back to article Doctor Who: The Hybrid finally reveals itself in the epic Heaven Sent

Readers please note: THIS IS A POST-UK BROADCAST REVIEW – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! At last! The Doctor is on Gallifrey. And what an epic journey to get there. Two billion years of punching his way, Kill Bill-style, through that 20-ft thick wall – 400 times harder than diamond. This is truly how you "get up off your arse and …

  1. msknight

    The teleporter hard drive thing was the pattern buffer in Star Trek, I believe.

    But yes, a definite improvement, possibly the best episode I've seen since Capaldi took the helm. And I also picked up the Baker-ism in the voice.

  2. heyrick Silver badge

    A great episode

    And while this older Doctor is being more badass than the rest (up to and including imagery that looks like it fell out of a Terminator film), he also gets some wonderful one-liners to play with. Like, hey, hell is just heaven for bad people. I also like the whiplash change in pace for a tight story acted, mostly, by one person carrying a forty-odd minute show single-handedly. Well, him and a ghost Clara and a bunch of cogs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A great episode

      This older doctor? More badass than the rest? I fear you're not looking far enough into the past.

      Capaldi's currently just about younger than William Hartnell was at the end of his tenure in the role, and not a lot older than Jon Pertwee was when he left. Both of them were (relatively speaking) somewhat badass from time to time, as it happens - and you'd've guessed they were both a fair bit older than Capaldi currently is. You could argue that with a middle aged badass Capaldi in the title role, Doctor Who is returning to its roots...

      (and as for badass in recent times - well, Christopher Ecclestone and David Tennant's versions of the Doctor both scored very highly in that regard. As did the War Doctor.)

      Admittedly, the boy Matt Smith excelled as the Doctor if you ask me. Aside from all that, this latest episode classes as "Boffo, a good one".

      Capaldi did well - nearly an hour, acted almost entirely solo. Not perfect, but it worked out well. Very little about it grated or irritated, and I can't wait to find out what happens next.

      (My confession: I don't recall seeing any Doctor Who episodes on first broadcast before Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning's time. Yep, I'm about a decade younger than Capaldi.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A great episode

      Hell is where you are done untorepeatedly, indeed infinitely, that which you had inflicted on others and are forced to enjoy it. Near as I can tell from here.

      Not a clue what Dr. Who is about.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: A great episode

        >>"Not a clue what Dr. Who is about."

        Then you may be on the wrong article.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    And I thought last weeks was tedium.

    Nothin compared to >2 billion years.

    Still next weeks looks like a not to be missed.

    BTW. Great acting from Capaldi.

  4. malle-herbert


    Well... I knew from the 1996 movie with Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann that The Doctor was half-human / half-timelord because his mother was human so this wasn't exactly unexpected...

    I'm really looking forward to next weeks episode !

    1. Super Fast Jellyfish


      Apart from the fact this was a film to break in to the US market and they're not that keen on illegal aliens.

      Don't forget, the Doctor lies.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hybrid...

      Only if you think fish fingers and custard is the perfect meal.

      Never take a time lord seriously within 48 hours of a regeneration.

      1. sisk

        Re: Hybrid...

        At least never take the Doctor seriously within 48 hours of a regeneration. Romana was much less apt to tell whoppers after regenerating than he is.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hybrid...

          Romana's silliness was dressing up in a princess' body.

  5. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Did anybody else say "Dark City!" ?

    Hasn't it been canonical since the movie that The Doctor himself is half-human? So it makes since for him to be The Hybrid, and fleeing Gallifrey due to anti-hybrid persecution.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah but did he say:

      "The hybrid is me" or "The hybrid is Me"

      quite a difference if you've been following the series so far.

      1. lorisarvendu

        Ha ha! So I'm not the only one.

        It could be one of Moffat's double-bluffs, but I suspect this is the reason why the Doctor said those exact words, instead of "I am the hybrid."

  6. msknight

    I'm also starting to see the raven as a teleportation device of some sort. Anyone?

  7. I Like Heckling

    Finally it starts to come together.

    Well... I have been highly critical of this season so far... very few highlights in what has been a mediocre and dull build up.

    But what an episode... carried entirely on the back of Capaldi who seemed to relish finally getting his chops into something meaty.

    Great acting, decent writing, great directing and some nice one liners... the Tardis as a place to think reminds me of the Mind Palace from Sherlock... and I sniggered a little at that. But it was handled effectively enough.

    At moments i could have sworn I actually heard Tom bakers voice such was the gravitas and finesse of the delivery... perhaps a bit of audio jiggery pokery too. Sent a little bit of a shiver down my spine when I heard it... or thought I did.

    I did however think that it was spoon fed to the audience quite early on that it was the doctor leaving stuff for himself to find... scrapes of blood on the floor, shovels, clothes and the very old painting of Clara. I made the ending somewhat less than it should and could have been.

    I'm not sure if one great episode makes up for all the mediocre and bad ones so far this year... and for once... I was not disappointed to see Clara for a few seconds. Knowing that she's dead soothes me and I really hope that don't pull a Ewing and he finds her in the shower in the morning... although I think they'll probably save that for the Doctor XXX porn parody.

    1. Number6

      Re: Finally it starts to come together.

      The only clues that got left each time were the word "bird" in the sand and the skull with the electrodes on it, plus the shovel. The blood streaks got cleared up each time, they were shown disappearing as it reset the first time.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Finally it starts to come together.

        I think there were two shovels, one in the corridor and one in the garden and I don't think he took them away from those two places. There was also the painting of Clara and the "I'm in 12" written on the ground in the garden which were two clues which didn't reset too. How did all of these things get there in the first place and why didn't they reset? Perhaps after realising what was happening in one of the first times around he left these clues in the right places which would mean from then on he knew he would repeat the same behaviour until he got through the wall.

        Why would Time Lords carry their own personal hell around with them not knowing what it was, who told Ashildr to teleport him inside it, and why hasn't the confession dial got any other Time Lord to Gallifrey?

