Wow! What a season of Doctor Who! Overall, I thought that this season was super fun, due largely in part to Bill’s presence.
Also, the next Doctor has been announced and IT’S A GIRL! Jodie Whittaker we recently announced as the next regeneration of our favorite Time Lord, and I could not be more excited.
Spoilers after the break!
The following two episodes after the monk trilogy were more of the “monster of the week” variety, which I’ve always enjoyed. However, I was distracted while watching them because I knew that the greater plot with Missy had to be ramping up soon, and I kept thinking that she would show up at any second.
“Empress of Mars” and “The Eaters of Light” were great episodes, but they were there to get Missy out of the cage and to get MIssy to stay out of the cage. It sort of felt like they had already written both episodes, and then remembered that they had to fit Missy in there somewhere, which made it a little awkward.
Not to say that these episodes weren’t a ton of fun! In fact, I really enjoyed them both as they hearkened back to the feeling of the first half of the season. However, I could definitely tell that they were serving to get Missy into the picture. Gone are the episodes where we just get to have fun with Doctor and Bill.
The finale was a crazy 2-part adventure where The Doctor takes Missy on a test run to become good (against Bill’s wishes). The Doctor drops Missy, Bill, and Nardole off on an enormous spaceship that is fighting being sucked into a black hole. Once they land, an alien comes out and demands to know one of them is human and threatens to shoot Bill and The Doctor tries to intervene. Despite the protests, he shoots Bill right in the chest. Almost immediately, creatures arrive on the elevators in the back of the room. They take Bill, saying that they can fix her but they will not return. The Doctor leaves a psychic message for Bill telling her to wait.
And that’s what she does. Waking up in a very scary hospital with a machine in her chest, she makes friends with a man Razor who works there and waits for The Doctor. To be fair, she is incapable of leaving the hospital without the machine replacing her heart failing. Instead, she spends her days watching the events back at the top of the ship (which are moving in very slow motion thanks to the black hole’s proximity) and trying to figure out what is going on with the patients in the hospital, who seem to be in a tremendous amount of pain. Just as The Doctor, Nardole, and Missy make it to the bottom floor of the ship, Razor tricks Bill into going into the “conversion chamber”. Confronting The Doctor, Razor reveals himself to be The Master, and that he has converted Bill into a Cyberman.
The next episode opens with Missy and the Master bonding and seemingly teaming up against The Doctor. With some help from Nardole and Cyber-Bill, everyone escapes several hundred floors up where time moves slower.
Most of the episode deals with Bill coming to terms with the fact that she is a Cyberman, The Doctor holding out hope that the procedure can be reversed because Bill still retains her memories and can cry, and The Master and Missy having a grand old time amongst themselves, all while the group helps the villagers on the floor prepare for the eventual Cyberman attack.
And attack they do, only because time moves faster on the bottom floor the villagers are now facing off the modern day Cyberman instead of the original version Bill has been turned into. Things seem hopeless, and Missy and The Master flee as The Doctor begs them to stay and help. Before The Master gets on the elevators, Missy stabs him. She’s wounded him so that he will be able to make it to his TARDIS before he regenerates, but she is going to return to help The Doctor. Unable to accept that he will eventually side with The Doctor, The Master shoots Missy (all the way) dead.
Nardole is sent to another floor with the children and tearfully bids goodbye to The Doctor and Bill who intend to stay behind and blow up the entire floor. And after a very heartfelt goodbye to each other, that’s exactly what they do. Afterward, a badly injured Bill mourns over The Doctors body, and then suddenly finds herself human! Heather (the puddle girl from the pilot) appears. Apparently, Heather found Bill by her tears and turned her into whatever it is that Heather is. They leave The Doctor in the TARDIS and fly off into space together.
The Doctor dreams of past companions and wakes up to see he is regenerating.Yelling out words from his past incarnations, he lands on a snowy planet and is met by his original form (wonderfully played by David Bradley).
This finale was heart-wrenching. Saying goodbye to a companion is never fun, but this was quite the sucker punch. First off, The Doctor got Bill killed trying to turn Missy good. And on top of that, Bill told the Doctor the whole endeavor was a bad idea and made him promise not to get her killed in the process! Loosing Nardole, Missy, The Mater, Bill AND starting the regeneration process in one finale was quite a lot to handle.
Overall, this season has been my favorite for a long while. It was fresh, fun, endearing and not overly complicated. My least favorite episodes were the ones that hearkened back to the past few seasons, and everything got all crisscrossed and convoluted. It was also super fun to have John Simm back as The Master.
My biggest problem with this season as a whole is that Bill’s involvement in the season’s biggest moments plot-wise involved her waiting for The Doctor.
When the monks took over, she gave them permission and then….. she waited for The Doctor. When she was in the hospital, she was just waiting for The Doctor! She waited around for years! I didn’t think that any companion’s departure would upset me more than Donna’s but this one just might. I’m very upset Bill was turned into a Cyberman and also upset that it seems she’s only staying around one season. However, I do very much appreciate that Moffat left the door open for her to return.
Moffat has always been known for being a Who fan, and that being said, Capaldi deserved a better goodbye speech. Hopefully, he will get it in the finale, because what he got in the finale felt like a “best of” rendition where he said everybody else’s best lines before he got to deliver his own.
I was not looking forward to the last year’s Christmas special and didn’t watch it. This year, I am anxiously awaiting what will happen to The Doctor, as well as looking forward to seeing a lady Doctor onscreen.