Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 13 Review: The Doctor Falls

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Thus ended the latest season of Doctor Who – not to mention the regular tenure of Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat, save for the Christmas Special.

There's a lot to unpack with Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 13, so let's get down to business.

His Last Stand - Doctor Who

Even for a finale, the theme of endings ran quite strongly through "The Doctor Falls." John Simm's Master, Missy, Bill, Nardole, the Doctor... Actually, all of them managed to jerk a few tears out of me.

It rather surprised me on the Master's count. Simm's Master was always bonkers, but his portrayal here became tragic: he not only rejected the Doctor, he actually murdered his future self rather than stand next to the Doctor.

This being Doctor Who, and Missy being the Master, there's no telling if death will stick this time.

We didn't get as much Missy/Master interaction as I'd hoped, but what we got pretty well lit up the screen. Take this exchange:

The Master: When I landed here… I had trouble taking off.
Missy: The black hole?
The Master: Too close to the event horizon.
Missy: And you screwed up. You went too fast.
The Master: I blew the dematerialization circuit.
Missy: Which reminds me, a funny thing happened to me once.
The Master: What?
Missy [throws the Master up against the wall]: A very long time ago, a very scary lady threw me against a wall and made me promise to always, *always* carry a spare dematerialization circuit! [beat] I don’t remember much about her now [pulls out a dematerialization circuit] but she must have made quite an impression.

Michelle Gomez brought a unique take on the character, to be sure, and after all Missy's development and growth, I'm sorry to bid her adieu.

Her speech about how she loved being Simm's Master reminded me strongly of Ten's gushing over Five in the "Time Crash" short. Of course, Ten wasn't fatally stabbing Five at the time...

While the Doctor may never know that Missy genuinely had changed, that she was going to stand with him, it's gratifying that the audience at least got that bit of confirmation.

Missy and the Master - Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 13

Okay, let's be honest: no way this is the end of the Master. Not in the grand scheme of Doctor Who. I do hope, however, that they don't just press the magic reset button on the character.

Let some of that excellent character development from Ms. Gomez stick!

There were a lot of fantastic quotes throughout, by the way, so you should be sure to stop by our Doctor Who quotes page for a rundown.

Bill's storyline wrapped up nicely; it doesn't exactly count as Deus ex Machina with Heather coming in the way she did, and Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 1, "The Pilot," established things fairly well.

Some fans may question Bill just leaving the seemingly-dead Doctor behind in the TARDIS and going off with Heather. Probably a bit divisive, that one.

Master Holding a Knife to Doctor - Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 13

The Doctor was (apparently) dead, but he was in the one place he would want to be in that circumstance. Yet Bill didn't exactly spend much time mourning him, either.

I'll let you decide.

I want to take a moment to extend special praise to Pearl Mackie for her exceptional performance as Bill throughout the season. She did a fantastic job and made her character one of the most memorable (and relatable) companions to date.

The Doctor's refusal to give in to the regeneration resembled, on the surface, similar sentiments expressed by David Tennant's Tenth Doctor near the end. "I don't want to go," indeed.

What came across as near-petulance with Ten, however, took on more despairing overtones with Capaldi's Twelve, especially when one recalls the quiet horror show that was Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 11, "Heaven Sent."

Pity… no stars… I hoped there’d be stars…

Oh, how much I will miss Peter Capaldi. Whoever they cast as the Thirteenth Doctor has some pretty big shoes to fill.

The final moments of "The Doctor Falls," however, revealed something I'd heard about some months ago, but still delighted me nonetheless: the appearance of David Bradley as the First Doctor.

Mr. Bradley previously portrayed the First Doctor's original actor, William Hartnell (and thus William Hartnell as the First Doctor) in the docu-drama An Adventure in Time and Space.

First Doctor Returns - Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 13

Is that just perfect, or what? (Admittedly, I can't help but see Mr. Filch from the Harry Potter movies, but still...!)

A final adventure for Twelve and One together may prove the perfect recipe to end Mr. Capaldi's tenure. The prospect both excites and saddens me.

Don't forget you can always watch Doctor Who online! And while this season may be over, Peter Capaldi returns for the one last outing as the Twelfth Doctor in the Christmas Special on December 25, 2017.

What did you think of "The Doctor Falls"? Were you surprised by the ending? Will Bill or Nardole make a return? Should either? Let us know in the comments section below!

The Doctor Falls Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (76 Votes)
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Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 13 Quotes

Where there’s tears, there’s hope.

The Doctor

Bill: You said… I remember, you said you could fix this. That you could get me back. Did you say that?
The Doctor: I did say that, yes.
Bill: Were you lying?
The Doctor: No.
Bill: ...Were you right?
The Doctor [sadly]: No.