Written By: Steven Moffat
Length: 45 Minutes
Best finale in years. The episode picks up where the previous episode left off, with Bill now converted into an original Cybermen, and the Doctor caught i nthe trap of the Master (the John Simm version), who has brought back a bit of the bad of the Missy version of him/herself...she had been slowly developing a better side throughout this year, but seeing her old self gives her a bit of a split between those two sides.
The heart of the episode is really the performances. Capaldi is at his Doctory best here, Mackie gives a fantastic performance as the tormented Bill trapped Cybersuit (we see Mackie as she sees herself for most of the episode, but she is seen as a Cyberman by everyone else), and both incarnations of the Master are fantastic fun to watch. It is great to see Simm back, I like Gomez, but Simm was a Master I just loved a lot, whether he was being over the top and a tad campy or silly, or his more reserved menace that was seen mostly when he was one on one with the Doctor or by his self. All of them are great in this, and they elevate the material to the next level.
The Masters rapport and strange relationship with each other is a lot of fun, and their mutual demises by each stabbing/shooting each other in the back was great. Missy decides to leave the Master behind and go back to stand with the Doctor...choosing her emotional growth over reverting back into her old self, so she stabs the Master in the back, knowing that it will most likely lead to his regeneration into her (which, as established earlier in the episode, she is a bit fuzzy on the memory of how that all came about, and seeing as their being together puts timelines out of sync, it makes sense why she can't quite recall it). And as she leaves him, the Master shoots Missy in the back. He claims that she won't be able to regenerate due to giving her the "full blast," but we all know that is some lies, because the Master always finds a way to survive. Time will tell is we see a him or her again, but chances are Gomez made her final appearance in the show...and she was a fine addition. She had major recurring roles in both Capaldi's first and final years, and even showed up at the beginning of his second year for the big two part opener. She is Capaldi's Master, his main foe really...I doubt she will be returning for a new Doctor. Anything is possible, but I am sure if (or when) the Master returns? It will be with a new face again.
In the end, Nardole gets a fine send off as he helps evacuate the floor and help lead the survivors on another floor, believing the Doctor and Bill to be dead after all the Cybermen are blown to pieces (presumably with the Doctor and Bill with them). Bill and the Doctor both survive however, and Bill is soon visited by Heather, the girl with a star in her eye from the opening episode of the Series, and it is revealed that she has never truly let go of Bill, and that the reason Bill as a Cybermen was still able to cry, was because of the residual connection to Heather. Bill is then relieved of her Cyber-conversion, but she is now a water based space traveler like Heather, and the two can now travel the universe together, as a couple. It is a lovely farewell for Bill, she gets a happy ending that feels earned and satisfying, and it was a bit of a relief to know she didn't have to live out her days as a Cyberman or end up genuinely dead. And unlike the ending Clara got, in which she was killed because of her presumptions and her own willingness to take a leap...but then that theme that was hammered in all year was thrown out the door as Clara gets revived and gets some semi-happy ending where she goes on adventuring in a TARDIS before he inevitable demise...Bill's survival feels more legit to me. At least it doesn't feel so much like having the cake and eating it too. Clara's ending didn't feel earned. It made her death a little cheaper and lose impact upon revisiting the episodes, whereas I don't see Bill's ending as doing the same. Because she never truly died.
Then we come to the Doctor's fate. Bill and Heather take his incapacitated body back to the TARDIS, and Heather (being "The Pilot") flies it off the ship, and then the two leave the Doctor and the TARDIS beyond, to travel the universe together. Bill leaves a tear behind on the Doctor, so there is always a chance they will meet again. The Doctor again shows signs of regenerating, and awakes a little scrambled and repeating old final words of some past incarnations...but again he fights off regenerating. He doesn't want to change, and yet again be somebody new. He walks out of the TARDIS, which has landed in a snowy landscape, and he almost regenerates again, and again he holds it back and rails against the notion...but then someone else shows up in the snow saying they will not change...The First Doctor!
It will be a bit hard to wait for Christmas and see Capaldi teamed up with David Bradley as the First Doctor, who is sort of reprising the role, having played William Hartnell in the bio-drama "An Adventure in Time and Space" from the 50th anniversary, but now he is playing the Doctor proper. Will be fun to how it all plays out for the two...a Multi-Doctor Regeneration story this Christmas? An interesting choice. Usually, I would think that a Doctor should stand on his own for his final outing, but this two-parter really did that, Capaldi stood tall and proud as his Doctor...and his regeneration is already sparked...so why not a visit with his first incarnation before he finally departs his latest body. Could be fun!
NEXT TIME: The End of the Moffat Era