        But on the whole one of best episodes ever.

        Oh, and maybe the first time he climbed out the moat he left his clothes to dry and went round in his birthday suit...

        1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: Finally it starts to come together.

          > Oh, and maybe the first time he climbed out the moat he left his clothes to dry and went round in his birthday suit...


          Also, his skull remains to be found by the next him but his other bones vanish?

        2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Confession Dial

          /continuity grumble

          If the Doctors been carting the Confession Dial around for the entire series - calling it his Last Will and Testament - then how come he didn't know when he was inside the dratted thing?

          /continuity grumble

        3. h4rm0ny

          Re: Finally it starts to come together.

          >>"Why would Time Lords carry their own personal hell around with them not knowing what it was"

          Well firstly, it's a device designed to get and record all of someone's truths - for other time lords it may not manifest as a "Hell", or at least not quite as horrific a one. The Doctor is extremely secretive and has far more serious secrets than most people. I imagine you need pretty extreme measures to get him to start telling you them, even if it's for posterity. Secondly, I don't know that I would ever describe the Time Lords as nice. They designed the Confession Dial to do one thing - record all your final confessions for posterity before it finally kills you. Probably no other Time Lord would keep restarting themself by messing with teleport equipment in some clever way. Probably no other Time Lord would even try, once they worked out it wasn't a loop and they were just going to go round and round for an eternity of suffering. So for most people, it would be a case of appearing in a suitable scenario, telling all their secrets and breathing their last. One Time Lord might find themselves with a long lost close friend they'd want to confide in, another (co-operative) Time Lord might just find themselves in a big study with lots of blank books to write their memoirs in. Who knows, but the Doctor did say it was personalized for himself.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finally it starts to come together.

      The episode was entertaining for sure but definitely not great. The major problem with this one is that it has giant problems sitting in plain sight. If the creature stops whenever the doctor speaks a truth which has never been spoken before then saying that he's scared during the second run wouldn't have worked anymore. So eventually the doctor would have run out of truths to tell.

      And there's also the problem about resetting rooms which apparently clean up dropped flowers, fill up dirt holes yet still leaves writing in the sand completely alone.

      It was entertaining, yes, but there were too many illogical twists kept in plain sight for me.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Finally it starts to come together.

        >>"The episode was entertaining for sure but definitely not great. The major problem with this one is that it has giant problems sitting in plain sight. If the creature stops whenever the doctor speaks a truth which has never been spoken before then saying that he's scared during the second run wouldn't have worked anymore. So eventually the doctor would have run out of truths to tell."

        That rather depends on whether the creature is comparing it to things that it already knows or if it works of a simple principle of whether the subject still has things to confess.

        IF true == subject.confession() {



        } ELSE {



        The latter is actually more logical as it's not going to know if what the subject tells is some profound confession or the price of tea. It must have some method of determining such from the subject itself. So the IF...ELSE is the more likely scenario. You simply haven't thought this through.

        >>"And there's also the problem about resetting rooms which apparently clean up dropped flowers, fill up dirt holes yet still leaves writing in the sand completely alone"

        It's made clear that the rooms only reset after a period of time. So iterations of the Doctor can and would see elements left behind by his predecessor, e.g. the writing, the wet clothes... Remember, it is NOT a time loop, it's one sequential process with the Doctor being recreated over and over in normal time.

        >>"It was entertaining, yes, but there were too many illogical twists kept in plain sight for me."

        The episode itself actually suggests the answers you think are illogical.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Finally it starts to come together.

          Do you think Moffat knows the ins and outs of MUDs? :)

          After two billion years there's something timely wimey going on as the castle and its contents are still standing. Even if we look just at the non-resetable things that he leaves behind, the painting and the writing are still there after all that time.

          Nice idea of what other Time Lords' confession dials could be, BTW.

  8. mike white 1

    The Long Game?

    lest we forget , Tom Baker made an appearance in Day of the Doctor as The Curator

  9. RachelG

    There have been little moments when he's sounded just like Tom baker right from his first episode. I'm certain it's not accidental. He, personally, is such a lifelong fan of Doctor who, and skilled enough as an actor, that it couldn't possibly be accidental

  10. Steven Raith

    "The hybrid is me"

    Yeah, who else do we know who goes by the name of 'me'?

    Someone who is also a hybrid, from a few episodes back.

    Steven "colour me not remotely surprised, but thoroughly entertained" R

  11. adam.c

    The Hybrid is Ashildr

    Given the following clues.

    "The Hybrid destined to conquer Gallifrey and stand in its ruins... is me" - Her adopted name

    "The Hybrid is a creature thought to be crossbred from two warrior races." - Vikings and The Mire (via the immortaility chip)

    1. DainB Bronze badge

      Re: The Hybrid is Ashildr

      Spoilers !

      1. Number6

        Re: The Hybrid is Ashildr

        She was featured in the "next week" clip at the end so I'd expect her to be in the credits for it.

  12. TonyWilk

    "Been a Long, Long Time"

    Likely the 'bird' reference was to the above-titled R. A. Lafferty's short story wherein time is measured by the wearing away of a granite block a parsec on a side by a small bird coming to wipe its beak on it every 1,000 years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Been a Long, Long Time"

      Its a bit older than that - at least back to Brothers Grimm.

      1. TonyWilk

        Re: "Been a Long, Long Time"

        I reckon you're spot on with Brothers Grimm. Looked it up, the Doctor's dialog is pretty much taken from The Shepherd Boy...

        1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

          Re: "Been a Long, Long Time"

          There was no need to look it up, the Brothers are explicitely named the first time we see The Doctor hit the crystal wall and tell the sheperd boy's story ("Lovely fellas, they're on my darts team").

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Been a Long, Long Time"

      1. illiad

        Re: "Been a Long, Long Time"

        not a cockerel???

  13. d3vy Silver badge

    Everyone is saying they heard tom bakers voice... Pretty sure there is an image of him in the flashes of imagary when we see the doctor die.. When he does the whole 20,000, over a billion years thing?

