Before we get started on the fun part, I am going to let myself off the leash for a while. I have tried here to be as positive as I possibly can, because I hate to – for lack of a better expression – yuck someone’s yum, and this is a series of posts about Doctor Who, so if it frustrates me so much, then why am I watching? (Answer: because I have committed, goddammit, because I love Clara and clothes and gorgeous, underrated one-offs like “The Beast Below” and “Rings of Akhaten). My feelings about this finale and the season it summed up were … largely not positive. If you enjoyed it, that’s awesome – skip to below the picture of Missy and you’ll get all my raves and the clothes. Anyone who wants to join me in a rant, keep reading here.
On its own, the finale was a fantastically-constructed and -executed pair of episodes. Taken in the context of the show itself and this season, specifically? It was a huge disappointment. “Death in Heaven” especially felt like a retread of “A Good Man Goes to War” (Body horror? Check. Young girl who adores the Doctor and who you are kind of made to believe might be the next companion until her unfortunate demise? Check. Doctor being convinced that he is Just Like the bad guys he fights? Check. In this episode, Michelle Gomez ably played both the River and Madam Kovarian parts).
I have also been on record questioning this new Doctor, and with a full season under my belt, my opinion has not changed. He’s not “crotchety” in a cute way; he’s mean, callous, and condescending, and no amount of “forgiving” Clara for her betrayal will be enough to mitigate that for me (side note: let’s not congratulate the Doctor too much for that moment, okay? He knew Clara was out of her mind with grief and despair and he decided this was a good opportunity to … test her? To push all her buttons even though he was always going to help her anyway? Why – for his own amusement or edification? To prove a point? No matter which way you slice it, it’s cruel). There was virtually no arc for this character this entire season: no reckoning and no consequences.
And that’s what it boils down to for me: consequences. I am consistently frustrated with the way in which the Doctor consistently avoids responsibility; in this episode, Missy shows him what a monster he has become (again, something River also showed him only two seasons ago in an episode written by this same person), and his reaction is to feel about for about two seconds and then say,” yeah, well, I am just an idiot but my friends are nice people, so they’re going to save the day this time. Here Danny, you deal with it.” He could not take less responsibility for the people he has hurt or the lives he has lost if he tried.
So if he doesn’t care, why should we care for him? Watching the Doctor wallow in his own guilt wouldn’t be bright happy fun times, agreed, but that’s why these “edgy” claims about “darkness” fall flat to me: Moffat wants to drop bodies left, right, and centre (and then raise them up in shiny silver suits), but god forbid the Doctor should actually be shown to live with that guilt. What’s the point of “going dark” if the consequences aren’t felt by your main character?
The bright spot in all of this for me was Missy. I thought she was fantastic, and my inner feminazi is just gleefully crowing at all these backwards old dudes crying their eyes out because the Master is a woman now, and everything is ruined and they’re leaving (as my mother would say, “BYE! Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!”). Was the writing for Missy massively different from what I’d imagine the writing would be for “evil River Song”? Not especially, no. It wasn’t Moffat but Michelle Gomez who made this character the swaggering, grinning, twirling, scenery-chomping delightful nightmare she was.
On the acting front, I also have to give credit to Jenna Coleman, who did amazingly in these two episodes, and has really knocked it out of the park this entire season. She’s fantastic, and if indeed she is leaving the show, I hope there are big things in her future.
Speaking of Clara, let’s talk clothes (finally). In “Dark Water,” she repeats a couple of pieces from earlier episodes, specifically “The Caretaker.” These pieces include the teal geometric shirtdress (also seen in the series 8 promo poster), and the green Mac jacket. You’ll remember that both the dress and the jacket were sold out by the time “The Caretaker” hit the air and obviously that hasn’t changed, but you can see some of the alternatives I found here.
Moving on to the new piece Clara is wearing. It’s a navy-and-orange triangular geo-print dress; it’s by Sessun and it’s sadly sold out (and at over $200, was a little rich for my blood anyway). As in the case of other very unique pieces, this is hard to replicate exactly, so I’ve broken it down into its two elements (print and colour combo) and found a couple of alternatives for each.
As always, items that are available in plus sizes are noted with a single asterisk, like this.* Items that are exclusively plus-sized are noted with two asterisks, like this.**
First up, some geometric/”tribal” print dresses in a fit-and-flare shape. I’ve tried to stick to colour combinations that feel fall-appropriate; if you are the kind of person who rocks neon and pastels every season, get Googling because there are quite a few summer dresses on sale.
My first pick is this black-and-orange tribal print dress,* which has the same subtlety as the dress Clara wears in these episodes.
Here’s a close-up of the print to give you a better idea:
If you’re feeling something a bit bolder, you can always go with this colourblock geometric print dress.* This dress’s larger print and colour palette really evoke that 70s vibe that has permeated many of Clara’s costumes this season.
The print might be summery, but the black-white-and-cranberry colour combo of this tribal print skater dress** give it a very seasonally-appropriate feel. In 95% cotton, this should be super-soft, but it’s got an open back, so make sure you grab a cardigan!
If it was Clara’s dress’s colour combo that caught your eye, I’ve found a handful of great blue and orange dresses in a variety of different prints. Let’s start with the standby: polka dots. Here’s a great orange-on-blue polka dot day dress.
Another classic print is floral. Clara hasn’t been wearing much floral this season, beyond the parent interview skirt in “The Caretaker.” Again, that was a floral with a definitive 70’s influence, so that’s what I found. First up is this groovy navy floral day dress with a lace upper.
I also found this orange geometric tile-print ruched-front dress, which flips the colour combo.
Finally, let’s end on a whimsical note. We’ve seen Clara wear a couple of slightly cooky pieces this season as well (eye-print blouse, anyone?) and if that is your style, then you are in luck, because I found this hilarious navy-and-orange dinosaur print dress.*
However, Clara was not the only well-dressed woman in this episode. As mentioned above, I absolutely adored Missy, so I thought I’d include her in this round-up as well.
Now obviously Missy’s costume was not sourced at Topshop or anywhere else; the DW costumers meant for it to look like a costume, because the character very deliberately meant for it to be a costume. Performance and theatricality has always been a huge part of the Master/Mistress character; she never met a pose, a vogue, or a vamp she didn’t like, and her costume is just another extension of yen. I think we all know exactly who Missy’s costume was meant to evoke:
The resemblance is striking, no? And thematically it makes sense: its a nice nod to schoolteacher Clara, and really, if you’re going to swoop down on your former best friend with a bag (okay, a cathedral) full of tricks and give him a good scolding, who better to dress as than fiction’s most famous nanny?
Now there are 18,347 awesome other blogs that have the cosplay thing down pat, so I am not even going to attempt to go there. Where I will go, however, is in incorporating some Missy style into your everyday street style.
First up: a purple peacoat. Again, if you’re looking to replicate that very Victorian overcoat, a costumer or vintage clothier is probably your best bet and it is likely going to cost you. I did manage to find a handful of great purple peacoats to add that splash of Missy style to your wardrobe.
First up is this plum velvet overcoat; its colour, fabric, and cut make it the closest match I could find. Not the warmest by a long shot, but definitely very cool.
If you are looking for something more practical but still with a dash of flair and you’re willing to bend on the colour a bit, check out this wine-coloured coat with the navy piping and buttons …
… or this gorgeous ruffled peacoat,** also in a dark burgundy hue.
If you’re looking for something really basic but closer to that original aubergine, I’ve also got you covered. First is this very tweedy, professorial purple basket weave peacoat …
… and second is this swingy wool-blend purple skater coat.**
It looks like what Missy is wearing under that coat is a white button-down, and I know that if you are inclined to have a white button-down, you probably already have one, so I am not going to round any up for you here (besides, I already did!). Now, I said it looks like what Missy is wearing under there could be just your average button-down, but I would not be surprised if it was something like this:
Wouldn’t she love this? It’s got that buttoned-up nanny vibe with the side offering just the merest suggestion of bad-girl bondage, all dressed up to very, very pretty indeed.
Let’s end up on Missy’s main accessory: a cameo brooch. As always, etsy is your friend here. Enter “cameo brooch” (or “cameo necklace” if you are not a brooch person) and you are golden. There are an array of different colours, and different cameo figures (including some great pop and steampunk ones, like Darth Vader or a Kraken). For our purposes, here is a a very classic, Missy-eque version.
Now that Doctor Who is done (until Christmas), I’ll probably be focusing on clothes from my favourite camp-fantasy television series, Once Upon A Time, as well as adding a few more films and opinion pieces. Hope to see you around!