Well…that actually worked. After many episodes of rushing through a lot of stuff with a lot of plot and a lot of characters, the series finale (aside from the holiday special) slowed things down, let the story play out, and actually worked.
As for the new lore, eh, it doesn’t bother me much.
Now, I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t signs that there was too much going on once again. But somehow it still worked. Yes, Ashad was kinda stupid in the end, what with his plan being to destroy all organic life until there was only mechanical life left, even planning to purge himself and the other Cybermen of their own organic parts, but he sure did take a lot of time listening to the Master for some reason. And then the Master used his shrink ray device on Ashad, killing him by turning him into an action figure. I guess Ashad decided to not kill the organic Master because he showed the half-faced goober where Gallifrey was?
Never mind. The point was the Master was going to use the Cyberium and the Cyber-conversion process to make the dead Time Lords into a new form of regenerating Cybermen, the Cybermasters. With an army of those, the Master can conquer the universe, and all because the Time Lords kept the secret of the Timeless Child from the rest of the Gallifrey, and the Doctor, captured, was now going to be trapped in the Matrix for all eternity in order to torture her the same way that knowledge tortured him.
See, the Timeless Child was a child found in space by a Gallifrean explorer, a child that had the power of regeneration and joined the Division to keep the peace, but when the Child, as an adult, decided to retire, they wiped his memory. By then, the other Time Lords had figured out regeneration for themselves, but only for 12 cycles.
And yes, the Doctor is the Timeless Child, given all of her memories in the Matrix thanks to a vision of the Fugitive Doctor and some deep concentration that includes a look at any character that had ever been portrayed as the Doctor in any version of this show. Also, since the Doctor is amazed by learning new things, unlike the Master who reacts with fear on this sort of thing, she takes it all in stride.
Oh, and that Irishman in the previous episode was how the Doctor’s mind remembered the events she’d been forced to forget.
So, as Graham, Yaz, and Ryan fight off Cybermen with the last of the human race (down to three before too long), the Doctor has to deal with the Cybermen and the Master, and find a way to defeat both before things go really bad. Ashad had a death particle in him that can destroy all organic life on any given planet, and Ko Sharmus has a bomb that can blow up the tiny Ashad and take out the Cybermasters, the Master, and probably whatever is left of Gallifrey. The Doctor manages to hustle her friends and the new characters onto a TARDIS and goes off to sacrifice herself, something the Master says she would never do, and for once he’s right.
Then Sharmus shows up to do it himself because his resistance group was why the Cyberium was in the past in the first place, and he figures he needs to make up for not sending it back far enough. The Doctor escapes in another TARDIS, finds her own on another planet, and is promptly arrested by the Judoon as part of a cold case, sentenced to life in a Judoon prison.
So, why does this work? Sharmus’s last-minute reveal sure was rather convenient. The Master’s plan was straight-up universal domination, no subtly to it at all. I’m not even sure the Doctor actually saved the day here as it seemed to be more the work of other people.
Well, basically, it didn’t rush and jam everything into one rushed mess of a story like so many of the Thirteenth Doctor’s adventures in this series. There were efforts to do nice character moments at least with the companions, like Ryan’s celebrating taking out a couple Cybermen only to jump when more show up, Graham offering some kind words to Yaz, and Yaz not returning those kind words with the same level of detail. It makes the overall episode better, and it’s not like I expect world-class drama from Doctor Who.
It may be a moot point. I only have a handful of episodes left with this Doctor.