    Did I imagine it?

    1. Graham Marsden


      I think it's just that, from certain angles, Capaldi and Baker look very similar.

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: @d3vy

        I did think that might have been the case... I'll rewatch it and check but think your right.

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: @d3vy

        From some shots Capaldi looks just like Pertwee

        1. Peter X

          Re: @d3vy

          I was seeing Pertwee too. I think it was the velvety jacket and permed grey/white hair!

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: @d3vy

            I was going to say that too, one shot in the garden and another on the tower from above I could have sworn were Pertwee.

            1. Faceless Man

              Re: @d3vy

              He seems to straddle Pertwee and Baker (oo-er). He goes for his Tom Baker voice when he wants gravitas, but the velvet coat, and even the shirt in this one (not ruffled, but the detail on the front was suggestive), is very much a Pertwee thing.

              At times he even seems a bit Peter Cushing.

              1. jason 7

                Re: @d3vy

                Cushing doesn't get enough kudos. I really enjoyed his two goes at the Doctor.

  14. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    Damn, that was another corker...

    ... and even better than the last one!

    Capaldi really gets to show what he's capable of doing with the part in this episode, even more so than with his excellent anti-war speech previously or his comments to Asildir, reprised in this episode "If you were any part of killing her and you're not afraid, then you understand nothing at all. So understand this, I am The Doctor and I'm coming to find you and I will never, ever stop" (as I mentioned last week, just what he said about the Quantum Shade...)

    I was wondering as the episode went along if this was some massive exercise in self-flagellation cf the Dream Lord in "Amy's Choice" where he says there's "only one person in the universe hates me as much as you do", ie himself, but it turned out to be even more sneaky than that and I'm annoyed that I couldn't remember the Bird story (even though I recently re-read Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men which also mentions it), but that just made the revelation even better.

    I did guess where he ended up when I saw the Castle in the Confession Dial (bigger on the inside) and I loved the "I came the long way round" comment.

    So, Who is Me? Or is Me the Hybrid and not Who? (And Who's on First Base?! Sorry...!) all will be revealed (WITHOUT SPOILERS, PLEASE!) very soon...

    PS I also loved the line "I'm nothing without an audience" with a quick break of the fourth wall as Capaldi glances towards the camera and us :-)

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Damn, that was another corker...

      "self-flagellation cf the Dream Lord in "Amy's Choice" "

      And it didn't help the confusion when the trailer for another show came on right after...

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: Damn, that was another corker...

      >>"PS I also loved the line "I'm nothing without an audience" with a quick break of the fourth wall as Capaldi glances towards the camera and us :-)"

      Actually, that is the one moment in the episode that I really hated. I loathe arch little asides to the audience. The writer thinks they're being clever exactly when they're not.

      Other than that, a great episode for me. I guessed early on that he was inside the Confession Dial in some manner. "I am in 12" and the way the rooms jumble around was a fairly straight-forward reference to his different incarnations which leant support to the Confession Dial theory. But I couldn't work out what "bird" meant until I heard the whole "bird / eternity" fable and I didn't see the wearing away of the diamond until you were pretty much meant to be working it out. Episodes where I can't work out what is happening but it all makes sense with hindsight (as opposed to some episodes where you can't work out what's happening just because the writer throws in random changes to the scenario to get out of the corner they've put themselves in), our my favourite types of episodes.

      I'm sorry to see Clara go as she's one of my favourite characters. But I like the way they gave her. Great episode.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    We put up with the bad for the moments of exceptional.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Moffat

      Until he became showrunner we only ever saw the exceptional

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Moffat

        Love & Monsters

        The Idiot's Lantern

        Evolution of the Daleks

        The Lazarus Experiment

        You call these exceptional !!!

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Moffat

          That is because they were not written by Moffat

          Since when were RTD, Gattiss, and the other two called Steven Moffat?

          FInd the duff episode out of

          The Empty Child

          The Doctor Dances

          The Girl in the Fireplace


          Silence in the Library and the other episode it was paired with.

  16. DJV Silver badge

    Ashildr "me" is the hybrid?

    Hmm, but what if the Doctor really is the Hybrid? And via his "human" mother who just happens to turn out to be Ashildr, once she's been sent back to Gallifrey's past to before he was born. Well, she is immortal, so might be considered a suitable mate for another time lord...

    ...just my theory...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Ashildr "me" is the hybrid?

      Other than that non-canon abortion of a film to try to break into the US market, has there even been any other reference to The Doctor being half human? I'm also ignoring the Peter Cushing films.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Ashildr "me" is the hybrid?

        The film's canon, McGann was also involved in the audio series and the War Doctor special.

      2. Jagged

        Re: Ashildr "me" is the hybrid?

        If the Doctor does turn out to be half human, I will be seriously disappointed.

        Worst idea ever.

        1. illiad

          Re: Ashildr "me" is the hybrid?

          BUT Ashildr calls herself 'me' .... :O :O

  17. Super Fast Jellyfish


    Surely at the end of 2 billion years he'd have been jumping onto a mountain of skulls rather than finding them at the botom of the ocean?

    Great episode though, quite dark and brilliant lead in to the end of the series.

    1. Jordan Davenport

      Re: skulls

      After only 7000 years, the skulls were near the surface. I'm just going to chalk that up to "automatic room service." Otherwise the entire place would've been rendered to dust after >2,000,000,000 years.

      Nevertheless, I still loved the episode.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: skulls

        Well, how many skulls were crushed to powder or rotted away in the water?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: skulls

        Why do you assume that the first time we see each of the 'elements' of the puzzle are on the same loop through the circuit. The first time we see the Doctor look at the stars is after 7,000 years after all - so how many times has he been round the loop by that point? And are the first times we see each element of the puzzle even in chronological order?

    2. Known Hero

      Re: skulls

      they also would spread with the weight of extra skulls upon them, and lets not forget unknown currents

  18. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Thumb Up

    That's more like it.

