Spoilers might show up again and again.
Step out of the comfort zone and into the unknown with this week’s Doctor Who 9×11: Heaven Sent (1). It’s the Doctor at his most weakest and dangerous self. He’s been trapped into a corner of the world he knows not where nor when. After the events from last week, he’s still reeling from losing Clara and now he’s faced with a puzzle. A huge castle with a labyrinth of rooms and changing passages. He’s also been hunted by a slow but inexorable pursuer called the Veil. But what is this place? A prison? A torture chamber? Is the Doctor supposed to learn a lesson or is he just been toyed with until his demise? Go watch the episode first before reading any further.
I watch Doctor Who for episodes like this one. The one where he must figure things from scratch and the obvious answers are masked from view. The show gives us a clue at the beginning when you see a bloody hand activating the mechanism on the teleport room to bring the Doctor into the castle-maze. Another clue is the huge amount of skulls at the bottom of the water. I had my suspicions, but I wasn’t sure they’d go for it.
The moment that we are shown the whole puzzle-castle-maze complex is circular was when I finally figured out where the Doctor is. It had to be the confession disc. But where is the confession disc? As it turns out, it’s not on Me’s pocket.
First, the doctor has to realize that to do what he must he first must find a way to sleep, eat and work on the puzzle away from the Veil. To do that he must lead the creature to the opposite end and run away from it. This gives him quite some time until the monster catches up with him. The screens around the castle give out the creature’s own POV.
Second, he has to dig. There’s a spade that keeps showing up for him. When he finally finds a freshly covered unmarked grave in the garden, he has to decide whether this is a ruse, a trap or something worthwhile. Of course, he ends up digging anyway to find a message that reads “I am in 12” in a coffin just before the monster decides to pop up. By this time, the Doctor has already discovered he gets to stop the monster if he confesses something true about himself.
Third, he has to discover room 12. When he does, he realizes there nothing beyond the door and he must somehow cause the castle to shift rooms again to get in. To do that he must face the monster again and give away another confession. As he does that, he returns to the teleport room and find a skull connected to the console. On the sand the message reads, “BIRD”. Soon he discovers a parapet with a bird’s eye view where the Veil soon finds him. After one monster-stopping confession, the room is now available.
And the room contains one massive chunk of diamond-hard ice-like wall with the words “HOME” on it. It’s all but useless as the Doctor pummels at the wall and bloodies his knuckles. The Veil finds him and kills him. Well, Timelords as it turns out don’t die so easily even when killed. But you ought to see how it all plays our yourself.
Great episode, and you can read more spoilers in the Highs/Lows. Finale next week!
- Every time the Doctor is cornered or jumping out a window, he shuts off the real world and imagines himself in the TARDIS. Then he talks to the back of an image of Clara Oswald and tries to explain how he did it. This way he solves each problem he’s already into. At some point he even gives up, which is the only time we see Clara face him just to tell him to get off his arse and win.
- The Veil can kill the Doctor or freeze up if the Doctor tells a truth. Not just a truth, but a confession he’s never made before.
- The mountain of skulls under water are all skulls of the Doctor. Each is an attempt, but also a very small win.
- All the rooms reset, which means the teleporter still can bring the Doctor back. However, Room 12 does not reset, implying the Doctor can get to chip at the wall little by little.
- Behind the wall is Gallifrey. The Doctor sends a young boy to the city to tell them he’s returned. He also tells him that if someone asks who he is, to tell them he came the long way around.
- The Doctor says aloud to no one in particular that the Hybrid is not Dalek at all. “The Hybrid destined to conquer Gallifrey and stand in its ruins is me.”
- One episode remains!
That will do for now.