Spoilers Ahead! Read on at Your Own Discretion.
I'm just gonna put it out there...I've never been a huge fan of the cybermen. They look fake, sound hilarious, and all their plot lines are almost exactly identical. However, upon finishing this series of Doctor Who, I couldn't stop replaying it in my mind. Over, and over, and over, and over again. Every beat was perfect, and it gave me a feeling I haven't gotten from Doctor Who in quite a long time. I felt satisfaction. Don't get me wrong, I love the show to death, but recently...I don't know, I just feel like no ones heart has really been in it. The episodes themselves were passable, but they all lacked the magic that the Tennant era possessed. That all changed however, with the series ten finale. From start to finish, I was glued to the screen. Everything about it was fascinating. The color, the sound, the story, the framing, the themes, they all just...clicked. So without further ado, this is why, in my humble opinion, the series ten finale positively rocked.
From the very first moments of episode 11, the story had my undivided attention. The concept of a "trial run" for Missy was interesting, provided plenty of opportunities for humor, and didn't outstay its welcome. The show then introduced the 400 mile ship, and it struggle against the gravitation pull of the black hole behind it, and I was hooked. I couldn't wait too see where this was going... and then Wham!
It was sudden, unexpected, and shocking to say the least. Most of the time, a companion lasts for two or three seasons, so it caught me off guard for a moment and made me rethink how I was approaching this episode. This was not the quirky comedy that the intro had prepped me for, it was gonna get a whole lot darker real quick.
The Slow Buildup to, and Eventual Reveal of the Cybermen
I'm gonna be honest, If I hadn't seen last episodes teaser, It would have taken me quite a while to realize that this was a cybermen episode. The hospital setting was intensely terrifying, and helped mask the true identity of the "patients." This is far and away the best origin story we have ever gotten for the Cybermen... actually scratch that. This may very well be the best origin story I've ever seen period. The gimmick while the black hole and the time manipulation made the gradual evolution from man to machine far more believable, and in the end, I could totally see this happening in real life (if humanity ever gained access to faster than light travel.) I also loved how the hospital bandage look gave the original show an out for the campy design of the cybermen.
Master and Missy
Was I the only one who got flashbacks to the 50th anniversary special here? It was a great return for the Master, and it gave the writers plenty of opportunities for comedic interactions between he and Missy. I found the quasi-romance a bit unsettling, but unfortunately quite believable for the pair. Every interaction between the two was both creepy and hilarious, two elements that are usually incredibly difficult to combine.
Bills Conversion, and Her Refusal to Accept it
This one came straight out of left field for me. They took Bill away, gave her back, and than killed her off (essentially) in one episode. I absolutely loved the way that they filmed her refusal to accept her new condition, switching between her perspective and the doctors, while slightly integrating them into each other.
The Masters End?
I think that this is the perfect way to kill off the Master. He shoots himself (herself?) in the back, and dies cold and alone in the woods, with the knowledge that he (she?) wants to change. It was sad, believable, and a fitting end to such a complex character. This is however, assuming that the Master is actually dead. We all know the track record this show has with bringing back the dead (funeral pyre anyone?)
The Doctors Last Stand
This was always how the 12th Doctor was gonna go, struggling to retain his individuality. He's the most aggressive, and assertive of the modern doctors, and as such, it makes sense that he wouldn't go down without a fight. And OMG, the rumors were true! When I heard that the first doctor would join twelve for the Christmas special i thought, "That would be really cool... But I doubt that they'll actually go through with it." Hopefully, Moffat's final episode will be a fitting sendoff for both incarnations of the titular timelord.
The Doctor Refuses to Regenerate
My Only Gripe
I was a little disappointed in how they handled Bill's departure from the show. It seemed like a cheap cop out that allows her to return to the show at a later point in time if the show runner following Moffat wants to bring her back. I also found the return of the water girl quite cheesy, I mean they only met once for like 10 minutes, and all of a sudden they want to spend the rest of their life together? I feel like I'm reviewing a Disney princess film.
All in all, I found the final story arc of Doctor Who season 10 immensely enjoyable, and I hope that the magic found in this episode is maintained by whoever next take up the mantel of The Doctor. Five out of five stars.