It’s been a very efficient season. In just two months, it’s had surprising returns, both good and bad, an interesting twist on an old enemy, and interesting historic meetings.
Oh, and a Doctor we’ve never seen before.
The finale did change things, but not in the way the Master expected. He came up with a doozy of a plan to take over the universe, and it looked unstoppable. We found out the Time Lords had a history they preferred to forget, but a few amazing details did emerge.
Despite this, the ending was a bit too convenient, as was the final 30 seconds.
Let’s get to Gallifrey first, where the Master takes the Doctor. He reveals forbidden Time Lord history, all of it true. This requires a long Spoiler Space Warning……
OK, the Timeless Child is…..THE DOCTOR!
The Master (Sacha Dhawan) revealed a hidden history in the Matrix of the Time Lords about a Shobogan named Tectuen, who found a girl at a gateway. She discovered the girl could regenerate, and used her DNA to splice that ability to all Gallifreyans. She succeeded, and that created the Time Lord civilization fans know today.
While the Master tells the tale while she’s in a hula hoop prison, he’s very calm, but it doesn’t take much to make him as unhinged as ever. A lot of long-time fans miss the elegant cruelty of Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley, or the sarcasm of Michelle Gomez. Dhawan makes the Master his own as an unstable genius who may go over the edge but can come up with a doozy of a plan. More on that later.
It’s also revealed the Time Lords had a Division where they can interfere where necessary. Apparently the Doctor was part of that, and whatever she did was redacted. However, maybe Tectuen left some clues of a life in Ireland. It suggests the Doctor may have regenerated into a baby, grew up as a cop named Brendan, then had those memories erased. It seems the old man two teachers met in 1963 may not have been the first, or there some some regenerations between “The War Games” and “Spearhead From Space”. It really opens a lot of possibilities, like identifying the faces of supposed past versions of the Doctor shown in “Brain of Morbius”
Meanwhile, the Cybermen are awake thanks to Ashad (Patrick O’Kane), and are hunting down all humans including the Companions. However, the Cybers aren’t as overpowering as they think. Graham and Yaz are smart enough to hide in armor while Ryan blasts a few Cybermen with a bomb…then runs from the ones behind him.
There’s a nice little scene between Yaz and Graham as they talk about whether they’ll get through this alive. Graham calls Yaz a very impressive woman, even more than the Doctor. She responds by telling him he isn’t so bad himself. He’s a little disappointed, until she says it’s a Yorkshire Love Letter.
Thanks to some nice moves by Ko Sharmus (Ian McElhenny), the Companions and the humans including Ethan (Matt Carver) and Rovio (Julie Graham) are able to stay alive, but things are about to get worse.
The Master wants to combine Cybermen with the bodies of Time Lords to create a new race: Cyber Time Lords, who can repair themselves in war. The Master calls them CyberMasters, after himself of course.
He takes the Cyberium from Asham (Patrick O’Kane) after shrinking him, and absorbs it.
Of course, the plan works, and he enjoys it a bit too much. Delgado would have celebrated apparent victory with more style.
For most of the episode, the Doctor is trapped in the Matrix, but she makes a comeback with a little encouragement from RuthDoc (Jo Martin). She makes sure she isn’t fooled by the images in the Matrix (as in “The Deadly Assassin”), then uses her memories against it. The Matrix winds up getting its mind blown. She’s soon found by her friends after they get through the Boundary.
They figure out the Mini-Asham has a Death Particle that can erase organic life, and that includes the CyberMasters and the Master. They can also blow up the Cybermen’s ship.
For the final confrontation, the Doctor sends her friends to Earth on a TARDIS they just happen to find. They object, but there’s no other way.
This leads to a very tense meeting between the Doctor and the Master. He thinks he has the advantage, and destroyed the Doctor. She tells him, though, that revealing her true status as the Timeless Child showed she was, and is, so much more. Even at the face of death, she knows her true worth.
However, she can’t use the Death Particle.
So, the episode pulls a Deus Ex Ko Sharmus. It turns out he hid the Cyberium back in 1816, and he’ll pull the trigger. The CyberMasters are destroyed, but fans know the Master, and another group of Cybermen, will show up sooner or later.
The humans get back to Earth, and it looks like Graham, Yaz and Ryan’s days of time travel are over. It’s confirmed they’ll be back for the holiday special, though.
As for the Doctor, she winds up not too far away from her own TARDIS. It looks like she’ll be back with her friends….until some Judoon suddenly show up, arrest her, and put her in a prison for life. It’s a terrible cliffhanger, especially when it’s followed by this:
Does this mean they’ll try to spring the Doctor, and why would they? The Doctor colliding with a space cruise liner was better.
Aside from the way-too-convenient ending, this was still a good finale. Making the Doctor the Timeless Child deepens her mystery, but also adds some discussions about who she is and how she affected the Universe. Fans have to credit Chris Chibnall for that. Also, we must have more RuthDoc. The Master is still a bit too unhinged, but his plans to merge two races into something unbeatable were pretty good. Too bad overconfidence ruined him again.
It’ll be a long wait for the holiday special, but hopefully the wait for Season 13 won’t be too long after that.