Flying Cybermen. Do I need to say any more? I could just end the review here, that is all you need to know. There were Cybermen in this episode with rocket boots, at one point a group of them tailed a plane, caught up with it and started ripping it apart from the outside. I love Cybers as a monster, they are shockingly underrated, Daleks are arguably the most impactful given the threatening voice and the sheer power that they contain but Cybermen make for a good series finale villain also. This episode proved that there is mileage in a character such as the Cybermen, all they need to do is keep stepping up the technology to come up with new ways of the robots being a threat to the human race.
Unfortunately the final instalment in a saga of masterful episodes aired last night. This was an interesting conclusion that was steeped in the Doctor Who mythos, there was a number of references to the Doctor and the Master’s past on Gallifrey. In the past the writers were cagey about revealing the Doctor’s true origin, for the first few series the writers would play it coy; occasionally hinting that the Doctor has an alien past with his’ theme chiming in. Moffat is not one of those writers, Moffat is the first show runner since Doctor Who’s return to give us a glimpse of Gallifrey itself as well as other Timelords. Never before the 50th anniversary episode did we have footage of the Time War. Steven Moffat knows what the fans want, which is why in this episode there were scenes between the Master and the Doctor talking about their Gallifreyan roots. Not just fighting it out because they were old enemies with the occasional references to the fact that they are from the same alien planet.
The presence of The Master, or Missy as the new incarnation prefers to be known, was a joy to watch this episode. Michelle Gomez is incredibly charismatic on-screen, her delivery is to throw constant curve balls at the viewer; changing her accent half way through a sentence or adding strange sinister inflections to certain statements. The writing of the new Master was fantastic, my favourite moment from the Master in this episode, and it seems that of Tumblr was this moment was when she sung Hey Mickey replacing Mickey with Missy. Moffat really ran wild with the character, showcasing all of his considerable levels of character creating talent.
What was disappointing is that he has already killed off the character, of course it is always risky to go out on a limb and say that any character in Doctor Who is dead for sure, especially when that character is the Master. I should modify this to, killed off for now. I mean killed off in the sense that the Master appears to get killed off at the end of almost every series. Its just odd that they would do this as this episode was the only one in which we have got to experience the new incarnation for a full episode. I would have liked for the Master to keep popping up to cause trouble every now and then, this may still happen of course. It may be that Missy found some way of surviving that very convincing incineration to make a surprise appearance in the next series finale. What would be disappointing is if that is the end of that incarnation and next season we get a new actor, given that Gomez is perfect for the role and has only just got started.
Many characters met their end in this episode, or so we think. The fallen include: Missy, Osgood, Danny Pink and those two prison guards who just stood there and let Missy escape the handcuffs. As I said earlier Missy death seemed particularly untimely, as did Osgood’s. Although Osgood’s character did have a whole lot of development the events of the 50th anniversary episode made many members of the audience warm to her, Moffat knows this which is why he ended the character in only its second appearance. Such is the cruelty of the dictator. Although we already saw Pink meet his death, due to the Nethersphere concept it seemed for some time like he might find his way back, it was odd that he didn’t and that it seems his storyline is ended. However, the adventures in Listen may be an indication that Danny Pink may not be gone forever.
To conclude this was a fun episode with a fun and exceedingly likeable new incarnation of the Master. Although my only gripe is that the colour pallet on this one wasn’t exactly ranged, there were a lot of greys and dark blues and not much of anything else, as well as the fact that some of the deaths seemed needless for example Missy and poor Osgood. The scene in which the Doctor went to the coordinates that Missy gave him and found nothing was beautifully done as was the scene between the Doctor and Clara in the cafe. However, though the ending was bitter sweet I failed to understand why Clara and the Doctor lied to each other in that instance. Due to the appearance of Nick Frost (a fantastic comedy actor and writer, check out the Cornetto trilogy) as Santa Claus at the end of this episode the Christmas special will be a treat.