Better late than never, Violet recaps the Season 8 finale of Doctor Who, titled Death in Heaven, where we find out what Missy has been planning with the Cybermen! Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts on not only this episode, but Season 8 overall.
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Episode Recap of Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 12: Death in Heaven
This episode picks up where the last episode left off, with a Cyberman finding Clara. However, she claims that there is no Clara Oswald, and that she is in fact the Doctor.
Meanwhile, outside, people are taking selfies with the Cybermen, who are just standing around. Missy shows the Doctor on her phone that Cybermen are now standing around in every city around the world. Then Osgood comes up and offers to take a picture of the Doctor and Missy, distracting her for a moment, which allows Kate Stewart and UNIT to arrive on the scene to take Missy into custody. The Cybermen on the scene suddenly fly into the air. Then the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral opens up, and more Cybermen fly out from there. They figure out there’s one Cyberman for every town. Suddenly, there’s an explosion in the sky. Missy explains that the Cybermen are pollinating.
In the Nethersphere, Seb tells Danny that it looks like they may be going home. He explains that this place is more of a data cloud of recently deceased minds. They’re going back to their bodies — and there’s been a bit of an upgrade.
Missy tells the Doctor that the dead are coming home, and that in 24 hours the human race will cease to exist. UNIT sedates both Missy and the Doctor. But before the Doctor passes out, he tells Osgood to guard the graveyards. The black cloud from the Cyberman explosion goes over the graveyard, and it begins to rain, but only inside the graveyard. However, some water leaks outside of the graveyard and goes to a funeral home. There is banging from inside the morgue, and a Cyberman rises from a table. It looks in the mirror and crumbles a piece of paper that says “Danny Pink.”
The Doctor awakens handcuffed to a chair, and we see that UNIT has the TARDIS. The Doctor tells Kate that he wants Clara found and brought to him. They all board a large plane. Kate informs the Doctor that he is the President of Earth, and that every world leader is awaiting his instructions.
Down in St. Paul’s, Clara is trying to convince a few Cybermen that she is the Doctor. Another Cyberman walks up and insists that she is Clara Oswald, then zaps her, making her pass out. The other Cybermen observe that no order was given to do that, and that the Cyberman who just walked up is not under Cyber control. Then the new Cyberman shoots the other Cybermen, causing them to explode. We see that the Cyberman is holding the slip of paper that says “Danny Pink” on it.
Missy wakes up in the underbelly of the plane, tied to a chair, and with the Doctor talking to her. She claims to know where Gallifrey is, but won’t tell the Doctor where it is. The Doctor gets called back above. Before he heads up, Osgood has already guessed that Missy is the Master. She tells him that the clouds have not dispersed yet, and that maybe they should be looking up instead of below the clouds.
The Doctor goes up, and meets with the other officials. Kate shows them video of news feeds from around the world, where the dead are rising from their graves as Cybermen.
Clara wakes up in a graveyard all alone. We see that the ground is starting to shift in front of graves, and silver hands starting to come out. Then all around Clara, Cybermen start to arise from the graves.
The Doctor explains that it wasn’t rain, it was Cyber pollen. He realizes what Missy was up to, and thinks it’s all over, wondering how you can win a war against an enemy that can weaponize the dead. At this point, though, the Cybermen aren’t attacking, they’re just wandering around. The Doctor says it’s because they’re newborns, and to give them time. He goes on to explain that Missy has been upgrading dying minds to a hard drive for a long time, with the help of her TARDIS.
Down below, Missy tells Osgood that she has something to tell her, but to come closer because she has to whisper it. Missy whispers that she is going to kill her in a minute. Osgood tries to get back to work, but Missy gives a countdown to her death. Missy has managed to get her handcuffs off. She uses a device to obliterate her two guards, and then Osgood.
The Doctor looks out the window and sees a Cyberman. Then they look at the monitor and see that Missy has escaped. The Doctor goes down below to investigate.
Clara finds the Cyberman who brought her to the graveyard. We see that he still has that piece of paper in his hand. When the Cyberman asks where the Doctor is, Clara says that she would never give up the Doctor, because he’s her best friend, the closest person in the world to her, the one man she will always forgive and trust, the one man she would never lie to. The Cyberman removes his face mask, and Clara is devastated to see that it’s Danny. He asks her to help him, and says that she needs her to switch his inhibitor on, because he can’t do it himself. The inhibitor deletes emotion.
Meanwhile, the Cybermen are all over the plane, pulling it apart. Down below, the TARDIS phone rings. Missy reveals that Clara had gotten the TARDIS phone number from her. She’s the one that put Clara and the Doctor together, and kept them together. He answers the phone. It’s Clara, who tells him that she’s with Danny, who is now a Cyberman. He tells her not to turn on the inhibitor, because if she does, he’ll become a Cyberman and kill her. She tells the Doctor to either help her or leave her alone.
