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Recap / Doctor Who 2022 CEN "The Power of the Doctor"

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The Power of the Doctor

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After several TARDIS-crashing regenerations, Thirteen decided to step outside for a change.
Written by Chris Chibnall, David Tennant,note  and Russell T Daviesnote 
Directed by Jamie Magnus Stone and Rachel Talalaynote 
Air date: 23 October 2022

"Oh, the blossomiest blossom..."
The Thirteenth Doctor, during the final moments of her lifetime.

The one where Doctor Who celebrates Auntie's hundredth birthday with a cake, topped with candles, and baked by a mouth on legs. It's such a big deal, even the Doctor got dressed up in an old outfit for the occasion and the Master got his groove on to Boney M.'s "Rasputin".


Famous paintings have been mysteriously defaced around Earth, seismologists have gone missing, there is strange activity occurring in volcanoes and across the stars a bullet train is pursued by Cyber-Masters. The Doctor doesn't understand how it all connects. All she has is a message from an old enemy - "this is the day you die"...


Tropes:

  • Action Insurance Gag: The new UNIT headquarters gets blown up, leading Kate to lament that she only just signed the lease.
  • Afterlife Antechamber: After her body undergoes a forced regeneration, the Thirteenth Doctor finds herself on a barren, surreal plateau. There, she meets vestiges of past incarnations, describing themselves as "guardians of the edge of existence."
    Fifth Doctor: This is the place you pass through during the process of regeneration. Go past here, there's no way back.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Holograms of Five and Seven are able to converse with Tegan and Ace, respectively. While this is stated to be an AI interface, a line from Thirteen implies these are the actual Fifth and Seventh Doctors using the interface to communicate from inside her mindscape.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: While trapped in the invaded UNIT Base, Tegan is visited by the Hologram Doctor, who has taken the form of Five, assuring her that the Doctor remembers everything. Tegan snappily asks what being surrounded by all of these Cybermen reminds her of, with the Hologram Doctor sadly responding with "Adric". This instantly causes Tegan to deflate.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Cybermen aren't very good at checking what's behind their target. When the Fugitive Doctor shows up in the Czar's palace, the CyberMasters surround her and start firing... in a circle. Since she's an hologram, they all end up shooting themselves.
  • Ascended Meme: Daleks have been called "pepper pots" by fans for a long time; in this episode, Ace actually refers to one as such while attacking it.
  • Back for the Finale: Graham, Vinder, Ashad, the Spy Master and the Fugitive Doctor all return to close out the Thirteenth Doctor's run, and the end of the Chibnall era.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: As Tegan is about to set off the demolition of the UNIT headquarter as well as Reverse Polarity of the cyber-conversion, a Cyberman's arm punches through the wall behind her and wraps around her neck. After some struggle, she still manages to grab the cable starting the whole process.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: When UNIT has captured the Master in his lecture hall, the Doctor demands that one of the soldiers give Yaz his sidearm so that there's that much more firepower covering him.
  • BBC Quarry: The Master has cyber-converted an entire planet. Funnily enough, the only bit that the Doctor sees looks like a quarry pit with a blue filter over everything.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The Master is revealed to have been (or at least impersonated) Grigori Rasputin. Either way, while it's not explicitly stated, the Master's alien technology and Gallifreyan physiology could easily be used to explain Rasputin's "magical powers" and how he survived so many assassination attempts. The script on the BBC website outright states that he is Rasputin, because there's a deleted scene where he gets thrown into a bag by the Prince who historically did that.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A hologram AI of the Fugitive Doctor arrives just in time to distract the Master from killing Yaz and Vinder, and assist with undoing his regeneration takeover of the Doctor.
  • Bigger on the Inside: It's Kate Stewart's turn to say the obligatory phrase upon her first visit inside the TARDIS.
  • Big "WHAT?!": The Fourteenth Doctor can only react to the realization that he has retaken the form of his tenth incarnation by yelling three successively louder "WHAT?!"s.
