Humble apologies are perhaps in order. It has taken me more than a few days to reach a final verdict on ‘Death in Heaven’ and bring myself to review it. Last Saturday’s doom ‘n’ gloom-fest proved quite overwhelming and left me decidedly depressed. Instead of writing my usual review and plunging both myself and fandom further into depression, last week I posted some glad tidings from overseas, in the hope of raising everyone’s spirits. I would rewatch the episode later.
But now, one week on, a second serving of the series finale isn’t heaven at all, but more a case of death warmed up – exactly how the episode still makes me feel.
The story might have been thrilling, brimming with drama and action – most befitting of a series finale, but death isn’t the jolliest of subjects and the idea of one’s dearly departed suffering in the afterlife is hardly pleasant either. The sight of Danny’s stretched and tortured face was grisly and disturbing – perhaps it reminded viewers of that gory Cyberclunker episode from Torchwood. Reducing the loved and revered Brigadier Alaistair Lethbridge Stewart to a Cyberman was inappropriate and arguably an offence to his memory. In “Battlefield” the Seventh Doctor had despaired, “You were supposed to die in bed!” and until last Saturday we were reassured that it was so.
Another who fell victim to Missy was the endearingly dippy Osgood. The outpouring of fan grief at her demise showed what a surprisingly loved character she had been – after a mere two episodes. Isn’t it now obvious who the next companion should be? After all, that was a Zygon being zapped, wasn’t it? Please, Mr Moffat, say it was so!
If our beloved show-runner needed to let viewers know how evil Missy was, there could have been another way. What is writer’s shorthand for nasty? Pulling a horrid face at a baby in a pram? Scaring a cute puppy? Being mean to Clara’s gran? Threatening to do “something ‘orrible” to someone’s ears? All Missy had to do was bump off some random folk. A unloved UNIT soldier here. A solitary shopper there.
In the best tradition of Monty Python, let’s look on bright side of “Death”. Missy is a glorious recipe of nuts, fruitcake and bananas. I’m glad she’s back in Series 9, though I’m hoping for a new look. No criticism of the Mary Poppins make-over, but variety is the spice of life and there is plenty of mileage and novelty value in a new wardrobe every time she reappears. She could recreate iconic females. Dressed as Thatcher perhaps? What about a killer Kylie?
Danny has gone. Adventures with the Doctor do seem a great deal more dangerous, now that we know what fate can befall a companion. The Twelfth and Clara are no longer Earth-bound and are free to fly off and enjoy their adventures in time and space. And if Ms Oswald misses her gran, then bring her along too!
What about the Doctor? It needs reiterating. Capaldi’s real-life wit and charm need to be written into the character. I admire his performance, but I want to like the Doctor again.
Moffat should completely throw the switch in the other direction for Series 9, providing it with a desperately needed injection of laughter and fun. I’m all in favour of the experimental nature of Series 8. It has shown that Doctor Who can explore new ground and be anything it wants. It’s just that, after watching an episode, I want to feel happy.
Will Santa set the (snow) ball rolling? Judging by Children in Need last night, I doubt it. Santa and his elves looked a little bit sneaky, to say the least. If only he would perform some Christmas magic and bring back Osgood and even more importantly give us a ‘Brig’ red reset button – see what I did there?
Doctor Who needs to be fun again. The Fourth and Sarah. Ten and Rose. This Christmas, I want life, love and laughter. Our show, as we knew it.
Moff, make my wish come true. All I want for Christmas is Who.