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‘Doctor Who’ Review: Killer Finale Hints at a Female Doctor and Delivers Some Major Time Lord Plot Twists

Everything is teed up for a pretty eventful Christmas episode.

"Doctor Who"

“Doctor Who”

BBC America

Me, Myself and Missy

Michelle Gomez and John Simm, "Doctor Who"

Michelle Gomez and John Simm, “Doctor Who

Simon Ridgway/BBC America

Missy’s reunion with her former Master self has been nothing short of the highlight of the season, but we can’t but help grouse a little bit about the torturous season-long tease of both her identity as the person in the vault and her untimely end.

The Master’s interaction with Missy is nothing short of hatefully gleeful, diabolical and icky in a narcissistic, mastubatory way. His brush-up boner goes beyond the grossness of “Game of Thrones” twincest. Nevertheless, that very ickiness illustrates just how wrong in the head he is, so it seems in line with the character we’ve already known. Besides, the two of them together have created some excellent chemistry and wordplay.

Missy’s evolution into a person with gentle feelings was dribbled out so sparingly this season that we felt she got short shrift before her big sacrifice. Maybe that was deliberate to maintain the mystery of her loyalties, maybe it came down to Michelle Gomez’s availability.

Nevertheless, having the Master shoot her in the back and presumably kill her (“Don’t bother trying to regenerate. You got the full blast.”) is problematic in a number of ways. Only when she learns to have an ounce of humanity does she die? What sort of tragic, effed-up justice is that? And killed by the male version of herself to boot? That had better not be foreshadowing of what could happen to a female Doctor. Also, the spotty memory loss thread is just far too convenient. She remembers enough to bring a spare thingamajig to fix the Master’s TARDIS but not that he shot her in the back? Ugh. Spare us.

Then again, this could be misdirection (Missy-direction?), maybe she did remember and is faking her death. Perhaps this is the sacrifice necessary for getting a female Doctor. We’re still holding out to that hope (that will no doubt be killed as if the Master shot it in the back, too).

Straight From the Two Hearts

So much heartache all around. Bill seeing her Cyberman reflection in the mirror and shadow on the wall chipped away at our heart. When the outer Cyberman shell would give way to the sobbing Bill inside, that tore us up.

Pearl Mackie, "Doctor Who"

Pearl Mackie, “Doctor Who”

BBC America

We were shocked at how horrifying it was to hear the Doctor plead, “I don’t want to change again. Never again. I can’t keep on being somebody else.” No matter what the outcome, his weariness about these changes reveals how a long life may not be worth the psychological costs.

And, of course, Missy laughing loudly and ruefully after being bested by herself is just a tragedy. Irony sucks sometimes.


Missy meeting her former self is intriguing, but the black hole creating various time speed differences in the ship made for an intriguing plot development. It effectively meant that escaping into the TARDIS was impossible — unless of course you have a soggy T2 time and space lady on your side.

READ MORE: ‘Doctor Who’: Casting Suggestions for the 13th Doctor Who Aren’t Straight, White Men

Whoniversity Degree

We couldn’t catch everything that the Doctor was screaming while playing gunslinger with the Cybermen, but what we could make out seemed to reference past victorious clashes with the Cybermen. Here are a few:

Telos: The Cybermen had taken over this planet previously populated by the Cryons in order to build their tombs there.
Olga: Possibly Olga Bordmann, a character in the novel Plague of the Cyberman who had helped Eleven fight off the Cyberman in 19th-century Klimtenberg.
Canary Wharf: This area of London hosted a major battle between Daleks and Cybermen, the latter of whom had taken over every landmass.
Planet 14: The Mondas Cybermen took over this planet in the novel “The Invasion.”
“Even on the moon”: Probably a reference to Voga, where the Doctor also had to defeat the genocidal cyborgs.

David Bradley, "Doctor Who"

David Bradley, “Doctor Who”


Bradley, best known for playing the Red Wedding planner Walder Frey on “Game of Thrones” and Argus Filch in the “Harry Potter” franchise, has portrayed William Hartnell already once in the dramatization of the early “Who” years film, “An Adventure in Space and Time.” He’s been a friend of the Whoniverse for a while, also appearing as Solomon in the “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” episode and the voice of Shansheeth Blue in “The Sarah Jane Adventures.”

The montage of past Companions also saying, “Doctor!” are all pretty recognizable, but where was Rory (Arthur Darvill)?


The Master, and then Missy separately, to Nardole: “The doctor is dead. Told me he’s always hated you”

Missy to the Doctor: “Look, there’s Bill: dead, dismembered, fed through a grinder, squeezed into a Cyberman, doomed to spend an eternal afterlife into a biomechanical psycho zombie.”

Missy to the Doctor: “I’ve been secretly on your side all along, you silly sausage.”

The Master to the Doctor: “Right, while you’re ben here chatting up Robo-Mop, me and me have found it.”

The Master to Missy: “Come on, lady version.”

Missy to the Master: “I loved being you, every second of it. Oh how you burned like the sun, like a whole screaming world on fire. I remember that feeling and I always will. And I will always miss it.”

The Master to Missy: “You see, Missy, this is where we’ve always been going. This is our perfect ending. We shoot ourselves in the back.”

Grade: A-

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