So, here we are. The end of Series 10. That’s it. No more Saturday night Twelfth Doctor. The last time we’ll see Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor will be on a Monday. It’s a weird thought, but that’s Christmas for you. Bill is dead. Missy is dead. The Master is dead. The Twelfth Doctor is nearly dead. Nardole is seemingly trapped on a doomed ship. Moffat, you made it bleak.
Cybermen, explosions, consequences, and tears. That could easily sum up The Doctor Falls, the final episode of Series 10. Bill was still a Cyberman, which I loved, as it meant that Moffat wasn’t going back on himself for a change. The idea of Bill coming to terms with what she’s become was brilliant, and reminded me of the Creature in Frankenstein. (Yes, I’m that person who reminds people that Frankenstein was the doctor, not the monster.) And she stayed a Cyberman until the bitter end (which I’ll talk about later).
The Doctor was seemingly helpless in this episode, and I loved it; we had the badass Twelfth Doctor in last series’ finale of Hell Bent, and seeing Capaldi play a more vulnerable Doctor really worked. Likewise with Missy. Michelle Gomez gave her definitive performance of the Master in this episode, and her inner turmoil between siding with either the Doctor or her previous self was absolutely heartsbreaking to watch. People sometimes say that Moffat struggles to write female characters well; I’d just point them in the direction of Missy’s evolution throughout the Twelfth Doctor’s era and say that they’re wrong. Michelle Gomez has played Missy in so many different ways, from psycho Mary Poppins when we first meet her, to this Time Lord with such inner conflict that it’s ultimately her downfall. For me, the Twelfth Doctor’s era will be defined by Peter Capaldi’s portrayal of the Doctor, and Michelle Gomez’s portrayal as Missy.
Then we come to John Simm. What a delight. Everything he did in this episode was so Masterly. Unlike Missy, the Master knows where he stands in regards to the Doctor. Opposite him, not beside him. You wouldn’t think it was seven years since Simm last played the character, as he slipped back into it seamlessly. Moffat writing for Simm’s Master really worked too, using the obviously older Time Lord’s age as a factor for his more nuanced performance.
If there was one aspect of the episode I’m still unsure about, it’s Nardole. All he seemed to do was blow things up and have an awkward blossoming relationship that came out of nowhere. Considering I’ve loved Nardole for most of this series; it’s a shame that he was just there. I would have loved for Nardole to have been one of the first casualties; potentially at the hand of the Master, but it wasn’t to be, and Nardole is seemingly left in limbo. Which is odd, because Moffat usually loves a definitive ending. (He said, semi-sarcastically.)
Then we get to PCap’s performance. One of his best. Truly. It’s up there for me with Heaven Sent and his anti-war speech. It’s just odd to me that this Doctor is so reluctant to change; as it’s never really been hinted at before that the Twelfth Doctor wants to stay. Unlike the Tenth Doctor, who we saw become the “Time Lord Victorius” before his downfall which, in the context, made perfect sense. The Twelfth Doctor’s reluctance just seems out of place to me, and hopefully, we’ll get some more answers at Christmas.
Now, the ending with Bill and Heather was unexpected to say the least; and I’ve seen fans have multiple interpretations of exactly what happened. Some people are saying that somehow Bill managed to break free from the Cyberman, which I don’t think is the case. Bill died. The Cyberman carrying what was Bill also died. When Bill was seen outside of the Cyberman, it was just her soul, finding Heather’s, and them deciding to join together (hence the kiss) and see the universe with one another. Now, you might be wondering how souls can transport the Doctor back to the TARDIS. And I want you to remember something very important. Doctor Who isn’t real. It’s allegoric. It’s supposed to be poetic, it’s a metaphor. Or, the TARDIS is part of the Doctor’s soul, and so materialised around him. Your choice.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Doctor Falls (I know I’ve not spoken about the last scene, but I’m going to talk about that in a lot more detail in the future), and I think it was the perfect send off for a lot of the Moffat era. I have a few nitpicks, especially in regards to Nardole, but it didn’t really detract from the overall story. Moffat really seems to be going out with a bang.
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.