This is a review of a post UK broadcast of Doctor Who: The Doctor Falls. River Song always warned the Doctor about spoilers, so watch the episode first. doctor whoseason 10, airs Saturdays at 6:30pm UK time on BBC One and 9pm EDT on BBC America.
Bookends are a common theme in the final episode of Season 10 of doctor who-the reading material between places Missy and the Master in the same time stream, and the 12e Doctor and, tantalizingly enough, the first Doctor also clash in the closing moments of The doctor falls.
And the seed was there from the very beginning of Steven Moffat’s swan song season at the helm of doctor who. “Never underestimate being in love,” the doctor (Peter Capaldi) tells Bill (Pearl Mackie) in The pilot, after he manages to fend off the increasingly advancing, dripping gothic monster Heather (Stephanie Hyam). In The doctor fallsHeather returns to bring Bill back to life and mend her broken heart. All the while, Bill is oblivious to the fact that the Time Lord is still alive, albeit mortally wounded.
It also means we’re once again seeing a companion exploring time and space with a sidekick who isn’t the Doctor. A similar idea was planted at the end of Clara Oswald’s doctor who storyline. She was last seen driving off in a stolen TARDIS with me. Can these worlds somehow be stitched together to form a new female-led spin-off? “Will the future be all girls?” asks the master (John Simms). “We can only hope,” replies the doctor.
Also intriguing is Bill’s call to the doctor to regenerate as a young woman next time. Is this explicit request there to see how it plays out among the fans? Or have the producers already packed their Doctor? (I’d love to see Zawe Ashton in the role.)
We are definitely seeing a major reboot of doctor who is now underway – thrilling through the prism of the enhanced, viral Mondasian Cybermen. And by cleverly bringing it back to the beginning with William Hartnell’s original Doctor, here played by David Bradley, the intent is clear about which way the next series will go for showrunner Chris Chibnall: it won’t be business as usual.
Bill can be put off for good, Nardole (Matt Lucas) has to look after some people for seemingly an eternity, and the Doctor needs some serious help to bring himself back to factory settings, which leaves a fresh face yet to be revealed. All of this promises a much better Christmas special for last year’s thin superhero pastiche The Return of Doctor Mysteriothat’s for sure.
While The doctor falls– deftly directed by Rachel Talalay and written by Moffat – was a pretty strong exit for what has been a duff-in-places series, it’s disappointing that the Master and Missy (Michelle Gomez) symmetry isn’t getting more screen time. The return of the master is not blockbuster enough for me, even with good versus evil Superman III undertones in his brash conversations with Missy.
I like that they wipe each other out in a pure, ridiculous, underhanded way, although I have a little bit of melancholy about Missy’s demise. It seems to indicate that the Master is regenerating into someone new. Gomez’s contract is up and Simms looks set to move on rather than return for good.
A lot of action was squeezed into this hour of solid television, after we saw the doctor sitting counterclockwise World enough and time-the bunch’s best episode of this season. But Moffats decides to pack it up so hard, not only with the battle between Missy and the Master, but also with the onslaught of the Mondasian Cybermen, a heartbroken CyberBill (or RoboMop), and a small group of bumpkin who lived on a starship. , meant the whole thing felt a little suffocating at times.
The Doctor and his impending regeneration are a bit lost in the noise of this episode, even though Capaldi continues to put in a great performance. It’s really a relief that the public has a first look at the 13 . is savede Doctor. We need bellies full of roast turkey/geese/nuts for that big reveal, which will be the final episode of Moffat. doctor who.
But what about the appearance of the original Doctor here? It would be strange if Chibnall’s reboot for season 11 means literally returning to the very beginning of the show. So presumably Bradley’s Doctor is only here to provoke the next version of the beloved Time Lord, rather than sit in it for the long game.
We’ve also seen the new version of the Doctor’s regenerative abilities: in this series, he’s been able to avoid turning into someone else – for now. In 2013 The time of the doctorIn particular, he was given a new cycle of regenerations and a different way of controlling those forces. Could we finally see a very different taste of regeneration at Christmas time?
Despite some sloppy plot points, rushed storylines, guaranteed characters, crappy monsters, and too much exposition (phew!), I enjoyed season 10 of doctor who. Capaldi has been a great doctor and brought in the same gravitas as Tom Baker with an extra bit of enthusiasm. Bill is one of the best companions of all time for me, and Nardole grew on me as the series progressed. But Missy came into the picture too short to eventually be killed off at the end, while Simms’ Master was fiendishly free to regenerate no doubt super villain style.
To paraphrase the doctor, new faces — like sewage, smartphones, and Donald Trump — are just inevitable. Get over it!
Read all our reviews of season 10 of doctor who…
Listing image by Simon Ridgway/Ray Burmiston/BBC