Written by Steven Moffat. Part 2 of the two-part finale to Series 8.
By the end of the last episode, Danny Pink was dead and a dozen Cybermen were clanking down the steps of St. Paul's. The Master — the Mistress now, or "Missy" for short — had revealed herself with a flourish, and the Doctor was left to stare as a full-scale alien invasion descended upon the Earth. And Clara Oswald was left trapped in a room, with a Cyberman rapidly approaching...
But not according to Clara, much to that Cyberman's confusion. In fact, there's never been a Clara Oswald. She's a ruse, a trick, a stitched-together history and a pseudonym. For who? Exactly. You can call her the Doctor. Again. (And this time, even the opening credits are altered to place Jenna Coleman's name first, and include her eyes in place of Peter Capaldi's.)
Meanwhile, back at St. Paul's, a flock of tourists descend to gawp and gaggle at the shiny metal men. The Mistress is amused, and quickly flicks through various video feeds to show more and more clusters of them, in every major city in the world. One of the tourists steps forward to take the Doctor and Mistress's picture, a familiar-looking woman in a spiffy-looking bowtie and familiar Converse... Osgood. And just like that, the "tourists" whip out their guns, and UNIT springs into action. Out comes Kate Stewart, decidedly unimpressed at this whole "Cyberman apocalypse" thing — they tried it forty-six years prior, didn't work then, and UNIT's specifically built anti-Cyberman weaponry from the remnants of their dead in case they tried to stage a repeat. In response, the Cybermen... fly off with shiny new rocket boots. Several more spew from the Cathedral itself, ninety-one in total — one for every city in the British Isles.
Then they all blow themselves up.
That seems like the end, then, but it really really isn't — Cybermen adapt, and UNIT aren't the only ones weaponizing the dead. From every exploded Cyberman, a cloud of thick, black smoke soon begins to spread, spilling over the graveyards first. Dark water begins to pool around every tomb, every gravestone, every funeral home, and soon freshly-converted silver corpses begin to rise from the mire. One of them used to be called "Danny Pink".
Kate has both Missy and the Doctor tranqued — Missy for the obvious reason, the Doctor because she doesn't want to risk him getting bored and wandering off before the world's been saved — and taken aboard Boat One (an airborne UNIT base a bit less Helicarriery). As it turns out, after the Harold Saxon business, the governments of the world decided to automatically make the Doctor acting President of Earth (whether he wants to be or not) should another global UNIT-level disaster occur. The Doctor, in between complaining about being saluted at and declaring that he's never going to salute back (although he admits to Kate that he would have done it for her father if he'd realised how much it would have meant to him), quickly figures out that Missy has been using modified Matrix technology to store human minds for as long as humans have believed in an afterlife. Meanwhile, Osgood, who was just being offered a companion position by the Doctor for being generally clever and awesome today, finds herself guarding Missy.
Let's see: Just offered a spot on the TARDIS, guarding Missy. If you guessed Osgood finds herself on the end of Missy's disintergrating PDA, collect your winnings after the recap.
Clara, meanwhile, isn't actually the Doctor. She can't keep that bluff up for very long, even with the detailed knowledge of the Doctor's life she's picked up over time, but she doesn't need to — Danny, now a Cyberman but with his original memories and emotions intact, takes her away from 3W and into a graveyard, where the corpses are already being cyberconverted by the Cyber-pollen. Their programming hasn't kicked in yet, and he begs her to turn on his emotional inhibitor so he's not in pain anymore. The Doctor is interrupted in his emotional conversation with the Mistress when Clara calls him, asking him to help her. But the Doctor refuses — not only because he knows that fully converting Danny will make the Cyberman kill her, but also because Danny's link to the hivemind can help save the Earth. Missy merrily reveals that she was the woman in the shop who put Clara and the Eleventh Doctor together (because she loves to see the uncontrollable Doctor being controlled by such a control freak), then ruptures the plane, gets Kate flung out into the sky, and orders her Cybermen to kill some Belgians for the sheer hell of it.
While Missy teleports out, the Doctor is thrown out into the open sky along with the TARDIS, and only survives by making a controlled dive towards his ship mid-fall. Seb (who turns out to be an AI interface) looks on in admiration. Missy wearily disintegrates him, mid-squee.
Down on Earth, Danny reveals that he can only access the hivemind once he's converted; the Doctor knows that he has no choice but to turn on Danny's emotional inhibitor forever. He can't bring himself to do it, and Clara takes the sonic and performs the act herself.
The Mistress joins them in the graveyard, in grand style, and reveals her plan... the rain will kill all humans on Earth, then convert them into more Cybermen. And the Cyberman troops are meant for the Doctor. He can use it to win every war, to liberate all the slaves in Dalek camps across the universe, to settle every dispute in his favour. She wants to see him lead an army, wants to make him admit that he's just like her, that he needs to feel in charge. Because she just wants her old friend back. The Doctor, suddenly understanding, finds in her words the answer to his question: is he a good man? He gets down on his knees for her and kissing her, very gently, in thanks, he explains to her that he isn't. And he's not a bad man either. Or a general. Or a president. Or a hero. He's just an idiot with a box and a screwdriver, helping, learning.
He throws Missy's control bracelet to Danny (who's still holding firm against cyberconversion with The Power of Love, which is not an emotion but a promise) and Danny is able to lead the army of Cybermen into the clouds, making a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy all the dark water once and for all.
In the midst of this, the Mistress gives the Doctor a present: the location of Gallifrey. It's in the one place the Doctor hasn't thought to look — back at its old coordinates where it had always been before the Time War.
Clara has surreptitiously taken the Mistress's death ray, and doesn't plan on letting her get away to come back with a new atrocity next week — instead, she's going to murder the Time Lady in cold blood. The Doctor won't let her. Not because he can't bear to see his old friend die, but because he can't bear to see his companion become a killer. He promises Clara that if that's what it will take to dissuade her, he'll kill the Mistress himself.
The Mistress mocks him: such a sacrifice, to save Clara's soul. But who will save the Doctor's soul? She gets her answer in the form of an unexpected death ray from offscreen, which (apparently) disintegrates her on the spot.
There's one Cyberman left — one Cyberleader who has not only just zapped the Mistress, the Doctor and Clara discover, it's also taken the time to catch Kate Stewart when she fell from the doomed aircraft and bring her safely to earth. And Kate is muttering about her dad... yep. Once upon a time, the Doctor met a man, a man of unquestionable courage, a man of grit, and a man of honour. This man helped saved the universe on many, many, occasions, so would anyone be that surprised that not even death itself would prevent the late Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart from coming to the Doctor's aid one final time? Like Danny, and demonstrating the will to break free of Missy's control, because he's still very much the iron-willed Brigadier he was in life, he Doctor realises his old friend is standing before him, and he now has the chance to say good-bye. The Doctor gives his old friend a first and last salute, and the cyberconverted Brigadier nods his head in acknowledgement, then rockets into the sky and out of sight.
Clara tries to go back to her normal life, only to hear Danny's voice in her apartment one night. He still has that control bracelet and it's good for one trip back from the afterlife. But instead of coming back himself he sends through the child that he killed in the war, asking Clara to take care of the boy, and says his final goodbye.
The Doctor seeks out Gallifrey's coordinates and to no one's shock, Missy trolled him; it's still in the pocket dimension he left it in at the end of the Time War. In anger, he flies into a violent rage against his TARDIS console and soon after breaks down crying.
He and Clara meet up at a café for their final goodbye. Seeing her depowered control bracelet, which she's wearing as a memento, he assumes that she and Danny are happily back together now. And that there will be no place for a TARDIS and a Doctor in her life. Before she can correct him, he tells her that he's found Gallifrey, and he'll be living there from now on, so there's little point in her and Danny being bothered by him anymore. They share a final hug, on Clara's insistence, neither willing to admit their lie.
- All Part of the Show: The crowd in front of St. Paul's Cathedral thinks the Cybermen are street performers. Missy even passes the hat for them. Subverted, however, when it turns out the crowd are all undercover UNIT agents moving into position.
- Ambiguous Clone Ending: Given that Osgood's Zygon duplicate was alive and well the last time we saw either of them, this raises the question of which version Missy killed.note
- And Your Little Dog, Too!: Missy kills Osgood and tries to kill Kate Stewart, solely because the Doctor likes them.
- Apocalypse How: "In twenty-four hours, the human race will cease to exist," thanks to a rain of Cyber-particles that will convert them all into Cybermen.
- Armchair Military: Again, Danny accuses the Doctor of being this, this time when Clara insists on activating Danny's emotional inhibitor in his stead. He makes quite a point of rubbing it in before he dies, to the point of calling him a "bloodsoaked general".
- Awesome, but Impractical: As befits an Airborne Aircraft Carrier — the Valiant has been discarded as too conspicuous* . Unfortunately it doesn't take the Cybermen long to find Boat One either, presumably because Missy is transmitting her position.
- Axe-Crazy: Missy displays Joker levels of murderous glee, fully admitting she's completely nuts and enjoys doing it. She sticks Osgood's murder on the same level as popping balloons and justifies the act of killing her despite her strategic value because she's bananas.
- Back for the Dead: Osgood hasn't been seen since "The Day of the Doctor", and now she's killed by the Master. Or at least one version of her is.
- Back from the Dead:
- Danny, though only as a reanimated corpse, and he gives his life to stop the cloud. He gets a second chance to come back thanks to the bracelet, but he gives it to the boy he killed instead.
- Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart gets to come back in the same fashion as Danny, and sticks around after all the other Cybermen destroy themselves, at last giving the Doctor a chance to let him have a proper good-bye. He then flies away to an unknown fate.
- Badass Boast:
- Kate throws down an old Cyberman's head in front of the newly arrived ones from a previous attempt.
- She follows it up with a boast that would scare almost any creature in the universe.Kate: Welcome to the only planet in the universe where we get to say this: [indicates the Doctor] He's on the payroll.
- The Doctor pointing out to Missy that after all the times she's tried to become ruler of Earth, he's achieved it without even trying.Voice: [over the intercom] Mr. President, you're needed in the briefing room.
The Doctor: Remember when all you wanted to do was rule the world? [to the intercom] On my way. [to Missy] Piece of cake.
- Missy calling herself the "Queen of Evil".
- Danny: This is a promise. The promise of a soldier. You will sleep safe tonight.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: The Doctor's "No More Holding Back" Speech started off as a Call-Back to "The Day of the Doctor":The Doctor: I am not a good man! And I'm not a bad man. I am not a hero. I'm definitely not a president, and no, I'm not an officer. You know what I am? I. Am... an idiot!
- Beware the Nice Ones: The Brigadier could be dangerous before. Now he has Cyber Weapons. Would you like to get on his wrong side?
- Be Yourself: After much of the series explored the themes of accepting others even as you get to know their edgier sides and imperfections over time and the Doctor's repeated questioning of his own morality, he reaches the conclusion that while he's not a perfect or necessarily heroic person, that doesn't make him a bad person or the villain, "officer" or "destroyer" he's been accused of being — he's simply "an idiot with a screwdriver and a box, passing through, helping out, learning". After seeing him spend so much time agonizing over past mistakes displaying serious self-hatred, it's quite touching.
- Big Damn Kiss: The Doctor very gently, very sweetly kisses the Mistress. Consensually this time!
- Bigger on the Inside: Missy retrofitted the interior of St. Paul's Cathedral to be this so she could hide an army of Cybermen within.
- A Birthday, Not a Break: Late in the episode, as she's explaining the point of her scheme, Missy points out that it's the Doctor's birthday. He forgot, but she remembered.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Doctor finally seems to accept himself and, to an extent, get over his self-hatred ("... and I am not a bad man."), but he winds up alone again after the deaths of Osgood and Missy, having had to accept that Missy cannot be reformed and was probably never "like him" in the first place. Danny gets the chance to come back thanks to the Mistress's interdimensional teleport bracelet, but sacrifices it so the innocent boy he shot can live. The Doctor, thinking Danny has come back, lies to Clara that he's decided to stop travelling, go home and help rebuild Gallifrey, so that she won't feel torn about staying on Earth with Danny. Clara lets the Doctor go on thinking that she has a future with Danny so he won't feel torn about leaving her behind. Both of them go back to their old lives, alone.note
- Body Horror:
- Danny's cyberized corpse looks every bit as dead as it should be from what little is seen of it, with various bits of technology drilled into his face.
