermen up to destroy the Cyber-Clouds, and then when he let the boy he had killed during his days as a soldier return to life instead of himself).
Also Clara did a great job (at least until Cyber-Danny arrived) in convincing the other Cybermen that she was in fact the Doctor, even the ‘red-herring’ title cards tried to help sell that, which I think is a call-back to ‘Flatline’ where she did a great job of being the Doctor previously. And I loved Cyber-Danny’s reaction to Clara telling him what a good liar she was, with him just lowering his head and saying ‘yes’ in return. You could feel his emotion, even behind the those lifeless black eyes of the Cyberman’s metallic face.
Now we get to Missy and I really hope Michelle Gomez gets to play the female Master again (I don‘t think the insane Time-lord is dead), because she was just so devilishly unhinged and evil, yet showed a need to be the Doctor’s friend again. From adapting the lyrics of Toni Basil’s 1982 hit ‘Mickey’ to make a funny moment, to showing her hunger to kill everyone the Doctor considers a friend, Gomez was just an absolute blast (is it me, or does the Master become more ‘Bananas’ with each of his/her regenerations) and like I said above, I hope she returns.
Overall this episode was one exiting hour of television and I know there are some things that I have missed in this review (I think I would need to write a book if I was to go into detail about everything), but the important thing is that I loved every minute of this finale.