If the two-part finale is a sandwich, I feel like all the meat was in the first installment and in the second we were left with some bread and a little bit of cheese. While “Dark Water” was interesting, funny, and a bit moody, “Death In Heaven” was basically just wrapping things up with some action interspersed throughout. It wasn’t horrible by any means, it just didn’t live up to the promise of the first part of the finale.
The most negative thing I think I can say about this episode is that on a show that kills off characters so infrequently, it can be difficult to process actual deaths because as a viewer you don’t really know where they are so you always suspect they’re not “real” deaths. One can feel a bit manipulated then, when the creators actually through in actual deaths, because you can’t trust that they’re “real.” I’m well aware that as an audience member I am being literally constantly manipulated-that’s what these media do-but when one starts to feel manipulated that’s not a good thing. This Danny Pink situation is different from when Rory “died” in Series 5, because there his absence was so conspicuous you just knew he was coming back. Here, I confess that I really can’t tell. If he is indeed dead than has Orson Pink been erased from the timeline or is he not who I think he is? I do feel fairly confident, however, in saying that The Master is not truly dead-that to me, would be a very sad thing indeed. Missy was definitely an entertaining incarnation of The Master and I hope we haven’t seen the last of her. If we have seen the last of her, though, it was fun while it lasted.
Unlike the past few finales, I didn’t leave this one feeling like a larger story really wrapped up. As far as I can tell there can be two possible reasons for this: 1. A larger story didn’t actually wrap up, or 2. There is no larger story to wrap up. I feel like I need to reserve some judgement on that front until after the Christmas Special, but the Christmas Specials are frequently stand-alones. In any case, I’m looking forward to the Christmas Special this year because I can’t wait to see Nick Frost as Santa Claus. Good casting choice.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this season and I think it was a big step up from Series 7, which I think was a few rungs down from the quality of Series 5 and 6. Peter Capaldi was a perfect casting choice and has hit his stride to the extent that it feels like he’s already been The Doctor for years now. His chemistry with Jenna Coleman has brought out the best in her as an actor and made Clara a far more engaging companion than she was in the past. I hope we get to see this Doctor interact with River in the near future because I think Capaldi and Alex Kingston would be good together as well. I really can’t wait to see what they do going forward.