In Review: Doctor Who – Death In Heaven

With Cybermen on the streets of London, old friends unite against old enemies, and the Doctor takes to the air in a startling new role. Can the mighty UNIT contain Missy?

Synopsis: With Cybermen on the streets of London, old friends unite against old enemies, and the Doctor takes to the air in a startling new role. Can the mighty UNIT contain Missy?

Review: Story wise for me this episode isn’t an improvement over last weekends first part of the finale, but it does serve to throw the earth into such a state of emergency that UNIT have to get involved, but their involvement proves pretty much next to useless, which is a shame.

We don’t really see to much progression in Clara’s impossible girl story arc, but the closing post credits sequence, which sees Nick Frost pay the Doctor a visit as Santa does hint that we’ll likely go there in the future.

Instead we get a tired old formula involving the Master, who is now Missy or the Mistress and the Cybermen. It’s only great acting performances, which ultimately kept my attention throughout.

In a nut shell Missy’s plot pretty much saw her being able to store the consciousnesses of recently deceased people on a huge hard drive and eventually download them all into Cybermen, but the twist sees the Cybermen launching themselves over the cities of the world and making it rain thus releasing Cyber Spores, which re-animate long dead corpses as Cybermen.

What Missy hasn’t factored into her plan is the love and guilt that the dead, but freshly animated Danny Pink feels. Guilt because of the kid he killed during his tour in Afghanistan and his love for both Clara and the human race. Danny asks a distraught Clara to switch on the emotion inhibitors so that he no longer has to feel pain.

These scenes between Clara and Danny are real poignant and well acted out. Its just a shame that they could not have been part of a better and less predictable storyline.

Also at the very top of their game are Michelle Gomez and Peter Capaldi. Although I still hate the idea of a woman as the Master. I don’t think that Moffat and his team could have chose a better actress to play the role. Even better was the fact that Gomez got her evil Mary Poppins moment towards the end of the episode as she flies in for her final moments with The Doctor, Clara and Danny Pink.

The twist at the end in which Missy gives the Doctor control of an army of the dead was something that was pretty much telegraphed as soon as Danny made reference to The Doctor as a General not wanting to get his hands dirty. Which revisited Danny’s first meeting with the Doctor.

Over all for me this was a pretty average story, which was only saved with outstanding acting performances from all the leading players and I have watched this thing twice now and haven’t really been blown away.

In my opinion it’s time for Steven Moffat to step down and for the BBC to hire a new show-runner – preferably someone who is not as big a fan of Doctor Who so we can see some fresh ideas and less stories that get dangerously close to fan fiction.

Much less use of Cybermen, The Master and Daleks would be a great start. I don’t want to see any of those things for at least three more years.

In spite of some great acting and a nice if not somewhat late tribute to the Brigadier. It all just feels thrown together in a last ditch Hail Mary play.

I tip my hat to Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez and Samuel Anderson for providing some fantastic acting performances, which helped sell this idea.

Doctor Who - Death In Heaven
  • Great acting
  • Not so great story
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
2 Comments on this post.
  • Raissa Devereux (@RaissaDevereux)
    8 November 2014 at 11:37 pm -

    Agree with you. What bugs me most is that the Impossible Girl arc will be resolved with the help of SANTA! really. DW being a family show is a double-edged sword. Christmas specials should not be used as Regeneration episodes or as arc fodder in any way, imo. Moffat should have resolved everything he had to resolve in the twelve episode season.

    Apart from the Impossible Girl arc, they have to have Clara give birth to Danny’s baby posthumously or creating the line that leads to Orson will get Timey Wimey. Plus, if Moffat hand waves the darker elements with SANTA, the genuinely effecting character beats won’t mean anything.

    As for bringing back old foes, DW will and should always use them, but with good writing.

  • craigmckenzie4909
    9 November 2014 at 12:01 am -

    Good review, a lot more generous than my own but you raise some really good points. Raissa put me onto this review and I’m glad she did. Really like your website, nice work. I hope you’ll check my review out and let me know what you think.

    Hope to speak to you soon 🙂

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