Kate comes down below to report that the Cybermen have gotten in, and the plane is going down. Missy uses her device to shoot a hole in the plane, which sucks Kate out. Missy teleports herself away to the Nethersphere before the plane explodes. She and Seb watch as the Doctor falls out of the plane, hurtling toward the ground — which Missy thinks is boring. But then he uses his sonic screwdriver to call the TARDIS toward him and save him. Seb gets excited, so Missy uses her device to explode him.
Clara has been unsuccessful in turning on the inhibitor, when the Doctor arrives in the TARDIS. He warns her that Danny will kill her if she succeeds in turning it on, but Danny says he will not harm her. The Doctor tells Danny that he needs him to tell him what the Cloud is going to do, what the plan is. Danny says that he can’t see properly because the inhibitor needs to be activated. Clara asks for the sonic screwdriver from the Doctor. Then she points it at Danny, tells him one last time that she loves him, they tell each other goodbye, and she turns on the inhibitor. She runs to him and hugs him, despite the Doctor’s warnings. Danny tells the Doctor that the rain will fall again, and all humanity will die — and rise again a Cyberman. Danny says they cannot be stopped.
Just then, Missy floats down holding an umbrella. The Doctor takes her device from her and throws it. Clara picks it up. Missy then instructs the Cybermen to do a series of commands. She then hands over her bracelet to the Doctor that commands the Cybermen, and presents the army of Cybermen to him as a gift. The Doctor says he doesn’t want an army, but Missy insists that he does. When the Doctor asks why she’s doing this, she says that she needs her friend back. She tells him that with this army, he can determine the outcome of every war in the universe.
The Doctor has a flashback of moments throughout the season, and has a sudden epiphany. He thanks Missy, and kisses her, then exclaims that he is not a good man, nor is he a bad man — he is an idiot, just passing through, helping out, learning. He doesn’t need an army and never has. He points to Clara and Danny and says he has them, and that love is not an emotion, it’s a promise — and Danny will never hurt her.
The Doctor throws Missy’s bracelet to Danny, and points out to Missy that Danny was the one soldier not obeying her orders. Danny tells Missy that the rain will not fall because the clouds will burn. He commands all the Cybermen to help Earth out in its darkest hour, then they all fly into the sky and explode, burning the clouds away, all around the world.
Missy gives the Doctor the coordinates for Gallifrey, telling him it has returned to its original location. Clara points Missy’s device at Missy, but the Doctor stops Clara from killing her, and takes the device. He points it at her, about to shoot it, when a Cyberman zaps her, and she disappears. Then they discover that Kate Stewart is laying nearby, alive. She mentions her dad, and the Doctor figures out that the Cyberman standing nearby is Kate’s father, who saved her. The Doctor salutes him, then he flies into the sky.
Later, Clara awakens in her bed to the sound of Danny’s voice calling her. There’s a bright light at the end of her hallway through which Danny is talking to her. She tells him that the Doctor has told her that Missy’s bracelet allows her to travel between worlds, and that the bracelet can bring him home. He says there’s only enough power for one trip. The boy that Danny killed steps through the light, and Danny’s voice tells her that she needs to find his parents. Danny apologizes, and is gone.
Clara and the Doctor meet up in a cafe. The Doctor assumes that Danny figured it out about the bracelet, and is back, and she doesn’t contradict him. She tells him that she has some news for him, and it’s not good. But the Doctor jumps in and guesses that her news is that she and Danny are together, and that Clara no longer has room in her life for him anymore. He says that it’s fine, because he has found Gallifrey. We then see a flashback to the Doctor going to the coordinates that Missy told him — but when he gets there, Gallifrey isn’t there. He continuously punches the TARDIS console in frustration. Back in the present, the Doctor tells Clara that he’s going to go home now. She tells him not to worry about her and Danny, and to go home. She convinces the Doctor to share a hug with her. While hugging, she asks him why he doesn’t like to hug. He replies, “Never trust a hug. It’s just a way to hide your face.”
They say their goodbyes, and thank each other for making them feel special. Then the TARDIS disappears, and Clara walks away.
In a post credits-scene, the Doctor is in his TARDIS, and hears knocking on the door, and a voice saying it can’t end like that. Santa Claus comes in and asks him what he wants for Christmas.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 8 Episode 12 of Doctor Who: Death in Heaven
Overall, I thought this was a pretty good episode, though I wasn’t really satisfied with the ending. I will admit that once Missy revealed what her plan was, it seemed to all fit together perfectly, based on the previous episode, and I felt a little dumb that I hadn’t put it together on my own before the big revelation! All in all, an exciting episode, with lots of action, that kept me guessing just exactly what would happen next.
It took me by surprise how suddenly both Osgood and Kate Stewart were killed off, I was in disbelief that it had happened. Of course, in the end, we learn that Kate was actually saved by her father though. Which brings me to one point of confusion during this episode: why does it just so happen that all of the dead people who came back as Cybermen were under Missy’s control EXCEPT for Danny and the General? It seemed like the Doctor’s explanation was love, but I’m sure any number of people could have resisted being under control because of their own love for another. I guess it’s just another one of those things you have to overlook on Doctor Who and just go with it.
