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Recap / Doctor Who S36 E12 "The Doctor Falls"

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A Doctor with grey hair faces the Mondasian Cybermen in a final battle that will take a great toll on his life. Does that sound familiar? It should! note 
Click here to see the Radio Times magazine poster for this episode: 
"If I run away today, good people will die. If I stand and fight, some of them might live. Maybe not many, maybe not for long. Hey, you know, maybe there's no point to any of this at all. But it's the best I can do. So I'm going to do it. And I'm going to stand here doing it until it kills me. And you're going to die too! Some day... and how will that be? Have you thought about it? What would you die for? Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall. Stand with me. These people are terrified. Maybe we can help a little. Why not, just at the end, just be kind?"
The Doctor to Missy and the Master
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The one where the end is near for many, yet a new beginning awaits for the lucky few.

Written by Steven Moffat and continuing on from "World Enough and Time", this is the Series 10 finale of Doctor Who. Its denouement continues directly into the 2017 Christmas Episode to form a three-part Grand Finale for the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi).

The Harold Saxon and Missy incarnations of the Master have joined forces not only with each other but the Mondasian Cybermen the former helped bring into being, in a city on a gigantic colony spaceship still trapped in a black hole's event horizon. It is the Day of the Master at last, a day to destroy the Doctor for "good" and embark upon conquest of the universe...Or is it?

The Doctor turns the Cybermen against their Masters and they, Nardole, and the Cyber-converted Bill flee to Floor 507, where no previous expedition made to the higher floors ever returned from, according to Saxon. It's because the solar farmers there have successfully resisted previous attempts by Proto-Cybermen to kidnap and convert them or, more importantly, their children. But the Cybermen are still evolving on that bottom level where time runs the fastest, and two weeks later on 507 — when Missy accidentally alerts them to their location in the Masters' desperation to return to Saxon's TARDIS — everyone must brace for a siege where they will be hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned.

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What can be done? The Doctor is not a man to wield weapons and he is going into this battle with two broken hearts. With his TARDIS inaccessible, he can't help Bill — whose strong mind has allowed her to resist simply becoming a mindless Cyberman since he caught up with her — regain her humanity, as much as he wants to. Missy has apparently abandoned her hopes of a Heel–Face Turn in the presence of her gleefully vicious former self, meaning the Doctor's efforts to redeem her, which Bill and Nardole agreed to help him with, were All for Nothing. And thanks to the fight in the Cyber factory city, his body is trying to regenerate and only force of will is keeping him alive as he is.

But the Doctor, especially this Doctor, is never more dangerous than when he has so little to lose. Given the choice, he will not try to flee and thus condemn more innocents to Bill's fate, nor will he go down without a fight.

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Can Nardole help the Doctor find a way to fight thousands of Cybermen at once and evacuate the farmers to relative safety? Is there still hope that Missy can be redeemed? Can Bill Potts truly live again? And can the Twelfth Doctor hold to his noblest convictions and truly be a Doctor, the Doctor, through it all?

Whatever happens, it ends with the Doctor alone in a snowy wasteland...


Tropes:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: The Saxon Master smiles in an impressed manner and says "that was really well done" when he realises Missy had fatally stabbed him. When he returns the favour by lasering her to death, she actually laughs - although that very quickly turns into a case of Laughing Mad.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: When Cyber-Bill thinks that everyone's going to be afraid of her from now on, the Doctor wipes a tear from her face.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Missy honestly wanted to be the Doctor's friend again and redeem herself, but Saxon's influence temporarily leads her off that path. Though she ultimately decides to stand with the Doctor and slays Saxon, which will result in his becoming her, he responds by slaying her. She dies alone, meaning she makes no contribution to the Doctor's Final Battle or even receives acknowledgment for her Heel–Face Turn, and though the Master has Joker Immunity, there is no guarantee the next incarnation will retain her changed morals.
    • Since the Doctor doesn't know about Missy's Heel–Face Turn or Bill's restoration to humanoid form, all he knows is that his efforts to redeem her — starting with decades (and possibly longer) spent confined to Earth taking care of the Vault — ended with her deciding Then Let Me Be Evil and Bill becoming a Cyberman simply because Saxon wanted to make sure Missy would do so and hurt the Doctor in the bargain. However, if the Doctor's big speech is anything to go by, the fact that he did the right, kind thing by sparing Missy and trying to redeem her may mean he doesn't see the situation as this trope.
  • And This Is for...: The Doctor lists off all the planets the Cybermen have previously shown up while making a final stand against them. Of course, these Cybermen have no idea what he's talking about, since they've never even been off the ship.
  • Any Last Words?: Nardole, Bill and the Doctor can't really think of any, knowing they won't be seeing each other again. Bill however does hint at a (platonic) love confession before she leaves the Doctor.
  • Anyone Can Die: The Doctor suffers his regeneration-inducing blow thanks to a surprise attack by the Cybermen, and keeps suffering even more injuries past that, dies, then comes back, and remains on the verge of regeneration. The Saxon Master and Missy kill each other as well, with the Master ensuring that there won't be any more regenerations for him/her. Although, given that this is the Master, she/he'll probably be back soon enough.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Bill gives an apparently dead Doctor a Last Kiss on the cheek.
  • Arcadia: The Mondasian farming community that faces attack and assimilation from the Cybermen is a "solar farm". This means it is a positively idyllic place; there's even happy and light background music. Just watch out for the "scarecrows", i.e. captive Proto-Cybermen. "Even in Arcadia" there is death. By notable contrast, the Mondasian Cybermen originate in a Polluted Wasteland of a city.
  • Arc Welding: The Doctor states that the various forms of Cybermen we see throughout the series are different versions created through parallel evolution, and that Cybermen of various sorts are inevitable because there will always be humans desperate enough to survive that they "upgrade" themselves in such a way.
  • Arc Words:
    • Returning from "Extremis" mid-season is "Without hope, without witness, without reward."
    • "Where there's tears, there's hope" is this within the episode.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Which of us is stronger?" Asked by the Doctor to Nardole when the former is trying to convince the latter to lead the children to safety and help them start a new life, while he pulls a Last Stand to destroy as many Cybermen as possible. Note that both of them talk about being the one who survives to look after the children as the harder option, and the implication is therefore that they both suspect Nardole of being stronger than the Doctor.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Bill is now in the form of a "pilot" just like Heather, and free to travel the universe alongside her, though she can also be turned back to normal as soon as she decides she'd rather go back to being human. They walk out of the TARDIS even though they're in the middle of empty space.
  • Assimilation Plot: The Cybermen are preparing to convert the remaining humans on the spaceship.
  • Back for the Dead: The Harold Saxon version of the Master comes back so as to tie up the loose-end of how he got cured from his Came Back Wrong condition and escaped Gallifrey... just in time for him to get mortally wounded, setting up his eventual regeneration into Missy, whom he kills in retaliation.
  • Backhanded Compliment: Nardole says he'll name a town after the Doctor. "A really rubbish one. And probably a pig."
  • Badass Boast:
    • The Doctor gives one regarding how to stop the Cybermen:
      The Doctor: You know the stories. There's only ever been one way to stop that many Cybermen: Me!
    • Notice that both boasts are given to not one, but two incarnations of the Master:
      The Doctor: You should know by now that when you are winning and I'm in the room, you're missing something.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: While this Doctor especially Does Not Like Guns and says as much when discussing the Tempting Apple bomb with Alit (see below), he is still willing to keep vigil with a shotgun to defend the solar farmers (and the orphanage specifically) from the Cybermen. This is a major contrast to the last time he took up arms so directly — namely, when he shot the General just to create a distraction and allow him and Clara to escape the extraction chamber in "Hell Bent".
  • Being Good Sucks:
    • The Doctor knows he is faced with losing everything just to buy time for people who may be doomed, but if he's not willing to risk it, he can't truly be the hero he wants to be and knows he must be. In the end, he is mortally wounded and is alone when he comes to, and he doesn't want to regenerate...but a Ray of Hope Ending intervenes.
    • Missy ends up killed for choosing to destroy her former self and stand with the Doctor.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Missy and especially the Master set themselves up as the leaders of the Cybermen, but once the Doctor does a little definition expanding, the Cybermen take over and both Masters are knocked off their Big Bad perch.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Between Bill and Heather after the latter restores the former to life.
  • Big "NO!": The Doctor lets out several. First when the Masters abandon the farmers to save their own skin, and second when he almost regenerates.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Cybermen are defeated, the farmers are safe on another floor, and Nardole gets a relatively happy ending with them (with Hazran even taking a romantic interest in him). Bill is restored from being a Cyberman by the true love of Heather, who has pulled herself together mentally since "The Pilot", and they run away together after leaving the dead Doctor in the TARDIS for his final rest. But he wasn't quite so dead after all, meaning he's alone again, he will inevitably regenerate no matter how long he keeps putting it off or die for good, and Missy was killed by her past self. Plus, the ship was never freed from the black hole, the Cyber-foundries on the bottom deck are still operational, all the lower floors are presumably under Cyberman control by now, and due to Time Dilation it's not going to be very long from the point of view of Nardole and the survivors before the Cyberman below have built a new army to take them on again. The only sort of closure we get (so far) about that storyline is Nardole insisting that, in the time the Doctor's sacrifice has bought them, he'll be able to "think of something". So, we end the season with everyone thinking everyone else is dead, no plan for dealing with the imminent next wave of Cybermen, and Missy deciding to stand with the Doctor only to die before getting that chance. Basically, only Like You Would Really Do It spares this from being a total Downer Ending. Not to mention the Doctor's claim that Cybermen are an inevitability, sooner or later, wherever there are humans — and, indeed, we already know that the Mondasians as a species are destined to be replaced by Cybermen in time, possibly even already have been, making the surviving inhabitants of the ship perhaps the Last of Their Kind.
    • As suggested by the Ray of Hope Ending, the following episode "Twice Upon a Time" slightly amends this ending in positive ways: The Doctor learns from the Testimony that Bill does not perish as a Cyberman but has a Happy Ending with Heather (although her Glass Avatar cannot give him all the details), and finally decides to accept regeneration. The Novelization of that episode goes much further and reveals that Bill lived very happily with Heather and ultimately died of old age as a human, while Nardole and the farmers got their own Surprisingly Happy Ending, successfully fending off Cybermen attacks until all that was left were springtime Cybermat infestations. Nardole lived on for almost five centuries and had six wives total.
  • Blatant Lies: When Saxon taunts Bill over how he was Mr Razor and only feigning friendship for the past ten years, Cyber!Bill says that she's not upset. After Saxon walks off in a huff we cut to Normal!Bill, who's clearly devastated by what Saxon just said.
  • Body Horror: Missy's description of Cyber-conversion, which she uses to taunt the Doctor over Bill's fate — not knowing that she has managed to retain/recover her original personality.
    Missy: Dead, dismembered, fed through a grinder and squeezed into a Cyberman body. Doomed to spend an afterlife as a biomechanical psycho zombie.
  • Bookends: On several levels.
    • For the two-parter — The Doctor starts to regenerate at the start of the previous episode, and this episode ends (just about) on that scene.
    • For Series 10 — Heather's return brings her and Bill's story full circle from the events of "The Pilot". She ends up traveling the universe with her crush after all.
    • For all of the Twelfth Doctor's tenure — Eleven looked forward to regenerating, saying "Times change, and so must I" to comfort Clara. Twelve is furious, screaming "I! WILL NOT! CHANGE!" while alone (he thinks) in a frozen wasteland.
    • This episode serves as one to Missy's story. The Master kills Missy, while Missy fatally injures the Master — which leads to him eventually regenerating into her, setting the stage for her whole life's actions.
    • Missy's first appearance consists of her dancing and swinging her umbrella around in a lush, bright green garden that has a lot of different-coloured flowers. This episode's last shot of Missy is her lifeless body in an overgrown, dark green vine-covered ground with only white flowers.
    • Not counting Christmas specials and limited only to Steven Moffat's entire run as showrunner beginning from Series 5, "The Eleventh Hour", which was the Eleventh Doctor's post-regeneration story from the series stated above), he said "Hello. I'm the Doctor." as a warning to an alien to leave Earth and its inhabitants alone. This time in the Twelfth Doctor's penultimate episode before his regeneration story, in an act of defiance despite impending death, he says it once again to the Cybermen.
  • Brandishment Bluff: A different version as the goal is actually to misdirect the Cybermen into believing they have heavy weapons. The Stuff Blowing Up is effective enough.
  • Brick Joke: During the Final Battle, the Doctor boasts to a Cyberman that he's the original Doctor. At the end of the episode, the First Doctor appears and sets him straight!
  • Bridal Carry: Cyber!Bill carries an unconscious Doctor after their Dynamic Entry to the farm settlement.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: The Master briefly speaks how he did as Mr. Razor in the previous episode, "World Enough and Time".
  • The Caligula: Saxon wasn't just wearing a disguise to hide from Bill, but from everyone else in the colony. The Doctor quickly works out that he seized power after being stranded on the colony ship, only to be overthrown when the populace rebelled against his pointless cruelty.
  • Broken Aesop: An explicit parallel is drawn between the Twelfth Doctor and Bill Potts's situations in this two-parter. Each ends up mortally wounded (both getting shot in the chest) and the only way each can survive is to unwillingly undergo a process that leaves them with next-to-nothing of their original body and comes with a Loss of Identity to boot. Neither wants to live if they can't be themselves anymore. At the end, Bill is restored to an even better version of her original body by Heather, but the whole point of the Cliffhanger and Grand Finale is that the Doctor has to accept losing his identity and physical form and keep living instead of dying a noble death as both he and his companion were ready to. So Bill facing a forcible Loss of Identity and form is treated as a total horror, but the Doctor facing the same is a wonderful new beginning? The breaking of the Aesop can be justified since Bill risks becoming a mindless killing machine and is feared by others even with her identity intact, and the Doctor will be healthy and independent upon regeneration.
  • Call-Back: Many. In rough order to the show's history...
    • The Doctor cites various examples of Cybermen throughout history, including Mondas, Telos, Earth (specifically Canary Wharf), Planet 14, Marinus, Voga, and the Moon.
    • The final seconds of this episode takes place during the final minutes of "The Tenth Planet", with the most recent Doctor meeting the First Doctor himself!
    • The entire setup of keeping the Cybermen away from a settlement is evocative of the many "base under siege" stories used in the Second Doctor era — and of which the Cybermen were frequent antagonists.
    • The Saxon Master's been stranded on the colony ship because he blew out his TARDIS's de-materialisation circuit. It's the same crucial part which Three once stole from the Delgado-Master's TARDIS to strand his adversary on Earth.
    • While in the TARDIS near the end, the Doctor imagines all of his revival-era companions (except Adam, Mickey, and Rory) shouting his name, much like what happened when he regenerated in "Logopolis" and "The Caves of Androzani". In a further parallel to the latter episode, the last person to call out to the Doctor is the Master/Missy.
    • Another similarity to classic regenerations: like Three, Four, and Eight, he needed some assistance to kick-start the process; this time, it was Bill's Puddle-enhanced tears.
    • The Doctor also distinguished himself from another doctor with the line "You may be a doctor, but I'm the Doctor! The [X], you might say." in "Robot". In this case it was the Fourth Doctor doing the distinguishing to Harry Sullivan (a medical doctor), and he described himself as "the definite article" rather than "the original".
    • The First Doctor also described himself as "the original, you might say" in "The Five Doctors," in which he was also played by another actor after William Hartnell's death.
    • When the Doctor calls Harold Saxon's face round, he goes "Round!" and Missy remarks "It's a little bit." Time Lords (mostly the Doctor...and to his various selves) have a history of sniping at previous incarnations' features or dress codes.
    • As in "The Age of Steel", the second part of the two-parter that brought the Cybermen into the revival series, an aircraft drops a rope ladder to rescue the protagonists from the roof of a Cyberman facility, and just like in that episode a Cyberman grabs onto the ladder as well, though in this case it's Bill.
    • The Saxon Master really seems to like strapping the Doctor into wheelchairs!
    • The Twelfth Doctor not wanting to regenerate and postponing his regeneration is exactly like the Tenth Doctor in "The End of Time". Only this time, the Doctor needs to regenerate to survive, but the Doctor is so violently opposed to the idea, he wills it back over and over and over again, until it kills him, and Bill has to revive him, at which point he still keeps resisting.
    • Three to "The Day of the Doctor": Missy's use of the Stable Time Loop to provide a spare de-materialisation circuit is similar to the way the three Doctors were finally able to get the sonic screwdriver to work on a wooden door. Missy's comment that multiple instances of the same Time Lord in the same time and place will cause parallel timelines that will wipe the earlier one's memories calls back to why Ten and the War Doctor forgot most of the events of that episode. In addition, three Time Lords use their sonic devices to beat back a Cyberman, much like the three Doctors did to the Dalek in the Gallifrey painting.
    • The Eleventh Doctor's grand finale "The Time of the Doctor" saw him spend 800 years on Trenzalore keeping the farm town of Christmas safe from all the enemies attracted to him and the Time Lords' crack in the universe. The Twelfth Doctor now faces his end defending the Mondasians' farm town from enemies.
    • The Doctor declares to the Master and Missy that "Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall", echoing Me/Ashildr's words about Clara in the previous season finale - "She died for who she was and who she loved. She fell where she stood."
    • For the second series in a row the contemporary human female companion leaves the show in the series finale by failing to escape a deadly peril, being brought back to an immortal semblance of human life, and setting out to travel through time and space with an immortal side character from that series, with the Twelfth Doctor unaware of that last bit.
    • The Master's last regeneration was caused by being killed by a woman. Here, he ends up getting being forced to regenerate by a woman again.
    • The Doctor told Bill that he didn't have the luxury of outrage — more specifically, the luxury of stopping whatever he's doing to rant and rave over it all — after he failed to save Spider in "Thin Ice", and that he (and she) had to move on lest more people die. Bill is outraged upon coming to and realizing that he wasn't able to save her and she's now stuck as a Cyberman, but the Doctor warns her that she cannot afford to be angry now and she learns why soon enough: because her high emotions make her unintentionally dangerous to others via her head lamp beam. All she can do is tamp down her anger and help others, as he does.
    • The Doctor explains to Bill that the personal perception filter she has developed — which allows her to see herself as human even though she is a Cyberman — stems from her mind's determination to resist Cyber-conditioning and is similar to how she managed to endure six months of the Monks' rule back in "The Lie of the Land". In that story, she was one of the few people who was able to resist their brainwashing, but it took a great deal of mental strength to hold onto what she knew was true.
    • Someone resisting conversion by imagining themselves to still be human, even to retaining their human self-image, was seen in "Asylum of the Daleks".
    • Bill and Heather take the Doctor back to his TARDIS, saying it's appropriate for a last resting place. We saw in "The Name of the Doctor" that others agree, with the Doctor's graveyard memorial being his own TARDIS.
    • Bill and Heather, now both immortal, taking an unconscious Doctor somewhere safe before leaving to explore the universe is basically a repeat of what happens with Clara and Ashildr in "Hell Bent."
    • For the second time, the Doctor states "Hello. I'm the Doctor."
    • After his revival, Twelve quotes the last words of both Ten ("I don't want to go") and Eleven ("I'll always remember when the Doctor was me").
