Check out Violet’s recap of the Season 9 Episode 12 of Doctor Who, titled Hell Bent, where we see what becomes of the Doctor after he escapes from his confession dial! Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts about the episode.
Don’t need the Doctor Who episode recap for Hell Bent? Click here to jump directly to Violet’s thoughts on the episode!
To see Josh’s thoughts on this week’s Doctor Who episode, Hell Bent, click here to get directly there!
Episode Recap of Doctor Who, Season 9 Episode 12: Hell Bent
In Nevada, the Doctor hitches a ride in a pickup truck, which drops him off at a diner. With his guitar slung over his shoulder, he enters the diner, and Clara is inside, working as a waitress. They don’t seem to know each other. The Doctor plays a sad sounding song on his guitar, and says that he thinks the name of the song is “Clara.” Clara asks the Doctor to tell her about Clara.
Picking up where we left off at the end of the last episode, the Doctor walks through the desert and comes across a barn. Meanwhile, in the city off in the distance, the Cloister bells are ringing, and the Lord President seems to think something is wrong. The Sisterhood of Karn enters the room, and they are all aware that the Doctor has come home.
The Doctor explores the barn, and a woman enters, who recognizes him, and tells him, “They’ll kill you.” Outside, villagers watch the Doctor as he is about to eat. A spaceship arrives, telling the Doctor to lay down his weapons and accompany them to the Capitol. The Doctor responds by digging his heel into the dirt and drawing a line, then returning to the table. Then he goes and lays down on a bed in the barn.
Later, the Armed Forces of Gallifrey come to greet him. Back at the Capitol, the Lord President wonders what the Doctor wants. Ohila, the leader of the Sisterhood of Karn, assures the Lord President that the Doctor does not blame Gallifrey for the horrors of the Time War — the Doctor just blames him.
The Lord President goes to the barn to see the Doctor, and extends his hand for a handshake. The Doctor drops his confession dial and tells him to get off his planet. The Lord President defensively says that they needed information about the hybrid, and if he told him that information, they would have let him go. The Lord President instructs the soldiers behind him to fire at the Doctor. However, considering that the Doctor is a war hero, they fire around him, rather than at him.
One of the soldiers explains that there was a saying in the Time War: the first thing you notice about the Doctor is that he’s unarmed. The soldier lays down his weapon and crosses over to the Doctor’s side of the line. The other soldiers do the same, despite the Lord President’s protests. Other spaceships show up in support of the Doctor. The General tells the Lord President to get off the Doctor’s planet, lays down his own gun, and also crosses over to stand by the Doctor.
In the Capitol, the General tells the Doctor that the Lord President may not find a place to go. The Doctor says he’s not the Lord President anymore, and the officer reminds him that he used to be a good man once.
Down in the Cloisters, Ohila finds the Doctor and he tells her about his imprisonment in the confession dial. Up in the council room, the Doctor asks if they wanted to know about the hybrid, why didn’t they just ask him? The Doctor has the General tell him what they already know about the hybrid. He tells him that the hybrid is thought to be cross-bred between two warrior races, which they presume to be the Daleks and the Time Lords. All Matrix prophecies concur that this creature will stand in the ruins of Gallifrey, unravel the web of time, and destroy a billion hearts to heal its own. The Doctor says he’ll need help to keep them all safe, and that he’ll need to use an extraction chamber to talk to an old friend.
With the use of the extraction chamber, the Doctor retrieves Clara the moment right before the raven flies into her. The Doctor explains to her where she is, and that the universe is almost over. She thinks something is wrong with her ears, and the Doctor tells her that her physical processes are frozen, and she doesn’t have a heartbeat. The General tells her that she in fact died a billion years ago, and that since this is an established historical event, it cannot be altered. Then the Doctor punches the General and takes his gun. The General tries to talk the Doctor out of leaving, saying that if he tries to save Clara from dying, he could fracture time itself. Clara also tells him she doesn’t want this. But the Doctor asks the General which regeneration he’s on, to which he replies tenth, and the Doctor shoots him dead, then runs away with Clara, making sure to get a human compatible neural block before they go.
The General regenerates into a woman. The Sisterhood of Karn enter the room Ohila says that the Doctor must have gone to the Cloisters. She is right.
Back in the diner, the Doctor explains what the neural block was for: to keep Clara safe, he had to wipe her memory of him.
Down in the Cloisters, the Cloister race are lurking around. The Doctor searches for the secret way out so that the Cloister race will let them go. They come across a Dalek which has been neutralized and begs them, “Exterminate me.” There’s also some weeping angels that begin to attack, as well as a Cyberman. The Doctor tells her that the Matrix is using them as a defense, which means the secret exit must be close. The Doctor tells Clara that this is the Matrix database, and that when Time Lords die, their minds are uploaded to the Matrix, which can predict the future. They find the hatch to get in, and the Doctor tries to figure out how to open it.
Clara asks how long it’s been for him since he last saw her. He explains what happened to him. The General, Ohila, and a couple of soldiers confront the Doctor, but Clara tells them to stay back. The Doctor continues his story, and says that he had to find a way to save her. Clara asks the General and Ohila how long the Doctor was trapped, and they tell her they think 4 and a half billion years. When Clara asks him why he would do that, he replies that he had a duty of care. Clara says that she has something to tell him, and she does, but we don’t get to hear what she says.
