Doctor Who: Death In Heaven Series 8 Episode 12 Review


Series 8 is in the books, as the finale Death In Heaven has aired.  Well, it could have been worse.  I’m not sure exactly how though, because this was pretty bad.  I’m doing this write-up after watching the show, but I’m playing it back to try and keep things in the proper order, but I will jump around a bit.

  • So, we just seem to have ignored last week’s cliffhanger where Danny was set to erase his emotions and started on Clara?  Do they not understand how cliffhangers are supposed to work?  After a week of suspense and tension and waiting and postulating, we’re supposed to be rewarded for being loyal viewers who “tuned in next week” and see how our hero extricates themselves from the precarious position they were left in last time.  Though I suppose since they chose to end on “crying Danny Pink” and not the advancing Cyber army, it wasn’t really much of a cliffhanger…
  • Is Clara lying to the Cybermen to save herself?  Or is this a giant swerve that she’s a future incarnation of the Doctor, and  that’s how she could move through his timeline so easily, and we’ve been treated to a female Doctor already?  Jenna even got her name first in the credits, and her eyes in the opening sequence…. Nope, it’s a lie that we find out ten minutes later, rather than when the credits finish, again because they don’t know how cliffhangers work?
  • Well, now I’m just waiting to hear when Iron Man, Tony Star, Marvel and the House of Mouse will be suing the Cybermen, Steven Moffat and the BBC.  Is it just me or did that effect look pretty bad when the Cybermen took off?  I don’t remember.
  • Oh, Danny’s here with the kid he killed in the war (yes, the only innocent kid in a warzone), glad they explained what happened at the end of last week when it seemed we saw the reflection of the boy in Danny’s iPad as he was about to delete his emotions…
  • I do like the Osgood character, as well as Kate Stewart.  We’ve just seen Cybermen fly out of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Cybermen that were there all along, but unseen because they were dimensionally hidden by Time Lord technology that made something bigger on the inside.  That would be the Master’s TARDIS right?  How come no one ever goes to look for that afterwards?  Maybe just a throwaway line at the end where the Doctor says he took care of the Master’s TARDIS so St. Paul’s is safe again?  Oversight, or way to bring the Master back yet again?  Or are the writers this year so bad at the sciencey part of their science-fiction show that they were at a loss to explain not only that, but also how the Master escaped Gallifrey in the first place?  And yes, I’m calling the character the Master, and may even slip and say “him”.
  • It rains and Danny returns as a Cyberman.  He even has the paperwork to prove it.  Official paperwork that has his name written in large black marker over the typewritten official stuff.  If weren’t sure that it was Danny without him picking up his autopsy certificate (and carrying it around with him) you could probably start writing for the show.  I did like the Frankenstein-esque moments as Danny saw himself in the mirror, and the beating on the doors of the cabinets in the morgue were definitely reminiscent of the Paul McGann TV movie.
  • So the Doctor’s the President of Earth now.  Great.  Because every other time the Doctor’s saved the planet he’s done it with an army right?  No.  He needs a lab.  And they need to drop the stupid condescending dialogue.  Especially this close to Remembrance Day, (and I’m pretty sure they knew when the episodes were going to air when they wrote them) we don’t need to be insulting the Armed Forces by calling Colonel Ahmed a “man scout”.
  • Nice banter (and name dropping) with Osgood and Ahmed about Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet.  Too bad they kill them both off in a few minutes.  That’s right, they killed Osgood, and there goes at least one semi-interesting character with potential.  And they killed her right in front of guards, who heard Missy/Master say she was going to kill her.  Good guarding.  She was a character that was almost a callback to the classic series, and I could have seen her being an interesting companion to the Doctor, as it was hinted at and we do know that Jenna Coleman is leaving the show (apparently after the Christmas special).
  • Aww, Cyber-Danny is sad that Clara has admitted to being a liar.  And his metal heart will break when he hears her talk about the Doctor later.  Good thing he’s still got his nametag/autopsy paper in his hand so we know who he is…
  • The Doctor interrogates Missy/Master actually is pretty good.  And the really bad guards don’t notice the lights on her bracelet or the beeping as she turned it on.
  • Hopefully this asthmatic Osgood that died is really the Zygon from the Anniversary Special.
  • The Cybermen coming from the graves is actually a pretty decent scare.
  • When did we decide that 3W was only for the “super rich”?  And how did UNIT actually know about them?  Did Missy actually file incorporation papers?  I thought it was just something hidden in a pocket of St. Pauls?  Gee, if Missy tipped off UNIT do you think something here could be a trap?
  • I will have to watch this without commercials, because it closed on the Doctor stepping in Osgood’s ashes and glasses, and opens on Clara in the graveyard with Danny.  And Clara’s the only one who can’t figure out that he’s Danny, or notice the sheet of paper in his hand that he’s crumpling up…and when he does reveal himself to her, she doesn’t really apologize for lying to him and still hanging around the Doctor, who she just finished saying she’d never leave or betray.