One thing that did bother me regardless was that Clara didn’t hug Danny or show him any sort of affection until after his inhibitor was turned on. I guess one could argue it was because he was already in enough emotional pain as it was, so she didn’t want to hurt him any more by hugging him and therefore showing him exactly what he could no longer have. But at the same time, she had just given this whole speech to him about the Doctor being her best friend, and the one man she’d never lie to (which actually wasn’t true, as we’ve seen her lie to the Doctor on several occasions), so it made it seem to Danny like she didn’t care for him much. She should have shown him that she did in fact care for him while he could still appreciate it, rather than waiting until he no longer could. But anyway.
As for Missy, when the Cyberman zapped her, I initially assumed that he had beamed her somewhere else. But then it appeared that she was supposed to have been killed. However, I think my first instinct was right, and that we’ll see her again soon.
The very end was quite emotional, with Danny saving the child he killed rather than himself (what exactly happened to the kid after he arrived in Clara’s apartment anyway?), and then Clara and the Doctor saying their goodbyes, lying to each other because they want the other to be happy. What had Clara really come to tell the Doctor, before he assumed that it was that Danny was back and so she no longer had room for him in her life? I think she might have been about to tell him that she’s pregnant. If she is, I guess we’ll find out in the Christmas episode, which is rumored to be Jenna Coleman’s final episode of Doctor Who! It makes sense that that’s why she would end her travels in the TARDIS, if she has a child to care for.
As for my thoughts about Season 8 as a whole, I was a little disappointed overall. Don’t get me wrong, I thought Peter Capaldi was great, and did a wonderful job portraying the Doctor. I have fully embraced him as the Doctor. Clara has also grown on me this season, whereas last season I wasn’t much of a Clara fan. However, I felt that the stories were weak this season. Now having watched all of the episodes, I still stick by what I mentioned before, that in order to appreciate this season, you really only need to watch episodes 1, 4, 11, and 12. Everything else is just filler, and nothing really stands out. Yes, there are some relevant moments in other episodes, but for the overarching storyline, that’s all you need. I didn’t feel like there were many episodes this season with storylines that really grabbed me. Most of them were just okay.
I also thought that Danny’s character fell short of its potential. It seemed like there should have been a lot more to his story, but that it was cut short. Additionally, after seeing Michelle Gomez’s amazing performance in these last 2 episodes, I thought this was another character that was severely under-utilized this season. It felt like we had been cheated all season, with only her tiny appearances here and there in random episodes. I think this season would have been more interesting had she had more screen time earlier on. As I have mentioned before, I was disappointed that Missy turned out to be the Master, because it was too obvious. Maybe had this information been revealed earlier in the season, rather than trying to make it a big reveal at the end of the season (which felt like a big letdown), then there could have been more interactions with her, at least from the audience’s perspective. As it was, these tiny teases were more of an annoyance than anything, because they were so small and slight as to not really have an impact on anything. I prefer when the overarching storyline has more to do with the weekly episodes, than to be something random thrown in.
In any case, I am looking forward to the Christmas special, and seeing the Doctor and Clara reunite, even if only for this one last episode!
Josh’s Thoughts: Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 12: Death in Heaven
So love seemed to be a big theme in the finale of Doctor Who, which is fine I guess. I guess the biggest problem I have with this theme is how it was utilized in a science fiction show. Most good sci-fi shows ground their movies in science, and try to “guess” what science would be for the future of humanity, or for more advanced civilization. If done well, it makes “sense”. Unfortunately, love is the only reason that certain people (Danny and the General) aren’t turned into mindless robots, which as Violet says seems awfully convenient for the plot. Unfortunately this has been a more noticeable trend for me in Doctor Who for me–“convenient” plot devices. Now I understand that all shows use plot devices, but ones done well fade into the background of the story for the most part–you barely even notice them if at all. Unfortunately in this episode, it sticks out pretty apparently.
Having said that, I really did like Danny’s character in the show, and I can’t think of many companions (or close friends of companions) that have died in the Doctor Who universe, and I thought that this one was a very good one, and a very sad one. Danny is one of the characters I would have liked to have seen more of, traveling with Clara and the Doctor. But how his part ended was pretty moving.
I did find it pretty odd that the Doctor was appointed essentially world leader when it came to dealing with Missy. I found it pretty surprising considering past episodes with UNIT weren’t as cooperative as the Doctor may like. Additionally, how does everyone know who the Doctor is? Apparently all of the world leaders do as of now. I would think these superpowers would try to capture the Doctor for their own end. After all, he has a time machine. How dangerous and powerful would that be in the wrong hands? I think that would be an interesting storyline for the Doctor–evading the evil superpowers trying to take his blue box!
All in all, I have a lot of mixed feelings about the season. As I complained all season, I really like the more cohesive stories. The two part story was my favorite part of the season, because it started to build a story finally.
We’ll have to see how the Christmas special is this year. I notoriously dislike all Doctor Who Christmas specials, and hope every year the next one will be better.
Scenes from Doctor Who Christmas Special: Last Christmas
Here are scenes from the next episode of Doctor Who, titled Last Christmas: