MatthewSo here we are! Ten episodes of Doctor Whoeleven episodes of The Companion Piece – and it all comes down to this. Will Peter Capaldi’s first series stick the landing? Hold your breath and cross your fingers, as we dive into Dark Water.

There are spoilers in the very first line, so turn away now if you haven’t seen this week’s episode.

A lot happened in this episode, but there’s clearly only one place to start: Even though the entire internet had basically already guessed it, what did we make of Missy’s true identity?

Matt KThat Timelords can change gender!

I was kind of hoping for the Master to come back but this is something else.

PaulI was actually a bit disappointed. While I liked the idea of Missy being someone we already knew, I kind of wanted her to be a regeneration of River or even an older version of Clara.

I kinda felt that out of all the characters they could bring back, that the Master was lower on the list.

MatthewYeah, I was a little disappointed that it was the most obvious and most expected answer. Though I did like that Missy saying, “Oh keep up,” sort of acknowledged that everyone already knew.
CookieI was a little disappointed too, to be fair. The Master had such a good ending at the end of Tennant’s reign.

MatthewI disagree, actually. I hated The End of Time, so giving him (/her) a better story is a positive for me.

Do we think that having the Master as a woman is a way to ease the audience into the idea of the Doctor as a woman later on?

CookieI hope so. It’s been something that has been suggested before, and everyone’s said no to the idea.

The doctor has been female before, though. In Big Finish‘s audio adventures they did a series called “Unbound”, which was a series of adventures asking the question “what if?” Some really good adventures, and in one of them the Doctor was female and played by Arabella Weir!

This, for me, was the saving grace – it’s opened up the Doctor’s gender for the next regeneration.

MatthewCan I ask you, as our classic-series expert, did you think for a moment that Missy might have been the Doctor’s granddaughter? When she said she was “the Timelord you abandoned”?
CookieNah, never thought it was Susan to be honest. Was hoping it was the Rani!
Matt KWell I hope we get an explanation on how he came back.
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So. Much. Fanfiction.

PaulYeah, and an explanation about the gender-swap. Why has it taken so long for it to happen?

MatthewI reckon the Master’s return will be tied up in the restoration of Gallifrey – but I haven’t a clue how. What I want to know is how she got tangled up with the Cybermen. That seems like a weird match!

And can I take a moment to say how much I love the new Cybermen designs? The new ones, from Nightmare in Silver, are just so cool – I love the classic blank facemasks.

PaulIt is quite weird. It’s interesting that the Master teams up with another Who enemy, but even more interesting it’s the Cybermen…
CookieAye, the teamup with the Cybermen was cool, but not the first time the Master’s teamed up with another classic enemy.
Matt KWell hopefully it’ll be explained on next week how she started all this, but I did see it coming. The dark water thing made me realise those were Cybermen in there, especially after the teaser we saw a while back.
PaulSo that means that Cybermen still have bones? Am I the only one kinda surprised by that…?
Matt KWell we saw a skull pop out of a Cyberman in Series 5.

MatthewI hope that dark water stuff ends up important to the plot, and not just a cool way to reveal the monsters.

It was cool, but it’s a little pointless if that’s the only reason it exists.

CookieI concur the dark water was very intriguing. Loved how Missy pretended to be an android as well.
PaulI thought the pretending to be an android was quite good. Though it does mean that the Master kissed the Doctor. I’m pretty sure they just made a whole load of people write fanfiction based on that…
MatthewThose people were already writing that fanfiction, and you know it!
CookieWas horrible to see, and yep that’s just given fanfiction a whole new angle to explore.

MatthewWhat I liked, with the Cybermen and with robo-Missy, is that we were clearly meant to know what was going on before the Doctor did. “There’s something I’m missing…”

All the clues actually made me very happy, because after a whole series of me going on about eye patterns (and, by the end, even I thought I was clutching at straws) this episode paid it all off by having loads of Cyberman eye-symbols everywhere. On the doors, on the plaques, on the wall in Seb’s office…

It looks like the eye motif was intentional all along. I’m not crazy! Woohoo!

CookieThat’s very true. Very true indeed.

But you’re still crazy!

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NOT CRAZY!

PaulParanoia FTW!

I’m not sure about the other reveal, though – that it was in “contemporary London all along”. They seemed to come out of the place and BAM! they’re in London.

I kind of wanted it to be set somewhere else.

MatthewIt was a little weird. And, again, spoiled by the trailer from last week.

Was it definitely meant to be now, though? I feel like people would have noticed the glass water-tombs inside St. Pauls if it was set today…

Matt KForget the tombs – is anybody questioning about being cremated after this episode? Or giving your body to science? Ouch!
CookieNah, I’d rather burn than be worm food. Besides I wouldn’t be going anywhere but down, so probably burning anyway!

Matthew“Go to hell,” as the Doctor said.

But I agree – buried alive and slowly rotting sounds way more painful than fire!

PaulTo be honest, I was worried that they were going to say that there is an afterlife – so I’m kind of glad that it’s more of a Cylon-esque download than anything, from my interpretation.
MatthewYeah, I was panicking that this was going to get all spiritual on us. That would have been a bridge too far, even if we did already meet the Devil once!
Matt KWell, it’s not the first time the Cybermen have been used in a ghost-related scenario like this.
CookieYes you’re right! Didn’t they ghost into a war with the Daleks from the parallel universe?

PaulYep, at the end of the second season – with Rose being trapped in the alternate dimension.

It’s interesting that this is a two-parter again like that one, and that it’s the only one they went with this season.

I really feel sorry for Danny Pink…

CookieYeah I’ve missed the two parters this season. Poor Danny, I just hope they may still save him. He never really got to travel in the TARDIS either.

MatthewI’ve really missed cliffhangers the last couple of years. And this one – with Danny and that button – was a great one.

There were a lot of big shocks about Danny this week. Finally seeing his “bad day” (and having him face it like that) was about as harrowing as expected, and I just couldn’t believe how early and suddenly he died. Clara’s dread in that scene was really powerful.

Matt KYeah, it did feel a bit sudden. But I guess it was a good way to give us a view on this place where everyone seems to be going.

PaulYeah, and it also makes me wonder what exactly Clara was going to say to him before that happened.

She seemed determined to say something powerful – and what led up to that point?

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He teaches maths now.

MatthewIt does seem like Danny knew the whole story at that point, so I’m not sure what her big revelation was going to be…

CookieAll those post it notes did seem to point to her needing to say something before she forgot it. Perhaps that’s something else to be revealed next week?

Either way, it was sudden but it worked.

Matt KYeah, and Clara didn’t take it too well – couldn’t have a repeat like that time when Rose tried to save her dad.
PaulNot sure if I get the Doctor’s reason for going to the afterlife, though. Or rather “searching for Danny”. I mean, it wasn’t long ago that she walked out on him…
MatthewThe reason was that if it mattered to Clara that much, then it mattered to the Doctor the same amount. He cares because she cares. I bought it.

CookieOh I get why they went looking for him. It was the lava and threats that seemed a little sudden to me – really found that a bit odd. She never even asked him to try before threatening him!

No real reason for that bit in my opinion, or if there was we should have seen more of a build up to it.

MatthewClara’s been heading that way for a while though. Forget the Darker Doctor – this series has basically been about the Darker Companion!

I loved it – Coleman and Capaldi were so good in those scenes. And it was nice to see Clara getting angry about the ever-changing rules of time-travel, too. I imagine some of us can relate!

PaulDefinitely. “wibley-wobbly-timey-wimey” is all well and good as a phrase, but as time-travel philosophy, it’s not good enough!

They certainly played it well, and when she started throwing the TARDIS keys into the lava was actually very dramatic.

I think she knew he wouldn’t go for it, though it was bad reasoning on Clara’s part. Throw away the keys and you’re essentially stopping him from even taking her home, let alone anything else.

MatthewI worry sometimes that you’re a robot, Paul. She was grief-stricken and angry and pretty clearly not thinking straight!
PaulI’m logical… Seemed like she put them in a situation where nothing could be done if she went through with the threat…
Matt KBut I thought the Doctor could open the TARDIS with a click of his fingers or did I miss something where he lost that trick.
MatthewI thought that too. Maybe it only works if he has a key on him or something?

CookieYes, Tennant did install a clapper to open the TARDIS doors.

It was good to see Clara like that, I thought. She’s really proven herself throughout this season.

MatthewI’ve been so impressed with her, after hating the way she was written with Smith’s Doctor.

Do we think she’ll end up leaving because she betrayed the Doctor with lava, then? Or worse, will she join Danny in the Nethersphere?

My money’s on her quitting, like an addict. Cold TARDIS turkey.

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Lava just offscreen.

CookieI don’t know, it’ll be a shame if she does. I honestly think there’s at least one more season with Clara – has her leaving actually been officially announced? Or is it all still rumours?

I hope her and Danny end up together, not in the Nethersphere though.

Matt KWell, I suppose with Danny gone if not definitely dead, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the Christmas special.

PaulThat all seems like it’s a little too close to Rory and Amy’s situation…

I think it’s more likely some sort of revelation about who she really is. I noticed in the trailer for the final two parter, that she said she’s never existed.

Maybe she will have time rewritten without her.

CookieYeah there does seem to be fragments of the impossible girl, yet to be explained. Especially as it seem to have been Missy who gave her the Doctor’s number.
MatthewThat’s the one thing yet to be revealed, really. Why did Missy “choose” Clara, and what does that even mean?
CookieAye, has it been a setup all along I wonder…
MatthewNormally this is where I would ask what we thought of the episode as a whole, but that feels wrong since we’ve only seen half this story. Instead, where do we think this story is going, and what do we hope to see in the finale?
Matt KWell, hoping for Danny to come back, and Missy to escape and return another season.

CookieAye, I’m hoping to see why the Doctor chose his face. As promised earlier this year, a conclusion to the whole Clara/impossible girl saga and more importantly the resurrection of Danny Pink.

And how Missy/Master escaped Gallifrey. I’m sure at least one of those events will occur!

MatthewI, for one, am a lot less interested in what happens with the Doctor and Missy than I am in what happens to Danny and Clara. They’ve become such an emotional anchor this series that, if their payoff is good, all the Cybermen stuff is just icing on top.

Of course, since this is Moffat, there’s a good chance the two stories will intertwine and actually become the same thing. This was a promising start, but it did feel like two stories happening at once, rather than a cohesive whole. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t stay that way!

PaulI don’t think the Doctor will reveal why he chose his face, but I do hope that Danny will come back. It might involve time-jiggery-pokery, but I think it could be done. I also think that he has to come back in order for his loop to work – since it was because of him that lead Clara to comforting the Doctor as a child in that one episode.

All in all though, I think the next episode is going to get some questions answered, and inevitably pose more questions too…

MatthewAs always we want to hear from you too, readers. Were you disappointed by Missy’s identity? Were you shocked by Clara’s betrayal? And would you rather decompose or burn? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, or by leaving a terrifying message embedded in radio-static.

That’s everything from this penultimate episode of The Companion Piece – but we’ll be back next week for the big series finale! Join us then, as Capaldi’s first series comes to an end, and our team investigates a Death in Heaven.