Review: Doctor Who: Death In Heaven

DW cover

Courtesy of BBC America

{warning! warning! Not only is this post full of spoilers to the brim , it is also jam packed full of Doctor Who goodness. Viewer enjoyment is encouraged}

The finale arc has been completed and it has rendered blubbering tears around the world. For all the frustration and angst over Dark Water and for once in Moffat’s era, there was a completion of a story arc, an answer to questions, and a tribute. This episode is definitely very touching since it falls the weekend before Veterans’ Day at the US and during Remembrance weekend for the UK.

Doctor Who (series 8) ep 12

Courtesy of BBC America

Previously, viewers were treated to another cyberman uprising (yay). Just like before, humans are completely nonchalant about the reappearance of Cyberman. Humans are seriously stupid, right Moffat? First, we ignore appearance of trees and now we just don’t care about an army of robots. Although Missy mocking the scene by placing her hat to collect tips made it bearable. Once again, Missy is amazing.

osgood bowtie

Courtesy of BBC America

Doctor Who (series 8) ep 12

Courtesy of BBC America

Immediately, they are surrounded by UNIT. There is a fan service throw down challenge between UNIT and the cyberman before the cyberman blast off into the skies. The brief reunion with Kate and Osgood results in both Missy and the Doctor being drugged. Turns out that all, ALL,  of the nations leader agreed to put the Doctor as President when there was an alien invasion.

Yeah, no. Given the current state of affairs and what happened in Who-verse, I highly doubt this would be probable. This might  be a bit of an over-reach but there does seem to be a pattern. As with Clara, even the whole world is just willing to let the Doctor decide what to do. Even though he considers himself a protector and a friend to Earth, he is still of alien origins.Is this a commentary that Earth (read fans) citizens are so used to having the Doctor solve everything for us, that we just don’t even bother?

Cyberman are pretty much the zombies of space. Everytime they appear, it’s connected to something depressing or full of death. Remember “Doomsday”? Remember one of the most iconic tear-jerking moment in Doctor Who since 2005? Now with the death of Osgoodm cyberman will permantly be synomous with death. The upgrade function had made them formidable. Even though death seems to follow with the appearance of the cyberman, they still don’t elicit any horror since they are always easily defeated. Just as the Daleks mocked in”Doomsday“, the one thing that cyberman do better than Daleks is dying.


Courtesy of BBC America

Well, bigger things are happening here as cyberman start exploding in the sky. Prepare for some far fetched science logic that is still kinda of pretty. The matter that makes up the cyberman is organic-based and can be dispersed like pollen through the cloud they made by exploding. It only takes a small amount of this “pollen” to convert a human body to a cyberman. Since the cyberman need bodies, it makes sense that 3W would encourage people not to cremate themselves (3W stood for three words: Do Not Cremate). 3W was actually “uploading” human conscience into a device to be transmitted to the bodies when ready. Cloud,as in everything is uploaded to a cloud. Turned into a literal sense of the application but with a macabre twist.

Whisked upon an airforce plane, the Doctors word is law. All hell breaks loose when Missy escapes. She goes about killing people such as the blind guards behind her and OSGOOD. Prepare for hardcore nerd-resentment. Even with her brief time in the Who-verse, losing Osgood so suddenly was like losing Wash in Firefly. Two leaves on the wind.

Cyberman attack the plane and most of the passengers have been sucked out into the skies. Through moves that would even make James Bond hesitate, the Doctor skyfalls right into the TARDIS. Ridiculous but still so much fun to watch. Poor Seb, the AI interface, squeed a little bit too much before he was zapped.

Since Danny is dead and all of this happening, it was no surprise to see Danny as a cyberman. What was surprising was to see that makeup on him. That was beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

Everything, this episode, this season culminates in the graveyard. Everything  (for the most part) is answered. It has been Missy who has been keeping the Doctor and Clara together (a bit far fetched but I’ll go with it). Clara will never lie to the Doctor (foreshadowing). The Doctor realizes that he’s just an idiot with a blue box. Danny is standing on the sidelines as the most saddest, dejected Cyberman I have ever seen. This is the first time I really felt sorry for the character.

So what was Missy there for? This whole grand scheme, what was the reason? Total world domination? Nope. Annihilate everything the Doctor touches? Nope. Reveal that she’s not the master? Nope.

Missy resurrected the dead, converted them to cyberman through a complicated and long process,  in order to present the Doctor with an army. For all the good that he does for the universe, he would need an army to help sort out the chaos. So Missy was doing it for the Doctor. The Master and the Doctor have been childhood friends so this may have been an olive branch. Except that Missy has killed anyone who admires the Doctor or is close to him. All of her zapping is now seen as fits of jealousy.

Once again, Moffat turns his female characters into nothing but adoring fans of the Doctor. . I would have been loads happy if Missy just did it all because she wanted to see the fear in the Doctor’s eye, a reminder that Missy has that over the high and mighty Doctor. No, it’s all just a stupid infatuation spin.

missy love

Courtesy of BBC America

This annoyance is momentarily forgotten with the conclusion of the graveyard scene. Through a change of hands, Danny is given control of the cyberman. With a soldier’s spirit, he commands all of the cyberman to fly up into the sky and detonate themselves. The dead save the living.Despite all the doubts and questions about their relationship, as Danny turns to Clara to tell her that she will sleep safe tonight, it was there. The chemistry between them was there. All the anguish, love, despair, and acceptance of fate was all there.

The cyberman have burned away the clouds but that still leaves the mastermind. Missy’s fate is debated between either the Doctor or Clara zapping her. A bolt from somewhere else decides for them and zaps Missy away. A lone cyberman is seen and gestures towards a body. It is Kate and she is alive. The cyberman contains the conscious of an old friend of the Doctors, The Brigadier.The appearance of Brigadier as a cyberman saving his daughter opens up the floodgates. As the Doctor gives the spirit of his old friend a well deserved salute, your heart just clenches in emotion.

The tributes were well done. Well done,indeed.


Courtesy of BBC America

The episode ends with Danny giving his chance at coming back from the afterlife to the young child he killed when he was a solider. Clara is left with the task of finding the child’s parents. Which must be all levels of awkward. How would she be able to travel to the Middle East bringing a resurrected child. She would probably be killed for nercromancy or some sort.

Well, that question is moot for now because the Doctor decides to plug in the coordinates to Gallifrey that Missy confessed to earlier. We were all pretty sure that she was lying but just like the Doctor, we maintained a small bit of hope that it would be there. He opens the door to  only to find only space. This whole time, the Doctor has tried to remain cool but it is all too much even for him as he vents out his despair upon the console. There is no dialogue but it’s sad enough to clench the heart again.

In a bittersweet and long due farewell, Clara and the Doctor go their own ways.Each lying to their friend to spare them pain. It ends with a hug that holds so much meaning.

The season has definitely been a ground shaker. No matter how much Moffat makes everyone cringe, I applaud this showrunner for shaking the foundations. Some of the episodes were steller, some were duds, but all shared one small thread. It was all pain. Pain was the most connecting emotion and the final answer. To feel pain is a needed emotion that takes us one step away from being as cold as a cyberman or as ruthless as the Master. Pain from losing your love, pain from sacrifice, pain from watching others die around you, and pain from just being alone. Now that the Doctor has finally realized who he is, the upcoming Christmas special and season will be something to look forward.

Some random thoughts about the finale and further speculations:

 1.  CYBERMAN=SPACE ZOMBIES                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cyberman are pretty much the zombies of space. Every time they appear, it’s connected to something depressing or full of death. Remember “Doomsday”? Remember one of the most iconic tear-jerking moment in Doctor Who since 2005? Now with the death of Osgood, cyberman will permanently be synonymous with death. The upgrade function had made them formidable. Even though death seems to follow with the appearance of the cyberman, they still don’t elicit any horror since they are always easily defeated. Just as the Daleks mocked in”Doomsday“, the one thing that cyberman do better than Daleks is dying.cyberman as space zombies.

The idea that their metallic armor is a water-based pollination device is interesting. Is this a current upgrade on the cyberman or has it always been there? Why haven’t the cyberman done that before?I thought brains were need for cyberman conversion. The graveyard would be a mix of decomposed brains and fresh ones. Still it was cool,creepy scene seeing cyberman crawling out of the graves.

