Oh, to live in a day without spoilers. Most of the time, I don't mind them so much, to be honest. But no two ways about it: Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 12 would have been perfect without all the spoilers.
Two of the big reveals at the end of the episode – the returns of the classic Mondasian Cybermen and John Simm as the Master – were both spoiled by the BBC's own promotional material! How frustrating.
Clearly, they were meant to be shocking twists. But it's hard to be surprised when you already know they're coming. In context, they pulled it off very well.
Too bad about the BBC publicity machine, I suppose.
For casual fans of Doctor Who, the Mondasian Cybermen probably left them scratching their heads a bit, especially if they only started watching since the series returned in 2005.
They were a big part of Classic Who, and it's a distinct pleasure to have them back again in all their creepy, low-budget '60's effects glory – which actually worked with the tone of the episode.
Bill wandering through the darkened hospital wards with the half-converted people in constant pain hit the right notes in the horror story in which she found herself.
Kudos to John Simm for his portrayal of Razor/The Master. This incarnation definitely seems less bonkers than the last time we saw him but no less deviously evil.
Razor: Do you want the good tea or the bad tea?
Bill: What’s the difference?
Razor: I call one “good” and the other “bad.”
Bill: ...I’ll take the good one.
Razor: Excellent. A positive attitude will help with the horror to come!
Bill: What horror?!
Razor: Mainly the tea.
His off-kilter but seemingly harmless persona as Razor reminded me a great deal of another sci-fi character from Babylon 5 back in the '90s, Zathras used similar speech patterns and was also strange but seemingly harmless.
Too bad "Razor" wasn't nearly as friendly as poor Zathras.
As Razor, the Master strung Bill along for months, years, then cool as a cucumber led her into a conversion theater and then went to confront his future self and the Doctor!
Very, very chilling stuff there, when you stop to think about it. The reveal that Bill herself had been fully converted definitely tugged at the heart(s), too, with that cruel single tear.
This is exactly the sort of thing that Steven Moffat was so well known for when he was simply a writer.
Who can forget Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 9, "The Empty Child," or Doctor Who Season 3 Episode 10, "Blink"? Both were very creepy monster stories that became iconic for the series.
While I'm not sure that "World Enough and Time" will reach that particular height, it's certainly worthy of praise.
The title itself is a line from a poem called "To His Coy Mistress," which is almost certainly meant to reference Missy in this context.
The poem is about the speaker's romantic love for his mistress, saying how it transcends the bonds of time itself. (Of course, it's also meant to entice the object of his affections to come sleep with him, but still.)
In terms of this episode, it's definitely possible that it's intended to refer to the Doctor's own peculiar relationship with the Master/Missy.
The Doctor [about Missy]: She’s the only person I’ve ever met who’s even *remotely* like me.
Bill: So, more than anything, you want her to be good?
Nardole: Are you having an *emotion*?
(Be sure to stop by our Doctor Who quotes page for some of the greatest hits from this story.)
I'm desperately curious to finds out what will happen when two Masters get together in the same room. Given how much the Doctor enjoys working with himself, I expect things to get... explosive in the finale.
I should also at least mention the very brief teaser segment at the beginning with the Doctor stumbling out of the TARDIS on a frigid landscape and apparently regenerating.
After the less-than-thrilling regeneration fakeout on Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 8, "The Lie of the Land," we're ready for the real one we've all been expecting. That said, one has to wonder if Steven Moffat isn't pulling a fast one on us somehow.
Expectations can be a cruel mistress. We saw the Doctor crying out defiance as he collapsed, but what were the circumstances? Obviously, we don't know yet. Hopefully, Mr. Moffat has something good in store for us.
Remember, you can watch Doctor Who online! And don't miss the grand finale, Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 13, "The Doctor Falls," when it airs July 1, 2017, at 9/8c on BBC America!
Did you enjoy "World Enough and Time"? Were you spoiled by the promos, or did the sudden appearance of classic-version Cyberman and the Simm Master take you by surprise? Will Bill make it out of this one?
Let us know in the comments section below!