Death in Heaven Review

(200 comments)

Thank you so much to the 171 people on Patreon who made these reviews possible. It's not been the easiest past two months, and this has been an absolutely huge help. Come Christmas, I'll be back with one more review, and a season wrap-up, and then a bit after that I'll have something or other about future uses of Patreon, as it's been rather lovely, frankly. So thank you very much. This has been a wonderful bit of fun. 

Well here we are, for one last round before, you know, the next round. Twitter is a somewhat mixed reaction. GallifreyBase has 71.65% on 8-10, with 34.62% of those tens. Me? I loved it. 

It’s ostentatious as hell. It builds on Moffat’s previous tricks in so many interesting ways. You can accurately describe it as “the Doctor Who version of His Last Vow” or as “Eric Saward done right,” it’s got the first companion departure to top Doomsday (Donna is disqualified for the horrific consent violation involved), and it manages an entirely different take on the phrase “tomb of the Cybermen” than the one we had last week. It frames that perfectly, with Clara and the Doctor having the exact inverse of the conversation Clara was trying to have with Danny at the beginning. It’s the Master as an evil River Song, while Clara plays out Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead with Danny in River’s role. It’s as perfectly timed for Remembrance Sunday as Deep Breath was for the sunset. Clara applies the moral legitimacy she earned in Kill the Moon to the question of granting her boyfriend’s request for assisted suicide. The opening credits recycle the trick from the sixth episode of Jekyll. Clara’s an adult Linda. The fucking Brigadier. Moffat, a writer whose work is defined by narrative substitutions, plays it completely straight while doing weird inversions of everything else around him while telling a more or less straightforward point A to point B story over ninety minutes. 

It works. There are plot holes. I identified several in the immediate aftermath. On a second pass, all of them have, at the very least, a line of dialogue. Yes, Missy’s entire reason for bringing the Doctor and Clara together and intervening in their timestreams to keep them together was that Clara would eventually lead the Doctor to try to rescue a loved one out of heaven. It’s a scheme by the Master, what did you expect, sanity? The Doctor probably could have commanded the army to self-destruct, but he recognized that Danny was the right person to do it. They’re not always satisfying payoffs, though for the most part, they’re as satisfying as they need to be for the amount the show built them up - if fans inflated the minor mysteries further, that’s their problem.

And when anything falters, it’s willing to get through on sheer bravado. Moffat returned to the two-parter on the back of Sherlock, and built one with a corker of a cliffhanger. He actually rejects his own usual advice of having to pick up the cliffhanger in a different place, instead just weighting the two halves, so Clara drops out earliest in Dark Water and then gets the cold open in Death in Heaven. Then he uses UNIT to change the pace a second time, and he’s off to the races with something that feels very different without any gimmicks, or, at least, without any of the gimmicks his detractors accuse him of relying on. It keeps moving at a thrilling speed. There’s no flab to this story - just a solid knowledge of what the major scenes actually are and a willingness to linger on them and trim the connective tissue.

It’s phenomenally good, and a worthy capstone to a season that has been a genuinely incredible piece of television. And it’s been a barnstorming success in practice. There are detractors, but most reviews have been positive, ratings have been high. AIs have been a smidgen weak, perhaps, but that’s maybe OK for a show that’s taking this many risks. Maybe the best television doesn’t get a 91 point AI. 

Indeed, there would be something slightly disturbing if everybody liked this. It’s so willing and at times eager to be a difficult show. It acknowledges the costs and horrors of war in a very blunt, unflinching way. So many scenes are willing to be genuinely unsettling. Danny as a Cyberman is absolutely awful, in all the best ways. The parting between the Doctor and Clara is real and honest and comes out of both of their characters. Capaldi silently smashing the console is chillingly good. But all of this makes it an episode that’s trying to needle. Just like last week you’d have been disappointed if the BBC didn’t get some complaints, you kind of hope it does this week too. It seems like all our fallen soldiers as Cybermen on Remembrance Sunday ought to raise a few hackles and piss a few people off. 

It’s difficult, in other words, for me not to be slightly ecstatic about this story.

I don’t like it as much as… Listen or Kill the Moon, certainly. That seems almost petty to say. I have nothing but 100% respect and love for everything it does, mostly, with one very big exception where I can even be persuaded that Moffat made the right choice, but it’s still a choice I don’t like, which is the death of Osgood. (I think it’s a waste. I get what it does for the episode, and I get that there has to be a real, brutal, awful death in a war, and I think the transition into Missy being an evil Mary Poppins is deliciously sick. I think Osgood was, as a character and as a set of things you could still do with her, worth more than her death gave to this story.) In the end, probably not as much as In the Forest of the Night, which I wanted to have a slightly bleaker ending than it did, and which, in hindsight, given these two episodes, it now does have a rather bleaker ending than it did, so that’ll teach me to make wishes.

But look, I absolutely adore it. Four top class, all-time classics in one season. Another… ooh, even if I want to be a harsh grader, I’ve got to say Mummy on the Orient Express, Deep Breath, The Caretaker, and, yeah, all right, Flatline were top class. Your weak three are Time Heist, Into the Dalek, and Robot of Sherwood. Holy crap that’s a good bottom three. I’m glad I opted for a ranked list system instead of scoring, because that would have ended up with as much grade inflation as a PhD program. 

Wow. What an incredible season of television just happened. What an absolute event and thrill to have experienced. 
  • Osgood could have been her Zygon duplicate. Or, and this might be the better idea, you could have Osgood’s character continue via her Zygon duplicate. Yes, Osgood died, yes, everyone feels awful about it, but look, here’s a good Zygon who defaults to Osgood’s form and shares her basic personality. It’s the next Strax, and Moffat should totally do it. 
  • Speaking of Osgood, in a season with two ostentatious passes of the Bechdel test already, the fact that Dark Water/Death in Heaven only passes because of Osgood’s death scene, which again lampshades the test, is somewhat gloriously twisted. 
  • The horror of what happens to Danny in this story really casts an odd pall on the Brigadier. Moffat has made it so that the character can appear indefinitely. You can always have a good Cyberman who’s the Brigadier. You could do a last Brigadier story set centuries in the future where the Brigadier, Handles-style, is finally dying, and Three stops by to say goodbye, because he always knew this was how it was going to end for his best friend. Or, you know, any number of stories that aren’t just the most depressing things ever. (Three is on his way back from Metebelis Three and is dying of radiation poisoning! It’s a great idea!) Or any number of other stories with the character. But equally, holy shit, how awful this must be for poor Alistair. 
  • God, Moffat gets the Cybermen right. What’s impressive in both episodes is how much time he manages to spend not doing big, crashing armies of Cybermen. Instead he keeps them lurking horrors, as they were when they were at their best in the Troughton era. 
  • And Missy, frankly, is brilliant. This is a contender for best-ever Cybermen story and is, I think, flat out the best-ever Master story. The use of Missy as a force of chaos and plot complication who blows in, makes things worse, and blows out again. Or, put another way, Moffat’s cracked that a Master story isn’t about “an evil version of the Doctor” it’s about the Doctor’s version of the Joker. She had one bad day, looked into the untempered schism, and now does things like try to give the Doctor an army to prove he’s just like her. (Also, I love that “the villain is a twisted mirror of the hero” is no longer a clever observation on narrative, but instead the villain’s aspiration. Post-Moore storytelling for the win.) 
  • Implicit in this, and fascinating, is a critique, not so much of the Doctor, but of heroes. The Doctor is still absolutely the hero we need - an idiot with a box and a screwdriver who wanders by and tries to help. But the inherent unpleasantness of heroism is really highlighted here. Danny’s critique of the Doctor is given tremendous weight, especially when we see that, yes, all of the Doctor’s grand speeches really do wither away the moment he decides he needs to sacrifice someone.  Heroes are necessary and terrifying all at once, but in the end, their problems don’t make them any less heroic. 
  • Which brings us to the wonderful final scene, in which two good people who care deeply about each other lie to each other to avoid hurting each other, and end up parting ways as a result. A sort of “Gift of the Magi” ending, in which each of them hides their damage in the mistaken belief that they’re going to make the other happy. I said last week that the Doctor’s line about how betraying him doesn’t make any difference carried more depth of emotion than the entire Rose arc. Here I think we get this taken even further - a companion departure with so much more emotion to it than the increasingly played out Doomsday approach.
  • Right. Santa. OK. See you all in six weeks then.
  • Final Rankings Until I Decide To Rank Things Again:

  1. Kill the Moon
  2. Listen
  3. In the Forest of the Night
  4. Dark Water/Death in Heaven
  5. Mummy on the Orient Express
  6. Deep Breath
  7. The Caretaker
  8. Flatline
  9. Time Heist
  10. Into the Dalek
  11. Robot of Sherwood

Comments

Bennett 2 years, 5 months ago

I haven't double-checked, and it might just be wishful thinking, but I think that the visual effect was the same as the one used earlier when Missy teleported herself inside the Matrix slice - and not the effect that rendered Osgood into a pile of ash and broken glasses. Supervillains always have a trapdoor.

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Daibhid C 2 years, 5 months ago

It certainly looked closer to that than the previous vaporisation effect, but then it wasn't her vaporiser that did it; it was Cyber-Brig's gun.

Which crushed my hope that however the Mistress was going to come back, it would give Osgood a chance to return as well.

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Bennett 2 years, 5 months ago

..it was Cyber-Brig's gun.

Ah, so that's why I should resist the temptation to share my limp thoughts. In case I miss something kind of important. I think a rewatch is in order.

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Triturus 2 years, 5 months ago

Not quite as good as last week's set up but still pretty damn good. Some powerful scenes, as we've come to expect from this series.

Michelle Gomez was fantastic. Gutwrenching stuff with Danny in the cybersuit.

And "Permission to SQUEEEE!" *ZAP!* Poor old Seb. Biggest laugh of the series for me.

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Josh04 2 years, 5 months ago

Well, ethics still in question, that was some impressive body acting of "what have I become?"

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Francis 2 years, 5 months ago

I enjoyed it up to the *unearned* deus ex machina (the one involving the original series character). That just threw me out of the story.

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David Anderson 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't know about unearned, but there was no way a line like 'my dad always wanted to get you to salute him' was not going to be paid off.

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Lewis Christian 2 years, 5 months ago

Plus they threw Gallifrey in with the planets at the end of the sequence. (The director told us to watch for the planets, just in case anyone reckons I'm seeing something that isn't there. It is, it's just very quick and subtle.)

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Nathan 2 years, 5 months ago

In a way, this is the narrative collapse that you get for the cliffhanger of the 12th episode in previous seasons, and I still hold out hopes for a happy ending for the 13th episode at Christmas. After all, Santa comes in from outside the narrative, stops the closing credits, critiques the downbeat ending, and then takes the Doctor off to fix it somehow. Could Danny and Clara finally get together at Christmas? Please?

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orfeo 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't know yet quite what I thought of that overall. I do know, though, that it was as ambitious as hell.

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David Anderson 2 years, 5 months ago

I would put Survival (and perhaps Logopolis) up there with it as Master stories. Although Survival isn't a straight Master story.
I don't really see what the competition is for best ever cyberman story. (I admire Invasion, but this makes better use of the cybermen, and it has the benefits of forty-five years of storytelling technique.)

I agree about Osgood. I was thinking earlier that the Moffat doesn't really fridge potential companions in the way that the Davies-era does, and I'm sorry this was an exception.

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ScarvesandCelery 2 years, 5 months ago

I think I mostly agree with Phil's review - I loved loved loved Missy, and the Doctor and Clara's goodbye was particularly affecting. But it did leave a slight sour taste in the mouth with the endless stream of death, although Danny's sacrifice was incredibly affecting - I think it mostly just felt unexpected because, well, it's a Moffat episode, and I don't expect death (on this scale) in those.* Osgood's death, however, while chilling and a brilliant moment for Missy, felt cruel and cynical in a way that was not worth the benefit of making Missy scarier. Take that out, and you probably have an episode I love, but I'll need a rewatch to think it through.

*Not that death isn't adressed in his episodes, but usually it's as a major theme ("Name of the Doctor") or it comes with deaths that are softened ("The Angels Take Manhattan"/ "Silence in the Library"). This may be Moffat's first high body count, multiple major deaths story.

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Francis 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh, of course it was going to be paid off. But it was still unearned and undercut the themes present in the rest of the episode.

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elvwood 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh my giddy aunt - of course. I forget to tie these into the moment, even when it's become obvious how deliberate those links are in the Moffat era.

Remembrance Sunday, and we have the dead repurposed as weapons of war. An action which is rejected not just by the Doctor, but by a dead soldier. Colour me impressed, and definitely anticipating some flak flying in Moffat's direction...

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Dan 2 years, 5 months ago

I thought it was incredible. Reading this review reminded me of one thing however - it appears that Doctor Who has just brought people, literally, back from the dead - not just used the idea, actually gone and done it. It's not just uploading the someone's consciousness somewhere at the point of death (like River, Danny, the Afghan kid etc. - possible in theory to retrieve and somehow tie back to their recently deceased bodies in the last two cases - although that isn't what seems to have happened in the last case) but, in the case of the Brigadier, apparently bringing the actual him back after some considerable time dead. This takes Doctor Who into a realm that has always been bounded before, and probably without sufficient justification.

I gave it 10 out of 10 regardless.

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Scurra 2 years, 5 months ago

I said to a friend that this is the first ever season of, well, practically anything - let alone Doctor Who - that could actually end with "and then she woke up and it was all a dream", and it wouldn't feel like a cheat of any kind...

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ScarvesandCelery 2 years, 5 months ago

Okay, Rankings:

Listen
Kill the Moon
Dark Water/ Death in Heaven
The Caretaker
Deep Breath
Mummy on the Orient Express
In the Forest of the Night
Flatline
Into the Dalek
Time Heist
Robot of Sherwood

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elvwood 2 years, 5 months ago

Don't forget Missy travelled in time collecting "souls" - no reason she couldn't have picked up the Brig's as easily as Danny's. The recorporation of the boy is another matter, of course.

I agree, by the way, that the little unexplained details like this don't spoil it...

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Iain Coleman 2 years, 5 months ago

Given all the stuff about soldiers in this episode,it's noteworthy that it was followed on BBC1 by the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, a lengthy pageant of military pomp broadcast from the Albert Hall and hosted by Doctor Who veteran Huw Edwards.

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Triturus 2 years, 5 months ago

Given that there's been a lot of discussion about metatext on this blog recently, I wonder how long it will take for somone on the internet to take umbrage at killing off Osgood as an example of Moffat taking potshots at fandom? She was pretty obviously a stand-in for the fans in DOTD, after all. And cutting down Seb in the middle of a massive 'squee' could also be interpreted in the same light.

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Melissa Robertson 2 years, 5 months ago

Phenomenal, of course. Absolutely amazing.

I particularly enjoyed the whole "I'm not a good man or a bad man" bit. Because ultimately, it doesn't really matter. Sure, the Doctor's made some mistakes. Sure, he's sometimes arrogant and insensitive, and sometimes he makes morally questionable choices. But he's still that man in the blue box who flits around the universe helping people. And that's what really matters.

I also loved Danny's speech about soldiers. Because their job really is to protect. That's why we have armies. And really, soldiers aren't all that different from the Doctor. They both protect people, and they both make mistakes.


Also, when Santa asked the Doctor what he wants for Christmas, all I could think of was Gallifrey. Although I kind of doubt they would do anything that big on Christmas. Than again, Time of the Doctor was a Christmas special.

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Marionette 2 years, 5 months ago

It gets my vote as best Moffat climax, if only for the virtue of having a coherent plot that largely made sense. I mean there were plenty of fridge logic moments like why were the Cybermen stored in x-ray water and what did the Cybermen use to build their bodies (even if every drop contained the blueprint for an entire Cybermen it takes more than a blueprint to construct a machine), or the lack of explanation about how Missy came to be in charge of a cyber-army, or pretty much anything else, really.

So better than Big Bang Two, but not as good as Doomsday for me. But then I like finding out how the villain escaped from certain death last time. Hand waving it away or ignoring it completely always feels like a cheat.

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Ciaran M 2 years, 5 months ago

Goodness me, that was messy.

Missy was good.

The rest of it... sure did exist.

What a letdown. Oh well.

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Ciaran M 2 years, 5 months ago

"We're making you president of the world!"
"What's the significance of that?"
"Yes."

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Ciaran M 2 years, 5 months ago

Though I prefer the Master desperately seeking validation from the Doctor as seen in Sound of Drums/The Last of the Time Lords, to explicitly jokery Master.

Also, there were some sweet 8th Doctor comic homages, from the Cybermen making it rain, to feeling pain being linked to empathy, to the Master trying to prove the Doctor is just like them.

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Bennett 2 years, 5 months ago

That looks like fun. Let me give it a go.

Listen
Dark Water / Death in Heaven
Deep Breath
Mummy on the Orient Express
Flatline
Into the Dalek
In the Forest of the Night
The Caretaker
Robot of Sherwood
Kill the Moon
Time Heist

...actually, that wasn't as much fun as I thought. And I'm pretty sure I got a few wrong.

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heroesandrivals 2 years, 5 months ago

>implying that Handles WASN'T the Brigadeer

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Doctor Memory 2 years, 5 months ago

(a) Michelle Gomez as the Master forever, okay? First time I've stopped missing Derek Jacobi, nevermind Roger Delgado.

(b) Somewhere in California, the Cyberman Steve Jobs was seriously peeved about the design of his suit. "Okay, at least it's brushed metal, but look at all of these... flanges. Can we lose those?"

(c) I realize it kinda wasn't the point, but, um, Moffat went out of his way to hang a lampshade on the fact that (1) there was a slice of the Matrix stuck to the roof of St. Pauls, and (2) that Missy's TARDIS had to be sitting around somewhere nearby. You'd think they'd rate a mention?

(d) It took me a few seconds to realize that the photo on the plane was Nicholas Courtney and not Saddam Hussein. And I kept doing double-takes. They couldn't have found a better photo?

(e) It's nice that Clara got to have her moment of emotional clarity with the Doctor, but just how was she planning on getting a resurrected pre-teen with severe PTSD back to his parents in fucking Afghanistan without using the TARDIS?

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mimhoff 2 years, 5 months ago

"[London,] New York, Paris, Rome, Marrakesh, Brisbane, Glasgow"

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heroesandrivals 2 years, 5 months ago

Missy NEVER referenced the events of The End of Time, so I'm operating under the assumption that she was never the Sims master, but a copy of the Master reconstituted out of the copy of his consciousness within the Matrix. (After all, thew Time Lords wanted the Master to serve as their soldier and he ran, very early in the war. ...so they made their own!)
This lets Moffat do "The Two Masters" next year.

BTW, you realize that Moffat has now created THREE love-interests for the Doctor who are affiliated with giant computers containing virtualized souls?
- River Song and the Library
- Tasha Lem and the Papal Mainframe
- The Master and the Nethersphere Matrix.

I'm not sure what to make of that, other than it being a writing tic.
I mean -- I was sure that having TWO giant solar flares this season, explicitly mentioning the parallel -- was going to be an arc-plot. Or the fact the Sky Burned only 4 episodes ago during the resolution of the Forest of the Night. But these all seem to be just unintentional cases of the show repeating itself within a single season.
(I blame poor oversight, but I'm not particularly upset over it.)

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Doctor Memory 2 years, 5 months ago

If it makes you feel any better, the episode ended with the status quo ante bellum still very firmly in place with regard to "death". If a human being dies, their final mind-state is copied into a large disco ball stuck to the roof of St. Paul's Cathedral on Ludgate Hill in the City of London, inside of which they will be condescended to by a series of administrative AIs until someone either empties it out again or the heat death of the universe presumably.

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William Silvia 2 years, 5 months ago

I really need to rewatch this episode, because this episode is me watching it as a fan in the way Doomsday was just me watching it as a fan. Interestingly, the only thing that I found to be a flaw in the episode (not subjective "I think Kate should have died instead of Osgood because Osgood is a more interesting character" flaws, mind) was not mentioned by anybody whose comments I read: A portal from the afterlife to the world of the living, powered by tech from the species of someone who declared the afterlife to be a sham the prior episode...or even if you just ignore that line, in or out of context, that whole thing seemed a bit out of place with everything to me.

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TheSmilingStallionInn 2 years, 5 months ago

I stayed. I continued watching because I wanted it to be different. Maybe Christmas really will make it different. I don't know. Really, really depressing episode. I know that is the point of this episode, considering all of the horrible things that have happened that nothing can make right, but still...sigh. I want it to be different. This is like--I had seen the teaser trailer for the Christmas special a couple of hours ago, before seeing the episode itself, and I thought that was exciting.

Father Christmas shows up and there are Alien aliens, or Thing aliens, but here I'm wondering...dang. Father Christmas, of course, is not real, but I bet there are a ton of kids right now wishing that he was real. It's like Hogfather, is it not? How can you believe in love or justice if they are immaterial things that do not exist? That's like believing in Santa Clause/Father Christmas...but right now, I'm not entirely certain about this episode, personally.

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William Silvia 2 years, 5 months ago

Prior to this episode airing, my group was speculating that Handles was Danny.

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William Silvia 2 years, 5 months ago

Moffat explicitly wrote the Doctor making derogatory comments about the fandom stand-in group in 2007. It's not like anything he does can make he seems like he detests the fans any more than that.

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TheSmilingStallionInn 2 years, 5 months ago

Could also be digital effects shot, saving money. Cloud burning like the sky burning...

