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!
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.