Peter Capaldi as the Doctor: S8 E12 Death in Heaven

Readability

Peter Capaldi as the Doctor: S8 E12 Death in Heaven

The Lat­est of my reviews of the Peter Capaldi Era of Doc­tor Who

Sum­mary: Cyber­man, An Army of the Dead and the Master/​Mistress more crazy than ever.

Plot: The Doc­tor and UNIT find them­selves try­ing to cope with the Master/​Mistress while Clara finds her­self sur­rounded by Cyber­man try­ing to pass her­self off as the regen­er­ated Doc­tor. The Doc­tor is made pres­i­dent of the world as the grave­yards are emp­ty­ing of corpses now made into Cyber­men with brains down­loaded from the “nether­sphere” con­sist­ing of the minds of the dead from the past and future. Is this a part of the Mis­tress /​Master’s “mas­ter” plan or is some­thing else going on?

— — — — — — — — — — — –

Writ­ing: ’Steven Moffat’s writ­ing of this episode reminds me of my infre­quent attempts at Dun­geon mas­ter­ing 30 years ago. I was absolutely lousy . If I wanted a plot to go some­where I tended to throw away all the actual plot­ting in order to cre­ate the end­ing I wanted and that’s what Steven Mof­fat does here. He decides: “Wouldn’t it be cool if the mas­ter was a jeal­ous crazy woman who longed for the Doc­tor like Glenn Close in Fatal Attrac­tion?” and goes from there. So what if the Cyber­men one of the pri­mary vil­lains in the his­tory of Doc­tor Who become basi­cally an after­thought. So what if we decide to give them the power of flight just for the sake of the res­o­lu­tion, so what if we kill off fan favorites just to prove the new Mas­ter /​Mis­tress is a crazy bitch (Am I the only one who con­sid­ered the whole way the “mis­tress” was writ­ten as kinda sex­ist?) So what if UNIT is reduced to a joke. It’s as if the whole episode was dreamed up like the much bet­ter Dinosaurs on a Space­ship. Think of a fun premise and write an episode around it and devil take the hind­most. You end up with some cool scenes and some cool lines but it just doesn’t work. I for exam­ple as a Doc­tor Who fan since 1976 have a par­tic­u­lar vision of the Doc­tor that maybe one day I’ll write about but if I forced that vision on the series, it might not work. I think that’s what Mof­fat is doing. Fur­ther­more he is not writ­ing it for the youth­ful audi­ence, he is writ­ing it for the adult audi­ence and that’s what killed the series the first time. He’s a great writer but he’s got to stop writ­ing like the guy play­ing with Doc­tor Who action fig­ures on his desk…

…and like Harry Ander­son in the Devil’s Dis­ci­ple expect his soldier/​actors to bail him out.

Act­ing: Ok lets say this out front while I think the whole Glenn Close /​Mas­ter /​Mis­tress busi­ness is a hor­ri­ble idea Michelle Gomez pulls it off to the point where know­ing Moffat’s obses­sion with the Jon Per­twee era the thought of a whole sea­son with Gomez show­ing up reg­u­larly as a vil­lain (say 23 or a pair of two part sto­ries) would really work. She & Capaldi reek of chem­istry his best scenes are with her & the 51 year old me wants more. Cole­man in her not quite swan song is almost an after­thought and Sam Anderson’s Danny Pink gets to make the St. Crispin’s day speech but all over­shad­owed by the bril­liantly almost Tom Bak­er­ishly insane Michelle Gomez.

Mem­o­rable Moments: The Salute, the Bow tie, hand­cuffs, St. Crispin’s day. What rate?

Doc­tor Who Flash­backs: Bow ties are cool (11th Doc­tor) The old Cyber­head (assorted) , Father Christ­mas A Christ­mas Carol (11th Doc­tor) The Binary coor­di­nates of Gal­lifrey Full Cir­cle, Pyra­mids of Mars (4th Doctor)

Odd­i­ties: Shouldn’t every sin­gle one of the Doctor’s late com­pan­ions from Kat­rina to Sarah Jane to Amy & Rory all have become Cyber­men fight­ing the Cyber­men? Steven Mof­fat lost a great chance to make the story more epic. The con­cept that they would try to sell the whole “Clara as the Doc­tor” busi­ness in the cred­its was fun but c’mon!