My first thought  when they rose out of the graves was ” How much would Buffy and Ash   be cussing right now if they saw this?”


The first time we met Clara was as a Dalek conscious. She was witty, fast taking, and completely oblivious. From the first second she spoke to the 11th Doctor she was absolutely smitten. They had their adventures. Then the Day of the Doctor happened and it changed everything. When Capaldi came about, Clara was beyond shock. Alot of fans have been unhappy that she is reacting to his age but I have another theory and it’s based of her tagline as the “Impossible Girl”. Clara fragmented herself in the time vortex to save all the previous incarnations of the Doctor ultimately to save, at the time, the final 11th incarnation. The 11th was someone she loved, admired, and put all of her faith in. Now the time cycles have changed and this Doctor has changed and has treated her very differently. In her shoes, I would be pretty darn pissed too. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of that resulted in her being unstable in form and mentality. During the current season, Clara starts believing  herself as the Doctor but specifically the 11th. Even in the finale, she acts pretty much like the 11th who she admired most of all. She and 12th have pretty much reconciled their differences but they are still able to lie to each other at the end.

3. Gallifrey

Why care about the Gallifrey now?  Since the screen time has been full of Clara and Danny with the Doctor jumping in now and then, I assume he’s been looking for it off screen. Which makes the final scene even more sad.

4. Moffat’s answer to Osgood.

“The Master-stroke-Missy would have to kill somebody we liked in the most cruel, heartless, and terrible way to absolutely say that this person is shockingly evil. Osgood was the one we flung in the fire to make the Master burn brighter”-Moffat

5. Clara is Preggers

Very common speculation which was fueled by the post-it note that read “3 Months” before Danny passes away. It would explain Orson Pink.  There are lots of websites fanning the flames on this one. Amy Pond was pregnant too so I would not be surprised at all. Now it’s starting to seem that you shouldn’t risk getting knocked up if you wanna hang with the Doctor.

6. “The lady with the scottish accent”

For now, I am entertained that this is the Who-version of “who shot first”. Was it Missy on the phone with UNIT or was it Amy Pond?

7. Love is corny

Cyberman have tried several times to farm humans.This is the second attempt at using the the dead. It really bugs me that love is what made Danny stop his inhibitor chip. No one else who rose from the grave felt love? The only argument I can think of is that Danny had freshly passed away and has been continually thinking of Clara. Those who did rise from the graves were still disorientated and staggering about. Yet why was his  the only inhibitor chip that was turned off? Love is not a convenient answer for this, it is just corny.

8.UNIT is USEless

UNIT is really good at being useless and brash at first. They’re also good at trying to to do what’s right but still. Two guards? Horrible! Is it some sort of rule that guards don’t look at what they’re guarding? her wrists were right there. Why would Osgood be tinkering with the toy in the same room?

9. That morgue should really fix that ceiling

Danny’s reanimation does not make sense. His body never touched water. the mortician stepped onto the water and looked up at the sprinkler. How did the water touch Danny’s body?! It can’t be just from that drip from the ceiling? That mortician would have noticed that a long time ago! The news of the cyberman was just being relayed. That flood, from that little drip, would have taken hours!

(Note from the Mistress of Death: Also, if Danny was to be cremated as stated in Dark Water embalming would be an unnecessary process, so the whole table sequence makes little to no sense with what we know of Danny’s family life.)


For once, we didn’t have a long speech or whatever. Missy arrived and just murdered people. Everyone was left scrabbling to even get their bearings. The Doctor was just confused and

Osgood. Everyone is still reeling from Osgood. As much as adore Missy, this…this really painted her as a true brutal villain


11. A look to the future of Doctor Who

These nods towards the past are great but they’re getting to be too abundant. When the sense of the story is sacrificed to make way for a grand reveal of the past, than viewers are cheated of a great story.  Only with the help of Time Meddlers of Los Angeles and the internet, have I been able to make sense of a lot of the references. Before that, it just makes for a confusing storyline. Episodes that use past references as essential plot devices are much more enjoyable to watch.

12. Peter Capaldi is a great Doctor

Peter-Capaldi-Eyes-The-DoctorThe trailer for : “DEATH IN HEAVEN”



The trailer for the Christmas special!:





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