“Dark Water” is the first part of the Series 8 finale. And I feel like an idiot. I can’t believe I didn’t figure out the big reveal until moments before. I knew the Cybermen were going to be a part of the finale, but throughout most of the episode, I missed that the 3W Company’s logo was the eyes of the Cybermen. I’m both excited for and dreading next week’s finale.
The episode begins with Clara calling Danny to apologize. He’s on the way to see her and asks if it can wait, but Clara insists that she tell him some things now. Clara has all the things she wants to talk about written on stickies, but the first thing she tells Danny is that she loves him. Danny says it back, as he makes his way through the park, ever closer to a busy road. Use a freaking crosswalk, Danny! Clara tells Danny that he is the last person she will say “I love you” to, and then Danny doesn’t respond. After a few seconds of silence, and the quietest car wreck of all time, there’s a woman’s voice on the phone, telling Clara that Danny had been hit and killed.
Clara is standing in her kitchen, trying to call the Doctor. Right then, Clara’s grandmother comes in to see her, telling Clara it’s ok to cry. But Clara is too upset, telling her grandmother Danny’s death was ordinary. She’s in such shock; she’s refusing to accept what happened. She tells her grandmother that she is owed something better. Finally the Doctor answers, and when he asks her what’s going on, and she doesn’t tell him about Danny. He then asks what he can do for her, and it’s clear Clara is going to try and save Danny.
Clara enters the TARDIS as if nothing is wrong. She sets about collecting the Doctor’s keys to the TARDIS. She also tells the Doctor she wants to see a volcano. In a nod to Peter Capaldi's previous stint on the show, he tells Clara that volcanoes are “rubbish.” Clara also asks the Doctor if she can have a sleeping patch, but he tells her no. She finds one, and slaps it against the Doctor’s neck.
The Doctor awakens to find himself at a volcano. Clara emerges from the smoke, holding all of seven of the TARDIS keys. Clara throws one into the lava, the one substance that can destroy a TARDIS key. Clara tells the Doctor she wants to save Danny, and every time the Doctor refuses to help her, she’ll throw another key. The Doctor tells Clara that if he helps her, they’ll create a time loop and paradox, which will disintegrate Clara’s timeline. This means no, so Clara throws another key in. She tells the Doctor she doesn’t care about paradoxes and throws all but one key into the lava. The Doctor, thinking Clara won’t throw the last key, refuses to do anything, but she throws the last key. She sinks to the ground sobbing, telling the Doctor she wishes she could say she’s sorry, but that she’d do it again.
It turns out though, this was all just a dream. The sleeping patch Clara tried to put on the Doctor actually induces dreams, and it doesn’t work on him. Instead, he applied it to Clara, and let the scenario play out. Clara asks what they do next, and the Doctor tells her “Go to hell.” Thinking it is the Doctor telling her off, Clara accepts this, knowing what she did was wrong. But the Doctor tells Clara they’re going to literally go to hell. He tells her each universe has a myth about where people go when they die, and he wants to check it out, and that they’ll try to bring Danny back. Clara is shocked that the Doctor would help her after she betrayed him. The Doctor responds saying that he cares for her so much; her betrayal changes nothing about how he feels.
Meanwhile, Danny wakes up in an office in the Nethersphere. Seb, Missy’s coworker, comes in and tells Danny that he is dead. Seb then asks if Danny’s body is going to be cremated, but Danny says he never really thought about it. Still in disbelief, Danny opens the curtain to find a giant city. Seb tells Danny he is in the underworld/Nethersphere/promised land – whatever you want to call it.
Like in “Listen,” Clara sticks her hands in the TARDIS to find the place where her timeline and Danny’s timeline will intersect again. They arrive in a mausoleum, filled with tanks containing water and human skeletons. As the Doctor and Clara walk through, one of the skeletons’ head turns to follow them.
