Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode60And with that, it’s over–for another six weeks, anyway. Series 8 has come to a close, and its final episode has rather a lot to chew over. Join Deb, Erika, and Katrina as we delve into some of those elements: Missy/The Master, Clara as the Doctor, the evolution of lying, the self-realization of the Doctor… There are so many elements, however, that some of them will be left for next week, when we have many Verities to talk about the whole shebang–it’s our Series 8 wrap-up!

What did you think of the series finale? Was it a perfect culmination of a fantastic series? A fitting culmination for a lousy series? Or something in between? Let us know in the comments!


Also covered:

Bonus links:
Reality Bomb
The Memory Cheats

Download or listen now (runtime 1:21:17) 

Comments on: "Verity! Episode 60 – Death in Heaven Is a Place on Earth" (52)

  1. Another great, if a little quiet, podcast. So much agreeing. This was an episode I’ve had to watch more than once to appreciate, but it’s growing on me. I agree that the Danny death fell a little short on my emotional scale, and the hug at the end hit it right right on. I have loved the Clara arc this season, with the conclusion, when she takes the sonic to de-emote Danny, that she too is an officer, or maybe that she has become an officer over the course of the series. On the music front, loved the retooling of the cyberman theme, a new Twelve arrangement and the return of Clara’s theme in the cafe at the end. I’m really looking forward to next week.

  2. […] Verity! Episode 60 – Death in Heaven Is a Place on Earth WHOOGLE shared this story from And with that, it’s over–for another six weeks, anyway. Series 8 has come to a close, and its final episode has rather a lot to chew over. Join Deb, Erika, and Katrina as we delve into some of those elements: Missy/The Master, Clara… […]

  3. In answer to your questions about how the Brig and Danny withstood cyberman effects, this is my theory:
    Danny had the choice at the end of Dark Water to delete him emotions. He was cold, alone, and afraid and he had that choice. The boy he shot convinced him otherwise (they are later seen standing next to each other), and that’s why Danny feels when he is a cyberman. He never deleted his emotions–they leave that up as a choice for each individual. I think what the episode was implying was that everyone else chose to delete their emotions because they thought they would be better off without them in the Nethersphere. Of course, the Brig would never do that, which was why he was able to feel.
    It’s quite beautiful and horrific–everyone was given a choice and only two kept their emotions.

  4. Jim O'Brien said:

    Fantastic episode––I’m pleased that just about everyone across the board was happy with the finale. I wanted to pose a question perhaps more suited for next week’s episode: Was Series 8, in fact, the best, most cohesive, most consistently well-writen season of Doctor Who EVER?

    If I push my nostalgia for the original series aside I have to answer “yes”. Sure, there were flaws, but nothing embarrassingly glaring. Much of the season was colored with a consistent horror movie moodiness unseen since the Hinchcliffe era. I propose that there has never been a finer actor to play the Doctor than Capaldi. He encapsulates the endearing grouchiness of Hartnell and C. Baker, the quirkiness and otherworldliness of T. Baker, the dark mystery of second season McCoy, and the dashing pomp of Pertwee.

    I propose that there has never been a finer Master since Delgado than Missy (Jacobi was fantastic as the tortured, amnesiac Master, if only “Utopia” hadn’t spawned “Last of the Time Lords”). Over the course of this series, Clara has grown (character growth––something Who all-to-often doesn’t provide us with) and is flirting with Sarah Jane-caliber excellence in my eyes. Series 8 rescued the show from the catchphrases and bow tie cuteness that marred the last couple seasons for me.

    Very excited to hear all of your takes on Series 8!

  5. Lovely episode (although I’m still in the middle of listening to it). The biggest shock of this episode was the cold open. I watched the episode on an airplane (which made for interesting thoughts when the Doctor’s plane blew up). When Clara said she was the Doctor and the credits started, I audibly said, “No. F*&#&ng. Way.” Thankfully, no one heard me.

    Does anyone think this could have worked? I’m talking more on a production / fandom level, not plot-wise. Clara really sold that for me and for a second I actually wondered. I love being shocked and being played when it’s done well. I think having a surprise Doctor in disguise for perhaps a whole season could be thrilling if it was set up right.

    But I feel like this would give short shrift to whoever was “pretending” to be the Doctor, in this case Peter. Because nowadays it is such a big honor, responsibility, and publicity thing to be Doctor Who. I think it would be unfair to the “fake Doctor” to be set up for a year or more as the Doctor only to have it then announced that they were kidding.

    As much as I love the set up and excitement of announcing a Doctor’s departure and arrival, part of me wishes we could have a surprise regeneration and not know that someone is coming until he/she shows up.

    • Paul A. said:

      Even for the few moments that I thought they might actually going with Clara being the Doctor, I never seriously considered the possibility that Capaldi wasn’t the Doctor; they’ve put too much into establishing him as the Doctor to be able to brush it off now. If Clara was the Doctor, then they were *both* the Doctor. What I thought they might be going was Clara being some other, perhaps a future, incarnation of the Doctor who’d come to help this one out.

    • Paul A. said:

      Davies tried to keep the Eccleston-Tennant regeneration a surprise, and that fell in a big messy heap. I don’t think anyone’s going to dare try that again any time soon, though it would be an exciting surprise if they managed it.

  6. John Lowmaster said:

    What was series 8 about? Who is the Doctor? 10 was the Doctor who didn’t give second chances. 11 was the Mad Man With A Box. Those were both answered in one episode. But with 12 it has taken the entire series. Sherwood – He’s not a hero. Into The Dalek – He’s not a good man, but trying. The Caretaker – He’s not a general or a soldier. Death In Heaven – He’s an idiot with a box and a screwdriver!

  7. Richard S. said:

    Latest BBC red button headline: despite a thruster jam and harpoons failing to deploy, the Moffat has finally stuck the landing. No, wait, wrong landing. Actual BBC red button DW headline: Moffat plays down Who ratings slump. That’s what it said. Ratings slump. Because for some people, still living in the 1970s, it’s all about the overnight figures.

    Really, I’d say Death In Heaven was the best Moffat part-2-of-2 since Flesh And Stone, and easily the best season finale since The Parting of the Ways. For me, it depends on how the showrunner tackles the requirement for a Big Shiny Reset Button to clear the Earth of all visible traces of the current global invasion, in time for more of the same next year. Those three episodes managed the feat with style and smarts and hardly any cheating at all.

    Given a few more viewings and a glass (or slice) or two of cake martini, I’d be prepared to say I found this episode to be the most satisfying finale since Revelation of the Daleks, way back in the glory days of the Yay! Nicola Bryant! era.

    I’ll have to rewatch several times to catch all the visual references to classic genre TV & movies. Shatner’s (or, for my generation) Lithgow’s Twilight Zone Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, the grave from Carrie, maybe the tombstone from the Evil Dead poster, and the emergence of the brides in Lugosi’s Dracula (and the cyber-shell does look like the incongruous armadillo from that last film).

    I was looking forward to popular British TV actor Sanjeev Bhaskar, but in the end his character, Colonel Ahmed, was just more military fodder for the Doctor’s prejudices. Pretty cool death to put on the showreel, all the same.

    Missy finally came into her own, especially in the final scene with Osgood, an instant classic for future generations (until the slightly silly music burst the tension). I’m pretty sure the Mistress is based on an original concept by T. Dicks & B. Letts, who envisioned her as a 1970s update of the Emma Peel, Hellfire Club, leather-clad type, hence the BBC ran a mile from that idea, hence Delgado as the male Mistress. Pretty sure that’s how it went.

    I found Danny’s speech to be moving and appropriate for this past weekend’s armistice commemorations. Glad the Danny arc has reached a point of closure, but sad that he didn’t get the chance to be as endearing, or enduring, as Harry, Rory or Jamie.

    Plenty of characters have sacrificed themselves (e.g. “the guerrilla Shura” of 1970s DW episode guide fame) when the script requires the Doctor to be against genocide this week… Sometimes it feels like a cheaty fudge, but then I recall the major character development that happened to Xena’s formerly innocent bardic friend Gabrielle, which sucked all the fun out of that show for more than a few months.

    Thank you for Erika’s headcanon about the Cyberbrig. It was the one moment of real discomfort for me in the episode. The very first scene that got me into watching the show was the five minutes at the end of the 1974 Xmas Pertwee regeneration repeat, and the Brig has always been one of my very favourites, especially after the incident in the 1980s when, preparing to help out at an inaugural Who convention, I went into the college bar (for Convention Purposes!) and was confronted with the sight of The Nick Courtney sitting right there, chatting amiably whilst drinking a pint.

    My eyes gave an involuntary squee. Nick smiled in acknowledgement. Equal best fan moment ever, next to my being part of an extended farewell handshake (firm and enthusiastic) from The Goons’ Michael Bentine.

    Must mention the actor known (according to the Official DW Calendar 2014) as Jenna-Louise Colman. Yes, Colman (sic and grrr). This season, she’s proved to me that she’s the best actor in a DW companion role for years… and yet I still haven’t warmed to Clara in the way I did with Rose and Amy. There’s still time, if Strax’s comment about Clara’s fluid retention has yet to play out. And GUS. (Grand Union Sontar? Great Uncle Skarosa?) Best of all, the look on the Doctor’s face when he discovers that Missy was actually telling the absolute truth about the location of Gallifrey. But in a Moffaty kind of style.

  8. lbphilly said:

    After all the shouty people on the internets trumpeting their noisy dissatisfaction with this or that aspect of this episode, Series 8, the characters, the showrunner, and so on, it has been like coming to an oasis to listen to this wonderfully reflective episode of Verity. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    A couple of the Verities remarked on the fact that their heads were saying ::eyeroll:: while their emotions were fully engaged at a number of plot points. I think that’s absolutely right, and I could practically hear Steve Moffat saying here, sit back, relax, and allow your emotions to be manipulated.

    I was very happy that lying was on the menu for this podcast. I’m still working out how I feel about Clara’s truthfulness issues, but I have a great deal of sympathy with her desire to keep both of her relationships on a reasonably even keel until she can figure out who the new Doctor is and where she wants to be. If my best friend suddenly changed his face and started calling me the not-me one, the shouty one — and a pudding brain into the bargain — I think I’d be trying to buy time to figure things out. So I’m less bothered by her dishonesty than some of the Verities.

    Also, Clara hasn’t been the only one lying in this series. The Doctor lies — not that this is anything new. I don’t think that Danny has been wholly truthful, either, or at least hasn’t been telling the whole truth so far as we’re aware. Was he an orphan? If so, what’s that “family stuff” he had to attend to one of the times he couldn’t reschedule for Clara? Did he ever tell Clara why he left the service? Did she know about the boy he killed? Not that we know of: we’ve heard him talk about being pushed beyond his limit but it’s always been in generalities. Clara may have known, or guessed, and she may have understood how that drove his fierce protectiveness of the Coal Hill kids — and his loathing for officers. Or not. Certainly, given his insistence that Clara not lie to him I’d liked to have seen some indication that he was being forthcoming with her.

    Brava for the Gift of the Magi reference, something that occurred to me as well. Lying to allow a friend to pursue something that the friend knows is lost, and having the friend lie back to preserve the fiction….wow…. those two really care about one another. That was very hard to watch…we already knew of Clara’s desolation behind the smiles and the Doctor’s reaction to the empty void outside the Tardis was almost physically painful to witness.

    A couple of other random thoughts: Santa says “you’re not happy and neither is she.” What if “she” isn’t Clara but Missy/the Master? I sure hope Moffat gives us some Clara resolution in the Christmas special and he’s proven that he can give us the obvious rather than some ultra special plot twist. Still… And another potential plot twist down the road involves the Doctor, the Master, and little Time Lord babies. I saw that suggested somewhere on the internets and despite washing my eyeballs with bleach I’m afraid things seen cannot be unseen.

    Finally: we all have realized that to squee is now canon, right?

  9. Once again, I watch a pretty darned good episode of Doctor Who, and then listen to my three or four favorite Doctor Who podcasts. And once again, I find that almost everything I might have said has been discussed at some level on Verity!

    I’m looking forward to next week’s episode. Partly because I want to hear what Liz, Lynne, and Tansy have to say, but also because I want to hear more discussion of the season, and specifically the whole Danny thing. I still have my reservations about Deb’s observations, but if I decide to say anything more about it, I will at least wait for the discussion to play out and hear what she had to say after her episode ending statements this episode. I will say only this: Deb, if I really was getting the same vibe from Danny’s character as you seem to be—that of a traditional, old-school, romance novel man “saving” the damsel (however strong she is)—I’d take up a banner for it, as well. As it stands, I need convincing on that score.

    What I don’t need convincing on? Capaldi is brilliant. Gomez is fricken’ brilliant. Coleman is stellar. Anderson is terrific. Regrave is sensational. Osgood left us too soon, and while I appreciate the Doylean rationale, I think there could have been other means to accomplish the same goal.

    As to the Brig… hmmm… I’m still deciding on that one. Seeing the Doctor salute him is what made me realize who it was, and I choked up big time. I’m not sure we needed it in the story because it raises more questions than it can answer, but still: mission accomplished.

    I’m ready for Christmas, and ready for next year! I look forward to seeing the Doctor move forward, and more episodes like some of the best from this year: Mummy on the Orient Express, Flatline, Time Heist, Deep Breath, and Listen. Although, this year was good all around. In my mind, there were no clinkers. My least favorite was Robot of Sherwood, and even that I thought was a fun romp with a few poor choices in storytelling.

    Anyway, thanks Verity! You ladies are awesome.

    • Rereading what I submitted, I may not be clear and should have written “…take up a banner against it.” at the end of paragraph two.

    • lbphilly said:

      Choking up at the salute was the perfect response, and I read it as a resolution to the Doctor’s knee-jerk rejection of the soldier — another step on his journey of self-examination.

  10. I loved this series finale, particularly the scene where the Doctor says he’s going back to be the idiot with the screwdriver and the blue box. I just hope that Series 9 follows through on that idea. Also, I was not that upset to see Danny go, was not that invested in the whole Danny/Clara storyline, either.

    Sad about Osgood, Zygon or otherwise. But I will say that those of us who entertain a slight hope that she was the Zygon version only really hope that so that she comes back later. (Devastating point though from Kat’s coworker about Osgood’s state of fitness for the job of running companion.)

    I literally sobbed (not quite ugly, but almost) during the salute to the Brig. In fact, I sat there and saluted the Brig myself. No one to see me do it, so I felt unashamed. Particularly showing that three days before Armistice Day, it was like Doctor Who’s gentle nod to all those who have died to protect us.

    I’m with Erika, I call Missy “Missy” because that’s what she calls herself, and she is allowed to pick whatever name she likes for herself. I mean nobody worried about Simms’ Master calling himself Harold Saxon, of all things. So I’m kind of done with that whole controversy.

    Michelle Gomez is indeed a very fine actress, it’s hard to be that cold and that charming at the same time. The most chilling thing I found was that tendency she had to say “Say something nice!” when she was about to be truly horrible. Scary, scary woman!

    The only thing that is really niggling at me is: What about Orson Pink? Where does he come from? An alternate universe? A different timeline? Does he now not exist, because of what happened in this episode? Inquiring minds want to know!!

    I am utterly enchanted by the idea of Nick Frost playing Santa and fixing Clara and the Doctor. I want that, especially after the devastating scenes that happened before that. Capaldi broke my heart in that scene where he pounds on the Tardis console! Thanks to the Verity ladies for bringing up the parallel with Gift of the Magi, that was really interesting and helped me make sense of that scene where they were lying to each other.

    Anyway, can’t wait to hear your wrap up, and again, I’m so glad I found you guys!!

    • Orson Pink…I’m in the camp that is thinking that Clara is pregnant

      • Me, too. She must be, right?

      • lbphilly said:

        It’s the obvious explanation. Moffat being Moffat, I’m not sure whether we can expect the obvious two times in such quick succession. Although I have trouble thinking of an alternative.

      • Honestly, I’ll be very disappointed if Clara is pregnant. It’s a terrible storyline, AND it’s already been done (badly) in the Moffat era. I know, it’s all implied that Clara and Danny have descendants, but there’s no real need to stick to that idea, at least not literally. The boy Danny sent down from the Nethersphere is his spiritual child, and I’m betting he’s the one that ends up with the unarmed toy soldier.

      • Yeah… obvious solution for Moffat.

      • I I am crossing my fingers for no pregnancy but have to acknowledge that there have been some pretty big things pointing that way. I also would like to have another season of Clara, and maybe a 3rd person in the TARDIS. Not another romance, but maybe another woman, or a student even. Heck, I’d even take Courtney.

  11. James C said:

    I really enjoyed this episode, and the series overall. This is probably more the territory of next week’s discussions, but I thought that this was the most complete and well realised series since Matt Smith’s first. Very satisfying payoff for the questions and issues that have been built up over the last 12 weeks.

    I happily let myself be carried by the emotion of the thing, and responded as the makers intended to Danny’s finest hour and the reveal of the Brigadier. This week’s podcast didn’t talk much about the design and direction of the episode, but I found the bleakness of the colours in the graveyard, and the revelation of Danny’s tortured face inside the helmet to be very effective indeed. So too with his final moments with Clara, and the Doctor’s with the Brigadier. Perhaps it’s a male thing, but the stiffness with which men often express their emotions was only intensified by them coming from men in cyberarmour. I was all ‘I feel your pain, brother’.

    I also went along with Danny’s speech. My headcanon is that there were flaws in the conversion process that meant that vestigial humanity was far more common than we thought – hence so many of the newly hatched Cybermen were so clearly struggling with their new lives. By comparison the Cybermen that were built inside 3W were the real deal, unlike those that were spawned by cyber-rain. It actually helps to think that something as dodgy as cyber-rain produces dodgy Cybermen! If this is true then the special quality of Danny and the Brigadier lies in how they coped with the change while others were still staggering about, not that they had an innate ability to overcome a deep reprogramming. Danny’s speech becomes something more than a Cyberleader commanding his troops: it’s a man reaching for the humanity remaining within this defective cyberarmy. Their subsequent sacrifice becomes a more truly human one.

