Monday, November 10, 2014

Doctor Who Season 8 Finale Review

Season 8 of Doctor Who comes to a close with "Death in Heaven."

As discuss last week, Doctor Who finales are often hit and miss, so does season eight deliver a satisfying conclusion to Peter Capaldi's first season?
"Death in Heaven" picks up where we left off at the end of the last episode with Missy and her Cybermen army invading the world. Being quickly sedated by UNIT, the Doctor and Missy end up on a plane, where UNIT informs the Doctor that the leaders of the world have chosen him to be the President of Earth, in a very humorous scene. Making the Doctor the President of Earth sounds positively ridiculous at first, but Steven Moffat managed to pull off the idea rather well, even if it ultimately had little to do with the plot's conclusion in the end. 

Missy's escape from UNIT seemed rather contrived and far too easy since the two soldiers "guarding" her just stood there like statues while she escaped and vaporized them. Also, holding her in the cargo hold was not a good idea either. They even left her with all of her gadgets! UNIT really sucks at their job, but nonetheless, the plot calls for Missy to escape, so she does rather effortlessly while she murders Osgood. Earlier in the episode Osgood wearing a bowtie and saying "Bowties are cool" to the Doctor was a fun a little nod to Smith considering that Osgood wore a scarf in the 50th Anniversary special. 

As Missy continues to escape, the plane is attacked by flying Cybermen, Even though flying in a plane is the preferred method of protection for the President of the United States, when Iron Man like Cybermen are flying around across the world, is the sky really the best place to protect the President of Earth? Haven’t they seen Iron Man 3!? Haha... Again, it had to happen for the plot to progress, and while a bit annoying, neither Missy’s escape nor the Cybermen plane attack affected my overall opinion of the episode that much. However, the Doctor and Missy's dialogue was quite fun, especially the quip about ruling the world is a piece of cake. 

Moving on to Clara's part of the episode, she escapes the Cybermen by telling them that she is the Doctor! A Cyber-Danny confronts Clara and calls her a liar, and then takes her to a graveyard. One minor problem about her deception is that Time Lords have two hearts, so can't the Cybermen scan her to discover that fact? Other than that, her escape as "The Doctor" is rather brilliant. Throughout the season Clara has gone from detesting the Doctor's methods of lying and deception to embracing them, which makes the episode "Flatline" even more relevant to her character arc, and this finale brought her character arc full circle in brilliant fashion. Hearing Clara tell the Cybermen all of the Doctor's history, including a reference to Jenny from "The Doctor's Daughter" was great. 
What made her change even more effective is her speech to Cyber-Danny about how the Doctor is the man that she trusts the most. It provided an effectively emotional scene for Clara and Danny. Since Danny cannot endure the pain, Clara begs the Doctor to tell her how to turn on the emotion-inhibitor per Danny's request. When the Doctor refuses to help since turning it on would effectively kill Danny, Clara hangs up on him in anger. 
To conclude the finale, the Doctor, Missy, Clara, and Cyber-Danny end up in the graveyard together. Before Missy arrives, Danny challenging the Doctor in turn on the chip because he will do whatever he needs for the "greater good" so that he can discover Missy’s plan turned out to be an effect scene for the most part as well. 

In the graveyard, the Master reveals her final plan, which is to give command of the Cybermen army to the Doctor. Throughout the season two main themes have been explored, the Doctor's dislike of soldiers and whether he is a "good man." For the most part, the climax with Missy proved to be an excellent resolution. My only problem is that with all that build up, Missy handing over the army to the Doctor just to prove a point seemed a bit anticlimactic. It was good, but maybe it could have been handled a little better. However, the Doctor realizing that he not a good man, just an idiot with a blue box was great. Handing over control of the army to Danny also worked well in the story to show that the Doctor finally respects Danny in the end. In regards to Danny being able to not have the emotion-inhibitor affect him and Stewart saving his daughter did seem a bit odd. Essentially, the world was saved by "The Power of Love" (song below), and while slightly contrived, but it has happened in the past, and the Doctor saluting Stewart was a great scene. 
When the Doctor "killed" the Master, you can clearly notice that the light around her when she is vaporized is blue, whereas her previous victims died in a flash of red. Obviously, the Master is not dead, which is not surprising, but rather teleported somewhere else.  

