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Apologies for not having my finale review up last week. A bad case of the flu then a full week of work put paid to that!

It’s a bit late now for a review. So, rather than that, I’ll just pop down some thoughts on what I thought of the finale and how I see things moving forward for Doctor Who’s new season.

Well. That was a surprise. My thoughts last week on how they shot Bill, were right. I did a search on Twitter and the #BuryYourGays hashtag was in full mobilisation. They took the risk to kill off the LGBTQ character despite seeing how negatively this trope is received in fandoms. I did think they would do something different to save Bill this week but, I guess having Star Girl save her and the two of them disappear off together, into the sunset, with the option of Bill becoming human again one day, should she want that, is better than nothing. Nobody has actually ‘died’ on the show since, I think, Adric in the Peter Davison years (And that was with the Cybermen as well come to think of it). So, it was pretty obvious they would save her somehow, but now she’s been ‘put beyond participation’ in the future. I’m just glad Bill wasn’t seen in the suit for the whole episode, though, and that we saw what she was seeing ‘in her mind’ – herself. Although the ‘not knowing why people are scared of you until you see yourself in a mirror’ idea was pretty obvious as it’s such a cliché.

I do think removing Bill after just one season was a mistake, however. Like Donna, there was so much more that could be done with her. Not just because she was openly LGBTQ, but for me, because she was such a likeable, independent character. In fact, she was a fantastic character and Pearl Mackie is a brilliant actor. I think it’s a wasted opportunity to not have her around when the Doctor regenerates. I just hope this season acts as a good vehicle to get Pearl the exposure she needs to start raking in the roles. They owe her that much at least. Unfortunately, I can see her ending up working out of LA. Britain just doesn’t do enough to hold onto its young acting talent. And it's all too easy for great actors on a show such as this, that is popular in the US, to end up getting poached.

And Nardole being left to live out his life on a 400 mile long ship stuck reversing away from a black hole at a snail’s pace is also a bit of a let-down. However, happy he may be, it seems a little bit of a desperate existence for him, not knowing if the threat of the cybermen has actually gone, or whether they’ll have to constantly work their way up the ship until they end up making a last stand in the cockpit, with the Blue janitor chap, won’t be much fun.

And then there’s the complete full circle ending for The Master/Missy. That is one of the most disappointing parts of this episode. John Simm is a fantastic Master and it would have been good to see him wreaking havoc on the universe again, but now we know he’s going to regenerate into Missy and Missy will then eventually end up turning good and being killed by her former self in turn, it basically kills the opportunity to see the character again. The Master has been the Doctor’s nemeses since 1971 (The year I was born!) and to kill that character off completely now is, I believe, another mistake.

The episode itself was a bit rushed, a mistake Doctor Who does sometimes fall foul of, but at least the ending wasn’t confusing, if not a little drawn out. It gave the impression that the writers were saying ‘Yes we’ve decimated the current Dr Who team but we’re spending some time showing you that we’ve tried to give them all happy endings .... of a sort.’

With, basically, every single character of the current series now killed off, regenerating, transformed into a co-pilot or trapped on a colony ship outside a black hole, I can see this being another complete reboot. I thought that was what had happened when the Doctor got his twelve regenerations back and became Capaldi’s Doctor, but I guess I was wrong. After the coming Christmas special, the show is going to be brand new again with no more connections to the past seasons. River Song’s story went full circle, the immortal Ashildr went off with Clara on their own adventures, Nardole and Bill are gone, The Master/Missy is dead (Though Missy may turn up from time to time, I doubt she will appear again for some time) so when the Doctor regenerates we are looking at a completely clean slate.

The show has been very secretive on who will be the new Doctor, unlike the fanfare that surrounded Peter Capaldi’s reveal, all we have are rumours. The pretext for the Christmas special has been set, however and this is where we’ll find out who it is. The Doctor has landed on a planet and doesn’t want to regenerate, trying to hold it back. We know he can do this as the Doctor did it once before, so I don’t understand why it should be that difficult. He has ended up back at his first regeneration, however, and I’m a little concerned that the Christmas Special is going to be some kind of ‘spiritual’ journey, going back over his life to this point and will end with him accepting he has to regenerate. This would track with the ‘clean slate’ concept as Capaldi is basically the start of a new twelve regenerations, in the same way as he is the Doctor he is witnessing at the end of this episode, with David Bradley playing William Hartnell’s first incarnation. Sometimes the Christmas specials can be good and sometimes they can be a bit cheesy and boring (Hence my concern).

Overall, this past season was pretty good and was probably the strongest of the Capaldi years, in terms of stories. Apart from the rushed, and pretty brutal killing off (For want of a better term) of everyone, it wasn’t too bad. It was interesting that the original idea, of changing the format to several feature length specials that was tossed about a year or so ago, didn’t come to fruition. This was driven, I believe, by Capaldi wanting to spend more time with his family, so I suspect that format is now off the table.

So, come New Year, we’ll have a new Doctor, probably a new Tardis control room and possibly a new companion. Whatever happens, for die-hard Dr Who fans like us, it’ll be an interesting time. As for the Doctor’s new adventures ....

... We’ll have to wait and see.
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Jul 10, 2017
The TARDIS clearout is another tradition for the handover of showrunners, the last time we saw this was with David Tennant to Matt Smith as Ten went on a tour of old companions before finally regenerating alone, allowing Eleven to start with a clean slate. This handover is no different.

There's also though a courtesy to tie up most ongoing threads, but leave a few threads to pull on, if the new showrunner wants to, to give some elements of continuity across the show as a whole. RTD left River, Jenny and the Doctor's Mother for Moffat to pick up and run with, and naturally he took River, as she was his creation in the first place.

Moffat has left Clara and Me, along with Bill and Heather (I do love that reference). Pearl's character is there for the taking, the last episode made it very clear she's torn between a travelling puddle and being human with her "Back in time for tea" line, and could easily be returned to the Doctor as human, should Chris Chibnall decide he wants Bill back to guide his new Doctor. The key thing is though, that choice hasn't been forced on him, he can decide to continue with Bill, or just as easily start with all his own crew.
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Jul 10, 2017
What makes you think the Master has completely been killed off? Have you never watched Master episodes before? Aside from the Roger Delgado period the Master is often definitively killed off at the end of every story, then we see him/her back in the next story, sometimes with an explanation or other times with a glib dismissal like "Don't be so niaive Doctor" or "Death is for other people" as Missy dismissed her death at the hands of the Brigadier in Death in Heaven. So this is an old school Master ending, leaving it to the writer of the next episode to either explain it, or simply dismiss it. The Master/Missy, will return, the only thing we know for sure is that, as a regular at least, it won't be Michelle Gomez as she doesn't think it would feel right in a new team so to speak.

We also don't have to have seen the last of John Simm, there's still a huge gap in his story from being thrown out of Gallifrey to this story to exploit.
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