S9 Ep12: Hell Bent
Now that is how you do a season finale! I know it wasn't universally liked, and it had one or two questionable moments, but on the whole a superb piece of televisual entertainment!
I knew Clara wasn't dead (yet), and there’s some deliciously cheeky traditionalist-trolling too. Not only does Steven Moffat further pave the way for a female Doctor by having a middle-aged white man regenerating into a young black woman, but he also teases long-term fans by invoking the terrible heresy of the 1996 Paul McGann TV movie. In that, it was revealed that the Doctor is half-human, a continuity detail that’s been dismissed as “not really canon” ever since. For one jaw-dropping moment, as Ashildr speculates that the Hybrid could be half Time Lord, half human, you think, “Oh my god, are they actually going to go there?”
A couple of nitpicks: the Doctor defeating the regenerated Rassilon (a disappointingly under-used Donald Sumpter) with little more than a Paddington Bear hard stare, when we were expecting to see the Hybrid “standing in the ruins of Gallifrey”. (though I suspect that this will be because Rassilon will make a return as he always does).
Nice though it is to see the café from “The Impossible Astronaut” again, why on Earth would Clara disguise her TARDIS as that? She wasn’t there with the Doctor, Amy and Rory – indeed, there’s no indication she knows anything about that adventure. (f you want to visit that diner you don’t have to go to Nevada – it’s slap bang in the middle of Cardiff Bay (Eddie’s Diner, Mermaid Quay, CF10 5BZ)).
Now onto the fan-pleasing bits: The use of phrases like “reverse the polarity” and “Shobogans” (outsider Time Lords, if you didn't know); references to the DoctorDonna and the four knocks from “The End Of Time”; the return of Gallifreyan repository of knowledge the Matrix (last seen in 1986’s “The Trial Of A Time Lord”) and the original TARDIS console room in all its resplendent white glory! (It’s also a relief to see the Doctor get a new sonic screwdriver – hopefully that’s the last we’ll see of those dreadful shades)
Donald Sumpter (Rassilon) has also appeared in Doctor Who twice before. He was a space station crewmember in 1968’s “The Wheel In Space”, and a Navy officer in 1972’s “The Sea Devils”.
Did you spot the words “No matter where you go, there you are?” on a Nevada road sign? Though it didn’t originate there, the phrase was popularised by 1984’s The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension! (starring Robocop's Peter Wheller)
The Clara Conundrum!
Only read the spoiler if you've seen Episode 12
So... The Clara on Gallifrey in 'The Name of the Doctor' who tells the first Doctor which TARDIS to steal... Is she a 'splinter' Clara, or the 'real' Clara, having returned the TARDIS that her and the 12th Doctor took?
1) Some Time Lord sends in their old Type 40 Time Capsule for repair or destruction
2) The Twelfth Doctor and extracted Clara steal this Time Capsule (TARDIS). Drama happens.
3) Clara and Ashildr takes their new TARDIS and travel the universe.
4) After aeons of adventures, Clara returns to Gallifrey. She gives her TARDIS to the First Doctor and Susan.
5) This is the TARDIS that goes through everything we've seen and eventually is taken away (by Clara and Ashildr) in London.
6) The Twelfth Doctor gets his TARDIS back and onwards to Christmas...
Also, Clara and Ashildur mention that their TARDIS has a dodgy chameleon circuit...
Who has thoughts on the departure of Moffat after the next season? My thoughts are along the lines of "finally I can watch this show again"... which is harsh, yes, but I was reaaaally unhappy with the ways Moffat ruined DW for me.
I enjoyed Moffats tenure for the most part. Not sure about Chris Chibnall yet. It may be the better the devil you know...
I shall miss Capaldi more when he departs
DO I love your take on the TARDIS that you posted 6 months ago - I can't believe I've only just seen it now.
Re Moffat leaving; I'm of two minds. Ages ago, we loved RTD's work, and then began to er...no longer love it, and then were relieved when Moffat took over. Then we began to stop loving Moffat's work, too. I have a feeling that each show runner is under enormous pressure to produce (not talking about fans here, but the BBC) and that - as with all projects, regardless of medium, these days - editing falls by the way side. Moffat's story arcs have all been there, they have just been poorly executed, as though they were first drafts and not thought entirely through regarding the previous canon, the full requirements of the arc, or the laws (yes, there are laws, even in Who) of the world.
Chiball will likely succeed, because he isn't loved, as Moffat was (thanks to Blink and a number of other mad successes when all he had to worry about was writing one or two episodes a year).
I had a theory about Bill, the new companion, too, which it sounds like isn't actually a thing to theorise about, from the looks of your link :P I had a thought that she was a cop. Capaldi's Doctor loves giving the people he meets nicknames (e.g., "PE"), and it'd be like him to call a copper he encounters "Bill" (e.g., The Bill). It would have sort of explained why she asks so many questions, in a way, too. But hey, if Moffat's saying (in the link you posted) that it's "short for Billie, unless he changes his mind" then I guess I was way off and should just give up theorising about things that exist in the realms of fantasy and make no logical sense anyway :P