‘Doctor Who’ Recap: “Death in Heaven”

By November 9, 2014

And the dead shall rise…

It’s a Cyber-invasion outside St. Paul’s, yet, oddly, no one seems to care. In fact, everyone’s taking selfies with the metal men, much to the Doctor’s dismay. But it’s all a ruse; UNIT shows up, replete with Kate Stewart and uber-Doctor fan Osgood. The Cybermen escape to the sky, and it begins raining Cyberpollen. UNIT proceeds to knock out both Missy and the Doctor, and take them on a flight, where Kate declares the Doctor ‘President of the Earth.’ Apparently, Earth’s emergency contingency plan is to make an alien their temporary commander-in-chief.

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The Cyberpollen infects every dead body on Earth, from graveyard to morgue, and Danny Pink wakes up with a brand new metal body.

Meanwhile, Clara is doing an impressive job of weaseling her way out of death by Cybermen. She tricks them into thinking that she is the Doctor, with her best Time Lord impression (rapid fire speech and all), and rattles off the Doctor’s life history. (He’s apparently been married four times.)

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A new Cyberman approaches and confronts her with her own life history. She says those were all carefully crafted stories. “Ask anybody who knows me,” she says, “I am an incredible liar.”

“Correct,” Cyber-Danny says, and knocks her out, before killing the other three Cybermen. She wakes up in a graveyard, where Danny takes off his mask and reveals himself to her. He needs her to turn on his emotion suppressant, and tearfully, she agrees. She calls the Doctor to ask for his help, but he begs her not to do it.

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Meanwhile, there’s chaos on the UNIT ship. Missy escapes captivity and murders poor Osgood. Flying Cybermen rip apart the airplane, and Kate Stewart plunges to what is presumably her death. The Doctor falls as well, but manages to grab hold of the TARDIS during his descent.

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The Doctor materializes in the graveyard, where he gives Danny a whole speech about the importance of pain and hanging on to his humanity. But when he discovers that Danny can’t see clearly into the Cyber Hive Mind and reveal their plan unless he switches off his emotions, there’s a tough decision to be made.

Danny knows exactly what it’s going to be, and his bitter soldier/general dynamic with the Doctor reignites. Horrified, the Doctor admits that he needs to know, and he reluctantly gives Clara the screwdriver, which she effectively uses to kill the last of human Danny…or so we think.

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Missy comes down from the sky, Mary Poppins style (umbrella and all). She has full control of the Cyber army, thanks to her bracelet. But she doesn’t want control of the army. She wants to give it to the Doctor as a birthday present, so that he can prove that he is just as bad a person as she is by using it.

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And there we have it. The Doctor’s moment of truth. We flash back to all the times this season that the Doctor has pondered whether he is a good man or a hateful one, and, relieved, he comes to the conclusion that he is neither hero nor villain. He’s just “an idiot, with a box and a screwdriver.”

He doesn’t need an army because he has two people in love, and even Cybertechnology can’t tear them apart. Danny, with his metal arm wrapped around a distraught Clara, is still not under Cybercontrol. The Doctor tosses him the bracelet, and he uses it to command the Cybersoldiers into destroying all the Cyberpollen rain clouds.

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With her plan foiled, Missy decides to tell the Doctor the coordinates of the planet Gallifrey, which she claims is back in its rightful place in this universe. Clara threatens to kill her, but the Doctor won’t let her. He’s going to do the dirty work himself, if only to save Clara from becoming a murderer.

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Neither of them get the chance, however, because Missy is killed by one of her own Cybermen. Cyber Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart has risen to take down the Master…and to save his daughter from plunging to her death. They find an unconscious Kate Stewart in the graveyard, and the Doctor gives the metallic Brigadier a long overdue salute.

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It so happens that the bracelet the Doctor gave Danny has another function; it can be used to transport its wearer back to the realm of the living. Unfortunately, it only has enough power to bring one person home, and Danny sees an opportunity to undo the damage he did as a soldier, and sends the kid he killed back in his place.

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Meanwhile, the Doctor goes in search of Gallifrey, only to discover that the Master/Missy has lied to him yet again. His homeworld is still nowhere to be found.

Clara and the Doctor meet for coffee, where Clara tries to tell him what happened to Danny. The Doctor blunders ahead; under the assumption that she and Danny will live happily ever after, he tells her he’s found Gallifrey, so she needn’t concern herself with ending their travel arrangement; he’s doing it for her.

For his sake, she too lies, telling him that he’s right about her and Danny. They end their meeting in a hug. “Never trust a hug,” the Doctor says, revealing why he doesn’t like them. “It’s just a way to hide your face.”

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And boy, is it ever. Their true emotions are written all over their faces, but neither of them see. Instead, they recompose themselves and go their separate ways.

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And then Santa walks into the TARDIS.

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With Missy disintegrated by the Cyber Brigadier, is the Master dead once and for all? Or was that blue light she disappeared in actually a well timed teleport? Is Clara secretly pregnant with Danny’s child, as some are speculating (how else will their descendant, Orson Pink, be born)? Was the season finale unsettlingly dark, or chillingly brilliant? And do you agree with the Doctor’s assessment of himself? Sound off in the comments!