<<Spoilers for the final 2 episodes of Doctor Who will be discussed from the offset.>>
This is it guys, the final episode in the final season of Peter Capaldi’s tenure as Gallifrey’s favourite Time Lord, The Doctor (Doctor Who). The moment we’ve all been building too, the moment that has been teased so many times that expectation is fever pitch amongst the most dedicated of fans. Did it meet expectations? Before we get there, let’s recap the finer details of this highly anticipated chapter.
“The Doctor Falls” immediately follows the events of last week’s “World Enough of Time” in which Bill, having waited 10 years for the Doctor to return, has been converted into a Mondasian Cyberman by the returning John Simm as the villainous Master in what he calls the “Genesis of the Cybermen”.
The episode continues to show The Master and Missy (Michelle Gomez at her explosive best as always) tease the Doctor as to how he wishes to be tortured and eventually killed. What ensues is a typically elaborate escape sequence in which the Cyberman’s parameters are adjusted to 2 hearts instead of 1. Scared and frenetic, both Masters turn to the Doctor to help get them away from the incoming threat.
From here on, the pace does somewhat stutter. There are certain elements that are entertaining – the way John Simm reacts to Bill as a Cyberman is manically hilarious. However, there are elements that don’t hit the highs that we as fans have grown to enjoy. One major example is the heavily drawn out process of waiting for the incoming Cyberman invasion in a random Solar Farm that’s about 500 floors above the central hive of villains. I can appreciate that the impending doom is something Moffat wanted to bring to the table, especially in what many believed to be the final appearance of Peter Capaldi. Regrettably, this wasn’t always the case.
Before the latest “regeneration”, Bill and The Doctor survive an insurgency from the imminent Cyberman threat, The Masters, in a quite interesting turn of events, kill themselves – you’ll have to see it to believe it, trust me. And last but not least, Nardole. Nardole is forced by The Doctor to lead the residents of the Farm to safety and away from the destruction, the war he wishes to wage will produce. It was endearing to see Matt Lucas play this typically oafish character in much more serious manner. His reluctance to accept the mantle of would-be hero develops him into a firm but fanciful leader of the helpless refugees.
Then finally, after 12 episodes of leading to it, Capaldi’s Doctor finally succumbs to the inevitability of his fate and begins the process of regeneration. Or so we thought. The last 2 Doctors have regenerated in vastly different ways. David Tennant showed fear in his journey towards the next step, whereas Matt Smith showed pride and gratuity for what will probably be a very enjoyable experience. Capaldi showed neither of these traits. Instead, he showed tendencies fitting to the character he has spent the last 3 years creating.
His stubbornness and aggression mean that he manages to somehow forgo the process that’ll eventually lead to his sudden change. What this will mean for future incarnations is yet to be seen. What was seen, however, was the introduction of David Bradley as the First Doctor on the icy terrain we visited at the opening of last week’s episode. An introduction that sets up what will surely be Capaldi’s journey towards regenerating through his own warped method of self-reflection during the Show’s annual Christmas special.