Dark Water/Death in Heaven: [Extremely Belated] Initial Reactions

Author’s Note: This post was so, so close to nonexistence. You see, Dark Water and Death in Heaven both aired at a really bad time for me – university exams were the main cause of my anxiety, but some other factors made it hard to find the time to watch the episodes, let alone spend hours writing about them. For this reason, a few weeks ago I resolved not to bother writing a reaction post – but then I realised that it would be a shame if my reactions project had a large gap in it, especially since I want to publish a “summary of reactions” at the end of the year that explore how my opinions evolved over time.

One thing I did manage to do was write the Dark Water section before I saw Death in Heaven – so you can essentially treat it as it’s own contained set of reactions. The Death in Heaven post was written a couple of weeks after the episode, but I tried hard not to let fridge logic and the opinions of others corrupt my points, so I still consider them initial reactions. So anyway, enjoy!

doctor who death in heaven promo

A few episodes back I noticed that Series Eight has a theme, a kind of a moral if you will; everything works out in the end, but not always in the way we wanted it to. It started with Clara getting upset over the Doctor regenerating into someone “old”, and continued with the Doctor never solving his theory about invisible monsters and Danny and Clara’s relationship never quite going the way both of them wanted it to (with awkward conversations and twisted dates and complicated lies). To tie it off, the series eight finale was saturated with this concept; the Master died and humanity was saved, but the Doctor never found Gallifrey; Danny was able to save the child that he killed, but in turn he couldn’t save himself; and Clara wound up safe and got the closure she deserved, but it wasn’t the happy ending she’d hoped for. In a way everything came full circle, with the series beginning and ending with newly-regenerated Doctor and his companion meeting for coffee and ready to start a new chapter; except the events between the two encounters changed everything. Both of them were broken from the things that they’d lost and desperately tried to get back, but they both lied about it in the interest of making each other happy.

In a big way, 2014 quickly became one of Doctor Who‘s most tragic years ever.

Dark Water: A Few Initial Reactions

PLEASE NOTE: This section was written entirely before Death in Heaven aired, so it still contains speculation on the finale episode and reactions that otherwise don’t make sense in hindsight of the last episode of series 8. In other words, treat it as if it were it’s own post.

  • I’m going to start my posts as I always do…by talking about Clara’s fashion. But this time it’s really important – am I the only one who noticed that in the scene where she calls Danny she’s wearing the same dress from Deep Breath? Obviously it would make sense if she was just wearing the same thing again, but if it turns out to be a significant timey-wimey plot point I’ll lose it laughing. I’m telling you people, paying attention to the fashion pays off.
  • But laughing would be totally inappropriate, because Danny just died. Danny just got hit by a car. And can I just say, that whole thing was played out beautifully. Excuse me for saying this, but I couldn’t think of a more adorable way of killing off Clara’s boyfriend. Shut up, you know what I mean.
  • Overall, there’s still something wrong with Clara in this scene. She said everything with such urgency, like she knew what was going to happen…it’s almost like she came from a time when Danny was already dead, went back in time and called him – before realising that the phone call was what killed him in the first place. Like the paradox the Doctor was talking about at the volcano. (UPDATE: I wrote an article about this that doctorwhotv.co.uk kindly decided to publish! Read it here)

Dannyyyyyyyyyyyyy *goes into corner and cries*

  • This, my friends, is the kind of tragic Doctor Who drama that I love – it’s the exact reason that The Massacre is one of my favourite stories. Those moments when Clara is just standing in the middle of the road were just perfect.
  • I love the idea that Clara feels like the Doctor owes her – she jumped into his timestream and was willing to die to save him, so now it’s his turn to do something for her.
  • …annnd about halfway through the opening sequence I worked out what she was thinking. She wants the Doctor to save Danny. Basically, it’s Father’s Day all over again – and I never said that was a bad thing.
  • The sleep patches are back! You know, the ones all the “New Earth” people were using in Gridlock? They look a bit different this time, but I think it’s meant to be the same concept.
Looks like the CGI team were on holiday this week

Looks like the CGI team were on holiday this week

  • The Doctor must have some other failsafe way of getting into the TARDIS though. Can’t he snap his fingers? And he keeps all his keys inside – what happens if he locks himself out?! I hate complaining about piddly Moffat ‘plotholes’ when the overall plot point is amazing, but this particular one is annoying me.
  • Can I just say, that lava is rubbish. I mean, I know it’s all meant to be in a dream state so the SFX team didn’t have to make as much effort, but that seriously looked like a amateur rendering. Every time Clara chucked a key in I wanted to cry for all the wrong reasons.
  • It’s interesting, watching Clara give the Doctor a piece of his own medicine. She;s only doing what he would – it’s a sign that things have gone too far. I say it every week and I’m saying it again – any second now she’ll be out the door.
Can I just say, that's a brilliant bit of acting by Jenna Coleman.

Can I just say, that’s a brilliant bit of acting by Jenna Coleman.

  • “If I change the events that brought you here you’ll never come here and change those events! Paradox loop!” You see, I feel like this is meant to be a foreshadowing to the phone call earlier. Seems very Moffat-y to me.
  • It’s such a shame that this episode only goes downhill from here – because the first eleven minutes were some of the best ever in the whole of Doctor Who.
  • Let’s face it – “I was curious about how far you would go” basically means “I wanted to find out if breaking all the laws of time to save your boyfriend was worth it or not”.
  • A friend of mine had a real issue with the fact that the Doctor forgave Clara so willingly after she betrayed him like that. But do you know what I think? He gets it. His whole family burned, for crying out loud. He knows how far he would go to save someone he loved, and he can forgive Clara for only acting in the same way he would. I mean, he even seriously betrayed his companion (Ace) once, he’d be a bit of a hypocrite if her kicked Clara off the TARDIS.
  • The TARDIS psychic interface is back! I like that clean connection to Listen, it’s always nice when the series has that extra continuity.
  • “Your time streams are intertwined”. Yep, Danny and Clara get married in the future, or something to that effect – well, we know at the very least that they *probably* have a child. This sentence wouldn’t really make sense otherwise.
We've officially reached the weird part of the episode.

Did anyone else notice that Seb works for the “after death department?”

  • …aaaand we’ve officially reached the weird part of the episode. Brace yourselves for answers.
  • “We’ve got a burner in section 12 please.” Talk about black humour (no pun intended).
  • Water tombs? Ew, that’s weird. But the revelation towards the end of the episode makes it all make sense…
Why didn't he feel two hearts though? Weird.

Missy’s…interesting way of telling the Doctor who she is.

  • I have to say, Missy’s initial reaction to the Doctor suits the Master incredibly well. I love how hindsight changes everything.
  • The Master snogging the Doctor. No no no no no no no. No way. I don’t care if she’s a woman and a time lord and whatever, that’s a NO.
  • MISI – aka mobile intelligence systems interface? That’s so clever! I wish that had’ve been the actual revelation!
  • You can so tell that Missy was acting as the interface for fun. I mean, she was also trying to buy time, but she could have done that another way.
I love it when those true Doctor-y moments shine through.

I love it when those true Doctor-y moments shine through.

  • I loved that moment when Clara and the Doctor held hands, it was really sweet.
  • Aaaannd…the skeleton moved! DUN DUN DUNNNNNN. How ridiculously corny. *eyeroll*
  • Steve Jobs and iPads in the afterlife? HAHAHAHAHAHA
  • Although, I just found a massive plothole. Into the Dalek established that the Nethersphere contains people from the future, right? So why don’t they have something way more advanced than iPads? Oh right, I forgot, Doctor Who sacrifices plots for product placement now. Sorry.
"You have iPads in the afterlife?" "We have Steve Jobs." Okay, I have that it's Apple related, but that's got to be the joke of the series.

“You have iPads in the afterlife?” “We have Steve Jobs.” Okay, I hate that it’s Apple related, but that’s got to be the joke of the series.

  • Yay, we get to find out about the civilian Danny alluded to killing in Into the Dalek!
  • Oh, right, in the “afterlife” you encounter the people you killed. I have to say, that never actually occurred to me before.
  • Umm, yeah, the “dark water is swimming pools” joke totally wasn’t funny. I’m with the Doctor on this one.
  • “Why is there all this swearing?” “Oh, I’ve got a lot of internalised anger”. HAHAHAHAHA, that’s so Twelve. It reminds me of Jack and Rose’s conversation in The Empty Child – “you have to make sure you don’t let your mind wander when you hand it over.”
  • Oh right, we’re getting to the super controversial bit now. I’m not going to comment too much on it, but personally it didn’t bother me in the slightest because I knew it wasn’t real. And guess what? It wasn’t – duh! Because here’s the thing – Doctor Who would be shooting itself in the foot if it definitively established an “afterlife”. The sheer amount of retconning…
Aww Danny I love you, please don't die!!!

