TV Review: Doctor Who – Dark Water

In TV by P.N. GuinLeave a Comment

Alright, so I gave this one a week so that anyone who didn’t have a chance to watch the first part of the Doctor Who finale live would have a chance to catch up. If you didn’t catch up, that’s your fault. The finale is tomorrow and you shouldn’t be reading this – or watching that – if you don’t know what happened in “Dark Water.”

There. That’s your spoiler warning. Here goes.


MISSY IS THE MASTER!!! What?!?! Yeah, that just happened.

Missy is short for the Mistress, which is her (now) female version of the Master. So the Doctor’s fellow Time Lord and arch nemesis is back, this time with an army of Cybermen at her disposal. Saturday’s finale, “Death in Heaven,” promises an epic battle between not only the Doctor and the Master, but also the Cybermen against mankind. On top of that, Clara is trying to get her boyfriend back. The Doctor will have his hands full, and one trailer seems to hint at his losing the battle – something we Whovians haven’t really seen before. It would certainly be a new type of cliffhanger for the show, which always ends the season wrapping up the arc storyline.

Alright, here’s the recap of “Dark Water”:

Danny Pink gets hit by a car and dies. Clara is obviously sad about this (to say the least) and tries threatening the Doctor into changing time to save his life. The threats don’t work, but the Doctor of course agrees to help her bring Danny Pink back from the otherside if at all possible.

Where they end up is a mausoleum filled with tanks of water, and inside the tanks are skeletons in chairs. The facility is run by a company called 3W, and the liquid in the tanks is something called dark water (hence the episode title). What dark water does is allow only organic material to be seen, leaving everything else invisible.

What the dark water is really hiding, which they find out eventually, is that each of those skeletons is encased in a biometric exoskeleton – they are Cybermen.

Meanwhile, Danny Pink is being kept busy in the Promised Land, where he is coping with the fact that he is dead. Clara is able to communicate with him through 3W, but ends up hanging up on him.

There’s a lot of emotion in this episode.

In the end, the Cybermen are activated and break out, starting to rampage on London. Missy reveals her true identity to the Doctor. The episode ends with the Doctor in shock, Clara and the world in danger of the Cybermen, and Danny Pink dead and probably about to become a Cyberman himself.

There are some really deliciously creepy parts to this episode. The skeletons in the dark water move their heads when the Doctor isn’t looking. Missy makes her subordinate “say something nice” before killing him, then turns to the Doctor and says “I’ll be with you in a moment.” Creepiest part of all is when the Doctor and Clara learn what 3W stands for – the three words heard by a scientist believed to be the voices of the dead: “Don’t cremate me!”

Again, a lot of emotion in this episode too. Clara goes through the heart-wrenching grief of losing Danny Pink to a car accident. She threatens the Doctor by throwing all of his TARDIS keys into lava to destroy them (this, however, was just in a dream state manipulated by the Doctor). Despite her betrayal, the Doctor is still willing to deliver her and gives one of the most heartfelt comments in a long time.

Lots and lots of unanswered question, however. What is Missy (the Master) doing with the Cybermen? How is she controlling them and how will that turn out in the end? How will the Doctor and Clara get Danny Pink back from the dead, with his consciousness captured in Missy’s “nethersphere?” We know from meeting Oswald Pink in the future that Clara and Danny must have children together, so he can’t really be dead. But he is dead. But is he coming back? And round and round we go…

Then there’s the whole question about the dead in the nethersphere, or the Promised Land, or whatever they like to call it. When the Doctor hears the three words, he doesn’t believe it and thinks it is a con. He’s usually right about those things, you know? But if so, then what is it exactly and how is Missy capturing the consciousnesses of the dying and getting their bodies to turn into a Cyberman army?

The great mystery of the season – the identity of Missy – is over now, but part two of the finale Saturday night promises lots of action and adventure. Unit teams up with the Doctor, Danny and the rest of the people in the Promised Land are being converted into Cybermen, and the Doctor stands alone to protect the human race from the Master once again.

Things to look for in the finale: Does Danny Pink become a Cyberman, and does he get saved by the Doctor so that he and Clara can live their lives out together? Are the Cybermen going to turn on Missy in the end like they have turned on everyone else who tried to control them? How will the Doctor cope with facing off against the Master once again.

Remember, the last time we saw the Master was with David Tennant trying to save him so they could be together, and then in David Tennant’s final farewell episode. But coming back from “being dead” has long been the Master’s favorite entrance.

Watch “Death in Heaven,” the part-two finale of Doctor Who Saturday night, and live tweet with me at @PNGuinOfficial on Twitter throughout the show.


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