WARNING! SPOILER ALERT!
Welcome back to the eleventh Doctor Who Review, where I recap the week’s episode and give some thoughts and opinions on it. Please do not read if you have not seen this week’s episode. There are major spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
Title: Heaven Sent
Written by: Stephen Moffat
We ended last week’s episode, Face the Raven, with Clara dying and the Doctor being transported up and away to some unknown location. This week’s episode, Heaven Sent, picks up where that one left off, and we see the Doctor stepping out of the teleporter and into the halls of a castle.
After a quick look around, the Doctor stumbles across a shovel leaning against the wall, to which he says something about hating gardening, and tries to figure out just where he is. It’s a castle, yes, but it could be a maze, or a puzzle, or anything. Are there other people too? No, but yes. The Veil, a new monster, is the thing nightmares are made of. Think The Lord of the Rings’ Black Riders…only with flies. The Doctor recalls a woman he saw when he was a child, who had a veil and was covered in flies. It turns out that that image has taken form, and the Doctor is chased (albeit, slowly) around the castle.
At one point he manages to freeze the Veil as it’s hands are outstretched before him, and says something to make it back off. But it eventually finds him in a room with a portrait of Clara, and instead of sticking around to be killed, he jumps out a window. He’s falling falling falling, and suddenly he’s in the TARDIS having a conversation with Clara, and we find out that that’s his thought process as he falls. After a few more of these chats, the Doctor figures out that the Veil wants not just the truth, but confessions.
In this episode, due to the confessions the Doctor must tell in order not to die, we learn that the Doctor didn’t leave Gallifrey out of boredom, but fear. Another thing we learn is that he knows what and where the Hybrid (which has been mentioned at all season, the prophecy taking place at the beginning) is. He eventually finds a 20foot thick wall of stone harder than diamond, and sees ‘Home’ on the other side. With the Veil closing in, and a moral support conversation with Clara in his head, he throws a punch at the wall, and the Veil gets him. Time Lords die more slowly than us mere Muggles, so as he dies, he crawls back up to the teleport to get it working again … and it resets itself, like the rest of the rooms in the castle, and the Doctor goes back to the way he was when he first arrived.
It turns out that the cycle we have seen, 7,000 years in the future, is one of millions. Each time the Doctor gets to the stone wall, he punches it, and each time everything resets, and he does it again. After millions and millions of years doing this, he finally punches through and reveals … Gallifrey! It falls no more! Well, it might, because that Hybrid that has been mentioned all season, that one that was prophesied as being half Dalek, half Time Lord…? Turns out it isn’t, and the Doctor knows that. His last words are: “The hybrid destined to conquer Gallifrey and stand in its ruins … is me.”
Crazy times! I really liked this episode. I thought it was very clever, and very well written. I loved the fact that it was essentially a one-man episode. I feel like the Veil doesn’t really count, neither does Clara because she’s just in the Doctor’s mind. Peter Capaldi excelled once more, and I find him best in monologues and big giant speeches, of which the whole episode basically was. The montage of repeated sequence shots was so intense, and while it felt like it went on for a bit, it was so good, and a really fantastic build up to the grand scene of Gallifrey at the end.
A couple of things to think about: Is the Doctor really the hybrid? If so, what’s the other half? There’s a part where the Doctor finds a full set of clothes lying out for him to change from his wet ones. We then find, when we realise that it’s a loop, that it’s actually his clothes there, from the past death. But my question is … where did the first extra set of clothes come from? The first time he died/reset, there wouldn’t have been clothes there, unless they were they put there by the person who sent him there? And then the room resets with the clothes already inside it? His exact clothes? Also … where does the food come from? I don’t know. Ah well.
“Are you gardeners? I hate gardening! What sort of person has a power complex about flowers? It’s dictatorship for inadequates.”
“Physics of a triangle! You lose!”
Next week’s episode is the last until Christmas (I can’t believe it!), and it’s called Hell Bent. Really looking forward to it! I feel like this season has definitely built up in goodness. I really wasn’t loving the first half of the season, but these past few episodes have been really great. How will it end, eh? And when is Missy coming back? And his sonic screwdriver?
And also … who will the new companion be? While we’re talking about it, check out these places of recommendations and articles:
10 Men Who Should be the Next Doctor Who Companion
Who will replace Jenna Coleman as the next Doctor Who companion?
12 contenders to replace Jenna Coleman as Doctor Who’s next companion
Steven Moffat: the new Doctor Who companion hasn’t even been cast yet
Moffat on Choosing New Doctor Who Companions
Doctor Who companion: The likely (and not so likely) contenders