The Death in Heaven Disaster

Death In Heaven

This season’s Doctor Who has had some great episodes, like Time Heist, Flatline and Mummy on the Orient Express. It’s also had some absolute shockers (looking at you Kill the Moon). Sadly it has ended with a disaster.

This was Moffat at his worst, with an episode full of poor writing and plotting so bad it has actually managed to negatively affect the previous episodes in the season. What hurt the most about the episode was the lazy execution and the panicked way Moffat tried to tie up loose ends. If you’re looking for positive review I suggest popping over to the Guardian website to see whatever the idiot who reviews Doctor Who episodes there is saying. This review will cover the main reasons Death in Heaven was awful. I would have covered all the reasons, but I only have so much time to live.

 The Missy regeneration problem
Missy regneration

A lot has been written and said about the Master regenerating as a woman. The real issue is that the Master has regenerated as an idiot who is so obsessed with the Doctor that she gives him an army of Cybermen. I cannot believe I had to write that sentence.

Apparently she does this to try and force the Doctor to admit he is like her. She even says she has been up and down his timeline ‘recruiting’ those who die to save the Doctor. Turning one of the few villains who are on a, sort of, equal footing with the Doctor into an obsessed stalker with a time machine.

The Doctor is initially shocked and then conflicted by Missy giving him an army, and not because he doesn’t understand why she is being so dumb. For a second he appears to be genuinely unsure of what to do, before he realises that he can just use the Cybermen to destroy themselves and the cloud so that everything can go back to normal.

Danny Pink dies and dies again
Danny Pink dies

Have a very close look at that picture. It  shows in one snapshot what is wrong with this episode. Why? Because Danny Pink is crying when he is supposed to be a corpse. Corpses don’t cry. I know Samuel Anderson will never be mistaken for Robert de Niro but it doesn’t take the greatest method actor in the world to realise that you shouldn’t cry when you are playing a corpse. Did the Director not notice this? This may seem like a pernickety point but it is this lack of attention to detail that makes it harder for the audience to buy into the emotion of a scene and by extension  the episode as a whole.

In the episode Danny begs Clara to turn off his emotions, which she decides is a good idea. I can’t even be bothered to justify that. The Doctor then turns up and, on realising that turning off Danny’s emotions will allow him to access the hive mind, says that he’s very sorry but he needs to turn Danny’s emotional inhibitor on. At which point Danny has a massive go at the Doctor. What the hell Danny Pink? You want your emotional inhibitor turned on, the Doctor needs your inhibitor turned on, and the survival of the human race may depend on your emotional inhibitor being turned on. Why are you being such a tosser about having your emotional inhibitor turned on? It’s meant to add depth to the scene, but all it does is make Danny sound as moany in death as he was in life.

Eventually Clara decides to turn on the inhibitor, apparently because turning off your loved ones emotions is something you should do yourself.

But don’t worry people, it turns out that love isn’t an emotion, it’s a promise. Except of course that it is an emotion and that sentence would make as much sense if it went “Love isn’t an emotion, it’s a cuddly toy crocodile.”

Lawyer crocdile
pictured – love

If Moffat ever finds himself on Stranger Views then here is a couple of definitions to help him in future:

Love – noun –“a strong feeling of affection.”

Promise – noun – “a declaration or assurance that one will do something or that a particular thing will happen.”

We then see Danny give a rousing speech with all the charisma of a limp willy on a cold day. I imagine most of the audience reacted in the same way Missy did:
Missy Danny Pink
While we’re on the subject of not making sense, is Danny the only one who’s love is strong enough to ignore his cyberman programming? Well no, apparently the Brigadier isn’t affected either. So basically Missy’s plan relies on none of the dead people having a partner, child or presumably parent. This appears to be something of an oversight.

Why? Dear God why?
Osgood dies

Not content with butchering this episode with all the tenderness of a Grizzly Bear with a headache, the writers take a second to kill off Osgood. This is one of the most annoying deaths in the history of television. Osgood is a great character, she’s also smart as a whip with a PhD. To have her walk right up to Missy was bad, to have her do it because she wanted to impress the Doctor was insulting. While we’re here, why did they not take off Missy’s bracelet? Surely that’s prisoner taking 101? A big shout out must also go to the guards who stood gormlessly behind Missy as she put her lipstick on prior to killing Osgood. Good job boys!

Can someone please tell me what is up with Gallifrey?

So apparently the Master can get out of Gallifrey, we’re never told how, and earlier in the series (in Listen) Clara was able to go back to it. Is this planet hidden or what? Can someone give me some sort of official verdict on this please? At the moment this revolving door policy on Gallifrey is making this whole ‘Doctor finding his home world’ sub plot ridiculous.

How Death In Heaven answered Dark Water’s mysteries

Last week’s review took the form of a list of questions for Death In Heaven to answer. So let’s see how Death in Heaven answered some of the questions we were asking.

Did Clara bring Missy back?
No. As said above, no explanation is given for Missy coming back. That would have been too much like good writing.

Will Missy be around for a while?
No. She was killed in a most anticlimactic fashion, which if nothing else was in keeping with the episode.

Why is Missy in league with the Cybermen?
Who knows? Perhaps she was hired as a contractor? Unsurprisingly for Moffat it’s never adequately explained.

What’s up with the robots?
Stranger Views asked why there so many Robots in the early episode and why they were searching for the ‘promised land’. I could give a convoluted answer to this question but I’m losing the will to live. Basically Moffat copped out. Again.

