We come to the big climax of what has been a excellent series and It’s such a shame It’s ending but It’s definitely going out in style.
A great teaser with the scene of The Doctor regenerating though it feels more underwhelming at first after the fake out from a few weeks ago.
Then we have the wonderful first scene of the spaceship with Missy as Dr Who with her plucky assistants Exposition and Comic Relief ! The scene is pure fun and we get to see The Doctor talk about her in the flashbacks and it helps us to see just how far this incarnation of The Doctor has come since Deep Breath. It also gives us the dialogue which will pave the way for a female doctor (“We’ve progressed past petty concerns such as gender” and “She was a man then, I think I was” ) Again it makes me sad we don’t have at least another series with this team. Seeing Bill get shot is shocking but sadly with the reveal in the press about the Cybermen it robbed the following scenes of the creatures taking Bill and her discovering them of any surprise or real tension but fortunately the scenes are good with these prototype Cybermen genuinely creepy. The horror of what The Cybermen are and were is often overlooked or downplayed in their stories so It’s refreshing to have it dealt with a bit more than normal.
The same problem is true of Razor as he befriends Bill as it was immediately obvious it would be The Master thanks to that being revealed too. (Intrestingly some of the more casual viewers I know had the joy of being shocked as they were unaware of either of these returns) Razor is a good character though clearly either Moffat or Simm is a secret Babylon 5 fan as he’s channelling Zathras! It’s good to see the homage to the classic era’s Master disguises. Bill basically watching grainy black and white telesnaps because of the time dilation over a few years is wonderful too. What a cracking cliffhanger though as Bill is betrayed and converted whilst The Master reveals himself to Missy
After the claustrophobia of the first part it feels strange to suddenly have wide open spaces but does give the ship more realism as a space ark as it was intended. Also great that theres no quick or easy fix for Bill’s cybernisation. Pearl Mackie plays the scenes as she comes to terms with being a Cyberman brilliantly and her reluctance to carry on living as one. The resolution with Heather returning to save Bill doesn’t feel like a cop out in the way Clara’s did. The tear was set up back in the first part and was referenced earlier in the episode and how great we finally see a same sex kiss and even more wonderfully no one seemed to mind
The Missy/Master scenes are so wonderful and John Simm plays it so well now he’s not playing completely crazy and Michelle Gomez keeps everyone guessing if she’s reverted to type or not. Again It’s a shame there’s not more for them to do together as they become almost surplus to the story though every scene is a delight particularly their mutual deaths. The Doctor’s speech to them about why he does what he does is another wonderful moment for Capaldi’s Doctor and the saddest part is he will never know Missy was coming back. Let’s hope she’s not as dead as she appears.
Matt Lucas as Nardole has been a relevation and It’s nice he gets a reasonably happy ending. Obviously originally he was intended as a one off character in Husbands so the thought of him returning didn’t seem like it would work but a more subdued follow up appearance changed my mind and during this series he’s been a joy to watch. I keep saying this but the 12-Bill-Nardole team has become a firm favourite of mine and the best of the Moffat era. Let’s hope Big Finish can reunite them down the road
The battle scenes were suitably epic though I was disappointed to see the latest design Cybermen being more prominent though it made sense why. Would’ve been nice to have seen a few of every Cyber design to reflect their evolution.
The reluctance to regenerate makes sense after all this is a Doctor who has lived past his expected life span and doesn’t want to do it all again. What a nice moment to see the silhouette of the first doctor coming out of the snow. I have a feeling the Christmas special will be both doctors convincing each other to change after all the TARDIS brought them together.
However I think they missed a trick not showing the new doctor coming through before the 12th reasserted himself, for once it would be nice to find out about a new doctor as part of the narrative (the way I assume we were meant to discover David Tennant before the tabloid rags blew the surprise). Somehow I’m not sure the secret can be kept for another six months.
So that’s another series done and one I thoroughly enjoyed with no terrible episodes or performances. The regulars were superb and this series will be rewarded many times I’m sure. Roll on Christmas!