When we first met maths teacher Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson) in Into the Dalek, who would have seen it end this way?
He started off as a bit of a mystery, but over the course of the series he got to know and fell in love with fellow Coal Hill schoolteacher Clara (Jenna Coleman), banged his head on tables a few times and did a weird forward flip over a nasty robot. Good times.
Also, did you know he was a soldier? You might have missed it – he didn’t like to go on about it – but I’m pretty sure he mentioned it at some point.
Of course Danny’s most memorable moments came from his clashes with the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), who he saw as an embodiment of the military officers he’d served under when he was in the army, and a danger to Clara (Jenna Coleman). For a time Clara tried to hide her relationship with the Doctor from Danny, but as of In the Forest of the Night it seemed like things had settled into an uneasy truce.
But all good things must come to an end. We thought the worst had come and gone for Danny and Clara, after last week saw them torn apart by Danny’s death. I mean, most relationships tend to falter after one of you has left for the afterlife.
But Clara wasn’t having any of it, and bravely sought out whatever was left of Danny’s consciousness – only to find it somewhere rather horrific.
Yes, it turns out their misery had just begun as Danny was brought back to earth with a bump as an unusually self-aware Cyberman, who’d just been forced to confront the child he accidentally killed and had the woman he loved deny his importance to her. Tough week.
In a reunion that probably wasn’t as touching as Clara had hoped, Danny begged her to turn off his emotions and essentially kill him all over again to escape his waking nightmare. Oof. Still, Mr Pink managed to end it with dignity as he took control of his fellow silver squaddies with a rousing speech, leading them off to destroy the Cyberman seeding clouds and save the world (as well as, later, giving up his chance to return to life in favour of the child he had accidentally killed).
Hey, he even managed to throw a couple more insults the Doctor’s way before he went – what a trooper. And while death is never certain in Doctor Who (we did, after all, hear from him one more time via a weird, shimmery wormhole thing), let’s hear it for Danny Pink anyway – a sad soldier turned gymnastic maths teacher turned Cyberman orator. Certainly a life to remember.
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