What as season. What a freakin’ great season of Doctor Who. While the majority of the episodes were standalone, there was one arc being woven throughout series 8. And in Death In Heaven, it all came to a close, as the Doctor faced his greatest enemies, fears and doubts, finally putting to rest the question as to what kind of a man he truly is.
Throughout this entire season, the Doctor has been asking just one question: Am I a good man? Hell, are any of us? That’s been the central theme throughout this season, as the Doctor was deconstructed with his latest regeneration, becoming a more ruthless and pragmatic incarnation that is now more determined than ever to save the day. The Doctor is essentially an officer as Danny noted in the past, but an officer who despises armies and soldiers.
That’s another character-arc that is finally resolved, once the Doctor is finished berating yet another high-ranking officer (Man-Scout), finding himself not only in charge of the planet and all of its armies, but a dead one as well thanks to a twisted Missy yearning for the old Doctor to return. In Earth’s darkest hour, the Doctor once again finds himself faced with impossible choices, but it’s not his finest hour. That honour belongs to…
The plucky wide-eyed pal of the Doctor has received easily the most character development this season. She’s no longer an innocent damsel, but a crafty imitation of the Doctor, a hero in her own right. But as Clara has discovered, being the Doctor isn’t easy. In fact, it may just be terrible. She may be a control freak as Missy correctly predicted, but she’s the kind of freak that the Doctor needs. And dammit, I’m going to miss those inflatable eyes and sharp wit in the next season. Oh Clara my Clara.
Make no mistake, the latest scheme of the master was completely batsh*t crazy, even for a show that features time travel via a blue box. I’ve genuinely got no idea what the hell Missy was trying to prove in her twisted mind, but I don’t care. In fact, I think I have a crush on this Mistress, as Michelle Gomez dialled up the crazy and ran wild with it. It’s the kind of role that could easily be turned into a scenery-eating competetion, but Gomez knew just when to let her engine purr and when to open that throttle up to full burst.
I genuinely hope that we see more of the Mistress, brought back via one more convoluted scheme to cheat death. Because in a season filled with dark doubts, betrayal and death, she was easily the most fun.
Now this is the UNIT that want to see on the big screen. Efficient, deadly and confident. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is clearly the right person for the job, waltzing into a small platoon of Cybermen and throwing the severed head of a previous incursion into their midst as she made herself clear as to just how ready Earth was to defend itself from any alien threat. And it just makes me want a spin-off UNIT TV show more than ever now. Also:
Awww. I’m going to miss her.
The Cyber army of the dead
Man, I dig Cybermen. Because there is no length that they’ll not go to in order to survive. To me, that’s what makes them so scary. Unstoppable yes, but unrelenting in their drive to exist and conquer. And the fact that they’re now Cyber-Iron Men makes for an even cooler upgrade, one coupled with the ability to now resurrect the dead in order to bolster their ranks. Man, I dig these tin-heads.
And even the Cyber army of the dead have their moment, as Cyber-Dan whips the freshly-resurrected lot into shape with some quick hive-mind attitude, as he reassured Clara that she would sleep soundly that night. The dead did indeed guard the living that day.
I’m going to miss Danny. For a TV show that spans the cosmos, Danny was the one character who kept the action grounded. Haunted, emotional and quite dead, poor Danny deserved a better fate than being run over by a lorry and resurrected into a nightmare made out of shiny silver steel. At least Danny had not one but several moments, proving why he may just be the most human character the show, as he proved that his love for Clara one last time, while redeeming previous sins from his life with one final gesture.
If you’re unfamiliar with classic Doc Who, then you’re most likely not that up to speed on Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. The leader of UNIT during the days of the Third Doctor, The Brigadier was a by-the-books stick in the mud with a rules of engagement pamphlet stuck up his arse. Needless to say, he clashed often with the Doctor, but throughout it all, there’s no other man that you’d want in your corner.
Or a cyber-upgraded version who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. Now, more than a UNIT TV show, I want a series starring the Cybrigadier jetting around the planet solving problems with military precision and lasers. Extra points: Look at the handles on the Cybrigadier. Those are the back handles of a Cyberman-controller. Proving that even in death and as a resurrected Cyber-Zombie, the Brigadier is always in charge.
This has been a bold season so far. A series that has created a new Doctor radically different from previous versions. It’s quite simply one of my favourite seasons as well, with each episode feeling brave and unafraid to tackle new ideas. We’ve got a Christmas special on the way in December. But until then, it’s going to be a damn long wait for season 9.
Last Updated: November 10, 2014