It is the pre-season finale for season 8 of Doctor Who, titled Dark Water, and The Doctor goes somewhere he hasn’t gone before. Clara also shows her dark side this episode, and we finally learn who Missy is. Curious? Check out our recap, and also our thoughts on this episode (including our thoughts on the cremation aspect of this episode! Scandalous!)
Don’t need the Doctor Who episode recap for Dark Water? Click here to jump directly to Violet’s thoughts on the episode!
To see Josh’s thoughts on this week’s Doctor Who episode, Dark Water, click here to get directly there!
Episode Recap of Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 11: Dark Water
This episode of Doctor Who was a bit of an intense one, and the opening especially gives us a glimpse into Clara’s psyche regarding the Doctor. The episode opens up all happy with Clara talking to Dan about their relationship. Dan, meanwhile, is walking down the road, and seems a little perplexed with Clara’s conversation, as Clara seems to be hinting at taking their relationship to the next level. But suddenly the phone goes dead for Clara, and after a few seconds a woman appears on the line. The woman tells Clara the phone was found on the ground, next to a man who had been hit by a car.
Clara, concerned, races to the scene, and finds that Dan is sadly, indeed dead. This puts Clara into a haze, and she doesn’t seem to quite know how to process the emotions. She even turns a little cold, and when talking about Dan’s death describes it as “boring”. Not sad, or even unfortunate, but mundane. It is a weird attitude, but she certainly seems frozen, and unable to process what has happened.
She then goes off on a trip with the Doctor, and seems quite aloof. She tells the Doctor she wants to go somewhere with lava. She also asks for some sleep medicine because she has had trouble sleeping, but he refuses to give her any. Clara moves about the TARDIS looking for something, but we are not quite sure what—yet. But Clara does find some sleep aides, and surprisingly uses them on the Doctor.
In the next scene, we see that the Doctor is waking up with Clara standing over him. We find that what Clara was looking for in the TARDIS was the keys to it. She finds all seven, and threatens to throw them into the lava if the Doctor refuses to help her go back in time to save him. The Doctor repeatedly refuses, and one by one the keys wind up in he lava, until there are no keys left. Clara breaks down realizing what she has done, but the Doctor as usual is one step ahead.
Turns out the Doctor had used a dream-inducing drug on Clara, to see what Clara’s plan was. Clara is ashamed of what happened, and is about to leave the TARDIS. The Doctor stops her, and despite Clara’s betrayal, wants to help. He tells Clara they will go to Hell to find him. So, Clara does the thing where she thinks about a person really hard, and the TARDIS takes them there. So, to Hell they go.
Meanwhile, We see Dan wake up in “Hell”, or the “Promised Land”. Dan meets Seb for his “orientation”. Dan isn’t sure where he is, and doesn’t believe that he is actually dead but Seb reassures him—he is dead.
Seb continues his “pitch” about the Afterlife, explaining that death is kind of like what a child experiences when they are born—their “previous life” was that of the womb, then that life ends, and they’re in this world. He portrays it as a continuation of that. Seb then questions Dan about his previous life—and specifically asks him Dan has killed anyone. It turns out he has, a small child that he accidentally gunned down. Dan then is sat down with this boy in the afterlife, and Dan tries to apologize. The child becomes freaked though, and runs off.
So Dan has periodically mentioned that he has been cold, and Seb finally provides an explanation for that—in the afterlife, people’s bodies still feel after death. Dan’s body is in a freezer, so that’s why he feels cold. Then Seb also brings up cremation—indicating that he will feel that too.
So as all this is happening to Dan, Clara and Danny have made their way to Hell, AKA 3W, and we see it is a sort of mausoleum. There are skeletons just sitting in chairs, in water tanks–a very creepy scene indeed. So Missy then reveals herself, and plants a “greeting kiss” on the Doctor’s lips. She turns to Clara, but she declines politely. Missy tells the Doctor she is a robot, and he tries to figure out who operates/maintains her. She plays coy for a while, but reveals Dr. Chang is in charge. Dr. Chang explains their tanks a little more—and shows us X-Ray water, which shows organic material only—everything else is invisible.
So now Dan and Clara’s storylines sort of meet up, as Clara is able to call Dan. The Doctor feels like something is amiss though, and warns Clara to be sure she is talking to Dan, and not some sort of fake.
But things ramp up quickly when Missy reveals herself—she is actually the Master, and to ramp things up even more—the skeletons in the water tanks are actually Cybermen. Then the Master reveals where they are-St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Doctor tries to warn people, but they seem uniterested. Clara is also attacked by Cybermen, but seems to be stuck, due to a locked door. Dan has also said for her to let him go, as she would have to die for them to reunite.
The episode ends with Cybermen taking to the streets, and the Master gloating over his/her victory.
Josh’s Thoughts: Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 11: Dark Water
So, after looking up other people’s thoughts on this episode, I discovered the “controversy” that seems to have overshadowed this episode. The controversy? The discussion of people feeling cremation after death. It seems many people are infuriated, or at least ticked that Stephen Moffat would insinuate such a thing.
Here is what I have to say about this: Really? People are actually up in arms about this? Does Stephen Moffat know something more about the afterlife than anyone else? My point here is, this is a science fiction show, with “fiction” being the big word here. Stephen Moffat and other writers for the show have made all sorts of weird speculations about science and the way the world is (the moon is a gigantic egg, trees can grow in the course of a day to stop solar flares, and these are just recent examples). Just because Moffat says something, doesn’t mean that it is true. And even if it were true, does that make it Stephen Moffat’s fault? Moffat is not able to dictate how the way the world works, just because he writes an episode of Doctor Who.
On top of all that, we haven’t even seen the full story on this episode. There has to be something more to what is going on here, than simply death. Perhaps it is death, but I am wondering if there is something else going on here. I mean, if I were to get up in arms about this episode like many others have, it would be that the afterlife sure isn’t like most major religions would imagine it. But again, this is a fictional show, and we don’t even know the full story on all this yet, and Moffat is welcome to make up any sort of afterlife he wants. Calm down people!
As for the big reveal—Missy being the Master—I think this was figured out pretty early on with the introduction for the character. It seemed like it was supposed to be a big “a ha!” moment, but it sort of felt flat since it was pretty obvious who Missy was.
I actually thought the most interesting part of this episode was the scene with Clara burning the keys of the TARDIS. I actually really liked that scene, and was a little disappointed when it was revealed as a dream. I thought it would be kind of neat having a companion go rogue, and stand up to the Doctor. Alas, it was all a dream. It certainly seems odd that the Doctor would still want to help Clara. It almost seems condescending in a way, because the Doctor almost seems to be saying, “your petty attempt to screw me over was lame, so not-dangerous, it’s not even work thinking about”.
So, we will have to see where the second half of the finale takes us. It was a pretty good first half, so hopefully the second half can punctuate the first. I guess we will have to see!
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 8 Episode 11 of Doctor Who: Dark Water
As I was watching this episode, I was thinking, YES, finally, THIS is what we’ve been waiting for. Compared to this, almost all the other episodes felt like filler all season, other than Episode 4, Listen. In fact, you could pretty much watch Episode 1, then 4, and then skip to this episode without having missed anything all that important. This was one of those amazing Doctor Who episodes that caught my attention at the beginning, and did not let go until the end.
However, I was a little disappointed that Missy did in fact turn out to be the Master, only because it was too easy of a solution. I think that most people thought from the beginning that that’s who Missy was, so I was hoping it would be something more interesting. It’s like this season is the polar opposite of last season, where there was some overarching secret going on throughout the season that you couldn’t have possibly figured out on your own when Clara was revealed to be the “Impossible Girl,” whereas this season it was TOO easy to figure out that Missy was the Master. Can we get something in between please? Something that will blow our minds without being impossible or too easy to figure out? K, thanks. Maybe next season we’ll get this in between.
But I guess I shouldn’t speak too soon, as we still have the final episode of this season to watch! Maybe there is something more to this supposed “Promised Land” after all…
Scenes from Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 12: Death in Heaven
Here are scenes from next week’s Doctor Who episode titled Death in Heaven: