Matthew Welcome back, once again, to The Companion Piece . When we left you last week, Paul B was being menaced by Cybermen, Matt King was about to delete his emotions, and Paul E had just discovered that I’m secretly the Master. Or something like that. Join us, as we discuss Doctor Who ‘s big finale!

Naturally there are spoilers throughout, so stop reading unless you’ve watched Death in Heaven .

Let’s start where we left off last episode – the Doctor has just discovered the identity of Missy. This is a character who’s been turning up all series, but has always been quite quiet and mysterious. But now that the veil has fallen, this week was her first chance to really cut loose and just be the Mistress. What did we make of her?

Paul Some bits I liked. Some I didn’t.

I didn’t like the way she killed the female scientist. Seemed like a massive waste.

Cookie It was a waste of the scientists character, however the way Missy did it was rather off book. Loved how she teased her before the end – showing us a real psychotic manner.

Also loved how that character had moved from her scarf to a bow tie.

Matthew I liked that bit, actually. Heavily hint at who the next companion might be… then murder them. It hit a lot harder that way, and it made Missy genuinely scary.

Matt K Yeah her singing did creep me out, I think she may have just beaten John Simm… maybe.

I did kind of miss her using the Laser Screwdriver, though. And I’m kind of surprised the Doctor didn’t tell anyone to keep Missy away from The TARDIS.

Paul Considering they know how tricky Timelords can be, they didn’t seem to bother with much security for her on the plane… The guards were so useless.

And she was killing people with that device that seemed to “cremate” the bodies. Isn’t that counter-productive if they’re using dead bodies to build an army?

The Mistress

Bananas.

Cookie Did seem a waste of natural materials in a way.

Matthew This is the same character who once used the human race from the future to kill the human race in the present. I don’t really expect the Master’s plans to make much sense at this point.

Speaking of which – did she really give Clara the Doctor’s number just on the offchance that if Clara lost a loved-one she’d drive him to look for the afterlife? It worked, but it’s a hell of a long-shot.

Paul Very true. Unless it was Missy driving the car…
Matthew Oh wow. That would have made an amazing flashback.
Cookie I think there was more to that plan than meets the eye. Missy has had to mess with a lot of time to give the Doctor his birthday present.

Matt K Well with such an unhinged mind Missy would have enjoyed watching the Doctor run around time and space facing such hard choices and confrontations.

And she does seem to like to mess with the Doctors favourite race.

Cookie The Master’s plans have always been a little deranged, I’ll give you that. Yet Missy seemed even more unhinged than previous incarnations, which was fun to see on the screen.

Michelle Gomez was certainly the best part of the episode for me. Her performance as a deranged Mary Poppins was just brilliant!

Paul Just don’t get me started on how she died!
Matthew Is she dead, though? That blue effect was meant to look like a Cyberman-blast, but it looked an awful lot like Missy’s teleporter effect too…

Cookie I thought it was a teleporter effect to be fair.

Missy will be back, they can’t leave the Master like that.

Paul I think they’re playing it either way. Though you did see the blue laser moving towards her. So they’ve left themselves a license to write anything in future.
Matthew I’m sure she’ll be back at some point. Hopefully as Gomez again – she’s far too good to only use once.
Matt K You know, it might have been interesting if Missy was one of those plastic clones.
Cookie She hinted at that last week, didn’t she, when she pretended to be an android.
Paul Or to have Missy as an alternate reality version of the Master – maybe even from Rose’s dimension.

Matthew Clearly there’s a bunch of ways to bring Missy back – they’ve definitely left their options open.

But one character who doesn’t look like they’re coming back is Clara. What did we think of her this week?

Again.

Eyes. Just sayin’.

Paul I was actually disappointed that Clara was lying about her not being real.

I think that would have made a nice twist.

Matt K It would seem quite Doctor-like.
Cookie Yeah that was an interesting tease – Clara as the Doctor would have been awesome!
Paul Clara as anybody else would have been good. Heck, what if she was actually saved by herself when she went into the Doctor’s timestream on Trenzalore?

Cookie I’m loving that idea.

That was one of the highlights for me though, when she announced she was the Doctor – it made me jump to attention.

Matthew I’m glad it was a feint. And I liked that she was stalling for time the same way she did in Deep Breath with the half-faced man. I’d have just found it eye-rolling and tedious if we went back to the Impossible Girl stuff after all her great character development since.

It was blatant trailer-bait though.

Paul I just think they could’ve used a different lie.

And she did seem to know too much stuff. Stuff not even some of the other companions seemed to know…

Matthew I didn’t mind Clara saying she was the Doctor (that’s kind of been her entire arc, anyway) but then she was just dumped into a graveyard because that’s where the story needed her to be and it saved time…
Paul That’s true, especially considering Danny didn’t know what the plan was…
Cookie True, but then a lot of this episode felt disjointed.
Matthew I agree about it being disjointed. It seemed to have almost too many ideas, and had to rush through them super-fast to fit them all in. It lost a lot of detail that way and ended up feeling a bit shallow.

Matt K Well I think after all that Clara went through it certainly gave her reason enough to leave The Doctor.

The fact that each of them lied to each other to give them a reason to leave each other was heartbreaking.

Two Doctors

The two Doctors.

Paul I hated that ending where they basically lied to each other. It seemed just so pointless.

They didn’t have to travel together still, but it still seemed like a pointless bit of drama between them.

Matthew Oh no, I thought that was perfect .

They both think they’re helping the other be happy, and they’re both going to be miserable because of it. Clara has spent all series becoming more like the Doctor, and now both of them are following Rule One – “The Doctor Lies”.

I thought it was the best moment in the episode.

Cookie I can see to a degree why they lied to each other, in the hopes that the other would no longer worry about them. Trying to save each other the worry and pain of each other’s failure so to speak.

It was another moment I liked but (and I checked this earlier) no one, not even the BBC , have confirmed Clara’s exit…. The door is still open!

Paul It would make sense for Clara to come back – but it’s something she’s done before. It feels a little like the boy that cried wolf.

Speaking of wolves, is anybody a little disappointed that there wasn’t really a “bad wolf” moment?

Matthew Nope, not at all. After The Wedding of River Song and The Name of the Doctor I think that kind of storytelling is feeling played out. I’m a lot more happy that we capped off all the character arcs than getting tangled up in mysteries.

Not that this episode didn’t manage to tangle itself up anyway

Cookie They seemed to lose control. It was bizarre and deeply disheartening in places – it felt rushed and a little lacking.

As for Danny’s fate… I could scream!

Paul I really didn’t like what happened to Danny – nor that he was essentially pulled back into the “just a soldier” routine.

I liked that Danny left the armed forces to teach Maths. It seems now he’ll only ever be remembered as a soldier.

Cookie I hated what happened to him. His character had so much promise they seemed to have made him a plot device rather than a character like Clara Last season – they Clarad him!
Paul I’m going to have to start using that term.

Matthew At least they bothered to characterise him first, which is more than they ever did for Clara version 1!

They did treat him strangely this week, though. I was a bit confused at the start of the episode, because we didn’t find out whether he pressed the button, and because that kid had come back without explanation.

With an X

WARMACHINEROX

Paul That kid coming back at the end was too much Deus Ex Machina for me. Were they implying there was a “real” afterlife and that Danny had sent the kid back from it?

Or was it that they were still in the Galareyian database in digital form?

Matthew That was definitely meant to still be the database. In fact, it’s implied that all our afterlife myths are actually based on Missy timehopping and “saving” people, which is kinda neat.

Oh wow – just realised that “saving” is a pun, because they’re being stored on a harddrive.

Paul So we’re all going to be downloaded into the great Galafreyian database in the sky…

Wouldn’t that mean that technically, they’re just keeping copies of us?

Likewise, would it also mean that they could clone Danny and re-download him to the clone body?

Matthew No, I’m sure they said the database was collapsing, so I think he’s officially dead now.

I could be remembering it wrong, though, because that scene was really badly executed. Another case of rushing things and having them fall flat.

Cookie He had one trip on his bracelet to come back but he used it for the kid instead, so yeah I would say he’s dead.
Paul Well, they managed to download him into the Cyberbody…
Cookie True, perhaps he could come back as an android – Mr Pink version 2.
Paul I kind of didn’t like the way Danny was the only Cyberman that actually had humanity left intact. As though, throughout history, he’s the only one who didn’t delete his personality (even then, I don’t quite get why he had to do it for himself).
Matt K Well I felt it was convenient for him not to be like the others.
Cookie We also saw at the end that Lethbridge Stewart had come back, personality intact. Seemed to be the only ones able to resist were, in fact, soldiers!
Matt K That was nice to find that he saved his daughter and the Doctor giving him a salute.
Paul Also seemed that the timing of the episode (with the 100 years since World War 1 and the armed services etc.) is way too close to be coincidence.
Matthew The date does seem quite intentional, especially with all the emphasis on soldiers this series and this week’s payoff of that.

Cookie It definitely does, to be fair.

Wasn’t much of a payoff though, still a lot of questions left unanswered.

The Brig

He should have asked.

Matthew Did you like the Brigadier’s return then, Cookie? Since you’re the only one of us who’s really seen him in action?

Cookie Aye that was a nice touch, added a bit more of the classic to it.

He was a great character in the show – was good to see him remembered once more.

Matt K He did make an appearance in The Sarah Jane Adventures, too.

Matthew I can’t help but wonder if he’s flown off to hang out with Rusty somewhere. The universe’s only good Dalek and Cyberman.

…I’d watch that show.

Cookie That would be a cool reunion… not sure if you could get a whole series out of it though.

Paul Someone should definitely make that adventure! I assume that he just self destructed like the rest though.

And I’m a bit disappointed that none of the other side-characters made a return.

Matthew UNIT wasn’t enough?

Paul I was thinking more of the secondary but likable characters from this series.

Don’t get me started on people previous incarnations have met…

Matt K And then UNIT made the Doctor the President of the Human Race, or was it Earth?

Matthew I liked that they put Capaldi in a position where he’d seem a lot like his characters from The Thick of It and Torchwood . Very self-aware!

Funny that both Missy and UNIT wanted to do the same thing – put him in charge of their forces.

Cookie True, and very ironic.

It was a little weird, but was good to see him thrust into the position. But again it felt totally rushed.

Paul I agree, the Doctor took the role far too easily.
#&£% the #&£% off.

As much use as a marzipan sonic.

Matthew Yep, they just blowdarted him and shoved him on a plane to rush the plot along. It would have been nice to see him deal with it more – actually make that decision – but there was always too much going on!

Matt K Funny how we had a mix of evil water and burning the clouds.
Paul Yeah, there did seem to be a water connection. Although it was kind of sad that it was only in these last two episodes.

Matthew I’m still annoyed that Dark Water was just a way to slowly reveal the Cybermen. Presumably it was also in the Cyber-rain, but they never made that clear and it never made anything invisible again. Totally pointless.

Not the first time we’ve seen the sky burning, though…

Cookie Yeah the Dark Water was left alone this episode – another wasted opportunity for explanations.

The water connection was cool, though, and the pollination of the Cybermen was an interesting idea.

Paul Very true. Some cool ideas thrown away in favour of “Transcendence” type concepts (I loved that film though).
Cookie Personally I think they could have done the story more justice as a three-parter

Matthew Yes! I totally agree – three parts would have been perfect (like John Simm’s first Master story, in fact).

Did you notice this series was one episode shorter than usual, by the way? BBC austerity measures, apparently. It’s a shame – an extra episode would have improved this no end.

Paul There was 12. Isn’t that the usual?
Matthew It’s usually 13, I think.
Cookie Yeah, or 14 including Xmas. We always seem to get short-changed in that respect.
Matthew And now it’s time to cut this episode short too, I’m afraid. Before we go, what are our final thoughts on Death in Heaven ?
...you're my only hope.

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi…

Cookie I have to say – and bear in mind I think during this I’ve been the less brutal member of the team – I’m in two minds about this episode. Parts I liked, but others stank worse than a kipper being left for a week in an air-con system!

It was on the whole a bit of a mish-mash – it had great potential but felt rushed and forced. Missy was portrayed brilliantly , though, and was the stand out performance of the episode.

Paul Overall, I was actually disappointed with the season finale. It seemed to favour the emotional drama over everything else – with the science fiction elements and the story itself coming a distant third. I’d have to blame the writers for that over everything else. The actors did well with what they were given, it’s just a shame what they were given was a mess disguised as drama.

In the end it seemed to me that none of the characters actually won. I guess it was the point of the episode, but it’s not a very compelling one.

Matt K A fair bit more drama and tragedy than the action I was hoping for – but a good farewell to old friends, reasonable sacrifice from others, and a somewhat unfortunate end to Missy.

Just kind of hoped for a bigger ending.

Matthew This is another weird one for me. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to, but I’d have a hard time pinning down anything in particular that I didn’t like. All the individual parts worked well – excellent villain, decent script, great emotional beats, fair conclusion to the series’ themes – but it blundered through them all so quickly, so desperate to cram everything in, that a lot of it got lost in all the noise.

I definitely disagree with Paul, though – I’m glad it valued drama and emotion over everything else. When everything’s moving this fast, and there’s not much time, I’d rather they use that time to make me care about the characters than the plot specifics. And I did care, and in the end I think that’s enough. I liked this finale… but I really wish I could have loved it.

How about you? what did you make of Missy, Danny, and Clara’s departures? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter , Facebook and Google+ , or by calling us over – no, come on, closer than that – and whispering it threateningly into our ear.

You may think that’s it from us, but never fear – while Doctor Who may have ended, The Companion Piece lives on! We’ll be back next week with one final special episode to examine this series as a whole. To find out if it lived up to our expectations, and whether any of our insane predictions were right, join us again next Monday for one more trip in the TARDIS…