Doctor Who: Hell Bent review

Posted on Dec 27, 2015


Hell Bent by Stuart Manning - 12

Hell Bent by Stuart Manning – 12

The Storyline

We begin the final part of this trilogy by finding the Doctor in Nevada in the small diner where his previous incarnation once visited to find Clara is back and behind the counter serving with him the only customer and he does not recognise her at all? They make small talk as he plays his guitar to her for his order. She asks him what the song is called and he says Clara.

Cue main titles.

We are now back on Gallifrey and the Doctor approaches the barn where he made his decision to save his home planet when he was three other regeneration’s.

Meanwhile the Timelords know he is back and trace him to the barn where many have gathered in wait for him as friends. He sits and waits, eats and waits, drawing a line in the dirt thinking.

The High Council send troops and then send the High Council itself but still he waits until eventually Rassilon, the Lord President comes to him, the man he has been waiting for. He orders the Lord President to leave Gallifrey, blaming him for trapping him in the castle for centuries but the Lord President says he thought him an enemy and orders his army to kill the Doctor but they ignore his orders, refusing to kill a the man who saved them all in the Time War. They all lay down their arms and side with the Doctor, ordering Rassilon, the Lord President to leave Gallifrey which they do with immediate effect.

The Sisters of Karn are intermediate’s in the discussion as to who the warrior is who will destroy Gallifrey. He needs help to discern who the Hybrid is and turns to the only one he trusts; Clara.

He rescues her from her final moments but her death is inevitable and he ‘kills’ his General to save her; the General now regenerating into a woman. The Doctor wants to save her, change the time-line and heads to the Matrix Database where all dead Timelord’s upload their minds to find answers.

They are both found but Clara orders everyone to stay back as the Doctor relates his story to her, how he was trapped for 4.5 billion years in the Confession Dial that he could have left any time he wanted if he told Rassilon what he knew.

It is then that he steals a Tardis, the original one he stole a long time ago. In his desperation he thinks he has saved Clara and moves far away from Gallifrey and then to the end of time out of reach of the Timelords. Suddenly there is a knock on the Tardis door and the Doctor goes to see who it is, knowing it is Ashildr/ME waiting for him.

She tells him he has no right to save Clara and he tells her he has every right. He tells her she is the Hybrid and she says it is him.

He intends to wipe Clara’s memory in order to save her and return her to earth as he has done before with Donna Noble but Clara refuses, saying that she wants to be returned to where she was, to her final moments but instead the Doctor is returned to Nevada in the middle of nowhere and unsure of who Clara is for he has had his memory wiped of her yet she is in front of him in the diner talking to him. She is then with Ashildr on the other Tardis (that is the entire diner) travelling to Gallifrey but the long way around, seemingly going on adventures together before they do so. The Doctor is returned to his Tardis, armed with a new Sonic Screwdriver and becomes himself once more.

The last scene is of the Tardis and the stolen Diner Tardis crossing by one another in space on to their next adventure…

The Review

So here it is, the last episode of Series Nine before the Christmas Special begins.

We finally know who the Hybrid is and yet in a strange way this is not the real story it seemed to be telling or indeed the return of Gallifrey if indeed it has returned because it still looks trapped in a pocket of space unknown to other life forms by the looks of things?

This episode, the last of the series until the Christmas episode of course was more to do with the Doctor refusing to deal with the loss of his friend Clara Oswald, even after 3.5 billion years of captivity in which we learned that he could have freed himself if only he just dealt with a few home truths in his heart and mind.

It was a dark episode and another that could be confusing for kids and adults alike. It also left many questions; an tangled roll of string with knots in. I can imagine people will be watching this episode again and again to try and get a clearer picture of things as well as other previous episodes in case they have missed out on something or other?

Also in this episode we have yet again been foisted with the whole Timelord changing sex again with the character of the General which we saw happen in this episode. The Doctor Who team will not let this rest will they? I get the feeling that some think that they are bigger than the show and can do as they please. They need reigning in in my opinion for they may lose sight of what the show is and make a change too far which I personally think they have already done with the character of the Master.

Then there is Rassilon and Gallifrey. What has happened to them and will they be a permanent fixture in the next series when it returns? I do hope so for much potential lays there if and when it does?

Also, Ashildr and Clara are now travelling together through time and space and yet Clara is meant to die in the trap street so will she now die twice across time-lines or will she be returned and die where she is meant to? Plus they are two non Timelords, not from Gallifrey in a stolen Tardis so I get the impression that they could have a spin-off here if desired with bounty hunters chasing them in order to get their Tardis back and return things to normal. Anyway, it is good to know that there are possibilities where Clara is concerned. The possibility of spin-offs are getting endless now and will ensure the future of the show forever more in my opinion.

All in all it was a great end to an almost perfect series but for me it needs to regain control of itself before it disappears down a black hole and lost forever and that I fear is where it could be headed if the writers continue with too large a change in a staple and steady recipe. I can imagine writers in twenty years time repairing all the damage and mess caused by today’s overconfident fan led writers and producers, cursing them for fracturing something almost perfect in its craftsmanship.

Once again if it ain’t broke don’t fix it…

If you are interested in the above poster or any of the brilliant work done by Stuart Manning you can buy his prints and he does commissions too. You can view his work here and buy them here and please visit the BBC Doctor Who website here.

The Cast

Peter Capaldi – The Doctor
Jenna Coleman – Clara Oswald

Maisie Williams – Ashildr/ME/Lady Me
Donald Sumpter – The Lord President
Ken Bones – The General
T’nia Miller – Female General
Malachi Kirby – Gastron
Clare Higgins – Ohila
Linda Broughton – The Woman
Martin T. Sherman – Man
Jami Reid-Quarrell – Cloister Wraith
Nick Ash – Cloister Wraith
Ross Mullen – Cloister Wraith
Nicholas Briggs – Voice of the Dalek / Cyberman


Writer – Steven Moffat
Director – Rachel Talalay