- The moldering cadaver of the Brigadier has been hardwired into a Cyber-suit. Because he doesn't say a word as a Cyberman, we don't know if he even possesses the faculties to speak anymore.
- Borrowed Catchphrase:
- Osgood, wearing a bowtie, says that "Bow ties are cool."
- Kate tells the Doctor to "Shush" in almost the same tone as the Doctor told Strax in "Deep Breath".
- The Mistress uses the Second Doctor's "Oh my giddy aunt" when Osgood discovers the Mistress' handcuffs in her pocket. She also uses Clara's "Seriously?" when it looks like the Doctor will shoot her in Clara's stead.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Missy puts on an exaggerated Cockney accent while explaining her plan to put Clara and the Doctor together, presumably the accent she used while playing "the woman in the shop".
- Buffy Speak: Osgood examines Missy's little device thingy.
- The Bus Came Back:
- The Brigadier returns, one last time, as a Cyberman to save his daughter from a fatal fall.
- Not quite back, but close. After being put on the bus a half-decade earlier, Jenny, the Doctor's daughter, not only gets a shout-out, but the way Clara describes her strongly suggests the Doctor is aware that she is alive.
- Butt-Monkey: Belgium. First Five and Ten mock the poor country for being the exact size of a temporal explosion, and now Missy for not even being French...
- Came Back Wrong: The dead get to come back to life, but as mindless Cybermen. There are a couple exceptions, like Danny Pink and the Brigadier, that get to retain their humanity. Danny, despite the emotional inhibitor, still loves Clara and will not harm her ("Love isn't an emotion, it's a promise!"). The Brigadier just managed through his love for his daughter and his country.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Missy calls herself "the Queen of Evil".
- Casual Danger Dialogue: While staring down dozens of Cybermen and the Master, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart takes time to banter with the Doctor about his new regeneration, and boasts to the Cybermen about her expertise in bridge and gardening.
- Chekhov's Gag: Hah! The Brigadier only ever wanted the Doctor to salute him! We weren't expecting him to actually come back...
- Cincinnatus: Again, the Doctor unwittingly winds up as a President, this time of Earth. As usual, he has no interest in power and just wants to get rid of it as soon as possible. This quality is also what allows him to resist the Mistress' temptation.
- Continuity Cavalcade: Clara Motor Mouthing a string of details about the Doctor to convince the Cybermen she is indeed him. Where "she" was born, family members, educational degrees, how many times "she's" been married, etc.
- Continuity Nod:
- Osgood continues to be a walking Doctor costume homage of Theta Sigma-inspired attire. After wearing a big, floppy scarf like the Fourth Doctor, her latest outfit has a leather jacket, Converse sneakers and a burgundy bow tie — favoured by the War, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors respectively.
- A Lethbridge-Stewart leading UNIT into battle against the Cybermen in the middle of London? Sounds familiar... She even shows the damaged head of a Cyberman from that same attempt, old Telosian design and all.Kate: Welcome to the only planet in the universe where we get to say this: [indicates the Doctor] He's on the payroll.
- Clara calls herself "The Doctor", again. Only this time, she's genuinely trying to pass herself off as him.
- Clara recaps the Doctor's entire personal history in a couple of sentences to three Cybermen, trying to convince them she's him, including a stolen TARDIS, four marriages (all deceased), missing children and grandchildren, and a daughter made out of his genetic material.
- Clara's mentioning of the Doctor having four marriages (all deceased) refers to (in the Doctor's chronological order) Susan's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth I, Marilyn Monroe and River Song.
- Clara mentions the Doctor having gained his doctorate in the wrong era.
- Clara suggests using the Doctor's real name to prove that she is the Doctor to the Cybermen. We don't find out if she actually knows it, but the fact that it's brought up references the fact that she may or may not have found out in "The Name of the Doctor", either by possibly regaining the memories of what she read in that book in "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS", or having been able to overhear it when River Song said it. (In both cases, it's left somewhat ambiguous as she never explicitly mentions remembering the book, and was rather busy being tortured on the second occasion.)
- The Doctor asks if Boat One is going to Cloudbase, implying the Valiant, which was last seen being attacked in "The Stolen Earth".
- Twelve drinks his tea with ridiculous amounts of sugar, just like Three, and Eight in Big Finish.
- Osgood mentions the Master is in the files of former Prime Ministers.
- The Mistress sings "Hey Mickey" (or rather "Hey Missy"), showing that the Mistress still loves pop songs just like her previous incarnation.
- When Osgood finds The Mistress' cuffs in her coat pocket, The Mistress mockingly exclaims "Oh my giddy aunt".
- The coordinates the Mistress gives the Doctor when she tells him Gallifrey has returned to its old location are the same coordinates given for Gallifrey in "Pyramids of Mars" and "Full Circle".
- The shot of Clara in bed as Danny calls out to her is almost a perfect recreation of a similar shot in "Doomsday" when the Tenth Doctor called out to Rose.
- The shot of Cybermen walking down the steps of St Paul's is copied from "The Invasion" (see page image).
- Kate refers to Clara as the Doctor's "assistant", not his "companion", as per when the Doctor was (mostly) stuck on Earth as UNIT's "scientific adviser".
- Missy's plan to create an army through converting the dead into Cybermen recalls the Macqueen Master's (the first incarnation of the post-Eye of Harmony regeneration cycle, which Missy is a part of) penchant for building armies via Assimilation Plot.
- Once again, the Doctor doesn't like being saluted. It's like they're self-concussing.
- Just as was common in the Davies era, the season finale ends with the Doctor being separated from a companion... only to veer headfirst into a moment of Mood Whiplash leading into the Christmas special.
- Continuous Decompression: Colonel Ahmed is sucked out of Boat One when a Cyberman shatters a window and evicts him by force, almost certainly sending him to his doom. Then Kate, when the Mistress blows an entire panel from the side of the aircraft.