    When I saw the castle walls rotate and the rooms numbered, I thought, "Groan! A Cube knockoff.

    But no, that was a cracker. OK, some of the tropes have been used before, but Capaldi was excellent. Plus, it's always good to see Gallifrey* make an appearance. I too spotted some Tom Bakerisms and could have sworn I heard his great sonorous voice at one point.

    Looking forward to next week's episode.

    On a personal note, does anyone else's life feel a bit like the Doctor-in-the-castle's at times?

    * The actors who play the Gallifreyans must curse the Beeb costume designer who came up with those daft outfits. "I'll just look around to see what's happening. Oh no - I can't".

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: That's more like it.

      "The actors who play the Gallifreyans must curse the Beeb costume designer who came up with those daft outfits. "I'll just look around to see what's happening. Oh no - I can't"."

      "I won't wear this daft outfit"

      "You vill, or zee Gallifreyans vill be given ze Lynch Mentat Eyebrows"


      1. illiad

        Re: That's more like it.

        Daft outfits??? look up the robot from 'lost in space' and many others played by people wanting fame, or just good money.... :)

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: look up the robot from 'lost in space'

          The robot from Lost In Space (the TV show) was the epitome of what a robot should be: Clever, resourceful, possessed of a deadly weapon and ultra cool Steampunk-meets-the-Sixties aesthetics, and mounted on caterpillar tracks.

          Contrast with the inexplicably tumbling android door-openers, non-avian Frisbees and one-armed track workers so-called "robotics experts" have managed to come up with so far. Ludicrous and ugly.

          Plus, none of them can hold a proper conversation. The Robot could play chess, pontificate on Dr Smith's perfidy and drive The Chariot, all without need for supercomputer links, WiFi, Bluetooth or USB cables.

      2. IsJustabloke

        Re: That's more like it.

        "You vill, or zee Gallifreyans vill be given ze Lynch Mentat Eyebrows"

        Wow... bit of a Hobson's choice there...

        I didn't hate this episode.

  19. Stevie Silver badge


    Yes, a great episode that made me happy to overlook the blither and bullshirt because the payoff was so worth it.

    If all Doctor Who was of this quality I'd care enough to watch regularly.

    Less shouting, more meat on the bones.

  20. illiad

    400 times harder than diamond???

    so his fist bones are a tiny bit *harder* than that?????

    No mention of *how* he got into the tardis before all that???

    1. MD Rackham

      Re: 400 times harder than diamond???

      It may be 400x harder than diamond, but it could also be extremely brittle.

      That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

      And he wasn't physically in the Tardis, just mentally as with a "puzzle room."

      Good episode, except for the "just like a 3D printer" line. That was kind of jarring for some reason.

      1. Chadzo

        Re: 400 times harder than diamond???

        Agree I don't like contemporary references.

    2. Known Hero

      Re: 400 times harder than diamond???

      I do wonder why he didn't take a shovel.

      Also, with the tunnel length increasing, he was lucky that he always strong enough to pull himself back to the transporter

      1. Horridbloke

        Re: shovel

        Perhaps he did take and use the shovel on occasion. The iterations couldn't all have been identical.

      2. Ironclad

        Re: 400 times harder than diamond???

        That was my first thought. Why not write 'take shovel' in the sand,

        Would have knocked at least a billion years off and saved us viewers a couple of rather laboured iterations through the, by now obvious, loop.

    3. D@v3

      Re: 400 times harder than diamond???

      my only real issue with this episode is, after being told / shown that all the rooms re-set, why didn't the 'diamond' wall..?

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: 400 times harder than diamond???

        >>"my only real issue with this episode is, after being told / shown that all the rooms re-set, why didn't the 'diamond' wall..?"

        Well it wasn't really a room, it was the edge of the mechanism itself. It can reset the things within it, but can it alter its external shell which the Doctor was slowly working his way into?

  21. Valarian


    Well, that's just reset the bar.

    Well written, well scored, well acted. Clever, innovative, emotional - it grabbed me in the first 20 seconds and did not let go until the credits rolled.

    So many things to like. No points where I felt there were plot-holes, deus ex escapes, jarring kid-targeted schmaltz or exposition. The story stood on its' own two feet, and said "Keep up or be left behind".

    I had genuine chills, definitely heard Hartnell and Baker, saw Pertwee and Eccleston, chuckled, blubbed, said "ooooh", and, at the end, sat forward convulsively when I saw where he had travelled to.

    Seriously, seriously impressed. It's almost like Moffat has been saying all season "Sorry about last year", and this was the coup de grace, the point at which he said to the writing staff "This one has to be a perfect 10, people. No compromises".


    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Sublime

      At his best Moffat is one of the best writers to write scripts for Doctor Who, definately top 3, to some top 1.

      At his worst they are average. But an average Moffat is poor compared to Blink, or this most recent episode.

      Capaldi as well was excellent.

      I would put this episode just below Blink.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I really enjoyed this episode (only just watched it) which for this series so far (bar a few) is a real treat however the one very small gripe I have is why use the terminology hard drive, maybe I'm being picky but "storage array" or "storage device" would have been much better and future proof.

    Then again magnesium > beryllium so who am I to judge.

  23. Chris Daemon

    Myst - Well Done

    Delightful episode, great visuals. I wonder if the explanations are so damn long for time reasons or so that granny understands the plot? That is the only real thing wrong with it - and that's good. Capaldi delivered, both visually and especially vocally.

    So, why again do I care about the Hybrid Thingy? The doctor will win, the Daleks will be decimated... with a clever twist. Missy should be in the mix, River could be in the mix, perhaps a side of UNIT. There'll be a surprise failsafe for an outlandish, yet fully anticipated scenario. It'll be... fun.

    "without a human companion by his side, anything can happen" - That never stopped anything from happening. Only difference, he has to talk more to himself than to Miss Explanation/Companion Cube.

    I've come to terms with DW: No information about the Doctor will be disclosed (name, actual age, etc), and if so, it may be wrong or a lie or something. His big enemies never really die or get defeated (Daleks, Cybermen, The Master, etc), that won't change anytime soon. It's just a show, not a religion.

    Oh: EPISODE, not ep! You are not saving time by calling it "ep", you brit ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Myst - Well Done

      haha reminded me of a mixture of spire from Myst IV and the mechanical age from the original :)

  24. Peter X

    Great episode.

    That said... he could've saved himself a billion or so years if he'd just punched a smaller hold in the crystal wall. Pretty sure he only needed a hole he could wriggle through rather than a whole archway to walk through! :D

    1. AustinTX

      He could have saved himself 1.999999 billion years if he used the shovel!

      Never mind the missing mountain of skulls, the missing body bones, and the practical inefficiency of burning a body to power a matter assembler (!!!!). He had a shovel... probably two of them. He could have used them to chisel at the wall far faster. He'd even get new shovels when the garden and hallways reset. He could have done it in a single lifetime, and then let himself get reset so he could exit at the age he entered. I guess none of the current writers ever played a text adventure?

      1. Dave Horn

        Re: He could have saved himself 1.999999 billion years if he used the shovel!

        The impression I had is that he only figures this out at the very last minute, at which point he can't get the shovel.

        What makes you think he's on Gallifrey and not Earth 2 billion years into the future?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He could have saved himself 1.999999 billion years if he used the shovel!

          Exactly - and as he can't carry any information over to his next iteration before he dies - other than a short word.... otherwise he'd say "go to room 12, take the shovel and keep looking behind you every so often so you an do a runner! Oh and don't forget to write this down when you die!"

  25. Valeyard

    Wait a minute.. this my username coming into effect?

  26. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Capaldi has been channelling Tom Baker since he took over the role.

    He has a similar vocal range and timbre, and both actors have a theatre background, which means they're both trained to project, hence that booming quality. Peter has only to switch to a Received Pronunciation accent to complete the effect. He occasionally channels Sylvester McCoy as well, though nowhere near as often.

    I'm surprised more people haven't picked up on this before, though perhaps it's because the music tends to be mixed far too high in most episodes. The music in this one was particularly well done, I thought. (The same director, Rachel Talalay, also worked on the final two-parter of the previous season, which also had a less ham-fisted sound mix than usual.)

    1. Mint Sauce

      Re: Capaldi has been channelling Tom Baker since he took over the role.

      In his very first episode I thought he did a piece that was pure Tom Baker - in voice and facial expressions. "Oh goody :-)" I thought. Then I barely watched the rest of that series - and can remember almost nothing from it.

      This series has been a lot better. Phew.

  27. Faceless Man

    I've said elsewhere, it was an opportunity for Capaldi and Moffat to show off, while Rachel Talalay didn't need to, she just continued to do excellent work.

    I felt at times it was a bit like being trapped inside an Infocom game (Trinity particularly came to mind), but that didn't really detract from it in any meaningful way.

    I worked out he was on a loop when he came across the clothes drying by the fire. I didn't quite get all the details, but it became apparent he was in some way retracing his steps. Presumably the first version to arrive continued on naked, or in his Question Mark underpants.

  28. Efros

    That was the best so far!

    Very taut and pretty well acted/written. Looks as if this Doctor is finally getting to stretch his wings, as it were.

  29. NateGee

    The 4th wall break

    I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the briefest of breaks in the 4th wall whilst he was in the TARDIS during the fall. Just the briefest of glimpses directly at the camera "I'm nothing without an audience".

    Loved it!

  30. Chadzo

    During the monologue I was thinking Logopolis straight away and sure enough there was a lot of Doctor #4 in this episode. Loved it.

  31. Ed@theregister

    Mmm, I just don't get it

    When I say that, it's a reference to Dr Who in general. What is so good about these shows? Why do they attract almost universal praise (same applies to Adele while we're at it, but then again I'm not a middle aged divorcee or 14 year old girl, so why would I get Adele?)

    The most recent incarnations of Dr Who (the last 10 years), or at any rate the ones that Ive been forced to watch before we acquired a second Sky box, just seem shallow. Aliens intent on destroying humanity, the good Dr uses Dawkins-like logic and time travel to save us. That's is. Add the occasional love interest, family feud, and off we go.

    Also, for someone able to transverse time and space at will, he does seem very fond of suburban London in the very recent past. But then again, recent incarnations were seemingly fixated with abandoned quarries, in the mid 1970s. Or abandoned shopping malls, in the 1970s.

    Still, lots of people like it, which is a guarantee of quality. I guess.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Mmm, I just don't get it

      Well it is a long running Sci Fi series with the same character. The best of Doctor Who is among the best TV there is, the worst is just above soap level.

      You can change actor, director, show runner, writer, and it is still Doctor Who.

      You can see that the current crew are fans due to the way they remember he is around 2000 years old and had many incarnations.

      The Doctor treats the human race as his pets, like very clever dogs.

      Anyway what is there to not like about a character who can travel anywhere in time and space.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Mmm, I just don't get it

        "Anyway what is there to not like about a character who can travel anywhere in time and space."

        Except New York, apparently. He broke it.

    2. theOtherJT

      Re: Mmm, I just don't get it

      I'm not sure I get it either - not the overwhelming popularity of the show anyway. I think it's mostly nostalgia for those of us who grew up watching Baker, Pertwee, McCoy et al. A nice reminder of a more innocent age perhaps.

      Judged objectively the vast majority of Dr. Who episodes are utter unbearable shit. I mean, just terrible in every way. Badly acted, badly written, badly directed, badly produced... they're just crap - and it was ever thus, not just since the Eccleston era started.

      The trouble is you have to watch them anyway. Every so often - maybe only as much as once every other series - the stars come right and we get absolute pure gold. For that, I keep watching them just in case this time, maybe this time, this is the episode that has you sitting on the edge of the sofa like you're 12 years old again.



      Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead

      A Christmas Carol.

      Just occasionally they stop cocking about and produce something that's almost perfect. This episode just might have been one of those times.

      1. GrumpyOldMan

        Re: Mmm, I just don't get it

        Part of the fabric of being a 60's kid. I wasn't sure when they resurrected it, but my kids now have a love of it, and laugh at old old episodes but still enjoy them. It's Who for a new generation, and long may it continue. Hope they don't get too PC though.

    3. Tony Paulazzo

      Re: Mmm, I just don't get it

      it's a reference to Dr Who in general

      Doctor Who began life when I was one, he has been a part of the tapestry of my life for most of it.

      If you were growing up in the UK in the 60's, 70's & early 80's you basically had three, then four channels of UK TV to choose from, scifi was few and far between and you took what you could get, Blakes Seven, The Tomorrow People, Land of the Giants, Lost in Space - no video recorders, no internet just 25 glorious minutes on a saturday evening where you were whisked off to alien quarries and men in suits terrifying the bejesus out of you.

      After 50 years you'll forgive an old friend like that many sins.

      The best stories, 'Brain of Morbius' 'Pyramids of Mars' 'The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit' 'The Carnival of Monsters' and 'The Daemons' if you ever get a chance...

    4. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: Mmm, I just don't get it

      TV is mass-produced film. It's very much a production-line process now.

      There's room for art, yes, but it's mostly hard craft and you really need to be on top of your game if you want all the pieces to fit together properly every single time. The trick is to produce more hits than misses, but this is much harder to achieve with TV than it seems. All three of the "creators" of an episode need to gel: the writer, the director, and the editor. The editor relies on the director to provide the raw shots they need to assemble an episode. The director needs the blueprint provided by the writer to work out *what* they need to shoot. The director is also responsible for deciding *how* they shoot it all, including what should be done using CGI, and what practical costumes, sets and props will be needed.

      Genre TV is even harder. With a straightforward drama, you're usually based in a small number of locations, like Casualty's hospital set; Albert Square for EastEnders, etc.

      Battlestar Galactica had the luxury of plenty of standing sets for the spaceship interiors that could be stored and reused when needed. For Doctor Who, only the TARDIS prop and interior set are guaranteed to be needed almost every episode. Little else can be reused, which means economies of scale are harder to come by. This has a huge effect on budgeting and it's likely one of the reasons for there being so many two-parters this year: the budgets for the sets and props are spread over two episodes instead of one.

      This budgetary issue also applies to the monsters: the Daleks keep coming back because they're *cheap*: there are plenty of them sitting in storage. Ditto for the Cybermen and costumes for other popular recurring aliens. It does get harder to keep them fresh, but if you know you'll have a two-part Dalek or Cybermen story coming up, it frees up more of the creature budget for another episode, so you can spend more money on making the new creature look good.

      That balancing act is the showrunner's key job, and I think it's fair to say Moffatt was less experienced at this than his predecessor, though he has been getting better at it since he took over. The quality of Moffatt's earlier seasons was much more variable, often biting off more than he could chew. Contrast with RTD's tenure: he already had some production experience before he took on Doctor Who, so there's less variability. RTD's Achilles' heel was his writing, which tended towards "deus ex machina" endings. (Charlie Brooker's interview of RTD is on YouTube somewhere. It explains much about RTD's self-penned episodes of Doctor Who.)

      Anyway, I'm sure I had a point, but I forget what it was.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mmm, I just don't get it

      Its not everything to "all men" at the moment. Perhaps since 2005 it never has been.

      I read a review on Gallifreybase where the poster suggested that they didn't like it and it might be the most marmite episode of this season. I then looked at the poll for the episode - about 50% had put it as 9 or 10 and there was a steep tail off to ones and two percents rating at the opposite end of the scale.

      [By comparison Sleep No More had, at one point, a flattish spread with equal numbers voting it at 10, 9, 8 etc]

  32. magickmark


    Loved the episode one of the best so far and looking forwards to next week. I think everyone else had made comments about most things that I loved, plot holes etc. So I'll not add to that.

    The one thing I will add... with the Infocom reference someone made earlier, some of it seemed almost in homage to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game in the way the looping time element worked. Not the same but very much in the feel of it. Not surprising seeings as how DNA worked on the show. I also recall one of the Doctors made a reference to knowing Arthur Dent,the 2005 episode The Christmas Invasion, which features the Doctor saving the world in his pajamas, the Doctor makes reference to himself being very Arthur Dent. He then mumbles that Dent was a nice man

    Also it strikes me that some of the imagery used was much like Monument Valley, moving buildings, castles in the middle of the sea, lateral puzzle solving etc.

    Wonderful stuff all round, think I'll watch it again tonight!!

    1. Soruk

      Re: Wonderful

      It made me think that if DNA was still alive he could have written the episode. I mean, who else would have come up with the idea of politely asking a door to unlock itself, with it then doing so.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Wonderful

        >>" I mean, who else would have come up with the idea of politely asking a door to unlock itself, with it then doing so."

        I would ordinarily hate something like that but it was no more arbitrary than pulling out a sonic screwdriver to unlock something and the rapid dialogue as the Doctor tries to emphasize with the door "shut up at night... people always knocking but never for you..." was pretty good.

  33. BenR

    It wasn't bad.

    They're finally letting Capaldi stretch his acting chops, rather than it being YET ANOTHER episode more about the Companion rather than The Doctor. Personally, that's the reason Little Miss Tight Jumper began to grate so much - the show is called 'Doctor Who', not 'Clara Oswald Saves The World'. That and the continuation of the lovey-dovey nonsense from the end of the Matt Smith era, but they had to continue that or it'd've just jarred to continuity far too much.

    The end of the previous episode (I watched them back-to-back, which I think improved both) where Ashildr/Me looks absolutely horrified at realising *just* how out of her depth she is tied nicely into this, with The Doctor almost but not quite following Tight Jumper's last instructions (again - some random human giving The Doctor orders? Hmm...)

