Monday, June 26, 2017
My Review of Doctor Who's 10x11: "World Enough And Time"
Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Rachel Talalay
The Master: "Hello Missy, I'm the Master. I'm very worried about my future. Give us a kiss."
After ten weeks of episodes that ranged from good to great to middling and an overwhelming sense that things were maybe coasting along a little too much until the next era, we finally got an episode where things actually happened in a big way and appropriately enough, it was the first part of the finale to boot.
For weeks we've had the hype of both Mondasian Cybermen and two Masters in the mix, so the anticipation for this particular finale was a little higher than usual. The good news is that this episode more than delivered. The bad news - Bill really got fucked over, big time here.
It's not unusual for companions to put in tricky fates and Moffat's penchant for doing that to his main players has been noteworthy throughout his reign on the show, River Song herself is now a data ghost after sacrificing herself for the Doctor while her parents Amy Pond and Rory Williams got sent back in time by Weeping Angels to live out their lives and never see the Doctor again.
Last series, Clara Oswald's own hubris became her undoing when a raven marked her for death and while there was a cheat of sorts with both her and Ashildr gallivanting in a TARDIS, the former's days were still pretty numbered though. Then there's Danny Pink.
He was hardly the most popular character on the show and yet he was given both a gruesome exit by being somewhat converted into a Cybermen for Missy's arm back in 2014 and then he sacrificed himself to save the world or Clara, depending on your stance in the matter. The reason why I bring up Danny is because thanks to this episode, Bill underwent a similar but somewhat horrifying fate.
The episode opened with the Doctor persuading Bill and Nardole to aid him in a test to see if Missy could be good after all by exploring a spaceship heading into a black hole and dealing with time dilation. This resulted in the blue skinned Jorj shooting Bill for being human and then Bill being dragged away by a group of bandaged patients in order to give her a new heart.
The focus of the episode then is on Bill stuck in the creepiest of hospitals with the most ill and dying of patients suffering the worst kinds of pain ever while befriending the offbeat caretaker Razor and waiting for the Doctor to come and get her. Despite knowing exactly who Razor was from the get go, I actually quite like the 'friendship' of sorts between him and Bill and when he handed her over to that surgeon and nurse from hell, I was a little bit shocked.
Having Bill converted into the first Cyberman ever was not something I expected the show to do. I knew that when she first appeared in the show that Bill was going to be a one series only companion but even I didn't think that Moffat would give her such a horrifying ending of sorts. Whether or not this fate sticks though is the other thing, considering Moffat's track record with death.
However horrible as Bill's current predicament, it's also a timely reminder of how dangerous the Master actually can be. Sure, Missy might be making some of the right noises about wanting to change but we all know that the Master can never be good. It's why this two parter has given us two of them, so that the former Master (Simm) can stop the current one (Gomez) from turning over a new leaf.
I've enjoyed Michelle Gomez's take as the Master/Missy immensely during Capaldi's era of the show but it was nice to see both her and John Simm finally meet and I'm genuinely surprised that it happened. While Simm was largely in disguise as Razor for most of the episode and worked well with Pearl Mackie, his brief scenes with Gomez and Capaldi at the end were the highlight of the episode.
As for the rest of the episode, it was delightful enough. I loved the use of flashbacks and a flash forward to an impending scene and bonus points for the Doctor giving Bill a summary of his complicated relationship with the Master to boot. Nardole didn't really have that much to do in this one though but that was hardly a bad thing.
- The episode opened with the start of the Twelfth Doctor regenerating on a snowy planet. Expect to see that scene again next episode but we still have him until Christmas.
- I had to laugh at Missy's meta commentary on the show's title as well as her dabbling. And then I laughed a little at the Master's accent while pretending to be Razor.
- We can thank Steven's son for the use of black holes and time dilation for this episode. I do think it worked rather well though.
- The Doctor and Bill have adventures on Saturdays? I guess not anymore though.
- Previous origin stories for the Cybermen have included the likes of Big Finish audio, Spare Parts as well as comics such as The World Shapers and The Cybermen. There was a Genesis Of The Cybermen story planned but it never materialised.
- Chronology: Mondas for the most part, or specifically a ship that seemed to be connected to it. I'm not sure how long since The End Of Time it is for Missy's "ex" though.
World Enough And Time provided a thrilling punch to proceedings. The start of a regeneration, the death of a companion, the origins of the Cybermen and two Masters all in one episode? I don't know how the next episode will live up to this one but I definitely can't wait to find out though. It's just a shame the ratings are still not great this series though.
Rating: 10 out of 10