Television: Doctor Who (Series 8, Episodes 10 – 12)

Posted 10 November, 2014 by Lianne in Entertainment / 8 Comments

Peter Capaldi debuts as the Twelfth Doctor alongside Jenna Coleman as Clara in a series of twelve adventures beginning with a feature-length episode set in Victorian London. Also featuring four Doctor Who Exclusives where Steven Moffat, Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi give an insight to the world of making Doctor Who, as well as two guides to the world of Doctor Who hosted by Peter Davison. Each new episode will also feature a special look behind the scenes of that week’s adventure in space and time. Guest stars this season include Tom Riley, Hermione Norris, Foxes, Frank Skinner, Zawe Ashton, Michelle Gomez, Ben Miller and Keeley Hawes amongst others.

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Continuing along with series 8 of Doctor Who (my tag on all things Doctor Who for recaps of previous episodes that aired), here are my thoughts on episodes 10 – 12 πŸ™‚ Guh, how is it already the end of series 8? Seems like yesterday I was flailing because Peter Capaldi was starting his run on Doctor WhoContains spoilers ahead!

This post is also part of

Episode 8.10 – “In the Forest of the Night”

Before I begin, I have to quickly mention that yes, the review for this episode is very brief: it was a very busy week when this episode aired and I didn’t quite watch it from start to finish :3

Moving along, I admit, I was totally sceptical about this episode when I first saw the trailer, WTFs all around. I think the reviews have been mixed on this episode, but it turned out to be a lot better than I expected! Even though it didn’t make a whole lot of sense and the whole trees as an airbag to protect against a massive solar flare and then disappear seemed far-fetched, it wasn’t absolutely dreadful and I was still rather entertained by it. This may be the only episode this series that feels like a fairy tale, but it’s not wholly pegged down by it.

The Doctor here reminded me a lot like 1 with the children, maybe bits of 11, but it’s totally Peter Capaldi here. The first scene with Maebh actually was what changed my opinion of the episode, there’s a nice rapport there that was still funny. And the scene where he freaks out that Maebh’s gone missing and that they had to find her I think was my favourite part of the whole episode (his reaction to the other girl saying that Maebh was going to die was the best).

As an aside, yikes at the writers who have been writing Clara as a teacher this series. I’m glad she has a job this series, but on the other hand she’s been presented as a rather poor one if she’s more concerned about the adventure/mystery aspect of the episode than the safety of her students O_O

Gosh, I’m not sure what else to say given that at this point I didn’t wholly watch it for myself. It’s not as patchy as “Kill the Moon” was, hence why I’m not sinking this episode to the bottom of my list, but it could’ve been better in some ways. But again, I was still entertained by the episode, so props to them.

Episode 8.11 – “Dark Night”

Okay, I admit, I was rather sceptical going into this first ep of the two-part finale because Moffat was writing this episode and his episodes were honestly among my least favourite this series (not to mention other complaints over the last two series, but this is not the place nor the time for that rant). And…I rather liked it.

Guh, how hilarious and awesome was the Doctor in this episode? There’s such a range in this episode–I don’t even know where to begin–that if I wasn’t impressed already, I was certainly impressed here. I think at this point he and his Doctor has really hit his stride: you have a sense of what kind of Doctor he is, from his grumpy exterior to his kind interior. He had a lot of great lines this episode, although my personal favourites had to be


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A reference to The Thick Of It! Love it! =D (And then came all of the awesome gifsets πŸ˜€ Oh, this one is great too πŸ™‚ )

I also loved the “welcome package” sequence, lmao. I haven’t found the gif to post here, but I loved the Doctor’s response and how he was clutching to the wall at the end, asking “Clara, is it over now?” xP Edit: Aha! I found it:)


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And the way Missy screamed out “Doctor Chang!”–that was a total callback to The Green Wing, wasn’t it? *hasn’t seen the whole show to know but Michelle Gomez is brilliant anyway*

The whole reveal about Missy being the Master…it was heavily speculated all series, so I wasn’t wholly surpised. The way the Cybermen were drawn in however was…Not to mention I was impressed by how dark this episode was. All the talk about death and the dead (is it because Hallowe’en was the day before? O_o), elements that seemed so superficial in the last two series but now is a sure fact…I wonder how the children watching this episode took it, but otherwise it was pretty dark in tone.

It had its problems, mainly in the Clara and Danny sphere of things (separately and together). I’ve been saying this all series that while I think they’re rather cute and have potential to be a very compelling couple with all sorts of issues to work out, we just haven’t spent enough time with them for me to feel and really root for these two. I thought their first phone conversation was weird (but I think this is Moffat’s writing more than Clara: that was not quirky or cute, it was weird and annoying how she kept saying “Shut up”–but then my brother has a theory that that scene might be some timey whimey moment. We’ll see which is the case), and their last one could’ve been very compelling (fine acting between Jenna and Samuel Anderson in that sequence) except again, I didn’t really feel like I knew them enough together to really be all ;_; over them.

Separately, Danny is nice enough but sadly over the course of the series he’s felt more like a shoe-in for a statement/narrative and character purposes than a fleshed out character, which is a pity because I did enjoy his introduction. Revisiting his past in the nethersphere however was interesting. And then there’s Clara…I’m honestly a little disappointed that there wasn’t more to her turn against the Doctor (the way Missy was talking about her in a previous episode made it seem like there was so much more going on there). And I would’ve honestly bought the idea that Clara was so desperate to get Danny back to pull a stunt like that instead of, oh, asking nicely, except for the fact that it seemed like such a leap from recent episodes. Yes, they’ve had their disagreements, and maybe if “Kill the Moon” came before this episode I would’ve understood her approach more. I initially thought it to be grief, but still, wouldn’t this be an opportune time to tell the Doctor and reason with him instead of pulling something like that? Something was missing there. But again, it was finely acted so…

While the episode flowed fairly well from start to finish, minus the massive time jumps at the start, the writing could’ve still been tighter. The sequence in Doctor Chang’s work space talking about the 3 words and how it’s something you don’t want to hear and hyping up the suspense like that for how many minutes on end, I was like


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Seriously, the Twelfth Doctor and I are on point in some instances, he might very well be my Doctor. On another writing note, while this episode touched on a lot of interesting themes, I wish more hints had been dropped over the course of the series that didn’t involve Missy and an ominous conversation or watching an event unfold from afar. The Cybermen, the Nethersphere…it just all felt contained to this episode as opposed to having been built up all series.

Obviously the next episode will have a lot to answer for: how did the Master/Missy get out of the time lock? Why all the Cybermen? What exactly are the Cybermen operating on this time around? Will they get Danny back? Will Clara leave at the end of this finale (because right now I can’t imagine her staying on until the Christmas episode, if the rumours are true. And even if they do get Danny back, I don’t think Clara will ever want to leave his side ever again)?

Also, RUDE that there was no preview at the end of the episode πŸ˜›

Episode 8.12 – “Death in Heaven”

Oh, look, they posted a trailer a few days after 811 aired πŸ˜›

Anyway, gosh, where to begin with this episode? For one thing, it introduces a lot of dynamics–as well as revisits some–that I wish has been better alluded to in previous episodes this series. I would gladly watch a whole series of the Doctor and the Master/Missy just going back and forth, I always thought their dynamic was an interesting one (and yes, I did enjoy the last time the Master was on the screen, John Simm facing off against David Tennant (I only recently learned that a lot of people didn’t like John Simm as the Master *shrugs*)), that dynamic between a previous friendship (and perhaps an innate desire to renew that friendship) and this push-pull antagonism (along with the Master’s need to just troll the Doctor; the coordinates she gave for Gallifrey was one big trollfest on her part). Also, no, I don’t think she’s dead, I think she transported herself out. She’ll be back πŸ˜›

Dang, the Clara and Danny stuff, that was pretty sad. I applaud Moffat for not putting a happy ending spin to this as he would’ve had this episode been in series 6 or 7, but at the same time it’s just really sad. I suppose the waterworks would’ve really been flowing on my part had their relationship been more fleshed out/hadn’t been bounding over the course of how many episodes/spent so much time with the Doctor-vs-Danny dynamic, but their goodbye in the graveyard before she activated the inhibitor was very sad. I think it’s mainly because of this that I didn’t like the bracelet scene and the kid coming across the barrier (amongst other things), because their goodbye became sort of a long one, while that previous one I liked and mentioned felt final and resonant.

I know she’s still billed for the Christmas episode, but if this was truly her last episode as a Companion, it was really sad, the way her final scene was her walking off without the Doctor and Danny in her life (as the Den of Geek review said). I thought it was kind of cool to have Clara’s eyes at the end of the opeing, but other than that I didn’t quite feel as though the storyline she had been carrying this whole series–Clara Who, as some on the internet have called it–fully wrapped or was addressed entirely. The interviews kept alluding towards her relationship with the Doctor being toxic and having dire consequences in the finale didn’t seem the case (I feel like that element that whoever said it in the interviews rang better in “Kill the Moon” than the finale) and while she played the Doctor for a little bit to get out of a scary situation–fearlessly, I should add; another indicator of how her travels with the Doctor have changed her and thus alluding to her exit from the show–that was about it, the rest of the episode for her was about reacting to the tragedy close at home: losing Danny. Her last scenes with the Doctor were also quite sad, especially how they were lying to each other at the end to protect the other from what in fact really happened, and the hug in particular was bittersweet, a full circle to the first episode this series (also liked how Clara asked him why he didn’t like hugs–again, aww πŸ™ ).

The Doctor once again was wonderful in this episode, from quips about salutes making people look like they’re self-concussing to how the Brigadier should’ve just asked him to salute. The last thirty minutes were fantastic on his part, again while squaring off with Missy, but also when he first saw Cyberman!Danny. I loved that quiet moment where he says “P.E” and Danny says “Sir.” Which of course was ruined when Danny went off a moment later about what the Doctor truly was, an officer giving orders, not wanting to get his hands dirty…The whole thing just rang off as false, partly as it seemed like Round 2 of the argument they had back in episode 6, because they seemed a wee bit better in episode 10 (albeit not as much interaction, if I recall, so I dunno if that counts), and because there are bigger things at that moment than arguing sort-of in the end. It seemed like a waste of time, especially as Danny was about to die-die. But back to the Doctor, I loved his last scenes with Clara, and of course there was that scene when he realised the Master lied to him; it felt a wee bit reminiscent to a particular scene in The Hour (review; if you haven’t seen it yet, DO GO AND WATCH IT πŸ˜› ) but it’s nonetheless very powerful, especially as he’s alone with only the poor TARDIS to witness his distraught. Also, well played, having “Pain Everlasting” play during that sequence.

Other random things before I move along to the writing:

  • Osgood’s return only to be killed off really sucked, though why would they put her workplace in the same room as the Missy AND the TARDIS is beyond me. The soldiers guarding Missy were also completely useless, they didn’t even flinch when she got free!
  • I freaked out when Kate got sucked out of the plane, but I had a feeling she’d survive somehow. I didn’t however except Cyberman!Brigadier to appear. It was cute how the Doctor saluted him, though now I think it’s pretty weird to having him travelling off wherever…
  • Story-wise, I liked the concept of using the dead to make Cybermen–very very creepy (again, I hope the kids watching this weren’t too traumatised)–but again the explanations behind that and some of the other developments in this episode seemed rather patchy (as creeped out as I was, I did find myself wondering how that made sense, how long Missy’s been doing this, etc.). There are some good ideas and themes here, but again I wish it had tied in more tightly throughout the series instead of being tackled on towards the end; the manipulation of events from Missy’s part seemed too loose and all over the place, and I wish there had been more instances of the Doctor being faced with the prospect of working with soldiers rather than him just expressing every now and then how much he doesn’t like soldiers (i.e. maybe handling a small batallion to himself before Missy gives him an army in this episode). As a result, it felt a little jam-packed, this two-parter. Once again it just seems like Moffat’s picking and choosing when one element works over the other, and it just weakens the overall story. That and pointing out the subtext and things happening on screen when we are already seeing it *shrugs*

    But despite of my reservations about the writing, I did enjoy the finale; this is the first finale I’ve enjoyed in the last…three two years (Edit: last one I enjoyed was series 5′ finale)? Not sure if I’m counting that right. I think I forgot to mention a few other things in this review (the Doctor’s reaffirmation of who he is comes to mind), but this finale left me with a lot of thoughts moving forward. Can’t wait to see what will unfold in the Twelfth Doctor’s first Christmas episode! πŸ™‚

    Random thoughts on this:

    • I was half-expecting Twelve to pull a Ten with the “What? WHAT?!” when Santa Claus showed up in the TARDIS. The eyebrow works too though πŸ˜‰
    • “It’s Christmas in the North Pole. Who you going to call?” Ghostbusters? was the first thing I thought. Again, Santa Claus works too πŸ˜›

    +++

    What did you think of these episodes of Doctor Who or about series 8 as a whole? Readers of my blog and who have been following my DW posts probably got the sense that I’ve enjoyed it immensely; it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to talk about DW and not feel so negative about the storytelling and events and characterisations. Yes, there are still a few things that I have issues with, but I was able to enjoy the episodes this series without feeling bored or downright “Yikes, that’s rubbish!” the whole way. And yay for the 12th Doctor/Peter Capaldi! I’ve said it often enough, but his Doctor is fantastic, I can’t wait to see what adventures he will partake in series 9.

