Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 12: “Death in Heaven” Recap/Review (7/10)


Well it feels just like yesterday we were ushering in a new Doctor with Peter Capaldi and also ushering in a new era of Doctor Who, but alas the season is now over. I had a chance to watch and re-watch “Death in Heaven,” (written by Steven Moffat) and if I were to describe this episode in one word it would probably be “underwhelming.” I understand some people loved this episode and that’s fine, but I felt this episode fell flat and did not really satisfy me the way I was hoping it would. I feel like “Dark Water” was setting up an exciting finale, but “Death in Heaven” let it down. I’ll talk about what I liked and disliked about this episode, so without further delay let’s jump into the episode!


The episode picks up where it left off, with Clara about to be killed by a Cyberman inside St. Paul’s Cathedral. Clara claims to to have been lying about her true identity and that it was a cover to disguise her real identity as the Doctor! After the opening credits giving Jenna Coleman star billing and showing Jenna Coleman’s eyes instead of Capaldi’s as a gag to throw the audience off, we are shown the Doctor and Missy in the middle of London near St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Doctor watches as stupid people begin taking selfies with the Cyberman, and Missy laughs as The Doctor questions her motives. Osgood (the geeky scientist fan-girl from “The Day of The Doctor”) appears and a bunch of UNIT agents and soldiers pop out of the woodwork, along with Kate Stewart (who throws a 1960’s era Cyber-head from the last time UNIT defeated them which was in “The Invasion” in 1968 as a threat). The Cyberman then blast off into the skies, now equipped with rocket boots! The roof of St. Paul’s opens to reveal tons of Cyberman flying up into the sky! Missy reveals there were 91 Cyberman hidden in St. Paul’s Cathedral! The Doctor and Osgood come to the realization that there are exactly 91 Cyberman, which Missy reveals is one for each city in the UK and they will explode over every graveyard and become Cyberpollen, re-animating the dead as Cybermen! Some Cyberman fly into the sky and explode creating black clouds, causing rainfall, re-animating the dead everywhere in the UK,(apparently this is happening all over the world too) and The Doctor and Missy are injected with some knockout agent by UNIT. Meanwhile in The Nethersphere Danny is with Seb, who tells him that he is about to be upgraded, as all the lights are shown to go off above them!

At a funeral home, a coroner is seen watching TV as all of the doors holding the dead begin to rattle! A body is shown on a table covered with a white sheet and the body begins to rise! The body is revealed to be a Cyberman and looks in the mirror to see that it has been converted! The Cyberman grabs a paper, with the name Danny Pink written on it, revealing The Cyberman is none other than Danny Pink!

We return to Clara who continues to lie to a group of Cybermen who are trying to kill her, by claiming she is the Doctor, but another Cyberman shows up and says she is Clara Oswald and when Clara brags how she is an incredible liar, the Cyberman responds with “correct,” as he lowers his head. The other Cybermen question why the Cyberman is there, and the Cyberman shoots and destroys the other three Cybermen! The Cyberman is shown carrying a paper with Danny Pink’s name written on it, showing that this Cyberman is Danny Pink.

We then see the Doctor waking up on a hangar, where he is handcuffed and his TARDIS has been found and is being prepared to be put on an airplane. As The Doctor and Kate board a plane, he asks where Clara is and Kate does not know, all she knows is that St. Paul’s Cathedral went into a lock-down. Kate tells the Doctor that in extreme cases of emergency all of the countries agreed that one person should be made President of the world and this person is the Doctor! The Doctor along with Kate and other members of UNIT try to figure out Missy’s plan and endgame. The Doctor realizes that she is trying to create a new race by using the remnants of the dead Cyberman (who flew into the sky and exploded) as pollen to upgrade the dead in graves! The Doctor explains that you only need a piece of a Cyberman’s (the part that makes a Cyberman a Cyberman) DNA, well sort of like their DNA to create new Cybermen. The Doctor believes there is nothing they can do to save the Earth.

Clara wakes up in a graveyard, wondering how she got there, and sees a Cyberman standing in an area. Clara asks if the Cyberman brought her there and the Cyberman admits that they did and after having a conversation, the Cyberman removes his metal face, revealing he is Danny Pink! (so sad!) Danny’s face is very disfigured, and Clara begins to cry! Danny tells Clara that he wants to stop the pain and suffering and begs her to turn on his inhibitor chip which will remove his emotions (so sad!)

