Doctor Who's Incredible Series 9 Ends Tonight With Hell Bent

12/05/2015


The hybrid will stand in the ruins of Gallifrey and destroy a billion hearts to heal his own.

I had seen the "Next Time" trailer after the last episode, but I missed this one. I wish I hadn't, because then I would have known about this fantastic quote six days days sooner. I am overwhelmed with quotes lately. How wonderful! I am also overwhelmed with the greatness of Doctor Who this year, maybe this year more than any other. I have deeply loved this series and the previous Doctors. Maybe it's just the thrill of a new actor in the role that has hit his stride and become comfortable, but not complacent, combined with fantastic storytelling and ideas, but that "maybe" and "just" I think takes away from the accomplishment of Peter Capaldi and series 9.

I loved Doctor Who immediately when it captured my 8-year-old imagination in the '80s. Thank you, public television. I loved it even more when it returned when I was 27, because then I could truly understand and appreciate every emotion and the wonderful dialogue...and it all now doesn't feel like a half remembered dream. I have adored the new Who, and every actor in the main role brings something fresh and exhilarating, all of them masters of their craft, and every series has had defining episodes and best moments, something to laugh about, cry about, and fall in love over again and again.

But the love I feel for series 9 may be unmatched. It has this nearly perfect synergy of every element needed to make the stories far more than just memorable. The acting is nothing short of flawless, feeling completely real at any of the many moments that demand wrenching of the viewers' emotions. Capaldi's talent allows for an intimate vulnerability, one that has this palpable feel of a beating heart: his heart, the Doctor's hearts, the heart of the series. There were fewer stories to tell, as most were two-parters, but that allowed for a greater depth, a depth that's almost enough to drown in. There has been a tighter focus on the endgame and all the smaller but no less important moments in between, and as a result there has been even more poignancy than usual.

There are things the Doctor has done that have haunted him, but now judgment is coming, and Moffat promised the end would leave fans a little bit devastated. I can see that from the preview, but still I can never really anticipate the effect of it. Even when things are alright in the end, when time and luck and the universe can be manipulated to save the day, Doctor Who can always, always manage to devastate in the most delightful - no, not the most delightful way, that's just Missy's "malevolent Mary Poppins" talking. What I meant to say was in the most effective way. So, as the season ends, no matter how it ends, I'll be content until the next time, knowing just how brilliant it was. And it surely was. Just how brilliant? Read my past posts. I haven't said a thing about "Heaven Sent," though, except for all the things I just said, because I was thinking I might just combine that post with the one for "Hell Bent" after I see it tonight.

Tonight. Where did the last twelve weeks go? By the looks of it, and knowing all that's come before in this emotionally-charged, incredibly-imagined, beautifully-written, and superbly-acted series 9, "Hell Bent" is going to be one hell of a story, with the Doctor facing all he's done and facing it alone. He's still aching from the loss of Clara and I'm thinking won't be getting a new companion just yet. For sake of story, he has to go through some stuff, probably turn into or almost turn into that monster that Clara was afraid he would become in her absence. But maybe he'll heed her words, remember her kindness, remember his promise, and not be vengeful in her name.

And maybe I'll get to talking about both "Heaven Sent" and "Hell Bent" before the Christmas special. I'm trying to get things ready for Christmas around here and so haven't gathered all my thoughts about the eerie beauty of the penultimate episode yet. I also need to rewatch it since it deserves multiple viewings to make sure I didn't miss a moment. "Heaven Sent" was just too good, one of the best episodes ever in a season full of best episodes. There is not even a slight bit of exaggeration when I say that. If you haven't seen it yet, don't delay any longer.

I have said it before with other favorite series that have had those perfect moments to capture and interpret in artwork, but the overwhelming sadness, incredible determination, and gorgeously haunting imagery of "Heaven Sent" I seriously think will be what finally gets me back into drawing. Prior to this, I would have said "Face the Raven," prior to that, "The Zygon Inversion." There is so much to inspire. I used to have a lot of fun drawing, and it required far fewer words to get a feeling or point across.

And now, some more videos! Can't get enough videos.


One of the most dramatic things is that the Doctor has to face himself and face his own actions and make a decision, which is not an easy one.

She's my friend.

What 'she'? Is he talking about Clara? Or is he protecting Ashildr even though Clara died because of her actions? This would be in keeping with Clara's orders to not let her death turn him into a monster, if he could overcome his sorrow and rage to help the person he hates most right now. But maybe Clara's story isn't quite over. She did appear after her death already as a helpful manifestation in his mind in "Heaven Sent." Maybe there's a bit more. He is, after all, answering for his life, and Clara was a big part of it and the most recent and quite devastating part of it. Or he's just having a dream or memory where Clara isn't referred to in the past tense.


I'm starting to think Steven Moffat likes making us cry. Trying to decide if he's evil and feeds off of our collective tears. Nah, he's wonderful. He couldn't write such beauty otherwise. Still, there has to be a small mean streak.


Even though she bears responsibility for Clara's death, I still love Ashildr. Maisie Williams is fantastic in the role, playing her at drastically different times in her long life whenever she returns.


That's the end of the fantastic previews. I can hardly believe the season is about to come to its end. But at least I can watch it many times over before the next. And there's the Christmas special to look forward to.

Where to Watch

"Hell Bent" will be on BBC America tonight at 9 PM Eastern. "Heaven Sent" and previous episodes are available on Amazon and various other places, like iTunes, or streaming on AMC.com and BBC America's OnDemand cable and satellite channel. For more options, please see BBCAmerica.com.

Heaven Sent


Trapped in a world unlike any other he has seen, the Doctor faces the greatest challenge of his many lives. One final test. And he must face it alone.
Price: $1.99 SD, $2.99 HD
Runtime: 54 minutes
Air Date: November 27, 2015

Face the Raven


The Doctor and Clara, with their old friend Rigsy, find themselves in a magical alien world, hidden on a street in the heart of London.
Price: $1.99 SD, $2.99 HD
Runtime: 46 minutes
Air Date: November 20, 2015

Bonus Videos -

Fantastic fan edited speculative trailer of past hybrids, to fit the theme of the episode.

Are we really getting Peter Jackson to direct an episode (or hopefully a two-parter) next year or is is all just an elaborate joke? Either way, this was great. http://www.essential.tv/post/view/185

Images and video belong to the BBC. Check out more images from "Hell Bent" at BBC America.

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