  • Billions of Buttons: Tegan moans that the controls to activate the demolition look like an airliner cockpit. Fortunately, she has the required buttons to be pushed written on her hand, and the Doctor hologram to advise her how to do some added reprogramming that will Reverse Polarity the cyber-conversion unit.
  • Bookends:
    • Thirteen's first and last full episodes both feature her dropping onto a moving train.
    • Both Twelve's regeneration into Thirteen and Thirteen's own regeneration are caused by something the Master did, which notably both involved the Cybermen. Likewise, the Master is last seen in both episodes blasting a Time Lady with a laser and expiring shortly afternote .
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • For the first time since the Ninth Doctor's regeneration, the Doctor manages to regenerate without blowing up or crashing the TARDIS.
    • The Doctor regenerates outside of the TARDIS for the first time since the Eighth Doctor's regeneration on Karn.
    • The Doctor regenerates into a previous incarnation's form for the first time rather than a new, previously-announced actor's form.
    • This is the first time that the Doctor's clothes changed during the regeneration since the very first one from One to Two. (The boots regenerated along with the Doctor from Four to Five.)
  • Broad Strokes: Most of the classic companions who return in this episode have their post-TARDIS histories treated as blank slates, with many details of their lives given in the Expanded Universe ignored, including details officially given by Russell T Davies. Ace's "A Charitable Earth" foundation is never mentioned, Tegan is single rather than married to Nyssa, Mel is inexplicably back on Earth instead of traveling with Sabalom Glitznote , and Ian is shown to be an elderly man, as opposed to the implication that his and Barbara's travels in the TARDIS somehow rendered them ageless, though that last one was mentioned to just be a rumour.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Tegan and Ace, for the first time since "Resurrection of the Daleks" and "Survival" respectively. Likewise, they both are forced to deal with the Master again, who recognizes them from their classic series encounters.
    • UNIT has been re-established, with Kate Stewart at the head, since her last appearance in "The Vanquishers".
    • Graham, for the first time since "Revolution of the Daleks".
    • One, Five, Six, Seven, and Eight appear as visions to Thirteen after her forced regeneration. Fugitive also appears as a talking AI hologram.
    • Jo Grant, Mel Bush, and Ian Chesterton are among the members of Graham's society of former companions. For Mel, it's her first TV appearance since "Dragonfire"; for Jo, it's her first TV appearance since The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "Death of the Doctor"; and for Ian it's his first since "The Chase", back in 1965, with a 57 year gap between appearances.note 
    • Finally, at the end of the Doctor's regeneration, he realizes he's taken on a familiar form...
  • Call-Back:
    • The Master demonstrates his ability to hypnotize people by staring into their eyes, a classic trait of Roger Delgado's version. He even compels one of his victims into repeating his old catchphrase, "You are the Master, and I will obey you."
    • The Master's plan centers on triggering a forced regeneration, and he mentions this having happened to the Doctor before, maybe more than once.
    • UNIT's guns are loaded with gold bullets when fighting the Cybermen, nodding back to both the gold allergy introduced in "Revenge of the Cybermen" and a scene in "Battlefield where the Brigadier explains how UNIT started investing in ammo specifically designed to combat the Doctor's foes. Unfortunately, these Cybermen are more advanced and totally immune to gold.
    • An emergency hologram of the Doctor appears in the TARDIS again, as in "The Parting of the Ways", "Blink", and "Before the Flood".
    • Having crash-landed on the Cyber-Planet, Vinder uses the phone the Doctor left with him to try and contact her. He gets Yaz instead.
  • The Cameo: At the ending of the episode Jo Grant, Mel Bush and Ian Chesterton appear at the companion support group.
  • Catch a Falling Star: Ace parachutes off UNIT headquarters, but a Cyberman sees her and shoots her chute full of holes. Just then, the TARDIS materializes underneath, on its side with the doors open. Ace falls inside...and finds herself standing upright.