    In case you’re wondering…my favourite episodes this series? “Flatlines”, “Robots of Sherwood”, “Mummy on the Orient Express”, and “Into the Dalek.” In that order. I think (it was tough ranking the top three) πŸ˜›

    Also…I need the series 8 soundtrack in my life now (I love the 12th Doctor’s theme…whichever one it is) xD

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8 Responses to “Television: Doctor Who (Series 8, Episodes 10 – 12)”

  1. The finale was incredibly dark I agree. I liked it but Osgood dying was wow! I’m hoping that somehow she really didn’t die. There was so much more I felt that could have been fleshed out with Clara and Danny’s romance but it worked out I guess. That was so sad. It’s actually one of the saddest episodes in Doctor Who in my opinion. I reserve the top spot for Angels Take Manhattan… that’s the only one that made me tear up a bit.
    So did you not like series 5-7? Those are my favorites! Ahhhh! πŸ™

    • Yeah, it was pretty cold to have Osgood come back only to kill her off =S

      Aww! :3 Actually, I enjoyed series 5 (interesting stories (it was only the two-parter with the Silurians that I didn’t enjoy), Matt Smith’s first run as the Doctor (I found his most poignant scenes to come from this series), the overarching story that series was pretty cohesive and quite a mystery), but sadly didn’t enjoy series 6. I would’ve enjoyed series 7 more had it not been split between two sets of companions, rushing the latter’s story arc in the process (plus it turning out to be Matt Smith’s last series was sad because I enjoyed the verbal sparring between him and Jenna) *shrugs*

    • Sorry to hear the way the finale played out left you feeling enraged. Hopefully next series will bring more obscure antagonists/villains for the Doctor to face!

  2. I’ve really enjoyed reading your thoughts about every episode this series!

    I did like ‘In the forest of the night’ very much personally. Just the Doctor interacting with kids and the famous landmarks of London filled with a forest. I was quite surprised that with ‘Flatline’and the finale episodes we had quite a lot of current-day Earth episodes in a follow up. People in the Whoniverse must be starting to get used to all these alien incursions!

    I completely agree with you on ‘Dark Water’: I know Doctor Who has been rather dark for a ‘kids show’ the last few years, but if I had watched ‘Dark Water’ as a kid, I would’ve gotten nightmares for sure!

    Cyberman!Danny was really impressive and sad in ‘Death in heaven’, really scary with the screws in his face. But you’re right, it would have felt even more poignant if we’d known Danny better.

    • Aww, glad you enjoyed reading them! πŸ™‚

      I was quite surprised that with β€˜Flatline’and the finale episodes we had quite a lot of current-day Earth episodes in a follow up. People in the Whoniverse must be starting to get used to all these alien incursions!

      Haha, that’s true! Earth just can’t catch a break, I’m surprised UNIT wasn’t more upset by all of these recent events xD

  3. I seriously can NOT believe that Series 8 is already over O.O It’s like you said, it honestly feels like we were just gearing up for Capaldi’s take on the 12th Doctor! He’s easily one of my favorite Doctors already, I love him to bits. In the Forest of the Night was a bit odd and uneven but I still was able to enjoy it for the most part. I liked The Doctor’s interaction with young children, especially Maebh. It was a bit offputting the way the thing with the trees resolved itself with no one remembering any of it, and the Clara/Danny scenes didn’t really go anywhere but it was still a fun ep.

    Dark Water was one of my favorites of the season! I adore the Master and was thrilled to have the Twelfth Doctor facing off with…her πŸ˜‰ The Doctor was brilliant and funny, same goes for Missy and Clara and Danny were really sweet…Though, I agree with you: I wish their relationship had moved past the Doctor vs Danny bits quicker so the Clara/Danny relationship could have progressed more. I feel like we only scratched the surface with them and they could have been SO.MUCH.MORE. And to me, that holds true for The Doctor and Danny as well.

    As for Death in Heaven well I was mostly underwhelmed by it unfortunately. I mean, it was good in an average episode kind of way but for a finale, I was expecting more. I felt like you did, that the episode felt rushed and certain elements were very hit or miss. I the adore the rapport between 12 and Clara so I am very sad to see her go if she does go in the Christmas Special. Her moments with the Doctor at the end there were some of my favorites β™₯ BUT at the same time, I’m curious to see Capaldi built a new relationship with a new companion as well!

    As a whole this was an excellent Series. Capaldi is a BRILLIANT Doctor and I can’t wait for his first Christmas Special AND for Series 9. My favorite episodes of the Series were: Mummy on the Orient Express, Deep Breath, Dark Water and Flatline πŸ™‚ Awesome recap post yet again ^^

    • The Twelfth Doctor’s interaction with schoolchildren this series has been quite interesting, I have to say! πŸ™‚

      Though, I agree with you: I wish their relationship had moved past the Doctor vs Danny bits quicker so the Clara/Danny relationship could have progressed more. I feel like we only scratched the surface with them and they could have been SO.MUCH.MORE. And to me, that holds true for The Doctor and Danny as well.

      Agreed, I was anticipating the Doctor/Danny relationship to have progressed much further by the finale. I mean, them working towards a common goal at the end marked progress, but far too late.

      Thanks for sharing your favourite episodes! Great choices πŸ˜€ Thanks for sticking around my recap/thoughts posts this series, totally looking forward to series 9! (have yet to watch the Christmas episode–likely tomorrow xD)

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