If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: In the season finale, the Doctor makes a final stand against an army of Cybermen, to protect a tiny band of humans from destruction. (IMDB)
Writer: Rachel Talalay
Director: Steven Moffat
Running Time: 60mins
The episode starts off with a small rural community which was just another floor on the massive ship they’re still on. They also had scarecrows of which we now know are future cybermen. We learn that everyone had escaped their current predicament although it wasn’t easy. It looked like the Master and Missy had the upper hand, however, the Doctor still wound up on top by making all lifeforms targets of the cybermen. It appeared that they were going to leave the Doctor at the mercy of the cybermen but Bill, who is now a cyberman, saved him once again.
They have since taken refuge at the farm where Bill had been kept away from the others. She still saw herself as a normal person, however, to everyone else, she was a cyberman. We already know that she is mentally tough and this was simply her fighting what was happening to her. This took her awhile to get used to and she eventually came to terms with it. The Doctor still had hope that he could fix her but that would prove to be a daunting task. The fact that they showed Bill in her normal state made the emotion of the situation much more impactful.
The Masters, for a lack of a better term, were not much of a help, unsurprisingly, as they were more interested in escaping than helping anyone. Missy showed signs of perhaps being on the Doctor’s side, however, the allure of the Master and her former life was tempting. So it’s only fitting that they end up killing each other. There wasn’t much they could really do as time was against them and also an advanced version of cybermen akin to the ones we’ve seen before. The cybermen were coming for the children but they still had a plan to blow the ground up around them.
They were coming but someone had to stay behind while the rest of the children got evacuated so of course the Doctor stayed behind with Bill who didn’t have much left. The final battle was very exciting to watch, seeing the Doctor do his thing but ultimately couldn’t last forever. He had been fighting his regeneration for a long time now and this was still the case here. He wanted to go out in a blaze of glory and he did, for the most part, with Bill grieving his apparent death.
Now it gets a little contrived when we learned that Bill’s tears were connected to the Pilot from the first episode this season. She found her on the ship and saved her from being a cyberman. They then took the Doctor back to the Tardis. The Pilot gave Bill the choice to go back to her normal life or to go with her and Bill chose to go with her. Maybe this is the last we’ll see of Bill? If it is. it’s a fitting end.
One of Bill’s tears managed to bring the Doctor back to life and retriggered his regeneration. He continued to fight it because he didn’t want to be anyone else. He goes outside which was where he was in the flashforward at the beginning of the previous episode. There he meets a man claiming to be the original Doctor (David Bradley).
Overall, this was a great episode and a fitting end to the season. It was very exciting to watch, including the Cybermen battle, and hit many emotional beats, especially between the Doctor and Bill and the Doctor and the Masters. The performances were excellent across the board with Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie both having stirring moments and the episode being the apex of their great chemistry which has elevated this season as a whole. I wish we didn’t already know that the Doctor will regenerate in the Christmas special as this kind of took away from the impact of the ending and how they got there was a little cheap but it does connect the season nicely. I can’t wait for the Christmas special.