Saturday, 1 November 2014

Doctor Who: Dark Water

"My heart is maintained by the Doctor!"

Wow. Just wow. This episode has two jaw-dropping moments. One of them (spoiler alert!) is the revelation that Missy is the Master, but my wife worked that out years ago. No, the big reveal is what the Cybermen are up to- the idea of the dark water showing only organic material and so hiding the Cybermen is clever. I only knew for certain when Murray Gold gave us that snippet of the Cyber theme and those doors closed, showing those Cybermen teardrop eyes. It's all cleverly done, and the episode ends on a cliffhanger as The Tomb of the Cybermen becomes The Invasion.

Moffat has a lot of fun with the afterlife as bureaucracy, and the casting of Chris Addison was a masterstroke. I enjoyed the Thick of It in-joke, too, with the line about all the swearing on the Doctor's psychic paper. But the ultimate revelation of the afterlife just being a bit of the Mayrix from Gallifrey is awfully, ingeniously clever. As is the idea of all Earth's dead being turned into Cybermen.

Just as important, though, is Clara's emotional devastation at Danny's death, enough to make her threaten the Doctor into helping her. He helps her, clearly, out of love, although he would never admit that. And the last conversation between Clara and Danny is both devastating and masterfully written.

At the back of my mind is the slight criticism that the Doctor would never have been present for any of this if not for the coincidence of Danny's death, but this is superb. And the parallel cliffhanger, with Danny about to sign away his emotions, is the perfect end to an extraordinary episode.

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