A Day Late Review of “Death in Heaven”-Doctor Who Series 8

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Here it is, the finale, the last part of the finale, the finale to the finale for series 8 of Doctor Who. Last week we got “Dark Water,” and you can see my review of that here. Now we get all the answers to our questions in the thrilling conclusion, is what I should be writing right now.  But I’m not.  “Death in Heaven” epitomizes Doctor Who in Steven Moffat era: Lots of build up, little reward.  It felt like so many of the Matt Smith story lines, which makes sense since it was the Doctor who changed, not the people writing and running the show.  Of course, it wasn’t all bad. Following my same format, I am going to give you the good, the bad, and my final verdict.  As always, I am assuming you have seen the episode, so there will be spoilers.  If you are trying to avoid spoilers, please don’t read on.

The Good

The episode finally seemed to have a good Clara mix in it.  It reminded me of why I used to like her quite a bit, which is a big change from the rest of the season when it seemed like they were trying to get us to not like Clara at all.  Even if they weren’t trying, they were succeeding.  This episode reminded me that for the most part, she was a fine companion, and I could almost excuse her recent not fineness.  Almost.  It wasn’t all good from Clara, but it was enough.

We did get at least one question answered.  The question everyone was speculating about.  Missy was the woman in the shop who gave Clara the Doctor’s number, all the way back in “Bells of St. John.” Thank goodness that question was answered.  Sadly, it was the only one that was well answered.

I really wish that I could say here that this episode really did a great job of wrapping up the whole series 8, and was a great finale.  I can’t say that.  The whole series had an almost obsession with robots that was not explained.  They were all looking for the “Promised Land,” and although Seb says that the cloud they are all in is the Promised Land, we don’t see the robots playing any role whatever in the finale.  Anyway, not to go on, because not wrapping up the series really falls under the bad, and not the good.

The Bad

Did you ever put off a major school project or paper until the very end?  The paper is due the next day, and you decide to start it that night?  I have a feeling Steven Moffat has done that, because it feels like that is how he does his finale’s.  The sad part is that he spends so much of the series building up to the finale and throws in so many questions for us to make us curious, and then doesn’t deliver on half of them.  This finale is classic Moffat, then.  I was hoping for some kind of connection between all the robots and the afterlife, but they were never mentioned.  I was hoping for an explanation of why the Cybermen and the Master (sorry, Mistress) were working together, and got one, but it was lame and half thought out.  These are the kinds of things that should be better planned, but they weren’t.  Missy spends all this time trying to create an army for the Doctor?  Just to try to convince him that he is just like her?  It makes the Master character look desperate and obsessive, and not at all the equal to the Doctor that the character should be.  I always wondered why Moffat never had number 11 square off against the Master. Now I get it, Moffat has no idea how to write the character.

Death.  So much needless, pointless death.  Danny Pink is probably the most justified death from the story stand point.  The unfortunate thing with that is that he dies multiple times.  So that ‘s always fun.  Then there is Osgood.  Why bring her back for the finale just to kill her for no reason.  None, whatsoever.  It was not crucial to the story, and it just seemed like a waste of a likable side character.  The Master/Mistress is another great example of dying just for dying’s sake.  Is that really how it ends for the Master/Mistress?  The Brigadier shoots her in his Cyberman form?  And then read that last sentence.  Really?  You are going to bring back one of the most beloved characters from the history of Doctor Who as a Cyberman?  Just didn’t feel right to me.

The ending.  Can we drag out Clara leaving anymore?  I mean, seriously, she’s been threatening it since “Mummy on the Orient Express,” and they have been dragging it out since.  The scene in the coffee shop at the end of the episode was just bad, and obviously it couldn’t end with the two of them lying to each other, but for a moment it appeared to.  Then Santa shows up, and gives each of us a giant lump of coal for Christmas in the form of yet another final Clara adventure for the Christmas special.  Just make it stop, already.  Let’s all just move on.

The Final Verdict

I am a big believer that you need to watch every episode to get the whole story.  That is especially true for finale’s.  I just wish we didn’t have to suffer through this one.  There were way too many things going on in the episode, too many loose ends to be tied up, and it felt that way.  The master regenerating into a woman is now part of canon, which is fine.  I just wish the character would not have been so wasted.  Is the Master really dead now?  Was that the last we will see of him/her? Plus, we don’t get word one of Gallifrey this series until this episode, and what we get here was almost an afterthought.  Oh yeah, I did mention Gallifrey isn’t really destroyed last year.  Better write it into the finale.  The whole thing was laced with good intentions, and then just poorly executed.  I would say, you are required to watch it simply because it is the finale, but you are not required to enjoy it.

Jake Dietz

Jake Dietz is a humble bank employee by day, and super dad to 5 little monsters by night. He enjoys all things geeky. That’s why he started this blog. He considers himself a member of many fandoms, and dreams of the day when all geeks, everywhere, can find a way to live together in harmony.


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