    That said, it's seemingly yet another deus ex machina where he miraculously ends up on Gallifrey, the place he's apparently been looking for the entire time, which you could be forgiven for forgetting about given the season has shown you *NOTHING* of his search. I'll be interested to see what kind of pseudo-intellectual, writers-who-think-they're-cleverer-than-they-actually-are, unobtanium bollocks they come up with to shoehorn the entire thing into some grand plan The Doctor has had all along since the events of 'Day of The Doctor'.

    I still think the season would have been far better if it had involved more The Doctor searching the extents of Time and Space for any hint of Gallifrey now he knows it isn't gone forever. He's the first of the 'new' Doctors to have this piece of knowledge and be able to do something about it, especially after the entire Trenzalore incident at the end of the Matt Smith era. Where was the season of him doing anything and everything for even a snippet of a hint of a clue for him to be able to break his home planet out of the folded dimension he put it into?

    I agree this was Moffatt at his best, but since taking over the show, we've had to endure a lot more of him at his worst. As someone else pointed out, when RTD was in chrage, we only got the good bits of Moffatt - presumably because RTD filtered a lot of the shite for us. Maybe he'd be better off going back to being 'just' a writer on Doctor Who, rather than being a show-runner on two completely different shows.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: It wasn't bad.

      I don't think it's as much a deus ex machina as you make out.

      The promise of finding Gallifrey has been there since Day of The Doctor with a fill-up since Dark Water/Death in Heaven. So that is present for those who have been paying attentions even if it hasn't been actively referenced since the final minutes of DiH

      He's been carrying around a strange Gallifreyan device since the start of this series.

      1. BenR

        Re: It wasn't bad.

        I see your point, but i still think they've underplayed it to a large degree.

        The only real reference in DiH was when Missy said she knew where Gallifrey was. One can only assume that The Doctor went there off-camera to have a squint and found nothing. From Wiki:

        "In the interim, the Doctor travels to the spacial coordinates given by Missy, only to find nothing there; Gallifrey remains lost. Some time later, Clara meets with the Doctor to tell him about Danny's fate. Assuming Danny is alive again, the Doctor interrupts her with the news that he found Gallifrey and plans to return home, wanting to spare Clara's feelings. Clara, in turn, says that she and Danny are going to settle down and resume their relationship. They bid each other goodbye."

        Nothing in this series about Clara asking to see Gallifrey, given that she is still under the illusion The Doctor found it. And if I was him, I'd still be looking round for it, given that I knew it wasn't destroyed or time-locked any more. But we get none of that, presumably because The Doctor was off down The Sunglasses Hut.

        Similarly, the Gallifreyan device he's carrying round is meant to be his final confession and his last will and testament. One presumes that he was carrying it round with him following Trenzalore, given he's on a new regeneration cycle and doesn't know when/if he might next die for the final time. Also, if he knew what the device did - and he seemed hazy on the point - then why wouldn't he have spent the entire season trying to get into it or open it.

        Alternately, as it was Missy that gave Clara the device in the first place, he may have been confused about what it was - but then why carry it round? And again, if he thought it was a clue as to the location of Gallifrey, why not spend the time trying to work it out? It was obvious it was always going to be some kind of TARDIS-like Timelord tech.

        Unless this all gets wrapped in in some neat little bow - that will likely involve a lot of handwavium and require significantly greater amounts of disbelief suspension - in the final episode, then i can't see how they haven't just wasted an opportunity to develop Capaldi's Doctor by showing him as a real man-on-a-mission for a season, rather than the typical bumbling-dandy that The Doctor is generally portrayed as. Like The War Doctor (as excellently played by John Hurt), but on a mission of peace.

  34. Roj Blake


    If the Doctor was in the castle for millions of years, then why wasn't it buried in skulls by the time he got out?

    And no, it's not because the sea resets itself like the rooms, because if it did there would have been no skulls there.

    Come to think of it, if the rooms in the castle reset themselves, then how could he chip away at the diamond wall one atom at a time?

    1. lafnlab

      Re: Skulls

      After noticing he was slowly punching a hole through the wall, it seemed the best explanation is the wall isn't part of the castle. It's a bit like the TARDIS door, connecting different dimensions. Every time the TARDIS redecorates herself, the door is still more-or-less the same.

  35. Astro Fruit

    Why use his fist?

    Great episode - best of the series.

    But why use his fist to bang the wall? - why not something a bit harder like a shovel?

    That might have knocked a few million years off the episode.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Why use his fist?

      Maybe occassionally he did use a shovel, but we just didn't see those iterations.

  36. mike white 1

    Dalek Hybrids

    Despite what was said in this episodeabout Daleks not being willing to create hybrids they did do just that in Evolution of The Daleks and created Human-Dalek Hybrids (Dalek Sek)

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Dalek Hybrids

      Sec got exterminated by the other Daleks.

      Daleks don't like hybrids and don't like "others" Racial purity and all that. A point reiterated since the battle in Evil of the Daleks.

  37. Lamont Cranston

    An old man, doing the same thing, over and over again,

    for 2 billion years, whilst talking to himself. If the BBC intended this as an allegory for senility, it was spot on. Sadly, I fear it was intended as an exciting TV show for kids, and so it was really fucking boring.

    It can't have helped that I have no idea what this "hybrid" business is about, nor why a "confession disk" is a tiny prison, nor why The Doctor was stuck inside it. Come to think of it, how did the disk make its way to Galifrey, given that Gallifrey was locked away where no one could reach it? And why didn't The Doctor regenerate when he burned his body to power the machine? So many unanswered questions - there should be a Red Button feature to future broadcasts that could explain these things as they become relevant.

    Very much a Curate's Egg, these modern Doctor Who series (which probably isn't all that different from how it used to be, if I'm honest).

