Doctor Who: Heaven Sent
November 28, 2015 1:20 PM - Season 9, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Trapped in a world unlike any other he has seen, the Doctor faces the greatest challenge of his many lives. One final test. And he must face it alone. Pursued by the fearsome creature known only as the Veil, he must attempt the impossible.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (139 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, that was a long episode
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:20 PM on November 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


Loved it. But I imagine enough chuntering on Gallifrey Base to power a small country.
posted by threetwentytwo at 1:26 PM on November 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


I enjoyed this, Peter Capaldi pulls off the solo episode really well.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:34 PM on November 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Doctor was right in the middle of explaining that the Daleks would never allow a half-Dalek Hybrid and started to explain what it really was and then the DVR CUT OFF. AUGH.

Anyway, thank you internet pirates, and high-fives all around to everyone who predicted "they" were the Time Lords.

I think this episode was more ambitious than it was successful, but it was really ambitious, so that's in no way an indictment. Mostly I would have liked more of a tonal shift between the spooky quiet of the castle and the frenetic mindspace of the Doctor -- so I guess what I mean is that I really wanted Murray Gold to chill out. But the best scenes were when Capaldi was in small, poorly-lit places with no fancy effects or lighting, acting the hell out of the joint.

The Clara callbacks/cameos were well done. I wasn't expecting Coleman to actually show up, so that was a nice surprise.

Ashilder/Me has the Doctor's confession dial, right? Was he trapped inside a different one, or is there a time loop going on? Are all confession dials freaky prisons like that? It's not as though the Time Lords aren't screwed up enough for it.
posted by bettafish at 2:54 PM on November 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I liked the way the music referenced Beethoven's 7th, though I've no idea why it would other than that it sounds cool. Which is good enough, I suppose.
posted by Grangousier at 3:23 PM on November 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well I guessed wrong, that the Doctor was trapped in a clock and the ultimate villain was gonna be Dawkins. But I suppose there's still time... geddit, time! (Sorry, I'm very tired)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:36 PM on November 28, 2015


If you're going to pinch musical ideas you may as well pinch them from the best.

So, did the Doctor say that "the hybrid is me" or "the hybrid is Me"?
posted by sobarel at 3:49 PM on November 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'd much prefer it to be 'me', I'm not sure I have the patience for hearing how 'Me' got to be part time lord and part Dalek.
posted by biffa at 4:11 PM on November 28, 2015


Maybe it's a reference to the old half-Time Lord, half-human meme.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:03 PM on November 28, 2015


Did anyone catch what was written on the wall of the corridor, right near the start of the prison? About 4'50 in.

I think it's a poem, perhaps the opening monologue?

I'm annoyed the mentioned Gallifrey in the promos weeks ago, and that the time loop was pretty obvious (not, though, why room 12 never reset when every other room did). And I guess I am baffled why the Doctor was imprisoned in the first place.

I'll be annoyed if "the hybrid is me" is a callback to "half human, on my mother's side" or anything from The Nth Doctor.
posted by Mezentian at 6:36 PM on November 28, 2015


When it was on live, I missed at least a third because my TV has decided to put interference on everything. Just stayed up and watched it again (only meant to watch the pre-credits sequence which I missed altogether). I thought it was quite marvellous. For some reason it reminded me of Once Upon a Time, the penultimate episode of The Prisoner, but I suspect next week's episode won't be Fall Out. Apart from that, it's another episode not like anything I've seen before, which is actually what I want from television in general and Dr Who in particular. It was executed so well that only the churlish could resent it, however strange it might have been.

Although I sometimes wonder whether Churlish isn't the native tongue of the internet.

I also suspect the Time Lords will regenerate Clara. I actually don't think that would be a cop out, largely because it wouldn't be a reset switch, but would rather change everything (at that point, wouldn't she be a Time Lord?), and also because it would be functioning in narrative terms rather than fan-pleasing terms.

