Doctor Who Review: “The Doctor Falls”

Well, the time has finally come. The end… until Christmas that is.

A Brief Overview of What Happened

The episode pretty much picks back up from where we left off at the end of the previous episode. The Master and Missy have knocked the Doctor out and held him captive, discussing what way would be best to kill him. Bill, in her new cyberman form stands behind them all, almost disconnected from what is going on. However, before being captured by our new terrible duo, the Doctor managed to change the Cyberman’s conversion programme to include Time Lords as well as humans, meaning they’re all suddenly on the hit list. Missy overpowers the Master, allowing the Doctor to take charge and save them. He calls upon Nardole; Who since running away before being held captive has commandeered a shuttle craft. The Doctor gets shocked by a Cyberman in the process, and the Master and Missy try to escape without him. But Bill, who suddenly seems to show compassion(?), stops them and brings the Doctor with her onto the ship.

They escape to one of the higher levels of the ship which is one of the many solar farms the ship contains. The floor is populated by numerous children, along with a few adults who protect them from the early Cybermen experiments that have made their way up. The Doctor seems to have recovered, but is supressing a regeneration. Bill is being held in a barn; The Doctor has convinced the other humans that she is harmless, but that doesn’t stop them from being afraid. However, Bill has no recollection that she was converted into a Cyberman, and still believes that she is human. That is until she convinced one of the children to bring her a mirror. The Doctor explains what’s happened, and she sheds a tear, which the Doctor takes as a hopeful sign.

Meanwhile, Nardole and the other humans have been preparing a battle front for where the Cybermen inevitably arrive. The Master and Missy have also found some camouflaged lifts that could be a possible escape route. However, when Missy calls one of them a Cyberman emerges from it. Together, Missy, The Master, The Doctor, and Bill destroy it. The Doctor then warns them that they can only move up another 5 floors at the most as the time dilation due to the black hole means the Cybermen have the upper-hand with more time to evolve and come up with a plan.

Upon discovering fuel pipes below the solar farm, Nardole is able to create explosions to aid the humans in their attack against the Cybermen. But knowing this won’t help them for long, the Doctor instructs Nardole to take the humans to another solar farm a few floors up and look after them there. After transferring Nardole’s explosion programme to his sonic screwdriver, the Doctor and Bill decide to stay behind and continuing fighting to bide time. The Doctor tries to convince the Master and Missy to stay with him and fight, but the Master abandons him and Missy eventually follows him. They head to the lifts to go down to the lower level of the ship and escape in the Master’s TARDIS. Missy then has a change of heart and tricks the Master before stabbing him in the back. Before she can go to join the Doctor, the Master retaliates by shooting her with his laser screwdriver, claiming that she won’t be able to regenerate. They both laugh over the two of them betraying one another before the Master continues his escape.

Meanwhile, the Cybermen have found their way to the solar farm and have begun their attack. Nardole and the humans have already made their way to the higher level, and the Doctor manages to keep the Cybermen at bay until he is shot down by one of them. Surrounded, with no way out, the Doctor blows up all the fuel pipes at once, engulfing their entire solar farm with flames and destroying all the Cybermen. Except from Bill. She finds an unconscious Doctor once the flames have calmed down, and kneels down crying over his supposedly dead body.

She then suddenly finds herself outside of her Cyberman body and instead in her human form. Heather (the girl from the episode “The Pilot”) had found her through her tears, and saved her by turning her into an entity just like her. They take the Doctor to the TARDIS, as Bill thinks it’d be the only place he’d ever be able to rest in peace if anywhere at all. Heather then invites Bill to continue exploring the universe with her, and Bill sheds one more tear over the Doctor as she says goodbye before departing.

Moments after she has left, the Doctor awakens. He begins to regenerate again, but supresses it once more, saying he refuses to keep on changing into another person. The TARDIS decides to land, and the Doctor exits it, finding himself in the snowy landscape we saw him in, in the beginning of the previous episode. He supressed his regeneration, claiming he will not change. We hear another voice out in the landscape claiming that is ridiculous. The Doctor, in his first incarnation (played by David Bradley) then emerges.

The Doctor Doesn’t Like Endings… But I Do

I loved this episode, but it pained me to see so many loose ends not being tied up. With only one episode left before he departs, you’d think Moffat would be trying to tie up as many loose ends as possible. But the only one he really did was the Master’s. We now know how he regenerates into Missy, and we saw Missy go into full redemption mode. But the rest is just so unfinished. We don’t know if the humans ever truly survive, or if the Doctor just prolonged their lives a little. Nardole doesn’t know that Bill and the Doctor survived. Bill doesn’t know the Doctor has survived. And the Doctor doesn’t know that Missy was coming back to help him, or that Bill has survived, and that she’s no longer a Cyberman.

