Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet experienced Doctor Who's Season 10 finale.
It may have only been less than four years, with 39 episodes to show for it, but the Doctor Who partnership between Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat has been a roller coaster ride of excitement. While there have been some dips, some real high points were also plentiful, and "The Doctor Falls" was probably the apex of the pair's time together (at least, until Christmas). So much happened in the Season 10 finale that we just have to talk about all of it.
Twelve's Regeneration Plotline Is An Interesting Spin
We've seen The Doctor angry about having to regenerate before, but never as fiercely as Peter Capaldi's Tweflth Doctor. Considering this is a man that's manipulated his regenerations time and again to give his current iterations more time, the fact that he's flatly refusing to change before Christmas indicates something truly introspective in on the way. Also, it's kind of fitting that Steven Moffat would use the First Doctor to help tie up his run as showrunner, as well as complement the departure of The Tweflth Doctor.
John Simm's Master Has Never Been More Effective
While The Master had been quite the protagonist after Russell T. Davies brought him back into the Who fold, Steven Moffat crafted a much more sinister presence out of the character. Between his creation of the Cybermen and his con game with Bill, which led to her own cyber conversion, the knife was fully twisted in Twelve's back. Which is funny, considering the biggest mistake The Master could have made was trying to convince Missy to join him in his evil ways.
Missy Was Heroic In The Most Missy Way Possible
While The Master may have tried to turn Missy into the mastermind that she'd previously shown herself to be, her positive resourcefulness was ultimately proven when she murdered her past self in cold blood. To a certain extent, Missy did commit an evil act here, but this evil was honestly in the name of The Doctor, the man who truly believed in her. Michelle Gomez getting betrayed by John Simm, and then ultimately dying in the field of battle, was a fitting way for her character to go.
Bill Finally Got Her Happy Ending
Throughout Season 10, Pearl Mackie has made a strong case for Doctor Who being a show that's only as strong as its companions. Bill Potts was a fantastic addition to the Whovian family who not only helped reintroduce the core concepts of the show to audiences old and new, but she also provided a strong emotional foundation for the show's whiz-bang mechanics. As such, seeing her become a Pilot, much like her beloved Heather, gave us the perfect ending for a brave woman who gave everything to save The Doctor.
Nardole Was His Bravest, And His Most Comedic
When Little Britain vet Matt Lucas was introduced as a comedic companion in "The Husbands of River Song," no one would have thought that Nardole would turn into the man that he was in "The Doctor Falls." Going from a sidekick with perfect comedic timing to a bona fide heroic figure isn't an easy transition, but with Nardole's valiant actions saving the children and survivors of Floor 507, Lucas made the jump. Nardole's expertise with weapons, and his no nonsense ability to call The Doctor out on his promises, will be missed.
That Thrilling Final Battle Against The Cybermen
If there was ever a grudge bigger than The Doctor's hatred for the Daleks, it's his unending loathing for the Cybermen. Nowhere was this more present than in his final fight against the invading Cybermen army on Floor 507. Threatening to blow up a whole floor of Cybermen is one thing, but running around a forest zapping while them to death with a sonic screwdriver is another more fabulous thing. A truly thrilling fight sequence throughout, it was also quite possibly the best brawl of Doctor Who's modern run.
Moffat Embraced His Own Doctor Who Fandom In The Best Ways
Every now and then, Doctor Who nods to its past in creative and fantastic ways. But "The Doctor Falls" was the most plentiful when it comes to tying the present into the past. In particular, John Simm's classical-looking portrayal of The Master conjured memories of the Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley incarnations, which was a fantastic touch. The Doctor rattling off previous Cybermen battlegrounds was also a moving detail that helped cement the severity of the situation. But for all that, there was one final detail that expertly tied 50 years of Whovian history together in one fell swoop.
David Bradley Returned As The First Doctor
There's no way that you cast an actor like David Bradley as actor William Hartnell, as well as The First Doctor, without finding a way to use him in the official canon. His performance in the TV biopic An Adventure in Space and Time was such a winning take on for the classic actor, as was his incarnation of the very first Time Lord on Doctor Who. Steven Moffat himself clearly knew the talent so close at hand, too, and so even after that glorious final finale moment, we'll be once again seeing the original Doctor teaming up with the Twelfth to bring the story to a close. And we couldn't be happier.
Of course, we'll be waiting another six months or so for that Christmas special to get here. But there's thankfully a lot of other solid TV on the way, and you can find it all with our summer TV premiere schedule.