Don't touch that dial! Doctor Who series 8 ends in spectacular fashion. Here's Christopher Morley's review of Death In Heaven.
Our journey through Series Eight of Doctor Who now comes to an end in quite exhilarating fashion- there's a new development for the Cybermen in that they can fly! Has Steven Moffatt been watching Iron Man? These variants aren't of the ' heroic' persuasion, either. If anything they're closer to the metal menace Black Sabbath warned us all about... The bit about 'Vengeance from the grave' now seems oddly prophetic.
Have they lost their minds? Can they see or are they blind? Luckily there's a man who's ' travelled time, for the future of mankind' on hand. Or, as the rather plucky Clara would have one of the Cyber-horde believe, he's no longer a man & has had something of a regenerative sex change! She's clearly been paying attention- ' Who could change their face any time they want?'. We all know the answer, boys & girls!
And it looks like he's got quite a job on his hands- the Mistress, who we all know loves surprises, has pulled off the mother of them. She used to be a man & now she's in league with an army of metal ones.......the uploaded minds getting new bodies. Only one of them isn't quite as robotic as he seems. Sure, he's been converted- but he can still feel something, which explains his rather unCyberman-like conduct in not following orders & shooting down his fellows before they can do harm to Doctor Clara.
Luckily some old colleagues of the Doctor's are on hand to get him out of a potentially difficult showdown with two of his oldest enemies- UNIT return, led once more by Kate Stewart. Which presents the first chance to see how his newest self gets on with them- there are promising hints of a return to the sort of relationship the Third Doctor used to enjoy with Kate's dear old papa, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. He was often one to bemoan the limitations of the military mind, & we already know the Twelfth isn't particularly keen on soldiers!
Both he & his newly feminine nemesis are captured- all to do with alien invasion protocol, you understand- which provides them with time to get back to good old-fashioned mind games. Apparently Gallifrey isn't all that lost, & ' the best part about knowing is not telling you'. Quite masterly/Masterly, as her earlier incarnation once told the Fifth Doctor! Even more so is a fine detail of that invasion protocol- its been agreed that in such situations the Doctor is to assume authority as Earth's President, a policy he witheringly describes as ' vote for an idiot' without realising that the idiot is his good self.......though it does provide him with the perfect taunt for the Mistress. ' Remember all those years when all you wanted to do was rule the world? Now the shoe's firmly on the other foot!
It would seem the Doctor still wants to ' see the universe, not rule it', with the Mistress wanting only ' death & destruction', & to ' spread that death throughout the galaxy'. He's got a hell of a question to deal with as his first act in office, too- 'How can you win a war against an enemy that can weaponise the dead?'. They've been doing it through Cyber-pollen, which every Cyberman has a sample of as part of their basic make-up- a means of reproduction, in a sense. The 3W organisation has been a front for that, with the Mistress as its figurehead! Meanwhile, Ms Oswald finds herself alone in a graveyard. Though she's not quite as alone as she might think, & its about to get a little harrowing for her......
For she was brought here by Mr Pink! You might say he's the President's finest soldier- after all the Mistress knows he's always wanted an army. And that's what he gets, with Cyber-Danny as its commander, leading them to a historic moment- the first time the Cybermen have done anything remotely good! For it's they who stop the human race dying out,
But firstly we have time for some answers, who was the woman in the shop who told Clara the TARDIS number was ' the best helpline in the universe?'. That would be Missy, conspiring to keep them together all along. Then to find if the Doctor is a good man?
His own conclusion happens to be that he is neither good nor bad. After
all this is the man who first tried to run from the Time War then became its greatest soldier. Deliberately
ambiguous, as well as preserving a little of his own mystery- we've
known him so long, yet we know so little of him.
With Kate saved by a very special man, the Mistress is tried as a war criminal of sorts. Her death bought about by one of the weapons she'd created - five rounds rapid. But this being Doctor Who, we can't even really be sure that she's dead...... But the Doctor can only hope she was telling the truth about Gallifrey's location.
But as she'd previously said 'the best part about knowing is not telling you'.
Perhaps then the catalyst for the Doctor's abrupt departure from Clara's life is that he was simply continuing the almost unofficial rule which states that no companions can stay with the Doctor for longer than two incarnations- think Ben & Polly with the First & Second Doctors , Sarah-Jane with the Third & Fourth, Nyssa, Adric & Tegan with the Fourth & Fifth, Melanie Bush with the Sixth & Seventh and Rose Tyler with the Ninth & Tenth. At least if this is really the end of Ms Oswald's TARDIS travels they part as friends, the Doctor finally considering her more than just his "carer".
The hunt for Gallifrey still stands, which offers up the possibility of future story lines in Series Nine & beyond! Could it all be part of a bigger game being played by the Mistress? After all she knows better than anyone what might possibly await...
A Lady President, anyone?