“World Enough and Time” is a sensational return to form for Doctor Who, from its opening sting to the heart-stopping climax, this initial verse of Peter Capaldi’s much awaited Swan-song gives just enough to tease his eventual “demise” without ever being too sentimental. But before that, let’s give a brief recap.
This episode opens with the Tardis materializing on a snowy landscape, fairly typical of a Doctor Who episode right? Well, not this time. This time, the Doctor is the only person to emerge from the synonymous machine, his appearance is battered and distressed as he suddenly begins, somewhat apprehensively, to regenerate into his newest iteration. Cut to the opening titles.
While trying to come to terms with what we’ve seen, we are thrust into the ludicrous scenario of Missy taking the helm of one of the team’s expeditions, much to the disdain of Bill and Nardole. Missy (Michelle Gomez) really has been a revelation this season. Her flamboyance has oozed across the screen making every scene better than the one before it.
It’s from here where things start to become especially dark. The location of the expedition is revealed to be a ship positioned just in front of a massive Black Hole. Nothing serious there then? However when a scared crew mate shoots Bill to “protect them all”, a group of robed figures appears to escort Bill to the depths below.
Villains in disguise, a mind-bending passage of time and the return of two of Doctor Who’s most notorious characters, all in a day’s work for our favorite Time Lord.
What was fascinating about this episode was the way in which time passed by was addressed. At the head of the ship, the closest point to the Black Hole, time traveled at a much slower rate than that of the base – a fact discovered by Bill and John Simm’s The Master (in disguise of course). Throughout the remainder of the episode is a fast-paced, high-stakes ride of survival and desperation towards Bill inevitable appearance in the eerie “Conversion Theatre”. Conversion to what I hear you say? Those infamous villains, The Cybermen of course.
I won’t ruin the ending, however, what I will comment on is the wonderful reveal Simm’s Master has to both Missy and The Doctor. A reveal that has catastrophically different repercussions for each of them. Everyone that works with Capaldi seems to be having such a great time that their performance just gets better and better. His lunacy combined with rage, compassion and stoic wisdom highlights the positivity in every aspect of a scene.
Overall, World Enough and Time is a welcome return to Doctor Who’s enjoyable best. Rachel Talalay’sdirection is fresh and enlightening, Moffat’s script is simple, clever and paced to perfection to create the exact amount of tension required to carry the episode.
Enjoy yourselves this week guys, because I’m certain next week’s episode is going to evoke emotions you haven’t felt for quite a while.