Take a Stand and Come Discuss Doctor Who's Season Finale With Us

Image: BBC
Image: BBC

Tonight’s Doctor Who sounded the cloister bells, as the Doctor stood for one last time against the Cybermen to save his closest friends, his oldest foe, and people he’d never even met before. There were shocks, there were tears, and we can discuss them all in our final weekly thread of the season!

Illustration for article titled Take a Stand and Come Discuss Doctor Who's Season Finale With Us

“The Doctor Falls” could probably never truly live up to its first half, the stunningly dread-laden “World Enough and Time”—although it did try, what with the wonderfully atmospheric shots of Cybermen from various eras (oh, how I wish they hadn’t used the time dilation excuse to bring in the newer models!) slowly but surely encircling the Doctor and his allies. But while “World Enough and Time” was, really, an exercise in growing despair, “The Doctor Falls” was about hope: hope for a way out, hope for a way to fix Bill, hope for Missy to avoid the temptation of her past self’s villainy. The fact that not many of the people involved got the hope they wished for arguably made it even more depressing than its predecessor.

Missy, having made a last-minute decision to side with the Doctor, kills her former self (Steven Moffat does love showing how every regeneration comes about, doesn’t he?), only for him to seemingly “finally” kill her rather than let her turn her back on him, the Master’s ultimate act of narcissism. Nardole is forced to say goodbye to the Doctor and Bill, full of regret that he’ll never see them again—and, even more chillingly, with the realization that all they’ve done is allow him and other refugees of the ship to live to survive another day, with the Cybermen waiting to regroup and strike back. The only person who really gets that hope is poor Bill, rescued at the last minute by her space-oil magic love interest (as you do) from the first episode of the season. It’s a bit of a cop-out—the third companion “death but not really” in a row for Moffat’s tenure—but even if it means Bill is now flying around the cosmos with her oil-girlfriend like Clara is flying around with Me, someone in this finale had to have a happy ending.

Because really, it wasn’t the Doctor who’d get one. In fact, he maybe gets the most tragic and dark ending of all. Having completed a remarkable journey from a man who went around with a human so she could “care for him” to a man willing to stake everything, not just his current life but all of his future lives, in an act of random kindness, he now faces the horror of trying to force himself to die forever—no matter how much his own body wants him to regenerate and carry on, no matter how much his former companions want him to, either. Good job there’s going to be someone there for him at Christmas to help him finish this journey then, isn’t it? Ladies and Gentlemen, your Doctor Who Christmas special stars:

Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor and David Bradley as the First, courtesy of the BBC Press Office.
Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor and David Bradley as the First, courtesy of the BBC Press Office.

We’ll have more to say in our final recap of the season on Monday, but for now, let us know what you thought in the comments.

James is a News Editor at io9, where you can find him delivering your morning spoilers, writing about superheroes, and having many feelings about Star Wars. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!



Last week we saw the transition was complete and Doctor was too late. But Bill wasn’t gone. She hid in her own mind so deep she refused the reprogramming. Of course we’ve seen it before. This is Oswin refusing to acknowledge she is Dalek. Still thinking she has her original form. Fighting against the very thing she was. That was one of the million pieces of original Clara Oswald. This is time it’s Bill moulded by opposition to the indoctrination by the Monks and connected to the alien water spaceship girlfriend. The impossible tears. The connection that goes through space and time.

Ever since the transition I hoped Heather will save Bill and they’ll go travel the universe together so I didn’t feel it was a coup-out deux ex machina as others did. But yes it’s also similar to Clara’s story and unlike the Doctor we remember. But I still loved it. I loved that Heather gave Bill a choice. She can be human again if she wants. Go back in time for tea. Or they can just go show each other around together. Anywhere, anywhen in the universe. And it’s not like Clara because there is no time limit and no inevitability - she has all the time to decide. I loved it because it’s a real happy ending.