In “Hell Bent,” Doctor Who returns to the desert, causing a coup in Gallifrey and revisiting America for a last goodbye. It’s taken billions of years, but the Doctor has finally returned to Gallifrey for a less-than-joyful reunion with his fellow Time Lords. In “Hell Bent” it’s revealed that the struggle the Doctor endured in “Heaven Sent” was less about keeping the secret of the hybrid and more about establishing a bargaining chip to save Clara. Peter Capaldi uses his impressive ability to convey intensity and power even while being still, increasing the drama of “Hell Bent.”
Season 9, Episode 11 of Doctor Who, “Heaven Sent,” gives us the Doctor in a way we’ve rarely seen him—alone. Yet he is never completely alone—not because of the creature that slowly stalks him through the castle, but because his continually fresh grief means that the memory of Clara is never far. Though the Doctor is without a companion, it is the idea of Clara that serves as his audience, instructor, and, ultimately, his conscience.
The two-part season finale of Doctor Who brings excitement, but also sadness that we won’t be seeing any new episodes until Christmas. The reveal from the first half of the season finale that Missy is the Master was shocking, and we wanted to tell everyone we know, whether they watch Doctor Who or not. As Death in Heaven begins, our excitement is mixed with sadness as we are reminded about Danny’s death. Somehow it feels like we may not get the happy ending that we normally crave. We are focusing our idealistic hope on the Ninth Doctor’s exclamation, “Just this once, everybody lives!” (S01E10).