As great as "Death in Heaven" was for the most part, it did make me realize that I did not care all that much for Danny in the end. I liked him, but his death did not hit nearly as hard as it did with other characters in Doctor Who, although may be because he basically had three deaths in the last two episodes. However, he served his purpose in the end, and having him send the kid that he killed instead of himself proved to be a fittingly poignant ending for his character. 
In terms of production value and performances, everything is as great as ever. Capaldi continues to be exceptional, and Coleman is arguably better than Capaldi. Michelle Gomez managed to tone down her portrayal of the Master with a mostly solid performance, although not all of her scenes were the best. Samuel Anderson as Danny continued to give a strong performance until his final scene, and the supporting cast all gave top notch performances. 

With Danny's Cybermen makeup aside, the special effects are better than ever, with the Cybermen having a truly menacing, almost Iron Man like, appearance, and the flying effects were excellent for television. 
At the end with the Cybermen attack resolved, Clara and the Doctor meet up a few weeks later. First the Doctor tells Clara that the Master did not lie about Gallifrey, which made Clara make the Doctor think that Danny made it back alive. Another theme in the season has been lying, and this final scene with the two proved to be the most effectively emotional scene of the episode with both lying to each other to, what they believe, would make each other happy. To top that off, the Doctor explains why he is against hugging, which became one of the highlights of the episode for me. 
The ending with Nick Frost as Santa Claus was a bit odd, but considering how great he is in the Cornetto Trilogy, I am sure he will be a hilarious Santa Claus in the Christmas special. 

Overall: 9.3/10- All in all, "Death in Heaven" proved to be a very solid finale for season eight of Doctor Who. It is not without its faults with a few contrivances along the way, but it resolved all of the previously set up themes and character arcs with skill.

In the near future, I plan to rank my favorite episodes of the season and review the season as a whole.

Death in Heaven review by Gypsy King

"It's Just a Way to Hide Your Face."

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to


  1. Great review! :) I agree, this was a great episode and a really awesome finale! :) It's probably my favorite one in a while, which was nice. Yes, Clara has really been awesome this season and I look forward to seeing more of her! I agree, I think Michelle Gomez did a lot better in this episode(with toning it down) and she did a great job being the Master(I hope she comes back later); she was a lot better than I thought she would be(I was worried she'd be a River Song rip-off). The part at the end with Danny letting the kid live instead of him was really well done and everything with Danny made me sad(Samuel Anderson is quite a good actor- I hope to see him again in another show at some point). And yes, the scene at the end with the two lying to each other was a great scene! And I definitely understand the quote about hugging(since it can be true at times). And Santa! YAY! XD Overall, I've been really happy with this season and I look forward to seeing more of Twelve and Clara's adventures.

  2. Excellent review! While I don't think as a finale it tops Name of the Doctor, it certainly was a good episode: it made me jump, it made me scream at the tv, it made me gasp, it made me laugh, and it made me cry; so, in all, a good episode. It wasn't as....timey-wimey (whimey?) as Moffat's previous episodes, but I don't think that really hurt the episode at all. *Spoilers* While killing Osgood was effective-Moffat said in 'Doctor Who Extra' it was to show that Missy/The Master was just as cruel as the previous Masters-it was a shocker, even if my Dad called that they would kill her off. The scene in the graveyard (before Clara meets Cyber!Danny) was well done, and was the scenes that made me jump the most. Honestly, Cybermen are still just as scary as they were when I was seven. The end scene with the was so unexpected, so heartwarming/wrenching, that I did not make it through that scene. I was blubbering. But honestly, I think it was the Brig who 'killed' Missy, rather than the Doctor, given it looked so different, and the fact that the Cyber!Brig had it's gun aimed toward her/him/them. Can't be sure, though. It was an excellent episode, though. Excellent review, James, and I hope your arm is getting better!
    P.S. I guess the Doctor really wasn't kidding in A Christmas Carol that he knew Santa!

  3. Good review. I mostly enjoyed it and thought that Moffat has now learned what his audience want, which is Who more in line with RTD's version. Less timey-wimey, more epic. Some bits were daft - Missy's escape, the boy's miraculous return (wouldn't he be in bits? a rotting corpse?) but thematically very satisfying and linked to Remembrance Sunday the day after, the Promise of the Soldier. Moffat's best finale for me.

  4. I'm torn over this episode, because it wrapped some stuff up very nicely (Clara and Danny's relationship, The Doctor's thoughts on soldiers; it was nice finally hearing what Missy's plan was after all the teasing.) But at the same time there were a lot of things that pushed my buttons and made me step out of the episode. I almost couldn't tolerate Missy, I thought she got even worse in this one? They had her float down out of the sky with an umbrella like she was Mary-Freakin'-Poppins--she just felt ridiculous and unbelievable. Also am I the only person who thought Osgood's death could have been very avoidable and simply made the girl seem stupid? I also thought Missy's plan to give The Doctor the Cyberman army was rather stupid on her part too--what did she think he was going to do? This might be more of the show's problem of not quite selling me the fact that this new doctor wasn't "a good man." If I had bought that, maybe it wouldn't have felt so dumb. I don't know... to save rambling, as I said up there, I'm really torn over this episode. :-\ Very glad, though, that none of it has to do with Peter Capaldi and the new Doctor. He's been the supreme highlight of this season, to me personally. :)

    Looking forward to your overall review! I've loved looking forward to your weekly Doctor Who episode reviews! Sad that they'll be ending for a while. :( :)


  5. I have to admit I'm more in line with Jamie on this one. There were things I liked ( such as the president of the world thing, which should have been cheesy but somehow wasn't:) But the Mary Poppins bit was a bit much, and I really liked Osgood and was really upset that she died. Also, though Danny wasn't my fav DW character, I ended up being really upset over his death...maybe because I was so sure he was going to live because we saw his great-great son? I mean, I know "time can be re-written" but for some reason that really bothered me.

    One question I have- is this Clara's permanent exit from the show? Though I thought the lying between her and the doctor really poignant, I'm still not sure if she's gone for good. If so, I'm going to miss her :(

    I did liked the scene with the Brig at the end (And I, like Tegan, thought he was the one who killed Missy, although I wouldn't be surprised if she was still alive because no matter how many times you get rid of the master, he/she is always going to come back). I loved the fact that the Doctor saluted him.

    Anyway, I've really enjoyed reading these reviews! I'm curious as to what's going on in the Christmas special!

  6. I pretty much agree with everything you said, and actually liked this episode pretty well, which is surprising since the one before annoyed me so much. I really liked the Doctor's revelation that he isn't good or bad, and I liked the two lying to each other like that, and the bit about hugging (great gif to go with that!). I'm so glad this season ended on a positive, considerably less stupid, classic kind of way. :D

  7. Great Episode? What are people smoking? I watched that crap in sheer horror at How Low Doctor Who has sank! A female Master?! WTF!? Who but a complete moron would accept such a laughable concept. Plus she wasn't anything like the Master. She was pathetic. Weak. Poor Roger and Anthony are rolling over in their graves.
    Moffat should have simply brought the Rani back instead of taking a dump over a classic character and turning him into a joke!
    And Having the Doctor as President of Earth?! LMBO!!! I've never heard anything so stupid in my life. How much Crack does Moffat smoke before writing this garbage? And then the Ending that made me want to throw up! The Disgusting Way he Treated The Brigadier Character! That was a total disgrace. Those calling it sweet are brain-dead. Obviously they know nothing about the special friendship between the Doctor and The Brigadier. He first met the Second Doctor when he was a Col. He was promoted to Brigadier by the time the Third Doctor was Exiled to Earth. He also worked a little with the 4th Doctor and in one episode with the 5th Dr and then his last TRUE Doctor Who appearance was with the 7th Dr in Battlefields. I don't even acknowledge that laughable cybercreep as the Brig. Too sickening for words.
    And the contrived ending. Missy acting like a weak woman who has never heard of feminism.
    And BTW! The Master and the Doctor are Brothers! YES BROTHERS! This WAS established at the end of 'Planet of Fire' so that whole Boyfriend crap was pure incest. But nothing Moffat does surprises me anymore. He continues to sink lower and lower.


One rule: No strong profanity. If you want to link to one of your posts, please do; I am always interested in other reviews and such.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...