WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Death in Heaven.
Last night saw the deaths of two beloved characters, two very important lies, a separation and Santa Claus (?) in the Series 8 finale – but what did our team make of it? Read on to find out!
Tom (The Boss)
Death in Heaven had a good mix of Cyberman action and character development with Clara and Danny specifically. Although the plot was a little weak and basic in my opinion, it was still good to watch and it felt like we finally got a serious episode after the jokes and fun that The Doctor and Clara had in the rest of Series 8. The comedy was replaced with brutalness with the lovely Osgood departing the show along with Danny Pink. The Doctor and Missy’s relationship was an interesting, and at times entertaining, one and I’d like to see her again in the future (but maybe not at the end of nearly every episode). I’m really interested to see what’s in store for the Christmas special after this dark finale. 7/10
Louis (Assistant Editor)
Death in Heaven proved to be a satisfying, masterfully (I’m sorry) done finale to a strong series. Michelle Gomez was terrific as the Master; utterly insane and aware of it, making this new Master one of the most entertaining villains for ages. If this is Gomez’s only story in the role, then I’ll certainly Missy (I’m really sorry) her. Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman were also reliably terrific, especially in the heartbreaking final scenes between the Doctor and Clara. The Master’s plan was a tad weak and the conclusion with Danny was a little fudged, but Death in Heaven was certainly one of the show’s strongest finales nonetheless. That, and a touch of frost (I’m really, really sorry) with a gloriously insane mid-credits scene with Santa Claus. Onto Christmas, which appears to feature Santa versus xenomorphs at the North Pole. 8.5/10
Ben (Video and Digital Media)
The trouble with series finales is that they rarely live up to expectations. Death in Heaven was no exception. With the amazing reveals of cybermen and Missy’s identity in Dark Water, it looked like the finale was going to be ‘epic’. However, whilst there was plenty of action, the plot fell dry. The solution to the cybermen’s plans – Missy giving the Doctor a remote control – was a huge anticlimax. Missy’s sudden death was a waste of a good character (although we all know she’ll come back) as was the quick revelation of the location of Gallifrey and the equally quick truth. The Cyber-Brig was a nice touch – but it felt a bit forced to me. However, Death in Heaven was not without its moments. The sad loss of Osgood, the creepy cyber-Danny, the deranged Missy, as well as the excellent work by all cast and crew. Overall I’d say Death in Heaven was a generally good episode, but after promising so much it was rather disappointing. 7/10
Owen (Instagram & News)
Hey Death in Heaven you so fine you blow me mind, hey Death in Heaven! Does that sum it up? Subtly beautiful, outrageously dark, with acting that could win Oscars, the episode concluded Series 8 in a well developed, interesting (but not wibbly) emotional way, as well as leading us onto to what (looks like) a very ‘Frosty’, epic Christmas episode. 9/10
Death in Heaven was an excellent way to conclude what has been one of the best series since Doctor Who’s revival. All of the main stars shine all the way through, putting in some of their best performances for anything, let alone the show itself. A story which barely needs its first part to stand up as a great episode apart from the introduction of characters and the shock opening titles leave a lot to anticipate as the show progresses. Osgood’s ‘death’ is heart breaking and in the time when you think Kate is dead too radiates vibes asking for the end of UNIT! Of course the nod back to the Brigadier is a lovely touch and once again reminds us of the programme’s rich history. Then Santa shows up… Until he asks what the Doctor wants for Christmas it almost works so it’s a good job the trailer makes up for it! 9.5/10
Death In Heaven stands as the culmination of all the darkness that has built up in Peter Capaldi’s debut series as The Doctor and it spills over in Doctor Who’s most disturbing episode. Every inch of DIH is soaked in blood and twisted malice, all oozing from a phenomenal Michelle Gomez as Missy/The Master. In Gomez’s Master we have madness and evil distilled into its purest form, a villain the show has sorely missed since the return of Davros in Journey’s End, one who has no qualms murdering anyone who blocks the path to their ultimate goal. For Missy, this is control of Earth through the conversion of the dead into Cybermen, DIH’s secondary antagonist. Or is it? The eventual twist is darker than any murderous spree the writers could conjour, much to the effect of the finale’s sickening tone. The scenes with Samuel Anderson as Danny will forever be burned in my mind as some of Who’s finest. In truth, I believe Danny will and should be commemorated in all his glory. Director Rachel Talalay potrays him with humility, compassion and honour, much like the rest of DIH. Her work here is grim and is wielded with precision, but take it from me: the scenes intended to pull at our heartstrings are executed with care, equally as gripping as those dripping in sorrow. Whether or not this is indeed the end of Clara’s time in the TARDIS (that is dubious at this point), Peter Capaldi has ended his starter series with aplomb, in a finale that takes the show to its darkest point. What lies ahead is sure to be in the blind fury of our beloved Time Lord. 9/10
The first series finale from Steven Moffat not to feature his characteristic ‘timey-wimey’ storytelling, ‘Death in Heaven’ nonetheless delivers an suitably epic and visually stunning closing episode, its relative simplicity in what is still a pretty macabre plot allowing the complexities of each character to come to the fore. Michelle Gomez’s Missy is delightfully bonkers, and her on-screen rapport with the consistently excellent Peter Capaldi is a joy to watch. Danny’s redemption and heroic send-off serve to draw a line under his character whilst firmly tugging at our heartstrings – certainly not the only time that happens in this episode! – but Clara and the Doctor’s apparent farewells, whilst similarly bittersweet, are not as neatly tied up. Although some plot elements could perhaps have done with being expanded on, ‘Death in Heaven’ still manages to fully justify its extended running time, providing a jam-packed conclusion to what has been an incredibly strong, thought-provoking and above all highly enjoyable series. 9/10
Death in Heaven explored an insane desire by the Master to regain lost kinship with the Doctor. Missy’s warped scheme to ultimately gift the Doctor an army was something that shook the Doctor to the core, paralysing him rather than empowering. The agonising exchanges in the graveyard between the Doctor and the scarily transformed Danny were very uncomfortable, again Danny undermining the Doctor for keeping his hands free of blood. I wasn’t greatly impressed by the portrayal of Missy, but the evocative acting between Samuel Anderson and Jenna Coleman more than made up for this. The Doctor conclusively chooses to grant his position of total power to a soldier, Danny, who had mocked his speech on emotional pain enabling the feeling of another affected heart. Capaldi’s powerful display of rage against the Tardis is a distressing sign of the Doctor’s self hatred as he pours out more darkness. In contrast Danny’s sacrifice in paying his debt to the war torn child was a magical touch of warmth allowing bitter sweet closure for Clara… 9/10
And the average score is 8.5/10. That’s the last of our team reviews this series, but you can join us for a particularly Christmassy team review of the Christmas Special this Christmas.