Series 8 of Doctor Who comes to an end with "Death In Heaven" as the Master's insane plan comes to it's ultimate fruition. So...any good?
Let's get the negatives out the way. The Master's appearance is welcome, and I do love the fact that she is getting more and more insane with each regeneration, but her escape from Gallifrey is quite important, I think, particularly given the Doctor is actually trying to find his home. I don't understand why the Doctor didn't push for more, or even why we didn't perhaps get an explanation for why the Master had to regenerate. I don't mind things being unexplained, in fact I think that's quite fun. But some of the big things really need to be given some sort of explanation, especially if it's something that the main characters would want explained to them. Equally, are these Cybermen genuine Cybermen, or some sort of strange amalgam that the Master created using original Cybermen and Time Lord technology. I'm assuming the latter (not least because these Cybermen are the ones from a very future war). I can get past that one, but I wouldn't have minded that being made a little clearer.
Meanwhile, Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Michelle Gomez are superb. Gomez's switching accents because she likes the twelfth Doctor's accent is a nice touch, and Capaldi is suitably grave throughout the entire film. Coleman is fantastic, and the final scene between the two of them is very nicely played, though a little sad, really, as you get, for the first time, the sense that travelling with the Doctor has damaged a companion a little. Truthfully I never fully enjoyed Danny Pink, and I'm not entirely certain why, but ultimately I didn't care all that much when he was converted. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, on the other hand, I find I have grown a deep affection for and was seriously concerned when she was flung out of the plane. Equally I was quite shocked when the Master killed Osgood.
Quite often in this episode, television was really trying to be a motion picture, and more often that not I think Rachel Talalay succeeded in her attempts. The plane scenes were really well done, and Moffat's dialogue sparkled throughout, particularly with his rather incisive notes on humanity ("Cybermen don't blow themselves up for no reason; they're not human" is of particular note).
And of course there's the controversial return of the Brigadier. I've seen fans say this is disrespectful, but I don't really see that's the case. In truth I prefer it - after all we know the Brig has passed, and if all of humanity has been converted, it would seem a little odd not to think of the Doctor's closest friend. It does also neatly tie up the problem of saving Kate and solving the Doctor's final dilemma. It wasn't signposted at all, however, despite some mention of the character earlier on, and I think that's maybe what upset some fans.
However, do I think this episode was brilliant? Perhaps not. It fell just a little short, particularly after what was delivered so well in the previous episode. That's not to say I don't think the episode didn't work, I think it perhaps just didn't quite meet the height it was aiming for.
Nevertheless series 8 has done an incredible job of rebooting Doctor Who, delivering us a Doctor who is a hard pill to swallow, and yet one you can't help but like, while at the same time redefining Clara to become a strong character with no dependence on the Doctor (oh, neat trick with the title sequence, Mr Moffat...I admit I was guessing). It shall be interesting to see if Clara's story truly is finished or if there's more to come.