Series 9, Episode 11 – “Heaven Sent”

© Copyright 2015, BBC WORLDWIDE LIMITED. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2015, BBC WORLDWIDE LIMITED. All Rights Reserved.

By Brandy Dykhuizen. “Face the Raven” ended with The Doctor pleased to tell Ashildr that he had no idea how his Confession Dial operated. Unfortunately for him, Heaven Sent finds him trapped inside of it at the hands of someone sadistic enough to send the Veil, a creature from his childhood nightmares, to slowly pursue him from room to room, into and out of his mind palace. The sole purpose of this prison is to drive The Doctor towards a confession via cold terror and fear — to confess the secret of The Hybrid.

We immediately see holes in the Time Lord lore of a half-Dalek hybrid, as Daleks are incapable of sharing an entire universe, let alone a body with another being (though do we remember that time Clara was inside a Dalek? And how about that second time?). As he stands in view of Gallifrey, post punching through a 20-foot wall of a substance 400 times stronger than diamonds, he reveals that he is the hybrid set on destroying Gallifrey (he is, after all, purportedly “part human on his mother’s side”), and we have no doubt of his ability and willingness to do so. It seems this three-part cliffhanger will culminate in an epic battle scene, as any good trilogy should do.

WHAT WORKED: The Doctor’s companion is the Conscience to his TARDIS’s Mind Palace, which makes for some comforting, albeit unsurprising, scenes. Within the safety of the TARDIS walls, his memory of Clara teaches him to twist this season’s “you can’t cheat death” theme by jumping headfirst into it and dying repeatedly (roughly 2 billion times) in order to “win.”

WHAT DIDN’T: If the rooms of the confession dial constantly reset, why did the skulls continue to accumulate? Why didn’t the Azbantium wall reset? Why didn’t they come up with a name for a substance harder than diamonds that didn’t sound almost exactly like Adamantium?


I just watched my best friend die in agony; my day can’t get any worse! Let’s see what we can do about yours…” – The Doctor.

Clara said I shouldn’t take revenge, but you should know I don’t always listen.” – The Doctor.

Gardeners! I hate gardening! What sort of person has a power complex about flowers?” – The Doctor.

If they’re going to threaten you with death, show them who’s boss – die faster!” – The Doctor.

It’s a killer puzzle box designed to scare me to death and I’m trapped inside it… Ha! Must be Christmas!” – The Doctor.

Doctor, you are not the only person who ever lost someone. It’s the story of everyone. Get over it. Beat it. Break free. Doctor, it’s time. Get up off your arse and WIN.” – Clara.

BEST MOMENT: The scene in which The Doctor picks up a shovel laid out for him and proceeds to dig what appears to be his own grave is rife with classic horror movie elements (the music, the lighting, the Veil’s long, decaying arm reaching out to suffocate him) which leave us teetering between wanting the hero to prevail and wishing to find out what’s on the other side. However, I liked The Doctor more when he was atop a high tower, in a Hamlet-esque monologue with his own skull. At that moment he was both Yorick, the jester running round and round, jumping and performing his tasks ad nauseum and Hamlet, musing over mortality and fear.

EPISODE’S MVP: The Doctor. Even if it wasn’t just a one-man show, Peter Capaldi would knock this one out of the park. Talking to yourself nonstop doesn’t seem so odd when you’re terrified of being alone.

© Copyright 2015, BBC WORLDWIDE LIMITED. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2015, BBC WORLDWIDE LIMITED. All Rights Reserved.


– Will this be the device Moffett, et al. use to get around that pesky 12-time cap on Time Lord regeneration? If he’s a copy of a copy of a copy, etc., is he still really The Doctor?

– When viewed from above, the walls and towers of the castle in which The Doctor is trapped resemble the floating and concentric circles of Gallifreyan writing. We get a better glimpse of this as we see his map-in-progress as he struggles to find the hidden Room 12. So… what does the castle say? Does the floor plan spell out a confession? Do the walls of the prison spell his name? Is a sentence being written each time the castle resets, penning a chapter in The History of the Time War?

– Now that he is once again hell bent on destruction, will River Song reappear as the ultimate weapon against The Doctor? To hear an Alex Kingston “Hello, Sweetie” uttered at Peter Capaldi would be the cherry on top of a phenomenal season. Yeah, she’s dead. But a copy of her was saved in the Library’s database, and The Doctor is now a copy of a copy of a copy, etc. WHO KNOWS?!? I’m just spitballing, here.