One Doctor. Two Masters. Patients. Cybermen. The death of a companion. A blue man. A blue box. Crisps. A chance of redemption. An impossible spaceship. A black hole. Timey-wimeyness. What more could you possibly want from an episode of Doctor Who?
I’ve been very reserved in my expectations when it’s come to World Enough and Time, mainly because it set itself up to be one of the most epic Doctor Who stories in the modern era. Add to that the fact that it was penned by Steven Moffat, the king of overhyping stories, and my reserved pre-judgment is hopefully understandable.
Then I sat down and watched the episode, with slightly baited breath. The pre-title scene where Twelve started to regenerate was… well, it was alright I suppose. Obviously, we don’t know exactly what events preceded, but I have a theory that I might share in the coming weeks, as long as we don’t get the answer in The Doctor Falls on Saturday. Anyway, having the Twelfth Doctor’s last words potentially be “No, no, no!” reminds me a lot of the Tenth Doctors final words, in a much more reserved way.
Once the episode really kicked off, I have to admit that I really enjoyed the scene with Missy attempting to be Doctor Who. (I have to admit, I loved the ribbing to fans that Moffat gave us with the whole Doctor Who name thing.) Michelle Gomez gave an absolutely stunning performance yet again; Gomez is truly an unstoppable force in the Twelfth Doctor’s era.
After that scene, we got the first truly devastating blow (the Doctor is still alive after all, and it seems that the regeneration was a flash forward), when Bill gets the middle of her blown clean out. I know it’s morbid, but part of me wishes there was more of the gore from Class in that. Sometimes it’s a shame that Doctor Who is a family show. Bill’s slow transformation into a Cyberman was really well done, and Talaylay’s direction in the scenes in the hospital were stellar. It was like a proper horror movie in places, complete with creepy doctors and patients screaming out in pain.
My only hope for The Doctor Falls is that Bill stays a Cyberman, or at least stays dead. I really hope that Moffat learned from Clara that sometimes it’s better to leave a companion dead. One death. Then that’s it. Like humans really do. None of this coming back for one last hurrah nonsense. And I swear to god, if Clara and Me rock up in their diner and save Bill, I’ll lose all admiration for Moffat as a writer.
I also have to talk about the Master in disguise, which was brilliant, even though straight from the off, I knew it was Simm’s Master. That might well be because I already knew that Simm was going to be present in the episode. Imagine if the BBC had managed to keep the Master’s arrival quiet, it would have been such a great shock; I understand why the BBC had to announce John Simm, because certain members of the press love to spoil things, and because the news will undoubtedly have brought in a higher audience; but it would have been a great shock.
If there’s one aspect of the episode that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy, it was actually Nardole. He understandably wasn’t used much in the episode, but when he did, it just felt off. The whole scene in the university canteen, when Nardole was surprised that the Doctor was having “an emotion” really annoyed me. What would have been a beautifully tender moment for the Doctor and Bill was completely undermined by Nardole’s pointless interruption. I wouldn’t have minded so much if it contributed something to the plot, but it was totally uncalled for.
Nardole’s annoyance aside, this was the most fun I’ve had watching an episode in recent memory; it was a brilliantly atmospheric romp that seems to be building to a truly epic finale once again. It’s almost like I’m back watching Series 4’s finale all over again, and I’m as giddy now as I was when I was twelve. Roll on Saturday.
Thanks to Sam Bentley for allowing me to use his artwork at the top of this article, if you want to look at more of Sam’s artwork, you can check out his website here.