Saturday, 8 November 2014

Dr Who Series Eight: Episode 12 Death In Heaven


8th November, 2014.

Oh … 

My … 

Giddy … 

Aunt … !!!

Did they just DO that … ?

No, wait, they did, didn’t they … ?

Tonight’s episode of Dr Who, the Rachel Talalay† directed, Steven Moffat penned, Death In Heaven … 

Sees the death of Osgood, played by Ingrid Oliver: killed by Missy/The Mistress, as she escapes from two UNIT guards, and a pair of handcuffs.

Sees Colonel Ahmed — Sanjeev Bhaskar*, in a cameo part — dragged out of a plane window.   Whilst in flight.

Sees the death of Danny Pink, after he’s been converted into a zombie-style Cyberman.   With a BIG finish, I should add!

Oh … 

And see the Master shot.


By the Brigadier.

The fact there’s flying Cybermen, lots of graveyards, and a post-title teaser with Nick Frost as Father Christmas … ?

Could almost be beside the point, couldn’t it‡ … ?

Hmmm … 

Now that I’ve possibly spoiled your evening … ?   I’d better tell you what’s happening, hadn’t I … ?

You’ve probably already worked out I’m a Dr Who fan, hadn’t you?   And, if you’ve being paying attention, you’d realise I’ve been following Series 8 since Peter Capaldi — the Twelfth Doctor — took over the part.

And frankly?   I’ve generally enjoyed the series, thus far.

Especially last week’s episode, Dark Water: the first half of a two story.

Completed by tonight’s episode, Death In Heaven.

Following on from where Dark Water left off, Death In Heaven sees the Doctor confronted by the Mistress: the most most recent, and first female, version of The Master.

Just as the Mistress’ newly activated cyber-army spread themselves across both Britain, AND the world.

The one’s on that found, though: the one’s the Mistress has under her direct influence?

Are temporarily halted: as the Doctor is rescued from the Mistress’ clutches by Kate Stewart, and a force of UNIT troopers.

Who manage to capture the Mistress, and rescue the Dr, only but sedating them, unexpectedly.

Of course, with both The Doctor, the Mistress and a TARDIS on the UNIT provided plane?

With the darkest of possibly clouds, gathering … ?

It doesn’t take much to work out there’s trouble, coming.


Now … 

I’ve told you I’m impressed, haven’t I … ?

I ALSO told you, last week, that Dark Water had shown us some of Steven Moffat’s best writing for the show: the award winning Blink not withstanding.

Personally … ?

I’m going to modify that statement, a little.   And tell you I’m going to include Death In Heaven in that list.

This was — for my money — the highlight of series 8.

And possibly?

Possibly one of the highlights of the rebooted Dr Who.

After all, the Dark Water/Death In Heaven pairing not only gave us the shock of a regular recurring time lord character who’s gone from male to female^, but a wealth and emotional depth to the two central characters I personally fell hasn’t been seen since … 

Well … 

Since I don’t know when, actually.

Especially in the episodes final scene, where the Doctor and Clara are in a cafe discussing what’s next for each of them: each character is lying to the other, and knows they’re being lied to: but cannot hurt each other by challenging this.

Personally … ?

I believe that depth to be new.

To be good for the show.

And to make tonight’s episode, with its twists, turns and changes to the format?

To be the most watchable Dr Who episode for quite some time.

*        Bhaskar’s wife, and Goodness Gracious Me collaborator, Meera Syal, appeared in the Cold Blood/Hungry Earth two parter, a couple of years ago.

†        Blimey, she did Tank Girl … ?   I’m impressed: OK, it wasn’t perfect, but kudos for going for it … !

‡        We also learn Clara was born on the 23rd November, 1986.   A Wednesday.   In between episodes three and four of The Mysterious Planet, just in case you were wondering.

^        In an interview for the relevant episode of Dr Who Extra, Steven Moffat tells us, explicitly, that this can happen.   Those of us who’d seen The Doctor’s Wife would have seen the concept introducedª.

ª        I’m perfectly aware many of my fellow fans REALLY don’t care for the idea of a regeneration process that allows for a change of sex.   I’m ALSO aware that it’s rarely happens in the real world.   Please notice the use of the word, rarely.   It rarely happens: and with only a few species.   Yet happen, it does.   We must also follow logic: the regeneration process allows a Time lord to completely physically change form in times of physical crisis.   Completely.   I believe that Time lord genetic is structured different to human: and allows them, like some species of clown fish, to change gender if that is one of those needs.

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