    Final thought: I have enjoyed this series more in part because I have cared less! I haven’t followed twitter discussions or debates on Gallifrey Base or elsewhere, getting my contact instead through a few podcasts. So much better to have the reasoned debate we have had here, rather than endless repetitive grizzling. Thanks, Verities!

  12. I loved Seb squeeing and the Master killing him without even looking. I was disappointed that Osgood died. I would rather have had Kate die, and Osgood take over Unit. I totally thought the doctor was going to rescue Kate with the Tardis. So I was surprised by the Brig.

    I’ve been surprised by so much talk about the credits. I thought it was cute and never thought for a moment that Moffet was trying to convince us that Clara was the doctor.

    What I did not like was how Clara and the Doctor parted ways. I hate lack of communication as a plot device. It drives me crazy so I hope Santa sorts it out!

    What about Orson Pink? Is Clara pregnant? Was time rewritten? I haven’t been too keen on Danny this whole season, but I was hoping to see more Orson!

  13. terminuspodcast said:

    Yay, listening now! (I’ve been eagerly awaiting for this episode since the finale aired!)

    Oh, and had to pause to say that the reason I’ve *personally* been referring to the Master as Missy in this incarnation is that is how *she* refers to herself. For me it’s like pronoun usage (and you can tell I know a lot of trans* and genderqueer folks — myself included), I do my best to go by whatever someone refers to *themselves* as in the present, no matter what they were in the past.

    So, yeah, that’s all very Watsonian, but if the Master wants to call herself Missy, that’s her choice and I respect it, so I follow suit (and, yes, sometimes the Master goes by fake names, but usually that passes once they are “found out” and Missy kept calling herself such even after the Doctor knew who she was, so…).

    Further, I don’t think that doing that necessarily means I “need” to change the name for the Doctor if he ever regenerated into a female too, because, as with the Master or anyone else, I would only do so if the Doctor started referring to zirself as a something else not solely because of the sex/gender switch.

    • terminuspodcast said:

      …And Erica said basically the same thing! LOL! (I should wait to I listen through before commenting). 🙂

    • If you have the time, I’d love to hear a podcast from you reviewing Series 8!

  14. I generally enjoyed the episode, better with each watching. For some reason, not quite sure why, I haven’t been keen on Danny. One thing that annoyed me in this episode was his speech to the Doctor regarding turning off his feelings. It came across to me like Danny was saying “You don’t mind it being done when it suits you” after he tells the Doctor he can’t see the plan with them on. For goodness sake, the Doctor is trying to save the world, not just exercising his whim! Did anyone else see it this way? Or am I biased against Danny?

    Also I’m wondering if some new villains over an extended period are in order. I’ve been watching Doctor Who for a l…o…n…g time so maybe that’s why I thought “here we go again” with the Master reveal. I’m with Katrina on that, would have preferred it to be someone new.

    • Korina said:

      Danny WAS saying that explicitly; he called Clara’s attention to it with his ‘look where his fine speeches go in the face of a tactical advantage’ bit.

      And yeah, I never quite warmed to him either.

  15. Squibby said:

    I loved this episode.

    Reflecting on the 100th anniversary of World War 1 through the allegories of war poetry – the fallen, the clouds of war, the heavenly sphere of the dead, the blaze of glory of sacrifice, the faceless dead now just names on a memorial, etc. The soldier taking ownership of the memories of the dead from the powerhungry person who would misuse it.

    Surprisingly deep for Doctor Who

  16. Squibby said:

    P.S This is what Danny’s speech is about…

    For the fallen by Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)

    With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children 
    England mourns for her dead across the sea, 
    Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit, 
    Fallen in the cause of the free. 

    Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal 
    Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres, 
    There is music in the midst of desolation 
    And glory that shines upon our tears. 

    They went with songs to the battle, they were young, 
    Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow, 
    They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, 
    They fell with their faces to the foe. 

    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn 
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
    We will remember them. 

    They mingle not with their laughing comrades again, 
    They sit no more at familiar tables of home, 
    They have no lot in our labour of the daytime, 
    They sleep beyond England’s foam. 

    But where our desires and hopes profound, 
    Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, 
    To the innermost heart of their own land they are known 
    As the stars are known to the night. 

    As the stars shall be bright when we are dust, 
    Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain, 
    As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, 
    To the end, to the end, they remain.

  17. I thought it was a solid, satisfying season finale. Not quite as strong as last weeks’ episode, but still probably the best season finale in the Moffat era since ‘The Big Bang’.

    I liked Missy and I hope we haven’t seen the last of her. I could live with the CyberBrig, but don’t really want to think about the implications. I assume he exploded himself offscreen after he flew off.

    I agree that the emotional impact was not quite as strong as it was meant to be, and I’m not quite sure why. For me, the strongest scene was the Doctor’s breakdown at the end, but Danny’s death didn’t really hit me very hard. Maybe it’ll all come home to me when I see the series again on Blu-ray.

    I look forward to hearing what you have to say about series 8 as a whole, because there’s a lot to chew over!

  18. Henrik said:

    Huh. I may have been disappointed slightly. Or more precisely I wasn’t as pleasantly surprised as I would have liked to have been.

    Was this, in my opinion, the first time that Moffat messed up the second part in one of his two-parters?
    Well, by which standard should I judge it? It wasn’t ‘Fear Her’ or ‘Kill The Moon’ or ‘In The Forest Of The Night’ or any other of the horrible missteps of recent years that I’d rather not ever watch ever ever ever again. This was no ‘The End Of Time’. But I wouldn’t consider it a patch on ‘The Big Bang’ either.

    It looked amazing. I love the Mistress (and I’m going with the Mistress because it’s what she said she preferred and I’m going to respect her, albeit fictional, life choices). She’s a slightly edgier, somehow, master than Simm. Maybe she didn’t shout as much? Maybe I just prefer Moffat’s banter to Russel T. Davies’s? She seems more calculating than the previous iteration of the character. I didn’t much care for the almost clownish Simm Master.
    I really like Danny and Clara. I Could take or leave the cyber-brigadier. Poor Osgood.
    I rather love that all the threads of the season came together: the Doctor’s childhood, Gallifrey, lying, soldiers and officers and the woman in the shop. Mainly though it tied up the central question of the series of who the Doctor thinks he is.