Although it would also be funny if Peter Capaldi regenerated into Jenna Coleman.
posted by Grangousier at 6:38 PM on November 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, that was great. After last week and the angry eye boogers, I was losing faith. But this was terrific.

I'm a sucker for a time loop story, though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:42 PM on November 28, 2015


It was an actual, proper science fiction story too, wasn't it? Despite the holes (which are narrative elisions, which are almost inevitable if you're not going to lose the audience completely).
posted by Grangousier at 6:46 PM on November 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I got the Prisoner feeling too, and I don't think it was just the setting (trapped in a surreal castle/village designed to make you confess your secrets?). Were there some little Number Six-esque touches to Capaldi's performance too, or am I imagining things?

And, hell, I'd be delighted if Moffatt got hepped up on goofballs and wrote a Fall Out style finale. He'd probably never work again, mind. I'm definitely less enthusiastic about having the Time Lords back - even if one of them appeared to be the marvelous Donald Sumpter.
posted by sobarel at 7:03 PM on November 28, 2015


The finale of Matt Smith's second season was almost as bonkers as Fall Out. I don't doubt he would do it if he wanted to (apart from anything else, there doesn't seem to be anyone else available to do the job), it's just I don't think he's going to.
posted by Grangousier at 7:08 PM on November 28, 2015


Okay - I am digging Peter Capaldi this season, but MY GOD the man mumbles sometimes. So - did anyone catch what he said to the Veil in the grave, the FIRST time he made it stop in there?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:38 PM on November 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


So - did anyone catch what he said to the Veil in the grave, the FIRST time he made it stop in there?

He didn't leave Gallifrey because he was bored, but because he was scared.
It was always a lie.
posted by Mezentian at 7:45 PM on November 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Enough with the "mind palace" stuff. If I want to watch Sherlock, I'll watch Sherlock.
posted by jbickers at 7:51 PM on November 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


So, I only managed to catch the last ten minutes or so (it's our anniversary. I had to make an appearance), but what I saw was crazy interesting. I'll have to catch the first fifty minutes next week, I guess. What I saw looked good, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:15 PM on November 28, 2015


There's a second trailer for next week here (different to the one on the broadcast).

I almost wish I had not watched it, personally. It reminds me of Warmonger.
But there's enough in there that I suspect Moffat's been playing a long game.
posted by Mezentian at 8:16 PM on November 28, 2015


Somebody been playing Monument Valley you think?

I feel like with Clara gone this episode was like watching a majestic stallion being unhooked from a big overloaded wagon and just running free and beautiful. More like this please.
posted by bleep at 8:38 PM on November 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also "burning yourself up to make a new copy of yourself" reminded me of regeneration.

Also it reminded me of personal theory of regeneration that they are symbiotic life forms in their cells, similar to our mitochondria, that when they sense their host dying they consume the remaining energy in the cells, rescramble the Dna and pressure-cook a brand new life; but that they burn up with every regeneration amounting to only 12 regenerations unless they get an infusion of new creatures. Which is why the Doctor couldn't regenerate here. There wasn't enough left energy left in his cells. Because the trap was constructed by time lords they know exactly how much energy is required.
posted by bleep at 8:56 PM on November 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


This episode was absurdly ambitious. I felt like it stuck the landing but everything before that was a mess. I get why structurally the puzzle palace had to be so long but it was a bit of a slog.
posted by lownote at 9:29 PM on November 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


There were three of us in the living room and we all had laptops in front of us and we were ALL glued to the TV. So it definitely worked over here.

(And yes, I imagine Gallifrey Base is devouring itself at this very moment.)
posted by wintersweet at 9:31 PM on November 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


(And yes, I imagine Gallifrey Base is devouring itself at this very moment.)\

I'm sure they're all thinking what we're all thinking:
Surprise visit by David Bradley next week?
posted by Mezentian at 9:34 PM on November 28, 2015


That episode really was long. Very very long. And yes to Capaldi's mumbling, and also, the music was frequently WAY too loud, and drowned out his lines completely.
posted by sarcasticah at 9:41 PM on November 28, 2015


Two things. I like Capaldi's Old Man Scampering, felt very Doctor-y, bit Cushing-y maybe?

Second, for the event loop to work the Doctor would have to have taken his clothes off by the fire and carried on in his Time Lord boxers the first time through.

This is not a plot hole, this is AWESOME CANON.
posted by comealongpole at 10:00 PM on November 28, 2015 [16 favorites]


That was pretty great and so much better than sleep dust monsters.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:03 PM on November 28, 2015


I think this one is an instant classic. Capaldi was just terrific. (Although, yes, he is a mumbly man. Either that or the sound mix is off, I find myself straining to hear him sometimes.)

The line about how the worst part of losing someone isn't the first day, that's going to haunt me. Part of the reason why it always weirds me out that DW is seen as a kids' show in the UK is because of lines like that in episodes like this, moments that you can tell come from hard, scarring experience. I don't know that many kids will really get that, but those of us who have lived long enough to bury people we've loved will feel the awful truth of it.

When somebody is gone from you, you scurry from room to room making the calls that need to be made, answering questions, signing forms. And then the hour comes when there's nothing else to do. You're just there in a silent room, without them. Having the Doctor grieve for Clara for billions of years, talking to the image of her that lives on in his mind, caught in a ghastly loop and not knowing it... that stuff is for the grown ups.

This episode made me feel Clara's death more than the one where she actually died. I find myself wishing she'd departed in the Christmas episode, as was the original intention. She got to live a nice long life, in that one.

I kept thinking BIRD was a reference to the Raven that killed Clara. I wonder if that was the intention, or just inevitable given the story about the bird chipping away at the diamond.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:08 PM on November 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


(Although, yes, he is a mumbly man. Either that or the sound mix is off, I find myself straining to hear him sometimes.)

I think it's a combination of music and the mix. I can't recall missing a single, delightful word from Malcolm Tucker.

But there are times when it sounds like he's doing silly accents, like that American thing I refuse to acknowledge ever happened.
posted by Mezentian at 11:17 PM on November 28, 2015


Somebody been playing Monument Valley you think?

Myst, with a side of Riven.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:35 PM on November 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Of course: Ashildr is the Hybrid.
She is a hybrid between the Mire and Humanity.
posted by Mezentian at 12:14 AM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Although he attributes it to the Brothers Grimm (I think), the bird story comes from Hinduism and Buddhism - if I remember correctly the very long period of time called a kalpa is the amount of time it would take to wear a mountain down if you rubbed it with a piece of silk every 100 years. In some versions I've heard, the silk is borne by a bird, which would, yes, be an impressively disciplined bird.

(So that would be a callback to the Buddhist imagery that was in Who towards the end of the Pertwee run. Appropriately enough.)
posted by Grangousier at 1:38 AM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was an actual, proper science fiction story too, wasn't it?

In some ways the episode reminded me of Futurama, because that's the only other recent show that would have attempted a story like this. (If I'm wrong, I'm certainly open to recommendations).
posted by Gary at 1:38 AM on November 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really liked this episode. I almost guessed the timeloop thing from the beginning, but I didn't get the bird reference immediately. For a minute I thought: this would be an amazing, dark ending for Doctor Who as a whole - the Doctor trapped in a time loop that he creates himself, constantly re-living his guilt over his actions through the millennia.
posted by crocomancer at 3:05 AM on November 29, 2015


One disturbing idea: it could (and will) be argued that the Doctor we've been following all along really died, a couple of billion years before one of his copies finally popped out of the confession disk prison thing. From here on, we're watching a copy of the guy who had just watched Clara die. Even if that final copy is exact, it's still not exactly the Doctor we knew.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:24 AM on November 29, 2015


but I didn't get the bird reference immediately.

But the bird is the word.

Even if that final copy is exact, it's still not exactly the Doctor we knew.

Hasn't this happened before (I am thinking Classic Series, but may be Big Finishing)?
Or am I getting Trek in my Who?
posted by Mezentian at 4:58 AM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Second, for the event loop to work the Doctor would have to have taken his clothes off by the fire and carried on in his Time Lord boxers the first time through.

Wellll...If we hew to events in the show being canon, then the Doctor is actually naked all the time and his clothing is merely a projection (as established in The Time of the Doctor) So...
posted by Thorzdad at 7:02 AM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


IIRC, there's a BFG on the roof but you have to rocket jump.

I liked this a lot and I'm finally sold on Capaldi. It was sufficiently good that I hope that they don't make a pig's breakfast of next week for this week's sake, let alone for its own.
posted by hawthorne at 7:12 AM on November 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I found this a bit overlong and often tedious to be honest. I guessed what was happening much earlier than he did, which made it a bit frustrating. It's also another straight up horror story concept in Dr Who. I appreciate that Dr Who is a lot of things, but the last few episodes have had some proper horror imagery in them. Kids watch this, you know?

[also the plot makes no sense. Why provide an escape to the torture chamber at all? Also torturing someone for infinity isn't super effective if they don't remember that it's happening!]
posted by Cannon Fodder at 7:30 AM on November 29, 2015


I appreciate that Dr Who is a lot of things, but the last few episodes have had some proper horror imagery in them. Kids watch this, you know?

Just as there has always been. The first season I properly remember was 1976-77. That year people were attacked by giant rats, killed by Robots (of Death!), and the Doctor is the subject of a plot by someone who has badly failed as regards skin care and who nearly drowns the Doctor. It's always been a show with horror themes.
posted by biffa at 8:11 AM on November 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


I guess, I just don't remember the Dr, in agony, with half his face burnt off, crawling painfully upstairs.... For 2 billion years.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 8:41 AM on November 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


At some point wouldn't the skulls dwarf the moat in the middle of the castle?
posted by leotrotsky at 9:00 AM on November 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


What I'm saying is, eventually wouldn't he be Scrooge McDucking it through a pile of Skulls?
posted by leotrotsky at 9:04 AM on November 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


Also, what if he hadn't figured out the regeneration thing? Wouldn't the Time Lords just have a dead Doctor and no answer?
posted by leotrotsky at 9:04 AM on November 29, 2015


> At some point wouldn't the skulls dwarf the moat in the middle of the castle?

Over 2 billion years and you're bound to form some Timelord Limestone.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:27 AM on November 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, what if he hadn't figured out the regeneration thing? Wouldn't the Time Lords just have a dead Doctor and no answer?

Presumably they could have brought along an outside power source and re-teleported the Doctor from the hard drive themselves, and tried again.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:24 AM on November 29, 2015


Hasn't this happened before (I am thinking Classic Series, but may be Big Finishing)? Or am I getting Trek in my Who?

Definitely happened in Star Trek, and Doctor Who wasn't mentioned in the AskMe thread about Transporters and Death. They used to show To Be by John Weldon on Canadian kid's TV, to prepare us for our own confession dials.
posted by Gary at 10:26 AM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I approve of this Doctor Who / Castlevania crossover.
posted by Servo5678 at 12:20 PM on November 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure I have the patience for hearing how 'Me' got to be part time lord and part Dalek.

There were two facts presented:

There is a hybrid of two warrior races that will conquer Gallifrey.
The hybrid is Me.

The Mire are: "one of the deadliest and most advanced warrior races in the galaxy"
According to Dalek Sec humanity 'has such a wonderful mind for war'

Mee / Ashildur is a hybrid between Human and Mire
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:16 PM on November 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


'Trapped in a world unlike any other he has seen...'

Whereas I, having seen both It Follows and Triangle, did feel I'd seen that world.

Interestingly (and I suspect not coincidentally) the titles of both these films are actually cunningly hidden in the Doctor's monologue:

'It keeps coming, Clara. Wherever I go, it follows. Why?'

and

'Physics of a triangle. You lose!'
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 1:50 PM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Boy, that was great. Best episode in years.

For once, I loved the music. The strings reminded me an awful lot of the music in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover.
posted by painquale at 2:04 PM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


In case anyone isn't as across Beethoven as Grangousier... Gold is almost as blatant at ripping off classics as John Williams.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:00 PM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


The reconfiguring trap reminds me a bit of both The Maze Runner and Cube, but I liked this episode more than either.

I love how in saying that the Daleks would never allow a Dalek hybrid, both the Doctor and Steven Moffat pretend that Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks never happened.

If the Hybrid who conquers Gallifrey is Me, then the Time Lords have fallen into a Death in Tehran scenario where they trap the Doctor to try to torture the identity of the Hybrid out of him, so as to prevent its conquering Gallifrey, but in so doing they enlist the help of Ashlidr/Me, granting her the means of travelling to Gallifrey to conquer it.
posted by johnofjack at 3:04 PM on November 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


... but, come to think of it, it's also another causal loop, and Moffat loves those.
posted by johnofjack at 3:12 PM on November 29, 2015


I really enjoyed this episode, much more than the rest of the season thus far, but...

So, at the end of Face the Raven, the Doctor is teleported into a trap within a confession dial. Not his confession dial? And this confession dial trap also has a nearly impossible exit built in by... whom, exactly? And for what reason? OK, so he gets out, and he's on Gallifrey, as is the confession dial trap. Presumably, he recognized that he was on Gallifrey when, in the trap, he first saw the stars? And I guess Gallifrey is only 1 lightyear from Earth? (He deduces that's how far he traveled in the teleport.) Anyway, so, who set the trap for him, the Time Lords? That makes sense, since it's Time Lord technology. But after he survives the Veil's attack, he says something like, "Everyone always get it wrong about Time Lords. Even if we're too hurt to regenerate, the cells keep trying. It takes days to die." Approximating that info. So if the Time Lords set the trap for him, wouldn't they think to include something that could outright kill the Doctor, rather than leave him the opportunity to regenerate himself via the teleporter (reminded me of both some eps of Star Trek and of The Prestige)? Either they made a really crappy trap, or someone else was behind the plot with Ashildr/Me... and also made kind of a crappy trap.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:25 PM on November 29, 2015


Oh yeah, I was also having a hell of a time understanding like 20% of the Doctor's lines. There's a scene when he's first starting to dig in the central area of the trap, and he sees the Veil is coming for him. He blocks the door with the shovel and yells something; I swear, I rewound the video 10 times and I couldn't understand a word of it. Any idea?
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:28 PM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


after wedging the shovel under the door handle the doctor shouts...

"Physics of a triangle. You lose!"
posted by foleypt at 3:54 PM on November 29, 2015


Ahha! I thought I heard "triangle" in there...

OK, one last nitpick:

The Doctor can now just psychically unlock doors by empathizing with them?
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:59 PM on November 29, 2015


It just occurred to me that the Doctor's plight is kind of what happens to the Master in Moffat's spoof the Curse of Fatal Death, only played straight. In that the Master has to crawl up through the sewers over and ever again, for God knows how many years, only to keep getting dumped back to where he started and have to crawl back up again.

Saxon Kane, I'm guessing that whoever built the trap (and yeah, it was presumably the Time Lords) didn't want to kill him necessarily, but they wanted him to spill the beans about the hybrid and they didn't care how much he suffered (and they may have been glad for him to suffer) in their attempts to torture the info out of him. I don't know if it was somebody who loathed him enough to torture him for 2 billion years but didn't want him to actually die, or somebody who didn't want him dead but was callous enough that they didn't care how much or how long he suffered. They just put him in a potentially infinite loop with a nightmare creature that demanded secret truths, and trusted that eventually they'd get the Doctor to talk.