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: An old man, doing the same thing, over and over again,

      >>"for 2 billion years, whilst talking to himself. If the BBC intended this as an allegory for senility, it was spot on. Sadly, I fear it was intended as an exciting TV show for kids, and so it was really fucking boring."

      I'm pretty sure it was an allegory for grieving, not senility. The scenes with Clara in his mind where she tells him he's not the only person who has ever lost someone and that he needs to get up, keep going, move forward - that ties in exactly to the way he keeps being re-born, grieving, over and over and has to slowly punch his way forward through that being told "keep going, move on" each time.

      >>"Come to think of it, how did the disk make its way to Galifrey, given that Gallifrey was locked away where no one could reach it?"

      Unsure, but it makes sense that after filling out your last will and testament it heads back to the archives which would obviously be on Gallifrey.

      >>" And why didn't The Doctor regenerate when he burned his body to power the machine?"

      This was stated in the episode - he said "too badly damaged to regenerate". There have been several occasions when regeneration was a touch-and-go affair. It's never been a Indestructible button for Time Lords. It's always been a process that restores them after age or body trauma would kill them.

    2. illiad

      Re: An old man, doing the same thing, over and over again,

      If you are on your own, who do you talk to??

      If you thought it was boring, you missed a WHOLE lot.... :) you most likely found 'the matrix' boring... :E

      The doctor always keeps stuff that may be useful..

      He did not die (did you miss the part where he said 'time lords take a *long time* to die'??

      Hybrid is mentioned a lot in the last episodes - if you cannot bother to watch closely it is not anyone else's fault... :) :)

      1. Lamont Cranston

        Re: Hybrid is mentioned a lot in the last episodes

        A passing reference in the first episode of this series was all I turned up after a quick google. It was a bit like being expected to care about the kid with the tattoo, last week.

        Confession: I nodded off twice during Heaven Sent. Aside from The Doctor having been replaced by a clone (I assume they'll come back to that?), this episode was a waste of time. I liked the matrix, though - still waiting for the Valeyard to reappear (unless you meant the Wachoski film, which is a couple of exciting set pieces, broken up by a load of boring waffle).

        @h4rm0ny Fair point about not regenerating. Still, The Doctor is dead and is survived by his umpteenth clone.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Hybrid is mentioned a lot in the last episodes

          >>"@h4rm0ny Fair point about not regenerating. Still, The Doctor is dead and is survived by his umpteenth clone.

          The Doctor is the same Doctor that stepped out of the teleporter the first time they arrived. Either all of the Doctors are clones or none of them are. And if teleporting does make the original dead and the new arrival a "clone", then the Doctor has probably been dead since sometime in the early black and white episodes or whenever he first teleported. Same goes for every other character that has ever teleported. Your view of what constitutes being dead and replaced by a clone is at odds with the series and character's own views on the issue.

          1. Suricou Raven

            Re: Hybrid is mentioned a lot in the last episodes

            Teleporter + power station = instant army. There are so many ways to abuse that.

  38. GrumpyOldMan

    Yup - old timer from the 60's and 70's Whos enjoyed it as well.

    And I thought it was just me that picked up on the Tom Baker voice! We need a bit more 'dark' doctor. I hope the next episode and next series don't disappoint.

    I liked Tenant and Ecclestone, took a while to get 'into' Matt Smith, hopefully Capaldi wll take it much further now - and just like Daniel Craig seems more old-school Connery, maybe Capaldi will become more old-school Baker-Pertwee-Hartnel?

    Shame Torchwood finished - Dr Who for adults. Capaldi would have fitted to that perfectly.

  39. Alien8n

    The Doctor's mindset

    It says something for the Doctor's mindset that at the point that he realises that it will take billions of years to escape, dying over and over again, he accepts his fate and proves why he's so dangerous. He admits that one of his greatest fears is dying, and yet knowing the only way to escape is to die over and over again he sets to it and starts chipping away at the crystal

  40. Platopotato

    Not the best..and Murray Gold can you keep the noise down

    The Hybrid is Me...... yeah thanks Pete.. if this story hadn't happened and you'd just have been teleported to Gallifrey we wouldn't have missed much....

    The Hybrid BTW is ME... that's the name the Game of Thrones girl uses for herself....

  41. ShadowDragon8685

    Woe Betide those Gallifreyans, they may have done it this time.

    The Doctor has just lost his best friend, quite possibly permanently (the jury may still be out on that and it ain't over 'til it's over, I say,) and then spent two MILLION years punching his way through a superdiamond wall. All because he was too BLOODY STUBBORN to give up.

    He really is the Oncoming Storm, and the stormclouds have been gathering for so long that the Time Lords of Gallifrey should be very, very afraid. They've successfully turned the wrath that even the Daleks fear upon themselves.

    I see two possibilities here.

    By "The Hybrid is me," the Doctor meant himself, and has claimed to be either metaphorically, or literally, half-human. This is not really implausible, since we know that some humans will survive 'til Gallifreyan times; both Clara Oswald and Ashildr will be 'round that long, and we know the Impossible Girl successfully infiltrated Gallifrey at least once. Wouldn't that be a boot in the ass - you killed his best friend and his mum at once?

    By "The Doctor is Me," then he meant Ashildr, and he's sussed out that he, Ashildr, and Clara, have all played their parts in a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Gallifreyans feared The Hybrid, and knew the Doctor knew, so they coerced Ashildr into putting the Doctor through hell. Clara, of course, being Clara, got herself in the way of it, and managed to get herself killed in the process without averting anything because PLOT. The Doctor has threatened to rain down hell on Ashildr for what she did, but I expect the realization that she's been played too, and it's caused her to kill someone she liked AND alienate the only person she respected as any kind of an equal, is going to make her feel very, very wrathful towards the Gallifreyans.

    Hence, she's going to show up, looking for some revenge of her own. And the Doctor will then have to choose to intervene again... Or stand aside. And this time, he may just stand aside. He may just say no. Seriously, this cold piss him off worse than what Davros and Missy did that most recent time.

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