    But it was a worldwide invasion of contemporary earth. Again. That was less great. But I’ll go along with it.
    The matrix Danny still being around and sending the kid back at the end did quite work for me. It was sort of set up all the way back at the start with Danny’s guilt over killing someone innocent. But it felt tacked on. It’s the, perhaps overstated, ‘Return Of The King’ “too many endings” syndrome. And the effect of the Matrix exit tunnel was a notch below the rest of the episode, which might just be because it was very flashy and stayed on screen for too long.

    Both the Doctor and Clara saying goodbye and lying too each other was so sad but so appropriate. That was good. Did I mention I like the Mistress? She’s totally not dead, right? Hopefully she’ll be back next series for a one episode or two episode self contained appearance.
    I’m still not entirely clear on if the matrix copies actually were connected to their bodies but I’m just going to ahead and say that was a lie to get them to sign away their emotions. That’s my head canon anyway.

    Right. Then Santa showed up. That was [expletive deleted]. Yes, the ending was sad but it’s better to end on an earned sad moment than a wacky nonsense insert that seems to break the forth wall and introduce Santa Claus as if he were an actual real life thing. But then I can’t stand the nonsense of ‘KTM’ and ‘ITFOTNOMGWTF’.
    And the final confrontation between Danny and the Doctor struck me as odd. When Danny is all “ooo, now you’re all evil general!” And the Doctor is all “I need. To KNOW!” Was The Doctor’s reaction a little off? Did Danny’s needling of the Doctor at that moment seem out of place? Something didn’t sit right. It seemed like they both, at that moment, had rather more pressing issues to deal with than their interpersonal disagreement on the nature of the Doctor’s personality. The world was ending. Is Danny quite so petty? Maybe he is that petty. He also seemed awfully emotional for someone who had just had his emotions erased as part of an important plot point which had fuelled the aforementioned odd seeming argument between him and the Doctor.

    Hmm. I mostly liked it. It’s still no ‘The Big Bang’. It seemed at times a little too much like an old Russel T. Davies finale but it never crossed over from a good RTD finale into a bad RTD finale if that makes sense to anyone other than me.

    I want to mention that I at least saw Osgood’s death coming once she and the Doctor was all chummy in the cargo hold in front of the Mistress. Clearly that was leading up to nothing but her demise. Though admittedly that’s not long before she kicks the bucket so I’m not claiming any sort of advanced power of detection here.
    I didn’t think they’d go there with the Brig though. Even with the portrait. Even with Kate asking how far back the dead were going to be brought back from. Even when we didn’t see what happened to Kate, I thought the Doctor would pick her up with the TARDIS like he often has with River. I missed every bit of foreshadowing on that one.

    I’ve only seen the episode once. It might still rise in my estimation. It may still plummet and fester. Right now I’d probably rate it about on par with how I rated ‘The Wedding Of River Song’ when that had just aired, and that one really improved when I watched series 6 again as one whole piece of television rather then as a string of episodes.

  19. What do you mean Santas not real?

  20. Francesca said:

    Hello! This is Francesca, the girl you mentioned from the ‘in defense of’ panel at LI WHO. Thank you so much for the compliments, i’m positively blushing! I had a great time at the con and a great time doing the panel and would LOVE to do it again next year. My youtube channel is Tea Time 4 Mad Girls( and my partner and I make music video parodies, though we’re just getting started!

  21. Here’s the problem with Moffat’s not killing people: I don’t believe it when he does. I didn’t believe Danny was dead until he sent that kid through the magic gate. I still don’t 100% believe that Osgood is gone. And I didn’t think Kate was gone either. I’ve gotten to a point where I just assume that anyone Moffat kills will be back next week, or next season at least, and the emotional impact of the death is precisely zero.

    Probably not what he was going for.

    On the Master topic, I have to say I disagree with Kat 100%. Moffat’s original characters with shared histories have either been garbage from the outset (Tasha Lem) or become garbage over time (sorry, River). I did not want another one. I hoped from the very first peek that Missy would be the Master, but I did not honestly believe Moffat would do it. He’s been too hung up on his own creations. But from the beginning she has had Delgado’s charm, Ainley’s scenery-chewing, Simm’s outright lunacy. She’s had the Master’s obsessiveness, and his dress sense. She couldn’t be anyone else and have me buy it. I was prepared to be disappointed by the reveal, but instead I was elated.

    As far as the name goes, I too have been using both. She is clearly the Master; she just chooses to call herself Missy at this time. So sometimes I call her Missy, and sometimes the Master, depending on what works in the conversation. Actually, the new name makes talking about her a bit easier; when you’re talking about the Master’s long history with the Doctor, you’re talking about the Master, but when you’re talking about this incarnation’s particular quirks, you’re talking about Missy. It’s easier than saying Gomez!Master anyway.

    I understand some people have trouble with feminizing the Master – either because they have a problem with the gender switch, or because they have a problem with heteronormativity, or because they have a problem with the character taking things to a feminine extreme just because he’s in a female body. Personally, I think everything Missy does is completely in character. The Master would absolutely adore this female form, and enjoy playing it to the hilt. I think he would relish calling himself ‘Mistress.’ She can now torment the Doctor on a whole new level, and I think she’s loving every minute of it.

  22. Sent in an email a few days ago, but I have more to discuss now that I have heard it and comments are open. I hope you will be discussing The Promised Land next time.

    While listening to the podcast I figured out the “missing scene” that would have explained the awful scene in the plane with the Master escaping with weapons in hand and the guards not doing anything.

    The missing scene is The Master in a cell without any of her items, but at least one guard outside the cell. The Master hypnotizes the guard (as long time viewers know hypnosis was a longtime tool of the Master). The guard frees The Master, helps him get his weapons and devices. So, The Master enters in Osgood’s room with two hypnotized guards and we see what we saw in the episode. This explains why the guards did nothing, why The Master had her items, and why Osgood wasn’t suspicious.

    If we had such a scene, I would have felt a lot better about the episode.

    • I reckon they could have just had a closeup of the guards’ obviously frozen faces, for brevity, and that would have explained it.

