Episode 5: “Time Heist”
A classic bank caper with a twist. The Doctor, Clara and others wake up in a chamber suffering from memory loss. The only thing they know is that a being called “The Architect” has recruited them to rob an alien bank. The twist is that they agreed to have their memories wiped. It was a fun fast-paced adventure with some surprises.
Episode 6: “The Caretaker”
Clara is trying to live two lives, one with the Doctor and the second as a school teacher with a boyfriend. The Doctor appears at the school as the new janitor/caretaker. He meets Clara’s boyfriend and has an immediate dislike because he was previously a soldier. The Doctor, Clara and Danny (the boyfriend) work together to stop an alien threat. Once again someone who dies in an adventure awakens at the end and is now in the “Promised Land”. The mystery continues…
Episode 7: “Kill the Moon”
The Doctor takes Clara and Courtney (a student at Clara’s school who found out about the Doctor in the previous episode) on a trip into the future to a moonbase. The truth about the moon is revealed. The Doctor forces Clara to make a choice about whether or not to kill an alien creature. Clara is upset with the Doctor and leaves to return to Danny.
Episode 8: “Mummy on the Orient Express”
Clara rejoins the Doctor for one last trip. She is quitting to be able to live a normal life with Danny. Similar to a previous episode (the one on the Titanic in space), this episode takes place on a space faring Orient Express train. A mummy is appearing on board 66 seconds before a passenger dies. Only the passenger who dies can see the mummy. The Doctor and Clara solve the mystery. Clara decides that she is not ready to leave the Doctor.
Episode 9: “Flatline”
The Doctor is trapped in the T.A.R.D.I.S. when it shrinks in size. Clara pretends to be the Doctor to tackle the mystery. It deals with a race of two dimensional beings. Like the Doctor in an earlier episode, Clara asks if she was a good doctor. The Doctor tells her that she was an exceptional doctor but good had nothing to do with it. In the earlier episode the Doctor asked Clara if he was a good man. She said that she does not know.
Episode 10: “In the Forest of the Night”
Overnight, new forests appear around the world. This adventure showcases Danny and Clara trying to save the students who were on a field trip. Danny realizes that Clara has been lying to him. She did not quit traveling with the Doctor. The Earth is saved and we get another glimpse of Missy, the woman who is in charge of the “Promised Land”.
Episode 11: “Dark Water”
Part one of the two part finale to season 8. Tragedy strikes the team, a member of the group tries to blackmail another, and most of the episode involves a trip to the mysterious “Promised Land” that has been teased since the first episode of this season. I do not want to give anything away for those who have not seen it yet. Suffice it to say that it ends up being a threat to destroy the Earth (and the universe) and ends with the revelation of who Missy is. It is a chilling reveal.
Episode 12: “Death in Heaven”
Big battles, explosions, and plot twists abound. In a thematic connection to a previous episode, part of this one takes place in a cemetery. It is reminiscent of the final storyline with Amy and Rory in the cemetery. Missy has done conquered the Earth and assembled an army only to give both to the Doctor. Her plan is revealed. Missy’s defeat is assisted by a tribute to a character who died many years ago. The Doctor lies to Clara about finding happiness because he knows she is leaving him. Clara does the same. A final plot twist occurs that ruins Clara’s happiness. The episode ends with the Doctor by himself when who should appear but Santa Claus, setting the stage for this year’s Christmas Special.
Final thoughts on Season 8
I started following Doctor Who with the revival. Each Doctor brings a different focus to the series. Matt Smith became one of my favorites so I was worried about the change to Peter Capaldi. I should not have worried. Is the series different? Yes and that is part of the appeal. With the change from the younger appearing to older Doctor the relationship between the Doctor and companion changed. Some of the main themes became loss and the necessity of lying for the Doctor. The Doctor lies to Clara. Clara lies to the Doctor. Clara lies to Danny. And Missy, while telling some truth, tells what appears to be the biggest lie of all to the Doctor. The way the scene was shot, we do not know exactly what the Doctor saw at the end when he goes in search of Gallifrey. Overall, it was a great season that has me excited for the future. I have enjoyed Clara’s time as the companion. Some rumors said that she is leaving the series but I have not seen an official confirmation. Another character I will be surprised not to see in the future is Missy. I fully expect to see her return. It was a very good season that has me excited to see the Christmas Special.