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William Silvia 2 years, 5 months ago

They did mention that for essentially all of human history, Missy has been collecting consciousnesses, so there's no reason why Lethbridge-Stewart wouldn't be just like every other human.

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TheSmilingStallionInn 2 years, 5 months ago

I had wished it was a dream, I kept waiting for it to turn out like a dream at the end of this episode...dang it.

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William Silvia 2 years, 5 months ago

Dark Water - Death in Heaven
Time Heist
Flatline
Mummy on the Orient Express
Robot of Sherwood
In the Forest of the Night
Into the Dalek
Deep Breath
The Caretaker
Listen
Kill the Moon

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William Silvia 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't know about unearned or deus ex machina. It was hinted at multiple times in this story (they couldn't stop talking about Alistair) and either way the story would have ended with Missy being shot by a weapon that she had a hand in engineering.

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William Silvia 2 years, 5 months ago

That would be because the story opened with Clara claiming to be the Doctor.

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reservoirdogs 2 years, 5 months ago

Ok, best cliffhanger of anything ever. Yes, even better than Best of Both Worlds, All Star Superman, and Tenth Planet part 4. Santa Claus on the TARDIS, that is just amazing. And he's aware of the fourth wall. In a bit where they blatantly rip off His Last Vow.

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Doctor Memory 2 years, 5 months ago

As someone who was also flogging the "maybe Missy is a regeneration of the Delgado/Pratt/Ainley Master, not the Jacobi/Simm Master" line in various other places this last week, I salute your intelligence and good taste, but think you're a little off:

Simm pretty clearly says in "The Sound of Drums" that he was the version resurrected by the Time Lords (presumably from the Matrix records of the Pratt Master), and while Missy doesn't specifically reference any of the exact events of "The End of Time", she did confirm that she escaped Gallifrey after the Doctor(s) saved it in "The Time of the Doctor", which (sadly) suggests that she is in fact a regeneration of the Jacobi/Simm line, since Simm was presumably still trapped in the center of the Time War when Gallifrey was vanished.

(For the sake of sanity, we're all going to agree that the Eric Roberts Master just... never happened.)

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Owlie 2 years, 5 months ago

''it’s about the Doctor’s version of the Joker.''

This is EXACTLY what I was hoping for since Dark Water aired.

That callback to the Doctor's Wife at the end was just *chilling* [where he realizes Missy tricked him and he's not getting his Time Lord friends back].

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TheSmilingStallionInn 2 years, 5 months ago

Here is my ranking. And now I'm wondering a lot about Listen--Orson Pink, what was on the other side of the door that the Doctor saw, and what was under 'Rupert's' red cover? Are we ever going to get any answer there? And how can Orson Pink exist, unless Clara turns out to be pregnant or Danny comes back?

Listen
Mummy on the Orient Express
Flatline
Dark Water/Death in Heaven
Kill the Moon
The Caretaker
Robot of Sherwood
Deep Breath
In the Forest of the Night
Into the Dalek
Time Heist

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Doctor Memory 2 years, 5 months ago

Mummy on the Orient Express
(and I still think it's very weird that so few people think that)
Listen
Flatline
Dark Water/ Death in Heaven
Deep Breath
In the Forest of the Night
The Caretaker
Robot of Sherwood
Time Heist
Into the Dalek
Kill the Moon

That said, with the exception of the inexcusably bad "Kill the Moon", this was (a) easily the best season since the Eccleston one, and (b) hopefully a sign that Jamie Mathieson is on tap as the next show-runner, not Gatiss or (god help us) Chibnall.

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jane 2 years, 5 months ago

Put me on the Listen train.

Listen
Deep Breath
Kill The Moon -- tie -- DW/DIH
The Caretaker
In The Forest of the Night
Robots of Sherwood
Flatline
Orient Express
Into The Dalek
Time Heist

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jane 2 years, 5 months ago

Death is a gift. I was wondering where the audience implication was in this episode -- thank you!

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unnoun 2 years, 5 months ago

On the other hand, the Master's kind of a villain.

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unnoun 2 years, 5 months ago

...Was that in Blink or Time Crash? Because in the former, the fans kind of save the day, and in the latter, it ends in a sequence that's basically pure geeking out.

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unnoun 2 years, 5 months ago

Also, what Jane said.

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John 2 years, 5 months ago

It's not the Afterlife. It's Gallifreyan Matrix technology, as seen before in Deadly Assassin and Trial of a Time Lord. It's just Danny's consciousness in a very advanced computer, not an afterlife.

I'm not sure how Danny was able to send the kid back from it, mind you. But the Nethersphere was very clearly not the afterlife.

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unnoun 2 years, 5 months ago

I think the main reason the Doctor assumed the afterlife was a sham was the bit about how it was psychic stuff from the body and "don't cremate me". He seemed open to the concept until that point.

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unnoun 2 years, 5 months ago

But no, seriously, I don't get how villainous characters doing villainous things is read as a representation of the views of the author? I mean, what?

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unnoun 2 years, 5 months ago

I mean, I also like the idea of "The Two Masters" but it's not like being the same individual has stopped the various Doctors from meeting themselves. So, why? What's wrong with Missy being the same Master as any of the others? I felt she's probably the best since Delgado. Maybe the best period.

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Nick Petrillo 2 years, 5 months ago

To be fair, the scene with Clara and her gran in Dark Water also passes the Bechdel test, if I remember properly.

Osgood's death still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth that really overshadows all I love though, which is a shame. She had serious character potential, though I do love your Zygon-clone idea.

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Jesse 2 years, 5 months ago

The Mary Poppins/Twilight Zone/Plan 9 mashup we were all waiting for.

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Alan 2 years, 5 months ago

Ha! A friend who watched with me actually said "Oh my God! Doctor Who is doing Plan 9!"

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heroesandrivals 2 years, 5 months ago

I want Missy to have a goatee when she comes back. ;)
I am completely serious about this.

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Alan 2 years, 5 months ago

I am looking forward to Zygon-Osgood and hope that actually becomes a thing. After all, Moffatt brought both Strax and Dorium Maldovar back from what appeared to be certain death once they became clear fan favorites. To be honest, I am strangely ambivalent about Osgood's death. On one hand, her death did feel somewhat gratuitous and uncomfortably like fridging. On the other, I actively dislike her being a parody of a Doctor Who Fangirl (I disliked Malcolm from "Planet of the Dead" for the same reason, though it didn't help that Lee Evans grates on my like nobody's business.)

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Alan 2 years, 5 months ago

I meant to add that personally, I was more annoyed with the death of the UNIT officer played by Sanjeev Bhaskar, because I was a big fan of The Kumars and had hoped he might be playing a recurring character.

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HarlequiNQB 2 years, 5 months ago

I feel bad for saying this, since there's clearly so much adoration for it (and like every episode this series I've never seen opinion so divided), but I despised it. Honestly, almost everything about it I found to be ever so slightly rancid.

The direction was off, the editing was poor, the pacing was dire, the effects put the classic series in a good light at several points, the sound mix was so bad I missed big chunks of dialogue, and I'm not sure about the script because everything else threw it into such a bad light (actually, what was going on with the light, why was it cloud obscured daytime in the graveyard, but not in the plane that was above the clouds? They hadn't gone that far. There was some acting, I definitely noticed that.

On the list of the season I put it dead last, and for the series as a whole? Well, it might be slightly higher than Fear Her. Execrable.

That said, I'm really happy a lot of you liked it, I only wish I could have seen it as you did.

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Dustin 2 years, 5 months ago

"[H]ow was she planning on getting a resurrected pre-teen with severe PTSD back to his parents in fucking Afghanistan without using the TARDIS?"

Given London's HUGE South Asian community, probably with the help of a translator and, eventually, an airplane ticket.

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Dustin 2 years, 5 months ago

Not every female character death is a fridging. Unless you want female characters to be functionally immortal, some will die, if you're telling the kind of story in which people die, which Doctor Who has always been.

And great characters like Osgood should be able to just be without someone looking for an excuse to find an offense. She's not an insulting fan-stereotype. She's presented as a brave and competent scientist. The scarf and the bowtie? Just cosplay in-jokes, no mockery implied.

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Dustin 2 years, 5 months ago

"I've never seen opinion so divided"

Tell me about it. Fandom has cracked open wider than ever (at least since the show came back. I know so little about before.) People seem primed to do little but rhapsodize or berate.

I watch this on the IPlayer and have no idea what poor sound mixing people are talking about. I've been catching every word. And to say that the effects were worse than green bubble wrap is to be deliberately hyperbolic.

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HarlequiNQB 2 years, 5 months ago

Mmmm. Bubblewrap was the height of clever use of materials on a budget back in the day, but fair point. It would not be hyperbole to say I could do better than many of the digital effects in this episode though (in all fairness the makeup effects were very good; the BBC has always managed exceptional make up on a budget, even if it was just bubblewrap in hindsight), because I know I can. Whether I could do them better on a BBC budget and schedule is another matter - but either they couldn't afford to do it right due to the sheer number of effects required, or they didn't have time, because these were truly terrible compared to everything else this season (especially so compared to the excellent work in Flatline, and even last episode), and close to the bottom of any episode since 2005.

It's odd I have such an overriding distaste for this episode (my wife did too), every other episode this season I've loved or at least solidly liked. The weakest episodes for me would be in the top three of most seasons, except this one. Curious as to why there's such a split in opinions across the board this year, and how vehement that split is - it's very odd.

All that said, I'll still watch it again at some point (likely when the series hits Netflix, though I might buy it before that), and maybe the sound mixing will turn out better without nasty DVR compression messing things about (this has often, but not always been the case), and maybe I'll enjoy it more as a result (also sometimes the case), but I doubt this is ever going to shift far off my bottom 10 list as long as I continue to watch the show (and may that be for a long time to come).

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Rebecca 2 years, 5 months ago

But Osgood was very clever - cleverer than the Doctor expected - she helped him, and he wanted to travel with her. I don't think you can possibly read this as "Moffat hates the fans and wants them to die."

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Rebecca 2 years, 5 months ago

I was also not enthused about Osgood's death, but I don't think calling it fridging is fair or accurate. Fridging isn't just any death of a female character. It means she's killed off as a plot device to motivate the hero, surely. You think the Doctor wouldn't have fought the Master if she hadn't killed Osgood?

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

I loved the way she emphasised Glasgow when looking at Capaldi.

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

I loved the episode. But re sound mixing, I indeed couldn't hear what Missy was saying when the plane was getting ready to crash.

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Dustin 2 years, 5 months ago

It really depends on what your baseline is for judging the show's effects. It would certainly be unfair to weigh it against a massive-budget American thing like Game of Thrones, and even that show has had some dodgy CGI, because that's just what happens with CGI. It seems to take the enormous processing power available only on a film budget to make this stuff look realistic.

Now, I distinctly remember the poor digital effects work from the Davies years. Nothing here was remotely as bad as the gooey Nestene pool in "Rose," the monsterized Dr. Lazarus or the fucking Adipose ("Partners in Crime" is my "Fear Her.") However, those last two examples would have been fine if the stories that contained them were any good, because I've always been eager to forgive a poor effects budget if everything else is clicking. It's really one of the last things I care about. I forgave green bubble wrap because "Ark in Space" was a fantastic, well-acted story, and, since I loved this one, I don't care how silly the flying Cybermen looked.

I agree that the effects work in "Flatline," especially the fabulously weird shambling things, worked brilliantly. Might be the show's technological peak.

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

The funeral home was named after Dodo Chaplet.

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Steven 2 years, 5 months ago

Intentionally or not I thought the episode marked Remembrance really beautifully.

That is, a focus on redemption - in so many ways it was gung-ho and the closest Doctor Who's been to an action movie in a while (with tropes like a take on Air Force One, and a moment that was like Doctor Who-as-Bond-Movie) and yet the overriding message was one of peace. I thought it was wonderful that the more the show appropriated the stylistic tics of a blockbuster the more diametrically opposed the central message became to most action pictures.

This won't mean much outside the UK but I think that the official Remembrance celebrations this year have been extremely problematic, more so than usual, and left me feeling really queasy. Doctor Who served a really distinct, valuable function today, one I'll remember for a very long time.

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Dustin 2 years, 5 months ago

Now, for my own comment and not in reply to anyone else, even though I got around to watching the episode late when everyone here seems to have gone to bed (and why wouldn't they have; it's almost 1AM here, and therefore later elsewhere):

I was genuinely surprised and disappointed at Clara's farewell. I ignored the speculation about Coleman's departure, figuring it was just further baseless rumor-mongering of the kind that always pops up at the beginning of a new season. Coleman made huge progress this year in building her character on-the-fly, and her turns in "Kill the Moon," "Flatline" and "Death in Heaven" are now among my favorite performances from this show. I suddenly have a hard time remembering Karen Gillan getting show-stealing scenes like these (off the top of my head, maybe "Girl Who Waited" and "Angels Take Manhattan.")

Given the kind of the stories this show has tried to tell since returning to air, and given its welcome emphasis (and often centralizing) of the companion's emotional journey, I really don't think an actor is well-served by only getting a single year. Just tor thirteen episodes did Coleman get to play an actual character and not a mystery, a trail of crumbs for the Doctor to follow. She could've been Twelve's Amy, his Rose, his Sarah Jane. She's as great an actor as Gillan (who got three years to make the role her own) and immeasurably superior to Piper, Agyeman, Tate and Darvill. I'll miss her tremendously.

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

it’s got the first companion departure to top Doomsday

But is it a companion departure? About 13 seconds into the Christmas trailer, that looks like Clara in the white dress just to the Doctor's right.

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Dustin 2 years, 5 months ago

Wonderful comments. The observance in the US has been transformed into a commemoration of veterans in general, and World War I does not seem to have had any lasting cultural significance here (it seems, in fact, almost completely forgotten), unlike the second one, though that may only be because I'm not old enough to remember WWI being even as few as 50 years distant, and there are still quite a few WW2 vets alive. Is the UK observance specific to the memory of the Great War, or has it been diluted somewhat? I'm sorry, but all I really know about what your country does is that people wear paper poppies.

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Steven 2 years, 5 months ago

I might be wrong but I really remember hearing that Jenna had a contract for, at least, Christmas? So she may be back.

I'm a bit torn because I think she's great but the pay-off worked for me and I thought that the cafe scene and the hug line was an absolutely perfect way to end her arc - a return might deflate that.

Though, if she does return she'll have to be pregnant right? If Danny stays dead (not a given but again I'd have concerns that a comeback would deflate the choice he makes with the boy, which was wonderful and sad) Clara would have to be pregnant to make the Orson thing work right? Or Danny has a twin. Maybe there's something I'm missing, or I'm being over-literal.

I had actually expected it to be revealed last night that the call she was making to Danny was to tell him he was going to be a dad. Almost thought it was given.

I remember Rose Leslie's name being (entirely baselessly am sure) banded around as a replacement. I think she'd be great with Capaldi. Complimentary voices. Won't be happy until every character, no matter how minor, is a Scot.

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Dustin 2 years, 5 months ago

Dark Water/Death in Heaven (as a single story, it sits here on the strength of part 2; part 1 alone would be lower on the list)
Listen
Flatline
Mummy

Everything else in a tie for fifth except for:
In the Forest of the Night (second-to-last)
Robot of Sherwood (the worst episode since "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe")

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mimhoff 2 years, 5 months ago

Clara: "Change the future! Run away from Trenzalore!"
Doctor: "No, you saw my grave. It's my destiny to die here."
(the Doctor survives through Time Lord intervention)

Clara: "The moon can't disappear, we've seen it in the future!"
Doctor: "Anything can happen at this point!"
(everything turns out fine with a new moon)

Clara: "The human race can't be killed by a solar flare. We're still around in the future. Like in the moon episode!"
Doctor: "No! Time can be rewritten!"
(everything turns out fine again)

Sorry Orson, but they can't keep doing this without giving us a timeline change with consequences...

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Dustin 2 years, 5 months ago

I didn't know that Michelle Gomez was a Scot! She couldn't seem to decide an accent tonight. But more Scots, yes. Not being British, and existing at a significant cultural remove, I find Scottish accents devastatingly sexy.

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mimhoff 2 years, 5 months ago

So I was predicting good Cybermen. Cybermen who lead a better existence than if they were dead humans. And that Missy's plan was to mess with the Doctor's head by forcing him to help UNIT soldiers fight a "good" alien invasion.

Instead we have the same Cybermen who are driven mad by living in metal suits *unless* they have the inhibitor. It's presented as a weakness when it should be a horrifying strength. Seb said it last week: wouldn't it be better if you can make it all go away...

Anyway the dilemma was still there. Missy's army wasn't attacking anyone (ok except the ones on the plane)… what right does the Doctor have to tell them to kill themselves? Especially after Danny called him out moments before.

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Steven 2 years, 5 months ago

It tends to be marked with specific reference to WW1 over here. The poppy itself is tethered to a specific space, so it tied that meaning, but obviously the feelings it evokes and the message can be applied more broadly.

So I think it's specific, but specific in that WW1 acts a prism to make a more general observance, if that makes sense.

It's been marked this year by a big display over by the Tower that is ambitious and clever but honestly, I can't stand it. It has visual impact but - for my tastes - it just feels wrong. I can't even articulate why - but it just seems to reject what I'd understood the day to mean. It feels more like a display of imperial pride - WWI recontextualised as a show of power rather than an avoidable, pointless tragedy.

Funny how we associate the poppy with Afghanistan. I don't doubt this was anything other than unintentional but the boy was a ludicrously appropriate poppy stand-in. The choice Danny made was a beautiful way to mark the day, and the boy he chose to save just happened to - I understand - be from a country we went to war with or in, whose country is symbolised by the same flower.

My understanding of Remembrance has always been that it's a mark not so much of pride at our performance but of regret - that the war didn't have to happen. Danny was able, in a small way, to make good on that wish.

I'm probably being incoherent but I thought it was one of the most beautiful, touching, best and really, really necessary things the show's ever done.

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Matthew Blanchette 2 years, 5 months ago

Yeah... WAY too depressing. A rewind could've been sorely appreciated.

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Matthew Blanchette 2 years, 5 months ago

Except that Osgood is never mentioned again. Not once. Not even by name. :-(

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Matthew Blanchette 2 years, 5 months ago

It's a companion departure in the same way "The God Complex" was, I reckon. Hopefully, it's not undone as badly as "Complex" was by Series 7A, by comparison.

(Not that I'm saying Series 7A was all-bad -- just unnecessary, both thematically and diagetically.)

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Anton B 2 years, 5 months ago

So...It's clear the secret title of this story (its shadow name) is Remembrance of the Cybermen. Finally the clunky "I hate soldiers" seeding throughout series 8 paid off with the redemption of both our new soldier boy Danny and our old one, the Brigadier. Oh and also we get to metaphorically and traditionally bring back all the war dead through the Afghanistani boy's resurrection. Resurrection of course being the main theme of this finale which disinterred a number of old corpses (UNIT, The Master, Gallifrey etc) and dangled them in front of our eyes for our amusement while the Cybermen littered the background, bumbling around in their own graveyards.

The cold open fake out that the whole season had been a sham and, somehow, Clara was the Doctor (even down to Jenna Coleman's top billing in the credits and her eyes replacing Capaldi in the graphics) was sublime.

Missy was beautifully bonkers and her murder of Osgood after the Doctor's subtle invitation that she might join him to explore "all of Time and space" was chillingly effective. I can't believe either of them are really dead though. I look forward to a future episode Resurrection of the Mistress..

On the whole this finale was a series of enjoyable pay-offs, call-outs and homages over a backdrop of business as usual Cybermen Earth invasion and barmily convoluted Master/Mistress plotting.

Fave bits - Clara's eyes, the morgue named after Dodo Chaplet (a classic series companion who vanished without a send-off) predicting Clara's own low key departure, Seb's "Permission to sqeeee!", the reference to both The Twilight Zone and The Sensorites when the Cyberman looms outside the plane's window, the geek argument about Skybase being on Captain Scarlet not Thunderbirds leading to the best Doctor name drop ever - he danced with Sylvia Anderson!, the whole Bond skyfall sequence, "Never trust a hug. It's just a way to hide your face", the Doctor smashing the console, you could see his rage but also Capaldi' s reverence for the prop.
Finally just as the opening credits were metafictionalised by Clara the closing ones were post modernly invaded by Santa! Oh well, if Robin Hood's real...

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Dan 2 years, 5 months ago

Ah yes, I'd forgotten about that, so perhaps it's the boy being sent back fully intact that is the strangest part of it.

Hard to imagine even Missy being able collecting all those billions of consciousnesses mind you. (It's also against my better judgement to use the word "consciousness" in this way, but as the principle was more or less established in The Deadly Assassin, I'll just go with it.)

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Nyq Only 2 years, 5 months ago

I'd like to establish, for the record, that if I die and come back as a cyberman with emotions then...that would be really really cool and I'd have no problems with it at all.

Oh and CYBERzombies? Yeah, weaponised, armoured zombies. :)

I could have just kept watching that.
Osgood's death? Hmm a bit to cynical - too clearly meant us to accept that the Doctor would kill the Master in cold blood. Nastiest, most horrific part of the show.

1. Dark Water
2. Listen/The Caretaker
3. Death in Heaven/Kill the Moon
4. Mummy on the Orient Express
5. Deep Breath
6. Time Heist
7. Into the Dalek
8. Flatline
9. In the forest of the night
10. Robots of Sherwood

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Triturus 2 years, 5 months ago

unnoun, Rebecca

The Absorbaloff in Love & Monsters was read by some people as being representative of RTD's views on fans (well, maybe one fan in particular), wasn't it?

