Death In Heaven starts with Clara outsmarting a Cyberman, by trying some psychology that only a human could be perplexed by, and somehow this confuses the metal muppet, and then we’re all confused when she says she’s not Clara, but she’s The Doctor! Oh, come on!
But just as Missy thinks she’s got the world covered with silver baddies, UNIT* turn up to kick ass. Yet, despite Cyberman technology outsmarting human weaponry, they all take off like they’re wearing jetpacks, then more of them shoot out of St Paul’s Cathedral, and with 91 of them about, there’s one per city… until they explode and effectively pollenate each one with zillions more Cybermen… and where’s the best place to start? As the Doctor manages to speak, just before an impromptu tranquiliser dart knocks him out, “Guard the graveyards”.
(*In new-Who, UNIT are now known as “Unified Intelligence Taskforce”, not the original “United Nations ied Intelligence Taskforce”)
You see, the whole point of the dart was to get him on government plane Boat One, by the way. That’s where all the thinkers and doers go. Where are they going? Cloudbase? The Valiant? Then some confusion over whether Cloudbase was a part of Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlett? Yes, a geek-gasm is happening here as Steven Moffat squeeees all over the script.
Anyhoo, you can’t beat this enemy for efficiency, since all the dead are now coming back to life as jug-heads, and thanks to something even the Doctor doesn’t know about, when the world is in peril, the complete control of the Earth is handed to just one person, the President of Earth… and it’s The Doctor!
The annoying Sanjeev Bhaskar also turns up as Colonel Ahmed, who addresses The Doctor with a salute, to which he replies, “Don’t do that. You look like you’re self-concussing… which would explain all military history now I think about it”, before declaring him a ‘Man Scout’.
Meanwhile, Clara has been saved by a rogue Cyberman clutching a piece of paper from the coroner’s telling how Danny Pink is dead. Is it there to save her? Well, since it knocks her out and dumps in a cemetery… perhaps she’s not really saved after all, as there’s thousands of them there and they’re about to rise from the dead.
Oh, but hang on, this one is actually Danny in a cyberman suit – and he ain’t getting out of it (YAY!), and he wants Clara to switch off his emotion inhibitor so he doesn’t feel anything else… even though that’ll make him a Cyberman proper and he’ll kill Clara. Oh, what to do!
Some other pieces of nonsense from Death in Heaven:
- The Nethersphere wasn’t really an official afterlife, but Missy’s way of recruiting the dead by somehow kidnapping all the souls and storing them for a time like this. The Doctor concludes mankind is beat: “How can you win a war against an enemy who can weaponise the dead”
- Galifrey is in another dimension, while the Doctor thinks it’s lost, Missy tells him it isn’t… she knows and she isn’t telling… but as we later learn from her, Gallifrey has returned to its original location.
- And as Missy’s plan succeeds to blow up Boat One, thankfully that means Sanjeev Bhaskar is killed off, but sadly that also means the lovely Jemma Stewart (returning as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart) is brown bread, as well.
And there were a few good lines in this episode, but not as many as previous ones. Three of choice were:
- Osgood (Ingrid Oliver, reprising her role from The Day Of The Doctor, although I remember her best, seducing Mark the wrong way in Peep Show episode, Jeremy’s Mummy) knows Missy is the Master, as she quips, “We do have files on all our ex-Prime Ministers. She wasn’t even the worst.”
- When the TARDIS phone rings, Missy declares: “Oh, Doctor, I do believe you’re on-call!”, before we get a flashback to earlier Doctor Who episodes, one featuring Matt Smith, as they hint at a computer helpline phone number and a newspaper advert – putting The Doctor and Clara together – all being the work of Missy. Hmm… that’s stretching credibility enormously!
- And then there was Missy singing “Missy” to Toni Basil’s Mickey, then getting control of the plane by killing everyone guarding her with the most simple escapologist trick in the book – slipping out of handcuffs. Is that all they did to restrain her?
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on this episode.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.