Saturday, November 8, 2014

Review: "Death in Heaven"

And we've come to the finale.

Spoilers follow and all that. Proceed at your own risk.

Still there? You were warned. Highlight to view.

Starting from the ridiculous mess that was "Dark Water", the gender-bent Master, now known as "Missy" has brought the Cybermen back to Earth using imprinted memories from the dead from across time and space, thanks to Time Lord technology. U.N.I.T. crashes the scene, taking both the Doctor and "Missy" into custody as the Cybermen display flight capabilities and depart. They go into the skies above all major population centers and explode.

Meanwhile, Clara - trapped by a Cyberman - tries a bluff by claiming to be the regenerated Doctor to buy her time before she's killed. Her erstwhile boyfriend, Danny, has also returned as a Cyberman but with his emotions intact. He rescues Clara from the other Cybermen and knocks her out.

The Doctor awakens to find his TARDIS in U.N.I.T. custody. U.N.I.T. gets him and "Missy" on a plane then reveal that the Doctor is now the de-facto President of Earth to lead them out of the current threat. You see, the exploded Cybermen have turned into clouds that rain over graveyards and bring back the dead as Cybermen.

Don't ask.

So the world is in terrible danger, blah-blah.

Meanwhile, "Missy" plays head-games with one of the U.N.I.T. scientists before gleefully murdering her and the really useless U.N.I.T. guards.

Fast-forward to the Cybermen attacking the plane. The Doctor and "Missy" have a showdown, but "Missy" outmatches the Doctor by blowing out the side of the plane, sending Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (the daughter of the Brigadier) to her apparent death and then the Doctor to the same as "Missy" teleports to safety.

The Doctor manages to get into his falling TARDIS and head to the revived Clara, who is attempting to help the Cyberman-Danny delete his emotions because reasons.

"Missy" reveals to the Doctor that she can control all the Cybermen in the world as her puppets and they are invaluable tool to conquer the known universe. And she gives control of the Cybermen to the Doctor so he can find out that he's no different than she.

The Doctor ponders who he is, then gives control of the Cybermen to Cyber-Danny who uses the Cybermen to destroy the Cyber-clouds that are awakening the dead.

Clara, having stolen "Missy's" death-ray-thing, prepares to murder the renegade Time Lady, but the Doctor stops her. The Doctor struggles to finish "Missy" himself when she is apparently disintegrated by another Cyberman. It seems Danny wasn't the only Cyberman among the dead to retain his emotions. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is revealed to be alive thanks to a Cyberman who can only be the Brigadier.

The episode ends with some hand-wavy stuff from beyond in which Danny sends the kid he killed as a soldier back to Clara so Clara can get him home. The Doctor and Clara meet one last time and lie to one another to ease their parting. Then Santa Claus appears.

Okay, my snark aside, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this finale. It was probably one of the few Moffatt-finales I actually did enjoy. The story writing was rough, but far, far better than his previous attempts. The gleeful, horrific brutality of "Missy" made up for much of the overly-convoluted nonsense of the plot and sold me on "Missy" as an incarnation of the Master. I also liked the grimly-brutal resolution of the Danny Pink storyline and how it really was an unhappy ending for Clara and Danny. I was also impressed with the consistency of the horrible lying that ultimately split the Doctor and Clara apart.

So, I raise a toast to you, Stephen Moffatt. Nicely-played. It wasn't great but I found it somewhat-enjoyable. Now please go on to other things and pass the baton to someone else.

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