It's a shame that in all those iterations, the Doctor never thought to confess one more truth when he was standing at the wall and the Veil was about to kill him. He could have frozen it again and had time to leave himself a more detailed message or something! (I suppose it makes sense that if he was essentially the exact same guy every time, if he didn't try something once he wouldn't EVER try it.) But maybe he was out of secret truths, or knew that at that point nothing but the truth about the hybrid would satisfy the Veil.

If all the skulls were the Doctor's, I wonder how they got in the water. We see his skull(s) next to the teleporter, but somehow they get from there down to the water. How? If the prison is some sort of virtual space, I suppose the computer running the place could deposit the skulls anywhere. But it feels like we're left to do some guesswork there.

In hindsight I'm puzzled we never got even one scene dealing with the message on the wall at the beginning. The Doctor is in some big mysterious hell-prison and there's a great big message on the wall right up front, but he never acknowledges it and we never go back to it. WTF? Has anybody been able to spot an Easter Egg there?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:49 PM on November 29, 2015


Just Googled it, and apparently the message on the wall was the Doctor's monologue from the beginning of the episode. Still weird that we never saw him stop and read it.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:06 PM on November 29, 2015


The description of what the hybrid will do also includes the male pronoun. This would seem to confirm that it is the Doctor and not Lady Me.
posted by humanfont at 5:20 PM on November 29, 2015


Also the Doctor would never refer to Ashildr as "Me". He never accepted that that was her name.
Ps: Americans, are we saying "Ashild-r" or "Ashilda"?

Also we saw the skulls get placed on and knocked off the window ledge several times.
posted by bleep at 5:27 PM on November 29, 2015


I have been hearing "Ashildr" as "Ashilda," so that's how I've been pronouncing it.
posted by johnofjack at 5:31 PM on November 29, 2015


Ursula Hitler: If all the skulls were the Doctor's, I wonder how they got in the water.
We see the Doctor pick up the skull and carry it to the top of the tower, and place it in a crenellation. It then gets knocked off and falls (don't know if that's shown)
posted by coriolisdave at 5:38 PM on November 29, 2015


Yup, it was shown as falling once he froze the Veil again and the castle reset.
posted by cendawanita at 5:52 PM on November 29, 2015


‘And yet, my son,’ said the Bodhisattva, laughing softly - ‘and yet you do not know of what this mountain is made.’

The other, shuddering, repeated: ‘I fear! - Unutterably I fear!… there is nothing but skulls of men!’

‘A mountain of skulls it is,’ responded the Bodhisattva. ‘But know, my son, that all of them are your own! Each has at some time been the nest of your dreams and delusions and desires. Not even one of them is the skull of any other being. All - all without exception - have been yours, in the billions of your former lives.’
posted by dng at 6:04 PM on November 29, 2015 [15 favorites]


So, the dvr cut the last 30 sec or so. I saw him talk to a kid, and then it panned to gallifrey, then it cut out. I've unsuccessfully looked for just the last scene in either video or screen play format. Can some one tell me what happened?
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:27 PM on November 29, 2015


That happened to me too, SecretAgentSockpuppet. He revealed that the Hybrid is a) prophesied to destroy Gallifrey, b) not actually half-Dalek, and c) "me" (or possibly "Me").
posted by bettafish at 6:34 PM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Reminded me also so much of the Curse of Fatal Death, but oh god the tedium...
posted by Coaticass at 6:40 PM on November 29, 2015


Now I'm trying to figure out the timeline for this series. If the last three episodes happened first, then the episode with Missy and the trap which Davros set, followed by the rest of the episodes in order up to the eye booger monsters, that would mean that he saved Ashildr's life knowing that she would set a trap for him which would kill Clara, which would also mean that he had ample time to warn Clara about the particular trap which Ashildr set. So that'd either be a fixed point in time (in the parlance of handwavium) or the series 9 timeline is more complicated than that.
posted by johnofjack at 6:47 PM on November 29, 2015


Although he attributes it to the Brothers Grimm (I think), the bird story comes from Hinduism and Buddhism - if I remember correctly the very long period of time called a kalpa is the amount of time it would take to wear a mountain down if you rubbed it with a piece of silk every 100 years. In some versions I've heard, the silk is borne by a bird, which would, yes, be an impressively disciplined bird.

The Brothers Grimm story he's recounting is part of The Shepherd Boy.

The King said, “The third question is, how many seconds of time are there in eternity.”

Then said the shepherd boy, “In Lower Pomerania is the Diamond Mountain, which is two miles and a half high, two miles and a half wide, and two miles and a half in depth; every hundred years a little bird comes and sharpens its beak on it, and when the whole mountain is worn away by this, then the first second of eternity will be over.”

posted by dng at 6:49 PM on November 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thanks! (It couldn't be "Me", though, could it? He never referred to Ashilda as Me, did he?)

The only thing I've not figured out is what the circle with the arrows was for.

Also, wouldn't billions of years of skulls piled up a bit more?

Lastly, I really need a house that moves around like that. Only, without the ghost of christmas future, please.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:55 PM on November 29, 2015


It does seem clear the Hybrid is meant to be Ashildr.

Pity... would have been awesome if they'd brought back Catherine Tennant to do her DoctorDonna thing one more time.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:59 PM on November 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


But yes, the definition of a kalpa is beautiful.

"Suppose, o monks, there was a huge rock of one solid mass, one mile long, one mile wide, one mile high, without split or flaw. And at the end of every hundred years a man should come and rub against it once with a silken cloth. Then that huge rock would wear off and disappear quicker than a world-period. But of such world-periods, o monks, many have passed away, many hundreds, many thousands, many hundred thousands. And how is this possible? Inconceivable, o monks, is this samsāra, not to be discovered is any first beginning of beings, who obstructed by ignorance and ensnared by craving, are hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths."
posted by dng at 6:59 PM on November 29, 2015


What is the evidence for the theory that the season has a more complicated timeline? I personally haven't thought it was anything but chronological as presented.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:16 PM on November 29, 2015


Mostly all the elliptical references to Clara's forthcoming doom. The theory being the Doctor has known about her death since the beginning of the season (she's already dead in his timeline) and that's what he's grieving.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:00 PM on November 29, 2015


I'm missing something. Why are people assuming Ashildir is the hybrid? She's a human with some alien tech keeping her alive, but I don't think that makes her a hybrid.

Where fan theories about Doctor Who plots are concerned, I find the way things usually work is that it's much simpler than you would have guessed, and it's nothing you'd have guessed.

I'm missed/forgotten the thing about the skulls getting knocked into the water, obviously. As for the skulls somehow surviving for billions of years, I'm guessing that while some things (like the wall) did change over time the castle was in some sort of state where things didn't age normally. Otherwise the castle would have fallen to ruin over 2 billion years, no matter how well it was constructed. Also, if the painting of Clara was around for 2 billion years, it would've almost surely crumbled to dust eventually. (And it presumably didn't. If it had, that would have probably altered the actions somehow and shaken up the events of the time loop.)

Minor nitpick: where did the Doctor get the soup? Did he just keep finding a pot of it, or was there a stocked kitchen so he could make his own? Who was re-supplying the food, and how?

This one also gave me Prisoner flashbacks, along with making me think of the Avengers episode The House that Jack Built, one of the best and most incongruously disturbing episodes of this classic spy series. It seems like the 60s were big on plots where the heroes were put inside these environments that are kind of surreal and game-like while also being deeply creepy and dangerous, where we follow them and figure out the rules of the place along with them.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:32 PM on November 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah; nice episode. I quite like the mix of trad stories and more formally ambitious ones in this season.

