It's a black hole and an old enemy on the latest Doctor Who

Contributed by
Jun 25, 2017

"World Enough and Time" was written by Steven Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay.

Major spoilers ahead for Doctor Who Season 10, Episode 11: "World Enough and Time" because hey ... it's a TV Recap.

The Short Version: The Doctor convinces the less than enthusiastic Bill and Nardole it's time to try Missy out on a distress call. They end up on a space ship that's 400 miles long and 100 miles wide that's reversing as they try to avoid a black hole. While the Doctor watches aboard the TARDIS, Missy pretends to be "Doctor Who" and they run into a blue man, who wants to know who the human is. Bill admits it's her. The blue man kills Bill shooting her in the chest and leaving a gaping hole where her heart was. Bill falls over dead just as odd creatures in surgical garb arrive on the elevator and take her away to "repair" her.

As the Doctor tries to get back Bill, Bill wakes up with an artificial heart on the other end of the ship. Because of the black hole and the time dilation, time is passing much quicker for her than it is for the Doctor. Years pass for Bill as she gets to know the odd group below who are doing something called "full conversion" on the people in the ship and their descendants. But as the Doctor rushes to save Bill, it's her turn for full conversion and it involves the birth of an old enemy of the Doctor's.

The Good: Death for Bill, Missy meets the Master, the Genesis of the Cybermen

You've got to love an episode that brings back Mondasian Cybermen, John Simm's Master, and let's us know that the Doctor actually did call himself "Doctor Who" at one time. But my favorite part of this two-part finale is the moment Bill asks the Doctor, "Will you try to keep me alive?" and the Doctor responds, "Within reason."

That moment goes to the heart of the Doctor and Bill's relationship and the heart of this episode. And when the Doctor implants into Bill's mind that she should wait for him, and she does, and he doesn't make it back to save her makes the otherwise humorous and informationally packed episode turns absolutely heartbreaking.

"World Enough and Time" opens with the TARDIS arriving on a frigid wasteland and the Doctor appearing to start regenerate. That's certainly a teaser about the Doctor's regeneration in either next week's episode or the Christmas special when we get a new Doctor Who. This episode is instead about the Doctor's desire to continue with Missy's rehabilitation as Doctor and crew arrive on a space ship that's 400 miles long and 100 miles wide that seems abandoned. The ship is trying to escape a black hole and the engines have reversed. Missy pretends to be "Doctor Who" until a blue man with a gun arrives wanting to know who the human is. The Doctor rushes out of the TARDIS to stop the man from shooting anyone.

Cut to earlier on Earth with the Doctor trying to convince Bill and Nardole that they should help him give Missy a test drive. Neither one approves of the Doctor's plan and Bill admits that's Missy "really" scares her. While it's hard to understand why Bill is more scared of Missy when her travels with the Doctor have been far more likely to kill her in the past, it's nice to see a companion realize that being a companion is risky business.

Early on we also learn that the Doctor thinks both he and the Master were male initially. "We're the most civilized civilization in the universe. We're billions of years beyond your petty human obsession with gender and its associated stereotypes," says the Doctor. To which Bill replies, "But you still call yourselves Timelords." Even the Doctor can only say, "Yeah, shut up," when faced with his own superior attitude.

And then there's Missy, who's having a great time getting out and about. She call herself "Doctor Who," and when Bill asks why, Missy says, "It's his real name." Missy's pretense at being the Doctor is funny and over the top. And then Mr. Blue Man shoots Bill in the chest leaving a gaping hole where her heart was. Bill drops over dead.

Some strange creatures in surgical outfits take Bill away to repair her, and the Doctor lets them after he realizes she might be saved. After that the story splits in two as the Doctor tries to get to Bill after implanting a message that she should wait for him, and Bill's stuck in the lower part of the ship where time passes much more quickly waiting for years for him to come.

