Everything You Need To Know Before Season 9 Of Doctor Who
On Saturday night (September 19), the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) will hop on the TARDIS for series 9 of Doctor Who. But before you prepare yourself for Coleman’s final Timey-Wimey adventures, here’s everything that went down last fall during the duo’s memorable first jaunt, which dealt with everything from death to the Doctor’s humanity to TARDIS addiction to a woman named Missy:
First, we met a new Doctor
After Eleven’s (Matt Smith) demise on Christmas Day, 2013, the world was ready for a new Doctor—and we soon got him, in the form of Capaldi’s gruff, Scottish-accented Twelve. In his first adventure with Clara (and the Paternoster Gang!) he defeated a bunch of androids similar to the gang from “Girl in the Fireplace,” but the real story here was the twist at the end of the episode—that the “Promised Land” these androids were searching for was real, and it was run by a woman named Missy (Michelle Gomez), who called the Doctor her “boyfriend.”
Next, Clara found a (new) boyfriend
With the introduction of Clara’s fellow teacher at Coal Hill School (!!), Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson), “Who” was finally able to establish Clara as a fully-formed woman—not just an “Impossible Girl” with a crush on Smith’s more youthful Doctor. She eventually began dating Pink, though not before she and the Doctor traveled everywhere from Sherwood Forest to inside the mind of a Dalek to an impenetrable space bank to even Gallifrey itself, briefly, on Clara’s end.
When Pink found out about Clara’s adventures in the TARDIS he was accepting, but unwilling to travel himself due to the fact that he’d only recently finished fighting a war, and wanted to appreciate the simple life he had in front of him. Clara’s travels soon became more troublesome, however, due to some personality shifts with the Doctor (more on that in a second), so Clara began lying to Danny, and making excuses to cover up her TARDIS-mania.
Meanwhile, Missy and her Promised Land made appearances whenever a character died in an episode, letting us know that a Missy-centric finale was surely on its way.
…While the Doctor tried to figure out whether or not he was a good man
Series 8 got pretty dark, for Doctor Who standards. While Clara inched closer and closer to space-junkie territory in episodes like “Flatline” (which featured Clara stepping in to Twelve’s role while he was stuck in a miniaturized TARDIS), the Doctor grappled with the issue of whether or not he was truly a good man. (Something Eleven rarely seemed to stop long enough to really think about.)
In “Kill the Moon”—easily the most divisive episode of the season, though MTV News loved it—the Doctor made the shocking decision to stay out of everything, leaving Clara to decide between blowing up the moon and basically ending space exploration on Earth (and ending a whole lot of astronaut lives in the process), or letting the moon stay and potentially wiping out life on Earth via tidal waves. There was a happy ending, but still—audiences (and Clara) had never seen the Doctor be so seemingly careless with human life.
This continued in “Mummy on the Orient Express,” where the Doctor displayed a very devil-may-care attitude towards doomed human characters. (Basically, there was no “I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry” with Twelve last year.) However, he told Clara that this did trouble him, and that he was only trying to save the many when he was seemingly careless about the few. Therefore, Clara decided to give him another chance and keep traveling with him.
Soon enough, sh-t hit the fan—and a new Master was revealed
In the opening minutes of the two-part season finale, “Dark Water” and “Death in Heaven,” Danny died suddenly after being struck by a car in the streets of London. Clara was devastated—she called his death “boring,” which was troubling—and attempted to blackmail the Doctor by throwing away the keys to the TARDIS, one by one. (She failed.)
However, hope quickly arrived in the form of the Promised Land, which was billed as a way for the dead to stay conscious and communicate with the living. Danny was transported there and greeted by one of Missy’s minions, though the Doctor and Clara soon learned that it was all a ruse—Missy was really the Master, and she was raising an army of dead to transform into Cybermen and take over the world. You know, typical Master stuff.
Things ended terribly, and the Doctor and Clara were huge liars
Strangely enough, once Missy raised her Cyberman army—including Cyber-Danny, which was devastating—Missy revealed that she only raised them as a present to the Doctor, who could control all of them at once to defeat foes like the Daleks. The Doctor rejected her gift, giving the control bracelet to Cyber-Danny, whom he realized had too much love for Clara to totally lose his humanity. He realized right, and Cyber-Danny flew the entire Cyber-army into the sun, thus saving Planet Earth.
Missy, disappointed that the fun was over, gave the coordinates of Gallifrey to the Doctor—before being vaporized by a Cyber version of the late Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, who also had maintained his humanity. The Doctor flew off to find Gallifrey, and Clara heard from Danny, who revealed that there was enough power left in Missy’s bracelet to bring one person back from the dead. In a cruel twist of fate, Danny sent back a small child that he’d accidentally killed at war, and Clara was left alone and brokenhearted…
…Which was something she did not reveal to the Doctor, who similarly lied to her when he said he had found Gallifrey. (He had not. It was empty space.) So the Doctor and Clara said their “final” goodbyes, both thinking that they were allowing their friend to live out a better life without their own baggage. It was rough.
And finally, the day was saved—by Santa Claus
Yes. Seriously. Santa Claus
Who better to save the day—and a friendship—than Saint Nicholas himself, played by Nick Frost? Clara and the Doctor revealed their mutual deception in this episode, which found the duo (and some random unlucky Brits) under the spell of “dream crabs” that gave them euphoric dreams while they were killing their bodies.
It was very Inception-y—Santa served as the characters’ subconscious minds, trying to pull them back to reality as they slowly died — but also very sweet, and by the end of the night, the Doctor and Clara were reinvigorated and back in the TARDIS, ready for series 9.