He’s a cunning old cove, that Steven Moffat. Forever tempting and teasing the audience, layering in references that can take years rather than weeks to pay off. As we approach the season finale attention has naturally turned to exactly what in creation has been going on with Missy, Danny and exactly where do those unfortunates who don’t make it alive to the end of the episode go when they have, seemingly, breathed their last?
In fairness, Series 8 hasn’t featured quite the level of season spanning arcs as many previous years. The mystery of Missy has taken up no more than the odd minute or two per episode and has sometimes been left out entirely. But, taken together, there have been more than enough set-ups and teasers to get the more avid viewers talking.
Remember that Lost trailer some years back? ‘It’s time for some answers!’ bellowed the voiceover. Turns out it wasn’t, not for another four or five bloomin’ series. But it’s surely unthinkable that anyone watching the Doctor Who finale won’t have their burning questions answered by the end of Death in Heaven. Time for the Kasterborous guide to those burning issues that will simply have to be sorted out between now and Saturday week…
Missy’s Body Collection
First things first: who is Missy, and what’s she up to? She collects an apparently random series of dead people (plus the odd robot), we know that. She shows them her nice garden, serves them afternoon tea, and we now know she has an assistant who helps out when she’s got too much on. Can the tombs referenced by the Doctor in the trailer that got us all talking be where she stores them?
‘The Promised Land’
It’s the place that robots really, really want to get to. At different times we’ve also had references to Heaven and Paradise, not to mention the Nethersphere – are we to take it that they’re all one and the same place? Just to add to the confusion, in Robot of Sherwood it appeared that the Promised Land was an actual, physical location which showed up on scanner screens. At other times it’s seemed to be a much more ethereal kind of place…
Who gave Clara the number for the TARDIS?
Well, the woman in the shop, that’s who – way back in The Bells of St John. On the face of it this is one of the easier riddles to answer, given that we now know that Missy had some hand in bringing Clara and the Doctor together – ‘I have chosen well…’ she says in Flatline. But of course that doesn’t explain the whys and wherefores of Missy’s grand plan…
Who or What is Gus?
John Sessions lent his voice to this monocled creator of mayhem in Mummy on the Orient Express, leading the passengers on a right old merry dance as they tried to escape the terrifying Foretold. And it looks, from a no doubt strategically released photo from the gallery for episode 11, as though he may play some part in the finale. Is Gus some kind of reanimator of dead things? Consult our guide to Gus for more on this one…
Coal Hill School
It doesn’t appear in the show for years at a time and then there’s no getting away from the place. Yes, this year we’ve seen more of Susan Foreman’s alma mater than ever seemed likely when the TARDIS departed Totter’s Lane in 1963. What with Danny’s yet-to-be-revealed past, kids taking trips in the TARDIS, not to mention Clara disappearing for weeks on end into that stationery cupboard, there’s enough to make for a very entertaining morning assembly. The Skovox Blitzer seemed to have its reasons for targeting the place – will all of this other-worldly activity have a bearing on events as they play out over the next two Saturdays?
Not long to wait now, although somehow I think part one of this season’s big finish will leave us with a whole load of new questions! There’s still time to tell us below just what you think all of these aspects mean before you settle down to watch Doctor Who finale Dark Water – over to you, Kasterborites!