FULL EPISODE RECAP WITH FULL ENDING SPOILERS!!!!
"Well, here we go again" as The Brigadier once said as the Third Doctor started to regenerate. Here is the last episode of season 10. I want to say a quick thank you if you have followed me from the start of this season to end, what a ride. I have waited seven whole days. I was starting to have anxiety. Would they waste a good story with Bill being converted? Would they over or under use The Master? Would we get a new Doctor? Would I be shocked and surprised? Will my Yorkie bar sweet make it to the end of the episode?
This episode started in much the same way last week's episode started with a straight up "What the hell" pre-credit scene where a Cyberman carries a lifeless looking Doctor out of the fog. A series of small flashbacks explained how The Doctor was knocked out during a fight with The Master and Missy and how he managed to get the Master and Missy to work beside him as the Cybermen were now after them. While converting or killing the rest of the crew. This leading The Doctor, Nardole. The Master, Missy, and Cyber-Bill down to a lower level of the ship for their last stand like the Alamo as mentioned by Nardole or like the Doctor's last stand on Trenzalore. All this leading to an ending to the stories for each of the main characters.
It's at this point I normally dive head first into my highs and lows. Today, I think I need to address the story a little more. As I mentioned before this episode was about wrapping up some characters arcs. For Missy (Michelle Gomez) her arc started way back with the vault and her imprisonment and that apparently turning her good and I have to say I was not the biggest fan of the arc build up. When Michelle Gomez got more screen time she shined even if she leaned a little on the panto side for some moments prior to this episode. I will be very sorry to see her go and I hope there is some sort of return down the line, but if not, her face as she died was heartbreaking and tragic and yet beautiful. Her storyline might have been quick and could have done with a little more filling in, but she gets a pass because, in it, she got the story across the finish line.
Bill's (Pearl Mackie) storyline was a beautiful case of start, middle and ending. Her ending wasn’t what I wanted, I wanted her conversion to be a fixed point for start of the Cybermen. The ending she did get, helped to give a real emotional ending for her character. It also made for a beautiful love story in more ways than one. It was a nice shock to see the Pilot back or Heather as she was called before she became erm.......wet. Yet bringing the Pilot back was more than it seemed, was the Pilot (who is called Heather) and Bill a very clever foreshadow and a great easter egg? In case you're wondering what I mean. Well, Bill is rumored to be named after Bill (William) Hartnell and her reveal was announced on the anniversary of his birthday I believe, back when we had that small Dalek promo. Wait, there is more, William Hartnell was married to his wife Heather. So was Bill always destined to be with Heather? Was all this a clever reference to William's Doctor going somewhere? And by the end, you could get meta ( a term often used when breaking the forth wall) and say Heather saved the Doctor as well. Just depends on how you want to view it. While things went mental with Bill, without Bill's happy ending, we would not have got the Doctor's ending.
Ah, the Doctor's ending, I had hoped for a shock and we would get the new Doctor. But social media is dark and full of spoilers, so I knew the First Doctor was coming back. They had to tease the next story and it had to be in a big way. So what bigger way than to bring the original Doctor back for the latest Doctor's final tale. Peter's arc in this season was all about his Doctor becoming defiant, unable to accept his regeneration and he is now gonna be The Doctor who won't go quietly into the night. While hearts were broken for the Doctor and Missy, Bill found love. It looks like Nardole (Matt Lucus) has found someone who loves him as the quirky robot that he is and I thought it was sweet for him to go out the way he did. It had a charm and an innocence.
So, with that being said. What did I like in this finale? Bill being converted stuck for the most part and when it was undone I found myself hating it, yet overall respecting it because of the Heather and Bill thing and because it helped to plant the seed for Christmas. The way we saw Bill when she was still a Cyberman was heartbreaking and packed a heavier punch than I was expecting. Speaking of heavier punches, Missy dying was a slight shock, but I found myself feeling for Missy and hoping she would regenerate despite what The Master said. The Master was amazing with Missy from start to finish. They were a double act we didn’t know we needed and it worked well. While John Simm stole the show last week. This weeks episode was Peters for the taking and boy did he grab this show by the horns and prove that at the end of the day. It's Peters show. With regeneration cop outs galore I should have switched off, but I was on the edge of crying because of Peters delivery and acting and when he started reciting lines from previous the Doctors including the original as he died and came back. I was in awe of this fan who became The Doctor and he might not of been The Doctor some wanted. He is the doctor we needed as he bridged the past and present beautifully. I loved it all and I loved seeing The Doctor meet himself at the end and to see that half smile by David Bradley. I could swear I caught a glimpse of William and I was touched.
With a lot of love to being shown, I have one issue with this episode. The cutaways especially when changing scenes from the hospital to the farm area, from the past to the present. They were jarring to me. It needed something to make it feel less like there was a weird pause in tempo. And that’s the other gripe I guess I have, tempo. Last week we were in a horror episode this week it was like we were back on Trenzalore with the Eleventh Doctor doing his last stand and it had the feel of a regeneration episode, but with no payoff. Something that I may on repeat viewing hold against this episode.
My lord this episode was packed with fun filled easter eggs for us nerds. I would have to go for a cold shower after this episode. Where to start? Well, I spotted lots of things. I will try and point out as many as I can. Bill and Heather is a big easter egg as mentioned before. The Master saying she knew The Doctor died by falling is a reference to the Doctor's death in the fourth (Tom Baker) Doctor's final adventure Logopolis. Jelly babies made a come back a nod more famously to the fourth Doctor, but it was, in fact, the 2nd Doctor (Patrick Troughton) who used them first, With several versions using them as well. During The Doctors last stand with the Cybermen. He names a lot of locations. From Canary Wharf which is a nod to the Cybermen vs The Daleks battle in London. Telos is a nod to The Tomb of the Cyberman and there is even more named in that one scene. Moonbase and the Planet of Gold also gets a mention. Seeing cameos of past companions was a nice little easter egg. But hearing The Doctor saying I don’t want to go and I will always remember when the Doctor was me was pure fan service for "nu-Who fans" and this was a great nod to the last two Doctors ( Matt Smith and David Tennant) And of course when Bill repeats The Doctor's line "Where there is a tear there is hope" is a line lifted from my favorite Doctor, Jon Pertwee in his last story, Planet of the Spiders. The line that had me jump out of my seat was. "You might be the Doctor, but I am the Original Doctor". This is a mash up the fourth Doctor talking to Harry Sullivan in his first story called Robot and Richard Hurdenll who also played the first Doctor in The Five Doctors special as sadly Bill Hartnell had passed away.
It’s weird that the show has ended for a 10th season and there is no trailer only a tease of what's to come. The Doctor will be changing faces at least (will he change sex, race?) The past and present colliding in a big way, much like the hidden theme of this season which has been all about. The past of the show meeting the future of the show and I was right behind this. I look forward to the last episode with sadness and with the same love this fanboy has had for 30 years. It's going to be a long wait till Christmas, but we were treated to an early present with the arrival of the first Doctor. I hope everyone had some fun with this season I know I did. Overall this season has to be the highest quality since revival I will say because this did what the show needed to do way back in season one, Bridge that gap so for the season as a whole I have to give this 13 out of 10.
Ah, see what I did there? So what's next I wonder, and of course WHO's next? Well, I leave my last words to someone better than me.
“One day I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.”
William Hartnell – The Original Doctor
10.10 shiny stars