redsayn's Doctor Who #1012 - The Doctor Falls review

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A brilliant finale, filled to the brim with great acting and emotion

So that happened.

Before this season began I was dreading it; following ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’, I believed that season 10 was going to be terrible. In retrospect, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Call me hyped up for writing this sentence 13 minutes after ‘The Doctor Falls’ aired, but this was the best season of the modern era, and arguably the best episode of Who I’ve ever watched.

Let’s start off with the direction- for those of you who don’t know, Rachel Talalay is a veteran Doctor Who finale-writer, being brought in to do Dark Water, Death in Heaven, Heaven Sent, Hell Bent, the last episode and will direct this year’s Christmas Special. In my opinion, there’s definitely a reason for this: she’s superb. Every episode she does, especially this one, mirrors the tone and effect of a scene through the placement of the camera, though of course the music (especially delightful this episode) and the acting contribute towards this. Speaking of the acting:

The above is my reaction to it.

  • Peter Capaldi- he’s always great, but this week his performance rivalled -and might possibly be- his best. He is perfect for the role, and his regeneration will no doubt leave me in tears, just as Smith and Tennant before him. I won’t go into technical detail, but he managed to perfectly convey the emotions, magnitude, conflict, experience, challenge and righteous nature that the Doctor is at his core. The question from his first season has be answered: he’s not just a madman with a box, or hero, or idiot- he is a good man, and at the end of the day he will do what is the right thing to do.
  • Pearl Mackie- to be honest, the conclusion of Bill’s arc, while watching it, left me surprised and disappointed. However, as the scene progressed to the Doctor as the focus, I began to have the opinion I have now (as of 54 minutes following the episode’s ending); it was fitting. We have to be fair: she’s gone through a lot this season, and unlike Clara this does feel like the ending her character deserves, in both an emotional and narrative viewpoint. Congratulations to both the character and the actress- you did fantastic, and have implanted yourself in the hearts of Whovians everywhere.
  • Matt Lucas- I’d say he’s redeemed himself from ‘The Husbands of River Song’ by now, and I actually feel as though I’ll miss Nardole and his unique character. That aside, his contributions to the episode were limited to serving the plot, giving 1 or 2 heartfelt scenes and giving us a good performance.
  • Michelle Gomez- truth be told, we all have to come together and –as a society- decide that we need an international holiday to celebrate the brilliance of Gomez and her Master. She was fantastic, and every scene she was in (especially her interactions between Capaldi and her
    predecessor) were glorious to behold.
  • John Simm-… this guy made me question my sexuality. Seriously, Simm is impossibly charismatic, and he has a way of making us root for him no matter what side he’s on. The dynamic between him and Gomez is incredible, and their final scene together is one of the best scenes in who history. In fact, this episode is filled with them.

So, to summarise:

The direction was incredible, with great acting, music and fantastic characters. ‘The Doctor Falls’ is undoubtedly one of the greatest Doctor Who episodes of all time, and I have no doubt it will be remembered that way. This was the perfect season finale, rounding of arcs and setting up things to come with the best ending I’ve ever seen.

However, now we have to wait until December 25th for more Doctor Who, and I personally have never been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading an episode of my life.

I'd give this episode a solid 9/10.

As good as it was, it wasn't perfect; nothing is. In fact, when I look back on it Bill's fate...


...stunk of deus ex machine, no mater how deserving she was of it.

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