Doctor Who season 10 episode 12: The Doctor Falls by Steven Moffat

July 1, 2017 | By | 2 Replies More

Be prepared to be upgraded from here in there are spoilers!

Was it me or did the opening of this episode feel like ‘The Family Of Blood’? I had this kind of déjà vu feeling with the previous episode, too. Granted there are a limited number of ways to stop an attack, but duplicating seems an odd choice.

There is also a lot of jumping around the events in this episode again, almost as if Steven Moffat was afraid to show everything in the right order or how they were resolved. There’s also a matter of a cardinal rule of not jumping ahead too much because the viewer would wonder what happened in those two weeks. Can the Master and Missy just hang around in all that time before deciding upon a plan rather than leave it to the last moment? In many respects, there is a fatal flaw there that could have been resolved much better. After all, the Master has to escape to regenerate or there would be no Missy but it didn’t mean she couldn’t stay behind. Certainly have a better death then she had but then there’s even a way out of this one, assuming she knows where she can get another TARDIS.

Speaking of which, another flaw springs to mind. From the bridge down to the floor they are on takes ten years temporally speaking, not thousands of years although granted it would give time for more cybermen to be processed. However, the TARDIS is a time machine, how difficult would it have been for the Doctor to move back in time in a little over a decade so he wouldn’t have bumped into himself leaving? Considering that Moffat likes playing around with the concept of time, he seems to have missed a plot element here.

Nardole seems to have finished his adventures still effectively not doing much in the grand order of things and still looks like a wasted character. At least that’s consistent.

In contrast, the flipping between Bill that was as she sees herself and as a cyberman is nicely played and one can only hope Pearl Mackie is going to have a long and decent acting career on TV as she certainly has star potential. The solution to her problem was revealed in any earlier episode but it still has a touch of deux ex machina about it and just how many hot-rigged ex-companions are we going to have roaming the cosmos at this rate before some of them bump into the Doctor again?

Here more than anywhere, Peter Capaldi demonstrates his acting chops and I still think he asked for more dramatics for his last season. It’s just a shame that the plot doesn’t rise to his level. I mean, even the Doctor reminds us here that he doesn’t go into battle but finds other solutions to beat the enemy. Instead, that’s just what he does. You would think he would have found a different way to beat the cybermen than this. Considering he broke the illusion of the countryside to reveal the spaceship, why couldn’t he turn the spaceship against the cybermen? Then again, the Mondas cybermen still have to survive for his earlier regenerations to battle time and again. Sounds a bit like ‘Genesis Of The Daleks’, doesn’t it?

The story did keep me awake this time and I’m sure when all the counting is done, I suspect the Doctor has lost at least one regeneration keeping this version alive a bit longer.

From a writer’s point of view, I can see why Moffat chose certain options, mostly so he can head towards the Yuletide story but its keeping to the obvious but not better choices that he must have at least thought about that tends to temper this story that should have raised it a few more notches.

Finally, a thought for the Yuletide episode. As we have a past Doctor and a present Doctor, are we that far removed from doing a Science Fiction version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ showing the potential of his future self if he changes? That is a convincer to this version of the Doctor that he has to regenerate. Time will tell or December, whichever comes first.

(c) GF Willmetts 2017


Category: Doctor Who, TV

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (2)

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  1. Julian White says:

    I too thought the opening was reminiscent of something – but I’d not narrowed it down to ‘Family of Blood’ (though the cart driver’s body silhouette seemed familiar. I had managed to forget about The Pilot so the get-out-of-jail card for Bill came as a surprise. I thought the flipping back and forth from Bill to CyberBill was very well done and I’m glad Bill is still Bill!.

    The final shot was a nice touch (and would have been even nicer had I not had it spoiled by a photo somewhere I wasn’t expecting one).

    The Missy/Master stuff was decidedly odd – I know Ms Gomez has said ‘no more’ but is the Simm incarnation now completely done and dusted? Given the number of unexplained returns from certain death the Master has had I wouldn’t be surprised to see either again. Was the sonic umbrella new? I’d not noticed it before… As for Nardole – never my favourite actor/character I have to say that he was not nearly as intrusive all season as I feared (and the Doctor didn’t regenerate into him, either!

  2. UncleGeoff says:

    Hello Julian

    I think Steven Moffat wanted to leave as clean a slate for Chris Chibnall as possible. It also widens things for Time Lords because there can always be a new Master/Missy. Personally, I’d like to see new regenerations of the Meddling Monk, the Rami and even Susan and Romana are possibilities. After all, they are still out there in time and space.


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