Reaction to this week's episode of Doctor Who: World Enough and Time, is overwhelmingly positive, with many reviewers describing it as the best episode for years, if one of the darkest.
The Telegraph called it a dizzying ride. "Doctor Wow, more like. This two-part finale marks showrunner Steven Moffat’s last regular episodes and he’d saved the best until second last. It was darkly thrilling, mountingly tense, genuinely scary and brimming with smart ideas – but stayed just the right side of over-clever, as Moffat is often criticised for being."
The Mirror was impressed with the way the Cybermen were used. "The true grit of World Enough And Time is the rise of the Cybermen and their creepy conversion hospital. It's as close to horror-film than Who has gone to in a long time. Anyone who wondered if the 60's low tech Cybermen could scare modern audiences needn't have worried. Bill awakening on a hospital bed with chest full of retro cyber-tech, rows of half converted patients screaming in pain, the show's own take on Nurse Ratchett silencing the victims' volume dial - it's chilling"
Macabre and riveting is how Radio Times described the story, also focusing on the return of the original Cybermen. "What horror, what disfigurement lurks beneath the knotted bandages of these proto-Cybermen? It really is clever how Steven Moffat embraces the perceived weaknesses of the original 1966 cloth-and-plastic design – scorned and abandoned after their only screen outing in The Tenth Planet – and makes them sting."
Digital Spy felt the number of plot points revealed in advance diminished the impact of the story. "You don't have to be a Doctor Who super-fan, trawling every spoiler thread on every message board, to know that the Mondasian Cybermen and John Simm's Master are in this episode – even if you somehow missed the news, they both appeared in last week's Next Time trailer. The former reveal isn't such a problem. The episode plays the arrival of the Mondasians more as dramatic irony, an open secret it's teasing throughout. It's more a chilling inevitability than a jaw-dropping twist. But Simm's return? That was clearly intended to be a secret."
TV Fanatic agreed "Oh, to live in a day without spoilers. Most of the time, I don't mind them so much, to be honest. But no two ways about it: Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 12 would have been perfect without all the spoilers. Two of the big reveals at the end of the episode -- the returns of the classic Mondasian Cybermen and John Simm as the Master -- were both spoiled by the BBC's own promotional material! How frustrating."
Den of Geek, while also bemoaning the number of spoilers released for publicity reasons, felt the episode was impressive. "I thought World Enough And Time was at several times quite superb. Director Rachel Talalay and Steven Moffat are clearly a potent creative combination, and the middle of the episode in particular, as Bill creeps through a hospital evoking memories of The Empty Child and Asylum Of The Daleks was tonally outstanding."
Games Radar enjoyed the episode but felt the pacing in the middle act was too slow. "The sections with Bill in the hospital and the pre-Cybermen converts are utterly fantastic in terms of pure sci-fi, with the scares bordering on unwatchable for young children but it’s just too slow and filled with exposition."
IGN enjoyed the exploration of the characters of the time lords in the story "Much is also done to explain the bond between Missy and the Doctor. It does make sense that the enormous life experience of Time Lords would lead to a connection between them that other species could never fathom. But that relationship will be tested during the climax of the episode -- and in next week’s finale, no doubt"
AV Club felt the story was bursting with ideas. "None more fascinating than a massive colony ship caught in different time zones because of the gravitational distortion of a black hole. There’s the mad conceit of having Missy pretend to be the Doctor, with Michelle Gomez pulling off the seemingly impossible by making a whole string of “Doctor Who” gags not utterly cringeworthy. There’s the horrific plight of those stuck at the decaying bottom of the ship, which gets closer than any family-friendly Doctor Who story ever has in understanding the true body horror the Cybermen represent."
Ars Technica felt it was a return to form for the series. "We're back on firm ground with World Enough and Time. It's a very strong episode that manages to weave an agreeable timey-wimey spaceship yarn into the climax of this season's gently brewing Missy story, complete with Cybermen. The big reveal doesn’t disappoint, either"
Finally, Flicking Myth thought the episode was one of the best. "You know when you’re watching a fantastic episode of Doctor Who when the credits roll up at the end and you’re convinced that forty-five minutes can’t have passed that quickly. World Enough and Time plays with your emotions from start to finish, from the opening moments where your jaw falls and is left-hanging, and to Missy owning the show ,and again we’re back to silence as we’re left in a state of true shock."
Doctor Who News Review can be found here.