The BBC have today released a new trailer for the final episode of the eighth season of their long-running science-fiction drama Doctor Who. Going by the name of "Death in Heaven", Episode 12 centres on the Twelfth Doctor's sky-bound efforts to rid Earth of its Cyber-infestation, rescue Clara and uncover the true nature of a seemingly unstoppable scheme put into action by his newly-regenerated arch-nemesis, the Mistress.
As ever, readers can find the brief-but-insightful preview itself below, but for now, let's discuss "Dark Water" for a moment. Anyone who's followed our Twitter verdicts on the latest season of Who will doubtless know full well by now that we currently hold this run of episodes in the lowest regard since Season Two - which, as those misfortunate enough to remember will attest, featured a whole myriad of clunkers including "New Earth" (shudders), "Love and Monsters" (wretches momentarily) and (almost faints out of sheer fear of the very concept of re-watching the next serial) "Fear Her" - but there've still been highlights, particularly in the form of Episode 6 - "The Caretaker" - and without a shadow of a doubt in the form of this spectacular penultimate instalment.
Not only did both Jenna Coleman and Samuel Anderson take their already-exemplary performances to an entirely new level thanks in no small part to the incredibly stirring and realistic dialogue afforded to them by incumbent showrunner Steven Moffat, Peter Capaldi finally went the extra mile to impress and succeeded on just about all fronts, proving that the Doctor feels a profound sense of duty of care towards Clara in a pseudo-fatherly manner, hence his constant antagonism towards those such as Mr. Pink who vie for her attention and his challenging her on regular intervals in order to get the best out of her in a similar vein to what any parent might desire for their offspring. We're sincerely hoping that Capaldi's portrayal here is wholly indicative of what's to come in Season Nine, particularly as his incarnation has been depicted in a horrendously inconsistent manner (just take another look at Episodes 2-5 in order to gain a grasp on what we're referring to in this instance) to the immense discredit of the presumably ill-informed writing team who were tasked with penning this run's set of frequently unremarkable scripts last year.
Under no circumstances was "Dark Water"'s leading man its only true asset, of course; in fact, were it not for the Moff and (the incredibly accomplished) director Rachel Talalay's insistence on affording him, Coleman and - naturally - the simultaneously hilarious and disconcerting Michelle Gomez an ample amount of screen-time, the former actor might well have been swept up in the maelstrom of highlights the production team had in store for us here. Divisive yet dramatically charged revelations regarding the purpose of the so-called Promised Land (and whilst we're on the topic of Heaven, surely we can't be the only ones hoping that past allies and foes are thrown into the mix next week as a result of the resurrection-esque powers of the Time Lord technology stolen by 'Missy'?), brilliantly cathartic gags courtesy of The Thick of It's immeasurably talented Chris Addison, the expected yet perfectly executed twist regarding Missy's identity as none other than the Master himself and countless other elements worked together in seamless unison with the central implicit purpose of presenting viewers the finest outing of Who in some time and - in case readers haven't had chance to give it a watch as of yet - trust us when we say that everyone involved should currently be rewarding themselves to a substantial extent on a job thoroughly well done.
How does Moffat solve a problem like topping a 5* outing such as "Dark Water", then? We've no idea whatsoever, but if anyone's capable of such a feat aside from the great Russell T. Davies (or should that be Russell The Davies?), it may very well be the executive producer who gave us "The Doctor Dances", "Flesh & Stone", "The Big Bang" and "Day of the Moon", all of which flourished from a critical standpoint in spite of the extent to which their immediate predecessors did likewise at the time of broadcast (and indeed in hindsight as well). Unless yet another head-turning surprise or three lie in store for viewers in five days' time, it looks as if Clara's assertion that she "never existed" (as first expressed in the commendably deceptive Next Time trailer for "Dark Water") may well be swept under the rug from which our feet were yanked violently come the closing moments of last Saturday's instalment, although we'd advise against attempting to second guess the explosive events ahead, since the writer of "Let's Kill Hitler" is known across the Seven Kingdoms for his tendency to subvert the audience's expectations as and when they couldn't have been less ready for such an occurrence. Now, just one final question - can there really still be 120 hours separating us from "Death"'s broadcast?
Doctor Who will bring its eighth season to a heartbreaking close this Saturday, November 8th with the bumper-length (60 minutes, to be precise!) "Death in Heaven" on BBC One at 8pm.