Pet Peeves: The Mas­ter was not on Gal­lifrey when the Doc­tor saved it, he avoided the war in Human Form (Utopia), This is a kids show, there were plenty of other ways to estab­lish the Mis­tress /​Mas­ter is a crazy jeal­ous mur­der­ous bitch than that (of course one can hold out hope that it was the Zygon dupli­cate). No expla­na­tion as to why the Cyber­men would be so will­ing to co-​operate with the Mas­ter, Mak­ing the Cyber­men able to fly sim­ply to allow the res­o­lu­tion of the plot was weak and does any­one really believe Human’s would make the Doc­tor their absolute ruler even in times of emergency?

Great Quote(s)

********************

Clara: Oh don’t be so slow it’s embar­rass­ing. Who could fool you like this. Who could hide right in front of your nose? Who can change their face any time they want? Hm You see I’m not Clara Oswald, Clara Oswald has never existed.
Cyber­man: Iden­tify!
Clara: I’m the Doctor!

*******************

Osgood: Would you like a still pic­ture, self­ies are never as good are they are you’re hav­ing a lovely moment.
The Doc­tor: Nice Bowtie.
Osgood: Bowties are cool.

***********************************

Santa Claus: [knock­ing on TARDIS door in flight] Cooee… [knock­ing] Hello… Doc­tor.… you know it can’t end like that hmm. We need to get this sorted and quickly. She’s not alright you know and nei­ther are you. I’m com­ing in. [opens TARDIS ] Ah there you are, I know I’d get around to you even­tu­ally. Stop gop­ping and tell me…what do you want for Christmas?

**************************

Final Ver­dict: 3 stars Always a bad sign when the Pet Peeves out­num­ber the quotes. Enough plot holes to strain spaghetti plus a really bad end­ing (Even Nick Frost fun St. Nick isn’t enough to save it) equals an episode in the bot­tom 13 of the season.

Rank­ing of Sea­son: 10th of 12. I haven’t been this dis­ap­pointed with a finale since the first rate Utopia three parter fin­ished with Last of the Time Lords (iron­i­cally also fea­tur­ing Mas­ter). What is it about the Mas­ter that it brings out the worst in Doc­tor Who finales? Thank God it wasn’t as bad as that one.

1. The Care­taker
2. Mummy on the Ori­ent Express
3. Into the Dalek
4. Dark Water
5. Lis­ten
6. Flat­line
7. Robot of Sher­wood
8. Time Heist
9. Kill the Moon
10. Death in Heaven
11. Deep Breath
12. In the For­est of the Night

The Latest of my reviews of the Peter Capaldi Era of Doctor Who

Summary: Cyberman, An Army of the Dead and the Master/Mistress more crazy than ever.

Plot:   The Doctor and UNIT find themselves trying to cope with the Master/Mistress while Clara finds herself surrounded by Cyberman trying to pass herself off as the regenerated Doctor.  The Doctor is made president of the world as the graveyards are emptying of corpses now made into Cybermen with brains downloaded from the “nethersphere” consisting of the minds of the dead from the past and future.  Is this a part of the Mistress / Master’s “master” plan or is something else going on?

———————————–

Writing:  ’Steven Moffat’s writing of this episode reminds me of my infrequent attempts at Dungeon mastering 30 years ago.  I was absolutely lousy .  If I wanted a plot to go somewhere I tended to throw away all the actual plotting in order to create the ending I wanted and that’s what Steven Moffat does here.  He decides:  “Wouldn’t  it be cool if the master was a jealous crazy woman who longed for the Doctor like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction?”  and goes from there.  So what if the Cybermen one of the primary villains in the history of Doctor Who become basically an afterthought.  So what if we decide to give them the power of flight just for the sake of the resolution, so what if we kill off fan favorites just to prove the new Master / Mistress is a crazy bitch (Am I the only one who considered the whole way the “mistress” was written as kinda sexist?) So what if UNIT is reduced to a joke.  It’s as if the whole episode was dreamed up like the much better Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.  Think of a fun premise and write an episode around it and devil take the hindmost.  You end up with some cool scenes and some cool lines but it just doesn’t work.  I for example as a Doctor Who fan since 1976 have a particular vision of the Doctor that maybe one day I’ll write about but if I forced that vision on the series, it might not work.  I think that’s what Moffat is doing.  Furthermore he is not writing it for the youthful audience, he is writing it for the adult audience and that’s what killed the series the first time.  He’s a great writer but he’s got to stop writing like the guy playing with Doctor Who action figures on his desk…

…and like Harry Anderson in the Devil’s Disciple expect his soldier/actors to bail him out.

Acting: Ok lets say this out front while I think the whole Glenn Close / Master / Mistress business is a horrible idea Michelle Gomez pulls it off to the point where knowing Moffat’s obsession with the Jon Pertwee era the thought of a whole season with Gomez showing up regularly as a villain (say 2-3 or a pair of two part stories) would really work.  She & Capaldi reek of chemistry his best scenes are with her & the 51 year old me wants more. Coleman in her not quite swan song is almost an afterthought and Sam Anderson’s Danny Pink gets to make the St. Crispin’s day speech but all overshadowed by the brilliantly almost Tom Bakerishly insane Michelle Gomez.

Memorable Moments: The Salute, the Bow tie, handcuffs, St. Crispin’s day. What rate?

Doctor Who Flashbacks: Bow ties are cool (11th Doctor) The old Cyberhead (assorted) , Father Christmas A Christmas Carol (11th Doctor) The Binary coordinates of Gallifrey Full Circle, Pyramids of Mars (4th Doctor)

Oddities:  Shouldn’t every single one of the Doctor’s late companions from Katrina to Sarah Jane to Amy & Rory all have become Cybermen fighting the Cybermen? Steven Moffat lost a great chance to make the story more epic. The concept that they would try to sell the whole “Clara as the Doctor” business in the credits was fun but c’mon!

Pet Peeves:   The Master was not on Gallifrey when the Doctor saved it, he avoided the war in Human Form (Utopia), This is a kids show, there were plenty of other ways to establish the Mistress / Master is a crazy jealous murderous bitch than that (of course one can hold out hope that it was the Zygon duplicate). No explanation as to why the Cybermen would be so willing to co-operate with the Master, Making the Cybermen able to fly simply to allow the resolution of the plot was weak and does anyone really believe Human’s would make the Doctor their absolute ruler even in times of emergency?

 

Great Quote(s) 

********************

Clara: Oh don’t be so slow it’s embarrassing. Who could fool you like this. Who could hide right in front of your nose? Who can change their face any time they want? Hm You see I’m not Clara Oswald, Clara Oswald has never existed.
Cyberman: Identify!
Clara: I’m the Doctor!

*******************

Osgood: Would you like a still picture, selfies are never as good are they are you’re having a lovely moment.
The Doctor: Nice Bowtie.
Osgood: Bowties are cool.

***********************************

Santa Claus:  [knocking on TARDIS door in flight] Cooee… [knocking]  Hello… Doctor…. you know it can’t end like that hmm.  We need to get this sorted and quickly.  She’s not alright you know and neither are you.  I’m coming in.  [opens TARDIS ] Ah there you are, I know I’d get around to you eventually.  Stop gopping and tell me…what do you want for Christmas? 

 

**************************

Final Verdict:   3 stars Always a bad sign when the Pet Peeves outnumber the quotes. Enough plot holes to strain spaghetti plus a really bad ending (Even Nick Frost fun St. Nick isn’t enough to save it) equals an episode in the bottom 1/3 of the season.

Ranking of Season:   10th of 12. I haven’t been this disappointed with a finale since the first rate Utopia three parter finished with Last of the Time Lords (ironically also featuring Master). What is it about the Master that it brings out the worst in Doctor Who finales? Thank God it wasn’t as bad as that one.

1. The Caretaker
2. Mummy on the Orient Express
3. Into the Dalek
4. Dark Water
5. Listen
6. Flatline
7. Robot of Sherwood
8. Time Heist
9. Kill the Moon
10. Death in Heaven
11. Deep Breath
12. In the Forest of the Night