Anyway, I'm not saying that's what Moffat intended here, just that I wondered if it would be more grist to the mill of those who don't like him.

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Dustin 2 years, 5 months ago

You've been quite coherent.

There's a huge culture shock for me with this line:

"My understanding of Remembrance has always been that it's a mark not so much of pride at our performance but of regret."

American historical recollection, and acts of public memory like Veterans Day, aggressively shun any expression of regret or tragedy. "Imperial pride" is the sole mood in our official remembrances.

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dm 2 years, 5 months ago

The bravest bit was Danny's face. I was dreading seeing him looking ok and healthy like CyberJamesCorden, so the more explicit body horror really did wind me. Gomez was truly brilliant and needed more time with capaldi. I want her back. Next season. I think the Doctor transported her just before the brig shot her. I was really glad they didn't cgi nick's face at that point.

Really though, were so many good ideas thrown up in this story. I really wish it had stuck with one or two of them and explored them more (or at all, in the case of the President Doctor- guys, foreshadowing is not an end in itself)

Overall, a bit of a disappointment. There was enough in there for me to like it, but, unusually for the season, there was very little to recommend to a non fan. Listen is something I would point to and say "this is why this show exists", Death in Heaven was more "this exists because this show exists".

There were some outright missteps in the plotting. The scene of the doctor working out 3W's plan? That's what the whole previous episode was for! The joke of the Doctor being way behind the audience was cute last week but this is where it felt like an actual error on the part of the script. There seemed to be some confusion over humanity's awareness of Cybermen, too- at first they don't recognise them, then in the Dodo funeral place the news report was familiar with the term, then back on air force one the news report called them something like "strange silver figures" or whatever. This stuff doesn't really bother me but was a bit emblematic of a script which was messy and probably needed a few more redrafts.

I'm sure there were better takes of Samuel Anderson saying "THE PROMISE OF A SOLDIERRRR!!!" than the genuinely hilarious one they used. It was probably on par with sparkly Jesus doctor.

I can forgive a lot of this because it's really been a cracker of a season, but, in this commenters eyes, it tripped a little embarrassingly on that last hurdle.

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dm 2 years, 5 months ago

Also I really think the glowy Danny talking nonsense scene with the kid would have been much better like this:

It is 3AM, Clara is sitting up in bed. She might even have coffee.
Flashback- the doctor explains that the bracelet should be able to send one person back
We hear a weird sound. Clara lights up and runs to the hallway.
Her face drops when she sees the boy, he has a note with him from Danny that explains it all, with a sorry at the end.
Clara cries slightly, wipes the tear away and hugs the boy.

What's annoying here is that moffatt's strength has always been this kind of meaningful gut punch, but this scene was such a mess.

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5tephe 2 years, 5 months ago

Haven't taken time to read all the (105) comments before this one yet, so will go back and do so later.

I have loved this season, if not every episode, and thought that this finale was a worthy send off for it. But I do just think that the Doctor's realisation of his nature within his own story as more of a Trickster character didn't feel earned.

One of the things I liked most within this season was Danny's critique of the Doctor as an officer. And here we had that FANTASTIC scene where he predicts all of the Doctor's flowery speeches melting away, and they do. And it turns out to be all for naught. SUPERB.

After all, as Phil has often pointed out, the character is built out of the tradition of the Victorian Genius. He has always been a white man, who knows he is superior to everyone else, and drops into other peoples cultures and interferes with them - often violently - based around his own moral perceptions.

To have him just have a moment of introspection, realise he doesn't want to rule the universe and hand the potential off to a man he knows will do the right thing with it (that the Doctor could himself have done) just feels like it dodges the critique.

And I do find the whole Humble Soldiers are Noble and Good a bit on the nose. Centenary and Remembrance day or not. Or even BECAUSE of those factors.

But look, a fun ride, and a lot to recommend it.

Just because I haven't done so yet:

Listen
Deep Breath
Dark Water/Death in Heaven
The Caretaker
Flatline
Mummy on the Orient Express
Into the Dalek
Time Heist
In the Forest of the Night
Kill the Moon
Robot of Sherwood

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mimhoff 2 years, 5 months ago

Moffat and Gomez also grew up close to Glasgow, so they *had* to add that bit.

(I'm from Brisbane. I'm not sure why we were on the list. Or Marrakesh)

I should check again which cities got cleared of pollen at the end.

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Aylwin 2 years, 5 months ago

"Your stupid pudding-brains!"

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John Peacock 2 years, 5 months ago

I've honestly never thought that (even though, whenever that particular individual turns up on documentaries about the two subjects on which he considers himself the absolute authority I mutter "It's Jabba the Hutt" under my breath), but now you mention it, it's brilliant. I may even have to watch the episode again.

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Aylwin 2 years, 5 months ago

I liked this a lot more than last week's, though that probably has a lot to do with the fact that the best stuff here was at the end rather than the beginning, so it climaxed rather than fizzling. (Which of course is how it works with episodes, but not necessarily with series - as I see it, the reason Sherlock series 3 got a rocky reception was because it kept the Moffat (well, all-Moffat) episode back until last, giving people a chance get tetchy about the weaknesses of the others, whereas the first two series started with the Moffat episode, leaving the audience in such a blissed-out post-orgasmic haze that the shortcomings of what followed barely registered.) This was dazzling-but-messy Moffat of the Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon variety rather than the well-honed near-perfection of his solely-authored Sherlocks, his Davies-era Doctor Who stories, or the likes of The Eleventh Hour, A Good Man Goes to War or Listen. Still, Missy was great, there were some killer lines (notably the hugs one of course - ouch), the emotional punches hit home (for me, anyway) and the thematic threads were pulled together pretty well (even if the flashback montage was a bit heavy-handed, showing some lack of confidence in the storytelling and/or the audience).

Not at all sure about the Doctor being got off the hook by the Cyber-Brig, though (quite apart from the general yikes factor of that whole idea - also, where is he going when he flies off at the end? Is he going to join Jenny Who and Rusty the Dalek in their spinoff?). As with Kill the Moon, the writer is stacking the deck to protect our heroes from their choices. It rings false because it's the readiness to pull the trigger that counts, not whether your bullet is the one that kills (there's nothing more slyly, cravenly phony than the blank round in the firing-squad rifle). And it seems particularly odd in a scene loudly echoing His Last Vow, given how that was as much as anything a critique of the have-your-cake-and-eat-it cop-out of Doyle's original story, where the hero resorts to brute-force criminality and the villain is murdered with the endorsement of hero and author, but the hero gets to keep his hands clean. There was a clear-eyed, uncompromising moral gutsiness about that which struck against the pervasive repertoire of storytelling conventions that indulge the audience's appetite for murderous purgative vengeance while deflecting responsibility for it from their heroes, and thus from them. This felt like a backward step into that slippery artifice, which feels the more disappointing in a season characterised by its ambition both to look unsparingly on the Doctor's moral and emotional compromises and to advocate nonetheless for his underlying integrity.

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jane 2 years, 5 months ago

She's not mentioned by name, but the Doctor surely looks pained when he discovers her broken glasses.

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Jesse 2 years, 5 months ago

If only Ed Wood had thought to put Bela Lugosi in a Cyberman suit.

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What Happened To Robbie? 2 years, 5 months ago

Speaking of 8th Doctor homages, did anybody else see the bit in the morgue with the banging from inside the lockers as a reference to the TV movie?

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John Peacock 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't really do rankings, myself, but as I'm avoiding work right now, the ranking of rankings as of Sunday November 9th, 16:14:

1 Listen
2 Dark Water
3 Death in Heaven
4 Mummy on the Orient Express
5 Deep Breath
6 Flatline
7 The Caretaker
8 Kill the Moon
9 In the Forest of the Night
10 Into the Dalek
11 Time Heist
12 Robot of Sherwood

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Prandeamus 2 years, 5 months ago

I did rather think that, but I don't think it was an out-and-out homage.

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What Happened To Robbie? 2 years, 5 months ago

I need to check this because I've seen a lot of reviews/commentary along the lines of "so now the Doctor can go back to Gallifrey," seemingly based on the idea that the Master lied about the co-ordinates. My impression was they were the right co-ordinates (and didn't the Doctor say "she was telling the truth"?) but the Master had destroyed Gallifrey and that's what the Doctor was lying to Clara about.

Did I miss something or did other people miss it?

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Prandeamus 2 years, 5 months ago

Or maybe Anne?

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William Silvia 2 years, 5 months ago

Thanks to you I finally listened to "Master" last night (it was one of many audios I bought for $1 during the big sale event). I don't regret it.

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William Silvia 2 years, 5 months ago

That was in Time Crash. LINDA had been established the prior season as being a stand-in for the fandom, and the Doctor there goes on to establish that he can't stand them.

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William Silvia 2 years, 5 months ago

Somebody else pointed out to me that they thought he was in the Nethersphere. This is very strange considering that it created a body, and he had been downloaded from the Nethersphere, but I'm forming some theories about that.

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Owlie 2 years, 5 months ago

the Doctor was lying about Missy telling the truth, just as Clara was lying about Danny being fine.

I think Gallifrey is still out there, and it's extremely valuable leverage for Missy.

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What Happened To Robbie? 2 years, 5 months ago

Thanks, there was a lot to take in. Will probably do a rewatch tomorrow

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

In "Time Crash," the 5th Doctor is established as not liking fandom -- but in the same episode, the 10th Doctor is established as being a fan.

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Seeing_I 2 years, 5 months ago

One can only assume the actress' other commitments made further appearances unfeasible? And maybe, like Penelope Wilton, she requested to be written out with a bang?

Either way I am super-disappointed we won't see her again, especially after being teased with the possibility of her becoming a companion. But then, the moment he said that, I dreaded a Lynda with a Y situation :(

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

A pity that Amy and this Doctor never got to interact; would have been fun to see the two imperious Scots tearing away at each other.

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Seeing_I 2 years, 5 months ago

Intentionally calling back "The Massacre," an early example of the Doctor refusing to act out of duty to history, and being excoriated by his companion as a result.

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

It's actually Clara's second departure, since she left at the end of "Kill the Moon" as well.

Maybe they can have her depart at the end of every episode. "Oh no, Clara departed! You bastards!"

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

I was really glad they didn't cgi nick's face at that point.

Especially since his face would presumably have been in worse shape than Danny's.

Though on the other hand, I don't know; the resurrected dead from hundreds of years ago must surely have gotten some upgrading beyond the exoskeleton?

In other news, the previous episode's title "Dark Water" doesn't really make full sense until this episode.

