Before we head into tonight’s Doctor Who season finale, I thought I’d chime in on Part One of the climax, last week’s episode “Dark Water.” There are going to be spoilers, people, so either go watch it and come back or keep yer complaints to a minimum. Or go ahead and complain in the comments below, if you really feel you have to. So we finally discover the season-long mystery of who is Missy (Michelle Gomez) and where is the Nethersphere, and I for one, couldn’t be happier with it. Scottish actress Michelle Gomez has been around since the 90s, but I first saw her as staff liaison officer Sue White in the hilarious UK hospital comedy series Green Wing and she was brilliant. Sue was easily my favorite character on the show and Gomez was energizing playing psychotically obsessed. Whenever she was onscreen I was entranced. Anything could happen — and often would. She was abrasive, abusive, foul-mouthed and hilarious. If there’s anyone who could play an appropriate antagonist for Peter Capaldi‘s Doctor, Michelle Gomez is easily one of the best choices possible. Particularly now that Missy’s true identity has been revealed: Missy is short for Mistress, which is the feminine form of The Master! In less than a single episode interacting with Capaldi, Gomez has wiped from my mind the horrifically stupid portrayal of the Master “crafted” by Russell T. Davies and John Simm. I can just pretend that shit didn’t happen now that the Doctor has a truly formidable incarnation of the Master to contend with. What could be better than two Glaswegians facing off over the fate of the universe? Nothing. That’s what. If she had been The Rani, it would have been interesting (and a little more traditional, with its sidestepping of the gender-bending implications of a female Master) and I would have embraced it — if only for the fact that it would be a wonderfully obscure to modern viewers as she’s only appeared in two television adventures, The Mark of the Rani (1985) and Time of the Rani (1987), before most of the latest generation of fans were even born. Plus, Gomez has the cheekbones for the part. But bringing back The Master — The Mistress (?) — works well with the modern audience so I’m going to enthusiastically support it. And if Moffat has another twist up his sleeve for tonight’s finale, I’m flexible enough to roll with that too. But what about the story? Well, after last week’s “I don’t want to see amazing things” routine, I was done with Mr. Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson). The Doctor is right. He’s got no imagination or curiosity and is a horrible match for Clara (Jenna Coleman). So when he was hit by a car while crossing the street and killed, I had no problem with that. Mundane death for a mundane character. And when Clara hangs up on him in the afterlife because he can’t come up with an original thing to say that would prove he was really Danny, I cheered. He’s a useless git. But Cora loves him and his death kind of breaks her, leading to a very effective and scary scene as she confronts the Doctor and demands he ignore the rules of time and space to go back and save Danny. It’s an amazing piece of work between Capaldi and Coleman, playing with dynamics we don’t normally get to see — especially from Coleman. She’s actually got a bit more range than the past couple of seasons would have us believe. Once he agrees to break different rules of time and space, the Doctor and Clara end up in the Nethersphere and I immediately found myself wishing I’d avoided pre-air rumors, set photos, and everything else that gave away the Cybermen reveal, because it was a delicious one. I’ve never been a big fan of the Cybermen, but I loved the sly references to the classic Tomb of the Cybermen (1967) and can’t wait to see how this new invasion, with Missy at the helm, plays out. In one of the more disturbing elements that I can recall in a modern Doctor Who adventure, the Nethersphere turns out not to be the afterlife, per se, but a trap for the consciousnesses of the recently deceased, where they can be processed, have their individuality deleted, and then be downloaded into Cyberman bodies. And the worst part is that they’re still psychically connected to their physical bodies, feeling whatever happens to them — whether that’s being put on ice, cremated, or dissected for science. It’s no wonder the BBC got complaints and loads of children were horrified by this episode. That means Moffat did it right, in my book. Doctor Who 8.11 "Dark Water"4.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.