Aww Danny I love you, please don’t die!!!

  • I feel so bad for Danny when he faces that kid. I think that’s why he wanted to become and teacher – to try and make up for that. I really hope he doesn’t die, even though I’ve been wishing for a tragic, permanent companion death for a while now.
  • Okay, so I read this theory that the three words are actually “I love you”. Wow that makes sense, and sounds really Moffat-y.
  • The Master teaming up the with Cybermen. *Eyeroll*. Seriously, these people are running out of ideas. Can we not invent a new iconic enemy???
  • The pairing of the Cyberman theme with the 3W logo was genius! It was like an early reward for ‘true’ Whovians, I got it right away.


  • So here’s what’s bothering me – and I’m sure it will be explained, but it’s bothering me anyway – the Cybermen only want brains, right? Why would they put a human skeleton in a suit if they normally only like to put the human brain into a metal suit? I mean, I know that when they get desperate they do full-body conversions, but this is a full-on scheme that’s been going on for ages.
  • Wait, Clara’s birthday is November 23rd?! That could be an Easter egg, but I think it’s a part of the plot. And get this – Clara’s mother died on the exact same day as the first New Series episode (Rose) aired. I read a theory that she was actually killed in the auton attack. I also read a theory that Clara is a time lord. OHHH WOWWW.
  • Uploading dying minds to a hard drive, conditioning them and the re-downloading them into a Cyberman body? That’s smart, I’ll give em’ that one. Really, really smart.
I've got to say. Michelle Gomez plays a fantastic master.

I’ve got to say. Michelle Gomez plays a fantastic master.

  • “You’re a time lord” “Time lady, please. I’m old fashioned.” Yeah, don’t worry Master, me too. I don’t know, I always liked the sound of a ‘time lady’.
  • “I presume you have stairs” “I’m not a Dalek” AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA yes! Time lord jokes are the best!
  • Aww, Danny wanted to save Clara. That’s so sweet.
  • No Danny, don’t press delete! PLEASE DONT PRESS DELETE!!!
  • Okay, so the Master reveal was great. The overall plot was great. But Missy is the Master? Puh-lease. It would have been SOOOOO much better if she was an entirely new enemy. The Master was great and all, but I feel like it’s a bit too soon.
  • Okay, that was a great cliffhanger. I can’t wait for next week.

Death in Heaven: A Few Inital Reactions

  • Oh, I didn’t actually realise this was a 55-minute special! Maybe that’s because I managed to resist watching any of the trailers for this episode.
  • Can I just say, the ‘previously’ trailer has that recurring “Twelve action theme” that I really, really love. I can’t wait for the soundtrack.
  • I worked out what Clara was up to as soon as she started denying her identity to the Cyberman. I doubt many people got sucked into that one, but I supposed us Whovians are used to this kind of thing.
  • I loved the way they messed around with the titles though. Putting Jenna Coleman’s credit first and her eyes in instead of Capaldi’s? Genius.
While I totally love this, I have to say it just doesn't work like Capaldi's stare does...

While I totally love this, I have to say it just doesn’t work like Capaldi’s stare does…

  • Selfies with the big metal men? It’s just like the kids wanting a photo with the lion status in In the Forest of the Night. Welcome to the human race…
  • Missy and her boys are going viral? I love it! I have to say, I really, really like her as the Master. She pulls off the whole ‘crazy’ thing better than John Simm.
  • Wait, Osgood is all awesome and confident now? But she was one of us! She was the one in the corner crying for the Doctor in her Tom Baker scarf…
  • I love that she has a bowtie and converse now – obviously The Day of the Doctor had an effect! She’s always a couple of Doctors behind.
  • Kate! Yay! She’s by far my favourite supporting character. “You need to do your roots” hahaha few people can sass Twelve like that and get away with it.
  • “Welcome to the only planet where we can say…he’s on the payoll.” This is possibly the best line in the whole episode! It was mentioned that the Doctor may still be on the UNIT payroll in The Sontaran Stratagem, I love how they brought that back. I wonder though, did UNIT ever actually give the Third Doctor a salary? Like, did he have a bank account or something???
  • Wait, is that the head of a Cyberman from The Invasion, aka the first appearance of the Brig? That’s a brilliant reference!
60's throwbacks are the best