  • Character Aged with the Actor:
    • Tegan, Ace, Mel, and Ian all appear to have aged naturally in the time periods since they stopped travelling with the Doctor. Despite the rumour that Sarah Jane once told Clyde and Rani, Ian has not become The Ageless.
    • No outright explanation is given for why the mental and hologrammatic images of Five, Six, Seven, and Eight look much older than they did at the time of their canon regenerations. The Doctor does say that the companions' memories are affecting how they perceive her; it may be that they're subconsciously adding several decades to the various Doctors' appearances to reflect their own aging.
    • The Fourteenth Doctor resembles the Tenth Doctor, but slightly older to account for the twelve years that have passed out-of-universe since the David Tennant era. In-universe, it seems this is meant to reflect the trauma they've gone through over the millennia.
  • Chekhov's Gun: One that took almost a decade to fire: In "The Day of the Doctor", the Eleventh Doctor meets the Curator, who's heavily implied to be a future incarnation who regenerated back into Tom Baker, and is told that he'll find himself revisiting some of "the old favorites" in the coming years. Come this story, and the Thirteenth Doctor regenerates back into David Tennant, one of the most popular Doctors since Baker himself.
  • Cheated Death, Died Anyway: Yaz and Vinder are able to bring Thirteen back from her forced regeneration, which is treated as a standard resurrection. However, in what can only be a few hours later at most, Thirteen is wounded to the point of regeneration when the Master sets a Qurunx on her.
  • Complexity Addiction: The Master's infiltration of the Czar's palace as Rasputin, and indeed anything that he does specifically in 1916, seems to have no bearing on his plan beyond his dance number and because he can.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Toraji Transport Network who operate the bullet train appears to be named after the Torajii sun from Chris Chibnall's first televised story, "42".
    • Ace still refers to the Doctor as "Professor", and mentions that the Master was half-cat the last time they met.
    • Tegan, on receiving the shrunken corpse of Ashad (which is supposedly a present from the Doctor), says that the Cybermen are "not a fond memory" as far as she's concerned, alluding to how they were responsible for Adric's death.
    • Both Tegan and Ace are shocked to see the Master again. The Master, when he sees Tegan, asks her how her Aunty Vanessa is doing after he killed her, while Ace tells him that he was half-cat the last time she saw him.
    • The Master also makes tasteless jokes at the expense of his captors and their imminent deaths, just as he had done a couple times as Missy.
    • The Master also got into plenty of scrapes with Bridgadier Lethbridge-Stewart, which leads him to spitefully tell Kate that her father was an idiot. Getting punched in the face and shot in the back by him didn't help his opinion.
    • Ace retrieves her jacket, backpack, and baseball bat from a storage area in the new UNIT HQ. Ace is still wearing several badges on her jacket that were seen during the classic series, including the Fanderson badge, and Flowerchild's earring, which she had picked up on Segonax.
    • The Spy Master continues the Saxon and Missy versions' enthusiasm for cheesy pop music, dancing to Boney M.'s "Rasputin".
    • When the Master takes over the Doctor's body, he assumes a costume including several iconic clothing items from past Doctors' costumes, including Four's scarf, Five's celery buttonhole, Seven's question-mark sweater, and Ten's tie. He even plays Two's recorder!
    • To empathize with and comfort Tegan, the Fifth Doctor correctly guesses her sadness about the Cybermen was due to Adric's death and tells her "Brave heart".
    • The Master says he has "dressed for the occasion" before attempting to steal the Doctor's body. The scene of the body swap itself is even shot similarly to the TV Movie's climax and uses a similar face-switching visual effect as the Master takes over the Doctor's body.
    • This was not (or will not be?) the only time that the Daleks try to drill into the Earth.
    • The Master is convinced that a companion would never shoot him. A while back, he thought a companion was planning to shoot him, but it turned out to be a ruse.
    • At the end of the adventure, all the extra companions are dropped off in Croydon, which is where the Doctor (tried to) drop Sarah Jane Smith off when she left the TARDIS in "The Hand of Fear".
    • The TARDIS' Cloister Bell rings to signal the Doctor's impending regeneration.
    • The Thirteenth Doctor's muttering about a "blossomiest blossom" refers to the Third Doctor's famous speech about the old hermit who lived near and counselled him on Gallifrey in "The Time Monster", where the Third Doctor referred to "the daisiest daisy".
    • Lying in the TARDIS, fatally injured, Thirteen looks up and sees her friends surrounding her; she smiles and whispers, "Extended Fam", just before she passes out. This recalls the Fourth Doctor's dying moments, as he smiles to see his companions at his side and speaks reassuringly to them.
    • When the Tenth Doctor first appeared, his first words were commenting about his teeth. Once Fourteenth realizes he's taken on a familiar form...
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • This episode and Sophie Aldred's novel At Childhood's End are incompatible, as both depict Ace meeting Thirteen, Yaz, and Graham for the first time. That said, At Childhood's End does acknowledge that Ace's personal timeline had multiple potential futures, including dying young in the comic story "Ground Zero".
    • The special also contradicts Tegan's fate in Big Finish's audio drama The Gathering, as she was in her mid-40s at the time of that drama, which took place in 2005, and was said to be suffering from a terminal illness. Also the fact that this story establishes she's not seen the Doctor since the '80s. Here, she's in her early 60s and there's no mention of her ever having been ill, much less terminally. As for her being in a same-sex relationship with fellow companion Nyssa, as stated in the lockdown special "Farewell, Sarah Jane", this too is contradicted. Tegan is single when the events of "The Power of the Doctor" take place, but mentions that she has been married twice, both times to men.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Several characters, including ordinary humans Ace and Graham, travel into a volcano. There is running lava only a few feet away, but nobody spontaneously combusts.
  • Cool Train: The beginning of the episode features the Cyber-Masters attacking a passenger train in space.
  • Crazy-Prepared: UNIT have guns and parachutes hidden in the floors of all their buildings, just in case it gets attacked. Doesn't do them any good, though. Ace also found them, and secretly hid her stuff in the one in Kate's office, which ends up being slightly more useful.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The Master once again interrupts a UNIT briefing, inviting everyone to his seismologist conference.
  • Double Take: Unsurprisingly, Ian is the one who shows the most visible surprise at the Doctor having become a woman.
  • Embarrassing First Name: The Master calls Ace "Dorothy" to get a rise out of her. In her debut story, "Dragonfire", Ace makes it clear that she considers Dorothy to be "a naff name".
  • End of an Age: The Thirteenth Doctor's era comes to an end.
  • Energy Being: The "cargo" from the space train turns out to be a Qurunx, a jellyfish-like energy being that the Master imprisons and drains to power his Cyber-Moon.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Ace is very appreciative of Thirteen's look.
  • Evil Costume Switch: After becoming the Doctor, the Master raids their closet and dresses up in a menagerie of incarnations' clothes, wearing the Tenth Doctor's shirt and tie, the Seventh Doctor's question mark pullover and tie, the Fourth Doctor's scarf, the Fifth Doctor's celery stick, and the Thirteenth Doctor's coat. He also has the Second Doctor's recorder on hand. All of this is a clear mockery of the Doctor.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Master has always been this, but he's never taken this trope so literally before; he becomes an evil version of the Doctor.
  • Evil Laugh: The Master has one written on his TARDIS.
  • Excuse Plot: Seemingly in-universe, everything occurring in 1916 seems to be the Master setting up his dance number.
  • Extra-Long Episode: The story clocks in at 87 minutes, making it the longest single episode of the Revival Series and the third-longest single episode in the show's history overall (behind the 89-minute TV movie and the 90-minute "The Five Doctors").
  • Eye Take: A Dalek and a Cyberman glance at each other in disbelief when the Master starts disco-dancing.
  • Flirting Under Fire: Ace takes time to flirt with Graham while fighting Daleks inside an active volcano.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Ashad slaughters his way through UNIT troops with no difficulty whatsoever.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: The TARDIS' Cloister Bell rings when the Master forces the Doctor to undergo regeneration, and again when her second regeneration begins.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With:
    • The Qurunx that the Master captures from the space train initially appears to be a human child, making itself appear to be something that the viewer, in this case the Doctor, would consider vulnerable and in need of protection.
    • Tegan and Ace's holograms of the Doctor change from Thirteen to their respective Doctors, Five and Seven, albeit older due to interference.
  • Genetic Memory: Appears to be taken to the extreme with the Master's clone of Ashad; not only does he have the same personality as the original, aside from newly added loyalty to the Master, but also the exact same makeshift cybernetic components.
  • Grand Theft Me: The Master uses a "forced regeneration" to take over the Doctor's body, intending to then discredit their memory forever by committing atrocities under their identity.
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: The Master jump-starts the Doctor's forced regeneration... by playing (and dancing on) Boney M.'s "Rasputin" (in 1916, to add to the Anachronism Stew), along with the obligatory light show. Well, at the moment he is Rasputin, so it kinda fits in a very twisted way.
  • Handwave: Graham makes a return, but not Ryan, who is apparently also dealing with the various crises that the Master has unleashed, but in Patagonia.
  • Historical In-Joke: Rasputin reportedly had mind control powers and was very difficult to kill. The Master's presence seems to explain why.
  • Hope Spot: The day is saved, the Master thwarted. All the Doctor has to do is get back to the TARDIS and leave... then the Master grabs her attention, keeping her still just long enough for the Qurunx to inadvertently blast her with enough energy to kill her.
  • I Just Want to Be You: The Master attempts to possess the Doctor and steal her identity. He even begs not to be forced to go back to being himself when this is reversed, and ultimately kills the Doctor because he's not allowed to be her.
  • In Harm's Way: The Master warns the Doctor to get off the planet to escape her destruction, then immediately lampshades how that's only going to ensure she'll stay to try and stop his Evil Plan.
  • Instant Costume Change: Thirteen's regeneration into Fourteen includes a full costume change which is notable since the show has previously established (including earlier in this episode) that it doesn't typically cause this.
  • Just Between You and Me: Averted once again by the Master.
    Doctor: Now, do I win a prize if I guess how this all fits together or are you just going to tell me why you're grandstanding?
    Master: Be patient. We'll get there.
  • Kick the Dog: The Master sneers to Kate that her father was an idiot and reminds Tegan that he killed her Aunt Vanessa, tauntingly asking if she keeps her shrunken corpse in a dollhouse.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Six's complaint about Thirteen being forced to regenerate into the Master instead of being allowed to regenerate naturally doubles as a comment about the role of regeneration episodes in the real world: "This is supposed to be handed over, you can't ruin it for the next one." The fact that Six says this is doubly significant, given that Colin Baker was fired and he declined coming back to "hand over" the role to Sylvester McCoy (who instead Fake Shemped as Six for the regeneration scene at the start of "Time and the Rani").
  • Lured into a Trap: The Doctor is understandably dubious that a Dalek wants to turn on the other Daleks, and figures that it might be a trap. It is, but not the one that she thinks. The Dalek in question was genuinely trying to help, but the other Daleks knew it had turned on them, and were using it as bait to trap the Doctor.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: A Dalek, believing that the current plans of its species deviate too much from their purpose of protecting the Kaled race, betrays them and comes to the Doctor with information on how to wipe them out for good. The Doctor is naturally suspicious of its intentions, seeing as Daleks are Always Chaotic Evil, and is surprised when the betrayal turns out to be genuine... just in time for it to get exterminated by the other Daleks for said betrayal.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Noodle Incident:
    • How Ace and the Seventh Doctor departed is only mildly alluded to, since her departure was never squared away in the televised canon and has received contradictory answers through the Expanded Universe. All that's stated is that she and the Doctor had a serious ethical disagreement that led her to leave and that she's regretted how they left things ever since, which echoes how she departed (temporarily, before coming back as her "New Ace" characterization) in the Doctor Who New Adventures continuity.
