Last week’s Doctor Who ended on one of the bleakest notes in the show’s recent history: Bill was unequivocally a Cyberman and The Doctor’s hope that Missy had reformed was dashed when she teamed up with her former self, John Simm’s Master. But getting out of impossible situations is what the Doctor does so surely there’s a way to fix everything… right?
At the start, the Doctor is tied to a wheelchair after Missy knocked him out. She and the Master are dancing and enjoying a 2-on-1 against their oldest frenemy. The Doctor guesses the Master was kicked out of Gallifrey (it was apparently a mutual decision), his TARDIS got stuck on the colony ship, and he decided to take over the city. Eventually, the people rebelled and he was forced to hide until fate brought him the Doctor.
The Cybermen are upgrading at an alarming rate. At first, Missy and the Master are thrilled but they soon realize the Cybermen are marching towards them. The Doctor had briefly been able to change their algorithm so they think beings with two hearts are humans too. Self-preservation always her first priority, Missy knocks out her former self and swears she was working with the Doctor all along. She knows he can get them out of certain death.
Proving useful, Nardole arrives in a shuttle ship. The two Masters get on board as the Doctor is attacked by a Cyberman. But CyberBill, who has been there all the while just watching, saves him and prevents the ship from leaving without them. They crash all the way up to level 507, a nice community living on a solar farm and occasionally fending off roaming Cybermen.
Our unlikely team sticks around for two weeks as they formulate a plan. Bill wakes up in a barn and appears back to her usual self. Except everyone is scared of her. When she finally looks in a mirror, a Cyberman looks back. She hasn’t accepted the conversion, the Doctor explains, but she is a Cyberman. And that makes her angry. She spent 10 years waiting for the Doctor and he showed up two hours too late. When she gets angry, she blasts a hole in the door with her cyber helmet but she also cries real tears and not engine oil. That makes the Doctor curious and hopeful.
They join Missy and the Master in the woods where they’ve located the camouflaged elevators. The plan is to send the kids and as many adults as possible up a few floors to the next solar farm. They can’t go all the way to the TARDIS because the time lapse would mean the Cybermen would evolve too fast and kill them before they reached the top. Missy calls an elevator to them and it brings an updated Cyberman right to them. Whoops.
Three sonic devices (Missy’s is an umbrella, of course) take care of the Cyberman fast enough but the rest now know where they are. It’s time to circle the wagons. Nardole activates all the hidden weaponry on the colony ship. The people arm themselves. Missy wonders to the Master why they don’t go down to the bottom of the ship and get his TARDIS (which is technically theirs). The dematerializer is broken, he says, but she’s got a spare. Seems he’ll remember at least part of their encounter and always carry a spare.
The Doctor implores them to stay and help. He knows he can’t save everyone and the Cybermen will find the people again eventually but he can do something, save some people. The Master is unmoved. Missy isn’t but leaves all the same. But before they get in the elevator, she has a change of heart. She covertly stabs the Master, triggering his regeneration into her and goes to join the Doctor. It’s where they’re meant to be. But the Master gets pissed and blasts her in the back. She won’t even be able to regenerate. He rides the lift down, dying, and she lies on the ground, dying with a laugh.
As the Cybermen get into war mode, the Doctor sends Nardole with the kids. Bill refuses to leave and helps the Doctor fight off as many Cybermen as possible. When he gets blasted and starts to regenerate, he holds it off and triggers an explosion. Bill finds him as he lays dead or close to it and cries over his body. And then Heather shows up! Remember, Bill’s would-be girlfriend who turned into puddle?
Well, she left one of her tears on Bill and was able to track her because of that. Which… just go with it ok?… she converts Bill into a puddle like her and they kiss, which is the kind of happiness Bill seriously deserved after a season of one emotional hardship after another. With Heather’s powers, they move the Doctor to the TARDIS and pilot him away from the colony ship.
Heather offers to show Bill the universe and this time Bill accepts. She kisses the unconscious Doctor’s cheek and whispers she hopes to see him again. Then she and Heather hold hands and step out into space. The Doctor bursts awake alone in his TARDIS, memories of all of his companions running through his mind (including Clara Oswald, folks; yes that sound you heard was me screaming). He doesn’t want to regenerate, doesn’t want to change anymore.
The TARDIS lands him on a snowy planet and he falls to the ground, fighting off regeneration. A voice calls out. It’s the Doctor. The First Doctor, played by David Bradley. And he’ll be paired with his future self in this year’s Christmas special, which is an agonizing almost six months away.
The Doctor: “I’m not trying to win. I’m not doing this because I want to beat someone, because I hate someone, or because I want to blame someone. It’s not because it’s fun. God knows it’s not because it’s easy. It’s not even because it works because it hardly ever does. I do what I do because it’s right! Because it’s decent! And above all, it’s kind! It’s just that… Just kind.”
The Master: “Is the future going to be all girl?”
The Doctor: “We can only hope.”
Missy: “I was secretly on your side all along, you silly sausage.”
I’m not sure if this was Pearl Mackie’s send off but I’m glad Bill got a happy ending. If only Heather had come up, you know, at all between The Pilot and this episode.
Clara Oswald you guys! He remembers her! Which is perfect because she has to come back for his regeneration at Christmas. Has to.
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