- Crazy-Prepared: Clara's knowledge of the Doctor's personal history — she's even aware of a character who appeared in a one-off episode that aired six years earlier — is detailed enough to approach stalker territory.
- Credits Gag: Clara declares herself the Doctor, and Jenna Coleman immediately gets bumped up to first name in the cast credits, as well as the closeup on her eyes instead of Peter Capaldi's.
- Dark Is Not Evil: At the end, the Doctor accepts himself as such. He might not be a "hero" or "good man", but that doesn't have to mean he's a "bad man" either.
- Deadly Hug: The Doctor thinks this is going to happen when Clara hugs Danny after switching on his inhibitor, but it's averted.
- Decapitation Presentation: When the Cybermen boast to Kate that Earth lacks the technology to beat them, she drops the head of a Telosian Cyberman just to show them what happened to another batch of Cybermen who thought messing with humanity was a good idea.
- Demoted to Dragon: The Cybermen here are unquestioningly (with the odd exception where the conversion didn't take) loyal to Missy. It's possible that they aren't "real" Cybermen at all, but simply undead slaves in identical-looking shells created by Missy using stolen Cyber-conversion technology.
- Don't Call Me "Sir": The Doctor still doesn't like being saluted, even when he's President. Danny makes a point of calling the Doctor "sir", but it's not a term of respect but a Call-Back to when he called the Doctor an officer.
- Don't Look at Me!: Cyber-Danny turns his back on Clara when she walks towards him.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: When Cyber-Danny is given the controls to the Cybermen, he berates them in much the same way he did his first class of students.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Danny leads the entire Cyber-Army into their final act: "The Promise of a Soldier: You Will Sleep Safe Tonight."
- Emergency Authority: It is revealed that the governments of Earth have agreed that, in the event of a global invasion or catastrophe, the Doctor is to be made acting President of Earth. To keep the power in check, it's only in effect while he's aboard Boat One, which is rather like the idea of Air Force One.
- Evil Is Petty: Apart from his/her natural tendency to kill anyone who annoys her (or just because it amuses her), the Mistress also gets the Doctor's hopes up that Gallifrey has returned, just so they'll be crushed again.
- Failed a Spot Check:
- Gallifrey's location? Right where it always was. Apparently the Doctor never bothered to check. Then it turns out that the Mistress lied, to nobody's surprise. Only for it then to be revealed in Hell Bent and Heaven Sent, that she wasn't technically lying — the location in space is true but Doctor didn't go far enough forward in time.
- Missy is too busy Evil Gloating to notice that Cyber-Danny is not obeying her orders.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: The Doctor gives Santa the Raised Brow of Arbitrary Scepticism.
- Fighting from the Inside: Danny, after his inhibitor is turned on, is still himself. His emotions even come back.
- Foil: Beyond the usual Master/Doctor contrast, we have Clara as a counterpart for the Master, especially with the revelation that she chose her, perhaps even because she saw her younger self in her. Both are good friends of the Doctor who to an extent share his eccentric genius characteristics, but are capable of being somewhat savvier in social situations. Both have been part of his life for a long time, have a certain deceptive side to them and are people that he feels a strong affinity towards. The difference is that while Clara might screw up, she'll regret it and try her best to be a good person even if she doesn't always succeed, while the Master fully embraces her evil. In the temptation scene, the Doctor essentially has to choose which of them he wants to be like.
- Foe Romance Subtext: When Missy gives the Doctor his birthday gift, she gets down in the marriage proposal position. Her entire Evil Plan is just so they can get back together again. The Doctor even kisses her willingly this time.
- Foregone Conclusion:
- By the time the episode aired, it was already known that Clara would return in the Christmas special, so the farewell scene here was only ever expected to be temporary.
- Given precedent during the character's long history, no-one seriously expected Missy to be Killed Off for Real.
- Forgot About His Powers: During the Eccleston and Tennant eras, the Doctor stated he could sense the existence of other Time Lords if they were still alive somewhere in the universe. This was such a crucial plot point that the Master himself in his first appearance in the modern series had to mask his presence via a psychic satellite network. Now it seems that not only can the Doctor not sense the presence of the Mistress, but he cannot tell whether Gallifrey, an entire planet full of Time Lords, has returned.
- Gender Bender: The possibility of a Time Lord regenerating into a different gender gets a lot of attention. Not only has Missy actually done it since the last time we saw him, Clara's bluff depends on the possibility that the Doctor might do it, and Clara and the Doctor casually discuss the idea of him being a queen one day.
- Good Is Not Soft: Unexpectedly invoked by Clara, a character who is not known for using deadly force (and likely hasn't killed anyone directly up to this point if one doesn't count shooting a couple of technically-already-dead Cybermen in Series 7's "Nightmare in Silver"), being perfectly willing to kill Missy in cold blood if the Doctor doesn't do it.
- Got Volunteered: Kate explains to the Doctor that in the event of worldwide invasion, international law dictates that a president be appointed to command all of Earth's forces. There was only one candidate.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: The two soldiers supposedly guarding the Mistress are about as much use as a chocolate teapot. They don't even react when Missy and Osgood stop whispering and start talking aloud about the former's statement that she's going to kill the latter. Although much criticized, this may be a Continuity Nod as the Master was known for using hypnosis to make people do his bidding. Which in this case might have been to stand by and do nothing while she escaped.
- Hard Light: Seb is a program interface, and is promptly disintegrated when he starts to irritate the Mistress.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Cyber-Danny and his army of Cybermen sacrifice themselves to remove the clouds covering the Earth. He then later relinquishes his one chance at resurrection to bring back the boy he killed as a soldier.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: The Doctor rejects the Mistress' claim that they're similar by proclaiming that he is "an idiot with a box and a screwdriver".
- Heroic Willpower:
- At first, Danny retains his humanity because he was uploaded to his converted body without deleting his emotions. Once the inhibitor chip is activated, however, he fights it off and retains his humanity.
- Then there's Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, also cyber-converted, who retains his humanity because of course he does.The Doctor: Of course. The Earth's darkest hour, and mine. Where else would you be?
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Missy brought the Doctor and Clara together basically to screw with him. Clara then insists that he Shoot the Dog. In a more abstract way, her continued support throughout the series and the fact that she's an example of someone who shares some of the Doctor's character flaws, but still registers as a likeable person to him might've contributed to the exact way he rejects the Mistress's temptation in the end.
- Hope Spot:
- Last week's cliffhanger is resolved when UNIT is on hand to arrest Missy and save the day! Her Evil Plan isn't slowed down in the least.
- When the Nethersphere starts to download, Seb tells Danny that everyone's going back home and will have an upgrade to their bodies. But he conveniently leaves out the part about said upgrades being Cyberman bodies.
- The Mistress seemed to be seriously considering sparing Osgood, based on Osgood's argument for keeping her around; she even compliments Osgood on her quick thinking. Then she disintegrates her anyway.
- In the end, when her plans have been foiled, the Mistress gives the Doctor Gallifrey's coordinates and suggests he and she could go back together, even if it meant that she'd be imprisoned. Then she's killed, and it turns out the coordinates were a lie, apparently.
- For a brief moment it appears as if Danny might return from the Nethersphere, until he chooses another option by sending back the boy he killed.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Danny ends up begging Clara to turn his emotional inhibitor on because he can't bear his Cyber-converted state, and can't do it himself.
- I Choose to Stay: Discussed, but subverted; when Clara begins to mention incoming bad news (that, in reality, Danny is still dead and used his chance to return for the boy he accidentally killed), the Doctor immediately assumes the usual "I want to settle down and get married and dangerous time travelling doesn't fit into it" routine, and, to alleviate potential feelings of guilt, claims that he's found Gallifrey and intends to live there/stop the adventuring himself. In truth, Danny's still dead and Gallifrey is still lost, and it is likely that both Clara and the Doctor would have continued as usual even if they weren't.
- The "I Love You" Stigma: Averted between Clara and Danny, however, her promise to never say "I love you" again to anyone else establishes this stigma between herself and the Doctor that continues through Series 9.
- I'm Standing Right Here: During Danny's speech:Danny: This is not the order of a general, nor the whim of a lunatic—
Missy: Excuse me?!
- Incoming Ham: Santa Claus, yelling "COOEE!!" at the end of the episode.
- Indy Ploy: Clara's on-the-fly impersonation of the Doctor.
- Internal Homage:
- With the return of the Brigadier, season 8 of the classic series is fully homaged in this series 8 finale.
- Much like Three, Twelve takes his tea with large amounts of sugar.
- The Doctor getting into the TARDIS while falling was previously seen in Scream of the Shalka.
- Ironic Echo: To The Master's last words in "Last of the Time Lords":The Doctor: You win.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Both Clara and the Doctor lie to each other, thinking they're leaving the other one to a life that's better for them. The Doctor believes that Danny has returned and Clara will resume her relationship with him. Clara believes that the Doctor will be more happy returning home. Neither realize that they are at their lowest point emotionally and need their friendship more then ever.
- Just Between You and Me: As expected with an Evil Is Hammy villain...
- The Doctor is interrogating the Mistress on her Evil Plan when UNIT knocks him out with a tranquillizer.
- The Mistess taunts the Doctor with this trope once she's escaped on Boat One. She then explains it in the graveyard (Justified Trope as the Doctor has to know The Plan) but like all villains is too busy Evil Gloating to notice her plan unravelling.
- Kick the Dog: According to Steven Moffat, Osgood is killed off to remind the audience that Missy/TheMaster, for all her amusing quirkiness, is irredeemably evil.
- Kidnapped by an Ally: UNIT tranquilizes the Doctor, knowing his unreliability.
- Killed Mid-Sentence:Seb: Permission to Squee—
[Missy vapourizes him]
- Kill the Cutie: The Mistress murders Osgood, taunting her with the knowledge that she's going to kill her before doing so. Then she crushes her glasses underfoot.
- Knight Templar: Missy's entire goal has been to convince the Doctor that he is one. It's implied she's right; the Doctor doesn't trust himself not to act like one. That's why he takes a third option.The Doctor: All of this... all of it just to give me an army?
Missy: Well, I don't need one, do I? Armies are for people who think they're right! And nobody thinks they're righter than you. Give a good man firepower and he'll never run out of people to kill!
The Doctor: I don't want an army!
Missy: Well that's the trouble! Yes you do! You've always wanted one! All those people suffering in the Dalek camps? Now you can save them! All those bad guys winning all the wars? Go and get the good guys back!
The Doctor: Nobody can have that power.
Missy: You will. Because you don't have a choice. There's only one way you can stop these clouds from opening up and killing all your little pets down here! Conquer the universe, Mister President. Show a bad girl how it's done.
The Doctor: Why are you doing this?!
Missy: I need you to know we're not so different. I need my friend back. Every battle, every war, every invasion, from now on, you decide the outcome. What's the matter, Mr President? Don't you trust yourself?
- Lack of Empathy: What the Doctor names as the main significant difference between himself and the Mistress (and by implication, beings like Daleks and Cybermen). He gets things horribly wrong sometimes, but at least he cares about the damage that is done, which is why he tries not to.
- Landmarking the Hidden Base: The dome of St. Paul's Cathedral unfurls to release 91 Cybermen.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- The Stinger:Santa Claus: Hello? Doctor? You know it can't end like that! Hmm? We need to get this sorted and quickly! She's not all right, you know! And neither are you!
- The Credits Gag is aimed squarely at fans who complained about Clara becoming too much the focus of Series 8. (Some even starting to call the series Clara Who.)
- It was also created to tweak fans with the hint of how a female Doctor might play out, given the revelation involving the Mistress in the previous episode. It also, in the long term, reflected Clara's ongoing character arc of becoming the Doctor's Distaff Counterpart.
- The Stinger:
- Literal Metaphor: "Death in Heaven" refers to all the converted dead flying up into the skies, sacrificing themselves.
- Love Triangle: The off-kilter love triangle between the Doctor, Clara and Danny, in place officially since "Mummy on the Orient Express", is brought into full relief when Clara tells a Cyberman how much she cares for the Doctor and trusts him and would never lie to him... only to find that she'd been talking to Danny all along. This is a textbook aspect of the love triangle trope.Clara: I would never, ever, give up the Doctor. Because he is my best friend, too. He is the closest person to me in this whole world. He is the man I will always forgive, always trust, the one man I would never, ever lie to.
[Danny removes his mask; cue Oh, Crap! moment from Clara.]
- Magical Security Cam: The news report in the funeral home used footage from earlier in the episode.
- Magic Countdown: Missy announces that she intends to kill Osgood, and starts to count down the seconds from ten... nine... eight... three...Osgood: Three?
Missy: I'm accelerating for dramatic effect.
- Mauve Shirt: Colonel Ahmed gets just enough development as a character that his death has more impact than the motionless guards.
- Meaningful Echo: The Doctor's speech about being no more than idiot with a box who helps people echoes his earlier speech as Eleven to Amy in "The God Complex", where he breaks her faith in him by forcing her to see him in this same fashion; no more than a madman with a box. The difference is that he is happy with this and gives it a positive spin.
- Mood Whiplash: Yet again, a Doctor Who finale about to end on a very low note runs headfirst into a "WTF?" moment. This time, Santa Claus.
- Morality Chain: A rare example where two characters are this for each other in equal parts, exemplified by the parallel scenes where Clara and the Doctor show themselves willing to spare each other from having to off someone in a potentially devastating way, explicitly referred to as "saving [the other's] soul." It's also played with in the sense that for once, the resident Companion doesn't stop the Doctor from destroying someone, but from sparing them despite his lingering attachment to them, as the Mistress is just so dangerous and hard to contain that shooting the dog is really the more moral option.
- Mythology Gag: In the Doctor Who Magazine story "The Flood", the Cybermen used rain in their plan of converting humanity.
- Nanomachines: The cyber-pollen used to convert corpses.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The whole "There is no Clara Oswald" scene comes off as being created specifically so it could be used to mislead people in the trailer.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: By saving Gallifrey, the Doctor released the Master from the Time Lock. This means that they are now around to cause trouble.
- Night of the Living Mooks: The Mistress' Cybermen go from mutilating and converting the living to spread their ideology, to utilizing the dead to create an unstoppable army. Less visceral, but clever and still very macabre. Said word for word by Danny.
- Noodle Incident; Despite the reveal that Missy is an incarnation of the Master, the circumstances of her regeneration from her last incarnation to her current one — and what caused her gender change — go unmentioned.... for now.
- "No More Holding Back" Speech: The Doctor finally answers the Arc Question: Is he a good man? He does so in good measure, just before beating Missy.The Doctor: I am not a good man! And I'm not a bad man. I'm not a hero. I'm definitely not a president. And no, I'm not an officer. You know what I am? I... am... an idiot! With a box and a screwdriver, passing through, helping out, learning. I don't need an army, I never have. Because I've got them. Always them. Because love, it's not an emotion. Love is a promise. And he will never hurt her.
- Mirror Character:
- Missy's entire plan — going up and down the Doctor's timeline, rescuing souls to be uploaded into the Nethersphere and downloaded into Cybermen — was all to give him an army just to prove to him that they're both megalomaniacal conquerors. It's ultimately defied.
- Still an ongoing theme with Clara and the Doctor; she impersonates him well enough to have a bunch of Cybermen confused for a while even though her bio-scans read as human. It sort of helps when they're making use of each other's survival skills and stopping each other from doing things that might ruin them, but backfires when they both lie to each other so they can enjoy their supposed happy endings guilt-free... when no happy ending exists in the first place.
- Oblivious Mockery: Clara boasts to a Cyberman that the Doctor is the person she's closest to in the whole world, and the one person she'd never lie to, unaware that the Cyberman is Danny. Then he takes off his mask and asks to be killed.
- Official Presidential Transport: Boat One is the transport and command centre for the President of Earth, who had to be shanghaied aboard to take charge.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Osgood, the moment she's told by Missy that she's going to be killed.
- The Doctor and UNIT when they do the numbers on how big an army of the dead is, when the Mistress has had all of human history to assemble one from.
- Clara, after telling a Cyberman how the Doctor is the one person she trusts more than any other in the world and who she'd never lie to... only to find out the Cyberman is actually Danny.
- Ominous Clouds: Numerous Cybermen launch from St. Peter's Cathedral, transforming into a menacing black cloud that will rain "cyber-pollen" onto the graves of the world, transforming the dead into Cybermen.
- Our Presidents Are Different: The Doctor becomes President of Earth. All the nations agreed to this. The Doctor thinks it's rubbish.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The Cybermen created by Missy are corpses given full cyber-upgrades, deleted emotions and barely anything of a personality; pretty similar to regular zombies, in that their bodies have decayed, and the emotions and personality are gone. Unlike regular zombies, they can talk, have a hive mind, are a bit more endurable, can fly, and don't need to be bitten to spread — it happens via Nanomachines after their victim dies. Bonus points for the Mistress fitting various characteristics of a Lich, one of the typical creators of zombie armies.
- Personal Raincloud: Though not located over people, but rather graveyards, mausoleums, and such.
- Pocket Dimension: Why has no one noticed the 3W facility inside St. Paul's? Missy anchored hidden space in the cathedral to hide it in.
- Poor Communication Kills: One potential downside to being a Consummate Liar; had the Doctor let Clara finish her explanation of her "bad news", neither of them might be stuck having to work through the trauma of the episode without their confidant.
- The Power of Love:
- As usual, love trumps Cyberconversion, allowing Danny to retain his own mind even after having his emotional inhibitor turned on. The Doctor learns it's why Cyber-Danny wouldn't kill Clara. "Love isn't an emotion. It's a promise."
- Love allows Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart to save his daughter and defend his country.
- The Doctor and Clara's love for each other, be it platonic or implied romantic, is so strong they mutually sacrifice the opportunity to keep travelling with one another in the mistaken belief that this will allow the other to find their own happy endings (the Doctor believing Clara has been reunited with Danny; Clara believing the Doctor is returning to Gallifrey).
- Pre-emptive Declaration: Missy tells Osgood she will kill her in a minute. She does too, even counting down the time For the Evulz. She still can't resist a countdown.