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Seeing_I 2 years, 5 months ago

I thought it was a very satisfying way to end the whole "the Doctor hates soldiers" bit which was at its most obnoxious in "The Sontaran Stratagem" and "The Caretaker. Yes, the Doctor has always been wary of the military, with good reason, but thousands of kids who love Doctor Who have a parent or relative or friend's parent, etc, in the military. How were they supposed to take that kind of simplistic, Viet Nam era lefty contempt for them? But it seems we've finally put that to bed, with the wonderful "You'll sleep safely tonight" and the Doctor's chastening.

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

Why can't the Doctor find Gallifrey the same way Clara found Danny?

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

And why does he still need the TARDIS key?

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

Just had a thought: could Clara's reciting reams of Doctor Who trivia but still being dismissed by the Cybermen as unimportant be a reference to the "fake geek girl" trope?

Also, Missy must have panicked during "Miracle Day."

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Alan 2 years, 5 months ago

To me, Osgood is a symbol of one of the things I've disliked about UNIT since the new series began -- the slightly creepy hero-worship of the Doctor that culminates in this story with the idea that, in a sufficiently bad crisis, UNIT will arrange for the Doctor to be given dictatorial powers over the whole planet.

I liked Colonel Mace, who started off awestruck but quickly became short with the Doctor when Ten started acting like a jerk (i.e. like Ten normally did). I liked Erisa Mogumbo, who started off awestruck but was prepared to abandon the Doctor on an alien planet when it seemed necessary to protect the planet. I did care for Malcolm, and I did not care for Osgood and the fetish-scarf she wore to commemorate someone she'd never met who left UNIT before she was born. If we're going to have something like UNIT and have it be at all plausible, I'd rather it be a professional organization rather than a fan club.

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Chicanery 2 years, 5 months ago

Listen
Flatline
Mummy on the Orient Express
Dark Water/Death in Heaven
Into the Dalek
The Caretaker
Time Heist
In the Forest of the Night
Robots of Sherwood
Kill the Moon

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xen trilus 2 years, 5 months ago

So Moffat nicks RTD's old trick of interrupting the depressing companion departure with a goofy, non-sequitur intrusion into the TARDIS - except, as you might expect, he takes it to the next metafictional level. Santa has been watching the story and bursts in to deliberately create tone dissonance, because Clara parting on such an bleak and unresolved note would be a shame.

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

I just remembered that Clara says the Doctor's been married four times. Presumably that makes a) Susan's grandmother, b) Marilyn Monroe, c) Elizabeth I, and d) River Song. Though the doctor previously claimed (b) didn't count, so it could be someone else.

Clara also referred to the Doctor's clone daughter Jenny in the present tense. Doesn't the Doctor believe her to be dead?

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

Moffat's "love is not an emotion" is channeling Wittgenstein: "Love is not a feeling. Love is put to the test, pain not. One does not say: 'That was not true pain, or it would not have gone off so quickly.'"

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elvwood 2 years, 5 months ago

Quite possibly

Listen
Dark Water/Death in Heaven
Flatline
The Caretaker
Kill the Moon
In the Forest of the Night
Robot of Sherwood
Mummy on the Orient Express
Into the Dalek
Time Heist

though this will change over time. The top two are in my all-time top 20. At the other end, even Time Heist is ranked higher than the rearguard from every season since the show began...except for classic seasons 7 and 10, which I can see are boosted by a huge helping of nostalgia. Allowing for some natural fading excitement, I anticipate season 26 also creeping ahead by this measure so long as you let me watch the DVD re-edits, but not likely any of the others (for a good while, at least). Awesome.

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elvwood 2 years, 5 months ago

Remembrance Day is such a mix. The British Legion (the charity selling red poppies) does great work, basically doing much of the job of looking after soldiers and their families that should be done by the governments we elected who sent them out to fight in the first place. But the media focus makes it feel more like a recruiting day for Queen and Country than the expression of regret that Steven so eloquently describes. That's why I love the rejection, in this episode, of the use of the dead to promote further war, and why it's so much more appropriate that Danny finishes it than the Doctor.

(I buy - and will continue to buy - red poppies to support the work of the British Legion. I decided last week that I would no longer be wearing one, though, because the transmitted message is currently all wrong for me.)

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Jesse 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh, OK:

Listen
Flatline
Dark Water/Death in Heaven
In the Forest of the Night
Kill the Moon
Time Heist
Mummy on the Orient Express
The Caretaker
Deep Breath
Robot of Sherwood
Into the Dalek

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Seeing_I 2 years, 5 months ago

@ Alan - Tom Baker left UNIT before a LOT of people were born, but they still love the scarf.

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Matter-Eater Lad 2 years, 5 months ago

I thought he was only engaged to Marilyn Monroe.

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David Anderson 2 years, 5 months ago

I think the focus on the first World War in the UK is largely because the First World War was the point from which mass war memorials were wanted. Almost every village in the UK has a memorial to the First World War dead.
And there's Wilfred Owen, who was a seriously able poet, and who didn't have a chance to write about anything except that the war was a colossal waste of life. And he's a standard set-text in school.

The Poppy display at the Tower: it's UK dead only, it's highly decorous, and 'In Flanders Field the poppies grow' is a horrific poem which says that if you stop fighting you're letting the dead down.

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mimhoff 2 years, 5 months ago

Does Santa's appearance prove that the Doctor is in fact a good man?

Does Santa visit good Daleks?

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Glenn 2 years, 5 months ago

The Doctor might believe Jenny to be dead, but Clara was probably one of the soldiers who watched her wake up and run off.

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duckbunny 2 years, 5 months ago

The Doctor has already been to the returned Gallifrey. Clara knows this, and he does not.

At the time, she had presumably forgotten that Gallifrey was lost; humans tend to forget things. At the time, she was protecting his sense of wonder, and the safety of his timeline - it's not a good idea to meet your younger self.
But that still happened. I suspect it won't be called back to, because it would be an unsatisfying way to resolve the Gallifrey situation. It would be a crying shame not let the Mistress* use her knowledge to wind the Doctor up some more. But it did happen. That's quite a betrayal on Clara's part, even if she didn't mean it at the time.

(The navcom was turned off, so I'll buy that the Tardis has no record of where they went, because that would be convenient and leave the plot in the state I want it to be.)

*Of course she escaped. I don't need to know how.

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Anton B 2 years, 5 months ago

I hate lists. Here's my list.

Listen (because the monster was imaginary...or was it?)
Kill the Moon (because it was cheeky and mythic)
In the Forest of the Night (because it was cheeky and mythic and referenced Blake and was set in fairyland)
The Caretaker (because the Doctor is wrong pretty much throughout)
Dark Water (because Michelle Gomez)
Death in Heaven (because Michelle Gomez and Capaldi)
Flatline (because 2D monsters in Bristol and Clara becomes the Doctor)
Robot of Sherwood (because we're all stories in the end)
Into the Dalek (because I've never seen any one enter a Dalek eye stalk psychedelically before)
Mummy on the Orient Express (because there was a Mummy on the Orient Express)
Time Heist (because something had to come last)

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Anton B 2 years, 5 months ago

I ommited Deep Breath. Probably because as the series opener it had a specific job to do while simultaneously functioning as a hangover from series 7. So, for me, it has no rating in series 8 but comes top of any list of series 7.

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Bennett 2 years, 5 months ago

Santa Claus only cares if you are naughty or nice. Goodness has nothing to do with it.

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Jesse Smith 2 years, 5 months ago

Right, it was a cheeky tie-in to the five-minute plot twist that maybe Clara was telling the truth and she really was the Doctor all along.

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Jesse Smith 2 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, I suppose the minute the Doctor said "All of time and space" we should have expected that she was toast.

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Chris 2 years, 5 months ago

In "The Two Masters," The Master teams up with The Master for an overly complicated scheme, and wouldn't you know it? The Master is betrayed by The Master.

Yes, the same thing that always happens, but so much more entertaining when she does it herself. Bananas.

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Alan 2 years, 5 months ago

Just rewatched and three things popped out at me.

1. Clara apparently agrees with me on the ethics of Ten repeatedly protecting the Master from people who deservedly wanted to kill him for his crimes. "If you ever had the chance to kill the Master and didn't, then this day is all on you," or words to that effect.

2. The two UNIT guys "guarding" Missy must have been the least attentive guards in the history of that storied organization. They didn't even notice when she put on her makeup to show-off the fact that she'd removed her handcuffs. Also, Osgood looses cool points for not being genre savvy enough in dealing with Missy. She's read the Master's file. The correct response to "I'm about to kill you" is not "Shut up!" but "Soldiers, shoot this woman in the kneecap."

3. I just woke up and sat straight up in bed upon realizing the following (apparent) plot hole. Missy arranged for Clara to travel with Eleven. As a result, Clara was on hand to help Eleven ensure that Gallifrey was not destroyed and could eventually come back ... at which point, Missy would be free to come back and arrange for Clara to travel with Eleven. Timey-wimey indeed.

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encyclops 2 years, 5 months ago

Just like poor old Rita. The Moffat era fridges 'em too. :(

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encyclops 2 years, 5 months ago

"...everybody talk about / pop muzik"

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encyclops 2 years, 5 months ago

Does it? That scene is all about a dead man.

It's a great scene, of course.

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encyclops 2 years, 5 months ago

A season finale that divides fandom? The devil you say! ;)

I love "Ark in Space." But the bubble wrap is impossible for me to take seriously. It's one of very few Doctor Who effects that actually detract from the story for me.

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encyclops 2 years, 5 months ago

I have trouble seeing how a non-fan (or at least someone who doesn't have some knowledge of Clara, Danny, and the Doctor) would make much of "Listen" beyond some rather cleverly worded platitudes about fear. I like it, but the motivating premise still doesn't make much sense to me even in context of the rest of the series, let alone out of it, and it seems like the character developments (the Doctor putting the soldier idea in Danny's head, Clara putting ideas about fear in the Doctor's) don't weigh much without the rest of the season. I'd love to hear from someone who tries to use that episode to turn on new fans (as people apparently try to do with "Blink") to know if they can really make heads or tails of it. To my mind it's more like "The Doctor's Wife" -- it's a treat for fans, but not the right place to start.

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encyclops 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm not sure I agree with your first paragraph, but I'm entirely with you on the second.

In my memory the Brig burned himself up too, but so many people are raising the question that I'm thinking I didn't see that, just falsely remembered it.

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Kit 2 years, 5 months ago

How many countries got their own "cyber-cloud clearing" scene inserted for local broadcast?

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David Anderson 2 years, 5 months ago

Some of these (e.g. Caretaker) are consciously based on subjective factors (I don't like comedy of embarassment). In the Forest of the Night could go either way on a rewatch. Kill the Moon might go up as well.
1. Listen
2. Mummy on the Orient Express
3. Flatline
4. In the Forest of the Night
5. Time Heist
6. Dark Water / Death in Heaven
7. Deep Breath
8. Robot of Sherwood
9. Kill the Moon
10. Into the Dalek
11. Caretaker

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Nyq Only 2 years, 5 months ago

Ah! Good question, I'd wondered if the shot of the Sydney Opera house was only for Aussies (although we did get a name check fro Brisbane).
Did Americans get something else?

