Doctor Who Recap: Dark Water

This week marked part one of the series eight finale of Doctor Who, and this was an intense, jam-packed episode. There is a TON to unpack, and even more questions, so let’s talk about some of the big moments of the episode.

Of course, if you’re not caught up with Doctor Who, this is your official spoiler alert.



The OMIGOSH Moment of the Episode

This entire season we’ve been getting to know Clara’s new boyfriend, Danny. We Danny Pink as a kid, and we even met someone who is supposedly Danny and Clara’s great, great, great (etc, etc) grandson, Orson Pink.

orson pinkI was such a fan of Danny. When a section of Whovians started to balk at Danny’s habit of taking the Doctor to task, I defended Danny. I totally loved Danny. I was so excited to see what would develop between Clara and Danny. So it makes perfect sense that within the first ten minutes of this episode, Danny was killed.

Yep. Danny dies in an incredibly unceremonious fashion at the very beginning of the episode. He walks out into the street while talking to Clara on the phone. She tells him she loves him, and that he is the last person who will ever hear her say that, and then he gets hit by a car and dies. Just like that.

Understandably, this kind of breaks Clara, so she goes to the Doctor, grabs all of his TARDIS keys, and works out a plan to gently persuade the Doctor to go back in time to save Danny. Of course, by “gently persuade” I mean she drugs the Doctor, steals all of his TARDIS keys, and then tosses them into lava each time the Doctor refuses to help her.

clara threat

Of course, the Doctor isn’t so easily bamboozled. It turns out the “sleep patch” Clara thought she had put on the Doctor (which he promptly removed and put on Clara) actually only induced a dream state, and Clara only managed to toss the TARDIS keys onto the floor of the TARDIS, not into lava.

Typical of this new Doctor, his reasons for tricking Clara actually come from a strangely sweet place.


Of course, once he realizes what happens, he jumps into action. We learned from the episode “Father’s Day” (of the Eccleston era) that going back in time to bring someone back from the dead never ends well. So instead, the Doctor promises to take Clara “wherever Danny is” and get him back.


Unsurprisingly, Danny is in Missy’s “Nethersphere”, run by the 3W corporation (3W = three words). While the Nethersphere has Wi-Fi and iPads (and Steve Jobs, apparently), it seems there is one fatal flaw in the after life: despite being dead, your consciousness is still very much alive, which means you can acutely feel every single thing that happens to your dead body. The three words that gave 3W its name?

Don’t cremate me.


Missy. Freaking Missy.

After using the Doctor’s new psychic-connection-TARDIS-destination-finder to locate Danny, Clara and the Doctor find themselves in the 3W headquarters, which is lined by tanks filled with skeletons–an interesting decor choice. We’re also met by none other than Missy herself.


She first claims to be a sort of “welcoming droid” for 3W, and then…oh, and then we learn her true identity. As several of us had guessed Missy is…

master1 master2 master3

Oh. My. GOSH! I have so many questions…

The Dark Water

I have to admit, it took me WAY too long to get what was up with the Dark Water–even with Cybermen in the episode preview. It took the Doctor saying he felt like he was missing something that was right in front of his face for me to clue in. Even after Dr. Chang explains the skeletons are sitting in a substance called Dark Water–a liquid that keeps bystanders from seeing anything but organic material within the water, like this:

dark water

I should have been suspicious, but I wasn’t. Of course, after Missy reveals her true identity, the Dark Water begins to drain from the tanks, revealing the skeletons to actually be Cybermen. Not only that, but the 3W headquarters isn’t in some strange, far-off place, but in the middle of London. So you know, this is not great.

The Nethersphere

With the new found knowledge of the Cybermen being involved, it totally changes Danny’s experiences in the afterlife. The Cybermen and 3W are actually uploading people to a sort of “shared drive”–also known as or The Matrix, Gallifrey-style–while the Cyberman use their bodies for their new army. So, of course, it makes it interesting that the inhabitants of the Nethersphere can still feel pain, since the Cybermen are all about “upgrading” humans to delete things like feeling pain and emotions. It also makes sense that the three words of 3W are “don’t cremate me”. You can’t use a body to fill the suit of a cyberman if he’s a pile of ash. They just need to get rid of the “human” portion, and they’re good to go. Of course, in the final moments of the episode, Danny is presented with the choice to do just that, delete everything that makes him feel pain, and delete everything that makes him the Danny we all love.

So while this episode finally answered the question Who Is Missy?, it replaced it with about 300 other questions. Unfortunately, because next week is the season finale, I have a pretty strong feeling that we aren’t going to be getting all of our questions answered next week. What did you think of the episode? What did you think of Missy’s real identity? How about Danny’s death? Let me know in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Doctor Who Recap: Dark Water

  1. What a crazy episode. I was immediately suspicious of Danny dying, as I think it really wasn’t meant to happen at all, but now I don’t know what to think. I definitely did not expect the Missy/Master thing, though! How does he (now she) keep coming back?!?

    The best line though was when the Doctor said “Yes. You betrayed me – do you really think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?” I was like “Awwwwww!!!!” 😉

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