Thursday, 17 September 2015

Doctor Who: Series 8 Revisited - Death In Heaven

In eager anticipation of brand new Doctor Who, the Gallifrey Times team is revisiting Peter Capaldi's debut season as the Doctor. We'll be covering an episode a day from Deep Breath to Last Christmas, the perfect build up to The Magician's Apprentice on September 19th.

Death In Heaven, the second part of the Series 8 two-part finale, brings in many different feelings and emotions for both the characters and the viewers.

Picking up right where Dark Water left off, we jump right back into the action of the story. Clara trapped by a Cyberman, The Doctor awed by a shocking discovery, Cybermen running amok in London, Danny lingering on the verge of "deletion". Tensions are high, and death awaits. I daresay this is one of the most conflict-filled episode openings of the season.

As the episode begins, Clara brings out her smarts, stalling the Cyberman from killing her and claiming that she is truly The Doctor, with Clara Oswald being a figment of his imagination. Although her attempt fails, she gives a very good act to the Cyberman, giving information about The Doctor to try and make them believe. This is truly one of Clara's greater moments of courage throughout the course of her companionship. Although she is afraid for her life, and still shaken over the events with Danny, she is able to overcome her fear and stand up to the Cybermen.

While the reveal of Missy as The Master was long guessed before Dark Water, this is still a very shocking moment for The Doctor, astounded by the fact that she is still alive after the events in The End Of Time. It is obvious that he is very dumbfounded by the people around him, not seeming to have any notice or issue with all the Cybermen lined through the streets. I believe this is how people would act if something like this really happened. Take the events in The Power Of Three for example. Human curiosity and interest in the unknown overpowered the thoughts of possible danger. This is what we see in this episode as well.

Perhaps the greatest shock is that it was Missy who has kept The Doctor and Clara together all this time. Ever since the "woman in the shop" gave Clara the TARDIS' phone number in The Bells Of Saint John, she has been very keen on keeping them together. All because, as Missy states, they are perfect together. "The control freak, and the man who should never be controlled." She understands how the chemistry of The Doctor and Clara would play out, and knew she would find a very intricate relationship between the two.

"Pain is a gift. Without the capacity for pain, we can't feel the hurt we inflict."

As The Doctor meets Danny and Clara in the graveyard, we step forth more into an emotional journey, especially for Clara. She has lost the man she loved, then gained him back again, and is now losing him once again. We have definitely seen Clara on an emotional rollercoaster throughout this season, and it has now reached its build-up here. But she knows she has no choice, and must make the ultimate sacrifice to save humanity. Although it may have been hard, Cyber-Danny overcame being taken over by the Cyberman inside him, through only his pure love for Clara.

Once again, Missy returns, making a sort of Mary Poppins-type entrance into the graveyard. Claiming she has a gift for The Doctor, she gives him the opportunity to lead the whole army of Cybermen to his bidding. This, however, strikes perhaps one of the 12th Doctor's greatest speeches in the series:

"I am not a good man. And I'm not a bad man. I am not a hero. I am definitely not a president. And no, I'm not an officer. You know what I am? I am an idiot! With a box, and a screwdriver! Just passing through. Helping out. Learning. I don't need an army, I never have. Because I have them [Clara and Danny], always them. Because love, it's not an emotion. Love is a promise."

The most powerful promise there is. With that promise, Danny sends him and every other Cyberman up into the clouds. The Cybermen self-destruct, causing the clouds to burn away, leaving the sky empty. This, once again, showing that Danny's love for Clara was too great for the Cyberman inside him to overcome.

Missy strikes a chord in The Doctor, giving him something unexpected: The coordinates of Gallifrey, in its old location. This is where I see a major struggle internally in The Doctor. He wants to see his home, he wants to be friends with Missy again, just like they were as children on Gallifrey. Yet as he much as he wants that, he knows that she can never be trusted, that she will never be good again.

The final few minutes of the season have perhaps the most emotional and violent acts by the 12th Doctor yet. As he finds out Missy lied about finding Gallifrey, The Doctor gets sent into a rampage, punching down on the TARDIS console. This shows the true feelings that The Doctor has for his home. Contrary to The End Of Time and Time Of The Doctor, he does truly  miss his home and wants to find it again. Although he may not wish for the Time Lords to return, he still misses the friends, family, and people of Gallifrey.

The ending shows the close relationship that The Doctor and Clara really have. They make each other feel special, as they said. Although The Doctor may not act like it, he needs Clara. He needs somebody to be there to talk to and be with him. And Clara needs just the same thing, especially now after just losing Danny. So I think that they are closer than ever after that episode. 

Overall, it is a very well done episode, with great acting, great dialogue, and a great plot. As for Peter's first season, I think it was a very good start to what will become his run as the 12th Doctor. 

Coming up tomorrow, Jenna gives us a taste of the Series 8 Christmas special Last Christmas, which is the last of the Series 8 reviews.