daibhidc: (Doctor Who)
Daibhid C ([personal profile] daibhidc) wrote2017-07-01 08:55 pm
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The Doctor Falls

Holy flipping HECK.

Just to get them out of the way, two things that disappointed me. Having built up the whole "New vs Old" Cyberwar in my head over the past week, it turns out that actually, the Mondasians have just jumped straight from "Tenth Planet" to "Reign of Steel" without passing through "Moonbase" to "Silver Nemesis" first. Which is fine, I guess, but I was really invested in my headcanon there.

(But! Other headcanon confirmed! My theory about making this consistent with Big Finish's Spare Parts was that actually, the colony-ship Cybermen weren't the actual "Tenth Planet" Cybermen, it was just that creating Cybermen was the Mondasians' immediate reaction to a crisis. And this fits perfectly with what we see here; that firstly, the Cybermen clearly don't return to Mondas and thence to Earth, and secondly the Doctor saying that Cybermen are something of a universal constant. [And namechecking Marinus, in what is surely a reference to that Grant Morrison comic where Marinus is Mondas is Planet 14.] So yeah, I'm taking that one, and Spare Parts is still canon.)

The second thing I wasn't keen on was the idea Bill was a brain in a robot. I mean, last week really seemed to get that the Mondasian Cybermen weren't a brain in a robot, they were a person with additions. But that would make it far too easy to de-Cyber her, so we're back to the Lumic method. Ah, well.

The Masters flirting was brilliantly done, with just the right undercurrent of "Yes, there's something very wrong about this. We're the Master, what's your point?" And I loved Missy clearly not even being sure herself if she was on the Doctor's side the whole time, or just played the odds when he turned the tables. Simm was also clearly relishing playing the Master again, and one who has never even considered repenting so the Doctor would be his friend again, even a little bit.

The solar farm - which I assumed last week was just a throwaway reference - was brilliantly realised, with the cyber-scarecrows[1]. And then we get Bill in the barn and, just for a moment, and since it's before the they're-brains-in-robots-now reveal, I thought "Okay, that's sorted out then. Bit weird they're still scared of her, but I guess they saw her when she was cyber-converted. Hang on, what's the mirror about...?"

Damn you Moffat. Going the "Oswin was a Dalek the whole time" route when we know Bill was a Cyberman really shouldn't work. But it does.

Valiant attempt to make the Monk Trilogy relevant to anything ever by using "Lie of the Land" as a previous example of Bill's mental resiliance. And if "Lie of the Land" hadn't been terrible on every level, it might even have worked.

Nardole gets one last moment of brilliance, coming up with the plan to take down the Cybermen. (Oh, another criticism I'm afraid - saying he's still licenced to kick Bill's arse, a reference to a conversation that didn't happen because it was a computer simulation. Ugh, even the decent episode of the Monk Trilogy always spoils everything.)

The Doctor's speech to the Masters was excellent, as were their reactions; Simmaster just has no idea what he's talking about and Missy does, but can't quite act on it. And for a moment, I thought that was how her story would end - back to being bad not because she relishes evil like her previous self, but because she tried to be good and blinked.

Instead, she does try to go back and the Masters finally betray each other, leaving Saxon to regenerate into Missy, and Missy to absolutely definitely die and never be seen again. (Yeah, sure. Michelle Gomez may not be returning - which is an absolute crime - but the Master will be, eventually, with as much explanation as ever.)

(On which note, it's kind of amusing that Moffatt offers at least the bare bones of an explanation as to how Simmaster has returned, after intentionally going the "So you escaped from Castrovalva" route with Missy.)

And Heather! Back at the start of the season I had a vague idea that Heather Would Return. Then I forgot about it. Now she's back to magic-water Bill to herself and then magic-water them back to the TARDIS. (Using "magic-water" as a verb sounds a bit sarcastic, but honestly I'm fine with this. Heather's powers have previously been established as a bit deus-ex-machina-y, so actually using them for your deus ex machina is at least nothing Chekov could complain about.)

So farewell Bill, now off to roam the stars with a different traveller. And farewell Nardole, looking after the Kids from Mondasian Street. Even knowing how much Moffatt hates killing characters, I'm still surprised we got through this one with all the leads alive. Oh, except Missy (cough).

Oh, and except the Doctor, although having had his no-regenerating-this-time death magic-watered away, he appears to be fending off the regeneration through sheer force of will. So he hasn't actually died yet either.

The not-regeneration ... a fun mix of classic ("Sontarans perverting history") and new ("The Doctor was me" and - of course - "I don't want to go") quotes. We also get a bunch of companions saying the Doctor's name, ending with Missy, which I take to be a nod to "Caves of Androzani".

And then, the determinedly not-regenerating Doctor wanders into the snow and someone else is there, who claims to be the Doctor, and I've got a vague feeling that maybe Moffatt is going to do "The Next Doctor" with an actual next Doctor, but that voice sounds very familiar ... David Bradley as William Hartnell as the First Doctor, complete with furry hat! Holy, as I said to begin with, flipping HECK!

[1] It briefly concerned me that there was a bustling community with kids on a colony ship that hadn't picked up any colonists yet. But then I remembered that while time may not be going as fast as in CyberCity, it's still going a heck of a lot faster than on the bridge. I'm still not sure where they got a horse from, though.