Missy is shown chained, while Osgood is doing research. Missy is shown removing her handcuffs as she asks Osgood to come over so she can tell her something. Missy whispers “I’m going to kill you in a minute,” to Osgood and when Osgood returns to her desk she notices some handcuffs in her pocket! (uh oh!) Missy begins to put on lipstick revealing she is no longer wearing handcuffs and grabs Osgood and says what seems to be her catchphrase “say something nice.” Osgood says she is more useful to her alive and Missy agrees but then vaporizes her with her device anyways (oh snap!) A group of Cyberman are shown flying towards the plane and begin to attack it causing some turbulance. The Doctor finds Missy and finds that she killed Osgood, suddenly the TARDIS phone rings! Missy tells the Doctor she better get that because it’s probably Clara, revealing that she gave Clara the Doctor’s number in “The Bells of St. John,” as we are shown a flashback to the scene where The Eleventh Doctor answers his phone! Missy says she brought them together because Clara is a control freak and the Doctor is the one who cannot be controlled. The Doctor answers the phone and Clara tells him that Danny is a Cyberman and that he wants his inhibitor chip turned on so he won’t feel the pain anymore. The Doctor refuses to help Clara and Clara hangs up on him as Kate runs to meet the Doctor and Missy. Missy blows open a door pulling Kate out of the plane! The Doctor screams and Missy tells the Cyberman to blow up the plane as she teleports away to safety! The Doctor is pulled out of the plane and begins to fall to his death, as Missy watches on with Seb (who is revealed to be an AI Interface) in The Nethersphere. As the Doctor is falling in the sky, he pulls out his TARDIS key and calls the TARDIS to him and manages to glide into The TARDIS! Seb witnesses this and says “permission to Squee!!!” as Missy vaporizes him haha.

The Doctor takes his TARDIS to the graveyard to meet Clara and is horrified to see Danny as a Cyberman! Clara argues with the Doctor about turning off Danny’s inhibitor chip, as the Doctor tries to figure out what Missy’s plan is by asking Danny. Danny admits that he cannot access this information while his inhibitor chip is turned off. The Doctor contemplates on what to do, as Clara points the Doctor’s sonic at Danny and turns off his inhibitor chip. The Doctor again asks Danny what Missy’s plan is and Danny says that another rainfall is coming and everyone on Earth will be turned into a Cyberman!

Suddenly Missy teleports into the graveyard as she floats onto the grass with her umbrella opened (a clear reference to Mary Poppins). The Doctor has a chat with Missy and Missy reveals the Cyberarmy is for the Doctor! Missy gives the Doctor a bracelet that controls the Cyberman and says it is a birthday present for the Doctor so that he can have his own personal army to save everyone like he has always wanted! (wow I didn’t see that coming!) Missy wants to prove the Doctor and her are not so different and says “I want my friend back.” (Oh wow!) The Doctor refuses Missy’s offer and says no one should have that much power and that he doesn’t need an army, but Missy knows the Doctor doesn’t trust himself with that much power. We are shown a flashback of the Doctor asking Clara “Am I a good man?” from “Into the Dalek,” when suddenly the Doctor comes to a realization about himself. He is not a good man, he is not a bad man, he is not a hero, but an idiot with a blue box who is just passing by saving people and that he doesn’t need an army when he has friends like Clara and Danny! (Wow that’s really interesting and really sweet too!)

The Doctor throws the bracelet to Danny who catches it on his wrist and commands the Cyberman along with himself to fly into the clouds exploding destroying the black clouds and saving the Earth!

Missy reveals the coordinates to Gallifrey’s location to the Doctor, claiming it returned to its original spot. Clara grabs Missy’s device and is ready to kill her, but the Doctor stops her. Clara tells the Doctor he needs to kill Missy otherwise everything that happened today is on him (wow, that’s intense). The Doctor refuses, and is ready to teleport her with Missy’s device when, she is shot by a laser appearing to be destroyed! It was a Cyberman, who points to Kate who is alive, but passed out! The Doctor realizes the Cyberman saved her and figures out it was her late father Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart! The Doctor salutes him as Cyber-Brigadier flies off into the sky!

Two weeks pass and Danny speaks to Clara through a portal from The Nethersphere, he figures out that the bracelet has enough power to bring one person back from the dead and sends the little boy he killed as a soldier through the portal. Danny apologizes but said he made a promise, and says goodbye to Clara! (the feels!)