The Doctor finds a welcome book, which actually plays an introductory video for 3W, the Doctor and Clara’s location. The video doesn’t provide much information other than to say that they provide alternative solutions for people after death. After the video plays, Missy makes her appearance. She greets the Doctor by making out with him. She tells Clara and the Doctor she’s a welcoming android, with an intimacy setting, which seems odd considering all season it appears she was in charge of the Nethersphere. When the Doctor inquires as to who maintains Missy, she tells the Doctor she maintains herself, except for her heart. She then holds the Doctor’s hand up to her chest, and the Doctor looks incredibly confused. When the Doctor asks who maintains her heart, she calls in Dr. Chang, who escorts the Doctor and Clara into the next room to answer their questions.
Seb is still showing Danny around, and Danny asks the question that everyone thought a few episodes ago: what is up with iPads in the afterlife? Seb tells Danny they have Steve Jobs. Seb then asks Danny if he’s ever killed anyone. This is the question that has haunted Danny all season. Seb tells someone wants to speak with him, and sure enough it’s the little kid Danny believes himself to have killed during the war. Danny tries to talk to him, but the kid runs away when Danny tries to touch his hand. Seb explains to Danny that he is still connected to his body, and so anything that happens to his body, Danny will feel. Thus the cremation questions.
Dr. Chang starts to answer the Doctor and Clara’s questions. He explains the skeletons are in Dark Water, a substance that only shows organic matter. He tells them the skeletons are actually in a case that is hidden by the Dark Water, thus allowing the skeletons to appear to sit up right. Dr. Chang also tells the Doctor and Clara that their founder reversed white noise from televisions to receive messages from the dead. When he did so, he found one message being said by the dead over and over again: “Don’t cremate me.”
The Doctor refuses to believe what Dr. Chang is telling him. Dr. Chang, after scanning Clara telepathically, is able to set up a connection between Clara and Danny. The Doctor tells Clara to make sure she’s speaking to Danny, while he and Dr. Chang go investigate more. The Doctor is sure he’s missed something. He gets in the elevator, and right then the doors closed and I finally see the symbol for 3W is the Cybermen eye. Ahhhh! Can’t believe it took me that long!
Missy, meanwhile, activates the skeletons who all push a button in their tanks. As the Doctor and Dr. Chang find Missy again, the Doctor tells Dr. Chang there is something wrong with his droid. Dr. Chang tells the Doctor Missy is his boss. Missy then toys with Dr. Chang, telling him she’s going to kill him, but not until he says something nice. He’s stupid enough to say something, and she incinerates him. The Doctor notices the Dark Water levels are going down to reveal Cyberman. He also notices that there is some Gallifreyan technology, capable of uploading human thoughts and no emotions. He asks Missy how she got the technology, and that’s when it’s revealed when the Doctor felt Missy’s heart, he felt two heartbeats. She’s at Timelord. The Doctor tries to run outside of the building, but finds himself on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Clara starts questioning Danny, trying to prove it’s him. Danny, unsure what to say, keeps telling Clara he loves her. Clara tells Danny she will come save him if she knows it is him. Thinking the only way Clara can get to him is if she dies, Danny refuses her help. He tells her again that he loves her, and Clara says if he says that one more time, she’ll end their conversation. Thinking it’s the only way to save her, Danny says it again. Clara ends the conversation. She spins around in her chair to find that the tank with the skeleton has transformed into a Cyberman.
After the conversation with Clara, Seb hands Danny an iPad, giving him the option to delete his memories. Danny doesn’t know this will turn him in to a Cyberman. If he knew, he certainly would not willingly turn himself into a solider. Right as Danny, goes to press the delete button, the reflection of the kid Danny thinks he killed shows up in the iPad.
The Doctor runs down the streets of London, trying to tell people to run and hide. Missy apologizes to the crowd, telling them it’s another crazy Scotsman running through the streets. Missy tells the Doctor that the key to the human race is that the dead outnumber the living. The Doctor asks once again who Missy is and she’s very annoyed. Missy is short for Mistress, she couldn’t keep calling herself…. THE MASTER!
Are you kidding me? I mean I figured it out when it was revealed she was a Time Lord, but how on Earth did I miss this before this episode. I feel like such a fool. And now, I have to wait 7 days to see how this all wraps up. Well played, Steven Moffat. Well. Played.