- Public Secret Message: Osgood indicates to the Doctor that she recognizes him by using his predecessor's "Bowties are cool" catchphrase so as not to tip Missy off.
- Punch a Wall: The Doctor beating the TARDIS console in a rage meltdown after discovering that the Mistress lied about the location of Gallifrey.
- Rage-Breaking Point: The Doctor pulverizes his TARDIS console controls until sparks fly out when he sees that Gallifrey is absent from its space-time coordinates. (This scene is all the more disturbing because the TARDIS is alive, meaning he is shown beating up his longest-serving companion in anger. The only time he's done that before was after losing three companions in one day.)
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Danny gives a doozy of one to the Doctor, noting how his Rousing Speech about embracing emotion and the importance of one's humanity are utterly worthless when Danny completing his Cyberman conversion will give them a "tactical advantage" because it will allow Danny full access to the Cybermen's Hive Mind. When the Doctor can't bear to be the one to turn on the emotional inhibitor, Danny bitterly remarks that officers never get their hands dirty; this is after calling him "blood-soaked".
- Revealing Hug: Lampshaded by the Doctor, who says that he doesn't like hugs because it just lets you hide your feelings, which both he and Clara are doing during said hug.
- Rise from Your Grave: The dead-converted Cybermen who are entombed deep underground or sealed in cement quickly being bursting out of the earth.
- Rocket Boots: The Cybermen can fly!
- Rogue Drone: Both Danny and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart are Cybermen who are not under Missy's control.
- Rousing Speech:
- The Doctor gives one of his own as he explains to Missy the nature of love and friendship, though it triggers a "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Danny (see above).
- For someone who insists he isn't an officer, Danny gives a great one to the Cybermen army of the dead, urging them to make a Heroic Sacrifice for the sake of the living. Since he is talking to the entire Cyber-Army through the control bracelet, he is the Sergeant Rock for the whole world.
- Sadistic Choice:
- Destroy what little humanity is left in Danny Pink, or let the Cyberman cloud take over planet Earth? The Doctor can't make the choice, so Clara does it for him.
- Missy to the Doctor: let humanity be destroyed, or take over the rest of the Universe as General of her Cyber-Army.
- Save the Villain: Averted; the Doctor has finally accepted that his Arch-Enemy is too dangerous to be set free to kill again. He salutes the Brigadier for doing the deed.
- Scheherezade Gambit: Clara tries to convince the Cybermen that she's the Doctor and therefore worth keeping alive. Cyber-Danny intervenes before we get to find out if it works.
- Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: So apparently Missy has, all on this single incarnation, been travelling throughout human history and uploading every human who has ever died into her cyber army, and despite this contradicting other Who canon, this is apparently the entire reason humans have a concept of an afterlife. Just to put this in perspective, at out current population levels, two humans die every single second. Assuming she were to start with the death of the very first Homo Sapiens and progress linearly from there, Missy would've aged into the gnome-like form she previously accelerated the Doctor to in "Last of the Time Lords" centuries before humans even entered the bronze age.
- Ship Sinking: The death of Danny on its own does not qualify under the trope criteria. What does qualify is when Clara, not realizing the Cyberman she's talking to is actually Danny, talks about how the Doctor (not Danny) is the one man she's closest to in the entire world, and the one man she'd never lie to and would always trust (considering that a source of conflict throughout the season between Clara and Danny is her penchant for lying to him about the Doctor).
- Shoot the Dog: Discussed and carried out; Clara insists that Missy is too dangerous to be spared, which prompts the Doctor to agree to do it to spare her the experience. In the end, it's the Brigadier, a seasoned professional with no personal attachment to her and who never had any qualms about solving problems with explosives who ultimately disintegrates her for the sake of his old friend; the Doctor is visibly grateful. He even salutes!
- A Cyberman attacks an airliner, standing on the wing.
- The Doctor calls the Valiant Cloudbase. Osgood claims that's from Thunderbirds. Colonel Ahmed corrects her.
- In response to the above, the Doctor mentions once dancing with Sylvia Anderson, who was the glamorous wife of Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson and the voice of Lady Penelope in that series.
- The Cybermen's flying pose looks exactly like Iron Man's.
- Danny taking his faceplate off looks remarkably like James Rhodes in the War Machine armour.
- "Hey, Missy, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey, Missy!"
- Missy refers to Gallifrey as "their Paris".
- Fans were already pointing out the Mistress' dress sense as similar to Mary Poppins, but in this episode she makes it even more explicit by descending into the graveyard while hanging from an umbrella. This may also have been a nod to longstanding fan theories that Mary Poppins was, in fact, a Time Lady (not helped by one of the Expanded Universe novels implying that the Doctor possesses Mary's carpet bag).
- When the Mistress hands over the bracelet that controls the Cybermen to the Doctor, she wishes him a happy birthday, then turns on a husky voice and sings "Happy birthday, Mr. Presideeent". Especially funny since Clara mentions the Doctor's four marriages earlier in the episode, one of which was to Monroe.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Subverted; Clara realizes that she and Danny aren't the lovers who commit Together in Death that Amy and Rory were (remember that Amy wrote the book Clara was reading in "The Bells of Saint John"), apologizing to him that while she wasn't really good at it, she did love him.
- Stealth Pun:
- It's raining (Cyber)men. Hallelujah.
- Nick Frost playing Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nick, who makes his rounds during a time full of frost.
- Chaplet Funeral Home — presumably a reference to the First Doctor's companion Dodo Chaplet. As in, dead as a Dodo.
- Stealth Sequel: To the Seventh Doctor Big Finish audio drama "Master", where the Doctor tried to get the Master to be his friend again, here Missy tries to get the Doctor to be her friend again. Each tried by trying to get to the other to see things from their point of view.
- Squee: Seb straight-up invokes the trope by name when the Doctor manages to skydive into his falling TARDIS. The Mistress, unimpressed, and rather pissed at her unfaithful lackey, vaporizes him for it.
- The Stinger: The day has been saved, Clara's left the Doctor, and the Doctor is back in his TARDIS. Cue the credi — but wait, here's Santa Claus! (For the very first time, the closing credits are interrupted for the stinger.)
