Doctor Who S8x12 “Death in Heaven”
WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS!
Well, I learned during this episode that it was probably best not to watch an episode of Doctor Who a few hours after being blown away by the incredible Interstellar film, because everything just felt like a step down in quality for me. However, Death in Heaven despite this, remained entertaining. There were several cool moments that came from this episode and it packed a pretty hefty emotional punch. However, it wasn’t quite perfect though, with a few logic problems here and there. Death in Heaven not quite as effective as it could have been.
The big reveal concerning Missy/The Master was handled pretty well, and the ensuing episode was a blockbuster with plenty of action packed moments. We got the return of Kate Stewart, UNIT and Osgood, with some good action packed moments including one of the highlights of the episode, featuring the Doctor landing in the TARDIS from his own version of Air Force One.
It’s safe to say that the whole “Earth elects an emergency President who is an alien,” idea is well, as unrealistic as you’re ever going to get, but it was fun to see the Doctor put in a position of power. It’s the whole tactic that villains have tried to prove in the past with the “you’re just like me”, strategy being used most notably by Heath Ledger’s Joker in his plan to make Batman break his one rule. The Doctor is put in a very similar situation here, and it’s great to see it plan out like it did.
What I loved about Death in Heaven was that there was no cop-out at the end. No time-rest, and as I had wrongly predicted, Danny Pink did not return to life meaning that we’re presumably done with Samuel Anderson’s character. We also got deaths from Osgood and Missy as well (and almost even Kate Stewart) – although we know that the Master always comes back in one form or another so that death is by no means finale. There’s probably even a good chance that we could see Osgood again, whose character has become a fan-favourite.
There were no happy endings here. We got to see Clara and the Doctor both lying to each other, the former about Danny being alive and the Doctor about finding Gallifrey, which remains undiscovered. The emotional moments packed several punches and there was a very cool reveal concerning the Brigadier. Because of course, if the Cybermen are taking the dead bodies of everyone who’s died on Earth then we will inevitably see some famous faces from Who’s past. There was a great touching moment with the Cyber-Brigadier and the Doctor at the end, which really worked.
Capaldi once again put in a stunning performance and Michelle Gomez proved more than capable in her own way as Missy/The Master. The reappearance of Chris Addison’s character was a welcome one as well, even if it was sadly short lived. The acting as a whole was pretty strong and it was good to see that this series ended on a high.
Also, as it was the finale, I thought I’d talk a little bit about the season as a whole. It’s remained incredibly divisive throughout but with a new Doctor that is always to be expected. The plots were fun and adventurous and even the weakest episodes were at least watchable. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor has excelled and it’s been fantastic to see him in action, with Jenna Coleman’s Clara improving over the course of the season as well. And of course, Michelle Gomez’ Missy was excellent in her two-episode stint, so largely, it’s been really impressive and probably, despite its flaws, Moffat’s best Doctor Who season since his first one. Let’s hope there’s more great things to come next year. (And in the upcoming Christmas Special, featuring Nick Frost of all people.)