Review: Doctor Who, Hell Bent

Doctor Who, BBC, Peter Capaldi, TV
Written by Emily Davis

The scene opens in Nevada, USA. The Doctor has his guitar and his sunglasses. He’s so cool. He walks into an abandoned diner. And Clara is there?! Oh no, wait. It’s another incarnation of Clara, who moved to the USA and is now a waitress in Nevada. Makes sense.

I love this framing narrative, as the Doctor tells the story of his return to Gallifrey. He’s back home. And he’s surrounded by people watching him eating tomato soup. It’s all a bit weird. The Sisterhood of Carn is there. I’m not really sure what their role is. But they have some very sassy lines.

Rasselon is overthrown and the Doctor is instated as Lord President within a matter of minutes. Which isn’t as absurd as it sounds. The Doctor is a war hero. Revered throughout the galaxy, and all over Gallifrey.  

We’ve learned by now that the Doctor would go to the ends of the earth to save his friends. So it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise that he hijacked an extraction chamber to save Clara just as she faced the Raven. Her heartbeats are paused, but she’s still walking around. So what happens now?

The Doctor and Clara head into the cloisters of Gallifrey, and make their escape via a William Hartnell style TARDIS! But not before Clara finds out how the doctor is the man who waited four and a half billion years. Wow. They head to the end of the universe, to save Clara, seek answers and find out what exactly the ‘Hybrid’ is.

We finally find out the meaning of ‘The Hybrid is me.’ As in, ‘Me’. As in, Ashildr. At the end of the universe, she’s the last immortal left. She’s SUCH a good character. I love her so much.

Hybrid theories abound. Ashildr points out that the Doctor could possibly have some human blood in him. He’s a high-born Gallifreyan, so why does he spend so much time on earth? And Missy is mentioned. Where is she, by the way? I expected to see her in this finale. More to the point, I expected her to be BEHIND it!

Looks like the Hybrid is going to be a theme in the next series. But that’s a relatively insignificant detail in comparison to the greatest plot point of the episode. The Doctor has his memory wiped of every image of Clara. He doesn’t recognise her when she’s stood in front of him, pouring lemonade. 

The most heart-breaking companion exit, in my opinion, was when Donna had to forget everything about the Doctor and their time together. This was a brilliant way to subvert that concept. No one ever considered that the Doctor would have to forget his loved ones. This whole episode was beautifully done, and a wonderful way to end a genuinely high-quality series of Doctor Who.

As to what happens next? Ashildr and Clara are now going to have immortal gorgeous journeys together. And you can’t deny me that reality.

Well, it’s certainly been an adventure in the Whoniverse, and I’ve loved reviewing Who episodes for you! Series 9 has been an absolute marvel for someone who had lost faith in the series after the mediocrity of seasons 7 and 8. I’ll be back after the Christmas special!

Are you a Doctor Who fan? What did you think of the series? Let us know in the comments below!