Doctor Who – Series 10, Episode 12: “The Doctor Falls”

  • The beginning of this episode left me thinking wistfully of a time when Doctor Who cliffhangers actually followed directly on from when the previous episode ended.
  • We finally get the Two Masters concept used in full, and it’s really great. I love their interactions, like the dancing, and John Simm’s clearly enjoying himself being in the role again. I actually like him better here than I did in his previous appearances. He’s toned down the clownish insanity a bit and is more classic Master; he even stands and dresses a bit like Roger Delgado. As for Missy, it’s like she genuinely was trying to reform – it wasn’t part of some grand scheme after all – but the presence of the Master compels her to take the easy route and revert. She almost seems to decide whether she’s good or evil on spur-of-the-moment impulses.
  • At least we get something of an explanation as to how the Master survived in The End of Time, even if it’s open to having holes poked in it. Wasn’t Gallifrey about to be destroyed when the Doctor stopped the Time Lords from coming through? Or did the events of The Day of the Doctor undo all that, meaning there was time for the Master to be cured and subsequently exiled somehow?
  • Hmm, another not-so-subtle poke at Donald Trump.
  • I like how the music ‘This is Gallifrey, Our Childhood, Our Home’ starts playing as the Doctor monologues on the rooftop.
  • I had to stick my tongue in my cheek when the Master tells Nardole, “He told me he’d always hated you,” and again later when Nardole himself says, “For a moment there, I was feeling a glimmer of purpose.”
  • I did guess that Bill was only imagining she was no longer a Cyberman, which was presumably so that we could actually see Pearl Mackie’s face for a good portion of the episode. Also, we’ve already had this concept in Asylum of the Daleks. And if she can override the programming and still feel emotion (because companions always need to be special like that), how come she’s not in constant pain? Damn, this series has turned me into a cynic.
  • The episode really gets the emotions going from here, as we lead up to the climax. Cyber-Bill’s conversations with the Doctor, and him admitting he can’t do anything, are pretty tragic in spite of my personal lack of attachment to Bill. Peter Capaldi gets yet another brilliant monologue as he reinforces the Doctor’s character to the two Masters: “It’s the best I can do, so I’m doing it.” And I did feel tense and wondering how things would turn out as the final battle approached.
  • A perfect conclusion for the two Masters as they end up destroying each other, like the ending of Double Indemnity. Too bad the Doctor will never know that Missy was in fact ready to reform. Though I suppose some future showrunner will find a way to make the Master live again if and when they feel like it.
  • So that does look like all she wrote for Bill and Nardole. Having Bill be unexpectedly reunited with Heather was pretty darn heartfelt; even though I should be annoyed because Bill technically doesn’t die and is cured from being a Cyberman, I’m not because it was a really nice conclusion for her.
  • So yeah, that regeneration at the beginning of the last episode was indeed a fake-out. Hopefully in the Christmas special, we’ll find out why the Doctor was apparently regenerating even before he got shot by a Cyberman. Was it the penalty for breaking his oath? Some explanation as to why he now doesn’t want to regenerate would also be welcome: is he just tired of life?
  • Wait, the First Doctor?! Awesome! And he’s played by David Bradley from An Adventure in Space and Time? Even more awesome!

Well, after last episode (which I might have been a little too harsh on), I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this finale so much. The build-up from the first part may have been flawed, but the payoff in this one was excellent. It was easily the most emotional episode of the season, and I wasn’t even as happy to say goodbye to Bill and Nardole as I expected. Definitely a worthy season finale, and bring on the Christmas special – and for goodness sake, somebody tell us who the Thirteenth Doctor is going to be already. Rating: 9/10.

So, my final thoughts for Series 10 are going to be rather complicated. Watch out for them soon!

About R.J. Southworth

Hi there. I've been blogging since January 2014, and I like to talk about all sorts of things: book reviews, film reviews, writing, science, history, or sometimes just sharing miscellaneous thoughts. Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you find something that interests you!
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2 Responses to Doctor Who – Series 10, Episode 12: “The Doctor Falls”

  1. Elliot says:

    Nice review, as for why the Doctor was beginning to regenerate before he got shot at the end, it was because of when that cyberman electrocuted him at the beginning of the episode, that was the initial fatal blow, but the later blasts can’t have helped!

    Liked by 1 person

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