Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who Series 9 Episode 12 – ‘Hell Bent’…
The General – The Hybrid is a creature thought to be crossbred from two warrior races.
Doctor – Which races?
The General – The Daleks and the Time Lords it is supposed.
Doctor – Oh, it must be well hard, then.
With an already quite frankly fantastic Doctor Who series that has shone so brightly amongst the past few years series delivered to us, we finally arrive at the climatic episode of the three-parter which began at “Face the Raven”. Initially the Raven episode appeared to be a fluff-piece filler – little did we know that this classic was the opening chapter for the confessions of the Doctor in Heaven Sent and now the return of Gallifrey in Hell Bent. Can this final episode continue the power of the wave or did it already crest with Heaven Sent?
Opening in Nevada, U.S.A. the Doctor arrives in the same Diner last spotted in The Impossible Astronaut, (however that was in Utah) and enters to find Clara working behind the counter yet he fails to recognise her and she him. With the lack of money he plays his guitar in trade for some hospitality and strums out “Clara’s Song”. Mid guitar playing Clara asks to be told about the songs namesake.
The story begins on Gallifrey. We can see the main city cocooned in the safety of its bubble as the Doctor strides across the desert planes to the barn we last witnessed in Listen and also in The Day of the Doctor. The Cloister bells are all ringing within the Gallifrey city and the Cloister Wraiths – guarding the Cloisters – under the city have become highly active as the President of Gallifrey announces to the chamber -and also to the General of the guard – that they are facing great danger due to the arrival of the Doctor. It’s the arrival of the Sisterhood of Karn that helps direct the Gallifrey High Command to his present location.
With the Doctor now taking up residence in his old home, the residents around the barn bring him soup and surround him when an attack ship attempts to train its guns upon him. When the order to drop all weapons is made the Doctor drops his spoon (a call back to Robot of Sherwood) and the Doctor steps forward towards the vessel; here he drags his heel across the sand marking a line for those who stand against him not to cross. With numerous representatives being sent including the High Council, all in turn are shunned until eventually the President relents and appears at the line in the sand. Here the Doctor, who blames the President for the death of Clara and the trials he’s endured over the past 2 billion years, demands that he gets off Gallifrey -for which the President becomes furious and forces the guards to open fire on the Doctor.
In the Diner the Doctor asks Clara for a glass of Lemonade, before continuing his story about the gang boss in space Glasgow. The President turns to see that each guard purposely missed the Doctor due to the respect they hold for him and what he did for them in the Time-War. One-by-one they drop their weapons all except the President who is promptly surrounded by ships that fly in from the main city. He is then evicted from Gallifrey. The Doctor descends into the Cloisters and speaks with the Ohila of Karn about being placed in the Confession Dial, and she then questions him about the Hybrid also why he evicted the President.
As the Sisterhood of Karn, the General and the Doctor discuss the Hybrid and the prophecy, the Doctor informs them he needs to use the Extraction Chamber to talk to an old friend who can help with the Hybrid. This friend is Clara, yanked out of time a second before the raven kills her. As the General tries to make Clara aware that she is going to die and they will be placing her back into her time stream or time will shatter, the Doctor’s puts his plan into action by first punching the General in the face then snatching his gun. With the room being held hostage he demands a neural blocker, the Doctor asks the General which regeneration he’s up to – 10th – he wishes him good luck and the General wishes it back as the Doctor opens fire upon him; with this the Doctor and Clara head into the Cloisters.
We discover the Cloister Wraiths are the firewalls of the Cloisters: they only attack if you decide to stay… or leave the Cloisters. Within these chambers we discover numerous enemies of the Doctors that have attempted to gain access to Gallifrey via the Cloisters including a Cyberman, Weeping Angels and a Dalek begging to be exterminated. With the Doctor and Clara eventually finding an exit from the Cloisters, Clara notices a change in the Doctor and asks what the Time Lords did to him. As he attempts to ignore the question we see the city guards begin to close in on the Doctor with Ohila also. The Doctor eventually recounts the story to Clara, the regenerated General interrupts Clara and reveals he actually knows nothing about the hybrid but he had to convince the High Council that he did to keep his plan going so he could rescue Clara from Trap Street. When she pushes for how long he was in there he responds with, “A bit.”. Clara turns to Ohila and asks her for which she answers, “We think four and a half billion years.” Clara in tears demands to know why the Doctor put himself through these trials, responding simply that, “For I had a duty of care.”
Clara turns to face those that have set the Time Lords and the Sisterhood of Karn and calls them, “Monsters”. As Ohila demands to know what Clara said to the Doctor she tells them, “The only thing I will tell you is one part and that is, ‘Don’t worry Doctor they’ll all be looking at me.’ ” With this diversion now used they notice the Doctor has made his escape. With a TARDIS stolen, plus barbs exchanged with Ohila they attempt to get some distance away for Gallifrey, to start Clara’s heartbeat again, except it doesn’t.
As the Doctor gets more frustrated that at the last hurdle of his plan it isn’t working, he takes the TARDIS to the final moments of the universe in an attempt to get Clara’s heart beating, but still her time fails to start, when suddenly there is a four knocks at the TARDIS door (calling back to The End of Time). Clara’s asks the Doctor who could be knocking to which he replies, “Me”.
Outside the TARDIS Me is sat with two chairs and a chess set (calling back to the Curse of Fenric) awaiting the Doctor. Sat within a reality bubble she is watching the final stars die as she berates the Doctor on not letting Clara go when she was supposed to. Clara, using the Sonic Shades, opens the view screen, watches the conversation between both Me and the Doctor as they discuss the hybrid, for which the Doctor reveals it to be Me. However, Me turns it around to be the Doctor, guessing him to be half Time Lord/half human, she then goes to another theory proclaiming it could possibly be the joining of both the Doctor and Clara. It’s here the Doctor reveals his plan that he’s going to wipe the knowledge of the Doctor and their travels from Clara’s mind so she will never be in danger. In a panic Clara turns off the screen and alters the neural blocker. Not wanting to lose the memories of her time with the Doctor, the Time Lord sees sense and offers for both to take the chance together of using the device, were either one could lose the memory of the other. Pressing the Neural Blocker seconds later the Doctor begins to fall unconscious.
The Doctor awakens in the Nevada desert with a stranger looking out for him; recounting his story to Clara, she asks about his TARDIS which it appears has vanished from London, with that Clara steps into the back room and it’s revealed to be a TARDIS with Me at the controls, as this TARDIS vanishes the Doctor’s TARDIS remains. Clara’s heart hasn’t begun to beat and she knows she needs to return to Trap Street to set her timeline back in motion however both her and Me set off the long way around in their stolen TARDIS. With the Doctor stepping into his Four Billion year old unused TARDIS the dust clears and the console room comes to life as the Doctor finds upon the chalkboard Clara has left a message for him that reads, “Run you clever boy and be a Doctor”. Donning his velvet jacket, a new Sonic Screwdriver is generated and the TARDIS dematerialises; with the art work of Clara flaking away off the front of the TARDIS.
Outstanding! Need I write any more than that for this episode – well for these three episodes – truly outstanding! Steven Moffat over Series 9 has given us everything we’ve wanted from Doctor Who since it’s return. Here we’ve had stories that have ran longer than a 45 minutes and this has allowed us to have such fantastic tales develop and be delivered like Hell Bent.
Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman have made Series 9 of Doctor Who utterly magnificent to watch and it’s a shame that at the point were we have a true emotional attachment to both Doctor and Companion they are both cruelly separated from each other and Clara is off our screens. Still it’s been a brilliant experience to watch the rebirth of Clara Oswald, after the stumble with Matt Smith’s Doctor to the flaming butterfly she became with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor.
Goodbye Clara Oswald, you’ve been amazing.
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.