What is Doctor Who S8:e12 Death In Heaven



Last time on Doctor Who: Danny Pink was killed in the universes quietest car accident and thus the Doctor and Clara set off on an Orpheus quest. However instead of ending up bobbing down the river Styx, they wind up in a mausoleum where the dead are on display inside giant fish tanks. Here they finally meet Missy who eludes them by humping the Doctors leg until he asks for her to leave. They also meet a young scientist who tells them that Humanity has made contact with the other side, or more accurately the other side has made contact with them. The Doctor poo-poos this notion of the Dead being able to talk despite being ready to journey to a literal physical afterlife not less than ten minutes ago. However this might have been a wise move on the part of the BBC after they got a few complaints about Doctor Who delving into the afterlife. Though if they hated that, I hate to think what they will say after a few choice lines from this episode air. There is a bit of pre-amble before the Cybermen emerge, we find out that this was modern-ish Earth all along and Missy is a newly regenerated Master who has gifted them a bit of Time-Lord tech that stores the memories of the recently departed so that their bodies can be cyber-converted. And now the conclusion…. Okay, first things first, for my thoughts on The Masters new appearance see my previous post however for my thoughts on the appearance of the Master keep reading. Ever since Doctor Who has come back to our telly’s there is this apparent need to end on some big, epic finale that redefines the show as we know it. For Russel T Davies this meant digging into the bag of old villains and dusting of any he thought the audience would generally recognise. However when Moffat took over he changed things up a bit. See he was well liked for his timey-wimey scripts and thus every end has admittedly been new and unique but they tended to become more cumbersome and less coherent as we have gone along. With this ending however we have returned to the days of Davies and while I was the biggest complainer about them I like that they’re back. If only because you don’t have this worry that they will fall down if scrutinised too closely. In fact I would go as far to say that this episode felt epic and made sense to me. Well apart from the epilogues slapped on at the end which I won’t spoil but felt a bit wonky and like they were desperate to get a sob out of the audience. Anyway I’m getting ahead of myself. The episode opens with U.N.I.T doing their damn job for once and actually turning up when an alien menace is ploughing through modern day London. Quickly forming a tight perimeter around the cybermen and Missy they prepare for a take down when they find that the Daleks aren’t the only ones now capable of whipping through the air. Meanwhile Clara tries to bluff her way past the Cybermen by claiming to the Doctor. This is the source of the whole “there never was a Clara” speech that has been knocking around the trailers hinting at a perhaps better resolution for the origin of Missy, with her being one of the Clara’s sent through time, with only a fraction of the real Clara’s self and once completed with her task left to rot. After all think about that one that pointed the Doctor and Susan to the open Tardis door. What did she do next, especially if she knew that that one moment was her whole reason for being and that she was now stuck in a time and place not her own without friends or family. But I’m getting distracted by fan fiction here. As U.N.I.T and the Doctor try and figure out what to do, the Cybermen spread out taking a city or town each to deal with. For the Cybermen have now invented the concept of suicide bombers, a subject that the show does its best to ignore and hope people won’t notice. These Kamikaze drones explode spreading a rain of nanites that infect the dead, prompting a full cyber conversion for every buried corpse and morgue visitor. This is one of those moments in the episode that you just kind of have to accept. The idea of re-energizing the dead cells isn’t too bad as they seem to admit that this does not hold for every corpse in the world, with some too far decomposed to count. However the fact that they all emerge coated and weaponized mean you do question why they haven’t already won. It also means we get a few long lingering shots where they try to make pools of water scary and while I understood the significance of the water and acknowledged the impact upon the plot and the character I still struggled. Thus as the dead begin to rise from the graves and people begin to eye their pets suspiciously the Doc is whisked aboard not-air force one and put in charge of Humanities defence. With nothing to add but “watch the cemeteries” he heads down to the lower levels to interrogate the Master. Getting nothing of any real use he heads over to tech support and proceeds to hash out what they know. Please bear in mind that tech support is about four feet from the Master and behind no, you know, walls or doors or anything. However this doesn’t get them far as they soon find that there is something on the wing, spoiler it’s a Cyberman and from here things just go from bad to worse. With Clara stuck back on Earth, Danny now a roving Cyberman and Michelle Gomez dropping the over the top Simm style Master for a touch of classic suave and sophistication. Oh sure that madness and lust is still there throughout the episode but there is also a calm intellect and cunning she is prepared to flash at us. I defiantly hope to see her back, especially if we can drop the leg humping. Over all the episode had me asking for “permission to squee” with a good resolution that felt natural and not too rushed though again it’s a shame about the epilogues with only one out of the three being understandable and not overly sweet. As some questioned the return of the Master does tie into the Doctor finally getting round to that whole hunt for Gallifrey thing they set up at the end of the special and as most have figured out, if they care about such stuff, Missy was the one who set Clara up with the Doctor in the first place.


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