Select Page

Death in Heaven

Death in Heaven was the twelfth and final episode of the eighth series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales. It saw the second death of Danny Pink, the death of Osgood and the apparent death of the Master.

It revealed that Missy had been the “woman in the shop” who gave Clara the TARDIS phone number in The Bells of Saint John and the one who had provided the advertisement that drew the Doctor and Clara together again in Deep Breath.

It also allowed Doctor Who to again pay homage to the late Nicholas Courtney, with his character, the Brigadier, appearing as a Cyberman. This was the first televised Doctor Who appearance by the character since Battlefield, and effectively his first televised appearance since Courtney’s death. He had appeared in audios and The Sarah Jane Adventures in the intervening time period.


Inside the 3W facility, a Cyberman detects Clara. She explains that she should be kept alive, as she is a target of strategic value. She says that “Clara Oswald” is a cover story, all lies – she is really the Doctor.

Outside of St Paul’s Cathedral, Missy advertises the Cybermen as big metal men and charges the public one pound for a picture with them. She reveals that the same thing is happening globally. An undercover Osgood offers to take a picture, and after seizing Missy’s weapon, UNIT officers reveal themselves from the crowd. The Cybermen use their rocket boots to escape. The roof of St Paul’s opens and more fly out.

Missy reveals that there are ninety-one Cybermen. Osgood states that this is the number of areas of significant population densities in the British Isles, meaning one Cyberman for every town and city in the world. One Cyberman detonates itself above St Paul’s, creating a dark cloud and deploying Cyber-pollen.

Meanwhile in the Nethersphere, all the lights go out. Seb tells Danny that they all might be going home. He explains to Danny that he should think of the Nethersphere as a data-cloud for storing recently deceased minds. The good news, he says, is that their bodies have been “upgraded”.

Back at St Paul’s both Missy and the Doctor are sedated and the Doctor just manages to whisper to Osgood, “Guard the graveyards” before passing out. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart states on the phone that the “first protocol” has been implemented as the cloud made by the Cyberman starts to rain into the graveyards – and only the graveyards. The water seeps out and makes the sewers and gutters overflow. The water gets into the Chaplet Funeral Home and animates the newly converted Cybermen within. One of these is revealed to be Danny Pink, who clutches the sheet of paper with his information on it.

Meanwhile, the Doctor wakes up in a UNIT aircraft hanger with the TARDIS as Kate informs him that protocols are in place and his co-operation is to be ensured, since UNIT assumes that he won’t automatically do so. The Doctor asks for Clara and Kate says that he just has to give the order, as soon as he is on the plane his word is literally law. The plane is revealed to be Boat One. Kate tells someone on the phone that the President is aboard and when the Doctor comments on the uselessness of Americans, Colonel Ahmed reveals that the President of the United States was not being referred to; instead they were talking about the newly inaugurated President of Earth, commander in chief of all armies on the planet with complete authority in every nation — the Doctor himself!

Back in St Paul’s, Clara displays an incredible knowledge of the Doctor, trying to convince the Cybermen that she is him. She even offered to reveal his true name, however another Cyberman arrives telling the other three both the lie and its cause. He looks down when she says that she is an incredible liar. He then knocks her unconscious and kills the other three who realise that he is not under Cyber-control. He is revealed to be Danny.

As Missy wakes up, the Doctor asks her why she is alive and she states that he saved her, with Gallifrey being collateral damage. She then reveals that she knows where it is but refuses to give him this information. As he leaves the Doctor reminds her of all those times she wanted to rule the world and calls it a piece of cake. Osgood quickly guesses who Missy is and brings the Cyber-clouds to the Doctor’s attention, specifically the fact that they have expanded and now cover all land-masses. In response, the Doctor offers her a position in the TARDIS. It is revealed that Cybermen have been climbing out of graves the world over. When Clara wakes up, she finds herself in a graveyard just as Cybermen start climbing out of their graves.

On Boat One, a council discusses the graves, finding that though only a handful of Cybermen had come out yet, many more were hatching. The Doctor realizes that the entire point of the 3W organisation was to learn how to Cyber-convert the dead, and is very pessimistic of the chances of stopping them now they have this new ability. Meanwhile all the Cybermen in the graveyard that Clara is in are fully out as they wander aimlessly.

On board Boat One the Doctor notes that these new Cybermen are not attacking since they are newborns. Kate reveals that they had been investigating 3W for a while, before they got a tip-off from a woman with a Scottish accent – Missy, the Doctor guesses. The Doctor reveals that Missy has been uploading minds in the Nethersphere for as long as humanity has had a concept of an after life.

Missy counts down to Osgood’s death.

While this is happening, Missy attempts to gain Osgood’s attention by singing a version of “Hey, Mickey” replacing Mickey with Missy. She whispers a secret in her ear in a distinctly Scottish accent — “I’m going to kill you in a minute.” She refers to this as her “secret girl plan”. She starts a countdown from ten, while mocking human lifespans, before revealing that she had already escaped her restraints. She then kills her guards and Osgood before thanking her for being ‘yummy’. She presses a button on her bracelet which causes a horde of flying Cybermen to attack the plane.

In the graveyard, Clara finds the one that brought her there and says that the Doctor is the one man that she would never lie to. At this point, the Cyberman tries to shoot her but cannot. Instead he takes his mask off and reveals himself to be a highly mutilated Danny, who asks her to turn on his emotion inhibitor.

Meanwhile, back on Boat One, Missy prompts the Doctor to ask her about her plan, promising that he will be surprised. She claims that by investigating those that die to save him she has realized that he wants to know that he is like her. The TARDIS phone begins ringing and Missy reveals that she both gave Clara the TARDIS’ phone number (pretending it was for a PC helpline), and placed the advert in the Victorian newspaper. She claims that it was the only way to make sure the two deeply-opposite personalities — a control freak and a man who can never be controlled – stayed together.

The Doctor answers the TARDIS phone; Clara has called to tell him about Danny. He warns her not to turn on the inhibitor, because Danny will revert to a Cyberman and kill her if she does. Meanwhile, the Cybermen are breaking into Boat One and killing crew members. Clara begins to hit switches around Danny’s power core, hoping to find the inhibitor switch.

On Boat One, Kate has alerted other organisations of their situation and rushes into the room, saying that the plane is going down. Missy turns her attention to her and says that she likes Kate before blowing out a section of the wall, sucking her out of the plane. She orders the Cybermen to destroy the plane and teleports away, leaving the Doctor.

Boat One explodes and the Doctor is thrown clear of the debris. Seb and Missy watch on from the Nethersphere, remarking on how boring his death will be. Using his key to summon the TARDIS, the Doctor manages to catch and enter his ship before reaching the ground. Seb is excited over the turn of events, to which Missy replies that Seb is merely an AI. Seb continues to be enthusiastic before Missy promptly destroys him. The Doctor materializes in the graveyard and warns Clara that if she deletes Danny’s emotions, he will kill her. He denies that he will, and the Doctor says that the difference between himself and Missy is emotion. He tries to get Danny to tell him what the cloud will do, but Danny says he isn’t fully integrated into the Cyber hive-mind and cannot see, mocking the Doctor as a typical officer who has to keep his hands clean.

Clara takes the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver and enables Danny’s emotional inhibitor. He tells the Doctor that the cloud will convert all of humanity into Cybermen.

Missy then teleports into the graveyard, demonstrating her full control of the Cybermen now assembled. She then gives the Doctor a bracelet, allowing him the same control, as a birthday gift — “It’s lucky one of us remembers,” she notes — and says that he can save everyone he wants to save and right all the wrongs in the universe.

He says he does not need an army, and throws the bracelet to Danny — which he has realized was the only Cyberman who had not obeyed Missy’s orders — who puts it on and assumes control of the Cybermen. He promises Clara that she will “sleep safe tonight” before flying into the cloud with the rest of the Cybermen and destroying it, himself and the other Cybermen.He refuses control of the army, demanding to know why she is doing this. Missy says she wants to show him that they are not so different, and that she needs her friend back. After remembering how he had wondered if he was a good man, the Doctor realizes something and thanks Missy for helping him. He declares he is not a good man, nor a bad man, nor a hero, nor a president, nor an officer (as Danny had described him). He says that he is “an idiot, with a box and a screwdriver, passing through, helping out, learning”.

In the graveyard, Missy recites the coordinates of Gallifrey, claiming it has returned to its original location. Clara threatens to kill Missy with her own weapon; the Doctor takes it from her and prepares to do it himself to spare Clara. Before he can, however, a blast from behind them hits her, seemingly disintegrating her.

A Cyberman is behind them. It lowers its weapon and points toward another section of the graveyard; Clara sees Kate Stewart lying there, still alive, muttering about her father.

The Doctor, now understanding, turns back to the Cyberman, who he realizes is Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, and remarks, “The Earth’s darkest hour, and mine. Where else would you be?” before saluting him — Kate had previously remarked that her father’s greatest wish had been to receive a salute from the Doctor. The Cyberman Brigadier then flies up into the sky, with the Doctor whispering “Thank you” after him…

Two weeks later, Clara awakes in the middle of the night to find a portal to the Nethersphere in her hallway. Danny speaks through it, saying that the Nethersphere is collapsing and that the bracelet only has enough power left for one one-way trip. Instead of coming through the portal himself, however, he sends through the young Afghan boy he killed, telling her to find his parents. He says is sorry and the portal closes, leaving the boy in the hallway along with the broken bracelet.

The Doctor meets Clara in a restaurant, the latter remarking that he is two weeks late (an apparent improvement compared to previous errors). He notes she is wearing the bracelet and assumes Danny has returned from the Nethersphere; she tries to tell him he hasn’t, but he thinks she is trying to say that she can’t travel in the TARDIS anymore.

finale-missy-angry_3095829bHe says that it is fine, and that he has found Gallifrey exactly where Missy said it was, and that, “for once, she wasn’t lying”. In fact, it is revealed that the Doctor traveled to the coordinates Missy gave him and found nothing but empty space. Closing the TARDIS door, he entered a fit of rage and attacked the console before sinking to the floor and weeping for his lost home planet. At the end of the day, Missy has had the last laugh.

However, the Doctor lies to Clara, telling her he found Gallifrey to make her believe that he will be fine without her. Hearing this, Clara changes her mind and goes along with the Doctor’s belief that Danny has returned and that she too will be happy without the Doctor. Clara asks what he will do now; he says that Gallifrey can be a good place and that he will try to make it one. He says it’s a long commute and Clara and Danny mightn’t be able to make it.

They leave with a hug. Clara asks why he doesn’t like hugging and he responds, “Never trust a hug. It’s just a way to hide your face.” As they hug, their faces each reveal their sadness behind each other’s back. As the Doctor enters his TARDIS, Clara tells him that he made her feel special when they traveled together and thanks him for it. He thanks her “for exactly the same” and de-materializes the TARDIS while Clara walks away.

In a mid-credits scene, the Doctor is brooding alone in his TARDIS when he hears someone knocking at the door, telling him that “it can’t end like this” and that neither Clara nor the Doctor is “okay”. The voice turns out to be that of Santa Claus, who enters the TARDIS in a swirl of snowflakes and asks a boggling Doctor what he wants for Christmas…


The Twelfth Doctor
Clara Oswald
Kate Stewart