And so Doctor Who series ten comes to an end. We're one Christmas Special away from seeing Capaldi out, and the major arcs of the series are resolved. Honestly, it's sad to see this series go. Unlike past series its hard to name an episode that was out and out bad. Empress of Mars was probably the weakest of the crop, but even then it was an interesting story. The Monks saga was quite something, and Rona Munro slayed in her return. So, how did they cap it all off?
With Bill a Cyberman and the Master teaming up with him/herself, the Doctor turns the rest of the Cybermen on his fellow Gallifreyans in order to force the Masters to work with him. They hole up on a higher floor of the spaceship they are on with a group of survivors. The Doctor works on a plan to de-cyberfy Bill and rescue everyone, but as the Cyber threat gets more and more evolved, The Doctor grasps at fewer and fewer straws. His loss seems inevitable, but he has to fight on for one simple reason… because he is the Doctor. Will that be the death of him?
Capaldi gives an apocalyptically good performance. He has never let us down for intensity in his years as the Doctor, and he's going appendages to the wall as he rages against the dying of the light. John Simm and Michelle Gomez are diabolically fun playing with each other, and the Master storyline, despite an awkward ending, is incredibly moving. Pearl Mackie does stellar work in her swan song as Bill, frustratingly being removed just as it was feeling like this character had developed staying power. Matt Lucas also has a nice send off, giving a more emotional performance than you might expect of him.
I will admit that the episode has its flaws. It just wouldn't be Steven Moffat if he didn't set up a few too many plot threads than he has time to bring to a satisfying conclusion. However, it's less of an issue here than usual. The weight of the stories he's telling and director Rachel Talalay's visual eye gloss over the episode's inconsistencies. The end result is a finale that feels biblical in intensity, and harrowing in look. Despite its shortcomings, it delivers on so many levels it may have made itself a classic.
Looking back on this series, it feels like Moffat's Doctor Who has, in its last moments, come of age. All his experimentation and novel approach to the matter has been somewhat confusing and unsatisfying up until this point. Despite yielding good episodes, it has not yielded a strong series. Until now. Whether it's his finally understanding how to write for Capaldi without seeming tokenistic, the inclusion of Bill as a companion, or simply working on a solid story arc, this season has, to put it bluntly, rocked. We have the Christmas special to look forward to (which will feature the first Doctor played by David Bradley), and then we will have a new Doctor, new companion, and Chris Chibnall at the helm. The future beyond may be uncertain, but the present at least is satisfying.