The Doctor meets Clara in a cafe and Clara is about to give the Doctor some news, when he interrupts her. The Doctor assumes that Danny figured out how to bring himself back from the dead with the bracelet and that her and Danny want to continue their lives together, but that Clara is going to stop travelling with the Doctor. Clara goes along with the lie and the Doctor tells Clara he found Gallifrey and is going to go home! We are shown a flashback where the Doctor says he typed in the coordinates Missy gave him and he looks outside his TARDIS to find empty space! The Doctor angry that Missy lied to him, begins to repeatedly hit the TARDIS console! Clara asks for one last hug as both are shown to have sad looks on their faces knowing they are lying to each other. Clara asks the Doctor why he hates hugs and he says “I never trust a hug, it’s just a way to hide your face.” (Wow that’s very interesting)

The Doctor leaves for his TARDIS, when Clara meets him and thanks him saying she made he feel special for letting her travel with him. The Doctor who is shocked by this, says Clara made him feel special too. (Awww, group hug guys!) The Doctor leaves in his TARDIS as Clara walks away. All of a sudden, the Doctor hears someone knocking on his TARDIS doors, a voice is heard and they say “come on now Doctor, we have got to sort this out, you’re not alright and neither is she.” The Doctor opens his TARDIS doors to reveal Santa Claus! (Nick Frost) Santa asks the Doctor what he wants for Christmas ending the episode!

What I Liked:

Michelle Gomez as The Mistress/The Master, she really nailed the part, portraying a very psychotic, ruthless and silly version of The Master.

Clara trying to trick the Cybermen into believing she was the Doctor.

Danny Pink and his scenes with Clara, they were very emotional and touching!

The idea of turning the dead into Cybermen, it was an interesting concept. 

Missy revealing the Cyberman army was for the Doctor, to help him save everyone, I didn’t see it coming.

The Doctor being made President of the Earth in extreme emergencies, because I think he is more than qualified for the position.

Kate throwing down the 1968 Cyberhead from “The Invasion” as a threat against the Cybermen, it was pretty bad-ass and a nice reference.

Finally finding out that Missy is the one who brought Clara and the Doctor together.

Missy trying to prove her and the Doctor are the same and saying “I want my friend back,” it’s a great insight into the character of The Master.

The Doctor calling his TARDIS to him with the TARDIS key and gliding into the TARDIS, it was pretty bad-ass.

Seb saying “squee!!!” as he watches the Doctor glide into his TARDIS, it was pretty funny haha.

Danny sacrificing himself to save the Earth, even though he knew he would never see Clara again.

The Doctor lying to Clara that he found Gallifrey and how angry he was when he discovered that Missy lied to him, it was a great moment for the character and one of the first times Twelve gets really emotional.

The way the Doctor and Clara part ways, believing each of them are happy, when it’s clear they aren’t. 

Nick Frost making a cameo as Santa Claus, I laughed out loud haha.

What I didn’t like: 

The resolution to the whole Cyberman story, it felt kind of rushed to me.

Not getting an answer to how The Master survived after the events of “The End of Time,” I was very disappointed. Presumably she returned after or during the events of “The Day of the Doctor.”

The Cybermen, they didn’t seem scary in this episode, they didn’t do much and I felt they were wasted.

Danny Pink being killed off so quickly, he had a lot of potential as a character.

The ending of the episode and overall season it felt very anticlimactic, despite that great goodbye with the Doctor and Clara.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with “Death in Heaven,” it had some really great moments, but didn’t feel like a fitting finale to me. The whole episode didn’t even feel like a season finale to me. Hopefully the Christmas Special is good, it looks like it will be fun.

What say you? Did you enjoy “Death in Heaven?” Did you like the way things were left with Clara and the Doctor? Are you excited for the Christmas Special? Whatever your thoughts let me know!



4 thoughts on “Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 12: “Death in Heaven” Recap/Review (7/10)

  1. All I know is that getting a character to “squee” on Doctor Who has been one of my strange secret hopes. I had a little kitten who I named “Squee” a few years before the word gained popular acceptance, and I always route for it. I agree that this episode wasn’t what I was hoping for, but oddly, after the Cybermen were done, and with the Brigadier making a (veiled) appearance, I thought things got a lot more interesting. Loved the cafe scene. Thanks for the recap and analysis!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I liked parts of it. The Invasion reference was nice and yes Capaldi was amazing in that final scene where he thumps his hand on the controls after finding out the Master was just messing with him about where Gallifrey was. However I didn’t like the way Moffat killed Osgood for no good reason. To me it was the embodiment of the sexist and dated Women in Refrigerators trope. How do we make a badguy seem scary? Have them kill a female character. Also it was a waste of a good character. I don’t want Osgood as a companion, but I think Kate and Osgood could have been a great UNIT family. I also don’t think Michelle Gomez was good. She looked drunk at times. Plus the Brig being made into a Cyberman just wasn’t right. I get that Moffat was trying to pay tribute to him, but it was a clumsy move that leaves the Brig as a monster forever away from his family. Also I agree the Cybermen were wasted in this one. They were reduced to being the Masters stooges. Too much was left unexplained. How did the Master escape, why is he a she, why is she evil again, where did these cybermen come from? It was a mess TBH.

    Liked by 1 person

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