Doctor Who Season 8 Finale: Death in Heaven

maxresdefaultwhoIt has been a fun journey these last few months. We visited steam punk robots in Victorian England, traveled inside a Dalek, encountered vampiric mummies and body-snatching alien zombies (but sadly, no invisible skeletal werewolves), and watched the moon hatch. All journeys must end, however, and this one is coming to a close: this is the twelfth and final episode of season 8.

I really don’t want it to end so soon, but we might as well jump in and see what awaits us!

When last we left the Doctor and Clara, Cybermen were marching through the streets of London, Danny was about to delete his emotions and unknowingly turn into a Cyberman, and Missy revealed herself to be the Doctor’s old nemesis: The Master! The finale hasn’t even begun, and it’s already awesome!

As the episode begins, Clara is trying to convince a Cyberman that she is, in fact, the Doctor The Doctor is a target of strategic value, worth keeping alive. Clara Oswald, normal human, is not. If Clara is good at one thing, it’s spinning stories. I’m fairly certain that she’s imitating the Eleventh Doctor’s manner of speaking, all fast-paced patter and tangents.

Outside, people are having their pictures taken with the Cybermen; no one seems to be afraid of them. It turns out to be a UNIT (Unified Intelligence Task Force) ambush—I knew Londoners weren’t that jaded! (Though, this is Doctor Who. London does tend to get invaded by aliens every Christmas…) Osgood and Kate Stewart (both of whom we met in the Day of the Doctor) show up, leading the soldiers. UNIT takes the Master into custody, disarming her of the disintegration device she used last episode, and calls for the Cybermen to surrender. The Cybermen escape the ambush by rocketing into the sky, Iron Man style…could they do that before? I don’t remember them having rocket boots. They spread out, vanishing into the distance, followed by wave after wave of Cybermen launching from the Mausoleum’s roof. Across the globe, the same thing is happening: one Cyberman hovers over each major city before self-destructing, turning the dust from their detonations into dark storm clouds.

In the Nethersphere, Seb gives Danny some good news: They’re going back home! Their bodies have been upgraded, and they’re going to be downloaded back inside them. The whole afterlife thing was just a sham.

UNIT shoots The Master and the Doctor with tranquilizers. I guess they don’t want to spend time arguing with the Doctor. The Doctor manages to whisper “Guard the graveyards” to Osgood before passing out. The Cyber-cloud over London begins raining, but only on the graveyard, filling the sewer drains and flooding a nearby morgue. The body on the table sits up, and the sheet falls away, revealing it to be a Cyberman. Did the water convert it into a Cyberman? It’s hard to tell. The what’s really important, though is the paperwork by the table: The body was Danny’s!

The Doctor wakes up in a UNIT warehouse where a plane is being loaded. He wants Kate to find Clara, make sure she’s safe. Kate says they can do anything he wants, so long as he gets on the plane. The TARDIS has already been loaded. Once the Doctor and Kate are on board, Kate tells the pilot that the President is on board. The American President? No, she means the President of Earth: they elected a President to take charge of all the Earth’s forces in a crisis like this. The Doctor wonders what idiot they elected…it turns out to be him. The Doctor is now President of Earth! The Doctor goes to talk to the Master, who is restrained in the cargo hold—next to the TARDIS. That seems like a bad idea, to me. Holding a Time Lady next to a time machine? What could go wrong? I’m guessing everything. The Master reveals to the Doctor that Gallifrey is in another dimension, but it’s not lost: she knows where it is, but won’t tell him. The Doctor leaves, disappointed, but not before sticking in a knife of his own: The Master has been trying to rule the earth by force for years, and Humanity elected the Doctor instead. After he’s gone, the Master activates her bracelet, which lights up red just like the Nethersphere from the last episode. Why did UNIT let her keep jewelry?!? She’s a Time Lady! EVERYTHING could be a weapon!

Clara is still trying to convince the Cybermen that she is the Doctor, using her extensive knowledge of the Doctor’s time-line to try to prove it, but the Cybermen don’t believe her. A new Cyberman walks in, affirming her to be Clara Oswald, reciting her own history. She disagrees, Clara is a just a story she made up, since she’s a great liar. The new Cyberman agrees and shocks her into unconsciousness, then opens fire on the other Cybermen. The paper from the morgue is clutched in its hand: It’s Cyber-Danny!

