Thursday, 20 November 2014

Hey, Missy!

A Scottish Doctor and Master, and the best series for almost ten years.
So why does writing about the conclusion feel like a chore?
I've started, so I'll finish...

The scary/crazy Scottish HR manager from that wonderful series Green Wing is the Master - its confirmed. But also - she's a woman.  Fandom has tied itself in knots trying to concoct over-complicated alternative theories for this intriguing character's identity for three months now - and what a twittering waste of data that was.  Sometimes the simplest, and in this case, most logical conclusion is the correct one - even in a Steven Moffat script. And Michelle Gomez is a magnificent Master, thankfully supplanting the excruciating John Sim version, to become the best since Delgado.  Or at least Jacobi.

Except, she now appears to have been vapourised.  By a Cyberman.  Who's also the resurrected Brigadier.  Whaaaat?

Despite many wonderful, ingenious scenes and exquisite performances, watching this season finale wasn't an entirely pleasurable experience for me.  In fact, it stopped me sleeping properly, which is ridiculous for a TV programme.  I can only put it down to the feeling that Dark Water/Death in Heaven falls short of capping what has been the best series since 2005 - with a consistency of story-telling quality which surpassed all expectation.  Unsurprisingly, we've had the best Doctor in years, and the very surprising rehabilitation of a companion who has surged from the back of the field to the lead.  This alone could have carried a year of average scripts, but instead we've been given Into the Dalek, Listen, Mummy on the Orient Express, Flatline - no less than four stories surely destined for all-time greatness.  I even loved the Robin Hood episode.
So, could this ever be rounded off satisfactorily?

Moffat rose to the occasion magnificently last year with Day of the Doctor after a very patchy year of stories - but this time I'm left with the feeling that we've dropped back into the credibility-stretching, over-complicated keyboard bashing which finales like the Wedding of River Song previously 'thrilled' me with. After being so thoroughly spoilt this year I hate to be negative now, so I'll emphasise the positive (which took a second viewing to really bring to the fore).  Actually, I'll make a top five list:

1.Circular logic.
What does that logo mean, we all thought?  Then the doors closed together and we all suddenly remembered we've known who the villains in this story were going to be for months.  A forehead slapping moment in the best possible way.

2. Kissy Missy.
You can keep all your bromance/romance fan theories, this was a hilarious and icky moment, with the Master expoiting a completely new way of rattling the Doctor. And the look on Clara's face was priceless...

3. Martial art. A painting of the Brigadier (from his last appearance in the programme), is a lovely tribute, rendering that absurd Cyber-Brig nonsense later on even more unnecessary and increasing the pang of regret that the new programme makers didn't move quickly enough to get Mr. Courtney back while they still could.

4. Only Osgood dies young.
Still reeling from this one and I have to hand it to Moffat.  How do you show just how malevolent the new Master can be? Have her ruthlessly kill a supporting character of course, but obviously not the most beloved one which fandom instantly took to it's heart as their avatar, and has just been invited to join the TARDIS crew.  No, that would never happen. Much less tread on her glasses afterwards.  Oh no.

5. Permission to Squeeeee!
I once read about a quick-thinking skydiver who saved a friend who's chute failed to open by doing exactly this - so it really could happen.  I couldn't do it though, I invariably fumble with keys and locks under the least-challenging of circumstances.

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