What would you die for?
That’s the question the 12th Doctor confronts rival Time Lord the Master and Missy with as he goes up against an army of Cybermen in the hope that he might save a settlement of insignificant humans.
It would have been a beautiful moment had any of the previous Doctors issued the challenge, but it was made all the more wonderful coming from the lips of Doctor Number 12.
When Peter Capaldi was handed the role by Matt Smith in 2013’s Christmas Special, The Time of the Doctor, we got a grumpier, pricklier version of the character who described his companion. Clara, as his carer. “She cares, so I don’t have to.” Show runner Steven Moffat was emphasising the alienness of our hero, showing how hard it is for him to sometimes empathise with lower humans.
But in tonight’s Series 10 finale, The Doctor Falls, we saw the 12th Doctor continue his softening as he announced he was willing to die doing the right thing, being kind, as he put it. Oh what a journey Capaldi’s Doctor has been on these last few years. Was this part of Moffatt’s master plan, or is Capaldi finishing his time as the Doctor in this way by pure coincidence?
Moffat’s penultimate script (assuming he is on writing duty for the next Christmas special) might just be the best series finale in a long, long time.
This action packed story picked up after last week’s The World Enough and Time, in which companion Bill (Pearl Mackie) was converted into a Cyberman. It was laden with danger, horror and tragedy, not to mention the Master/Missy double bill, a marriage made in hell which ended, somewhat, predictably although you can guarantee we haven’t seen the last of the character(s).
Capaldi really shone as the Doctor, perhaps delivering his most powerful performance yet. This meant that the rest of the cast brought their A game to the table, particularly Mackie and Matt Lucas who, as Nardole, had some wonderful moments. You can’t help wondering if his story is at an end.
The Doctor Falls surely evoked tears, but the beauty of Doctor Who means that anything is possible. Where there are tears there is hope.