So, I’m finally writing my review on the Doctor Who finale. I’m so sorry, again, for being such a pillock and updating pretty much every three years (or something equally absurd, but more accurate, like every two weeks). But here I am, writing it now, and I guess it’s better late than never.
Doctor Who finales are a subject of great consideration for me. When I was growing up with New Who, I pretty much loved every episode (apart from Love and Monsters… what even was that episode), but of course, now I’ve got a rather more critical perspective on Doctor Who, whilst maintaining my passion for it. And, looking back, most of the New Who finales have been kind of, eh. And involved too many shrunken, wrinkly Doctors in cages.
This finale, however, I think was just- well, really fantastic. Of course, there are things which I will discuss with a little criticism, but I honestly really enjoyed this finale. I know not everyone feels the same, but hopefully this review will tell you why I feel this way.
So, Danny is hit by a car. I cried. Clara is devastated. I cried.
Not much to say about that really.
I’m glad Doctor Who decided to delve into the after-life idea, because they’ve sort of touched on it briefly before, but not properly. I love that the Doctor and Clara’s relationship ended on them searching for Danny together, the Doctor proving just how much he cares for her. And poor Clara, she did a really good job of not breaking down into a pool of tears and staying focused.
I think the afterlife setting was very cool. Even if it wasn’t the real afterlife as such, I liked the office layout and the dark, metropolitan scenery. It was scary, to be honest, and I like it when Doctor Who is scary (or at least, actually succeeding in being scary when it’s meant to). True, the concept of an organised, frighteningly empty life after death like this one has been done before, but I think they really refreshed it and pulled it off, particularly with the analogy of the embryos imagining what life will be like outside of the womb. It was a clever way for the writers to make sure they weren’t completely ruling out the possibility of a real afterlife, which I think was essential in maintaining the mystery in this idea (and perhaps the opportunity to reuse it?).
Ok so Missy making out with the Doctor. Do we have to do this? Every series? The only thing that made me not want to face-palm was the fact that the Doctor very clearly did not enjoy it (“Is it over yet?” made me giggle a lot, not going to lie). It appears that the idea of sexual things doesn’t even cross the 12th Doctor’s mind, considering his obliviousness to the swimming pool comment. Have we finally got an asexual, or perhaps panromantic Doctor? I personally support the idea of this being the case, but it’s all down to everyone’s specific interpretation of the Doctor.
Right, so more real talk- meeting the young boy Danny killed was absolutely devastating, and I think an important way of adding to our understanding of Danny and his traumatic experiences. That being said… I wish he’d been treated better. He deserved better than to die… then to turn into a cyber man… and have Clara break his heart. Oh poor, poor Danny.
So yes, this finale was seriously sad. Like seriously, seriously sad. I mean, Clara and the Doctor part ways, not telling each other that they have nothing left any more. Gallifrey is still lost. Danny didn’t return to Clara. He’s still dead. It was a really upsetting way for them to say good-bye, and in some ways I wish it hadn’t been that way. But, actually, a bit of sad now and then is good. Doctor Who is a family show, but it’s also a very hard hitting one. I like that it has its hints of darkness and sadness, because it isn’t patronising.
Then again, was the melancholic undertone of this series too much? Or was it just the right amount? I think it verges on being a bit over the top, occasionally overshadowing the fun stuff- and I think the reason I feel that way is because the series has ended every episode, especially the finale, on one big question- ‘is the Doctor a good man?’ Once again, it’s ‘Earth’s darkest hour’, it’s ‘the Doctor’s darkest hour’, and more hearts are broken.
Like I said, I do like Doctor Who being grown up in this respect; I think Danny’s death was important for this reason- we can’t save everyone. We loose friends, we loose loved ones, we loose homes. Capaldi’s performance in showing the Doctor’s anger and devastation, when he discovered that Missy had lied, made me shiver. It was excellently done. So basically, sad things happening is important, because its real.
BUT, remember writers, everything in moderation.
There was some really funny stuff in this finale which I think was an essential contrast to the rather devastating ending. Missy regenerating into a Scottish person, just like the Doctor? The occasional Glasgow joke? A raving Scotsman running through London, Missy commenting “I had no idea there was a match on”? I may have only been to Glasgow a few times, but I have Glaswegian friends, and I live in Scotland. So this was actually pretty hilarious and very much appreciated. As for the Doctor’s psychic paper having so many swear words on it, conveying his “internalized anger”- what a wonderful way to reference The Thick of It whilst maintaining the show’s PG rating.
And I always love a Captain Scarlett reference.
In other news, I’m so glad they included the brigadier in this episode. I cried (again).
But then he became a cyber man, and I was confused and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. My general feelings on the matter were “what the f**k”.
And I love his daughter. I’m so glad she wasn’t actually killed off, for so many reasons (one being that it shows that the writers don’t think female characters are as disposable as I was afraid they did). But then, of course, they did kill of Oswald. Like, really? You guys just killed off the metaphor for your fanbase. Really though, I’m not entirely sure if they should have done that, I think she would have been (actually, she had become) a much-loved regular.
I’ll finish this review on what I think is the most important point; Missy was portrayed so well. I was worried for a really long time, thinking ‘oh God what silly plot device are you’, but actually it turned out absolutely fine. Michelle Gomez did an outstanding job at rejuvenating the Master’s character- I was concerned that if he returned it would be a case of ‘oh no not him again’, but again, it all turned out just fine. Of course, the fact that the Master regenerated into a woman, for me, is revolutionary. I’m delighted. I’m even more delighted that they didn’t make a huge song and dance about it. In the end, she was nothing different- she was the Doctor’s age-old friend, enemy, and she just so happened to be a woman too.
And according the Clara and the Doctor’s little king/queen comment in the café, there’s an equal possibility of the same thing happening for the Doctor. To be honest, I’m already very happy with the way things have developed in this respect, regardless of whether the Doctor stays a man or not. We’ll see, eh?
So those are my thoughts. I’m delighted with the way the series turned out, even if it has had its bumps. Doctor Who is on the right tracks, once again, and I’m immeasurably happy.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my reviews of the show, I’ve loved writing them! For now, farewell, and check out my other articles if you’re interested!