    • Neil Ottenstein said “…and why Osgood wasn’t suspicious.”

      You know, that finally hit the nail on the head as to why Osgood’s death seemed so out of whack. I don’t believe having learned this female prisoner was the Master that Osgood would fall for that nonsense of “Come closer”. It’s clear Osgood has researched and learned more about the history of the Doctor with UNIT (which pretty much includes a complete history of the crimes of the Master on Earth). She knows more about the Master and what s/he is capable of than just about anyone living on Earth, including perhaps her boss Kate Stewart.

      I think this underscores my earlier observation that a similar emotional impact could have been added to the story at that point with some other, more believable event.

      • I thought when Missy called Osgood over that Osgood was going to be hypnotised… was somewhat aghast to be so wrong!

  23. The lesson of this season is that lying makes you neither a good person nor a bad person; it makes you an idiot. But that works out ok sometimes. Other times, not so much.

  24. For some reason Danny’s strong don’t lie to me again reaction in the Caretaker didn’t bother me. What bothered me was the lack of follow through. Each time after that episode we saw Clara continue to lie to Danny and his reaction diminished each time. I felt like it turned into an empty threat. We should have seen some repercussions instead all we got was “tell me later” at the end of In the Forest of the Night. (Granted Danny was in teacher mode)

    • Danny didn’t like that Clara lied to him, but in “The Caretaker” his ultimatum is not about her lying. He says she needs to tell him if the Doctor pushes her too far. And she does tell him–after the events of “Kill the Moon”. So Clara never violates the terms of that specific ultimatum.

      I think Danny knows Clara very well and recognizes how much the lies have become a part of her character. He loves her anyway because love is like that. As long as she lives up to her promise in “The Caretaker”, which she does, he’s willing to look past the lies.

      • You’re right Erika.
        Weird that I had the impression the last half of the series it was ‘don’t lie to me.’ I kept wondering why Danny didn’t just break up with Clara after Flatline for example.
        Now the arc makes more sense.

  25. Jason M said:

    Rachel Talalay’s involvement in the show is both huge and equally troubling to me.
    She has an impressive background in Film and television that I believe contributed in making this episode so mind blowing.
    However I’m troubled that they would reach across the pond to yet another white director before giving the shot to a home grown black director or person of color.
    Especially considering that Who fans are notoriously xenophobic…
    They don’t like anyone or anything non British involved with their show.
    “What American actor can play the doctor” threads provoke a level of ire unmatched in any other fandom

    As I’ve said previously, a few weeks ago Neil Gaiman seemed concerned over the lack of female creative talent on the show since 2008, but the ultra conspicuous lack of non-white creative talent since 1963 seems not to phase him.

    In 50 years thought aside from Waris Hussein there have *never* been any blacks or persons of color involved in any meaningful aspect of the creative process. (Writers, Directors, producers)….

    Apparently it is a trend that is sending black talent in England straight into the arms of Hollywood.

    David Oyelowo says “Britain is not inclusive of how I look or who I am, so I looked to America.”

    This season at least has had the most in the way of diversity in front of the camera, and has finally introduced a strong black lead that if flawed but noble,(even though I am also troubled by the criticisms I have been seeing about him as well) and interesting supporting and guest characters.

    I’d like to see more of that diversity seep behind the camera.
    And for the show to be as transforming an influence for nerds of color as it has been for women.

    • Wow.

      Diversity of background within the creative team in Cardiff is something I am very strongly in favor of. I would love to see more South Asian names, more women, more people of color, as everything from production assistant, to gaffer, to director, and especially as writer. I would further suggest that the Verity! audience probably includes a higher percentage of people who feel the same when we compare ourselves to other segments of fandom.

      But, we finally get a strong, accomplished, and (I would argue) brilliant female director taking on a very high profile, two parter/season finale, and your reaction is to moan about the fact that she is an American, and perhaps they should have chosen a black Brit instead?

      Maybe you don’t get how it works. When glass ceilings start to crack (i.e., Ms. Talalay gets the gig), we celebrate that, and try to ensure we don’t see “one step forward, two steps back.” Then we all work together to broaden those cracks into full and representative access.

      How would you feel if I started kvetching about “Yeah, Danny Pink is great and all—sure Sam Anderson is talented, I guess—but shouldn’t the role of love interest for Clara have gone to a transgendered actor in a wheelchair from Northern Ireland?”

      • Alright, a few minutes later, and I slightly regret my tone here, but I don’t regret my thought process. I loved Rachel Talalay’s work with Doctor Who—she is a talented woman, and leaks from the set prove she is a huge Doctor Who fan, as well. I hope she comes back for another episode in season nine. (For the record, my fingers are crossed that we should we see a script written by a black writer next year, as well.)

      • This is why I love our listeners. So intelligent and passionate, but willing to admit when passion elevates the tone beyond what’s really intended. ❤ ❤

        Civil disagreement for all! 🙂

    • I’ve come back to look at this thread again, because I felt the need to address a different part of Jason’s comment.

      Admittedly, I did not read all of the articles posted to support his point, but I’d like to suggest that actors and directors “being driven to Hollywood” is not exclusive to black artists. The United States entertainment industry has literally spent an entire century to broaden the market for movies and television beyond the national borders. Working for an American television network or movie production company is typically the highest paying option, and it also is the means to reach the largest potential audience. Only Bollywood in India gives it a run for its money on audience (but not budgets).

      Here is a list of British actors that have been “driven” to Hollywood, and perhaps you will see that this is not inherently a “problem”. Or, if it is a problem, at least we can say the solution has nothing to do with the culture or ethnicity of the artist—nor is it only a recent issue.

      Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Michael Caine, Cary Grant, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole, Ian Holm, Alec Guinness, Emma Thompson, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Bob Hope, Maggie Smith, Ben Kingsley, Charlie Chaplin, Rachel Weisz, Alan Cumming, Andrew Lincoln, Judi Dench, Damian Lewis, Andrew Garfield, Lena Headey, Anthony Hopkins, Alfred Hitchcock, Ioan Gruffudd, Jonathan Pryce, Jude Law, David Morrissey, Ricky Gervais, Christina Pickles, Hugh Laurie, Michael Gambon, Hugh Dancy, Nicollette Sheridan, Kenneth Branagh, Matthew Rhys, Lauren Cohan, Alan Rickman, Rupert Friend, Kelly MacDonald, Bob Hoskins, Kiera Knightly, Sean Connery, Rupert Everett, Ewan McGregor, Dominic Monahan, Laura Fraser, Joely Richardson (and the entire Richardson/Redgrave/Neeson clan, really), Alex Kingston, and the brothers Fiennes. For Pete’s sake, even Mr. Bean went to Hollywood to really make it big. But yes, Idris Elba, David Harewood, Lenny Henry, Adrian Lester, Chiwetel Ejiofor, David Oyelowo, Richard Ayoade, Naomie Harris, Treva Etienne, and many more are also on the list. I’m also relatively confident this list could extend to many names that aren’t well known both in front of and behind the camera.

      I would absolutely agree with the posted articles to this extent: Much could be done in the British film and television industry to improve the representation of non-white-anglo-saxon artists. I hope progress continues. But don’t blame America for the problem. No sir. I’d go so far as to suggest that America has that same problem—or at least there is work to do, both with regard to ethnicity as well as gender.

  26. Bliss Ehrlich said:

    Warning – this is a long post, but I had so many though-thngys about the finale! 🙂

    Peter Capaldi is certainly my idea of The Doctor personified. I haven’t had this much “grok” for a Doctor since Tom Baker. Peter is however, an actor, and as much as he can put a stamp on the Doctor, he also needs to act the scripts he is handed, so when my comments turn to not feeling some of the Doctor’s actions & words are “Doctory enough” that is not a reflection of Peter, but rather the writing.

    I don’t “ship” Twelve and Clara, but I do think they love each other. I think it is a deep love – more than friendship, but I think it is a tragic love, because they both realize this is an impossible situation. The Doctor is 2000+ years old and he is not going to get it on with her. That is what makes it so compelling – they both know the unattainable love they have for each other and they both bury it to try to keep a friendship going so they can still be a part of the other’s life.

    So that takes care of the baseline stuff, now for the Death in Heaven review. I really did need to wait a few days to write this as I was a bit of a mess after watching this episode. First off, it was just plain damn depressing. The victory at the end seemed hollow and the characters all were worse off to one degree or another than when they started. It was a right royal bummer. Now mind you, I really embraced the darker theme this season. I enjoyed the angsty moments and was quite pleased to see us delve into what being the Doctor does to a man (or woman or companion, etc…). I think that is long overdue for the Whoniverse. The Doctor would be truly callous if his experiences did not affect him deeply and profoundly. This incarnation is coming to grips with all of that history and puts up a front of a tough exterior to hide that pain and anguish. But much like the characters who suffered at the hands of Missy, I feel like I am being punished for daring to actually grow to like this curmudgeonly Doctor. It’s like, “oh, you like the Doctor, well then, here have some smack down.” [Picks self off floor and gives the finger]. The payoff of putting up with the irascible alien is the glimmers of something more underneath the exterior. It doesn’t have to be all sugary, syrupy drivel, but throw us a bone.

    1. Clara is clearly suffering from multiple personality disorder. In fact, if the Doctor did have a sleep patch instead of a dream patch, he should have given it to her and stuck her in a closet in the Tardis. She alternates from nut-job grieving, Tardis-key-throwing, I don’t give a damn woman; to I’m the Doctor and proud of it to fool you Cybermen chick; to I’m crazy sad again and my boyfriend is a zombie Cyberman so help him…. Help him what exactly? Help him become an unfeeling Cyberman so we can kill him??? marry him??? So she can what? Honor his last request? Look – I’m glad everything worked out, but no one knew if Danny would turn into a killing automaton or not. Clara took some extreme liberties with the Doctor. She bought into Danny’s plea without thinking through it. She tried to force the Doctor’s hand to do her dirty work for her – and when the Doctor could not risk that, when he thought it would be suicide for Clara, and he stepped back and said “no, I cannot put you in that jeopardy”, she chastised him. And that brings me to Danny…

    2. Danny bothers me. He has from the get-go. And no it is not because he is a soldier. He bothers me in two areas:
    a. His relationship with Clara: What bothers me is that he is infatuated with Clara, without really loving who she actually is. This has bothered me from the get-go. He keeps forgiving her for lying & for chasing around all of time and space, well how about NOT forgiving her – because that is who she is? If he loves her he should accept her for who she is. It seems like he keeps trying to change her, in a somewhat passive-aggressive way. He will not travel with her – he doesn’t give a crap about all of that (sorry for the Warehouse13 phrase) endless wonder. He wants to have a cup of cocoa by the fire with her. Which, there is nothing wrong with IF (and only if) he fell in love with a “stay by the fireplace kind of girl”. Guess what Danny, that is not who Clara is. And the more he tries to make her into that person, the more he messes with her.
    His assertion that the Doctor puts Clara in danger, completely disregards Clara’s ability to make her own decision. Clara’s backstory may be confusing and convoluted, but she has saved the Doctor and the universe many times. How would it seem if Clara turned the tables on Danny (and one might ask – why didn’t she). I can just hear Clara saying to Danny, “Now Danny, I want you to tell me if anyone ever puts you in danger or makes you cross a line, you come to me.” For god’s sake she’s not two years old. Danny is a soldier, and if he’s a good one, he should realize that Clara can make up her own mind. I hated the scene in “The Caretaker” when he backflips over the Skobot Blitzer to “save the day”. If he hadn’t messed with all of the Doctors devices, that would not have been necessary. After all they have been through together, does anyone really think that the Doctor and Clara would have died if not for Danny’s intervention. Same thing all over again with the flashlight in the tiger’s eyes in “In the Forest of the Night”. Come on, cut me a break. He interjects himself to make it seem like Clara would be blown up & mauled if not for him, and yet that completely disregards the hundred (thousands??) of adventures the Doctor & Clara have had where Danny was NOT present, was NOT needed and they seem to have done just fine without him.
    Even more annoying, is why? Why is Danny so angry with the Doctor? Is he jealous? Seems kind of silly, but then again, if he embraced Clara’s adventures with the Doctor, would there even be an issue? It just keeps disturbing me that Danny would not “allow” Clara to have anything in her life except work and him. Let’s say she wasn’t going on adventures with the Doctor, but was volunteering for international assistance setting up schools in war-torn countries. Would that be acceptable to him? Or would he have to do that with her – because she would be in danger? This all seems to be more about the fact that Clara is so close with the doctor and that Danny doesn’t trust her. It is a very shaky & weird way to start a relationship.
    Then there is the fact that Cyber-Danny wants Clara to switch on his inhibitor. He is forcing Clara to kill his humanity so he can then kill her!!?? I mean WTF. He doesn’t know if he will be able to fight the Cyber programming once the inhibitor is on. This seems absolutely horrible to me. If he wants to commit suicide, could he not turn his gun on himself? Why make Clara kill him (or at least his emotional human self) and then potentially stand there while he kills her?
    His last interaction with Clara is quite noble, but even here I think there is a degree of selfishness. He is appeasing his guilt. To be perfectly honest, this boy’s family have grieved and moved on. Instead of depositing the boy back in his home country, he is now in London with Clara – and Clara will have to find his parents and return him to them. Since the kid never speaks, we don’t even know if he can speak/understand English. There may be limitations to the return from the Nethersphere, but if Danny can find Clara, why can’t this boy find his home and go there? Also – this was obviously a few years ago in Danny’s timeline. So his family has aged and he has not. I don’t mean to sound cruel, but there is an element of this being done to eliminate Danny’s guilt and it seems like he is putting the entire burden onto Clara to fix it for him.
    b. Danny’s hatred of the Doctor: I just don’t get this whole thread. It seems like a contrived plot device whose fake moustache disguise is falling off. This one isn’t all on Danny (but it is mostly). On the Doctor’s side I think he goes too far with the soldier hatred thing. I get it. He’s tired of war and tired of “the best way to fix a problem it to kill it” mentality. But at some point he should still see the person – not the label. He’s not that blind to human nature.
    But Danny’s constant pounding of the Doctor is a bit too much. Back in “The Caretaker” Danny knows that Clara betrayed a trust sneaking him into the Tardis – but he still agreed to do it. Why? So he could judge the Doctor and also judge Clara’s assessment of the Doctor. And when the Doctor blows a gasket at being spied on – Danny immediately counters by jumping on a complete character judgment of an alien that he just met, and not under the best of circumstances (thanks to Clara’s lying). He keeps saying “you see Clara, that’s what he really is.” Is he daft? He has not had a fraction of the time & interaction with the Doctor to be handing down this level of judgment. He diminishes every good deed the Doctor ever did into a convenient package that he must just be an unfeeling armchair general. For this judgmental assessment to resurface almost verbatim in “Death in Heaven” annoyed the hell out of me. There was no reason for it. The point had been made. The DiH circumstances were different and this could have been a moment of reconciliation, rather than a rehash of an old argument. To me, it diminished the dramatic impact of what the characters were going through. It diverted attention from the true conflict of the moment. It was also incredibly inappropriate at that particular moment in the plot. Clara called. The Doctor came to her aid. It would have been the perfect moment for a catharsis, but instead it seemed like a step backward. It threw me – so much so that I disengaged from the story and had to kind of get back into it. It was better on a re-watch – but just seemed clunky.
    These also raised issues about the Doctor’s response, letting Clara take the sonic and turn on Danny’s inhibitor, seemed out of character for Doctor Who and only served as a plot service to prop up Danny’s weak argument about who the Doctor “really” is. This is just nuts – he WILL let Clara damage her soul to turn Danny into a Cyberman so he can get information, but he WILL NOT let Clara kill the Master/Missy, preventing untold deaths? I am confused and nobody’s motivations are making much sense to me.
    Even more exasperating is that Danny knew that this was the only way for the Doctor to find out what Missy’s plans were. He comes to the strategic realization before the Doctor. Then he chastises the Doctor for being unable to flip the switch. Murder is (usually – but not always) against the Doctor’s basic programming. It has nothing to do with being a general or an officer. This is why later, when the Doctor decides to kill Missy to save Clara’s soul, the gesture is so potent. The Doctor will make this sacrifice for her – probably the only person in the universe that he would murder for. Although this is never put to the test as the Brig vaporizes (AKA transports) the Master/Missy not the Doctor.

    3. The ending. Arggghhh. Ok, so obviously something will happen in the Christmas special to wrap up things better (I really hope that is true). Clara opens Dark Water saying she has some “not good” thing to tell Danny, but he gets inconveniently dead, so we never really find out what that thing is. Then she uses the same language with the Doctor at the end of DiH. I think Clara is ill, not pregnant. Three months = three months to live?? Even if I’m wrong it was a depressing miscommunication. The Doctor losing it on the Tardis had me sitting on the couch in shock. Great performance, but the fact that he can then, two weeks later, lie so very convincingly, speaks volumes to his mental instability as well as his love of Clara. If there is an intergalactic psychiatrist out there, he really should make an appointment. The self-loathing in Time Heist coupled with his mini-breakdown in Listen, capped off with his complete meltdown in DiH (hope the Tardis forgives him, and wasn’t that technically abusive?) point to a really messed up Doctor. Assuming Clara is gone next Season, I’d suggest a new companion who can provide some psychoanalysis.

    4. All that said there were things I really liked about the finale. I loved the way the Doctor let Clara grieve and then forgave her for betraying him. I loved the Dark Water concept – although it seems like an excessive amount of work & cost to go to just to hide the Cybermen. I liked the UNIT response – very sad Osgood was offed, but understand it. Glad Kate made it out alive. LOVED Missy – we need to see her return, even if Moffat said that wouldn’t happen. I even enjoyed the Brig returning. I like to think he did not blow up, but is out there somewhere with Rusty. A good Cyberman and a good Dalek waging a war against their evil counterparts (that would actually be a cool spin off).

    QUESTION: Did I like the finale?
    ANSWER: I don’t know. I think it came very close to perfect, but unraveled a bit, more so in DiH than in DW. Even with everything I’ve said I think the show is on the right track and I’m more involved than I have been in years, so bring on more Capaldi and let’s see where this Doctor goes next!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: