Doctor Who: What can we expect from the series finale?

Dark Water and Death in Heaven are coming soon - but what do we know about the episodes so far?

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Get excited – part one of the Doctor Who series eight finale (Dark Water) kicks off this Saturday.

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The two-part episode promises to be explosive (both literally and figuratively), with plenty of mysteries revealed, but as yet we’re still largely in the dark (even in terms of what the episode title means).

Still, we do know a few things – and have enough clues cobbled together to make some other wild speculations. So here’s what we know, and what we think, will be appearing in the two-part series eight finale…

The Cybermen are the baddies – but no-one cares

Fairly obvious, this – they’re in all the pictures – but a few images from the finale suggest the general populace isn’t afraid of them, instead taking snaps like they’re living statues. Are they the most chilled-out villains ever, or do they have a more sinister plan?

Also intriguing are the references to previous episodes – the Cybermen marching with the backdrop of St Paul’s pays homage to 1968 serial the Invasion, as does the older model of Cyberman head the Doctor is holding in the above image – but is this more than a reference? Might they be back for revenge?

Finally, the picture curiously reflects Matt Smith’s final episode promotional material, with the Eleventh Doctor holding another damaged Cyberman head – though in this case it was newer model “Handles” (Kayvan Novak). Is there some connection here, or does the Doctor just enjoy grasping a Cyber-noggin?

Clara apparently turns on the Doctor

The big shock of the series finale trailer was Clara’s (Jenna Coleman) sudden turn against the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), and her claim that “Clara Oswald never existed”. But what could she mean? It’s easy to assume brainwashing, cloning, straight-out lying or some other jiggery-pokery – but maybe she was a sleeper agent from the start. After all, it’s long been suggested that mastermind Missy (Michelle Gomez) brought Clara and the Doctor together, and at the end of episode nine Missy says she “chose well” with a newly callous Clara.

“You betrayed me. You betrayed my trust, our friendship, and everything I’ve ever stood for. You let me down.”

Stephen Moffat revealed this quote in his Radio Times episode guide, but who’s saying it to whom? If it’s Clara, it could explain her apparent actions – or it could be the Doctor’s reaction to her new-found villainy. Then again, the pictures we’ve seen so far don’t exactly show the Doctor and Missy at each other’s throats. Were they once friends? Could the enigmatic denizen of the Nethersphere actually have been serious when at the end of the first episode she seemed to refer to The Doctor as “my boyfriend…”?

Missy’s identity is revealed

FINALLY. “You know who I am,” Missy says to the Doctor in the episode trailer, suggesting a past acquaintance – though that doesn’t exclude most ideas about her identity.

Popular theories are that she’s a female version of rogue Time Lord The Master, a twisted future version of the Doctor called The Valeyard, the Tardis personified, an evil Clara (although we may have one of those now anyway) or Death itself, which the Doctor arguably could be said to have met A LOT. Whoever she is, she certainly seems to have a hold over the Cybermen, with her interior design apparently reflecting their eye ducts.

They go to a tomb

Missy’s gaff was always implied to have an association with death, named variously as Heaven, the Promised Land and the Nethersphere – but now the Doctor explicitly notes that they’re headed to a tomb. But why? Is this where we’ll see the various dead characters that Missy has scooped up over the series?

“Death is not the end,” says Stephen Moffat in his Radio Times episode guide, “but, as the Doctor and Clara discover, you might wish it was.” Ooh-er. And this skeletal button-pusher might suggest exactly what he means by that…

The Tardis gets taken

Possibly twice – we see it being clamped and lifted away as it was at the beginning of anniversary special The Day of the Doctor by UNIT (implying UNIT are behind it again, see below). Clara (in new evil mode) also tells the Doctor he will never set foot in it again, and appears to be holding the key – has it been nicked again?

We see the return of Kate Stewart and Osgood

The dynamic UNIT duo of Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) and Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) from the Day of the Doctor look to be returning to help the Doctor in one or both of the finale episodes. “Old friends and old enemies manoeuvre around the Doctor,” says Stephen Moffat – are these the friends? Or should we be looking for others? Surely we can expect an appearance from Victorian heroes Strax (Dan Starkey), Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) as well?

The Doctor ends up in dire straits

Finally, the trailer sees the Twelfth Doctor plummeting through the air, perhaps after being forced from some kind of aircraft – it looks like his time (and space) is up.

Can the Time Lord save himself from his impending doom? Will the Oncoming Storm meet his death among the clouds? Find out this Saturday, same Doc-time, same Doc-channel!

Until then, you can watch the two series finale trailers below.

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Doctor Who: Dark Water is on BBC1 this Saturday (1st November) at 8:15pm