Doctor Who “The Doctor Falls” Review
After an explosive episode last week, the season finale of Doctor Who is finally here! After a summary of the previous episode, we open to sweeping views of the countryside spotted with scarecrows that look like the patients from the hospital. The images are beautiful and haunting at the same time. A group of children is riding through, and we realize that they are still on the ship. We focus on one girl as the children go into hiding and the adults try to keep away the scarecrows. The people hold them off and the next day, chain them to the posts. The girl ventures in the fields and is interrupted by a space capsule exploding from the ground. It plummets back to Earth, and she narrowly escapes. The Cyberman Bill carries an unconscious Doctor in her arms.
The Doctor wakes with a head wound to The Master and Missy asking how many times he’s died and how he died and if he has any requests. There are flashbacks in black and white of the attack between the Doctor and Missy and the Master. He sees Bill standing by and Nardole running away. The Master and Missy dance to old-timey music on the roof of the hospital. The chemistry between John Simms and Michelle Gomez is fantastic. They work so well together and provides lots of entertainment. All the Doctor wants to know is where Bill is and he remembers she is a Cyberman. They torture him and make him furious.
The Master shows the Doctor what has happened because he is too late. The city is a machine to turn people into Cybermen. The Doctor gets the Cybermen to turn on Missy and The Master. He used the computer to change the number of hearts they search for from one to two. He changed the definition of humanity to include Timelords. Missy says that he is on his side, but can we believe her? Nardole comes to pick up the Doctor in the space capsule and picks up the Master, but the Doctor gets attacked by one of the Cybermen. Bill stops them but has to get the Doctor while Missy and the Master escape. Nardole doesn’t believe them. Bill stops them and helps the Doctor and he promises to fix her and make things right.
Back on the farm, the Master, Missy, Nardole, the Doctor and Bill all ask the little girl for her help. Two weeks later, they are still on the farm. The woman leaves the house while the little girl watches. She travels to the barn to see Bill has returned to her human form. She brings her blankets and tells her that she frightens the children. The little girl comes to talk to Bill and say she isn’t frightened. She brings Bill a package, and Bill opens it to find a mirror, showing her what she looks like, a Cyberman. The Doctor comes and calms the girl.
The Doctor explains to Bill what a Cyberman is and why she sees a Cyberman when she looks at herself. Bill tells him that she is fine but sees parts of her as a Cyberman. Her mind has made a barrier against the software. The Doctor explains that she sees herself as she used to be. He explains that she can’t get angry because she will destroy things. The Doctor sees that she has an actual tear. The Master interrupts them to bring the Doctor somewhere, but as they are walking, his regeneration keeps coming out and slowing him down.
Bill asks the Doctor about getting her back, and he says he was wrong. She is trying to fight the Cybermen mind but is losing the battle. He tells her that she doesn’t want to live if she isn’t her. The Doctor tells her that Cybermen can’t cry and there is hope where there are tears.
Missy and the Master are trying to find the exit for the children to get out. Missy calls the lift not thinking that there may be Cybermen behind the door. All four of them fight against the one Cyberman, who looks like the Cybermen we are used to seeing. They have evolved. The Cybermen are assembling and are breaching the new level. Nardole works on the computer to try to make a difference as the Doctor finds a service duct to try to escape.
Missy and the Master are trying to find a way out with the Master’s Tardis. They work back and forth trying to figure out how to fix the Tardis when Missy reminds the Master that she carries the spare piece he needs to fix his Tardis.
Bill comes and tries to ask the Doctor something but can’t because the Cybermen begin their attack. Missy and The Master ask the Doctor what is plan is and they criticize it. The Master says he can’t win and they leave him. He yells at them and says they need to have it out once and for all. He asks them “what would you die for?” The entire speech is incredibly moving and gives us a reminder of what he stands for and what he lives and dies for. He begs them to stay with him, but they decline.
The Master stays stoic and leaves but Missy seems emotionally stirred, and he pleads to her that she has changed. He begs her to stay. She turns him down and tries to walk away and tells him “thanks for trying.”
Nardole continues his assault on the Cybermen, and the Doctor says that the Cybermen will learn to change their tactic. They will fall back and plan a bigger attack, which means they can get the children out. The Doctor tells Nardole to lead the escape and to leave him. They argue back and forth. Bill decides that she will stay with the Doctor. The farewell is more emotional than expected as Nardole leaves them.
Nardole leads the people through to safety as Missy and the Master attempt to make their escape. They hug, and she tells him how she loved being him and how she will always remember it and always miss it. While hugging, she managed to stab him. She wounds him enough that he can regenerate into her. He asks her why and she says that the Doctor is right and it’s time to stand with him. As she is walking away, he shoots her with the sonic, and they start to laugh. She says that this is where they have always been going. A big question for me is if Missy is dead will the Master regenerate into her or just die?
Nardole brings the people to the lift so they can escape as the explosions fill the sky. The Doctor is running through the battlefield killing Cybermen in a truly badass fashion. He is stopped by one of the Cybermen and shot, saying that doctors are not required. “I’m not a Doctor; I’m the doctor. The original.” His regeneration starts as he falls to the ground.
In a gorgeous and epic scene, the Doctor tells himself to let go, and that time is up. A massive explosion fills the sky. While in ruins, he says “pity, no stars, I’d hope there’d be stars.” The explosion reflects in his eyes, and they close. Nardole waits for the Doctor but leaves with the children after waiting.
Back on the obliterated landscape, sad music plays as Bill searches through the wreckage and finds the Doctor. The scene is so wonderfully crafted and brought tears to my eyes as Bill cried over the Doctor. She cries over him, and the rain comes. Heather, the girl with the star in her eye, comes back to Bill and restores her to herself. Bill wonders if she is dead, but Heather reassures her it is a different kind of living.
They bring the Doctor back to the Tardis. Bill and Heather leave to explore the stars, but before she leaves, she kisses the Doctor, with tears landing on his face and tells him it’s a big universe, I hope to see you again, and where there are tears, there’s hope. They leave, and the Tardis starts making noise, the Doctor is on the floor, and the regeneration stars from his tears, and he sees Bill, and all the other companions and friends he has known during the newer series. It is an emotional moment for the fans and brings back all the great memories and characters we’ve seen. Not only do we get that but also the lines that our Doctor’s have said when regenerating during Steven Moffat’s reign; “I don’t want to go and “I will always remember when the Doctor was me.”
The Doctor continues to fight the regeneration, and the Tardis stops on a snow covered area. He continues to yell at the Tardis that he doesn’t want to change. Never again. I can’t keep on being somebody else. Out in the cold, he hears someone speaking, and he says to the stranger, that he is the Doctor. The stranger approaches and says “the doctor? You may be a doctor, but I am the Doctor. The original you might say,” and we come face to face with David Bradley, playing the part of the original Doctor. Bradley played the first Doctor in the movie “An Adventure in Time and Space.”
Everything about this episode is spectacular. The editing is superb between the Cyberman and Bill. The cinematography of the battle scenes is fantastic and top notch. The season did end with a BANG! They have set up a fascinating dynamic for the Christmas episode and possibly beyond. We still don’t have any idea who the new Doctor is going to be. It could be David Bradley back again, or Heather who did say she is the pilot, or someone entirely different. Either way, this episode was a superb ending, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I can’t wait to see where Doctor Who goes next! Bravo!