The Doctor Falls - WNAR #116

Welcome to Who New and review, a podcast from the Galactic Network

So as with all my reviews I will give the synopsis – what you mean that wasn’t the synopsis. The good bits, the bad bits. The most whoniversal bit and then my rambling musings.

The Doctor makes a final stand against an army of Cybermen to protect a tiny band of humans from destruction.

Good bits - master missy and doctor at the lift. Stellar performance from all

Bad bits - bills savior 

Whoniversal bit - that ending though

For much of The Doctor Falls, it really looked as if Bill – one of the absolute triumphs of the series – was doomed. We thought Clara was doomed last series too, but Bill especially so. After all, Bill was turned into a Mondassian Cyberman at the end of World Enough And Time, but what I wasn't expecting was for her to spend pretty much the entire episode in that state. The point of view switching between Mackie and the Cyberman, as she gradually realised what she’d become, was really nicely handled too. Mackie, in turn, delivered her best performance to date, and that’s against some pretty stuff competition. The sense of dread and the growing appreciation of what Bill had become was superbly conveyed.

at the heart of all of this was Peter Capaldi. The majestic, wonderful, brilliant Peter Capaldi. If you needed a reminder of just how much he’s going to be missed when he finally departs Doctor Who at the end of the year, his outstanding work here was precisely that. When he was blasted, apparently mortally, and he kept holding off his regeneration (a power that we’ve not really seen before, even though it's been established in Who lore - see the geeky spots article for more on that), I found myself saying out loud “I don’t want you to go”.His final episode at Christmas will seemingly see himself – and Steven Moffat – wrapped heavily in very early Doctor Who too, with the appearance of David Bradley as the first and original Doctor (a spoiler that wasn’t announced by the BBC, but was revealed anyway, which offers a mini-audit of just what theWhopress office is up against). Why has the TARDIS taken Capaldi's Doctor to the end of the character's first generation, and is there a precise reason he was holding off the regeneration? Good question. Was he just scared, and/or not wanting to go through it. Quite probably. The answer may be deeper, though.

Things have been left with both Simm’s Master and Missy seemingly on the way out, and the option to regenerate gone. But this being Doctor Who, there’s no such thing as a story dead end like that. Perhaps that's why the episode didn't really dwell on it any longer than necessary. What's more, the Master/Missy narrative seemed pretty incidental to the series in the end to me, and that’s a disappointment too, given that the idea of Missy in the vault was written through the heart of this run (at least in the earlier stages). I’m not quite sure why, in hindsight. It feels like the story there was only three quarters told. There were threads teased – Missy going good, and the possibility that there was a regeneration between Simm’s Master and Missy.

The cybermen sort of lost their effectiveness but I did like the concept of a time dilatation ship. It will be interesting to see if we get mondas cybermen again and if nardol appears once more.   I'm pleased they didn't kill bill and thought the reemergence of the pilot was a nice twist, sadly though I think that's the last we will see of Bill

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