Saturday, November 8, 2014

This is How You Character Development

Review/Recap of Doctor Who, Series 8, Episode 12 "Death in Heaven" - Spoilers!

*My subject line is fine. It's a play on a popular tag on Tumblr wherein a post talks about character development and how a show or movie or whatever does that without being overbearing because that's the fan/analyst's job. Also, Tumblr isn't very good at grammar usually. It's a social convention. Anyway...*

Finale time! And, yes, Missy is indeed the Master. And she ended up killing a crapton of people (including Osgood. Like - WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT FOR???) And the Doctor became President of the human race (eh, it's not like he'd do any worse a job than anyone else we could think of right now). And Clara became the Doctor. And she's so good at lying that even the opening credits believed her (that threw me for a loop). And the dead all became Cybermen. And Danny Pink is a Cyberman. And he loves Clara in spite of it all. And he saves the world. And Missy gets roasted.

Did I cover it all?

Look, I'm not going to pretend that Missy's plot made one damn bit of sense because it doesn't (to use her own words - "Bananas!") The Master is traditionally a crackpot lunatic anyway, so I can forgive some of the incomprehensible stuff here. But what matters in this story - as has been the case throughout Series 8 - is the character stories. How the Doctor, Clara, and even Danny feel about what's happening.

It all looped back around to "Am I a good man?" And the answer is no. The Doctor is not a good man. He's an idiot. Because he's trying to fix things in a universe of chaos. A universe that defaults to insanity and hopelessness and negativity (which, I just described internet fandom. Oh Moffat, you sly old troll, you). The Doctor does what the rest of us do - tries to do good where he can and hope that it makes a positive impact on the people he's trying to help. Sometimes he does, most of it time it blows up in his face. And those are the times that the Master gives him his own ready-made army while the Doctor, bless his heart, stares in disbelief and horror thinking -
h/t Hyperbole and a Half
At the same time, the Doctor also inspires other people to do good things. And they, in turn, inspire him (I think of that sweet shout-out to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart when Cyber!Brig saved Kate at the end. That was awesome in a creepy sort of way. Eh, it's Doctor Who - they can get away with such things).

Clara and Danny. FOREVER HEARTBREAK. Damn, why does Danny have to have an honorable streak a mile long (to irritate fans, I think - especially some of the female fans. Which, I just don't get, but I come from a radical school of thought that tends to actually think well of men generally and not want to rip a man's head off for holding a door open for me. Crazy, right?) I can't fault Danny for his actions. In fact, I have to applaud them. But... Clara and Danny were going to be happy and together and have cute little "Ozzie and the Squaddie" babies! ...sigh... I hate my life choices sometimes.

But no, Cyber!Danny takes the army he's given by the Doctor and he saves the world. Because it's the right thing to do. And in the end Cyber!Danny, has to go off with the rest of the Cyber!Humans (I'm not calling them proper Cybermen because it's just wrong in this case - converting the dead... what kind of sicko... oh, right. The Master...) But he does use the trans-mat bracelet thingy to send the boy that he killed back to Earth in the hopes that Clara can get him back home to his family (if indeed his family is still somewhere in the war-torn Middle East).

Other Things I Liked/Noticed -

- Chaplet Funeral Home. As in, Dodo Chaplet. I don't know if that was deliberate or not, but I'm going to say that it was.

- This whole episode was an updated version of a Third Doctor story - the Doctor, the Master, UNIT... yup, it's all here!

- The portrait of the Brigadier in UNIT Force One (did the plane have a name? Too bad, I just gave it one).

- The only planet that can say the Doctor is on the payroll (his paychecks probably keep getting lost in the mail, though).

- WHY DID MISSY HAVE TO KILL OSGOOD??? (the Doctor was totally going to take her with him! And she was excited about it!! MISSY, YOU BITCH!)

Bottom Line - The Doctor, for all his good intentions (even giving Danny the trans-mat thing so her can get back to Clara), sometimes screws up. Sometimes Gallifrey isn't where Missy said it was going to be. Sometimes you have to put on a good face so your companion doesn't freak out or worry about you (but, apparently, you're not allowed to worry about the people you care about because that demeans them as human beings - right, fandom?) And this is where we leave the Doctor - lying to Clara about finding Gallifrey. Conversely, this is where we leave Clara, lying to the Doctor about Danny being back and everyone being happy and lovely. This is what flawed characters look like. Especially flawed character who are trying to mask their imperfections - just like we all do. We all go around saying things are okay when they really aren't. Even this week - I had some things happen to me that left me screaming and wishing I could break something (I didn't have a TARDIS console handy to beat my frustrations out on - I had to make do with a pile of papers on my desk). But I didn't want to bring anyone else into my misery and woe - they've got their own lives and problems and I don't need to add to their burdens. Yet... it might have made things better if I opened up and talked about it. Like I kept wanting both Clara and the Doctor to do - to tell each other what really happened and try to help each other through it.

That was a downer ending. Damn.


CHRISTMAS! And Santa Claus!

(Wait - I thought the Doctor was Santa Claus... oh well...)

So - here's my prediction. Going by the mid/post-credit thing with Nick Frost as Santa (which, with a name like that, how could he NOT be playing Santa Claus?) - old Father Christmas is going to put things right with the Doctor and Clara. Somehow, it's going to happen. Because miracles happen at Christmas and we need something happy to close out this year.  I do, anyway.

Series 8 Reviewed -

As a whole, Series 8 was pretty damn amazing. A few missteps, but not enough to make me dislike it. It was vastly different from anything else New Who has done, which I appreciate (especially with a new Doctor and all that). The characters and stories were interesting - they certainly prompted a lot of emotion from a lot of people (whether positive or negative, which is a good thing. The worst thing that can happen to a story is that it's simply "...meh...") Peter Capaldi is one of the very best to be the Doctor and I hope he stays on for a long, long time. And keep Jenna Coleman around as long as possible - I can't see Capaldi with anyone else (Osgood would have been great - but I guess that's not going to happen. Eff you, Missy).


  1. Finally someone who watched the episode for what it was. I've read to many comments where they spend so much time attaching Moffat that they've lost sight of what this season has been about.

    I've loved this season. Yes some episodes were stinkers but EVERY season has them (even way back in Hartnells era). I personally liked how we had a companion that saw through all the glitz and adventure and didn't act as if the Doctor was Jesus in his second coming.

    Clara for me will always be my favourite Companion. I loved the way the partnership worked with both the Doctor and Clara. True friends will at some point screw up each others lives but in the end both will put on brave faces and pretend nothing happened.

    This is just my opinon. I am not an idiot.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      I have totally loved this season, flaws and all. I tend toward the opinion that Moffat is an experienced television showrunner and there are a myriad reasons why he has the job and I don't. He does a damn good job as far as I'm concerned and fans just like to whine and complain. If they weren't complaining about Steven Moffat, they'd find something else to moan about.

      I'm with you - I love the dynamics between Clara and the Doctor. I love how real their relationship feels. Same for Clara and Danny. All these characters feel like real people who make mistakes and endure consequences. It's something I've appreciated about Moffat's story arcs - no matter how crazy and fantastic the surrounding events are, the characters respond the way real people would (while still maintaining unique personalities).

      Anyway - thank you again for your lovely comments! Don't let fandom's negativity get you down. If anything, point and laugh at their ridiculous behavior. It's what helps me :)