Bill wakes up to discover that she has indeed been "repaired" and now has an artificial heart. But the surgical people below are running "full conversions" on some of the people who live on the ship. Bill's BFF down below is an odd man who seems to be a orderly named Mr. Razor, and Bill takes up some of the maintenance duties while years pass. She knows she can't leave without her new heart failing, so she hangs with Mr. Razor and watches the Doctor, Nardole, Missy and the blue man on television all moving at a glacial pace. It's minutes for the Doctor and years for Bill due to the time dilation of the black hole as she waits for her rescue.

But before the Doctor can get to her, it's time for her "full conversion." The Doctor's group arrives to find Mr. Razor is actually the Master who appears to be working with Missy, and that Bill has been turned into a Mondasian Cyberman, who in her new Cyberman voice tells him she waited for him. As the Master and Missy face off with the Doctor, Missy tells him that "This is not an exodus. More of a beginning really." And John Simm's Master says, "I'd call it more of a genesis. And specifically the genesis of the Cybermen."

This episode is jammed with so much good stuff with the Doctor facing off with Mondasian Cybermen AND two Masters, not to mention the possible loss of another companion ... it will be interesting to see how the second part of the finale next week finishes out the story and whether or not Bill will survive it.

The Bad: Why kill Bill? Why wait to make her a Cyberman? And that disguise!

As long as the finale can follow through and not fall apart like the Monk's trilogy, this story has a huge potential to be important to the Doctor Who universe. But still there were a few turns that didn't seem organic to the storyline.

Mr. Blue Man rushes in at the beginning of the episode. It appears the ship is dying and he's a single pilot. However, he's armed and wants to know which one of them is human because someone is coming and he has to kill the human before it's too late. The problem is that "they" aren't interested in Mr. Blue Man. They take the humans away and as long as he doesn't interfere they ignore him. So why kill Bill? There seems to be no reason for it other than the cool image of a shocked Bill looking down at the gaping hole in her chest.

The other Bill question is why did the Master wait for years to make Bill a Cyberman? Why put up a charade of putting on a fake face for a decade and pretending to be Bill's friend? Other than the moment where the Master rips off his mask reveal himself to Missy and to us, what's the point? Surely his relationship with Bill for the decade or so they are friends has to be one of the longer relationships of his life. But okay, he's evil. Still what does he get out of the decade long charade with Bill.

Lingering Questions: The Doctor's regeneration? The Master and Missy? And what about Bill?

While there's some other questions that this episode brings up, by far the most important is that of the Doctor's regeneration. We don't know who the next Doctor will be yet and they've certainly set it up that it could be a woman this time round, but why throw the teaser in with this episode? The fact that Bill isn't in the scene could be telling, but Nardole isn't there either.

The other large question is Bill's fate. How does she survive becoming a Cyberman? Will we lose another companion? And will the Doctor be able to forgive himself for not making it to Bill in time?

And then there's Missy and the Master. It's a terrific moment when the Master rips off his disguise and reveals himself to be an earlier version of himself. He does tell Missy that the Doctor will never forgive her considering what she (as the Master) did to Bill. So will Missy give up on trying to be good? Or will Missy betray her former self?

Lines of the Night:

"We just take the TARDIS for a spin and we graze for distress calls. We pick a good one. Our usual Saturday." - The Doctor

"We had a pact me and him. Every star in the universe, we were going to see them all. But he was too busy burning them. I don't think she ever saw anything." - The Doctor about the Master

"Okay. Just promise me one thing. Just promise me you won't get me killed." - Bill

"I can't promise you that... I mean, look, you're human and humans are so mortal. I mean you pop like balloons. I mean one heart? It's your most important organ and you've no backup." - The Doctor

"Hello Missy. I'm the Master and I'm very worried about my future ... Give us a kiss." - The Master

Best Line of the Night:

"I waited for you." - Cyberman Bill

Next week:

Here's the trailer for next week's episode, "The Doctor Falls," written by Steven Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay: