DWO’s Spoiler-Free Preview of episode 9.12: Hell Bent;
Oh, it’s all been leading to this. Not just Series Nine - though obviously we’re building on everything we’ve been through this season - or the Doctor’s time with Clara Oswald by his side, but his entire life, since he ran away. No, actually, before that.
When Steven Moffat writes a finale, he packs them full to bursting. Monsters and time paradoxes and tweaks to Doctor Who’s wider mythos. It’s fair to say that Hell Bent has all of those in spades, and that it’s a real treat for the fans. As we saw at the end of last week’s episode, Gallifrey is back from the pocket dimension it was sealed in during the 50th anniversary (How doesn’t matter, the fact is it’s here), and it’s facing a new threat. Prophecies predict the coming of the Hybrid - an entity formed from two great warrior races; and not the ones you might expect. It must be ‘well hard’, though…
There’s only one man in the universe who can tell the Time Lords about the Hybrid, and he’s just been through four-and-a-half billion hears of solitary hell to get here. It’s safe to say that The Doctor isn’t in the best of moods for a large portion of this episode. Peter Capaldi continues to give a top-drawer performance, managing to hold your attention for a long stretch without ever saying a word. This finale has been crafted as a real tour-de-force for the actor, and he’s more than risen to the challenge.
Also rising to the challenge, of course, is director Rachel Talalay, who continues to make the world of Doctor Who look beautiful. Working alongside - frankly - the best team in the world, Talalay gives us everything we could want from our first in-depth look at Gallifrey in the modern era. From the tip of the tallest towers to the pits of the Matrix and out into the Dry Lands, we get to explore the Doctor’s homeward like never before, and it’s never looked better.
There’s far - far - more to praise when it comes to the direction (and the script, and the action), but we can only say so much about Hell Bent without giving too much away (and we’d be thrown in the Timelash if we did), but that’s okay - it’s another one of those episodes which is only improved by having each surprise come as fresh, building on the last and sweeping away what came before. It ties up the last few years of adventures, dusts the Doctor down, and sends him off towards the future. And who knows, with Gallifrey back and reeling from the events of this episode, the Doctor might have some powerful enemies keeping tabs on him…
SIX things to look out for;
1) “Are all the bells ringing?”
2) A hint of the Doctor’s extended family.
3)“Stories are where memories go when they’re forgotten.”
4)“The Doctor does not blame Gallifrey for the horrors of the Time War. He just blames you.”
5) “Could I have a lemonade?”
6) “You’re a Time Lord. A High-Born Gallifreyan… Why is it you spend so much time on Earth?"
[Sources: DWO, Will Brooks]