Sunday, January 3, 2016

Doctor Who 9.11: "Heaven Sent"

“If you think because she’s dead I am weak then you understand very little. If you had any part in killing her and you are not afraid, then you understand nothing at all. So for your own sake understand this: I am the Doctor. I’m coming to find you and I will never, ever stop.”
- The Doctor

Well Whovians, we are in our last two-parter of the season (before the Christmas special which I’ve been waiting for since they announced the guest cast back in the summertime). As you know, Clara died (rather foolishly and unheroically in my opinion) at the end of last episode and the Doctor was whisked away to who knows where thanks to Ashildr being kind of a brat. I will say that I found it very interesting that the opening credits this week only had Peter’s name in them. The Doctor appears in kind of a pod type thing and as soon as he steps out, he starts monologue-ing. He promises that he doesn’t always listen to what people tell him and he’s going to get revenge for Clara’s death.

No sooner as the Doctor assessed the distance he’s travelled (only one light year) and that he’s in the same time zone does he spy something in a corridor across the way. He also discovers he’s in a castle. A big circular castle that seems to move at random. The Doctor starts to get a touch paranoid when he sees a hooded figure moving towards him through a series of monitors. The creature (which seems like it might be from his nightmares) gets almost close enough to touch him when the Doctor blurts out that he’s actually, properly scared of dying. The creature freezes and the Doctor manages to get away briefly. The next time he encounters the creature is in a bedroom where the Doctor is studying a cracked and dusty old painting of Clara. The Doctor’s solution to escape this time is to dive out a broken window. He appears in the TARDIS and we quickly learn that he is in his mental “storage space” and he’s figuring out how much time he has until he hits bottom (at least it’s water) and what his chances of survival are. I guess it was an interesting device to let the viewer in on his thought process although it was rather manic and I thought it took us out of the scariness of the castle. But we return there soon enough (oh we also get a strange plot device of the Doctor talking to Clara and getting answers written back on a chalkboard (it kind of reminded me a little of the episode last series where everyone was having the same nightmare).

The Doctor ends up in a room with a nice fire and a change of clothes (he then hangs his wet clothes on the drying rack just as he found them). It makes me think we may get a repeat visit to this room. He thinks that the place is designed to scare and torture him but he’s fighting back and won’t let it get to him. Or so he thinks. He winds up in a garden and starts digging. He says he’s only going to dig for an hour but it seems like it’s been a lot longer and the creature (which at this point I think is a personification of his own death) is getting closer. The Doctor jumps into his storage closet again and realizes that the creatures stops when he tells the truth. But he insists to a non-existent Clara that there are some truths he cannot tell. I have a feeling this has to do with Confession Dial somehow. Maybe it’s the confessions contained within it or something.

So the Doctor manages to begin timing the creature and narrates to Clara and the audience that if he can lure the creature to one side of the castle and haul butt to the other, he has at most 82 mines to sleep, eat and work. His work consists of finding room 12. It was etched into a stone that he finally dug up in the garden (I swear he was supposed to be digging his own grave). He’s also noted that the castle moves when the creature stops and so he hasn’t given it time to catch up to him (so he would have to waste another truth to keep it at bay). But he does look rather haggard and miserable and he wonders if this will last forever or not.

Finally, after a trip up to the top of one of the turrets, the Doctor figures out how to get past the cement wall to Room 12. He has to escape the creature at least once more and he rants a bit about the stars being all wrong for this time and place. He finally gets through the door to find the TARDIS (the real one not his mental one) secured behind a substance that is harder than diamonds and twenty feet thick. In his mind he whines that he can’t do this anymore and he just wants to give up but Clara tells him to get off his sorry ass and win (I’d been wondering if it was a stand in for most of the episode). He starts punching the barrier (the big secret he has to keep is about the Dalek/Time Lord hybrid that Davros mentioned at the start of the season). The Doctor thinks he can punch his way to victory but the creature gets its hands on him and he passes out and then the creature disappears. It was all a little strange to be honest.

We spend most of the rest of the episode in a repeat loop of the Doctor slowly but surely breaking through the barrier until finally he gets through and steps through not to the TARDIS but to a planet he has not seen in a very long time. He finds a boy and tells him to go to the city and tell them he’s back. He also says that the prophecy about the hybrid was wrong. It was never part Dalek that was going to come and ruin Galifrey. It was always going to be him.

This had to be a tough episode for Peter to shoot since he had 99% of the dialogue and action. And I like that we are finally getting back to Galifrey. I just wish we didn’t have to wait all this time to get to this part. But I hope that the finale will answer a lot of questions and give us some good meaty drama between the Doctor and his people.

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