Review: Doctor Who, Heaven Sent

TV, Doctor Who
Written by Emily Davis

Well, I’m going to come out and say it. Doctor Who has returned stunningly and totally for this series. Heaven Sent is an instant classic. We’re going to forget that Sleep No More exists, and declare this series to be the best since Matt Smith’s debut.

The format of this show was flawless. Peter Capaldi’s 55 minute long monologue was paced well, and raised tension whilst simultaneously thrilling the audience. It seems that the Doctor has found himself in a trap. Again. And this time, it really, truly looks as if there’s no way out. He’s being pursued.

The clumsy, shuffling veiled figure plucked directly from the Doctor’s nightmares is a physical embodiment of our fears about death. It’s not graceful or ethereal. It stinks, it’s slow, it’s surrounded by flies, and it’s always coming.

We truly get an insight into the Doctor’s psyche in this episode, from the safe space in his mind where he plans out his escape from life or death situations in an instant, to his probing subconscious which takes the form of Clara writing on a blackboard.

It turns out that the Doctor is a prisoner in a custom-designed torture chamber, designed to extract confessions from him about a mysterious creature called the Hybrid.

It’s a killer puzzle box designed to scare me to death and I’m trapped inside it. It must be Christmas!

Turns out, the only way to stop the approaching monster is to confess. Tell a truth that he’s never told before. This leads him to a wall of harder-than-diamond, which he hopelessly strikes before being captured by the veil, then burning out his brain to load up the version of him still stored in the teleport hard drive.

The revelation that the Doctor has been there for 7000 years, living the same cursed life on a loop, was heart-stopping. We all felt hopeless as the loop extended to 12,000, 600,000 years, to 2 billion years. But then… the tale of the bird extended a little. And finally we see. The doctor isn’t hopelessly punching a wall.  He’s chipping away at a mountain. It took him 2 billion years but he broke through the wall. And now he’s on Gallifrey.

The biggest and perhaps the only flaw with this episode is the brand new concept of ‘The Hybrid’ . Which really should have been hinted at before this episode if it’s going to be the focus of the rest of the series. And the revelation that the Doctor is the Hybrid fell a little flat.

Although, it could possibly be a reference to the 1996 TV movie revelation that the doctor is in fact half time lord, half human. This storyline has been largely ignored by following writers and show runners, however, and is despised by fans. I sincerely hope it isn’t that.

Next week will be the series finale; and we’re back on Gallifrey, with Ashildr, the Time Lords and possibly Missy?

I can’t wait for the next episode, but I also don’t want it to be over.

See you next week!

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