    • Tegan mentions that she's "seen off" two husbands and has an adopted son, but we aren't given any details about how her marriages ended (the wording can mean her husbands both passed away, but Janet Fielding referred to divorces in an interview), nor the circumstances of her son's adoption.
    • Apparently Mel at some point returned to present-day Earth after travelling with Sabalom Glitz.
    • Tegan and Ace already know each other by the start of the episode, well enough to keep each other updated on their separate investigations into missing seismologists and paintings.
  • Not So Stoic: Kate is visibly frightened when strapped into the cyber-conversion chamber, and has a look of fangirl eagerness when invited into the TARDIS for the first time.
  • Not What I Signed on For: Dan previously set up plans to go on a date, and put off his plans to keep exploring with the Doctor. When he gets shot in the face in a spacesuit and almost suffocates in the vacuum, the scare rattles him enough to reconsider his priorities, leave the TARDIS and resume his normal life.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Thirteen thinks the Master is so dangerous that she tells Yaz to get a gun. The Master himself is suspicious of this.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Thirteen's visions of her past selves all wear Gallifreyan robes, except for Eight...
    Thirteen: Sorry, why are you not wearing...?
    Eight: [regards his outfit for a moment] I don't do robes.
    Seven: [rolls his eyes] There's always one. Has to be "different".
    Eight: I am a manifestation of our consciousness. I can wear what I like.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Yaz carries the mortally wounded Doctor in her arms back to the TARDIS.
  • Plot-Demanded Manual Mode: Tegan has to climb down to the basement to set off the demolition charges that will collapse the building on top of the Cybermen, sealing them inside, while Kate buys time for her by distracting the Cybermen.
  • Plug the Volcano: The Doctor uses the Cyber-Moon to do this and create public art at the same time.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Dan decides to leave the crew near the beginning of the episode, having been spooked by the Near-Death Experience that he underwent whilst on the passenger train. However, he turns up at the end as part of Graham's ex-companion support group.
    • Thirteen drops Yaz back home for good just before she regenerates, although they do have a final moment together.
  • Quotes Fit for a Trailer: The teaser for the specials starring the new David Tennant Doctor ends with Ncuti Gatwa, quite understandably, asking "Could someone tell me what the hell is going on here?"
  • Read the Freaking Manual: Before trying to pilot the TARDIS, Yaz takes out a book and sticky notes to guide her.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • Ian Chesterton appears alone without his wife and fellow companion Barbara Wright, due to her actress, Jacqueline Hill, having passed away in 1993.
    • Russell T Davies remarked in an interview that Thirteen's costume changed into a gender-appropriate wardrobe during the regeneration sequence because of the rise of mainstream transphobia in the UK since the late 2010s; consequently, Davies felt that putting David Tennant in Jodie Whittaker's outfit would be interpreted by the press as him mocking Doctor Who. Ultimately, this is also a Double Standard, because Whittaker got to wear Peter Capaldi's outfit since a cisgender woman could be seen in it without raising much alarm, and it also ignores that the Master wore her clothes in this very episode too.
  • Ret-Canon: The scene between Ace and the holographic Seventh Doctor in the Daleks' cavern indicates, without describing the details, that she stopped travelling with him after a serious ethical disagreement between them. This echoes her first, temporary, departure in the Doctor Who New Adventures continuity.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Subverted in regards to how Mel got back to Earth after the events of "Dragonfire", as she was last seen leaving with Sabalom Glitz in the far future. Expanded Universe material such as books and audios gave different explanations, but all show that she eventually met the Doctor and Ace again before returning home.
