Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who series 8 episode 12 – ‘Death in Heaven’….
The Master/ The Mistress: Say something nice.
The Doctor: You win.
We’ve come to the end of Peter Capaldi’s first run at the Doctor, the end of series 8, which to me it has flown by and I’ve started my countdown timer already for the Christmas episode. Sticking with Death in Heaven our emotions where dragged everywhere but in the end, even after the Doctor and Clara had won, there was no rapture as we were pulled down even further. This was not a cheerful episode. Matt Smith doesn’t live here anymore.
With Clara holding the Cybermen at bay by attempting to take on the persona of the Doctor, the Doctor himself is in disbelief as the general public are in the process of taking selfies with the rather docile Cybermen, The Master pulls the Doctor in for a selfie too when Osgood from UNIT appears – as well as a fair few other undercover UNIT soldiers – to arrest the Master. Kate (daughter of the Brigadier) explains that UNIT has been monitoring 3W for some time and with that the roof of St Paul’s Cathedral opens and 91 Cybermen fly out, Osgood tells the Doctor and Kate that there is one Cybermen for every significantly populated area of Britain; with this occurring a UNIT solider tranquillises both the Master and the Doctor, and the Doctor whispers to Osgood, “guard the graveyards”, before falling unconscious.
The Cybermen who have flown into the sky have exploded; transforming into dark clouds they have begun to rain Cyberpollen upon graveyards and into morgues, which are reanimating corpses into Cybermen. It’s in a local morgue the late Danny Pink arises and flies to St Paul’s to save Clara from being executed, as her stalling with the Cybermen has come to an end and they no longer believe her tall tale of her being the Doctor; giving Clara an electric shock she falls to the ground and he takes her to a graveyard. Meanwhile the Doctor has been awoken, upon a plane, to discover he has been given the role President of Planet Earth and with the heads of the British uniformed services they set to work on how to deal with the current threat. Below, in the plane’s hold, the Master is at her psychotic best and is in the process of getting inside Osgood’s head by informing her she will die in the next minute and rather surprisingly she does; seconds later Cybermen are ripping the plane to pieces. The Doctor runs down to confront the Master and we discover why she sent Clara his way and as Clara calls the Doctor via the TARDIS phone, to demand that he comes to help her and Danny. Kate runs down to the holding area at which point the Master blows open the planes wall; both Kate and the Doctor fall to their death. As Seb and the Master watch the Doctor plummet, with the Master commenting on her disappointment on the Doctor’s final fate, we witness the TARDIS coming spinning toward the Doctor and the Doctor – with key in hand – flying toward the door.
Our final act takes place in the cemetery as Clara pleads with the Doctor to help turn off Danny’s emotions so he can no longer feel pain or love for which the Doctor refuses to help. Though when Danny reveals to the Doctor that the only way to see the Master’s plan is to allow him to become a full Cyberman the Doctor knows what must be done, but yet he still cannot; Clara herself completes the final stage with a cutting remark from Danny. It’s here the Master shows her powers over the Cybermen using the bracelet on her wrist. After the demonstration she hands over the bracelet and gives him the army as a birthday gift. The Doctor however noticed that Danny at no point during the Masters commands to the Cybermen obeyed them, so throwing the bracelet Danny, Danny takes control of the Cyber army and orders the Cybermen to take to the skies thereby destroying the dark clouds and sacrificing himself. The Master, realising it’s over, gives the Doctor one last present – the co-ordinates to Gallifrey, and he turns to see Clara who has the Master’s weapon ready kill her. The Doctor pleads with Clara not to kill the Master when a shot appears from a Cyberman behind them and it appears to have disintegrated the Master. They run over to the Cyberman and discover Kate lay upon the ground muttering “Dad”. The Doctor realises that this remaining Cyberman is the Brigadier and gives his old friend a farewell salute.
Two weeks on and Clara is awoken by the voice of Danny. He has discovered how to use the bracelet to come across from the afterlife but with the chance of sending only one life back he uses it to send back the boy he killed as a soldier, telling Clara he’s sorry and he has promises to keep, then fades away. Both Clara and the Doctor meet in a café the discuss each other’s lives and going separate ways. The Doctor believes that Clara is back with Danny and he lies to Clara telling her the Master gave him the correct co-ordinates to Gallifrey and he’d found it – in truth there was just empty space which angered the Doctor so much he physical attacked the TARDIS console. After an allowed hug (we discover why our latest Doctor doesn’t like them) they go their own way and leave each other, but Father Christmas it seems isn’t happy about this ending.
Gone is the playful pantomime of series 7! That taste of riding a motorbike up the Shard or Matt Smith skipping around the set with a piece of gold leaf stuck to his face seems like eons ago compared to what has been delivered in series 8. We have good Doctor Who stories going on here and as a long-time Doctor Who fan of old, the Doctor has come home for me. In Death in Heaven we could have gone out on a high-note with Danny being brought back from the dead and everything being syrupy and nice, but we didn’t. Instead the show stuck to its guns; our ending was the right one.
Everything about this episode was perfectly right from UNIT being more than aware of 3W and their actions for sometime thus being ready to pounce, the killing of Osgood by the unhinged Master, and not forgetting the posthumous honourable action from the Brigadier; on top of that the final moment of the Doctor venting his rage on his closest friend. Of course all of this is wrapped up with a bow called The Master/ The Mistress (Michelle Gomez), who you were laughing at the beautiful chaos she brought to the Doctor’s life. Myself, I couldn’t have asked for a better finale to the season.
Death in Heaven was truly some great television and I’m glad that I got to watch it. Roll on Christmas Day, I need to see how these two liars sort this out. You can watch the trailer for the Doctor Who Christmas Special here.
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.
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