Contains Dr Who Series 9 Spoilers!
Tell them, I’m back. Tell them, I know what they did and I’m on my way.
After last weeks barmy yet ingenious episode, I was so excited for this years season finale, especially after the revelation that the Hybrid destined to conquer Gallifrey is the doctor. Yet somehow I feel like Hell Bent didn’t quite live up to expectations. Though it had some hilarious and touching moments, I can’t help but feel it was all a bit too talky. After being stuck inside his own confession dial for four and a half billion years by the Time Lords, I was anticipating an all guns blazing Doctor this episode. But with what little conflict we were given between the doctor and the Time Lords, was over far too quickly. Still, we were treated to some lovely visuals of Gallifrey and an episode chock full of Whovian references, so it’s not all that bad…
You’ve been travelling? Yeah, from time to time.
Well surprise surprise, not even two minutes into the episode and Clara has returned. I knew her death in Face the Raven wasn’t going to be her last hoorah, it was over far too quickly for that. Strange way to open an episode though, with the doctor and Clara meeting in the diner from The Impossible Astronaut. ‘Is it a sad song’ Clara asks the doctor, ‘nothing’s sad until it’s over, then everything is’ he replies. Ah, so that’s where this episode is going to go…Clara’s swansong.
After last weeks finale, we finally catch up with the doctor on Gallifrey, who returns to the barn we saw in Day Of The Doctor. It doesn’t take long for an unhappy Lord President Rassilon to find the Doctor and order his death, but of course nobody shoots him, it’s the doctor! The showdown between the Time Lords was over far too quickly, and so under-whelming, as the doctor just gives him an angry stare and that’s it – all over!
Isn’t this going a bit far? I’ve only just started…
Using a neat bit of Gallifreyan technology, the doctor extracts Clara from her timeline just before the raven hits her, but then finally flips, nothing is going to stand in his way. The doctor is so hell bent on saving Clara, he’s willing to fracture time itself. Oh and shoot another Time Lord in the process – pretty cold. It’s this utter desperation that leads the doctor to steal a TARDIS to travel to the end of time to try and cheat death; he just can’t accept the fact that Clara is gone and he couldn’t save her. The doctor refuses to give up on her, he would even wipe her memory of him to protect her from the Time Lords. But ultimately it’s Clara who decides her own fate ‘these have been the best years of my life, but they are mine. Tomorrow’s promised to no one, but I insist upon my past! I am entitled to that!’ – kudos to Jenna Coleman in her delivery.
And so we have a reversal of the Donna Noble scene; the doctor’s memories of Clara are wiped, which makes the previous scenes in the diner all the more touching.
Yet I just can’t get over the fact that Clara is now essentially the doctor, flying around in her own TARDIS running away from the Time Lords with her own companion. I really feel that it’s cheapened her ending in Face The Raven. A lot of watchers have complained that this season was becoming the Clara show, and I think Steven Moffat has just confirmed this! Maybe Moffat is setting things up for a Clara and Ashildr spin-off, but for me it was cheating somewhat.
Never be cruel, and never be cowardly, and if you are, always make amends.
As much as I was disappointed by the ending, I truly enjoyed the journey. Peter Capaldi was magnificent this whole series, someone please give him an award! Other than Sleep No More, series nine has been absolutely outstanding. There’s still a few niggles though, like what has actually happened to Missy?! Also how the ‘hybrid’ ended up being two people, arghhh! I’m very much looking forward to the new sonic screwdriver and also a new companion next series – let the speculation begin!