Death and Heaven   Leave a comment

Yeah, I haven’t commented on the season finale yet. I’m sure I will. Probably in bits and pieces though; there was just SO MUCH in there, so much that I loved, so much interesting juicy stuff. It may take me a bit to get to all of it.

The bit I want to look at now is the Brigadier.

Having watched a fair amount of classic Who, I love the Brigadier. I get his significance to the Doctor, as friend, ally, and foil. I have enjoyed every moment of their relationship on-screen. He is, as someone said, the Doctor’s Watson: dear and trusted friend, tolerant and forgiving, often opposed, but always on the same team in the end. I shed a tear when the actor died, having never had his moment on New Who. We watched his closest approach, an appearance on The Sarah Jane Adventures, and thoroughly enjoyed his autobiography as well.

Nicholas Courtney’s passing has been acknowledged on the show: in ‘The Wedding of River Song,’ the Doctor puts a call through to the Brig’s nursing home only to find out he has died. It’s a very touching moment for the Brig’s fans. Later, in ‘The Power of Three,’ the Doctor meets his old friend’s daughter, UNIT scientific adviser Kate Stewart. Kate makes an appearance in the anniversary special ‘Day of the Doctor,’ and another in the current episode, ‘Death in Heaven.’

Kate’s father is a powerful presence in this episode. His portrait graces the conference room of the UNIT plane, and Kate and the Doctor discuss him briefly. It’s a lovely moment. Still, I wasn’t expecting what happened next. I wasn’t expecting Kate to die – I find I can’t take any deaths under Moffat’s reign seriously, even Osgood’s hasn’t hit me yet – but I wasn’t expecting her to be saved in quite that way.

I burst into tears on the reveal. The music playing – which I recognized but didn’t place – is the same music from ‘The Wedding of River Song.’ Kate says something about her father; the Doctor looks up and sees a Cyberman, and then you know. Of course the Brig, brought back to life, would do his duty – for home and country, to paraphrase Yvonne Hartman. Of course he would look after his daughter. And to receive a salute from the Doctor, the thing his daughter said he always wanted? It’s a perfect moment, a gorgeous moment, and a wonderful acknowledgment of a character – and an actor – whose impact still reverberates almost fifty years after his boots first stepped on screen.


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Posted November 13, 2014 by Elisabeth in Companions, Season 8

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