JReviews: Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 12- Death In Heaven

I'm actually on time this week. Which is good. But was the episode?

OK, lets kick off with a snazzy opening remark. This episode was a tale of two halves. The first half felt way too condensed, as if it should have been a full episode on its own, with a bit of padding out and some more action and consequences. The second half, however, was a bit special. And no guesses why I feel that way...

But lets start at the top. Clara's lie at the beginning made very little sense at all. Ok yeah, she was stalling for time and the Cybermen are nothing but ruthlessly logical (i.e. easy to stall by lying), but why would she tell them she's their worst enemy, that would give them even more of a reason to kill her straight away surely?

The whole premise of the episode was very hard to grasp as well, because they didn't flesh it out at all. The Cybermen can now fly (which we assume is an upgrade from Missy) and explode (which is contrary to their prime directive- to survive) which then creates rainclouds (how this happens is not explained at all) which then rain down bits of Cyberman which then convert the dead (how, once again, is hardly explained apart from a passing reference by the Doctor to each molecule of a Cyberman containing their programming, which doesn't explain where the metal shell comes from). And they never explain what happened to The Master after the events of The End Of Time. How did the fight with Rassilon end? How did he end up as Missy (apart from the obvious regeneration)? How did she escape Gallifrey? You see what I mean about the first half needing to be a full episode? Or this episode needed to be half an hour longer, which would be a stretch considering it was already 15 minutes longer than normal run time.

There were, of course, some truly mad bits in this episode, all of which involved Missy. Last episode, she was charmingly psychopathic, with an intimacy problem. This episode, she was full on John Simm. Her true motives weren't revealed until the end (giving us a truly fine scene, which we will come to in a bit) and they were a psychiatrists wet-dream ("I just want my friend back", so I'm going to go on a murder spree, create an army of the undead and try to kill him). Begs the question, why the locked her up in the same room as they put the TARDIS in? They know what the Master is like, are they really that stupid. Also, award for worst guards of the year, to her two guards for failing to notice their prisoner escaping, threatening a scientist and doing her lip-stick before zapping them.

I have a lot of other random notes here as well before we get onto the big thing I have to say about this episode. 1) That falling out of a plane to the TARDIS bit was a tad silly and awfully Mission: Impossible/ James Bond (both of which the music took inspiration from if my ears didn't deceive me), which is fine in those aforementioned films, but in Doctor Who it looked a bit naff, even if you believe that you can just hang your disbelief on the coat-rack outside before watching an episode (I'm guessing you loved it, right Malfar 😉 ). 2) How exactly did Brigadier Lethbridge- Stewart's corpse manage to disobey orders as a Cyberman to be able to catch Kate Stewart, when he would have been under the control of Missy at the time when she was falling, because by the time Danny was in control, she would have been dead? 3) This episode was very zombie movie, I think they scheduled it for the wrong week. It should have been shown last week.

And now, ladies and Cybermen. The second half. Was. Brutal.

Capaldi shows us that his Doctor has a heart with a storing speech as to why Clara shouldn't remove Danny's emotions, and then Danny completely destroys him. Capaldi's acting in this scene was superb, not just how he delivered his lines, but his body language, his facial expressions, he sold the scene and the emotion and the inner-turmoil like they were on 50% off sale. I would have liked Jenna-Louise Coleman to have sold her part in this scene similarly well, but, yet again, Clara left me a bit cold. I mean come on, you're basically killing your boyfriend (you even say as much), so a few tears are understandable, but that's all you give? There was no conflict in her face, barely any regret and her body language was off too, her hand wasn't even shaking, let alone her body. I don't know about anyone else, but if I was about to kill someone I loved I'd be a total mess. She was too calm, too composed for it to feel right.

So anyway. Of course, Missy comes in, makes the Cybermen do a flight safety procedure routine and then promptly gives them over to the Doctor. And once again this scene is taken to another level. You can see the Doctor fighting every single word Missy is saying, not because she is wrong, but because he knows she is right. Peter Capaldi must be getting employee of the month at his Scene Salesroom every single month. See everything I said in the previous paragraph pertaining to him for further information. We get some flashbacks from throughout the series to emphasis the point, but its all Capaldi in this scene.

And that's not even the best part. Oh no. Because who is best character of the series for a reason? That's right. Best Cyberman himself, Danny Pink. There is of course a president for love over coming Cyber programming (see Series 6 episode 12- Closing Time), so it's understandable why Clara fails to make the inhibitor work, but thank God she's useless. Otherwise we wouldn't have got that incredible, beautiful, moving speech. Best moment of the series so far. It was epic, it was like a scene from an epic fantasy movie, just before the hero goes to war (it reminded me actually of Aragorn's speech for the Battle of the Black Gate in Return Of The King). Brilliant.

I have to of course comment on the final scene. It's commendable that the Doctor and Clara would both give the other up because they think the other has something better to come, even though they are both wrong. I can't see this being the end for Clara, because there's been no news of her leaving the show or of a replacement at all. But it was a touching farewell, especially the Doctors reason for disliking hugs, but it feels like a good way to end their relationship. Credits roll.

Wait! There's more?

WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! £@%&!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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7 Responses to JReviews: Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 12- Death In Heaven

  1. Malfar says:

    Well, of course I loved the episode. Even before watching it, judging by all the hate comments in russian Who communities (most of them were the variations of “OMG this episode is the worst I’ve ever seen”) I knew it was great. Because come on. And it was great, but it also left me a bit confused. It looked very much like the entire show’s end. Like “And then they lived happily ever after”. Although I know there will be Christmas Special and the series 9 were announced, but still.

    Clara’s lying is actually the right thing. I mean, the Doctor always tells his enemies who he is and he is still alive. So that might be a good way to stay alive. About the guards – well, the Master is known for a great hypnotic abilities. He didn’t use hypnosis much in revived series, but in the classic episodes the phrase “You…will…obey me” was used pretty often. The guards could have been hypnotised or put in some sort of trance or drowsiness.

    The Cybermen in this episode reminded me of the Replicators from the later episodes of Stargate shows. With all those “tiny bits of a guy become a guy and so on. And what did replicators do? Dismantle metal things and replicate. Something like that is what Cybermen do. Only the dead serve as fuel instead of metal things.

    Clara’s reaction when she had to kill Danny is totally justified. Sometimes all emotions come afterwards. When my granny died two years ago, I felt nothing the first day. The next day as well. And then, after some days have passed, there came the grief and feelings of emptiness. The day she’s died? Just a regular day. Call whoever I have to call, check the e-mails. Like nothing happened. So I understand the lack of suffering and tears on Clara’s face.

    Brigadier overcame the cybermen programming. Why shouldn’t he? He’s a guy of strong will. And it’s not the first time a Cyberman goes out of control. It happened before, so no big deal.

    I guess, that’s how it feels to be famous. I am mentioned in the reviews. That feels good.

  2. Kjakings says:

    I find myself agreeing with Malfar on at least one point – The Brigadier would totally resist the Hive Mind, no two ways about it. I have so much love for the Brigadier it’s ridiculous, and I think he’s a big part of why the Doctor hates soldiers: no one can ever match up to the Brigadier in his eyes, except maybe Danny Pink.
    This leaves us in an interesting place with Orson Pink though. In the previous episode one of the post-its read ‘three months’. Entirely plausible – probable, even – that it’s just how long she was lying to him, but a fan theory that I like has it that she’s pregnant. She should be showing, of course, but it’s hardly uncommon for pregnant women in TV shows to not show at all until they hit three months and then it just suddenly happens.

    Another thing, I don’t know if you guys get Doctor Who Extra in your various countries, but it’s basically a mini version of the old Doctor Who Confidential, and in it Moffat basically states that The Master isn’t dead. He references the pre-Simm Master (I forget the actor) who would be definitively killed off in each story only to return with some vague poor excuse. I got so angry. The sheer laziness and arrogance in that, that he knows he can be so incredibly lazy and get away with it.

  3. Malfar says:

    @Kjakings But the Master is actually known for surviving. It’s what he does. The Doctor has a blue police box, the Master survives. It’s one of the show’s basic rules. It’s pointless to get angry at it. The Master was portrayed by several actors before Simm, most notably by Roger Delgado and Antony Einley. He was killed and re-killed, but he is very much like the Doctor – he. Comes. Back. That’s not lazy or arrogant.

  4. JR19759 says:

    Bit like the Daleks really. How many times have they supposedly been wiped from the universe, only to turn up next season with an army bigger than the last army they had?
    For once, I actually have to agree with Malfar and say, in this show, villains dying and then being brought back to life doesn’t have to make sense, just so long as you’ve got a good enough story for the audience not to care.

  5. DiCicatriz says:

    Ugh. Danny. *spoilers* Why didn’t you use the damn bracelet? WHY?! (angry man tears)

  6. Guy says:

    Of course Missy is not dead. When the Doctor hits the button to “kill” her, the color surrounding Missy was the same one as when she was teleported earlier in the show.

  7. JR19759 says:

    @Guy- Plus, when have Cyber weapons vaporised people (because she wasn’t shot by the Doctor, rather by Cyberman Lethbridge-Stewart)