Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 9 – Ascension of the Cybermen

“The Cybermen were defeated. The victims of a billion battles, broken. An empire of might and terror, fallen. Their weaknesses exploited, their armies outfought. Every empire has its time, and every empire falls. But that which is dead can live again – in the hands of a believer.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

The Cybermen are made up of parts. Spare parts, human and machine. So it’s apt that almost every latterday story about them has itself been made up of parts of other Cyber stories – and this was no exception. However, that didn’t stop it being a very, very good Doctor Who episode in a season that has been unexpectedly good after last year’s rather lacklustre effort. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 9 – Ascension of the Cybermen”

Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 5 – Fugitive of the Judoon

“I don’t think you are who you say you are – or even who you think you are.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Well, this season of Doctor Who suddenly got a LOT more interesting. Fugitive of the Judoon, like several of its characters, was a clever episode that was emphatically not what it seemed at first, and undoubtedly the most intriguing story since Chris Chibnall took over as showrunner. And while it’s no disrespect to him, this was in large part because of its deliberate echoes of the previous two showrunners, both of whom loomed large over the concepts, plots and characters appearing here. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 5 – Fugitive of the Judoon”

Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 12 – The Doctor Falls

“Winning? Is that what you think it’s about? I’m not trying to win! I’m not doing this because I want to beat someone, because I hate someone, or because I want to blame someone. It’s not because it’s fun. God knows, it’s not because it’s easy. It’s not even because it works, because it hardly ever does. I do what I do because it’s right! Because it’s decent! And above all, it’s kind!”

(SPOILER ALERT!)

It’s (nearly) the end, but the moment has been prepared for. We knew from last week (and, let’s face it, some rather too revelatory pre-publicity) that a regeneration was in the offing for Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor, a man who seems to have spent much of this year trying to nobly sacrifice himself for the greater good. The Doctor Falls, steeped in the references to the show’s past so beloved of writer Steven Moffat, finally gave him his wish. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 12 – The Doctor Falls”

Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 11 – World Enough and Time

“So, a 400 mile long spaceship reversing away from the gravitational pull of a black hole. We having fun yet?”

(SPOILER ALERT!)

Quite the fan pleasing episode from Steven Moffat this week! I’ve said a few times that this season, while generally rather good, has felt more low key than the last, which, let’s remember, opened with a sequel to Genesis of the Daleks featuring Missy and UNIT. It’s clear now that Moffat was saving that sort of thing for the end of the season this time – with a triple whammy of ‘Genesis of the Cybermen’ featuring both Missy and her previous incarnation, in the first ‘multi-Master’ story the show’s ever done. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 11 – World Enough and Time”

Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 12–Death in Heaven

“Turns out the afterlife is real – and it’s emptying. Every graveyard on Earth is about to burst its banks.”

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(SPOILER WARNING!)

One of the frequent (and justified) criticisms of Steven Moffat’s tenure in charge of Doctor Who is that he tends to undercut the sense of jeopardy by presenting death as something that can always be revoked. He even made a running gag of it with the many deaths of Rory Williams. But now, in a story that was far darker and far bleaker, he’s confronted the reality of death – and its consequences – head on.

Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 12–Death in Heaven”

Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 11–Dark Water

“You asked me what we’re going to do. I told you. We’re going to hell.”

DWPoster1

(SPOILER WARNING!)

After a very divisive season of Doctor Who, we’re finally at the endgame, where all those seeded themes throughout the year may (or may not) pay off. It’s been a new approach for Steven Moffat; while there was an overall plot arc, it was kept very much in the background. Meanwhile, the real arc of the season has been its main characters, and how they’ve developed. The new Doctor, abrasive and hard to like, questioning whether he’s “a good man”; Clara, recast from part one as a “control freak” and more believably fallible as a result; new boy Danny Pink dragging her back to the real world in a kind of relationship many have interpreted as passive aggressive manipulation.

Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 11–Dark Water”

Doctor Who: Series 7, Episode 13–Nightmare in Silver

“Hail to you, the Doctor – the saviour of the Cybermen!”

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Having penned the instant classic The Doctor’s Wife, renowned author Neil Gaiman was back this week for a second stab at a very different kind of Doctor Who episode. Nightmare in Silver was an attempt at something more like a horror story, something which Neil can do very well – read Sandman issue 6 for a good example. And the Cybermen are good fodder for horror, as their 1967 story Tomb of the Cybermen shows.

There were more than a few deliberate echoes of that classic here; but even as a fan, I’m not sure Neil Gaiman really pulled off making this an effective horror tale. The mechanical horror of the Cybermen sat rather uneasily with his trademark quirky and whimsical imagination. Both aspects of the story were great, in isolation; together, I’m not sure they entirely gelled.

Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 7, Episode 13–Nightmare in Silver”