Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
Cast: Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Michelle Gomez, John Simm, Oliver Lansley, Paul Brightwell, Alison Lintott, Nicholas Briggs.
To the coy Mistress, all will come to pass when she meets her former self, till then “Had we but world enough, and time” then perhaps the puzzle and the death of a friend might be more easily dealt with but then nothing is that simple in the world of the two part finale and especially not in the realm of Time and the Doctor.
World Enough and Time is arguably the most fitting of all titles in recent years of Doctor Who, the sense of ending across the board is one that hits home on the emotional scale and each step taken is one that makes Andrew Marvell’s brilliant poem stand out beyond the borrowing of the title used, for whilst it may be a science fiction programme, whilst there will always be those who denigrate it as being nothing more than a children’s show, the themes explored in Doctor Who are such that they play out every day in the real world, loss, treachery, compassion, honour, passion, hope and if Peter Capaldi’s Doctor has taught a generation of viewers and fans anything, it is that hope and compassion sometimes are the only options left.
The roller coaster of emotions played out in World Enough and Time are enough to have even the most die-hard and blasé fan shake hands in unison at the sheer magnitude of the script, the quality of acting by all the main players in the episode and the constant rising tension that brings out the very best in television.
From the opening gambit of seeing the start of a regeneration but not its conclusion, the plea of a companion asking of the Doctor to not let her be killed, and the return of a dangerous foe, World Enough and Time asked a lot of its fans but one that was undoubtedly gratefully received; a belter of an episode with the promise of one of the great series finale’s to be salivated over and broken hearts to be felt crumbling in Time’s wake.
From Peter Capaldi this was a piece of exceptional acting and one that matched his performance on stage in The Lady Killers, full of rage and comfort, of humour and the reason of showing terrified, of being the saviour of the day and the reason that it has all gone wrong. This is point of humanity, we often see life as the moment in which all our fears, hubris and pride can be rolled into one tiny aspect of Time and we suffer for it, we allow the conception of our being to interfere with the world around us as we try to shape it into some pleasing form without the forethought of what it does to those around us.
In Pearl Mackie, Michelle Gomez, the underrated but talented Oliver Lansley, Matt Lucas and of course the exceptional John Simm, this was a cast that had pathos and humility written throughout and in Mr. Simm, a return to the character of The Master was one so well written that the terror in the mind and soul was enough to have the audience anticipating the moment of reveal with relish and alarm.
World Enough and Time is surely one of Stephen Moffat’s distinguished moments in Doctor Who, up there with Blink and one that suggests that though the Doctor might fall, the poem of Marvell comes once more to mind that “…we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we make him run.”, the Doctor is fighting all the way.
Ian D. Hall