Last week on Doctor Who, a gigantic revelation was had, and the dead were coming back to life. The episode also offered some jaw-dropping stuff, after a season that mostly rode a seesaw of interesting and boring events.
”You see, I'm not Clara Oswald. Clara Oswald has never existed... I'm The Doctor.”
Clara's “The Doctor”... again. Only this time, she's lying to Cybermen to survive. While this was definitely annoying, for the most part Clara actually had a decent, moving storyline. And Danny Pink... poor, poor Danny Pink. Just when I thought the character was becoming one-note and redundant, he goes and becomes a Cyberman, making for some really heroic and sad moments. Fittingly enough, the Doctor Who season finale is a fitting tribute to soldiers at large, with The Doctor gaining respect for Danny, as well as paying a final respect to Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart. If there's anything that resonated most powerfully this week, it's the emotional storytelling.
Unfortunately, if you're more into the actual action/spectacle part of the show, it was severely lacking this week. C'mon Doctor Who, you've got Cybermen coming out of the graves of the world, and the most you can muster is a really cool plane sequence? (Though you probably will muster some more complaints from the parents of the world.) Don't get me wrong, it is a great plane sequence, but the Cybermen are back on Earth and they hardly accomplish anything. It is definitely an episode that read differently when I watched it a second time.
”I'm going to kill you in a minute. I'm not even kidding.”
Fortunately, The Mistress picks up the villainous slack, as she seriously torments The Doctor. This incarnation of The Master is vicious and dark, but with a great sense of humor that mixes quite brilliantly. In fact, the scene where she escapes custody and offs several UNIT personnel is really menacing. I hope this week isn't the last we see of The Mistress, and judging by her exit, it probably isn't. Michelle Gomez's Missy really puts The Doctor into some tight spots this week, and it is the stuff that Doctor Who thrives on.
Upon first viewing, this episode is a disappointment, considering last week in really ramped everything up to be a spectacle of action and combat. But the whole point of the episode is that it didn't have to come to that. Ultimately, the love of a soldier saved the day--and in the best way possible. It's something that even The Doctor himself could respect. While it has its problems, Death In Heaven is overall a wonderful, emotional finale that needs to either be watched directly after last week's Dark Water, or twice in a row, so as to dispel the suspense high that a week of waiting builds up. The eighth season may not have been the best, but the finale definitely clinches the day and makes it a season worth watching.
This Christmas, The Doctor visits the North Pole, and a very special companion joins him in his journey. See The Doctor and Santa Claus fight evil in the as of yet untitled Doctor Who Christmas Special! Until then, won't you join us one last time for “The Doctor's Notes”?