- Take That!:
- When Osgood mentions the Mistress is in the former Prime Minister files, she adds "She wasn't even the worst."
- The Doctor doesn't want any Americans running around in a crisis.
- Take a Third Option: Missy thinks she's put the Doctor in a position where he will have to either rule the Cybermen himself (and risk being corrupted by that power) or let the Cybermen convert Earth and go on a rampage by themselves, but the Doctor instead passes that power on to Danny so that one of the army will make the choice.
- "Take That!" Kiss: The Doctor plants one on Missy before he gives his "idiot" speech.
- Tantrum Throwing: The Doctor has a violent one within the TARDIS when he discovers Gallifrey is not at the coordinates Missy gave him.
- Television Geography: When Missy is captured by UNIT, you can clearly see the sign for Queen's Arcade in Cardiff behind her.
- Teleportation: Missy's bracelet allows her to travel to the Nethersphere and return to a different location on Earth (which would explain her Offscreen Teleportation in the previous episode).
- Tempting Fate:
- The Doctor invites Osgood to travel with him, in the Mistress' hearing.
- The Doctor notes the human tendency to vote for an idiot to run things in a crisis. The idiot turns out to be him.
- The Doctor declares he will never salute anyone. He ends up saluting the one soldier he totally respects.
- Clara says the Doctor is the one person she would never lie to. See I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
- Ahmed sees a Cyberman on the wing and asks what one Cyberman can do to a plane (quite a lot, one would think). Cue Reveal Shot of several Cybermen flying up from behind. Then Ahmed is killed by the Cyberman yanking him out the window.
- That Liar Lies:
- Clara calls herself the Doctor, proclaiming herself to be an incredible liar, and Cyber-Danny agrees. He would know.
- The Doctor also calls out Missy as lying when she says Gallifrey returned to its original location. He still went there anyway.
- This Cannot Be!: Missy is surprised that Cyber-Danny did not obey her orders.
- Throw-Away Country: The Mistress orders the Cybermen to blow up the airplane — and Belgium.The Mistress: Yeah, kill some Belgians. They're not even French!
- Took a Level in Badass:
- The Cybermen can now fly, and the Mistress can convert the dead into more Cybermen instead of just the living.
- Osgood is much more confident than she was in her last appearance.
- Together in Death: Clara is willing to activate Danny's inhibitor, knowing he will turn into a Cyberman and kill her.
- Too Dumb to Live: The most basic security procedures would've kept Osgood from being killed. Osgood does her research on Missy's device ten feet from where they're holding said psychotic Time Lady prisoner, despite knowing exactly who she is and how human prisons means nothing to her. There's not even a wall separating them, and Osgood doesn't run as soon as Missy tells her she's going to die. While theyre probably hypnotized by Missy (who the Third Doctor established can control basically any human mind), the guards dont even move.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Danny is able to break his conditioning, as is the Brigadier. Danny is even able to arrange to return the young boy he killed from whatever afterlife he ends up in.
- Tragic Keepsake: Clara kept the burnt-out teleport bracelet in honour of Danny.
- Undying Loyalty: At various points of the episode, both Clara and the Doctor declare this towards each other. Unusually and perhaps more realistically, the emphasis is less on that they'd never do anything to disappoint each other (which they have done in the past, and even Clara's one declaration of "never" is contradicted by the end of the episode) but on how the occasional fallibility on either side isn't enough to make their importance for each other go away.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
- The Doctor doesn't think that the Mistress being female is in any way unusual, and he doesn't comment on it. (His previous regeneration once mentioned in passing that he was acquainted with at least one other Time Lord/Lady who swapped genders, so he was well aware it could happen.) He simply switches pronouns to "she" and that's that. He's briefly worried that UNIT might not believe him, but Osgood doesn't see it as anything unexpected either.
- Kate shows almost no reaction to the Doctor having regenerated. She just simply retorts "Haircut?" and says he might want to do his roots.
- The TARDIS is shown dematerialising in the middle of a crowded London street. As usual, thanks to its perception filter, only Clara pays attention.
- Villain's Dying Grace: Subverted. After refusing to tell the Doctor Gallifrey's location, the Mistress recites its coordinates after her Evil Plan is foiled. She lied.
- Villains Never Lie: Averted; the Mistress lies to the Doctor about Gallifrey's location.
- Waking Up at the Morgue: Danny Pink's body was stored at the morgue of a funeral home when he was converted.
- Weaponized Landmark: St. Paul's Cathedral's dome opens up to unleash flying Cybermen, showing that the Cybermen never know when to leave it alone.
- We Can Rule Together: Attempted by the Mistress, as usual, who gives the Doctor control of the Cybermen to try and get him to admit that they're similar.
- We Used to Be Friends: The Doctor and the Mistress as usual, but Missy wants to change that.The Doctor: I had a friend once. We ran together, when I was little. And I thought we were the same. But when we grew up, we weren't.
- Wham Line:
- Wham Episode: Danny, Osgood, Seb, and the Mistress (presumably, the Mistress has cheated death many times) all die. At first it looks like Clara will no longer be a companion, but Santa Claus has something to say about that.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of the young boy Danny returns from the afterlife is never revealed, in this episode nor any of the Clara-Twelve episodes that follow. Nor is it explained how the boy could exist assuming his actual body by this time had to have either been destroyed or buried.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The reasoning behind the Mistress's attempt to tempt the Doctor into becoming just like her by giving him an army of Cybermen. The Doctor is rather horrified, and resists.
- You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You: The Doctor's response when Osgood asks who Missy is. Osgood then guesses correctly on her first go. "That was fairly quick."
- Zombie Apocalypse: Functionally this is what the Mistress' plan creates, an army of undead with which to conquer the world but it comes with the twist that the zombies are Cybermen souped up with Time Lord technology.
"Hello? Doctor? You know it can't end like that, hmm? We need to get this sorted, yeah, and quickly. She's not alright, y'know, and neither are you! I'm comin' in! Ah... There you are! I knew I'd get round to you eventually! Now, stop gawping and tell me — what do you want for Christmas?"