  • Series Fauxnale: The future of Doctor Who was in doubt at the time of Chris Chibnall's exit as showrunner, with no confirmed successor or direction in place, so this was written under the impression it might be the last Doctor Who story in the event of a potential third hiatus. It shows, tying up not only many of Thirteen's loose ends, but also connecting more of the modern series to the classic era and providing closure for Doctor and companion arcs dating back to the 1980s, as well as bringing back many fan-favourite companions and giving them one last day in the limelight, with the episode itself originally rolling the credits before the Doctor's regeneration finished. Eventually, Russell T Davies was announced to be returning as showrunner and the series would continue on well beyond this point for the foreseeable future.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Master's TARDIS assumes the form of a police box identical to the Thirteenth Doctor's, but with the usual writing on the phone compartment door replaced by deranged laughter. This is highly reminiscent of the way the Joker has defaced various items in Batman comics and other artwork during the 21st century.
    • The paintings the Master has vandalized by putting his own face on them are The Mona Lisa, The Scream, The Hay Wain, Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Last Supper.
    • When Ace retrieves her baseball bat, she jokingly claims that Beyoncé copied her moves, a nod to the musician wielding a baseball bat in the music video for "Hold Up".
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Yaz to the Master.
    Yaz: Just in case you're wondering, all this I'm-messing-with-your-mind chat, I've heard worse on a Friday night in Sheffield.
  • That Russian Squat Dance: The Master briefly does the move while dancing to "Rasputin", fittingly.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Cybermen. Not just with the return of the Cyber-Masters, who can regenerate and stand right back up after being killed, but even the regular Cybermen reveal that they've evolved and adapted past their historical weakness to gold. Even being delivered in the form of bullets doesn't seem to faze them much.
  • Trash the Set: Outright Defied. Instead of regenerating within the TARDIS, the Doctor steps outside to take in "one last sunrise" before she regenerates.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: By the end of the episode, Graham has set up a support group for all the Doctor's "contemporary-Earth" companions.
  • Traintop Battle: In Space thanks to an electromagnetic roof, which the Doctor deactivates to send the Cybermen floating off into space.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Par for the course, there's no explanation of how the Master survived being right next to an explosion that was supposed to destroy all of what little life remained on Gallifrey. Of course, even that episode implied he escaped and he was likely within running distance of a TARDIS.
  • Unflinching Walk: Yaz is unfazed by the crumbling planet as she carries the Doctor to the safety of the TARDIS.
  • Villain Team-Up: The Master works together with the Daleks and the Cybermen as part of a plot to erase the Doctor from existence and kill humanity.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: When the holo-Doctor approves of Ace's Nitro-9, she snarks that nothing's changed as it's alright to blow stuff up when the Doctor wants it done. The hologram then changes to "The Professor".
    Holo-Seven: It's never fine to blow stuff up. Sometimes, sadly, it's the only solution. But only after fair warning.
  • Wham Shot:
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It is unclear how the Master masquerading as Rasputin affected the real one. It is unlikely that Rasputin was subject to Kill and Replace, considering his infamous death in December 1916, though the script implied he was the real Rasputin and barely survived the execution.
  • While Rome Burns: After Yaz takes the TARDIS and does a runner, leaving the Master stranded on an asteroid, he calmly sits down and pulls out the Second Doctor's recorder, playing it while the two planets that he's just ruined burn in front of him, as he knows she'll come back to him sooner or later.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me:
    • The Master says this to Yaz when the Doctor tells her to borrow a pistol off a UNIT soldier and keep him covered. He doesn't push his luck though, as he's not planning to escape yet.
    • The Master later drops this almost verbatim when Vinder has his gun on him, reasoning that the Doctor wouldn't have a companion who would go around shooting people. One laser in the shoulder later, and Vinder helpfully informs him that he's not a companion; he's freelance.


 
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Rasputin Dance

The Daleks and the Cybermen are just as taken aback by the Master's spontaneous dancing as anyone, silently staring at each other in confusion.

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