Nine big questions raised by Doctor Who finale Death in Heaven

Is everyone really dead? Is Clara coming back? Where is Missy's Tardis? Who was that masked man? And what about Orson Pink?

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A thrilling, frightening, emotional and at times bleak Doctor Who finale revealed Missy’s plans for the Doctor but left us with many more questions than it answered. Here are nine of the biggest chin-strokers we’ve been tackling since Death in Heaven…

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1. Is the Master dead?

Was Missy really vaporised? Her disappearance in a blue haze looked more like a teleport effect to us… Over the aeons, the Master has been shot, burned and aged into a rotting corpse but has always found a way back. He’s been ritually raised from the dead, has slipped into a new body after his execution and (like the Doctor) been given a whole new regeneration cycle. So it’s hard to believe this damp squib of a death is the end for Missy.

Further reading

2. Is Danny dead?

Danny definitely died – he was hit by a car and ended up in the morgue. But instead of going elsewhere, his consciousness was uploaded to the Nethersphere. And then downloaded into a Cyberman body. So he was kind of alive again. Oh, but wait – then he led the rest of the Cybermen up into Missy’s deadly clouds where they all exploded. So, dead then? Ah, but then, when he valiantly gave up the chance to return to the land of the living, we heard his voice through that shimmery wormhole thing. Rather than “Is Danny dead?” perhaps the questions should be “Where is he now?” and “Will he be back?”

3. Is Osgood dead?

Doctor Who fans love Osgood because Osgood is a Doctor fan. First introduced in the 50th anniversary special, the UNIT scientist wears cosplay to the office: first a Tom Baker scarf, then a bowtie ala Matt Smith. She’s a firm fan-favourite and her murder by Missy struck hard, especially as she seemed to have secured a place on the Tardis as the next companion. Even Missy called her “yummy,” moments after zapping her with that horrible laser-smartphone thing. 

But could Osgood come back? Actress Ingrid Oliver is certainly leaving the door open, telling the BBC: “Hey it’s Doctor Who, right? So anything could happen, surely?” Well, you know, time travel – so obviously a resurrection could be on the cards. But even without the blue box there are a couple of options.

As noted above, ‘vaporisation’ special effects are nice and vague and are often revealed to be a disguised teleportation (although this did look a bit more red and burny than the cool blue version that dispatched Missy). You only have to think back to the episode Time Heist for an example: those suicide pills actually transported the Doctor’s gang to safety. 

Also, it is possible that Missy’s weapon is a modern update of the Master’s old Tissue Compression Eliminator. This used to shrink victims down to doll-size through “matter condensation.” An improved version would presumably mean better shrinkage. Could a tiny, subatomic Osgood still be alive and well, living in Missy’s smartphone?

4. Is Clara coming back?

Well she’s not dead, at least… The short answer is, yes, we should expect to see Jenna Coleman make an appearance in the Christmas special. Her name is on the cast list and we’re assuming Clara is the “she” Santa says needs “to get sorted”. True, Steven Moffat loves to mislead us – but really, was that final hug really the send off she deserves? No. And there’s also that brief glimpse of a familiar looking figure in a dressing gown in the Christmas special trailer

Further reading

5. Is Gallifrey coming back?

It’s true what they say: you can’t go home again, especially if you’re the Doctor. The 50th anniversary special saw his home planet of Gallifrey saved from destruction and shunted into another dimension. Last year’s Christmas special saw the Time Lords send the Doctor a whole new set of regenerations through a crack in the universe (well, it beats a Round Robin). Then Missy turned up. Was Gallifrey back? 

Well, as we saw, the co-ordinates Missy gave the Doctor were a lie, a sector of empty space. But the fact remains that Missy must have come from somewhere. Also there is the question of why Missy would be the only Time Lord to escape. If there were limited tickets back to the normal universe, a homicidal megalomaniac is unlikely to be first choice as an ambassador. Of course, she is a genius and might have stolen a Tardis, but why isn’t the universe full of Time Lords again? Could Missy be holding her home planet hostage? We can’t know the answer to this yet, mostly likely because Steven Moffat hasn’t made one up, but a homecoming can’t be too far off.

6. Where is Missy’s Tardis?

As the Doctor noted, Missy had been stealing souls throughout history, and “must have a Tardis somewhere.” Bear in mind that unlike the Doctor’s police box, most Tardises/Tardi have a working chameleon circuit that allows them to blend into their surroundings. The Master’s Tardis has previously taken the form of a grandfather clock, a bush and a blue police box (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery). So where is it? One candidate is the historic St Paul’s Cathedral in London. After Missy’s remodelling, it’s now bigger on the inside, containing Missy’s entire Cyberman army. However the Doctor puts that down to simple ‘dimensional engineering’, and surely Londoners would have noticed St Paul’s fading in and out of existence while making a noise like an asthmatic hoover?

Our money is on this red telephone box, seen in the background of some shots.

Now granted, no attention is ever drawn to it, and many would argue it was just a prop to make Cardiff’s shopping district look more like London. But just you wait. Moffat has big plans for this random telephone box. You’ll see.

7. Who was the Cyberman that saved Kate Stewart?

If you’ve only being watching Doctor Who since it’s return in 2005 (and didn’t follow CBBC spin-off the Sarah Jane Adventures) then, whether you realised it or not, the series eight final was your introduction to one of the Doctor’s best and oldest friends – UNIT founder the late Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge Stewart, aka The Brigadier, aka The Brig. After the Doctor realised that a Cyberman had saved Kate Stewart’s life, and Clara heard her muttering about her dad, the penny dropped. The Brigadier had been among the dead resurrected as Cybermen. He duly got the salute he’d always wanted from the Doctor before blasting off into the sky, perhaps to paint himself red and gold and fight evil – or maybe one day to return as a companion even better than K9.

Further reading

8. What about Orson Pink?

The Doctor and Clara met Danny’s descendant from the 22nd century at the end of the universe after he’d been catapulted there by a misfiring time travel experiment. But with Danny dead, how can Orson ever exist? The answer to that could be in another question…

9. Is Clara pregnant with Danny’s baby?

When Clara meets Orson for the second time, he gives her Danny’s old toy solider, calling it “a family heirloom”, while even the sceptical Doctor admits he is “something to do with” Clara’s timeline. Leaving aside any timey-wimey nonsense (or Danny playing away, which seems less likely), the only decent explanation for orphan Danny’s descendant Orson having existed in the future is that Orson and Clara are related and she is already carrying Danny’s child.

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Further reading