Also, I’m really not to keen on Bill’s ending. I am so freaking glad she got a happy ending in the end. Really, I am. After seeing her pain about seeing herself as a Cyberman, getting used to the fact and understanding that everyone is always going to be scared of her I really wanted her to have a happy ending. But it’s all so rehashed. Even the being converted into a Cyberman had already happened to Danny Pink. And the whole getting another shot at life and travelling the universe without the Doctor was just copy and pasted from Clara’s last episode. It’s lovely to know she could still bump into the Doctor again at some point (if Chris Chibnall allows for it). But Bill was such an amazing character. She brought my passion for this show back to it’s highest. And she deserved her own, original, brilliant, happy ending.

You know who else deserved better? The Master and Missy. And I don’t mean their endings. After finally seeming to redeem herself, I really didn’t want to see Missy go, but like the Master was ever going to let her away with it. Also, it was so chilling to see Missy literally betray herself to help out her oldest friend. But dear God, they really weren’t used to their full potential were they? I find of feel with them like I felt with the Time Lords at the end of season 9. I was so excited at the end of “Heaven Sent” to see the Time Lords come back, but then “Hell Bent” came around and they were barely used. The same happened here. I was so excited to hopefully see The Master and Missy wreaking havoc. But instead they were brought down in the first 15 minutes, and spent the rest of the episode, channelling their inner emo, and sitting their brooding and making snarky remarks towards the Doctor.

Negatives aside, this episode still made a pretty decent finale. Bill was pulling at my heart strings constantly. The Doctor was snarky as usual, but completely heroic. Nardole has completely flourished now, and has been left to become his own version of the Doctor, protecting the humans. And of course, we had the Master and Missy. Despite their lack of action, I still enjoyed the moments we had with them.

You know what, I had completely forgotten how misogynistic the Master can be (I’ve seen people saying this is Moffat’s fault but let’s not forget he used to give Lucy Saxon a black eye), so becoming a woman must have really been his worst nightmare. He seemed a lot calmer in this episode though, but I’m assuming that’s down to the Time Lords curing him of the drums before kicking him out. Missy is still a lot calmer than him in terms of temper though, but all the shadier if I do say so myself. With the Master, we knew were we stood with him. That bloke is never going to side with the Doctor. But with Missy it was a hell of a lot harder to read. One thing I know for sure and hate myself for is that I kind of ship the two of them (Damn you, Moffat). — The question is, will we get a new Master in Chibnall’s run? The Master’s said that Missy is unable to regenerate. But is Missy his next regeneration, or are there ones in between? Missy already admitted she couldn’t quite remember.

And of course we have the Doctor refusing to regenerate again, which is going to make this final episode at Christmas all the more painful. I don’t quite understand it, though. With Ten, he was vain. Well and truly full of himself. He loved himself so much and that’s why he didn’t want to change. But there’s none of that with Twelve. He’s just an old man who goes around saving the world because it’s the decent thing to do. Apparently, he’s sick of changing. But sure he must know it’s inevitable? You can’t keep holding regeneration off. Eventually you’ve got to do it or you die, and surely, he knows that?

And I’m assuming this is where the first doctor comes in. Out of all the Doctors I wanted to come back, I have really been yearning for eight to come back (Paul McGann deserved better than just that minisode), but after talking it out with a friend for a bit, bringing the first Doctor back makes so much sense. The first Doctor’s just come out of his final episode “The Tenth Planet”, where we see the Mondasian Cybermen for the first and last time until these last two episodes. So they’ve both just fought off Cybermen, and they’re both about to regenerate. And hopefully it’s an encouragement for both to do so, especially Twelve.

Anyway, that’s it! My last, and very long review for season 10. I just wanted to take a few moments to say how much I’ve enjoyed writing these reviews. I say Bill brought my passion for this show back, but I think writing these reviews and discussing things has helps a whole bunch, too. So a great big thanks to all the admins at The Collective for letting me take the reins on all this. You have been an absolute pleasure to write for. And hopefully, if you’ll all have me, I’ll see you at Christmas!

Until then… well… Allons-y!

Johanna an avid writer and lifelong Doctor Who fan living in the UK. By day she is a student, studying Media and Film Production, and by night she fangirls about all things TV/Film related on Twitter and writes posts for a variety of blogs as well as her own lifestyle blog.