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elvwood 2 years, 5 months ago

Jesse, that's exactly what I did think when he said that.

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Aylwin 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm not sure I agree with your first paragraph

Well, I expect I'll disagree with it myself if and when I rewatch, or just think things through a bit more. There was all sorts of wrongness of the sort I usually jib at (and surely only the metatextual talisman of the Master's plotting track-record could make it possible to look directly at Missy's schemes without being struck blind), but I was in an accentuate-the-positive mood and was able to let myself be swept along in a way that I just wasn't with, say, In the Forest of the Night, or the latter part of Dark Water. Normal crabby service will be resumed shortly.

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Leslie Lozada 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh, that would be an interesting idea for the ten year anniversary.

Think about it.

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Matt Bogen 2 years, 5 months ago

(a) Seconded. I hope this incarnation comes back again.

(c) I think they touched on it very briefly. The BBC America audio was awful for me (as it has been all season), but when they're outside looking at the Cybermen flying out the dome of St Paul's, the Doctor says something about them being in a dimensionally transcendent space inside the church. It flashed by very quickly, so perhaps I misheard or misunderstood.

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encyclops 2 years, 5 months ago

Don't get me wrong, I loved it too -- I mean "not sure" literally, not in the sense of "I know I don't, but this is the polite way to say so." There's a lot in that first paragraph I know I agree with, and some other stuff I'd have to think through more closely to work out. (I don't like "Eleventh Hour" or "Good Man" as much as this blog collectively does, for example.)

One thing I'm still confused about re: Missy's insane scheme: the entire Clara part seems completely unnecessary to me still. Why was it necessary to bring the Doctor into St. Paul's at all? Why wasn't it enough just to get him to come running when the Cybermen started down the steps, which could have been done any number of ways?

I mean, I know the conventional wisdom has it that Pip 'n' Jane were right and the Master's schemes are always "devious and overcomplicated. He'd get dizzy if he tried to walk a straight line" but surely with everything else we're revisiting and revising we could find a way to reimagine that silliness too. Was there anything particularly loopy about the Harold Saxon gambit?

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John 2 years, 5 months ago

What does "unearned" even mean in this context?

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John 2 years, 5 months ago

Tegan's from Brisbane, no? But surely if you're going to do a Moroccan city, it should be Fez?

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

No, we got the Sydney Opera House too. We also got New York; but I'm betting you did too. Multiple versions would probably be more expense than the BBC would be up for.

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Nyq Only 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't think it is a plot hole. The Doctor was already going to end up at Trenzalore prior to Clara. Although we were told that the Doctor dies at the battle of Trenzalore we aren't told that he wasn't victorious. So the original fate of the Doctor could well have been that he dies saving Gallifrey, which allows it to return in some sense and thus release the Master.
Given that, everything makes sense.
The Master returns only to discover that the Doctor is dead - not just dead but triumphantly and heroically dead having spent the rest of his life fighting off the combined forces of badness. This is naturally intolerable to the Master. Luckily if there is anybody in the universe who knows something about not staying dead it is the Master.
The Master therefore starts a plot to do the following:
1. stop the Doctor from dying at Trenzalore (without changing the other outcomes)
2. find a way of destroying the Doctor's legacy
3. only then kill him
It all makes sense :)

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

The two UNIT guys "guarding" Missy must have been the least attentive guards in the history of that storied organization.

You said it!

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

I thought he was only engaged to Marilyn Monroe.

He says he's engaged to her; then he says he's going to marry her; then at the end of the episode he says "that was never a real chapel," implying that there was some sort of ceremony but its genuine nature is in question.

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Nyq Only 2 years, 5 months ago

Yes we got New York also (although the shot could have been generic big city). Oh well :)

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

"I don’t like the military, but I have so many friends in it." -- The Shalka Doctor

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

"He is but the counterfeit of a man who hath not the life of a man."

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BerserkRL 2 years, 5 months ago

Fez is cool.

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David Anderson 2 years, 5 months ago

Both God Complex and Town Called Mercy feel like leftover scripts from the Davies-era. (Not a bad thing in the one case.)

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brownstudy 2 years, 5 months ago

For those who are interested, here are links to Paul Cornell's "5 Brilliant Things" about both episodes of the finale:

http://torbooks.co.uk/2014/11/03/five-brilliant-things-weeks-doctor/ (love #2)
http://torbooks.co.uk/2014/11/10/five-brilliant-things-weeks-doctor-series-8ep-12/ (#1 and #5 are linked, I think)

Clara has had her bad day. I do hope the Christmas episode gives this character and her portrayer a happy ending. Coleman had the chops to do good work, even in 7b, but this series has been hers as much as it's been Capaldi's. Damn, but Moffat and his team have a great eye for talent.

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John 2 years, 5 months ago

Santa, be a pal and tell me. Am I a nice man?

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encyclops 2 years, 5 months ago

They don't feel like RTD leftovers to me, particularly "God Complex."

But then I don't really think "fridge" applies every time a female character is killed, so I probably shouldn't have repeated the word. Both Rita's death and Osgood's serve to ratchet up the tension for the audience, to remind us that people we care about are going to die if the threat isn't stopped (not just quislings and cowards), but they aren't needed to motivate the Doctor, who is already in motion.

I hate that Osgood is dead. I adored her, like almost everyone else did, and would much rather have had her improbably rescued than Kate Stewart. But if there was any character whose death could offset the cutesy/bananas appeal of Missy, and remind us that she's a dangerous psychopath (for once, a character who actually deserves the diagnosis but as far as I can recall never receives it), it's Osgood. So I get it.

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brownstudy 2 years, 5 months ago

What got to me about Osgood's death was Missy's crushing of her glasses afterward. It was a cruel and contemptuous gesture from Missy. For Missy to think that the Doctor would accept her plea for his friendship kind of boggles the mind after that.

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Alan 2 years, 5 months ago

Honestly, it was obvious that she escaped. Over the course of episode, we see Cyber-Danny kill three Cybermen with a red blast with an explosive after-effect. We also see Missy kill Osgood and three others with a red blast with an explosive after-effect. We also see Missy teleport off the plane surrounded by a blue nimbus that looks like the transmat thingies from Time-Heist. And then at the end, Cyber-Brig kills Missy ... with a blue energy blast that looks more like the transmat thingy from Time-Heist than the red explosive blast we're accustomed to. Transmats and death rays -- now color-coded for our convenience.

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Richard Pugree 2 years, 5 months ago

I thought Father Christmas's lines at the end made it pretty clear that it wasn't the end of Clara's story? But I may have misheard.

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Richard Pugree 2 years, 5 months ago

Well, she used to die at the end of every episode...

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KMT75 2 years, 5 months ago

Questions although the thread is probably already dead:

1) What was the point of the cold open with Clara declaring she was the Doctor? It seemed to me like it was just filler. She obviously isn't the Doctor, and the story didn't hinge on her assuming the role of the Doctor as Flatline did. She was pretty much a nonfactor. Yet they went to the trouble of replacing Capaldi's eyes with hers and switching their credits around in the open so that she got top billing as if there was some point to the whole thing.

Wouldn't it have been a whole hell of a lot easier to just have the Cyberman in the tank where Clara was be Danny? They did use her mind to steer the TARDIS to Danny. But then he apparently was somewhere else and then magically showed up at 3W in time to stop the other Cybermen from killing her so her whole "I'm the Doctor" thing didn't work anyway. Did she think they would see the credits?

And 2) When do we find out how they escaped the sand piranhas in The Caretaker? Do we have to wait for the episode where we find out how Clara and the Eleventh Doctor escaped his time stream at the end of Name of the Doctor?

Oh, and the ridiculous ending with the kid that made no sense whatsoever. If Danny blew himself up to save the world or whatever he did, how did he wind up in the nethersphere again? Who uploaded his mind? It wasn't Missy or Seb or Doctor Chang. Does everyone who dies now automatically get uploaded into the Time Lord hard drive that's hidden in London? And what exactly did Danny send back? It looked like the kid but the kid doesn't have a physical body with him in the nethersphere. It was just his "soul." Shouldn't his physical body be rotting in the ground somewhere in Afghanistan. Why is he in Clara's apartment? And how the hell does she think she's going to return him to the mountains of Anbar Province without a frigging TARDIS?

Rankings:

Listen

After that it's pretty much blah to ugh.

For me this was the worst run of episodes since the show came back in 2005. I think only the Martha season comes close, and even that has Human Nature and Blink to overwhelm the crap.

Dark Water is pretty awesome, but then virtually all of the multi-part season finales start off with a bang before going down in flames because they can't stick the landing - Doomsday being the exception.

The only thing keeping Kill The Moon and In The Forest of Night from being worse than Twin Dilemma or Fear Her is Capaldi's brilliance.

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encyclops 2 years, 5 months ago

Some of us have been foolish enough to subscribe to notifications. :)

1. As the Doctor says in "Waters of Mars," the purpose is "fun." Specifically, it's the fun of "OK, we know she's not Missy now, as many people have speculated. So what does the 'Clara Oswald has never existed' line from the trailer mean now? It means...as many other people have speculated...she's a future incarnation of the Doctor!" It's a payoff to the "Doctoring" of Clara thread in the season. In terms of the plot, it clearly does delay her deletion until Danny shows up. She's just talking to try and keep herself alive until the cavalry arrives; she doesn't know it's going to arrive, she's probably desperately looking for a chance to run, but it's better than being shot. Finally, it's also an echo of the scene from "Deep Breath" where she has to talk her way out of a jam until the Doctor arrives.

If that's not enough for you, hey, I totally understand, but that's what the scene did for me.

2. Clara talked the sand piranhas to death and then used their metal-shearing teeth to free herself and the Doctor.

That ending with the kid: I got nothing.

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KMT75 2 years, 5 months ago

My problem with both is that they go nowhere. Neither does anything to advance the story and neither gets paid off in any way, let alone a meaningful way.

The whole sand piranhas thing exists solely so the Doctor can ask Clara why she has two coats.

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Anton B 2 years, 5 months ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

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Anton B 2 years, 5 months ago

As encyclops suggests, the 'Clara is the Doctor' cold open is the jokey pay-off to a series long arc tease. The fact that the pay-off is a fake out, including the opening credits, is all part of the gag. Or, if you like, the meta-fictional game. Or, if you want to get really arty, the post modern use of humour as a signifier that what we are experiencing may be more complex than a standard linear narrative.

The 'sand pirhanas' scene had two functions.
1.to let us know that the Doctor and Clara are having adventures between the ones we are shown on TV. That, again, the narrative we are viewing is non linear and incomplete.
2. To show that Clara is juggling a life of adventures in Space and Time with holding down a responsible job and dating Danny.
The fact that they escaped is self evident. The method of their egress is irrelevant. Just as Missy's inevitable return from being zapped by the CyberBrig will require no explanation.

The Afghan kid...yeah that was crap wasn't it?

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KMT75 2 years, 5 months ago

I can't remember a single nanosecond from Asylum of the Daleks to Death in Heaven where it was even hinted that Clara might be a future regeneration. And outside of Flatline where she had to play the role of the Doctor because he couldn't I also didn't get any sense of her being "Doctored." She was the same unber-competent character she was since we first met Oswin. The only real difference is she now has an annoying, mopey, vanilla boyfriend who she occasionally has to lie to because he's so unimaginative and boring that he doesn't want any part of her adventures with the Doctor.

The non-linear narrative? I guess. I think it's more cheap and gimmicky than complex. At least the ways it's being used since series 7A.

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ferret 2 years, 5 months ago

Was happy the Sydney Opera House was shown at night - yes, it's obvious but so many tv shows/films would miss that.

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ferret 2 years, 5 months ago

my headcannon - Missy somehow hypnotised the guards without Osgood noticing. However, it doesn't excuse Osgood falling for every basic trick in the book there: appealing to her vanity, to her insecurities, come closer, come closer - ugh, maybe Osgood was being master-mesmerised too.

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ferret 2 years, 5 months ago

I can't say I actively disliked Osgood, but two negatives were glaring to me that - if she had become a companion - would have needed ironing out much the same as Donna's were on her second appearance.

Firstly, that awkward scene in "Day of the Doctor" where she's shutting her eyes and whispering "The Doctor will save me, the Doctor will save me" to herself - ugh, just embarrassing and definitely a huge not-companion-material flag.

Secondly - stemming mainly from "Day of the Doctor" again, Osgood is apparently very insecure about her appearance (and smell). Sure, fine - why not? But don't just slip a pair of glasses on an actress who is obviously highly conventionally attractive and declare her to be the ugly one. I know conventionally pretty people have self-image hang-ups too, but it's a major TV/movie trope that is tired and awful.

Unrelated - I don't know if anyone has particularly mentioned she's presumably related to or at least name-checking UNIT's engineer Osgood from the Daemons.

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Daru 2 years, 5 months ago

Not really into lists but I'll play:

Listen/ Kill the Moon
Forest of the Night & Dark Water / Death in Heaven
Deep Breath/ Flatline/ The Caretaker
Mummy on the Orient Express
Robot of Sherwood/ Into the Dalek
Time Heist

Groupings feel better for me.

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Daru 2 years, 5 months ago

That did catch me.

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Daru 2 years, 5 months ago

Missed all of the discussion, but *loved* the episode. Did get hooked by the pre-credits sequence and almost believed it for a minute. So saddened by the death of Osgood, both in regards to character and by the way her death was used. I do get why it works in the sense of underlining the danger of Missy though.

Adored Gomez's work during the episode and utterly convinced (just because I don't want her gone!) that we will see her again.

And I virtually cheered at the Brigadier's appearance (even though he is a zombie Cyberman).

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Anton B 2 years, 5 months ago

Serves em right for using Derren Brown as a cover story in DotD. The Mistress has obviously upped her game hypnosis wise.

Seriously (!) I was yelling at the screen at that point.

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Daru 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh golly those guards were awful! Hypnosis is the only answer really.

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Nyq Only 2 years, 5 months ago

//Who uploaded his mind? It wasn't Missy or Seb or Doctor Chang. Does everyone who dies now automatically get uploaded into the Time Lord hard drive that's hidden in London? And what exactly did Danny send back? It looked like the kid but the kid doesn't have a physical body with him in the nethersphere. It was just his "soul." Shouldn't his physical body be rotting in the ground somewhere in Afghanistan.//

Missy's bracelet let her move from the real world to the Nethersphere (we see her in both) and presumably the bracelet transferred Danny's mind to the Nethersphere at death and also allowed him to send back a person (i.e. the bracelet could generate a person in the real world from the data version of the person it contained). This consistent with us seeing Missy in both worlds and also with the Master's previous attempt to generate a version of himself based on information coded in a device (his ring which survived his cremation).
It also means that Missy only needed a back-up bracelet to ensure that she survived any attempt to kill her.

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Alan 2 years, 5 months ago

Are there rally people who thought for even one millisecond that Clara was the Doctor and her whole back story had been faked? Really?? Every time this season that Clara has been left alone with the bad guy, she has adopted the same, highly effective strategy -- say whatever is necessary to get the bad guy to not kill her. As we saw in Robots of Sherwood, that includes brazenly lying in the villain's face about her importance. It is so perfectly Clara to trick a Cyberman out of killing her by boldly pretending to be the one person in the universe that a Cyberman would never kill rather than capture that I'm amazed any viewer was fooled by it.

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Anton B 2 years, 5 months ago

@Nyq Only i.e. the bracelet could generate a person in the real world from the data version of the person it contained

Thus potentially allowing the return of River Song (perhaps the one we've already seen in NOTD?) from the library.

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Anton B 2 years, 5 months ago

See my answer to KMT75 above.
Really it was one of those Moffat tricks like the final reveal of how Sherlock survived his Reichenback Fall. No-one really believed he could be dead and the savvier viewer had already worked out that 'how?' was the wrong question. So yes, no-one really believed that Clara had never existed. The fun came from seeing whether she was bluffing or whether Moffat had come up with some more convoluted timey wimey explanation. The title graphics were the icing on the cake.

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Anton B 2 years, 5 months ago

@KMT75
I can't remember a single nanosecond from Asylum of the Daleks to Death in Heaven where it was even hinted that Clara might be a future regeneration. And outside of Flatline where she had to play the role of the Doctor because he couldn't I also didn't get any sense of her being "Doctored"
From memory, apart from all the hints that the Doctor is testing and training Clara and that she considers herself his equal and often acts as his superior.
Deep Breath - She takes control and works out the clues in the Doctor's absence.
Into the Dalek - She 'instinctively' knows which telepathic circuit to destroy inside the Dalek's brain.
Listen - the TARDIS telepathic circuits automatically take her to Gallifrey.
Robot of Sherwood - She believes Robin Hood is real and outwits the Sherriff in a Doctory way.
The Caretaker - She can 'click' open and shut the TARDIS doors.
Time Heist - why is she needed on the mission?
Mummy - the look she gives the Doctor when she says "I love you" on the phone.She wants to be him.
Kill the Moon - She totally takes control and makes the decision that will save the Earth and the hatched space dragon.
Flatline - she becomes 'The Doctor'
Forest - She basically tells the Doctor how to resolve the dillema
Dark Water - She totally takes control of the Doctor and the TARDIS. knows where all the keys are and telepathically flies the TARDIS to the Nethersphere.

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Lenoxus 2 years, 5 months ago

I feel almost entirely alone for not putting Mummy on the Orient Express near the top — thanks elvwood and Daru!

I found that episode disappointing because, for no good reason, we weren't shown the moment of the Doctor having saved everyone — we just have to take his (and the engineer's) word for it. Also, it was the beginning of Clara's new wave of deception against Danny, and that relationship, which I'd been liking up to that point, was put on a permanent bad track.

I'm also not super fond of Kill the Moon because the big dilemma turned out to be a false choice, and thanks to luck more than the characters' actions or insights (compare to similar story The Beast Below, where Amy actually figures out why the choice is a false one). Clara's forcibly stopping the bombs is magically rewarded by that choice apparently having few negative consequences.

So what did I like? Listen best of all, by far. Flatline is up there for personal reasons (my fondness for the book Flatland). I also find Caretaker and Deep Breath really good, with no reservations. The four episodes whose flaws I am willing to forgive are Time Heist, Robot of Sherwood, Into the Dalek, and Forest of the Night.

I still don't know where I fit the finale episodes into this.

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Pôl Jackson 2 years, 5 months ago

Been on vacation; only just now watched it. Shocked that no-one here mentioned the Doctor's line that the Brig came back in "England's darkest hour".

Because *of course* Alistair has been Arthur all along. How did I miss that?

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Daru 2 years, 5 months ago

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Daru 2 years, 5 months ago

Wow! Pôl that is a great connection to Arthur, thank you!

How did I miss that?

Thematically, mythically this links (loosely) with an old Scottish Arthur story called Canobie Dick that I know of. It involves an ancient fairy hill which is a prominent landmark, and has larger than natural caverns within (i.e. like St Paul's), and under it there is a mystical wizardy figure (Thomas the Rhymer appearing out of time) residing who had disappeared for some time and all believed dead.

He draws, by machinations, Canobie Dick (a liar and cheat in his life) under the fairy hill - and there lay sleeping Arthur and his knights awaiting their time for Albion. Dick is tested to his limits to choose and wield the correct instrument of power (the sword or the horn) and awaken the knights. The outcome will then determine whether this is the right time for Arthur to rise - he chooses wrong and the cavern collapses, Arthur (the heroic soldier arisen) states that he will return during Albion's darkest hour and returns to sleep with his knights. Sometimes Dick barely escapes with his life, and in some versions dies as the cavern collapses. The mystical wizard vanishes...

It might just be my own head, but there are loads of connections here:

~ Use of a prominent landmark that's been made to be bigger on the inside.
~ A mysterious figure reappearing.
~ Manipulation of lead character(s) through their lies/life and drawing them to the magical space.
~ A test to choose to wield power.
~ The assumption of power and who wields it.
~ Long assumed dead rising/ an army rising from under the earth.
~ A mythic figure from England's past rising.
~ Key character dying - the cost of contacting the Otherworld.

I'm not saying that the two stories are directly transferable, but it looks to me that key elements relate.

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Nyq Only 2 years, 5 months ago

I think the possibility of the Library resurrecting River Song already existed by the set. The Library storage was used as a buffer for teleporters and the teleporters are implied to be on a model of disassemble/digitise/transmote/reassemble. As the Library has the data for River's body and her mind it can, in principle, just teleport an intact River into the real world (OK the library is full of ravenous shadow beasties but that is a different problem). Ressurecting River is no harder that returning Donna from being "saved".

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Anton B 2 years, 5 months ago

I thought the distinction was that Donna and the others were 'saved' while still alive. Anyway, as I said, Moffat's already resurrected River in NotD. She's available to return whenever he, or anyone else, wants to use her with no more explanation required than the sand piranhas got.

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mengu 2 years, 5 months ago

Danny's blasts were blue, but they did not vaporise their targets.

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John Seavey 2 years, 4 months ago

Only two? Alastair Reynolds thinks you lack ambition. :)

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Jarl 2 years, 4 months ago

I've heard British people use "never" in that sense to mean "that can't possibly be", as one might when denying the truth. The example that comes first to mind is "That is never the time," from the first episode of Jonathan Creek, which left me stumped in my official capacity as an American Viewer, having to look up what he meant.

And that's a very lovely thought about Miracle Day.

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