Okay, this isn’t really the return of TV Thursday – 11/13/14, I still have no time in reviewing a dozen or more shows like I used to but this week, I felt I had to take a look at a single show that was so utterly awful that I couldn’t let the opportunity to pan it go by.
That show, of course, is…
Doctor Who #8×12 – “Death in Heaven” – Now it’s no secret that I think some of the classic Doctor Who baddies are being horribly over-used in the new series, especially the Daleks and the Cybermen. A season doesn’t go by without them showing up and frankly, neither are all that interesting anymore, they’ve done everything they can do with them several times over. If I never saw either of them again, I’d be entirely fine with that. Just because they are well-known, that doesn’t mean they’re used well. In this second of a two-parter season finale, the Master, regenerated into female form and calling himself (herself) “Missy”, has unleashed a full scale Cyberman invasion and means to take over the planet. Yawn. Again? And yes, speaking of that, it wasn’t that many years ago when there was a full scale Dalek and Cyberman invasion raging over the entire planet, but everyone has conveniently forgotten that and has no idea what a Cyberman is? Really? So anyhow, Missy marches her Cybermen out into the streets of London, with people taking selfies with them, and UNIT shows up, led by the Brigadier’s daughter, they immediately knock out both Missy and the Doctor (Clara is still trapped with the Cybermen and Danny is still dead) and take them aboard an airborne command center where they tell the Doctor that he’s been declared President of Earth. No Doctor ever would accept that but Capaldi’s Doctor goes right along with it. However, apparently the British are idiots because they have no fighter escorts for their “Earth Force One” and the Cybermen knock it out of the sky. Oh, and the Cybermen have a special rain cloud that can turn the dead into Cybermen and it starts to rain over all of the cemeteries on the planet. Unfortunately, the Doctor tells them that this rain can affect any living tissue and, sorry to say, the dead are not living tissue. Who proofreads this crap? But anyhow, Clara gets rescued from certain death among the Cybermen, even though she tries to convinced them that she’s not really Clara Oswald, but the Doctor. One Cyberman saves her, it’s really Danny and takes her back down to Earth where, somehow, he’s not affected by the Cyberman anti-emotion circuit. He begs Clara to turn on the circuit so he can’t feel anything anymore, which really makes me wonder how he knows what all these circuits do, he’s been in Missy’s “heaven” for the whole thing, but let’s not allow common sense to get in the way of a really bad story. Oh what the hell, let’s talk about that for a minute. The Doctor suggests that Missy, using her unseen TARDIS, was responsible for mankind’s belief in an afterlife. No, we never see this supposed TARDIS that she used, that she could have escaped in, etc. We’re just supposed to think that it’s real. But if you think about it, it makes no sense whatsoever. Why would she go back in time thousands of years to “steal souls” if she was going to use her Cybercloud to bring the dead back to life as her soldiers? Bodies rot in the ground, most corpses would be totally useless for her purposes after a hundred years or so, why go back far enough that all of man’s beliefs about an afterlife came from her machinations? Makes no sense. And then there’s Danny, who is conveniently not affected by his Cyberman conversion and even after his emotion-limiting chip is turned on, following an absurd tear-fest by Clara, he’s still not under the control of Missy’s control bracelet. Why? Because that’s what the story calls for! It doesn’t have to make any sense! In the end, Missy gives the Doctor her control bracelet, saying that he now has an army and he can go through time and change anything he wants. He rejects her plan and gives the bracelet to Danny, who commands all of the Cybermen to fly up into the Cyberclouds and explode, thus destroying the whole plan. Why the Doctor couldn’t have done that, we don’t know, but it gives Danny a chance to make a cheesy speech and then kill himself and a dead Danny Pink is certainly a welcome event for me. He was a total ass. Clara wants to kill Missy but the Doctor says he’ll do it and actually does, but not really because we all know the Master will be back eventually. Nobody important ever really dies in Doctor Who, unfortunately. Clara goes home and the spirit voice of Danny appears to her, he says the bracelet has the ability to send one person back from the dead and Clara wants it to be him but he sends through the kid he shot in Afghanistan instead and tells her to find his parents. There are some potential problems with this, of course. Presumably the boy was part of some Islamic group, terrorist or not, but having a kid come back from the dead is probably not going to be terribly comforting for his religious parents who will probably consider him a demon and have him killed. It reminds me of the Babylon 5 episode “Believers” where Doctor Franklin goes through all kinds of problems to save a boy whose hyper-religious parents command him not to operate and after he saves the kid, they take him out and kill him as a demon. Missy, before she was pseudo-dead, tells the Doctor where Galifrey supposedly is and he and Clara meet up in a cafe. He tells her that she and Danny, he assumes that Danny would have used the bracelet to come home, will be happy together and he has to go rule Galifrey, which isn’t really there and he gets in the TARDIS and vanishes, leaving Clara behind. At the very end, a voice tells him that they can’t leave it like that and it’s Nick Frost playing Santa Claus. Okay, points for Nick Frost, I guess since they had Simon Pegg in the show, Nick had to be included at some point, but come on.
This was just a mess from beginning to end. Yes, I wanted to get Clara away from the TARDIS, in fact, when she was saying that Clara Oswald was just something that the Doctor made up, I was hoping that the last couple of seasons had been a dream, ala Dallas. I hated Danny with a passion but his “death” was just too convenient, he didn’t have to follow any of the logical rules and there was no real explanation given. It was a plot device and Steven Moffat loves his plot devices, even the ones that make no sense. There was also a ton of meaningless filler in this episode. Clara and her whole “I’m the Doctor” nonsense could have been pulled out and never missed. There was so much of that, the only bit that really made sense in the end was the Doctor’s line “I’m an idiot in a blue box”. Yes you are. You’ve been written that way. That’s not a good thing. Then we get to the Doctor and the Master. I think Michelle Gomez turns in a decent portrayal of Missy but I don’t think there was much in her performance that reminded me of the Master, either the original or the John Simms version. The Master, although he is unhinged to a certain degree, has always been shown to be the Doctor’s intellectual equal. Here, she was just crazy, she did things that were utterly stupid and she describes herself as “bananas”. That’s not the Master. We know that the Doctor and the Master were both childhood friends and that the Doctor fought to save the Master, back in the Tennant days, because he didn’t want to be the last Timelord, but here, the Master is trying to make the Doctor into a dark control freak like he is so that he can have his old friend back. Like I said, crazy.
I have yet to find anyone who actually liked this season of Doctor Who. I was willing to give Peter Capaldi the benefit of the doubt because he said he was going to be fighting against Steven Moffat’s absurd fanboyism, but it just hasn’t worked. I actively dislike how this Doctor has been written. He’s been an obnoxious, arrogant prick, Clara has been an egotistical bitch and Danny was a complete waste of screen time. It was a condemnation of everything that nu-Who has become. It’s not a celebration of 50 years of British sci-fi television, it’s a bunch of egotistical asshats trying to put their mark on a show that doesn’t need their help. Sorry, this was a bad season that ended in a worthless finale. The Christmas Special teaser isn’t blowing anything up my skirt either. Can someone please get rid of Steven Moffat? Please?