Previously, Danny found out that Clara was lying to him. The two-parter opens with Clara’s confession being interrupted by Danny’s death in a (seeming) accident.
Clara being Clara, she is not simply going to accept this. She collects the TARDIS keys and destroys them, one by one, to blackmail the Doctor. Who had set up the dreamscape to find out how far she would go.
Even though she betrayed him, he agrees to help her find Danny. Who is in the Afterlife that we’ve seen all along with Missy.
The Doctor and Clara go to 3W, they see the creepy skeletons in water, Missy shows up and we get to see the Cyberman eyes. It’s all fun and games until Danny BREAKS MY HEART FOREVER.
There were tears in my eyes at the last “I love you.” Because he wanted her to be safe, because it was the truth, and for once, one of Moffat’s “big moments” dovetailed with the actual character arcs of both the characters.
Then we went back to the a-story and Cybermen and Missy is the Master and CLIFFHANGER.
And may I say, the whole “Clara never existed” line from the next episode is BRILLANTLY used in the trailer? Well trolled!
Unfortunately, things went rapidly downhill in the second part. Kate darts the Doctor so she can kidnap him so she can… force him to be the President of Earth.
Clara has most of the good stuff in this episode. The Doctor has his moments, though, both of them to do with the Brigadier. First, talking about his picture, and later, saluting the Cyber-Brig.
(And I have so many complicated thoughts and feelings about the Cyber-Brig. They may be their own post, later.)
Osgood gets fridged.
The plane gets blown up.
In freefall, the Doctor manages to locate the TARDIS, and with the key in his hand, plunges directly toward it. And I suppose that you could fanwank that there is some sort of emergency guidance system for exactly that situation, but in that moment, I crossed the WTF Event Horizon.
Sometimes, in a story, something happens that breaks your suspension of disbelief so seriously that it’s impossible to get it back. This went one step further; I could not take the any of it seriously. I was really glad that I was watching it home alone, because I was laughing like a loon at this utterly tragic story.
Rewatching the episode later, I could appreciate it. “Love is a promise.” The Doctor saluting the Brigadier. The Doctor and Clara lying to each other.
And of course, anyone who knows the Master knew that Missy was coming back sooner or later. (I, personally, was glad to hear that it was “sooner.”)
The best thing about the series-ending two-parter Michelle Gomez as “Missy.” She’s brilliant, she’s funny, she’s scary. Her interpretation of the Master reminds me of Anthony Ainley’s performance in a lot of ways, but is, ultimately, her own.
Her plan is ridiculous. It’s contrived, it’s downright daft. But it isn’t even the Master’s most ridiculous plan ever. It’s actually less contrived and roundabout than his whole “prevent the Magna Carta from being written” plot.
Let’s face it, the Master’s had a whole lot of plans that only made sense if his real objective was to troll the Doctor.
At the moment of revelation, I was shocked. Not because I hadn’t made the Missy>Mistress>Master connection, but because I’d thought “Nah, too obvious.” Also, because the thought of one Time Lord referring to another as her “boyfriend” just made my brain go “nope.”
I was also initially annoyed that the canonical acknowledgement of Master’s feeling for the Doctor came when the characters were, for the first time, and opposite-sex pair. It felt like the ultimate “NO HOMO” from Moffat.
But on reflection, Moffat’s No Homo renders all of those previous interactions, in retrospect, Pretty Damn Homo.
Also, Missy is a big step forward toward the Doctor also regenerating as a woman. Someday. (In my dreams, as Dame Judi Dench.) No longer was this just a throwaway line about the Corsair. Certain members of the fandom reacted badly, some asking “would we have to call him the Nurse, then?”
(Gentlemen, Rory would like a word.)
For all of the symbolic importance (and the humor value of Moffat’s lack of self-awareness) the best part of Michelle Gomez’s casting is Michelle Gomez’s performance. She can be downright chilling, but also, a little sad. (Though never pathetic; she’s not an object of pity.) She’s crazy, but she makes it work for her.
We understand; she’s not killing Osgood because she’s “bananas,” it’s not a random act, but a deliberate one. She’s doing it to hurt the Doctor.
(I should probably say something about the Christmas episode, too. Well: it wasn’t the worst Christmas special Doctor Who has ever had, by a long shot.)