Check out Josh’s recap on episode 11 of Doctor Who for season 9, titled Heaven Sent, where the Doctor explores a mysterious castle. Also check out our thoughts on the episode!
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Episode Recap of Doctor Who, Season 9 Episode 11: Heaven Sent
On this episode, we pick up after Clara has died. The Doctor shows up in a medieval looking castle, within a teleporter. The Doctor gets out and examines his surroundings. The episode is filled with the Doctor giving a monologue as he goes. He discusses something chasing him relentlessly, and eventually this thing will catch you. He also threatens to find whoever took Clara from him, with him being the relentless follower of this mystery person.
The Doctor wanders this mysterious castle, getting his surroundings. He seems to think he is within a light year of Earth, and the same time period. He says once he can see the stars, he can figure out where he is. He comes across a spade, and makes some comments about despising gardening. He demands to see who brought him here. Then a TV in the hallway pops on, showing him on video. He looks across the castle, and sees a hooded figure. He seems a bit scared of this figure, and it begins to move–towards him. Oddly, flies seem to follow it where ever it goes. The Doctor makes an attempt to flee. He winds up in a dead end though. He says, “I know you” to this figure, and that he has seen it before. He manages to open a door that was locked, but that door opens to nowhere. The Doctor feels hopeless, admitting he feels afraid. This causes the hooded figure to freeze, which perplexes the Doctor. Then suddenly the castle begins to shift–with different levels rotating like gears. An opening appears before the Doctor, and he makes his escape to what looks like a bedroom.
Inside, is a painting of Clara. The Doctor seems to mourn her, and examines it with a monocle type device. The hooded figure returns though, and the Doctor tries to figure out what this guy’s deal is. The Doctor attempts to make an escape, which has him jumping out the window of the room he is in, plummeting towards the ground.
We then see the Doctor in the TARDIS, going a little crazy, talking to “no one” about his escape from the hooded creature. We then see he is talking to a Clara–that is facing a chalkboard, and we can only see the back of her head. The Doctor then indicates that he imagines himself in the TARDIS when he tries to figure his way out of a situation. In actuality, he is still falling.
The Doctor then hits the water, at the bottom of his plummet. The Doctor wakes up, and we see that in this lake/sea, are mountains of skulls at the bottom. We also see that Clara has begun noting things on the chalkboard, “What is this place? How did you make the creature stop?” among other things. The Doctor seems depressed, asking to just rest.
The Doctor them climbs out of the lake, and heads back into the castle. He finds a change of dry clothes that just happens to be waiting for him, and changes. The Doctor looks around some more, and finds a room with an octagon in the floor. The Doctor tries to figure out what this hooded creature is, and why it is after him. The Doctor realizes that this hooded creature is trying to scare him. The Doctor has wandered outside, and he finds another shovel. He decides to dig what looks to be a freshly dug area in the garden. The Doctor digs and digs, as his hooded nemesis approaches slowly. The creature surprises the Doctor behind a door, and the Doctor uses his shovel to force the door closed. He digs more, till the stars come out, to which he says, “No, that’s not right”….he digs some more and finds something, which says “I am in 12.” Then the hooded creature surprises the Doctor, and he pops back into the TARDIS to figure out an escape. The Doctor then realizes with the help of teacher Clara, that this creature is interrogating the Doctor. The Doctor says there are some truths he can never tell, and that he is very, very scared. Then back with the creature, the Doctor admits he left Gallifrey because he was “scared.” The hooded creature then leaves, and the castle once again shifts.
Inside, the Doctor sits, and thinks. He is mourning Clara once again. Then the creature shows up. The Doctor talks to “Clara,” discusses that he has discovered he can get 82 minutes free from the monster as he survives, and looks for room 12 now. Then he says that the rooms in this castle revert to the original state if the Doctor is gone for long enough. The Doctor contemplates this place–stating it could be a “closed energy loop” or “Hell”, and laments to himself how long he would have to be here.
The Doctor then sees the word “Bird” drawn into some sand, and the Doctor tries to figure out why, to no avail. He continues to contemplate his situation, unable to figure it all out. He finally finds room 12. It is a room with a dead-end though. The Doctor then asks rhetorically about the stars, saying they aren’t in the right place. The creature then shows up and the Doctor has another confession–he tells the creature about a hybrid creature, a Timelord and Dalek hybrid. Again the castle moves, and the Doctor heads to room 12, which now has a pathway through. He wanders through the narrow hallway and comes to some diamond wall it looks like, that had “home” written on it briefly. The Doctor then pops back to the TARDIS, frustrated, saying that, “I can’t do this!” He then talks to fake-Clara, asking if he can just lose this time. This Clara refuses to let him give up, but the Doctor remains sad Clara will not be there when he “wins”. Then we see Clara, who tells him to “get up” and “win”.
