Army of Ghosts / Doomsday 2.12, 2.13
The Doctor (#10, Tennant) and Rose Tyler return to London to discover a shift of blurry ghost-like creatures popping in and out of existence. Upon further investigation and the fracturing of reality at the Torchwood Institute, the man-shaped ghosts turn out to be something entirely different: Cybermen. Mistaking a giant sphere that came through the void (a “void ship”) for property of the Cybermen, everybody’s surprised to discover when the ship opens, it is not inhabited by a Cyber-king, but the Cult of Skaro and an ark of Daleks…Two of the Doctor’s arch-nemeses in one episode! Luckily, the Cybermen and Daleks hate each other and war over the fate of the Earth (neither looking good for the human race caught in the middle). With a little help from the next dimension, including Mickey Smith, Jake, and Pete Tyler, they’re able to suck Cybermen and Daleks into the void forever, but not without sacrificing Rose’s life in her own dimension. She, her mum, Pete, and Mickey are now trapped in a parallel world, never to return. The Doctor, in his last effort to speak to Rose, orbits a sun and calls to her in her sleep. She awakes and takes a long, long drive to the beach where she meets the hologram of the Doctor, which gives her just enough time to say goodbye but not enough time for the Doctor to say “I love you.”
The Sound of Drums / The Last of the Time Lords 3.12, 3.13
The Doctor (#10, Tennant), Jack Harkness, and Martha Jones return to the present after a disastrous trip to the end of the universe. Who is this strange man calling himself Harold Saxon who’s just been elected Prime Minister? Could it be the very Time Lord they chased here, the Doctor’s arch-nemesis and childhood friend, the Master? Yes, he’s trying to take over the world with the warped remains of dead people from the future, and he’s a big fan of Teletubbies. After the Doctor and Jack are kidnapped, it’s up to Martha to rescue the world from the Master, which she does by telepathic link to everyone in the world. In the end, it is Harold Saxon’s wife Lucy who shoots the Master dead, and in rebellion of the Doctor’s wishes for him to regenerate so that he isn’t burdened with being the last living Time Lord, the Master dies in the Doctor’s arms.
The End of Time
The Doctor’s childhood friend, arch-nemesis, and the only other Time Lord left is back, and this time, he’s got special powers as a result of his wife trying to kill him…again. He joins the homeless ranks and makes meals of them to satisfy his unquenchable energy leakage. After talking to Donna Noble’s grandpa Wilf, the Doctor (#10, Tennant) finds the Master in this homeless wreckage and they kneel on the ground, heads touching, whereupon the Doctor is terrified to find the drumming in the Master’s head is real, not a symptom of insanity. The Master positions himself perfectly for world domination by getting captured and forced to repair an Immortality Gate, which he swiftly steals control over after escaping from the chair Unit had strapped him to. He uses the machine to alter the DNA of every human on earth to match is own, making a clone world.
Meanwhile, we discover that the Doctor and the Master are not the last surviving Time Lords but that Timothy Dalton as Rassilon and his council are trapped in a time bubble, plotting to escape. Once again, the Doctor and his companion become the Master’s prisoner. A couple aliens rescue the Doctor, who learns that the Time Lords are coming back just a little too late. They plan to rip open the vortex, knocking Earth out of orbit with Galifrey and dispersing all the great horrors of the Time War back into the universe. Rassilon is not impressed by the Master’s help in this plan and plots to kill him, but the Doctor rescues him by breaking the link and sending the Time Lords back into time, but the Master’s final attack on Rassilon drags him back into the Time War as well. In the end, the Doctor has not won because he’s still got to rescue Wilf, something he can only do by sucking in all the radiation and dying, forced to regenerate into #11.
Dark Water / Death in Heaven 8.11, 8.12
This episode revolves around the phrase, “I love you,” the very phrase that wrecked Whovians at the end of “Doomsday” because it was never said. But this time, the very act of Clara saying it is what kills Danny Pink. In an attempt to locate the afterlife and retrieve Danny Pink, Clara and the Doctor (#12, Capaldi) find themselves in a mausoleum where the skeletons of the dead sit in tanks of special water that make invisible anything non-organic. Upon further investigation, the skeletons turn out to be something entirely different: Cybermen. Who is this strange lady calling herself Missy who seems to run this mausoleum? Could it be the Doctor’s childhood friend, arch-nemesis, and the only other living Time Lord, the Master? Yes, she’s trying to take over the world by sticking the remains of dead people into Cyber-suits, and she’s a big fan of Mary Poppins…Two of the Doctor’s arch-nemeses in one episode!
Though the Master has worked tirelessly through multiple incarnations trying to rule the Earth but only got as far as Prime Minister, the Doctor finds himself unwittingly dubbed President of Earth. After she escapes from Unit strapping her to a chair, the Master and the Doctor kneel on the ground, and the Master gives him that kiss that fans almost expected the last time this happened. The Master once again, in a very Sherlock/Moriarty way, tries to convince the Doctor that he is just like her, that he has darkness inside of him. He dismisses this in an over-grandios speech about being an idiot. In the end, it is Danny Pink who who shoots the Master dead, despite his emotions being removed. Danny, in his last effort to speak to Clara from inside the nanocloud, calls to her in her sleep. She awakes and takes a long, long walk…down her hallway, where she meets a glowing light that has Danny’s voice. Danny has the chance to come through and live again, but he gives over the little boy he’d accidentally shot instead.
Personally, I feel this was the one really great episode of the season. For once, the writing was top level stuff. And hats off to the casting department. John Simm is my favorite British actor, so it would take somebody pretty amazing to take his place. Luckily, I’m a big Sue White (Greenwing) fan and thought Michelle Gomez couldn’t have been a better pick. Plus, she’s Scottish, the yang to the Capaldi’s yin. And then there’s Capaldi’s The Thick of It co-star Chris Addison as the computer generated Seb, but aggravatingly shares no scenes with his former ally.