World Enough and Time
Written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay. Guest star: Michelle Gomez
“My name’s Doctor Who.”
Friendship drives the Doctor into the rashest decision of his life. Trapped on a giant spaceship, caught in the event horizon of a black hole, he witnesses the death of someone he is pledged to protect. Is there any way he can redeem his mistake? Are events already out of control? For once, time is the Time Lord’s enemy…
The Doctor stumbles from his TARDIS onto a snow-filled landscape, repeatedly chanting no as he falls to his knees. He begins to regenerate.
Sometime prior, the Doctor decides to test if Missy can turn good, despite Bill’s objections. They discuss it further in St Luke’s kitchen, Bill claims even Nardole will resist, but the Doctor assures he won’t as he “thought it that way”, Nardole sheepishly agreeing. Their short dispute causes the Doctor to become emotional, something that amuses Nardole, who takes a selfie with him to chronicle the moment. Later that day, Bill and the Doctor eat together, the latter convincing her it is a good thing to let Missy try to prove herself as she was once his “man crush”. After a brief discussion about the Time Lords and gender stereotypes, Bill confesses that Missy truly scares her. The Doctor tries to promise he can ensure Bill won’t die, but admits it can’t be guaranteed. Regardless, he assures her that he will be there should things get out of hand.
The plan set, the Doctor drops Missy, Bill and Nardole off on a colony spaceship facing a black hole in the hopes of saving it. Missy introduces herself as ‘Doctor Who’ to the cameras, which she claims is the Doctor’s real name despite the Doctor denying such. He soon becomes impatient with their progress, walking around the TARDIS eating crisps. Missy finally follows suit by deducing why a distress call was made. She also mocks Nardole and Bill’s roles as “comic relief” and “exposition” given their genders. They are soon met by a blue skinned humanoid named Jorj who demands to know which one of them is a human. Bill confesses, the Doctor exiting the TARDIS, taking charge as Jorj prepares to shoot Bill as creatures at the bottom of the ship begin to come up in the elevators. Despite the Doctor’s pleas, Jorj shoots Bill in the chest, mortally wounding her. Figures with bandaged faces in hospital gowns collect her body, and, using a voice synthesizer, claim that they will fix her but shall not return. The Doctor trusts them, leaving a psychic message for Bill to wait for him when she awakes.
Jorj threatens the Doctor when he attempts to scan the elevators but is threatened by Missy with her umbrella, who states only she is allowed to kill the Doctor and that it will only make the Doctor cross. Once things settle down, the Doctor explains that due to the lower part of the ship facing away from the black hole the timezone is faster than the one they are in, the top floor, using a red pen in his sonic screwdriver to illustrate. He also states that the creatures on board the ship are the descendants of the crew who went to the lower part of the ship when it got dragged towards a black hole and needed to be reversed, as decades have passed for them even though it has only been two days for Jorj. The Doctor then knocks out Jorj using Venusian Aikido so that he and the others can follow Bill. Nardole, stating it has been ten minutes for them, wonders how long Bill has been living below, to which the Doctor replies he hopes they aren’t too late.
Meanwhile, at the base of the ship, Bill awakes in a hospital ward with a cybernetic heart, too shocked to look at it. A feral caretaker looks at her before running off. Bill eventually clambers to her feet and begins to follow the noise of someone chanting “pain”, soon finding it be another patient on the ward. She goes to fiddle with its voice synthesize but has to hide as the feral man and a nurse enter the ward, the nurse turning off the synthesizer. The caretaker, revealed to be called Mr. Razor, takes a liking to Bill and brings her to his room. He explains how time passes really slow for them compared to the top and offers Bill tea. He also shows her a live feed of the upstairs, which Bill then spends her time watching despite its extremely slow pace. Months go by, Bill eventually being put to work cleaning the hospital while plagued by the Doctor’s message to keep waiting.
After being there some years, Razor takes her out of the hospital, the floor being called 1056, revealing to her that the patients are being converted in preparation for “Operation Exodus” as the humans’ finite lifespan cannot survive the journey back up to the top. After a while, Bill’s cyber heart fails, forcing them back to the hospital.
More years pass, Bill eventually convincing Razor to take her to the elevators so she can be transferred back upstairs. However, it was revealed to have been a scheme to condemn Bill to a full conversion. The prototype patients restrain her as the surgeon remarks how the headpiece he will fit on her head will inhibit emotion so she won’t care for the pain of the process.
Meanwhile, the Doctor, Missy and Nardole make it to the bottom floor, the Doctor having Missy delve into the ship’s computer history to find out what has occurred below, annoying Nardole as that tends to be his job. He and the Doctor explore deeper into the hospital, finding a surgery room. The Doctor uses his sonic to activate the light above the bed, Nardole jumping in surprise at there being partially converted patients in the room. Elsewhere, Razor approaches Missy as she researches, the Time Lady threatening to kill him if he comes closer than three feet.
The others eventually learn of “Operation Exodus”, while Missy simultaneously learns the ship came from the planet Mondas, twin planet of Earth. Razor teases her again, drawing a pistol, agitating Missy enough to confront him directly, but he discards the weapon, as he would be harming himself. Razor states that he is “worried about his future” and is surprised Missy can’t remember being on the ship beforehand. He puts his gun down and talks to Missy about his love of disguise, wondering if she still likes disguises. He reveals he is in disguise so that Bill did not recognize him as a former prime minister. Razor takes off his mask, revealing himself as the Master, in his “Harold Saxon” incarnation. He greets his future incarnation, smiles and says “give us a kiss”.
In the surgery room, the Doctor opens a door, revealing a complete Mondasian Cyberman. Backing away, he confirms he means no harm and asks for Bill’s location. To his horror, the Cyberman claims that it is Bill. Missy and her predecessor enter, the latter surprising the Doctor as they profess they have made “the genesis of the Cybermen”. Bill begins to cry beneath the mask, as the episode ends.