Sunday, December 6, 2015

Heaven Sent / Hell Bent - discussion the day after

Have you recovered from last night's episode, yet?  I think I'm still feeling the aftereffects.  I was saving my comments on Heaven Sent to combine with this week, thinking it was a two parter, but really it feels more like we had  a three story arc with Face the Raven, Heaven Sent, and Hell Bent, where each of them also feels separate from the others.

Heaven Sent - one hander
If there's any Doctor that can work in a story by himself, it's the 12th Doctor, and if there's any actor that can thrive in that situation, it's Peter Capaldi.  To be so exposed and carry so much responsibility for the success of the story is a scary thing, but he didn't miss a beat.  I was enraptured at every moment and felt such strong emotions - pain, fear, sorrow, hopelessness, hopefulness, and shock.

Who could have guessed that's how he would find Gallifrey?  And for a story that required repetition (billions of years of repetition!), they did a great job making it feel like a lot of time had passed while making us feel more strongly for the Doctor each time.  Kudos to Steven Moffat, Rachel Talalay, and Murray Gold.

Hell Bent - everything, wow, huh?, ahhhh!!!
That's the best way I can describe up where my mind is with this episode, so I'll take this discussion step by step.

The opening scene - So many tears this entire episode.  I was crying right from the beginning when the Doctor started playing Clara's theme on his guitar.  That was probably my favorite moment all series.

What a clever set up to the episode having Clara and the Doctor in that familiar diner (Or not Clara? Not that diner?)  There was so little given away, and it was presented and played in a way that allowed us to make our assumptions, but later in the episode we saw it could have been interpreted in so many different ways.

The barn - Going back to that familiar place from the Doctor's childhood held so much meaning and added another dimension to the story.  The nonverbal interaction between Peter and Linda Broughton (The Woman) was spot on.  On a related note, I love how Time Lords seem to always know who each other are, regardless of which regeneration they're in (with the exception of the Master for some reason).

The spoon! - Whovians always love little references to unrelated episodes, and who didn't love that the Doctor put down his spoon when told to put down any weapons?  Also note the music from past series and Doctors that were sprinkled in at opportune moments.

Another male to female regeneration - Moffat's on a mission!

Clara and the Doctor - Well this is the last time I'll get to rave about the chemistry between Jenna and Peter and the relationship between Clara and the Doctor.  The best acting makes us believe.  With Jenna and Peter, we really believe the love and bond their two characters have.  Of course the Doctor would put up with torture for over four billion years to try to save her.  And yes, at that point, he probably would use a gun and kill for her.  And in spite of everything both of them have gone through and are currently experiencing, they still have that same banter-y, working-as-one dynamic.  It was wonderful to see their partnering and quips one last time.

Memories - We still feel the pain of Donna losing her memories of the Doctor (damn you/love you RTD!)  And now to lose someone else . . . At least this time the memory wipe doesn't seem to be complete, and it wouldn't kill the Doctor if he wound up remembering more of Clara.  Their final exchange in the diner was so sweet.  Then seeing the TARDIS . . . (thank you Rigsy)

Yes, there may be some holes in different bits, and we have some questions, but in the end, this was a goodbye.  Goodbye to the series.  Goodbye to Jenna.  Goodbye to Clara.  And it was worthy goodbye to them all.

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