Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who Series 10 Episode 12: The Doctor Falls…
Directed by: Rachel Talalay
Written by: Steven Moffat
The Doctor – A Pity…No Stars…I’d hoped there would be stars.
Following on from last week’s rather fantastic opener “World Enough and Time” the closing chapter of Series 10, sees the bowing out of long time showrunner Steven Moffat – writer of this two-parter – and rumour has it this too is the swan song episode for Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Michelle Gomez and Peter Capaldi too. So, if rumours are to be believed, this episode is going to require a box of ‘man-sized’ tissues. Obviously because onions are being cut somewhere – I’m not implying I’m going to get emotional or anything, and I clearly had allergies when David Tennant said, “I don’t want to go!”
Wasting not one precious moment with “The Doctor Falls”, the episode starts as it means to go on and we’re the hitting the ground running. With the revelation that Bill (Pearl Mackie) has now been butchered and converted into a Cyberman, we discover that both the Master and Missy battered the Doctor unconscious, whilst Nardole made his escape from the operating theatre when this bombshell was revealed. When the Doctor finally comes around, we find him at the mercy of both Missy and the Master, as they ponder the numerous ways to extinguish his life without tiring themselves out.
Up on floor 507, the solar farm has been fending off Mondas Cybermen for many years, but now with the arrival of the Time Lords and Companions things take a turn for the worse. With the Master and Missy now together, and Bill as a Cyberman and slowly losing control, the Doctor is rapidly running out of allies in the final fight against an army of one his oldest foes.
Times are desperate; from a great accomplishment and one-upmanship which the Doctor secures so early within the episode, to such a difficult path he and his friends must travel from that moment on. There are no easy points scored, though Nardole shows he’s not just ‘Comic Relief’ he does know how things and people work. Everything within this hour-long climatic episode leads to a final destructive moment and like a game of Chess important pieces are lost. The Doctor Falls is truly a fantastic piece of science-fiction and one that will be remembered.
Everything about this final episode sums up everything that has been perfect about Series 10. Our main cast of Capaldi, Lucas and Mackie have been a fantastic trio within the four outer walls of the TARDIS. They’ve gelled exceptional well. Peter Capaldi is to myself a magnificent Doctor; I grew up on Tom Baker and beyond, and here is a person who captures the wisdom, madness, caring and frustration of a two-thousand (give or take a few) year old Time Lord. Matt Lucas’ wit is spot on for the TARDIS, but when needed a look can make you wonder, ‘What actually lurks beneath the woolly hat?’ And along with this we had the brilliant Pearl Mackie who is a blast of pure energy in the Companion line-up, with emotion, humour and humanity. All three have made Series 10 something wonderful to watch.
Of course we can’t forget Michelle Gomez, the other travelling companion, who shook the Lore of Doctor Who by making the Doctor’s nemesis a parasol-spinning, slightly unhinged woman, and come the close of Series 10 people didn’t want her to leave. To see her go up against John Simm here in this episode is rather splendid.
This closing chapter couldn’t have been so excellent if it wasn’t for the work of the actors, the crew, the director Rachel Talalay (Death in Heaven, Heaven Sent) and the writer Steven Moffat. For that I tip my hat and as I wait for the Christmas episode the Cloister Bells have finally become audible. Something is coming and the TARDIS is more than aware of it. Though it could just be the Sontarans, perverting the course of human history.