Steven Moffat Used The Exact Same Cliffhanger For Two Different Doctor Who Episodes

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Doctor Who‘s known for its awesome cliffhangers. In the classic series, cliffhangers were part and parcel of the viewing experience as the heavily-serialized stories always ended on some sort of shock, usually involving the Doctor or his companions facing “certain death.” In the modern series though, the cliffhangers tend to be much more high-concept and jaw-dropping.

Think back to “The Stolen Earth,” for example, which made us believe that David Tennant was going to regenerate. Or “The Pandorica Opens,” which literally saw the end of the entire universe (don’t worry, the Doctor was able to fix it). Or, how about that memorable time that the Master returned out of the blue just when an army of Cybermen rose up and upgraded one of the Doctor’s friends? Which episode was that again?

Well, that’s the thing. Whovians have realized that this specific cliffhanger was used twice in just a few years on the show. Back in 2014, “Dark Water” ended with Clara’s boyfriend Danny Pink turned into a Cyberman and Missy revealed to be a female incarnation of the Master. It was such a great, multi-layered lead-in to the season finale that showrunner Steven Moffat pretty much reused it wholesale in 2017.

Season 10’s “World Enough and Time” similarly ends with the Doctor’s pal Bill Potts converted into a Mondasian Cyberman (the old ones with the cloth faces), while Missy encounters her former self, John Simm’s Master, who’d been concealing his identity, much like she did back in “Dark Water.” The Twelfth Doctor has got to be sick of the Master and the Cybermen teaming up and taking the lives of his friends.

Thankfully, new showrunner Chris Chibnall probably won’t run into this problem, as he seems to have ditched multi-part stories. Season 11 of Doctor Who was made up of standalone episodes, though the premiere, “The Woman Who Fell To Earth” did end on a neat cliffhanger that set-up the following week’s adventure. If season 12’s opener also finishes with the Doctor and pals floating in space though, we’re certainly going to notice this time.

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