Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I went into this previous week’s episode of Doctor Who with some apprehension. It’s been a pretty amazing season with little to no hiccups, it would be a shame to have a bad finale. Actually it would be worse than a shame, because a bad finale seems to taint everything that came before it.
My worry and apprehension abated the moment that we discovered Danny Pink had been run over while crossing the street (oddly, I thought of the season opener to the League and how the exact same thing happened to a character over there). We whipped away by Clara on this mission to manipulate the Doctor to make him help her that ends in probably one of the best exchanges of all of New Doctor Who.
Clara: So what now? What do we do now. You and me, what happens now? (long pause while the Doctor messes with the TARDIS) Doctor?
The Doctor: Go to Hell.
Clara: Fair enough. Absolutely fair enough. (goes to leave)
The Doctor: (looking at her puzzelingly) Clara? You asked me what we’re going to do. I told you. We’re going to Hell…or wherever it is people go when they die if there is anywhere. Whatever it is we’re going to go there and we’re going to find Danny. And if it is in anyway possible we’re going to bring him home. Almost every culture in the universe has some concept of an afterlife. I always meant to have a look around see if I could find one.
Clara: You’re going to help me?
The Doctor: Why wouldn’t I help you?
Clara: Because of what I just did, I just…
The Doctor: You betrayed me. You betrayed our trust, you betrayed our friendship, you betrayed everything that I’ve ever stood for. You let me down!
Clara: Then why are you helping me?
The Doctor: Why? Do you think that I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?
This is the moment that I think I’ve been waiting for. There’s that defining moment of a Doctor’s tenure. With Ten and Eleven it came so early on and I think that’s what endeared people to them. We got the sword fight above London in Ten’s first episode and we got the speech in the Eleventh Hour by Eleven. Those things got us pumped for the new Doctor and let us know what kind of person we were dealing with. It let us know that underneath it all he’s the same and somehow different.
But Capaldi has been much more subtle in his characterization and I think this moment is the thing a lot of us were looking to see. I loved him before, but this solidifies him. I think that this and the very end are perhaps the most important parts of the episode. Clara throwing the keys into the lava seemed really damning and like it was something that would certainly end the Doctor’s ability to easily use his TARDIS, but the reveal of what he was really doing was far more interesting than being locked out of his ship again.
And on to the other important thing. I won’t even mention the plot until we know how that’s resolved and the Cybermen we knew were going to be around. The reveal of the Master being a female called the Mistress was something of a shock. When she said she was a Time Lady I suspected Romana or Susan for a split second. Both of which the Doctor left behind. But I would have hated to see evil Susan or evil Romana and the latter would have ruined continuity with the expanded universe. I’m glad it was the Master and I am glad Moffat is slapping people in the face with this idea that women and men can shift sex as Time Lords. It’s not something that will happen all of the time, but it’s something that we’ve been seeing get more mention and it reinforces the idea that we could get a female Doctor someday.
Michelle Gomez has been a fantastic actress and I believed her bit about being a droid earlier in the episode even though it didn’t fit with the stuff stated before this. I kind of thought it was a big fuck you to the people who let their whole existence hinge on these reveals and forget that some of these stories are more fun in the building.
What Clara has done could be grounds for her getting thrown out and what she’s going through could be grounds for her to leave. I think this is the end of her, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all up in the air and she might even be the first new Doctor Who companion to die for good. I know she gets a lot of shit and just let me say, even if I might be the only one saying it, I’ve loved Jenna’s time on the TARDIS and I’ve loved the way her character’s developed. When I first saw her in Asylum of the Dalek it was comforting to know she was taking the place of my favorite companion and I don’t feel like there’s been any real issues with her yet.
All that being said she might not even be going anywhere. I can’t wait till next Saturday now.