The Doctor is informed that the rainclouds are spreading over the Earth. Clara wakes to find herself alone in a graveyard. She’s not alone for very long, because Cybermen start rising from the graves around her. In fact, the Doctor is getting reports that it is happening all over the globe. How many of them will rise? If the Master has a TARDIS of her own, she could have been doing this throughout all of human civilization. The Doctor figures out that the rain isn’t water, but cyber-pollen, each little particle of the Cybermen contains instructions on how to make more Cybermen. If it acts like nano-machines, and it sounds like nano-machines…we’re going to keep calling it cyber-pollen, anyway, aren’t we?

In the cargo bay of the plane, the Master tells Osgood that she’s going to kill her, even starting a countdown. She apparently freed herself from the handcuffs when no one was looking, and darts over to Osgood and takes back the disintegration device. She disintegrates the guards and Osgood. Aw, I liked Osgood. She was nice, and competent, and genre-savvy…which is probably why she had to go. I could care less about the guards, though. They didn’t move during that entire time. Did UNIT just stuff some mannequins in the back of the plane to guard the Master? They really need to work on hiring better guards. The Master presses a control on her bracelet, holding onto an overhead strap as the plane begins to shake.

The Cybermen begin slamming into the plane, for some reason. Guess the Master just likes toying with the Doctor. Speaking of whom, the Doctor sees on the plane’s monitors that the Master is free, and rushes to confront her.

Clara find Cyber-Danny, but between the robotic voice and the face-concealing helmet, she doesn’t realize that it’s him. He wants to know where the Doctor is, but Clara won’t tell him. She proclaims the Doctor to be the closest man to her, the person she cares for the most in this world. Cyber-Danny pops out his arm laser and trains it on her. Yeah, that would hit a nerve with him. In Clara’s defense, she thinks Danny is dead. Danny retracts the gun and pulls off the front of the helmet, revealing his disfigured face. Clara is horrified and sad, and hopefully a bit guilty about what she just said. He pleads with Clara to help him. He shows her the inhibitor set into the chest of his armor. He can’t turn it on himself, he needs her to do it to turn off his emotions. He doesn’t want to feel like this.

The Doctor confronts the Master in the cargo hold. Why is she doing this? The TARDIS phone begins to ring. The Master says that would be Clara, calling for help. How does she know? She’s the one who gave Clara the TARDIS phone number, which is what brought the Doctor and Clara together. Why? Why does she want Clara and the Doctor together? That makes two questions the master isn’t answering. The Doctor answers the phone. It is indeed Clara on the other end. She tells him Danny is a Cyberman now, and that she needs his help to activate the inhibitor. The Doctor has problems of his own—the Cybermen are breaking into the plane. People are being dragged out through the windows, which as you can imagine, is causing a bit of a suction problem through those open windows. The Doctor refuses to help Clara. If Danny loses his emotions, there won’t be anything stopping him from killing Clara. Clara tells him to stay away, then. Shes going to try to do it herself. Kate show up to help the Doctor, but the Master uses the disintegration device to blow open the side of the plane, causing Kate to get sucked out of the plane and fall to her death. Wow, the Master is just piling up the body count this time! The Master teleports away before she can get sucked out of the plane, herself, but the Doctor isn’t so lucky. The Master watches from the Nethersphere (Are they ever going to explain how she can teleport into and out of a cyber-world?) as the Doctor falls. The Doctor still has a trick up his sleeve, however. He pulls out a TARDIS key, and calls the TARDIS to him, skydiving towards it.

The TARDIS lands in the graveyard, and the Doctor charges out, yelling at Clara to stop. If she goes through with this, Danny will kill her. Danny swears that he won’t. The Doctor wants Danny to use the Cybermen network to find out what the clouds are going to do, but Danny can’t access all the knowledge without the inhibitor on. The Doctor is horrified by the choice: He needs the information, but turning on the inhibitor would turn Danny fully into a Cyberman. Clara takes the screwdriver from him and turn it on Danny after they make their tearful goodbyes. Danny’s face goes blank, all emotion removed. What will the clouds do? A second rain will fall, turning every human into Cybermen. There is no way to stop it.

The Master teleports in, and reveals the purpose of the Cyber-army. It’s a gift for the Doctor. She gives him her bracelet, though not before demonstrating how it can control every Cyberman. Now the Doctor finally has the army he needs to save everyone by conquering the whole universe. The Master wants to show the Doctor that the two of them are not so different. She just wants her friend back. If you haven’t figured it out by now, the Master is usually just a weeee bit on the insane side.

The Doctor flashes back over the events of this season. Is he a good man? A hero? A Villain? He comes to a conclusion: He is an idiot. With a box. He doesn’t need an army, he has his Companions. He tosses the bracelet to Danny, the one Cyberman who wasn’t obeying the commands. Even emotionless, he’ll never hurt Clara. Danny takes control of the Cybermen and makes a terrific dramatic (dare I say, emotional?) speech, before rocketing into the clouds, followed by the other Cybermen. All over the world, the Cybermen blow up, burning the clouds away with fire. I’m going to guess that Danny made sure the explosion would also vaporize each Cyberman, otherwise they’re just spreading the Cyber-pollen again.

The Master is disappointed that her plan failed, but suggests that the Doctor and her travel together again. She tells him the co-ordinates to Gallifrey, perhaps they could go there? Clara has a different idea. She has the Master’s dis-integrator, and she wants to kill her with it. The Doctor doesn’t want her to be a murderer, he’ll do it instead. The Master asks him to say something nice before he kills her. The Doctor sadly tells her: “You win”. Before he can fire, however, a blue energy bolt flashes by him, vaporizing the Master.

Clara and the Doctor see a Cyberman on a hill behind them, pointing further down into the graveyard. They head in that direction and find Kate lying on the ground, unconscious but alive. The Doctor realizes someone must have caught her as she fell…the Cyberman? The Doctor realizes that it must be Kate’s dead father, the Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, an old friend of the Third Doctor. He must still have his human personality, just like Danny. Did the inhibitor actually work on anyone? The Doctor salutes him, something he never did in his previous incarnations. The Brigadier rockets away, heading into the sky. Wait! Come back! You’d make an awesome Companion!

It is now two weeks later. Danny contacts Clara through a shimmering portal. He’s figured out how to use the Master’s control bracelet to open a way home, but it only has enough power for one trip. Um…wait, what? I thought he and the bracelet blew up! Did he use the Master’s bracelet to teleport himself into the Nethersphere at the last second? Are they pulling a Tron? Does the matter get converted into data and then back again? I’m going to stick with that explanation, otherwise this is going to make my head hurt. Danny sends the little boy he killed in his place, telling Clara to help the boy find his parents. On the one hand, that’s a very, very nice thing for Danny to do. On the other hand, when Clara shows them their long-dead son those parents are going to FREAK. RIGHT. OUT.

Along with the little boy, the bracelet makes it through. Hmm…there was only enough power for one trip? Then what we need is MORE POWER!

The Doctor and Clara meet up. The Doctor is under the impression that it was Danny who came back, and is sure that she wants to stay with Danny now, and not go gallivanting around time and space with him. He tells her he found Gallifrey, and is going home to stay. He’s lying. We see him travel to the coordinates the master gave him, but there’s nothing there but empty space, prompting him to start hammering on the TARDIS console in a rage. For some reason, Clara feels this precludes her from asking him to help her find the little boy’s parents or use MORE POWER to bring Danny back (Why not both?), and lies, telling him that yes, Danny made it back. They have one last hug, and say goodbye to each other, going their separate ways.

That’s their relationship in a nutshell, isn’t it? Lies. Why can;t they just be honest with each other for once? ONCE! That’s all I ask.

Apparently, it’s not to be. The credits are rolling…wait, the episode’s back! The Doctor is sitting in the TARDIS looking despondent. A voice tells him that he can’t end it like that. I agree, mysterious voice! The Doctor looks up to see…Santa Claus?!?

This is going to be a really interesting Christmas special, I’m thinking…

~K.L. Davis~

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