Clara tells the General that they are monsters and hated. They ask Clara what she told the Doctor, but she doesn’t tell them anything, just distracts them while the Doctor opens the hatch and goes inside. She then tells them the Doctor is stealing a TARDIS and running away. Then the TARDIS forms around her and she finds herself inside the TARDIS with him. Ohila calls for the Doctor to come out and face her, calling him “boy.” He steps out and has a brief exchange with her, then goes back inside and leaves with the TARDIS.
The Doctor tells Clara that she now has a heartbeat, that her heart should have started when they broke free of the Gallifrey time zone. However, Clara isn’t able to find a pulse. He looks at the back of her neck, and the 000 timer tattoo is still there. The Doctor says they just need to get a little further away, and that time will sort itself out. The Doctor says they’ll go past the time where Gallifrey was hiding, and they won’t be able to track them there. The Doctor is insistent that time will heal itself, but Clara isn’t so sure. The Doctor says that as of this moment, he’s answerable to no one.
Suddenly, there are four knocks on the door. Clara wonders what’s out there. The Doctor says, “It’s me.” He exits the TARDIS and finds Me, previously known as Ashildr. Me says they have no right to change who Clara was. She brings up the hybrid. Meanwhile, inside the TARDIS, Clara figures out how to watch and listen to their conversation on the monitor.
The Doctor tells Me that she is the hybrid, being that the prophecy only specified two warrior races, and that Me is made up of the two warrior races of Human and Mire. However, Me theorizes that the hybrid is half Time Lord and half human — and that it’s him. But she also has another theory: what if the hybrid wasn’t one person, but two: the Doctor and Clara. Me points out the way the Doctor met Clara — through Missy. The Doctor tells Me that he plans to take Clara back to Earth and wipe Clara’s memory of him, and that he’ll now tell Clara what he’s going to do. Upon hearing that, Clara turns off the screen.
The Doctor goes back inside the TARDIS with Me, and Clara admits she was watching on the monitor. She tells the Doctor that she used the sonic sunglasses on the neural blocker, that she reversed the polarity, and if he presses the button, it’ll blow up in his face. He says he’s not sure what she has managed to do to it, but it’ll do something to one of them, and that it’ll be like flipping a coin. They both press the button, and the Doctor begins to fall over. He offers her some parting words of advice, admitting that he went too far, that he broke all of his own rules and became the hybrid. He asks her to smile for him, but she cannot smile through her tears. He passes out.
The Doctor wakes up in the middle of a desert when a man wearing a baseball cap wakes him up. The man tells the Doctor that Clara asked him to look after him. The Doctor asks, “Clara who?”
In the diner, the Doctor has finished up his story. He tries to recall what he can about Clara, but it’s not much. He says if he met her again, he would know. He remembers being in the diner with her, but then realizes it was Amy and Rory. She asks about his TARDIS, but he hasn’t found that yet. Clara begins to walk to another room, when the Doctor begins playing the song on the guitar again. Clara says that maybe sometimes memories become songs. Then she walks into the other room, which is the TARDIS control room. The diner disappears from around the Doctor. Then he sees his TARDIS.
Inside Clara’s TARDIS, she and Me discuss that their TARDIS may be stuck as a diner. Clara’s pulse still has not returned, which means that time is not healing itself. She says she does plan to go back to Gallifrey, so they can put her back — but she’s going to take the long way around.
The Doctor approaches his TARDIS, which has been painted with flowers and a portrait of Clara’s face. There’s a message on the chalkboard inside: “Run you clever boy and be a Doctor.” He then retrieves his own new sonic screwdriver from the TARDIS console. As the TARDIS begins to disappear, the portrait of Clara begins to flake off.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 9 Episode 12 of Doctor Who: Hell Bent
When Clara died in Episode 10, Face the Raven, I thought it was a good and fitting death for her. However, as a Doctor Who fan, of course we all know that just because something happens, or is about to happen, that doesn’t mean it will stick. It seems the Doctor always finds a way out of his situation somehow, with some last minute thing. I was hoping that wasn’t the case this time. I liked the way that Clara went out. So when it became evident that the Doctor was going back for her, that he was going to save her, I kind of rolled my eyes, because of course that was going to happen. Of course.
However, after watching the episode, I actually really liked it, and liked what they did. I felt like this was a very beautifully done episode, and gave the closure that Face the Raven didn’t. I realized that I wasn’t ready for Clara to go that episode, and that this episode provided me with the readiness that Face the Raven lacked. This time, it felt final.
It was kind of crazy the lengths to which the Doctor was willing to go in order to save Clara. The Doctor is not one to use guns, and yet he not only held one in a threatening manner, he actually used it, and shot to kill — and did indeed kill the General. That seems like a pretty big deal, even if the General was going to regenerate. Oh, and was it just me, or did anyone else start to think that the hybrid was going to end up being an offspring of Clara and the Doctor? The theory didn’t have to be changed so much as to have the hybrid be two people, it could have just been a future child of the Doctor and Clara that they prevented from coming to be by wiping one of their memories. After all, the Matrix did say that it was “a” creature, not a dual creature.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this episode, and felt like it wrapped up the season, as well as Clara’s story — while also leaving the door open if they ever wanted to bring Jenna Coleman back for a one-off. We knew she was leaving, and it’s really interesting to think of Clara out there having adventures with Me/Ashildr. It would be neat to see some sort of Doctor Who spin-off or movie special about that! But for now, we’ll go on to watch this year’s Christmas special with another companion who is supposed to be dead, but whom the Doctor keeps running into for one-offs from time to time — River Song!
Josh’s Thoughts: Doctor Who, Season 9 Episode 12: Hell Bent
Scenes from the Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Husbands of River Song
Here are scenes from the next episode of Doctor Who, titled The Husbands of River Song: