Series Issues: Doctor Who 9×12 – Hell Bent (2)

Spoilers might be extracted and bring back into your timeline.

(Source: BBC)

(Source: BBC)

It’s the season finale with this week’s Doctor Who 9×11: Hell Bent (2). The episode starts in a diner somewhere in the middle of the desert in the US, with the Doctor telling a story to a young waitress named Clara that doesn’t seem to recognize him. If you have been following along, we’ve all but put the Doctor at the end of its rope already. Just like a tiger, the Doctor proves once again he’s at his most dangerous when cornered. Unarmed and without a prayer, he’s sent word to Gallifrey that he’s return. He’s spent four billion years inside the confession disc. To the Lord President of Gallifrey, Rassilon the Resurrected (Donald Sumpter), he’s a nuisance from the past he’s glad to eliminate. As he’s about to quickly learn, you don’t make an enemy of the man who once was the War Doctor. He’s remembered by the General (Ken Bones) and his fellow Timelords as a war hero and that is not something to be taken lightly.

I prefer not to give out every single resolve to every single conundrum, specially when I’ve really enjoyed the episode. So if you’re reading this before you watch your dvr, I am giving out spoilers without a full story. The Doctor has arrived to Gallifrey. It’s what he’s always wanted. Pause. It’s not what he’s always wanted. There’s a level in Gallifrey that nobody visits. The Cloisters. It houses a giant database, but it’s also guarded by shadows of past Timelords and enemies trapped in there now used to guard it. The Doctor takes a peek. Ohila (Clare Higgins), High Priestess of the Sisterhood of Karn and Very Important Recurring Character Due To Her Long Name, warns him that at end of time you’re likely to meet a few immortals. #Foreshadowing.

With Rassilon deposed, the Doctor seems to be in control. In the offices of the City Council, he talks to the General and Ohila of the Long Title with apparent little regard for consequences. Ohila warns him not to play the fool. The Doctor’s response, “It’s the end of the universe, it’s the only time I’ve got!” Classic. Anyhow, with the menace of the Hybrid coming close, the Doctor needs help. Or something like that. What he really does is create an excuse to use Gallifreyan tech and extract Clara at the very last instance before her demise. Then he takes a gun and kills the General. Let’s back up a bit, obviously the Timelords are not ok bringing back to life Clara since her death is a historical fact, fixed in time. But the Doctor is really breaking every rule. The General didn’t seem like a bad guy. Then she regenerates to be played by actress T’nia Miller. Brilliant casting.

The Doctor and Clara run down to the Cloisters. The place is crawling with ghosts and escaped enemies now used as guards. A Dalek asking to be exterminated, two Weeping Angels who still have enough zeal and a Cyberman are some of its inhabitants. As the Doctor aims to open a hatch with a complex lock, he constantly dodges Clara’s questioning. When the General and Ohila catch up with them, they’re questioned by Clara. She learns that the Doctor spent four and a half billion years in the Confession Dial, which was created by Gallifreyan technology of course. It’s a distraction as well. The Doctor has managed to open the hatch. And, as Clara reveals as she quickly follows suit, he’s stealing a TARDIS.

In the end, the Doctor will meet again with Me (Maisie Williams) who proposes the Hybrid may not be one person, but two. A passionate Timelord and a human companion for which said Timelord would give everything including breaking the rules. But the Doctor has a plan, a plan to avoid getting tracked down by his pursuers. A device that will wipe Clara’s memory from any records of him. Anybody got a flashback to Donna Noble’s fate in Season Four?

But Clara has been hearing the whole conversation. Fortunately, Clara gets her say. She states it is her right to keep those memories. And she’s actually altered the device the Doctor was going to use by using the sonic glasses. The Doctor doesn’t know if she’s bluffing or if she’s actually capable of doing that but for drama’s sake they decide to use the device anyway. That means either of them could be the one to lose their memories. In the end it’s the Doctor.

Here’s where we go back to the diner and realize that it’s Clara who’s actually been aware of who the Doctor is and not him. And as she leaves him, it’s revealed the diner was a TARDIS in disguise. This TARDIS is piloted by Me and Clara Oswald. The latter explains she does want to return to the last instance before her demise but she thinks they have some wiggle room. So their final destination will be Gallifrey, they’re just taking the long way around.

As for the Doctor, he’s left in the desert but not abandoned. His TARDIS, the TARDIS that has the painting of Clara and the flowers on it, is right there. It’s time for yet a new start. Awaiting for him is a new sonic screwdriver. Up on the blackboard there’s one last message from Clara, the Clara he’ll never remember: “Run you clever boy and be a Doctor.”

Highs/Lows/WhereWeAreGoingWeDontNeedRoads:

  • You probably remember Rassilon from The End Of Time played by Timothy Dalton. The clue is the ridiculous shoulder-neck-wear. Donald Sumpter now dons the outrageous headpiece and pomposity.
  • The General was played nicely by Ken Bones first, but when T’nia Miller dons the armor, she has one of the best lines ever after revealing that last one was her only incarnation as man, “My goodness, how do you cope with all that ego?”
  • The show almost replicated the mind wipe of Donna Noble back during David Tennant’s tenure as the rebellious Timelord. That was really a problematic finale, and I am glad it didn’t go down the same way. However, I’m also glad that we got to hear Clara Oswald protesting as Donna Noble never had the chance to do: Yes, they both had the right to keep their memories. Only one did.
  • Let me be candid here. There’s a reason why I love Doctor Who. It’s the same reason why although I love Star Wars and Star Trek, I will admit that Star Wars is not really about Science-Fiction. It’s about adventures and fantasy with a Science-Fiction theme. Star Wars has been more about pirates and princesses that it has ever been about space. In the same vein, Doctor Who is not really about time travel and more about adventure and fantasy than it has been about science.
  • And that reason above is why I can deal with the huge plot hole left behind by Clara’s re-existance. I mean, technically she won’t be traveling with the Doctor – but she will be traveling.
  • Huge throwback with the stolen TARDIS’ decor back to the first doctor. And as Me reveals, this TARDIS’ camouflage circuit seems to have frozen itself into Diner mode. I’d love to see the adventures of Clara and Me – but I’m glad they somehow are left to roam free without the Doctor ever knowing.
  • The Doctor walks in with the sonic glasses. They make a sound when left on the counter. I guess Clara took those.
  • The Doctor also makes a reference to Amy and Rory… But his previous form (11th – Matt Smith) knew Clara. Does this mean he doesn’t remember his regeneration?

That will do for now.

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