Back in “reality”, the Doctor lays motionless, but after the greeting from Clara he gets up and begins punching the crystal-looking wall. The Doctor then says that the secret of the hybrid has to be kept. The Doctor says he will escape this and stop whoever trapped him here from whatever they want to do. The hooded creature approaches, and grabs the Doctor’s face.
The Doctor lays on the ground motionless, and we see the Doctor appear in the TARDIS, watching himself. Outside, we see the Doctor trying to climb a staircase in a very weak condition. The Doctor feels this place is a torture chamber made specifically for him. The Doctor makes his way to the teleporter room, and he determines that there is a copy of the Doctor in the teleporter room from before, and he just has to use some energy to find it. He hooks up some wires to his head, and activates a lever. The machine kicks on, and the Doctor steps out of the teleporter. He seems to be in some sort of time loop–restarting from the beginning of the episode, with this new copy of the Doctor…The episode continues, showing the same events again in a montage, repeatedly. But we see that the Doctor has begun denting the diamond wall, very slowly, each time he is reincarnated — over the course of two billion years.
Finally, he breaks through, and the hooded creature falls into a pile of gears as a bright light hits him. The Doctor steps through, into the light, and he winds up in a desert looking place. The portal he came through turns into a device, which appears to be his confession dial, which the Doctor picks up. There is a boy around, and the Doctor tells this boy to head to his city and tell them he is back, and that he took the long way around. In the distance we see a city.
Josh’s Thoughts: Doctor Who, Season 9 Episode 11: Heaven Sent
I found this episode of Doctor Who quite odd. In the end, it ended up feeling like Groundhog Day, with it eventually repeating the day over and over again. What I wondered is how much the Doctor remembered each reset. Based on the situation–that each time a room was left empty, it reset to its original stasis, it would appear the Doctor wouldn’t know what was going on, and just kept ending up in the same place, pounding on this diamond wall. Maybe The Doctor was clever enough each time, that he always ended up in that same place, and eventually, over the course of hundreds, to thousands to millions of times, he eventually broke through. Since he never knew it was the second, third, fourth and so on time he had been there, he never knew to try a different way. I do wonder how much time he spent doing this though, as pounding through diamond with a bare hand would take forever–if it were even possible…
I am curious to see who this mysterious imprisoner is. It seems like it could be a Timelord possibly? It certainly would be someone the Doctor has known for some time, I would imagine. I was a bit unsure about this Dalek-Timelord hybrid that the Doctor was referring. He seemed to indicate it didn’t exist toward the end of his episode, but I wonder what was true, and what wasn’t.
The last thing that was intriguing about this episode was the moments in the TARDIS the Doctor had. It seems like the Doctor’s mind can go a mile a minute, and I wonder how often he does this, and if it is anytime he is in trouble. It was pretty interesting really, and I would like to see more scenes like this.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 9 Episode 11 of Doctor Who: Heaven Sent
I must confess, that I was mostly bored by this episode. Probably mainly because the only “real” character in the entire episode was the Doctor. Sure, there was the creature that was chasing him, but it didn’t talk. There was also the fake Clara, but she didn’t talk, except toward the end one time. The rest of the time we just saw the back of her head as she wrote on the chalkboard and then disappeared. I figured that was all we would see of her, so I was a bit surprised when they actually showed her face later on in the episode. So it was really only Peter Capaldi talking almost the entire time. He did a great job, but overall, I felt it just made things drag without him having someone to talk to to.
That is not to say that there weren’t interesting elements to the episode. However, every time things seemed like they were starting to get interesting, every time he solved a part of the problem, I would soon become uninterested again. As a whole, I could just not get into the episode. It was definitely strange and a little confusing to figure out what was going on, which I imagine it was supposed to be like that because that’s how the Doctor would have felt in this situation. It’s crazy that he was trapped there for over two billion years, doing the same things over and over again. But it looks like next episode should be more entertaining, as he’ll be encountering and interacting with other people, rather than just alone.
Scenes from Doctor Who, Episode 12: Hell Bent
Here are scenes from next week’s Doctor Who episode titled Hell Bent: