Episode 10 – IN THE FOREST OF THE NIGHT

Series eight definitely hit an incredibly low point here in an episode that I find excruciating to watch. The story focussed on the school girl Maebh who was extremely annoying throughout. The TARDIS speaking like a SatNav was a little feature I didn’t like. All of the school kids in the TARDIS made this episode feel like another show, not Doctor Who. For a lot of the episode, the biggest threat was a missing child which just bored me. The escapees from London Zoo were only in there to add some sort of danger but as Danny managed to scare a pathetic tiger away by shining a light, they laughably lost the threat they were meant to pose. The trees growing so quickly to protect the Earth didn’t make any sense either. Surely they’d grow over time to defend Earth from the solar flare? Basically if the Doctor and co. weren’t present, exactly the same scenario would’ve played out. The trees protected the Earth and by the end of the episode I felt as though I’d wasted forty five minutes watching something that was inevitable. I can’t find anything I like about this episode sadly. 1/10

Episode 11 – DARK WATER

For an episode where so little actually happens, this is a strangely enthralling watch. Basically, Danny dies, the Doctor and Clara go looking for him and discover an army of Cybermen. This could’ve been done in ten or fifteen minutes, but the way it was directed and acted made it impossible to take your eyes off. Danny’s death was a bit simple, getting hit by a car rather summed up his boring character. After that though, it was excitement all the way through. Clara seemingly left her and the Doctor stranded on a volcano after throwing all of the Doctor’s TARDIS keys into lava in a stunning start to the story. The Doctor had induced a dream state to let the situation play out which was a clever way to resolve this. We saw how much the Doctor cared for Clara as he said to her: “Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?” This was a rare and welcome show of emotion and love from the twelfth Doctor which was lovely to see. I’m glad that the afterlife never really existed. I think seeing an afterlife in Doctor Who would’ve been slightly too far. Saving dying people to a data cloud that was bigger on the inside was quite a clever way of keeping Danny and Clara in contact during the episode. Chris Addison’s portrayal of Seb was very amusing as he talked Danny through his experience in the cloud. The “Don’t Cremate Me” line got a lot of criticism at the time but I thought it was brilliantly dark. It’s a fantasy show and the intention was never to offend or upset anyone so I don’t see why it drew so much attention. The dead being able to transmit the message through television was a bit dubious however. The dark water concept was a clever way of hiding the Cybermen from plain sight initially. I loved the little sound bite of their theme halfway through the episode as the Doctor uttered: “Who would harvest dead bodies?” It was a great way of telling the fans the Cybermen were about and the Doctor didn’t know yet. Missy murdered Doctor Chang brutally and confirmed her status as the finale’s villain. If you gave her identity a great deal of thought prior to this episode then you could’ve worked out Missy was a female incarnation of the Master. That didn’t take anything way from how jaw dropping the reveal of her identity actually was, in a fantastic finish to part one of the finale. It set up the conclusion to the series very well as Missy had an army of Cybermen at her disposal. 8/10

Episode 12 – DEATH IN HEAVEN

As if Missy’s reveal as the Master wasn’t shocking enough, this episode started with Clara claiming her identity was an invention and she was the Doctor. This was something I didn’t like though. Although it was a clever way for Clara to avoid being deleted, I think the viewers should’ve been somehow in on the truth as it was a distraction from the main plot of Missy and the Cybermen. I must sound like a broken record by now but this was a story written by Moffat that had so much to like yet so much to frustrate. The Cybermen “pollenating” graveyards and morgues was just ridiculous. Since when could Cybermen “upgrade” people like this? To be honest their inclusion in the story wasn’t needed. Another species should’ve been used. The Cybermen are a hugely powerful race who shouldn’t be controlled by anyone. The Doctor managing to open the TARDIS doors while plummeting from a plane was ludicrous and Missy’s Mary Poppins style entrance to the graveyard got on my nerves. Missy’s overall motive to give the Doctor an army as a birthday present was lacklustre too. For a first appearance this was disappointing as she didn’t really cement herself as the evil incarnation she should have. Danny overcoming his emotional inhibitor due to his love for Clara was close to obscene. Was Moffat trying to suggest no other humans loved somebody? It didn’t make sense at all how Danny could do this and that made the ending where the Cybermen blew themselves up on Danny’s command completely invalid. There were some great moments too though. Missy murdering Osgood in cold blood was fantastic and really made Missy seem like a threat at that point. The Doctor’s rage at not finding Gallifrey was an emotional scene and seeing him violently lash out at the TARDIS was quite moving. Clara and the Doctor’s lies to each other would’ve been a great and heartbreaking end for the pair but of course this was made redundant in Last Christmas. Overall this finale kept the dark and spooky tone from the previous episode but there were too many stupid moments and concepts to make it a satisfying story. 6/10

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