What’s the Clara – Missy Connection?
Missy wanted Clara and the Doctor to get together as Clara is the only one that would lead the Doctor to trying to find a dead loved one. I keep reading that line again to see if it would make sense, but I can’t. It is just the plot equival

Death in Heaven rating

0/5 stars

I beg all of you reading this, repeat after me: “This episode never happened”, and “Osgood lives.”

p.s – If the Christmas episode brings back Danny Pink, and I suspect it might, I’m going to scream.

You can find all of Stranger Views Doctor Who Reviews and articles here. Or if you are looking for another take on Doctor Who try Destination Gallifrey.


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  1. This episode never happened and The Brigadier never became a Cyberman. Sorry, dude but I never cared for Osgood.

  2. What gets me is Moffat seems to think if he can get us to cry at the end of an episode it’ll cover for his poor writing and tangled plot with lots of holes. And we’ll all be saying what an amazing episode. But I’m sorry Moffat doesn’t pull the wool over my eyes. I can see through this ploy. Yes it was great bringing someone from the past Back. I’ll not say who just in case someone reading this hasn’t seen this episode yet. But the story with him was a bit of a shock. Not sure I’d like to remember this lovely person in this way. And yet again someone who could have been someone to bring back a lot from the 50th special is no more. Why Moffat do you kill good people and keep annoying ones like River going till we get sick of them.

  3. Kory – Fair enough, particularly about the Brigadier never becoming a Cyberman. I’ve always liked Osgood, but apparently I’m in a bit of a minority. Was particularly annoyed that she died so stupidly and because she was willing her life to impress the Doctor.

  4. I’m so in tune with what you’ve written. I read where Moffat said sacrificing a character was to make us hate the Master more that’s like saying the sun isn’t hot enough. He seems to think anything and everything is fair game. I felt Osgood should’ve been left as a recurring character. For me there was absolutely no shock value in the episode apart from seeing Danny without his Cyber faceplate on..that was chilling but it didn’t make up for a badly written finale.

  5. The thing that confused me the most was to do with that whole sequence they nicked from Dark Knight Rises with Missy allowing herself to get caught, taken on the plane and then orchestrates a Bane-style escape plan…
    If she’s gone to all this trouble of sifting time and space for dead bodies and seeding Clara with him all that time ago, and is working her tits off trying to build and give the Doctor a cyber army, why the fuck is she also trying to blow him out of the sky, and disappointed when he survives?
    Did I miss the conversational shoe horned info dump on that one?

  6. Alright, Danny Pink was a weak character, with one simple purpose, which wasn’t really clear until he was dead – to be Clara’s Boyfriend In A Fridge – and precisely one interesting theme – to invoke the soldier/officer dichotomy in a very literal way.

    Why, then, at the end, did his own clumsy resolution come at the cost of both these things? Why was the tragic end of his love story mishandled by the – as the author notes above – confused hackery of his death/suicide/emotionlessness thing? And worse yet, why was his entire schtick reversed at the last possible second, and quite possibly without the writer being aware of it, by suddenly turning him into the Officer he spent so long despising?

    To reiterate: ugh.

  7. Good post. Good comments. All justified. But here are a few of the reasons I sorta liked it.

    I’d watched “Hell On Wheels” before watching Dr. Who. In Hell they amputate a guy’s leg, show all the blood and gruesomeness of it, and my hero Cullen Bohannon slips around in the blood on the floor. Vomit. Now, I’m not squeamish, but I am thankful for the lack of blood in Dr. Who.
    I have struggled with this season’s Dr. Who from the beginning. Most episodes, I couldn’t stay awake. In this episode, he acted more like a time lord than a robot. I think I might actually be able to give him a go for another season.
    I didn’t feel any emotion when Danny died in the episode before. This one—a tinge. Danny has not developed as a character all season. He is one dimensional as is the new Dr. So to see a little something from either one of them was—in my opinion—a break through.
    Clara is still carrying the show, and I enjoy her as an actress.
    I really enjoyed the whole cemetery coming to life with Cypermen. Creepy image. Much better than amputated leg and blood.

    One thing I did dislike was Missy.

    As far as Missy, I hated the Mary Poppins reference. Not who I want to see in my Science Fiction favs. Couldn’t stand her as a child. Definitely don’t like her invading my prime time.

    You are right, this was NOT a great finale. Probably, one of the weakest in the history of Dr. Who. But still, there were a couple things I did appreciate about it.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post and discussion. We’ll see what Christmas brings.

  8. As usual with a Moffat story it was full of imagery, and nods and winks and in jokes that allow the flock to share the smugness.
    The Cybermen crawling out of the graves was great, and as usual there were lots of chaotic action sequences that might not make much sense but offer up the “WOW, did you see that bit when…” moments. But, as usual, scraping at the veneer of the storyline by wondering WHY stuff is happening results in realising that there’s very little meat on the bones. Back when Blink and Girl In the Fireplace weren’t making a tremendous amount of sense, at least the characters and underlying premise were strong enough, and new enough in the mind, to carry it off.
    But recently, and especially this series, he has been relying on the same old plot devices, the same old gags, and the same old archetypes, and there has been nothing new, or clever.
    The only good thing, apart from Capaldi swimming against a tide of shite, is that Missy was SO two dimensional and a complete Frankenstein’s monster made up of parts of all the other smug superwomen he’s written, that I doubt many people will be crying out for a female Doctor again any time soon.
    Welcome Missy… Bad River Song in a bonnet.

  9. As someone who Role Plays John Simm’s Master on Twitter… Thank you for that article. I couldn’t agree with you more, and many of the comments make brilliant points about what is lacking in the return of the Master/Missy. I saw where the introduction of Missy was heading, and I literally cringed when I turned out to be correct. A return of the Time Lady the Rani would have been so much more fun in my opinion. Shrugs I’ve seen Role Players write better Doctor Who stories.. Just saying.

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