60’s throwbacks are the best

  • Wait, flying Cybermen?! *Bangs head against desk*
  • No no no no no, Cybermen can’t just touch people and suddenly convert them! This is all so wrong! And people complained about them becoming all invincible and Borg-like in Nightmare in Silver
  • This is becoming so much like Doomsday it’s uncomfortable. I mean, Cybermen flying all over London with their ‘bigger on the inside’ technology?!
  • As one of those people who actually understand how the cloud works I appropriated the explanation that the Nethersphere is kind-of-not-really a cloud…until the rain bit. Yeah no.
  • Wait the “Chaplet Funeral Home”? Is that a reference to the First Doctor’s companion, Dodo Chaplet?! It probably isn’t, but still…
doctor who death in heaven known as danny pink

Umm…isn’t there, like, a space on the form for that?

  • Okay, so I’m not super familiar with the inner workings of a morgue, but Danny’s form makes no sense. I mean, I get that his real name is actually Rupert, but I don’t see why that detail needs to be written in enormous permanent marker. *Cough* placement for the benefit of the audience *cough*.
  • Oh good, I thought Kate was evil for a second, drugging the Doctor like that. Now I can officially go back to liking her.
  • “Man scout?” Wait, what? LOL.
  • Every country voted for a world president?! Every country voted for the Doctor to become the world president?! Oh, puh-lease. I love that idea but…that’s just taking everything way too far.
  • Okay, so am I the only person who noticed that Twelve put seven sugars in his coffee? I thought that was just an Eleven thing! Now people are officially not allowed to stare when I put two in mine.
Umm, Doctor? You might want to cut down the sugar a little...

Umm, Doctor? You might want to cut down the sugar a little…

  • Oh, okay, so I took twelve minutes (hey!) to get back to the Clara “cliffhanger” that we already figured out anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Moffat, but…this is my blog and I can complain about what I like.
  • Married four times?!?!?!?! Wait, that’s new right? Right? (If someone tells me that line just made some canonically dodgy book totally canon I’ll laugh so hard). We, like, never find out anything about his family. Ever. Oh, I can so imagine the Doctor having four wives.
  • I forgot that Clara knew the Doctor’s name! She read it in the book in Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, and I presume she would have found out when she jumped into his time stream anyway.
  • Oh Dannyyyyyyyyy. He even manages to make Cybermen seem adorable.
  • Yup, Osgood is still one of us. She’s spent too long on TARDIS Data Core like any good Whovian has.


  • Not gonna lie, the Cyberman hands coming out of the graves scared me a teeny tiny little bit. Totally seeing why they decided to give this episode a 12+ rating.
  • Wait, the Doctor pointed out that Missy must have a TARDIS somewhere. That was never addressed. I wonder if that has something to do with how she comes back in series 9…
  • Missy’s song was hilarious! The Master works so well as a woman.
  • Yeah, I’m in the “killing Oswin was a shame” bandwagon. I liked that Doctor Who finally contained a Whovian! But as long as Kate’s okay I’m not complaining.
  • Wait a second, Missy’s device disintegrates all of Oswin’s clothes, pens etc but not her glasses? Umm, how?
  • Woah, Cybermen attacking the plane was creepy and somewhat unexpected!
Warning: Killing a Whovian may result in a Capaldi death stare.

Warning: Killing a Whovian may result in a Capaldi death stare.

  • I have to say, I appreciated the Doctor’s reaction to Osgood’s death. It made the whole thing seem a little more right.
  • Poor Danny. When Clara said that “the Doctor is the one man I’d never ever lie to” that must have been just a little bit heartbreaking – I mean, considering how much she lied to him…
  • Aww, seeing Danny’s Cyberman face was heart wrenching! I love him, why does he have to be like that.
Eww...aww...I'm about of reactionsss

Eww…aww…I’m about of reactionsss

  • Missy’s Scottish accent is hilarious! Okay, I really do think she makes a great Master.
  • So Missy was the ‘woman in the shop’! Ha, we all knew it!
  • Clara trying to disable Danny like he asked was heartbreaking. Finally she was prepared to do something selfless, in a way it felt like the series had come full circle.


  • Missy and Seb watching the Doctor’s fall play out like a movie was pretty hilarious. Sort of like a twisted version of the usual tele conversation I suppose.
  • Of course, Seb was an AI! Duhhh. Better yet, I love that he was impressed by the Doctor’s actions. They all become one of us in the end.
  • Wait, Missy used her killing device thingy on an AI? But that’s…oh, never mind.
  • I liked that the Doctor was phased by Danny’s cyber-look. The fact that he’s hard as steel (no pun intended) but falters a little at times is my favorite thing about him,
I swear this scene gets sadder the more you watch it.

I swear this scene gets sadder the more you watch it.

  • I liked how, for once, the Doctor was put in the truly impossible situation – Clara’s boyfriend or the universe. It’s the companion who normally gets stuck in these debacles, there was something refreshing about the tables being turned – and Danny pointing that out to the Doctor.
  • …and yet, Clara stepped in and made things easier for the Doctor. You have no idea what this scene is doing to me right now.
  • Hold on, Missy Poppins? Yes! I mean I always said she was a Time Lord – her handbag is bigger on the inside for crying out loud! Wait, I know! Mary Poppins is set in an alternate universe in which Missy turned good. *NEW HEADCANON*

Good to see that Missy drezzed for the occasion.


  • Hahaha, Missy ordering the Cybermen around was great! It distracted me so much I didn’t notice it didn’t affect Danny.
  • Woah, she’s giving the Doctor an army? I mean, she has a good arguement, but she’s still nuts. Way more nuts than any of the previous masters.
  • I like how the whole “good man” arc was tied up. And although I’m normally not a huge fan of ‘flashback montages’ in Doctor Who, at least they’ll shut up the people who clearly haven’t been paying attention to what Moffat has been doing all year.
  • “I am an idiot! With a box and a screwdriver, passing through, helping out learning…I don’t need an army, never have…because love is not an emotion! Love is a promise.” Best. Twelve. Speech. Ever.
I still can't decide if this is cure or creepy.

I still can’t decide if this is cure or creepy.

  • Okay, so am I the only person seeing the irony in Danny becoming the commander of the army?
  • “This is not the whim of a lunatic” “Excuse me” hahaha even when it’s not her moment Missy is still funny.
  • The scene where the Doctor stop Clara from killing Missy sums up everything I love about their friendship. They’re total equals (not unlike Four and Romana) and true best friends – even Amy didn’t quite get to that point, she looked up to the Doctor too much.
  • Oh, right, we’re at the Brigadier bit. Yeah, still not sure how I feel about this. I thought it was really adorable that he ‘saved’ the Doctor and (most importantly) literally saved Kate, but it was just too implausible for me to accept. The weird thing is, I’m normally a sucker for trading in implausible for adorable – I was one of those people who loved Clara comforting child Doctor in Listen. But I just think this was a step over the line…
  • I should have known Danny would save the kid. That is so him. That moment when you realise In the Forest of the Night was kind of leading up to that…
  • We was officially approaching the scene that made me forgive everything else I disliked about the the episode; and possibly the best ever scene in all of Doctor Who.
All he can see is darkness...both literally and metaphorically...

All he can see is darkness…both literally and metaphorically…

  • The bit where the Doctor bashes up the console? No words. I am officially attached to Twelve.
...and, I'm going to go all English teacher here and point out that the bracelet represents Clara's dark place too.

…and, I’m going to go all English teacher here and point out that the bracelet represents Clara’s dark place too.

  • It saddens me how Clara’s lying method came back to bite her in the saddest possible way.
  • “Never trust a hug. It’s just a way to hide your face.” *Goes off into corner and cries*
  • In that last bit, when Clara thanked the Doctor for making her feel special, I had the worst kick in the gut. Even though I knew she’d be back in the Christmas special, the thought of her leaving still really upset me. I can’t imagine her going for good.
  • Wait, there’s a stinger! That’s just plain cheeky! I have to say though, it didn’t fail to make me excited for the Xmas special!

Next We- Oh, right…

Series 8 may be over, but stay tuned for my reactions to Last Christmas!

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Posted in Doctors, New Series Reactions, New Series Tele-Stories, Projects, Series 8, Story Media, Twelfth Doctor

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