  • Glad to see that we couldn’t finish off the episode without a Matt Smith flashback… Moffat just can’t let go of Eleven.  Or write Twelve well enough that he would be able to figure things out.  We just have a flashback to Deep Breath, where he says there’s a woman out there who wants to keep him and Clara together, then they run up against a female Master.  2 + 2 = what?  And when you think there should be some sort of payoff , and we learn why Missy wanted Clara and the Doctor to stay together, and that it seemed like she had paired them for some sinister reason of her own we don’t get it.  That bit just seems glossed over now.
  • Really glad that Clara has travelled with the Doctor so long, and won’t betray the man who’d take her into Hell to save her dead boyfriend, but still won’t trust him to possibly have a plan to save her Cyber-ized dead boyfriend and won’t listen when everything he’s saying makes sense about what will happen when she disconnects Danny’s emotions.
  • How did the Master’s bracelet control the plane and make the cargo door blow off?
  • It may be cheesy, but I do love the James Bond, skydiving Doctor racing towards the TARDIS.  And I love seeing the TARDIS in flight.  The scene when it was flying down the motorway after Donna in the Santa cab was one of my favourite bits.  I love spaceships and the TARDIS will always be my favourite.  (Followed by the X-Wing and the original series Enterprise)
  • The Doctor comes to rescue Clara and could probably fix Danny.  But Danny decides to act like a jerk to the Doctor still, and hold the human race ransom even after getting a pretty good explanation about the importance of emotions.
  • Wow, they actually did the Mary Poppins thing.  Maybe P.L. Travers will jump on the lawsuit with Marvel…
  • The Master was always supposed to be the Doctor’s greatest foe.  Former friends, rumoured at times to be brothers, who had a falling out and became bitter enemies.  The Master, as I remember him (best as Roger Delgado), was cool, suave, intelligent, plotting.  A master of hypnotism, but not a raving lunatic.  He didn’t grandstand and reveal his plan to the world before letting his enemies overpower him.  Even RTD’s Master wasn’t a great interpretation.  The Jacobi Master was actually very good, and I wish he could have done more, John Sim’s Master was okay, but got too crazy in the Series 3 finale, his resurrected Master in the End of Time was pretty horrible I thought.  The Missy-Moffat-Master is absolutely terrible.  Eric Roberts’ Master was head and shoulders better than what we saw tonight.  I have no idea who Michelle Gomez is, or what else she’s been in, but I’m sure she’s a nice person, and her acting was good, but the character was written ridiculously.
  • Really, Missy didn’t see the Doctor throw her device by Danny and Clara, and see Clara pick it up?
  • Now, she’s trying to show the Doctor he’s not that different from her?  Before she’s always sought world (or galactic) domination, or wanted to kill the Doctor.
  • You know what would have been an effective plan for Missy?  I thought they hinted at it when they were on the airplane, and fan board were speculating it too — bring back the Doctor’s dead human companions who were buried on Earth as Cybermen and have them attack him.  That would be dark.  Adric died fighting Cybermen, wouldn’t that be a twist?  Jamie McCrimmon, Dodo Chaplet (who got her name mentioned on the funeral home sign where Danny was revived), Ian and Barbara…
  • Nice speech by the Doctor, but do we need the speech from Danny?  He doesn’t need to inspire the Cyber Army, they’re programmed to obey the bracelet!
  • Surprisingly, the part I had heard about, and the part I thought I would hate the most, the part that would anger me really wasn’t that bad.  That of course being the Brigadier, beloved character from my favourite era of Doctor Who, the Pertwee Years, “returns” as a Cyberman, or more specifically a CyberLeader who had apparently saved his daughter after falling from the airplane and now apparently kills the Master…or Missy.  Yes it was cheesy, but I really didn’t mind it that much.  It wasn’t exactly the destruction and disrespect to the character (and actor, the late Nicholas Courtney) that people were complaining about.  That being said, this better be the last we ever see of the Cyber-Brigadier.
  • Danny uses his last wish to send home the boy he killed by mistake.  And they’re now saying that the Nethersephere is another world, wasn’t it part of 3W?
  • As we pull badly from the pages of Gift of the Magi, the Doctor and Clara say goodbye over a bunch of lies…and then Santa Claus arrives in the closing credits.  I’m curious if they listed Nick Frost as Santa or as Father Christmas in the UK broadcast version.  Here in Canada it was Santa Claus.  And I notice that the Christmas Special is without a name, and just called the Doctor Who Christmas Special
  • Good writing would have the Doctor who’s now angrier than ever over Missy’s (hopefully) final betrayal more determined than ever to find Gallifrey.  I sadly doubt that will happen though.

Overall a disappointing end to a disappointing season.  There were glimmers of hope, like when the Doctor and Clara say goodbye and thank each other for making each other feel special but sadly not enough.  I like both lead actors, and think they did a tremendous job with material they were given.  Unfortunately I don’t think the scripts this year were worthy of either the actors or the characters.


Posted on 14-11-10, in Doctor Who. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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