  • Character Development: The 12th Doctor is a man who referred to Clara as his carer because "she cares so I don't have to". Compare that to his World Of Card Board Speech, where he says that he does all this stuff because he cares.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Saxon is, as ever, an unrepentant dick to the Doctor, and to himself as Missy, in whom he doesn't like the idea of developing empathy for others. In the end, he wounds Missy severely precisely so he WON'T turn good.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Bill's role in bringing down the Monks allowed her mind to resist the Cyber-conversion so that she retains her sense of self.
    • The tears Heather shared with Bill when they first parted ways provide the necessary link for Heather herself (who is connected to reflective substances like water) to track her down and pull something of a Big Damn Heroes moment, ultimately saving both Bill's life and the Doctor's.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Heather reappears to cure Bill of Cyber-conversion, having regained her original personality and fully mastered her new abilities since she was previously seen. At the end, Bill leaves with her to explore the universe together.
  • Children Are Innocent: The sight of perhaps the last children of the Mondasian factory city being marched off to be upgraded into Cybermen is treated as the tragic horror it is. The primary concern of the solar farmers on Floor 507 is saving their scared, brave, adorable children (who all live in one farmhouse, not unlike Heartwarming Orphans in an Orphanage of Love, for their protection) from that Fate Worse than Death. The Doctor and his companions choose to join their fight rather than focus on returning to their TARDIS — even though getting back there could mean not only escape from the spaceship but also hope for Bill being restored to humanity. By contrast, the Masters gloat over the former sight and Saxon refuses to help on Floor 507, though Missy attempts to do so.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Par for the course with the Master, only this time played quite literally. Missy stabs Saxon in the back with a knife, and he in turn shoots her while her back is turned. The Saxon Master even comments how appropriate it is for him to go out by shooting himself in the back.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: The Doctor could just work on getting himself and his friends back to his TARDIS and from there going on a quest to find a way to restore Bill to humanity — but that would mean abandoning the solar farmers to the Cybermen.
  • Cliffhanger: The First Doctor shows up just as the Twelfth wants desperately to avoid regenerating.
  • Continuity Lockout: Since Heather was not mentioned once following her only previous appearance in the first episode of Series 10, anyone who missed "The Pilot" is left clueless as to who the woman is who turns up out of nowhere to save the day and appears to have a thing for Bill.
    • BBC America deliberately made an effort to avert this when they first aired this episode. Because the network has commercial breaks (unlike the BBC), the final break, which came right after Heather and Bill's reunion, included a Deleted Scene from "The Pilot" that involved their coming together in a bar while the Doctor was playing guitar with the band.
  • Continuity Nod: This episode is chock full of so many continuity nods to throughout Whovian history.
    • "Where there's tears, there's hope" is a paraphrase of the Third Doctor's "Where there's life, there's hope" — which he was struggling to say as his last words before he regenerated in "Planet of the Spiders".
    • The Twelfth Doctor offers a child a jelly baby from a paper bag, ala the Fourth Doctor. Twelve previously had a cigarette case full of jelly babies in "Mummy on the Orient Express".
    • As in "The Girl Who Died", the Twelfth Doctor has to find a way to rescue a rural community of humans (Mondasians this time) with little combat experience and low-tech weaponry from a high-tech enemy race. His siding with humble, low-tech farm folk rather than his own people, the Time Lords (represented here by the two Masters with their Cybermen plot), also recalls his sojourn in the Drylands of Gallifrey in the previous Season Finale "Hell Bent".
    • When The Master and Missy are contemplating how to kill the Doctor, they're asking him questions how he's died in the past before. Drowned? Burned? Blade? Missy quips at one point she knows he's fallen once.
    • The "burning" line could be the Master wanting to get his own back for what the Doctor did to him in "Planet of Fire".
    • Nardole says to Bill he's "Still licensed to kick her arse".
    • The Doctor quotes Frozen and tells himself to "Let it go". He's admitted he'd seen it, after all.
    • Once again, a Cyberman tells the Doctor that Cybermen don't require doctors.
    • Twelve laying on the floor is similar to how he first regenerated; appropriate, since he just battled Mondasian Cybermen and is about to meet One during his final adventure.
    • Upon awakening in the TARDIS as the regeneration begins, the Doctor mutters the first line of the Fourth ("Sontarans perverting the course of human history"), the final line of the Tenth ("I don't want to go") (as well as his line during the Meta-Crisis regeneration), and the final line of the Eleventh ("I will always remember when the Doctor was me").
    • The TARDIS appears to have brought the Twelfth Doctor to the First Doctor at some point during "The Tenth Planet", relative to the latter's timeline; they're in a frozen wasteland, possibly the South Pole, and the First Doctor can also be heard railing at the prospect of regeneration, which he did at the end of that story.
    • This is the third time in a row that the Master has been killed by a woman. For the Harold Saxon Master, it happened twice.
  • Continuity Porn:
    • When the Doctor is by himself, facing off all the Cybermen, he lists all the times he's met them and beaten them.
    • When the Twelfth Doctor's regeneration begins, there's a montage of all his revival-era companions (barring Adam, Mickey, and Rory) saying his name - a Continuity Nod to them and to the Fifth Doctor hallucinating past companions in his final moments.
    • First Doctor's appearance...
  • Continuity Snarl: "The Tomb of the Cybermen" and the previous episode both contradict "The Tenth Planet" on the explanation of the Cybermen's origin. "Tomb" said the Cybermen came from Telos, "World" says they were born on the colony ship and "The Tenth Planet" said they originated on Mondas proper. The Doctor explains these contradictions by says that the Cybermen are not so much a unique culture as a societal pathology that any culture that achieves a certain level of IT and biotechnology is at risk of falling into. (It also explains how the other dimension's Cybermen have a totally different origin but are, well, Cybermen. And since Cybermen of different origins can look the same by technological convergence, especially given the ubiquity of Human Aliens in the Whoniverse, as proven by this ship having some of every kind of Cyberman we've ever seen, it explains any time any particular Cyberman variant was seen where it shouldn't have been.)
    • Sixth Doctor story "Attack of the Cybermen" explained that Telos was not the Cybermen's homeworld - after the events of "Tenth Planet" resulted in their homeworld of Mondas blowing up, the survivors escaped to the planet Telos, where they enslaved the native Telosians into building cryonic chambers for them (Telos and Telosians were famous for their refrigeration technologies), and ultimately wiped out the Telosians. Any Telosians that the Sixth Doctor did save in that episode were very probably doomed to die eventually or flee to other worlds.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Despite never leaving the spaceship, and thus having no Cyber Wars to spur any technology advancements, or any encounters with parallel versions of themselves, the Mondasian Cybermen still develop variants of themselves identical to the Cybus Cybermen and the later Cyberiad generation "Nightmare in Silver" introduced.
    • The escape shuttle just happens to crash onto Floor 507, the only floor discussed in the previous episode that wasn't 1 or 1056, and is livable and inhabited by people who know about the Proto-Cybermen. It's possible this was by design of Saxon!Master or Cyber!Bill, the only people who knew about it, but if so, it's not confirmed.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Bill is struggling against this. Due to the events of "The Lie of the Land" Cyber!Bill is able to reassert her identity thanks to the Doctor reminding her who she is in the Cliffhanger of the previous episode, to the point that she can't even see herself as a Cyberman. However, she tells the Doctor that holding on to that is taxing her mentally. Since he can't do anything for her under the circumstances and this trope will eventually take hold when she gets too tired, she becomes something of a Death Seeker determined to save others from her fate.
  • Dance of Romance: Grotesquely parodied by the two incarnations of the Master on the rooftop, who skirt on the edge of Screw Yourself as they dance.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Nardole used to be a con-man, explaining his association with River. If he's in a group of three people, he'll start a black market. The way he describes it, it's like a bad habit or addiction.
  • Darkest Hour: The Twelfth Doctor faces perhaps his greatest challenge — never before in the televised canon has a Doctor had to face two Masters at once, and multiple generations of Cybermen on top of that. The only comparable crisis he's faced was his own confession dial in "Heaven Sent".
  • Deadly Hug: Missy embraces Saxon, telling him how much she loved being him and how she'll always miss the way he "burned". Saxon, looking moved, pulls away...
    Saxon: Now, that...was really very nicely done.
    Missy: Thank you.
    Saxon: [looks at the blood on his hand] It's good to know I haven't lost my touch.
    Missy: [cleans her knife] You deserve my best.
  • Death Glare: The Doctor when Missy and Saxon are Evil Gloating about what's happened to Bill.
    Missy: He's internalising. I love it when he's Mister Volcano.
  • Death Seeker:
    • The Doctor is both horrified and incensed at the idea of having to regenerate yet again. So much so that he'd rather die on Floor 507 than have to change, and he purposefully shakes off his regeneration no less than four times. It's possible that part of this stems from his ever-present Guilt Complex, as by the end of this story he doesn't have reason to think he redeemed Missy, he wasn't able to restore Bill's humanity, and he knows that the solar farmers will have to keep on defending themselves from Cybermen. Also, as this Doctor had a longer, tougher Character Development road than most, he's likely scared of having to go through the process of self-discovery and fulfillment yet again.
    • Bill has a touch of this going for her after being turned into a Cyberman — because her humanity can't be restored, she can't be accepted by strangers as she is, and she will lose her identity to the Cybermen Hive Mind eventually, she figures she should be at the Doctor's side as he makes his Last Stand.
  • Defictionalization: More of a sideways move from one fiction to another. David Bradley, who previously played William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time, now appears as the First Doctor himself in this episode.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • The Cyberman that was Bill has lost the will to live, which makes it even harder for her to resist her programming. Luckily, where the Doctor cannot restore her humanity, Heather can.
    • The Doctor by the end; as far as he knows Bill is the second companion in a row he failed to save (and the third he lost after River met her destined fate), he knows Nardole has a hard road ahead of him, and he believes he failed to redeem Missy — and his wanting to do that was how all this trouble began for the others. And on top of all that he begins to regenerate. Twelve, who went from a grumpy old goat unsure of his moral alignment to a much kinder soul who is most definitely a hero, can't bear the thought of changing again and he simply refuses to regenerate — he doesn't choose not to like the Master did in the Series 3 Finale, but rather uses his sheer willpower to stop the process as it begins repeatedly. Six times!
  • Determinator: The Doctor and Bill spend the whole episode suppressing regeneration and cyber-reprogramming respectively through sheer willpower.
  • Deus ex Machina: Heather's reappearance here was only set up by the end of "The Pilot" (when the Doctor said he and Bill might encounter her again) at the very top of the season and a blink-and-miss-it shot in "World Enough and Time" (she's seen in a window of a building when the Master takes Bill into the Mondasian city). While all the other abilities Heather displays here were shown in "The Pilot", her ability to de-Cyberize someone was not. Presumably, she did to Bill whatever was done to herself, and developed this ability (and, for that matter, reasserted her personality and vocabulary) in the time that they were apart from each other — which was at least 10 and 1/2 years from Bill's perspective, and perhaps far, far longer from Heather's.
  • Dirty Coward: Missy. Despite showing herself to be on the Doctor's side by knocking out her previous self, she is still willing to leave the Doctor behind after he is ambushed by a Cyberman if it means saving herself.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: For once, it is the Cybermen who turn out to be the greatest threat, leaving the Masters as this. The Doctor "defeats" them in the episode's first act by turning the Cybermen against them.
  • Distressed Dude: As the main action opens, the Doctor is at the mercy of the two Masters, who knock him out, drag him up to the hospital roof, imprison him in a wheelchair, and are discussing the best/most fun way to slay him once and for all as he comes to.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: The Doctor "dies" and must regenerate in the course of this storyline — but he goes down a fighter, stopping his regeneration whenever it starts up. So much so that he doesn't regenerate before the episode is out, so strong is his refusal to go. Admittedly, there was this other Doctor who also seemed to not want to go yet...
  • Double Meaning: When Saxon said his disguise was to prevent his being identified as "someone's former prime minister," it wasn't just a reference to when he served the United Kingdom. Rather, it was a reference to when he led the stranded crew and their descendants.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Referenced by the Doctor (himself no stranger to this), who guesses that Saxon crashed into the ship they're all now on.
    Doctor: You never could drive.
  • Dying Alone: Both Masters are alone when they perish; while Saxon will regenerate, it is possible Missy will not. It's subsequently teased for both Bill Potts, who appears to be the last living thing on Floor 507 before its destruction until Heather returns, and the Twelfth Doctor, who comes very close to this two times over at the episode's end. The first time he faces being Killed Off for Real, the second it's simply the metaphorical death of his current self, which he puts off.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Bill Potts — so, so much. In the previous episode, her agreeing to help the Doctor with his plan to redeem Missy unintentionally led to her getting shot through the chest, being trapped in the hospital for ten years, and receiving a Fate Worse than Death by being converted into a Cyberman via the plotting of the Harold Saxon Master (who was a False Friend to her during the ten years). From there, although she retains her identity and saves the Doctor from the other Cybermen at the hospital, when she arrives at the solar farm she must deal with almost everyone fearing or belittling her (the exceptions being the Doctor, Nardole, and Alit - and even young Alit, though she's kind and brave, can't stop herself from backing away when Bill moves towards her), and though the Doctor vowed to return her to normal, he has no way of doing so. But she manages to hold up mentally, does what she can to protect everyone else, is the last person to bid the Doctor farewell as his Final Battle looms, and faithfully is at his side after he destroys Floor 507. She bursts into tears...and that presages Heather's return to her. Heather transforms her into a celestial entity like herself, thus freeing Bill of her Cyber-prison, and after the lovers take the Doctor back to his TARDIS for what might be his final rest, they set off to explore the universe together at last.
  • Enemy Mine: Both Masters have to ally with the Doctor in order to defeat the Cybermen. Saxon is not thrilled, and tries to leave with Missy. The latter tries to help out at the last minute, but Saxon's not having any of it.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Alit disobeys her guardian's orders of hiding under the bed, in order to watch the battle between the survivors and the prototype Cybermen.
  • Evil Gloating: As always, this only blinds the Master to the fact that the Doctor has turned the tables on him. But the Saxon Master keeps doing it, mostly with regards to Bill's fate, just to Kick the Dog.
  • Evil Is Petty: The Master finds ever more and more ways to be an utter, unrepentant dick throughout the episode. Not even his future self is excluded from his dickery.
  • Evil Laugh: Harold Saxon's Master indulges in this a bit after he overpowers the Doctor, and in the end of the episode the last scene he and Missy share they both go Laughing Mad.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The title of the episode. The Doctor Falls.
  • Exact Words: When Saxon arrogantly declares that he can deal with the Cybermen without assistance, the Doctor responds "Knock yourself out!"... which Missy does, via a Tap on the Head to Saxon.
  • Eye Motifs: In order:
    • The Doctor notes that "Where there's tears, there's hope" with regards to Bill's humanity still persisting within her Cyber-body.
    • The dying Doctor watches the spreading explosion of the solar farm as his eyes close, and it is reflected in his eyes.
    • The eye reflections lead into the reveal of Heather via her unusual left eye...
    • For she tracked Bill down via her tears...
    • One of which revives the Doctor.
  • Face Death with Dignity: The Twelfth Doctor does this as he's about to destroy Floor 507 and the Cybermen, resisting regeneration in favor of undergoing his final death. However, Bill's Puddle-enhanced tears revive him, leading to him trying to invoke this trope for most of the next episode.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: When the Cybermen are preparing to finish him off:
    Cyberman: Doctors are not required.
    Doctor: I'm not a doctor. I'm the Doctor. The original, you might say.
  • Facial Dialogue: Despite the Master proclaiming that he didn't listen to the Doctor's You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech to Missy, it is obvious from his facial expressions during said speech that he actually did listen and the Doctor's words had a profound impact on him.
  • Famous Last Words: During his near-regeneration at the end, Twelve quotes those of his last three regenerations.note  The dialogue he intends to be his own last words, spoken while he's refusing to regenerate in the seconds before the room explodes, end up not being because he gets revived (on what appears to be a very temporary basis) a short while later.
    The Doctor: Doctor, doctor. Let it go. Time enough...
    The Doctor: [more quietly] Pity. No stars. I hoped there'd be stars.
  • Fake Defector: After joining her previous self in subduing the Doctor and then whacking said previous self over the head, Missy says she was on the Doctor's side the whole time. It is ambiguous if this is the truth or if she was just invoking the trope opportunistically. The Doctor leans toward the latter.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Bill regards being a Cyberman and the prospect of eventually losing her identity to their Hive Mind as this, telling the Doctor that if she cannot be restored to her old physical self, she doesn't want to live anymore.
    • Saxon considers turning good to be this — so much so that he kills his future self, Missy, to prevent her from having a Heel–Face Turn. He even gives her a full laser blast so she can't regenerate, apparently killing himself permanently.
    • The Twelfth Doctor himself regards the process of regenerating and living yet again as this. It will mean losing his identity (with a parallel drawn to Bill's situation), possibly another long road of Character Development to discover his new one, more friendships that by this point in his lives seem to inevitably end in sorrow, if not tragedy, more situations where he won't always be able to save everyone...
  • Final Battle: The Twelfth Doctor fights his in this episode, is mortally wounded, and is almost unable to regenerate until Bill's tear intervenes. He still doesn't want to regenerate, though. (For those wondering how his penultimate episode can have his Final Battle, "Twice Upon a Time" has No Antagonist.)
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: The Cloister Bell begins to ring as the Doctor continues to refuse to regenerate and leaves the TARDIS.
  • Foregone Conclusion: From the beginning of "World Enough and Time", the audience has known that this is the story of how and why the Twelfth Doctor regenerates...alone. But upon reaching that point, it's then revealed first that he is still able to put it off, and second that he isn't as alone as he thinks.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Missy tells the Saxon-Master that she doesn't really remember her regeneration into her current form. The Saxon-Master later remarks that it's weird she doesn't remember any of the current events, and she points out that due to both of them being present, the "timelines are out of synch", meaning that he won't be able to retain his memories of whatever happens, so she doesn't have them. This clues in the savvy viewer that the Saxon-Master's regeneration into Missy will happen during these events.
    • Missy asks the Doctor if he's ever felt the blade when debating with Harold Saxon on how to kill him (the Doctor that is).
    • Harold Saxon uses the phrase "I'd rather die" than be kind to the Doctor.
    • When Bill says she'd rather die than not be able to be herself, she asks if the Doctor understands. He does.
    • The farmhouse, a normal-looking structure surrounded by a gray (stone) exterior parallels Bill, who see her inner self as "normal," but has a gray (metal) exterior.
    • The second time we see the Doctor about to regenerate, he reaches into the grassy soil.
    • The Doctor hopes the future is "all girl" in response to the Master's disgust that he's going to become a woman. The Doctor himself will become one in the next episode.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Despite having some time to come up with ideas (the expanded universe short story "Alit in Underland" [The Missy Chronicles] says he was unconscious for at least the first few days of the Time Skip), the Doctor ultimately is certain he can't do anything to restore Bill Potts to human form, even though his TARDIS is waiting for them on Floor 1 and from there many places they could travel to that could provide technology to do so, such as the nanogenes seen in "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances". He also is struggling to hold back a regeneration because he would rather die for good, yet neither suggests he give her his energy and see what happens to each of them. (Weirdly, this is the second time in Series 10 he forgets his abilities; previously he'd acted completely helpless regarding his blindness instead of just taking off in the TARDIS to a reputable sawbones.) It's probable he hasn't forgotten what he can do, but he wants to focus on saving the farmers before attempting to return to the TARDIS and he can't do anything if he drops dead, which would doom everybody. Unfortunately, circumstances leave the Doctor and Bill in a position where they can't return to the TARDIS at all — not without Heather's help, anyway.
  • For the Evulz: We have the return of everyone's favorite/dreaded people-eating Master who destroys things for fun, once employed a whole race of beings that did the exact same thing (the Toclafane), and is certifiably off the charts on the insane-o-meter, and his future self, who has had time to grow Bored with Insanity and may or may not have drifted past that line of thinking by now. As the main action begins, the Doctor's at their mercy and the two Masters are discussing how exactly they're going to kill him — and taunting him about it.
  • For Your Own Good: The Doctor, refusing to regenerate, suspects the TARDIS has materialized somewhere of her own accord to make a point to him, with this trope as her motivation. It would appear to be a positive example of such, under the circumstances.
  • Future Me Scares Me:
    • Much like before, Harold Saxon does not like the idea of himself developing empathy as Missy. So much so that he's willing to outright kill her after she attempts to help the Doctor in his last stand — though not before she mortally wounds him first.
    • Ironically, inverted for a short while after Missy stabs him, as he's pleased that she still has it in her to do such a thing. It only becomes an inversion of Evil Me Scares Me instead when she tells him it's so she can go help the Doctor.
    • Earlier than that, Missy literally terrifies Saxon into always carrying a spare de-materialisation circuit... which she has on her after taking advice from a lady whom she can't remember.
    • Twelve is outright refusing to regenerate because he doesn't want to live yet another life, and the TARDIS goes back into the past, where he finds the First Doctor.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: It's implied that Saxon had a 'reaction' to Missy aggressively throwing him up against the wall.
  • Grand Finale: This is the midpoint of a storyline that encompasses a two-part Season Finale and a Christmas Episode and finishes the Myth Arc of the Twelfth Doctor.
  • Hand Wave:
    • What happened to the Master after "The End of Time". The Doctor guesses (apparently correctly) that the Time Lords fixed his "condition," he was kicked out of Gallifrey ("it was a mutual kicking me out"), his TARDIS broke down, and he was stranded on the ship.
    • The Cybermen will eventually make their way up to the next solar farm, though Nardole assures the settlers that by then he'll have thought of a way to deal with them. (All There in the Manual material confirms that he does so...many, many times for a Surprisingly Happy Ending.)
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Saxon and Missy constantly flit between the two sides of good and evil throughout the episode, but while Saxon wants to win, Missy is still on the fence about the whole thing. When Saxon realizes there is in fact no way to win against the Cybermen, only endure against them, he decides to head to the safety of his TARDIS with the spare part Missy has to repair it and escape instead of aiding the Doctor further. Missy meanwhile decides that she can't fight the Doctor any longer and needs his friendship, and resolves to help. This being the Master, it doesn't stick, as Saxon shoots Missy after the latter stabs him in order to force his regeneration, while the former disables her regenerations. Like preventing regeneration has ever stopped the Master...
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: After the Doctor spends the last few episodes trying to get through to her, Missy finally decides that she should fight with him instead of against him, and stabs the Harold Saxon version of the Master so as to trigger his regeneration into her. He isn't so pleased at the thought of eventually becoming good however, and responds by hitting Missy with a laser blast that at the very least is powerful enough to kill her, supposedly for good.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Missy keeps swapping sides throughout the episode, or at least appears to, before finally deciding to help the Doctor. Then the Saxon Master shoots her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Both the Twelfth Doctor and Bill are willing to give up their lives to allow Nardole and the solar farmers to escape Floor 507. While both of them are partially motivated by an unwillingness to keep living if it means Loss of Identity, neither considers just finding a way to outrace the Cybermen to Floor 1 and presumably leaving everyone else in the lurch (since there's not much room on the lifts) and seeking out cures for their conditions elsewhere. In the end, Bill survives the explosion and gets to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence from there, while the Doctor almost succumbs to it only to have his regeneration once again kickstarted against his will, leading into the Ray of Hope Ending.
  • Heroic Willpower:
    • Bill is able to resist Cyber-programming through force of will, though she says it feels like she's hanging on in a hurricane and will eventually lose her grip. Fortunately, that bit never comes to pass.
    • The Doctor's body tries to regenerate after getting beaten up by the Master(s) and electrocuted by a Cyberman, but through conscious effort he forces the regeneration to stall while he deals with the situation at hand. While this is eventually implied to be partially driven by a deep-seated fear of losing his identity again in service of yet another life of ultimately lonely heroics — he would rather die for good, as a good man, in a Heroic Sacrifice — he's probably well-aware that if he were to regenerate before the Cybermen were defeated it could make things far more difficult for everyone (due to regeneration sickness, a new personality, and the presence of two Masters, at least one of whom would quickly pounce on his resultant vulnerability).
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: At one point, the Doctor makes an impassioned epic speech in an attempt to convince both incarnations of the Master to just try being kind for once. Saxon, a man, replies with arrogant sarcasm. Missy, a woman, falters and even implies that she'd like to switch sides before she too refuses. Shortly afterwards, Missy tries to pull a Heel–Face Turn in earnest, while Saxon not only remains evil but kills Missy - his own future self - rather than let her (or, to see it another way, himself) do something good for once. Of course, it was already the case that Missy (the first female Master that we know of) was the only incarnation of the Master ever to show any on-screen evidence of being capable of empathy (Professor Yana doesn't count since he'd had his "Master" personality wiped and immediately stopped showing empathy the moment he recovered his memories).
  • Holding Hands: The Doctor reaches out and takes Missy's hand twice. In previous episodes, she was the person who initiated such contact.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Bill awakens in a barn two weeks after she and the others arrived on Floor 507, having apparently been restored to her human form... only for a Tomato in the Mirror reveal shortly afterwards that it's a delusion created by her brain to help her deal with emotional trauma. The Doctor subsequently reveals to her that despite his intention to restore her, he has no way of doing so.
    • Missy has second thoughts about Saxon's plan to flee the ship, mortally wounds him, and turns around to stand with the Doctor... only for Saxon to shoot her in the back with his regeneration-cancelling laser screwdriver.
  • How We Got Here:
    • This story continues the tale that leads up to the Twelfth Doctor seemingly Dying Alone in the snow in the pre-title sequence of "World Enough and Time".
    • The episode proper begins with Bill emerging from a crashed ship carrying the Doctor. The episode skips back a little while to explain how that happened.
  • How Would You Like to Die?: The Doctor wakes up from last episode's cliffhanger to find Saxon and Missy musing over how they should kill him.
  • I Hate Past Me:
    • Invoked by the TARDIS; when the Doctor stubbornly refuses to regenerate it decides to bring him back to his past ... back when he was still the First Doctor.
    • Inverted with the Masters. Missy tells Saxon that she loved being him, and will always miss how intensely he "burned"...but can no longer bring herself to be that person.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Nardole casually shoots a shotgun without even aiming, and hits his target. Subverted, as it turns out — the gun is a smokescreen. He's blowing the underground fuel lines of the space ship in the area he aims at in order to make the Mondasians' weapons look stronger and more advanced than they really are.
  • Informed Ability: When refusing to go with the villagers, Nardole declines because he apparently has criminal tendencies that'd make this dangerous for everyone else. We haven't actually seen any indication of criminal tendencies on Nardole's part, though, unless you count working for King Hydroflax and River Song, who were respectively a tyrannical dictator and a con artist.
  • Instant Expert: As the Pilot, Heather can pilot any vehicle—even the TARDIS.
  • Ironic Echo: "I'm the Doctor. The original, you might say." First said by the Twelfth Doctor as a defiant statement to a Cyberman, then said by the First Doctor to the Twelfth Doctor himself.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: The Doctor summarizes what happened to the Saxon Master, concluding it with stating that he is hiding and is in disguise because everyone knows "your stupid round face".
    Saxon: [indignant] Round?
    Missy: It's a little bit.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Saxon insists that Bill is an it, not a she, after her cyber-conversion. The episode shows Bill in human form anytime she's referred to as herself, and as a Cyberman anytime he calls her "it".
  • Kick the Dog: Saxon uses his "Mr. Razor" accent while speaking to Cyber-Bill, letting her know that it was he who doomed her to be a Cyberman.
    The Master: [in Razor's voice] Oh hello, my dear. My God, you were so boring for all of those years. But it was all worth it for this!
  • Knife Nut: Apparently, Missy is skilled enough with a knife that she can stab you and then give you a rough idea of how long you have left to live based on how she inflicted the wound... which gives Saxon just enough time to find his TARDIS and have a cup of tea.
  • Last Breath Bullet: Missy stabs the Master, which will trigger his next regeneration. He retaliates by shooting her in the back with his laser screwdriver, telling her she will not regenerate. Both laugh over the irony of their mutual betrayal before the Master departs.
  • Last Stand:
    • The Doctor stays behind on Floor 507 to take on all of the arriving Cybermen virtually alone, and in the end wipes out the lot of them by blowing the whole place up. He also almost dies himself, having chosen not to regenerate, but the restored Bill and Heather take him back to the TARDIS.
    • Moreover, the only reason Bill is on 507 to be at the Doctor's side and be found by Heather is because she was making her last stand alongside the Doctor, though they split up for the actual battle. This is because she has nothing to look forward to as a Cyberman, so she might as well go down fighting them.
  • Laughably Evil: As ever, Michelle Gomez and John Simm clearly have an absolute blast playing Time Lord supervillains.
  • Laughing Mad: After he mortally wounds her, Saxon and Missy both end up laughing at the absurdity of their fate being to shoot themselves in the back.
  • Leitmotif: Missy's eerie "Promised Land" theme turns up shortly before she stabs Saxon.
  • Logo Joke: If you were watching BBC One (and BBC One Northern Ireland), the episode was preceded by an ident where a Cyberman knocks out the continuity announcer and takes it over!
  • Loud of War: The Cyber army announces their impending arrival as psychological warfare.
  • Love Confession: A platonic one from Bill towards the Doctor. She asks if he realizes that she's "All about women, and people her own age" and the Doctor half-quizzically asks "Yeah?" and she replies "Glad you knew that." He takes a second or two to clock on when she walks away from him.
  • Made of Iron: The Doctor. Tough Gallifreyan constitution aside, he goes through a physical wringer. Starting off, he's fatally zapped by a Cyberman. Two weeks later, and his injuries still haven't healed even though he's beginning to regenerate. Then he's nearby for several very powerful explosions, only to get blasted repeatedly by a Cyberman, and even that doesn't do him in. It takes the massive explosion that wipes out all the Cybermen, and the deck they were on to do that, and even then his body is barely singed.
  • Mama Bear: Hazran, the de facto leader of the farmers who are defending themselves against the Cybermen, runs the orphanage and is fiercely protective of the children in her care.
  • The Masochism Tango: The Master and Missy. Taken to its logical conclusion when they pull a Deadly Hug Mutual Kill and end up laughing as they die.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • In "Extremis", Missy pleaded for the Doctor not to execute her, even if it be "Without hope, without witness, without reward" for him — referencing the highest embodiment of the Doctor's virtue, and what River Song loved about him. As the Doctor heads out to his final stand against the Cybermen, he says this same phrase to himself.
    • Nardole once again says he is allowed to "kick [Bill's] arse". She points out that he'd have to go looking for it, since she's been converted.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Had Bill stayed in the TARDIS a few minutes more, she would've seen Twelve wake up and they both would've realized the other was okay.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The episode opens on a horse-drawn cart of children in a peaceful farming community. Then we see the scarecrows are Proto-Cybermen, and the community is revealed to be under regular siege from the lower levels.
    • Twelve runs out of the TARDIS, stops his regeneration (again)... then One appears and starts to mock him.
  • More Hero Than Thou: Nardole and the Doctor try to pull this on each other when they realize one of them is going to have to die to hold off the Cybermen. The Doctor wins by implying that Nardole, unlike the Doctor himself, is the only one strong enough to live with the Survivor's Guilt and look after the survivors in the aftermath - something Nardole is unable to refute.
  • Motifs: For Series 10:
    • The value of individual lives: There aren't many unconverted Mondasians left on the ship but the Doctor and his companions are not going to let them be Cyber-converted if they can help it. He is also desperate to find a way to restore Bill to humanity. This even forms the basis of his speech to the Masters when explaining why he does what he does.
    • Hidden threats: Thanks to Time Dilation, there are soon combat-enhanced Cybermen on the spaceship, not just the original models the Harold Saxon Master was helping to create.
    • "Villains" that aren't actually evil: The very first Cyberman is also the Doctor's companion Bill Potts, transformed against her will and struggling to resist her programming. The dreaded creatures on Floor 507, which the disguised Harold Saxon claimed the Mondasian Cybermen will need to fight, are just good farm folk trying to protect their children. Missy actually proves capable of a Heel–Face Turn, though she gets a Heel–Face Door-Slam for her trouble. And the first example of this kind of character from Series 10, Heather, returns to save Bill and from there return the Doctor to his TARDIS.
    • Mothers: Hazran is a mother figure: She runs an orphanage and her determination to protect her young wards makes her the most prominent of the unconverted Mondasians the Doctor and his friends are aiding.
    • Imprisonment/Release: Bill is effectively a prisoner of her Cyberman body, but Heather releases her from it in the end.
  • Move Along, Nothing to See Here: Nardole's response to Cyber-Bill blowing up half the barn is to shoo the settlers away and tell them to get back to work.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The Doctor refers to the Cybermen's multiple origin stories as a case of "parallel evolution", claiming they're simply inevitable, given time and technology. The colony ship backs this up by producing doppelgängers of "classic", RTD and Moffat-era Cybermen.
  • Mundane Utility: The Proto-Cybermen who make it to Floor 507 are shot, then used as scarecrows.
  • Must Make Amends: A failed example. The Doctor tried to rescue Bill and fulfill this trope after his attempt to put Missy on a Redemption Quest went awry and got her wounded, but thanks to Time Dilation and Saxon he was too late to save her from Cyber-conversion. The Doctor tells her they will fix things on the hospital rooftop. Two weeks on, however, he admits to Bill that while he was not lying to her that day, he wasn't right — he's realized he cannot restore her to her human self (actually, he probably could if they got back to the TARDIS and set off on a quest for a cure, but that isn't an option at the time). Instead, they move on to a Redemption Quest.
  • Mutual Kill: Missy 'kills' Saxon by stabbing him. Saxon later zaps Missy with his laser screwdriver. Obligatory bonus points for them being different incarnations of the same character.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Hazran mistakes Bill for one of the dangerous Cybermen when she unexpectedly enters Hazran's kitchen, and shoots her a couple of times (doing no physical damage). When Nardole stops her, she's instantly horrified and apologetic, but Bill just says "I understand" before dejectedly leaving, which clearly makes Hazran feel even worse.
  • My Greatest Failure: The Twelfth Doctor, as far as he knows, fails to redeem Missy — and as an indirect result of his efforts to do so, Bill's been converted into a Cyberman, though how much he could have done to prevent that is debatable given the circumstances. The audience knows he actually succeeded in turning Missy, even if it didn't amount to much in the end. As for Bill, there's nothing more he can think of to do for her so even if he knew about Missy, he'd still be feeling this trope hard. His previous greatest failure was not saving Clara from her death on the trap street, but as was pointed out to him, that wasn't actually his fault and he moved on in the end. No one, not even Bill, offers him similar comfort here — at least not explicitly; notably Bill's Undying Loyalty to the Doctor remains intact even after all she's gone through and though she chews him out after coming to in the barn, she doesn't seem to hold it against him otherwise.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Russell T. Davies' original plan for Ten's regeneration was that he die saving ordinary humans on a spaceship; in broad strokes, this is what happens to Twelve.
    • The Doctor mentions Marinus as one of the planets where Cybermen originated. This idea comes from the Doctor Who Magazine comic "The World Shapers", which was originally subject to Canon Discontinuity when the Big Finish audio drama "Spare Parts" offered its own take on the origin of the Cybermen.
    • The Doctor meeting his first incarnation as his regeneration approaches is reminiscent of "The End", a short story featuring the Eighth Doctor.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Pilot!Heather now has the ability to restructure Bill's body at will, can converse fluently with Bill rather than being limited to single words, and has full control over her own appearance rather than always looking drenched. It is implied much time has passed for her, but still.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • The Cybermen end up learning the location of the last unconverted humans on the ship thanks to Missy summoning the lift and alerting them to where they are.
    • Saxon gloats that the Doctor was only two hours late to save Bill, which he wouldn't have been if he'd spent a few seconds less on exposition back on Floor 1. Of course, if he hadn't been talking Saxon would simply have upped his schedule for Cyber-converting Bill, so he's clearly just saying this to Kick the Dog. (Basically, the only way the Doctor could have saved her was to get on the lift with Bill in the first place — and between the Proto-Cybermen and Saxon waiting at the top, even that would not have been a sure thing. If anything things might have been worse.)
  • Nocturnal Mooks: The 'scarecrow' proto-Cybermen only attacked at night. It's averted with the Final Battle because these Cybermen don't need the cover of night for their attack.
  • No Ending: In regards to Nardole and the surviving colonies, they still have to deal with the threat of the Cybermen repopulating and attempting to reach higher floors. The Doctor blew up the ones that had invaded, but the TARDIS took him away, leaving Nardole on his own.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The Doctor name drops Planet 14 twice (to the Masters and in the final battle), as the Cyber-Controller did way back in 1969's "The Invasion." Just like in "The Invasion," no details are given about what happened on Planet 14.
    • Nardole's past; he says he was a hustler and black market dealer prior to meeting the Doctor (and presumably, River).
  • No One Could Survive That!: Missy gets blasted by her previous incarnation's laser screwdriver — which is capable of suspending a Time Lord's ability to regenerate if dialed up to full power — and passes out, apparently dying for real, shortly before the entire floor she's on self-destructs and the forest her body was in burns down, apparently with no survivors except for the Doctor and Bill, who only survive because Heather intervenes. But we don't actually see what happens to her body, and well, she's the Master, so no one believes we've seen the last of her.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore:
    • Bill leaves to travel the universe with Heather, and Nardole is left in charge of the colony ship's young survivors. Although Bill will see the Doctor again, that's it for Series 10's TARDIS team.
    • Missy gets within inches of a genuine Heel–Face Turn, only to be shot in the back by her past self. Whenever we next see the Master, they'll presumably be in a new incarnation — but will they be back to their old wicked ways?
    • An exhausted Doctor refuses to regenerate, unable to face rebuilding his identity all over again. In response, the TARDIS reunites him with his own first incarnation.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: Missy has a blade up her sleeve, and uses it to stab her past self.
  • Not So Different: Bill ends up wandering the universe with a super-powerful time- and space-ship who is also her girlfriend. Never seen that before...
  • Once More, with Clarity!:
    • The previous episode began with the Doctor emerging from the TARDIS, collapsing into the snow as he began regenerating and shouting "No!" with no context. This one ends with him staggering out of the TARDIS, angrily asking where it's taken him, refusing to regenerate at all.
    • A Monochrome Past flashback shows what happened between last episode's cliffhanger and the Doctor waking up tied to a wheelchair. A rerun of the flashback shows the Doctor quickly reprogramming the Cybermen's search parameters after Missy knocks him against a computer keyboard and fails to notice his subsequent typing — because she's high-fiving her other self.
  • Please Wake Up: A variation, Bill believes the Doctor really is dead, but she holds out hope he isn't ... simply because the Universe needs him.
    Bill: You know what, old man? I'm never gonna believe you're really dead, 'cause one day everyone's gonna need you too much.
  • Powerful and Helpless: The Doctor tells Bill that he will undo her cyber-conversion, but two weeks later when they're stranded on Floor 507, admits to her that he was wrong about that — he has no means of restoring her original form himself. While he could find her help if they made it back to the TARDIS, trying to escape would mean abandoning the solar farmers and their children to the very fate Bill underwent, and the Cybermen would probably catch them anyway.
  • The Power of Friendship:
    • The Doctor remains determined to use this to bring Missy to a Heel–Face Turn at long last. It almost works.
    • Faithful Bill is at the Doctor's side when Heather returns to her, and from there the two women manage to get him back to the TARDIS so he can rest in the place he loves best. Before they leave Bill weeps affectionate tears over him, wetting his brow, and recalling that "Where there's tears, there's hope." After they leave, the tears revive him.
  • Pun: The apple-shaped bombs are referred to as "The ultimate Apple upgrade" by Nardole.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Bill leaves the Doctor's company and has been freed from her Cyberman shell to travel with Heather, but she can return to her human body with the help of Heather in time for tea so that her adoptive mother doesn't have a chance to miss her. However, it seems she's done travelling with the Doctor for now. The sad thing is neither knows the other is still alive and able to return to normal life.
    • Nardole stays behind on the Mondasian ship at his behest when the Doctor convinces him he will be more use contributing his services to the orphanage and survivors than wasting his life in a fight against the Cybermen. That, and Hazran has a strong crush on him. Nardole also does not know if the Doctor survived or not, and vice versa.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: While the Cyberman attack was defeated and the colony moved five levels up the ship, the bottom levels with the Cyber factories and so forth are still there, and with the passing of time are only going to be able to prepare to attack once more. And this result cost the Doctor his current life and the Master two lives (although in fairness the latter's were self-inflicted).
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": The Doctor after he wakes up in the TARDIS and his body keeps trying to regenerate.
  • The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: The "Twice Upon a Time" Novelization explains that Nardole lived for almost five centuries after this episode's events, and was successful enough at defeating later Cyberman invasions that he and the farmers only had to deal with Cybermat infestations in the spring by the time he died!
  • Ray of Hope Ending: The Doctor is dying once more, and while he can regenerate he doesn't want to. As it turns out, the TARDIS has taken him to Antartica, and just after the Twelfth Doctor manages to stave off change yet again in the snow, out from behind an ice wall steps the First Doctor...
  • Redemption Quest: The Doctor is on one of these, although it's because of good deeds gone awry rather than an evil one. When his attempt to put Missy through this trope went wrong, he was not able to save Bill from Cyber-conversion and he has no means of restoring her. He decides that so long as they're stuck on Floor 507, he will at least protect — if only temporarily — the solar farmers from suffering a similar fate at the hands of the battle-ready Cybermen, even if it should mean his final death, and ultimately succeeds. He almost dies, but Bill and Heather's intervention (though they do not realize it) allows him to live again.
  • Retroactive Preparation: Saxon is unable to pilot his TARDIS away from the ship because its dematerialisation circuit was fried during the crash. When Missy learns this, she takes advantage of her life being a Stable Time Loop and stands very close to him, tells him "a very scary lady once threw me against a wall and made me promise to always, always carry a spare dematerialisation circuit"... then produces a spare circuit.
  • The Reveal:
    • The dangerous creatures on Floor 507 that the disguised Master spoke of in the previous episode, which the Mondasian Cybermen would have to fight? Solar farmers who have been trying to protect their children from being kidnapped and Cyber-converted.
    • What happened to the Harold Saxon Master after the events of "The End of Time"? The Time Lords fixed his decaying body, gave him a new TARDIS and then set him loose on the rest of the universe, so he'd be the Doctor's problem again and not theirs. He crashed on the Mondasian ship and couldn't leave, and from there served as a prime minister, was overthrown and went from Riches to Rags, and then had a hand in developing the first-generation Cybermen.
    • What brought the Doctor to the snowy wasteland? He doesn't want to regenerate, so the TARDIS has brought him to meet his original self, also revealing that he's in Antarctica during the events of "The Tenth Planet".
  • Revenge Before Reason: Saxon would rather permanently end his existence rather than reconcile with the Doctor. Remember, this is a character who's usually obsessed with his continued survival at all cost.
  • Riches to Rags: Saxon!Master experienced this. Once he was prime minister of the Mondasian city, but ended up reduced to hiding from the populace he mistreated in the guise of a janitor who couldn't get so much as a decent cup of tea.
  • Rocket Boots: Used in the upgraded Cybermen to launch an assault on the levels above, given that an entire Cyber army can't fit in the elevators.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After determining the battle to be a hopeless one, Saxon and Missy intend to flee in Saxon's TARDIS, leaving the Doctor and the farmers to their fate. Subverted for Missy when she kills Saxon to force his regeneration into her and go back to the Doctor, although she doesn't actually make it back. It's not clear when she makes the decision to do all this — she might have been planning it when she had her final conversation with the Doctor, or his speech may have convinced her.
  • Screw Yourself: The two Masters dance and flirt with each other, although Missy stops it from going too far after she throws Saxon against a pillar.
    Master: Is it wrong that I... [glances down]
    Missy: Yes. Very.
  • Season Finale: One of the most packed yet, featuring two companions, two different iterations of Cybermen, two incarnations of the Master (Harold Saxon and Missy) and two of the Doctor himself (joining Twelve in the last moments is the First Doctor, played by David Bradley) in the character list alone. As a result, and as is common for Doctor Who season finales, this episode is an extra-length one (60 minutes rather than the standard 45).
  • Series Fauxnale: A downplayed example that concerns an era of a show, not the show as a whole. With "World Enough and Time", this was intended as the Twelfth Doctor's Grand Finale and thus wraps up his Myth Arc, gives definitive fates to his companions Bill and Nardole (bringing back Heather in the process) as well as two incarnations of his Arch-Enemy the Master, and climaxes with a spectacular Final Battle that mortally wounds him and forces a regeneration. Moffat intended all this to lead directly into a Christmas Episode featuring the Thirteenth Doctor, but when Chris Chibnall decided to wait until Series 11 for her first adventure and Moffat learned there still had to be a Christmas show, he rewrote this episode to give the Twelfth Doctor a Ray of Hope Ending and extend his tenure into one more episode — a low-key one that tied up a few more loose ends.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Missy calls the solar farmers "The Waltons".
    • Director Rachel Talalay notes that the solar farmers' plight owes a lot to The Night of the Hunter; both have a Mama Bear farmwoman protecting innocent orphaned children from a nigh-implacable foe. The Doctor sitting in the rocking chair with a shotgun, keeping vigil in the night, is a direct reference.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: The Doctor makes a heartfelt plea to both Masters not to abandon the survivors to the Cybermen, but to do something out of kindness instead. Saxon responds with an arrogant "See this face? Take a good... long... look at it. This is the face that didn't listen to a word you just said!" while Missy gives an awkward "Sorry, no, but thank you for trying."
  • The Siege: The Doctor must defend Arcadia from the Cybermen, and by extension keep the entire spaceship from being commandeered.
  • Sissy Villain: Saxon is shown putting on eyeliner. Is he practicing for his incoming Gender Bender?
  • Small Steps Hero: The Doctor knows that making sure the solar farmers escape to a higher floor and then destroying the Cybermen invading 507 will not permanently end the threat the farmers face from them (the supply of Cybermen might become finite after a certain point, but that would be a long time from now). One reason he assigns Nardole to stay with them is because they're going to keep needing a Small Steps Hero from here on out. In addition, the Doctor prioritizes keeping the farmers safe over trying to return to his TARDIS on Floor 1 and just leaving the ship even though getting back there would not only ensure his and his companions' safety but allow him to seek out a way to restore Bill's human form, making up for his inability to save her earlier. He does this simply because, even though it may be futile in the end, it is the right and kind thing, as he explains in his "World of Cardboard" Speech.
  • Space Opera: Though the action is confined to the Mondasian colony ship, it's a huge ship, and the Final Battle involves masses of Cybermen armies stalking about. It also has elements of a Space Western. And this is not the first time the Twelfth Doctor has found himself in such a situation.
  • Stable Time Loop:
    • The Master is now destined to literally stab himself in the back in order to regenerate into the version who stabs himself in the back, only to then shoot her in the back.
    • Missy creates one by making her previous incarnation promise to always carry a spare dematerialization circuit, which means she's got one on hand now to fix Saxon's TARDIS.
    • Saxon dies from Missy's stab wound, reincarnates as her, and uses the readily available Cyber-technology to launch her Evil Plan in Series 8.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The climax features explosions galore, as the Doctor starts blowing up the ship's fuel lines under the Cybermen's feet, eventually culminating with his blowing up the entire deck he's on.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: The previous episode's Cliffhanger seemed to be playing this trope straight, but Bill's story ultimately is a subversion of it. Her side of the story is not neglected just to focus on the Doctor's guilt and struggle; as his presence jogged her memory, she reasserts her agency (though she is forced to hold back on fully expressing her anger and pain due to You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry being forced upon her) and helps save the farmers. Even then, though, it seems that death is her only hope to be freed from her condition...until the woman she loves returns and helps her Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, whereupon they go on to a happy life together, though with the catch that the Doctor might still need her and she doesn't know it, believing him to be dead (but vice versa also applies, as the Doctor doesn't know about Heather).
  • Swiss Army Tears:
    • Heather returns to Bill's side thanks to the tears they shared back in "The Pilot". It's implied they're a sort of tracking device.
    • Bill's tears shed over the Doctor provide the push for his regeneration ability to kick in once more, saving him from permanent death.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted and discussed — Saxon rubs in the Doctor's failure to rescue Bill by claiming that if he hadn't been Mr. Exposition chatting about Time Dilation with the others in the previous episode and instead just got into the lift straightaway, he would have been able to reach her in time rather than a few hours late. But it's clear that Saxon's plan involved making sure Bill had a Hope Spot just so he could snatch it away from her. Unless the Doctor had immediately boarded the lifts along with the Proto-Cybermen, which could have led to disaster for him and Bill, he would have arrived too late to save her since he still had to wait for the lifts to return.
  • Tempting Apple: The Doctor offers Alit an apple and the chance to blow up some Cybermen. What kid could resist?
    The Doctor: I don't like guns. I've got a better idea. Are you good at throwing?
    Alit: Better than all the boys.
    The Doctor: Then how about humanity's first weapon? [hands her an apple] Tempting, isn't it?
  • Tempting Fate: The Doctor recites a litany of his victories against the Cybermen, culminating with "Every single time, you lose!" Then a Mondasian Cyberman sneaks up behind him and shoots him. Not that they don't still lose!
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Missy truly wanted to be friends with the Twelfth Doctor again, but now that her previous self is around and he turns out to have Cyber-converted this Doctor's companion, she finds herself going back and forth between this and Heel–Face Turn. Eventually she realizes she could and should be better, but Saxon takes her final decision out of her hands.
  • Time Dilation: On Floor 507, time is slower than on the bottom of the ship, which the Cybermen use to their advantage. After all, they have literally years to plan for their attack and develop even stronger Cybermen.
  • Time Skip: Two weeks pass offscreen after the Doctor and company arrive on Floor 507. The Expanded Universe short story "Alit in Underland" in The Missy Chronicles anthology is set during this time skip, revealing that the Doctor spends at least a few days unconscious while the Masters (and Tagalong Kid Alit) secretly travel to Floor 508 and manage to reprogram the Cybermen not to come for Time Lords, as part of their efforts to ultimately escape the ship. It is during this journey that Missy decides she must complete her Heel–Face Turn — and realizes how she'll have to do it.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Bill has forgotten her conversion, and it's only when she sees her reflection in a mirror that she remembers it.
  • Took a Level in Badass: It's implied that Heather took one off-screen between her introduction and now because she has a handle on her Pilot powers and is fully sapient again. She even knows how to turn other people into Pilot creatures just like what happened to her.
  • To the Pain: The Masters deliver a pretty terrifying speech to the Doctor, who is tied to a wheelchair and barely conscious.
    Master: How many times have you died?
    Missy: How many different ways?
    Master: Have you burned?
    Missy: I know you've fallen.
    Master: Have you ever drowned?
    Missy: Have you felt the blade?
    Master: I suppose, what we're really asking, my dear, is... Well...
    Missy: Any requests?
  • Touché: After Missy stabs him in the back, Saxon compliments her on the move.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • The trailers and promotional photos for the previous episode gave away that Bill is not the only Mondasian Cyberman out and about already, later models of Cybermen enter the fray in the course of this storyline, and the Masters share a Dance of Romance at one point. From there, the TV trailer reveals that the Masters have to forge an Enemy Mine with the Doctor — though Never Trust a Trailer also applies, as one of them ultimately rejects the idea of standing with the Doctor.
    • David Bradley returning as the First Doctor had been tabloid speculation for weeks, so his showing up in the final scene was a surprise to almost nobody.
    • While Bill didn't appear in the trailers, Pearl Mackie's voice is heard at the top of one of them — "We're not going to make it out of this one, are we?" — when the Cliffhanger of the previous episode established that she now had a "proper" Cyber-voice (provided by Nicholas Briggs as per usual). While this turned out to have to do with the perception filter that allowed her and the audience (and possibly the Doctor) to see and hear her as her human self for much of the episode, in advance it also suggested she might not stay a Cyberman for the whole runtime.
  • Transhuman Treachery: The Doctor touches on this a little bit more than usual, mentioning that the basic idea of cybernetic augmentation isn't a bad one, but then someone decides to remove all emotion and "upgrade" everyone else, and then you have an army of Cybermen rampaging across the universe.
  • Trauma Conga Line:
    • Twelve suffers torture and repeated assaults from both the Masters and the Cybermen, and his body tries to regenerate to heal away the wounds but he forces himself to remain as he is. Then, he outright dies, but Bill manages to infuse new life into him. He comes back to life, yet his body is still severely wounded and desperately trying to regenerate. The problem is that regenerating would just be another trauma for him as he is happy with who he is right now.
    • Bill's trauma conga line, started in the previous episode, continues. She struggles to maintain her human identity as a Cyberman, knowing Nothing Is the Same Anymore since she can't return to her old life unless her body can be restored; copes with the Doctor being Powerful and Helpless to do that under the circumstances they're in; puts up with being feared, shunned, and even shot at by the farmers and mocked by Saxon; can't fully express her anger and anguish because others might be accidentally hurt via the headlamp beam; must bid goodbye to her two true friends before going into her Final Battle; and finally stands at the side of the Doctor's body as his sole mourner, awash in tears. Only then do things get better for her.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Harold Saxon version of the Master helped create the original Cybermen, but winds up having to fight them once the Doctor reprograms them to count Time Lords as humans to be converted.
  • The Unreveal:
    • Although it seems like it will inevitably happen sooner or later, the Doctor does not regenerate at the end of the episode, forcing himself several times to halt the process because he's actively rebelling against the change this time.
    • We don't see what becomes of the Saxon Master, only the implication he has enough time to limp back to his own TARDIS and regenerate into Missy.
    • For that matter, Missy's fate falls under this. Does she simply die via Saxon's attack? Does she last long enough to die when Floor 507 goes boom? Does she manage to survive the attack and/or the floor's destruction and escape? And if she does, does she do it as herself or does she regenerate into a new body? And from there, does the Heel–Face Turn hold?
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Saxon is disgusted by the prospect of Missy, his future self, developing empathy for others. So much so, he's willing to mortally wound her in the back when she tries to help the Doctor.
  • We Need a Distraction: By exaggerating the strength of the human defenders, the Cybermen will change their priorities from assimilating the children to regrouping for a full-scale military assault, enabling the children to escape.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Bill looking in the mirror, which confirms that no, she's not been restored.
    • The Doctor is walking through the field with Bill, and then he stumbles and cries out in pain... and his hand begins to glow with regeneration energy, revealing that the process has started (due to the wounds he sustained two weeks prior) and he's trying as hard as he can to fight it off.
    • Both the Masters' Mutual Kill moments: Saxon's hand revealing there's blood on it, and Missy flaring up as he shoots her.
    • After an episode with repeated extreme close-ups of eyes, the camera suddenly cuts to an eye with a five-pointed star around the pupil — and Heather makes her entrance.
    • As the Doctor stops his regeneration, saying he won't go... The music abruptly stops, and a stranger abruptly begins to parrot what the Doctor is saying. As he says he is the Doctor, the stranger steps into view, and gives one line...
      First Doctor: You may be a Doctor, but I am the Doctor! The original, you might say...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Anyone remember Jorj, that lone crewman who shot an innocent woman through the chest and whom the Doctor knocked out with Venusian Aikido? He's presumably going to wake up eventually, with a bit of a headache and an ongoing worry about all the life signs around the ship, which never did escape the black hole! Perhaps Heather and Bill addressed all that when they went back to the TARDIS?
    • St. Luke's University is going to be wondering whatever happened to that unusually long-tenured professor, if not why there's a mysterious vault beneath its grounds, since the Twelfth Doctor won't be able to turn in his notice.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Missy decides she will return to stand with the Doctor and slays her previous self so he can't stop her. But it goes without hope, witness, or reward because he manages to get in a shot with the laser screwdriver and she dies too.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Zigzagged, however the basic plot concepts of the Doctor spending the entire episode expecting to die soon reflect both "The Name of the Doctor" and "The Time of the Doctor", while the entire sequence involving Heather is a repeat of the ending of "Hell Bent".
  • Women Are Wiser:
    • When Saxon gripes, "Is the future going to be all girl?" the Doctor snaps back, "We can only hope." Given that the Thirteenth Doctor is going to be played by Jodie Whittaker, his choice to regenerate into a woman may be influenced by this.
    • Missy is willing to put aside their meaningless vendetta, while Saxon would rather kill himself off permanently rather than reconcile.
    • Saxon managed to break his TARDIS trying to escape, but Missy has a spare dematerialisation circuit she's carried for just this eventuality. Though Saxon is quick to point out that technically he should take credit for that.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: When trying to convince Saxon and Missy to join him in what will probably be a Last Stand, he gives what may very well be the one speech that defines him best:
    The Doctor: I'm not trying to win. I'm not doing this because I want to beat someone, because I hate someone, or because I want to blame someone. It's not because it's fun. God knows it's not because it's easy. It's not even because it works because it hardly ever does. I do what I do because it's right! Because it's decent! And above all, it's kind! It's just that... Just kind. If I run away today, good people will die. If I stand and fight, some of them might live. Maybe not many, maybe not for long. Hey, you know, maybe there's no point to any of this at all. But it's the best I can do. So I'm going to do it. And I'm going to stand here doing it until it kills me. And you're going to die too! Some day... And how will that be? Have you thought about it? What would you die for? Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Mondasian Cybermen are seen herding the city's children across a street for their own Cyber-conversion, and children are the primary target of the Cybermen hordes who invade Floor 507. They are specifically being targeted because "There's less to throw away."
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • The Doctor still believes that Missy is capable of goodness and pleads with her to "Stand with me. It's all I've ever wanted." She is better than she thought she was, but he will never know.
    • The Doctor's Armor-Piercing Question to Nardole is his way of telling him that, despite Nardole's doubts that he's a good enough person to be shepherding the farmers to safety and protecting them from that point on and the often dismissive, insulting way the Doctor treated him for so long, it is Nardole who is the stronger person and shouldn't be the one to potentially make a Heroic Sacrifice by staying behind and destroying Floor 507.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Anything that would have made flesh-and-blood Bill angry now activates a laser beam weapon in Bill's Cyberman headgear.


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