Spoilers!

The Surprise

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Samuel Anderson’s remarks that Danny Pink would be “immortalised” didn’t quite work out the way I was expecting. Thus far, in any case. The opening scene was a huge surprise, a part of the ‘big surprise’ that was promised. An ordinary sort of death, a ‘boring’ death as Clara called it, leaving her feeling she was owed something. The opening scene was well-crafted – with Clara on the verge of telling Danny the truth about everything and never getting the opportunity to mend their relationship before Danny was cruelly taken from her. After all the work that has been put into Danny’s character this season it was not only Clara left feeling that he deserved better. But then, it’s not really the end is it?

The Double-Bluff

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The finale preview was cleverly arranged to make it appear that Clara had turned against the Doctor. Coupled with Missy’s remarks that she “chose” Clara well it gave the appearance of Clara being used by Missy against the Doctor. What we actually got was a rather mundane turn of events. A desperate Clara attempts to force the Doctor into helping her find Danny by threatening him with the TARDIS keys. When she actually does cast the keys into the depths of the volcano she is instantly contrite and consumed with guilt. What was interesting about this scene was not that Clara was willing to betray and manipulate the Doctor. Clara was driven by grief. It was the fierce battle of wills between the Doctor and Companion, two individuals, evenly-matched. It was Clara’s despair at her betrayal of her best friend. And the Doctor, despite him tricking her and allowing her to betray him to see how far she would go, really understanding her devotion to Danny.

Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?

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I enjoy the glimpses we get of the caring Doctor between the cold and aloof exterior. This is no boyish devotion, this is a true and equal partnership. The Doctor describes their relationship perfectly with this line.

Cut out the whining while you’re at it. This is it Clara, one of those moments. The darkest day…the blackest hour. Chin up, shoulders back. Let’s see what we’re made of. You and I…

Welcome to the Underworld

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It has been quite a few weeks since I have invested in Danny Pink – but his utter terror and confusion upon learning of his death gave his character a real human quality we haven’t seen since his first awkward weeks with Clara, and made him wholly more sympathetic. Coupled with Chris Addison’s delightful portrayal of Seb, Danny’s story in the Nethersphere was compelling. Danny was devoid of the usual insufferably sensible and somewhat arrogant personality, and on equal footing with the rest of the characters.

The Official 3W Greetings Package

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What more can I say?

The Soldier’s Secret

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Well I am glad the rumours that Danny murdered someone during some sort of delinquent past are finally cleared up. This was not a remotely surprising turn of events. We knew Danny was a soldier and had some terrible memories of killing someone, accidentally killing a civilian was the most likely scenario. It is also an issue that should be addressed far more often. So now it is time for Danny to face his demons, a rather traditional concept that fits in neatly with his story.

The Reveal

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The idea of tricking the recently departed into thinking the body remains concious after death by creating an entirely false afterlife run by a ‘company who cares’, while secretly amassing an army of Cybermen created from the dead was awesome. You know the key strategic weakness of the human race?  Missy asks the Doctor. The dead outnumber the living.

Cybermen on the Steps of St. Paul’s

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The reference to The Invasion was beautifully done. Watch an extremely delighted Steven Moffat discussing recreating this classic scene in Doctor Who Extra.

The Double-Double Bluff

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The reveal of Missy being the latest incarnation of the Master has proved controversial and unpopular. Perhaps because it was the most obvious conclusion and one of the first fans latched onto. So speculation became wilder with some rather brilliantly outlandish theories as the season went on. I even had a wild Romana moment just before she told the Doctor Missy, short for Mistress. However I loved the reveal of Missy being the Master for the same reason I am always thrilled to see the Daleks and Cybermen return. While the idea of a female Doctor has been bandied about for some time now, the idea of a female Master is brilliant. And Michelle Gomez’s outstanding performance is a perfect feminine extension of John Simm’s maniacal Master. The David Tennant and John Simm Doctor/Master a was ferociously intense and emotional relationship which can’t be overshadowed by more of the same. What the new Doctor and Master (Mistress) will bring us is something fresh, giving a new life to a long-standing relationship. I only hope that Death in Heaven is not the end for Michelle Gomez, because I love, love, love her.

The Cliffhanger

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While there was a lot going on in the cliffhanger, Clara facing a Cyberman, the Doctor facing the Master and a lot more Cybermen, it was Danny who got the final breath. Earlier, showing his usual lack of imagination, he pushed Clara away thinking she would try to kill herself to get to him. There is only one way to come here and you are not doing that, he tells her, seemingly forgetting Clara’s best friend is a 2000 year-old alien and she has access to a time-travelling spaceship. This leaves him open to the insidious Seb, who sidles up to tell Danny he can help him with those pesky human emotions. We get one flash of Danny’s past as his finger hovers over the ‘delete’ button, the little boy who Danny accidentally killed appears. Will the little boy save Danny? This leads us to…

The Orson Pink Conundrum

It all comes down to this again. As Clara told the Doctor in Kill the Moon she’s been to the future, and the moon was still there. Or In the Forest of the Night she is convinced the Earth can’t burn because we saw the future. Lots of futures. Earth’s futures. In both cases Clara was proved correct, earth still had a future. She must have had the same assurance that she and Danny had a future after meeting Orson Pink. The same assurance we had, that one day Clara and Danny would get married and live happily ever after. This must have had an enormous effect on her when Danny actually died on earth. So Clara felt she was owed something not only because she knew the Doctor had the power to change time, but because she had seen the future. We have to assume that somehow the Doctor will do as he promised, that if it is in any way possible we’re going to bring him home.

This may lead not just to the happy ending that we have a right to expect, but another meeting between two old soldiers. Is it possible for Danny to simply be reborn when all the people he knows have seen his death or will the Doctor have to erase time itself? The latter is the likely scenario, but what effect will this have on Danny? It is hard to imagine he is simply going to be grateful. Is he really going to realise the magnitude of the Doctor’s power, the enormity of the Doctor and Clara’s relationship and their importance to the universe? Or will the knowledge of how much power the Doctor has simply instill more fear in Danny’s heart? Will the Danny who doesn’t want to travel through time and space and doesn’t want to see new things outweigh the Danny who doesn’t want to die?


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About The Author

Olga Hughes is currently pre-occupied with fairy tales, fantasy, misanthropy, medieval history and the long eighteenth century. She has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Victorian College of the Arts and is currently majoring in Literature and History at Deakin. She has contributed to websites such as History behind Game of Thrones, The Anne Boleyn Files and The Tudor Society.

2 Responses

  1. jasmine

    A fascinating episode and a fitting first part of the end programme of the series. Peter Capaldi has indeed proved to be an excellent Doctor. Clara seems to have become less whiny in the last couple of episodes and even Danny is more appealing than he has been (at least for me).

    It will be very interesting to see how the final episode pans out.

    Reply
    • Olga Hughes

      I have thoroughly enjoyed this season (besides the lapses in Clara’s character). Danny was more bearable for me this episode, in fact I felt sorry for him, which was a nice change.
      I am really looking forward to part two of the finale, I think there will be a few more surprises in store.

      Reply

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