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Doctor Who Recap Season 10, Episode 12, “The Doctor Falls”

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Doctor Who Recap: Season 10, Episode 12, “The Doctor Falls”

BBC America

Doctor Who Recap: Season 10, Episode 12, “The Doctor Falls”

With “The Doctor Falls,” showrunner Steven Moffat caps off not one, but two story arcs which have run through the entirety of Doctor Who’s 10th season. One of these arcs has been so hidden in the background that its rising to the surface and resolution comes as a great surprise, while the other has been gradually developed throughout the 12 episodes. It all began as the mystery of what the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) were guarding in their secret vault in the basement of the university where they met Bill (Pearl Mackie). After we learned that the vault contained Missy (Michelle Gomez), the focus shifted to the Doctor’s attempts to rehabilitate her and resume their old friendship. The result of that effort was still in the balance when, in last week’s episode, they landed on a 400-mile-long spaceship containing both Cybermen (who captured and converted Bill into one of them) and Missy’s own prior incarnation, the Master (John Simm).

Doctor Who Recap Season 9, Episode 12, "Hell Bent"

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Doctor Who Recap: Season 9, Episode 12, “Hell Bent”

BBC America

Doctor Who Recap: Season 9, Episode 12, “Hell Bent”

As is Steven Moffat’s usual practice with the second half of a two-part story, the season finale of Doctor Who, “Hell Bent,” opens with a moment of maximum disorientation for the viewer. Last week, we saw the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) survive a torment that lasted for billions of years as he refused to provide information about the mysterious “Hybrid” creature prophesied to threaten the whole universe, breaking through at last to arrive on his homeworld, Gallifrey. Now, suddenly he’s a lonely drifter wandering into a Nevada diner and finding Clara (Jenna Coleman) behind the counter, neither of them apparently recognizing the other. He picks out Murray Gold’s “Clara” theme on his guitar and begins telling the story of how he came to be here.

Doctor Who Recap Season 9, Episode 11, "Heaven Sent"

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Doctor Who Recap: Season 9, Episode 11, “Heaven Sent”

BBC America

Doctor Who Recap: Season 9, Episode 11, “Heaven Sent”

In an interview given before this season began, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat described “Heaven Sent” as the most difficult script of his entire career to write. In the light of that statement, perhaps the greatest achievement of this amazing episode is how effortless the unfolding of its narrative seems. Right from the opening, it feels completely natural that we’re watching only the Doctor (Peter Capaldi)—completely isolated, stuck in a place designed to be his own personal hell, and working his painful way out entirely by himself. All aspects of the production—writing, direction, design, music—come together in a tour de force of storytelling.

Doctor Who Recap Season 8, Episode 12, "Death in Heaven"

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Doctor Who Recap: Season 8, Episode 12, “Death in Heaven”

BBC

Doctor Who Recap: Season 8, Episode 12, “Death in Heaven”

By the end of the harrowing events of “Death in Heaven,” the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) are looking like a pair of shell-shocked battle survivors, sharing a hug that’s actually a way to mask from each other the deeper wounds they’ve suffered. Both have had their hopes cruelly dashed: Clara of seeing her boyfriend, Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson), again, and the Doctor of finding his lost homeworld, Gallifrey. But as we’ve seen many times this season, they’re both accomplished deceivers of each other, and the story ends with them peacefully parting, Clara maintaining the fiction that she’ll be sharing her future with Danny while the Doctor pretends to head for home. However, after this seemingly conclusive ending, the credits are interrupted by an intrusion from the next episode (the Christmas special, thankfully only a few weeks away), making it clear that the Doctor and Clara still have unfinished business.