The other big visual reference here is MR James (subject of a good documentary by Mark Gattis), with the look of The Veil being straight out of Whistle and I'll Come to You.
posted by Hartster at 12:02 AM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also I found it super weird that the Dr claimed that Daleks would never accept a hybrid when wasn't that precisely Davros' plan in the second episode of this series?
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:11 AM on November 30, 2015


And also Revelation of the Daleks.

Basically, the Daleks love a hybrid.

(There's always been a difference between what the Daleks want and what Davros/Dalek leaders want, so maybe that).
posted by Hartster at 12:27 AM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only thing I've not figured out is what the circle with the arrows was for.

Maybe it was the source of the magic soup?

Also, wouldn't billions of years of skulls piled up a bit more?

Currents?
Maybe that bit of the tower moved?
posted by Mezentian at 12:46 AM on November 30, 2015


The castle may be an actual place that's inside the confession disk, using whatever tech the Time Lords use to put all that stuff inside the TARDIS. (I've gotten the impression the TARDIS may contain enough physical space to house a city, if not quite a bit more.) Or as I said somewhere above, the castle may be a virtual space, in which case some of these questions could just be answered by "the computer did it." (And even if the Doctor had to teleport there, he may not have been teleporting to the castle itself. He may have teleported inside the disk, and then the computer put him in the virtual castle.)

I'll be curious if 2 billion years have passed around the disk, while the Doctor was in there. I have a hunch they didn't.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:11 AM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only thing I've not figured out is what the circle with the arrows was for.

It seems that that's how the Veil gets into the garden: His shovel hits something. Digging with his hands, the Doctor uncovers the missing section of the floor from the other room. On it, words are written: I am in 12. At that moment, the Veil emerges from the ground nearby, having dug its way from the room to the garden.

There are just too many things. Will we find out where the Doctor got the cup of tea in The Witch's Familiar? Might be just a gag. Might be crucial.
posted by hawthorne at 1:27 AM on November 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


It might be because I just finished reading prisoner of Azkaban but to me the veil was a straight up dementor.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:19 AM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'll be curious if 2 billion years have passed around the disk, while the Doctor was in there. I have a hunch they didn't.

It's all heresy now, but as I recall, Gallifrey's present in BBC/Virgin books was in the distant past, if I remember rightly.

I'm curious, if the Time Lords wanted him out of the way, why did they grant him a new cycle of regenerations?
Or is Rassilon's Evil faction still out there?
posted by Mezentian at 2:21 AM on November 30, 2015


Forgot to mention that the look and feel of the empty, reconfiguring castle reminded me of the PS2 game Ico. Suppose the trap itself is a bit Castrovalva too, which might point to Missy's involvement.

What is the evidence for the theory that the season has a more complicated timeline?

What play on my mind are a couple of lines of dialogue in The Witch's Familiar (I think). Clara said something about how long the Doctor would miss her after she was dead/gone and he responded "about a month" with a significant look. Could easily be general foreshadowing and/or red herring of course.
posted by comealongpole at 4:00 AM on November 30, 2015


Oh, and I've seen comments elsewhere decrying the fact that the Doctor spent 20+ billion years protecting the secret of the hybrid (although not from his perspective) then immediately announced it. Which interpretation seems to overlook the facts that the Doctor was no longer under any compulsion to tell truths, plus is a practiced and notorious liar.
posted by comealongpole at 4:11 AM on November 30, 2015


Or maybe it took him that long to figure out that that was the truth they wanted to know.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:20 AM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Clara said something about how long the Doctor would miss her after she was dead/gone and he responded "about a month" with a significant look

I think you heard that wrong.
posted by Mezentian at 5:35 AM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Clara: So, you must have thought I was dead for a while.

The doctor: Yeah.

Clara: How was that.

The doctor: Longest month of my life.

Clara: Can only have been five minutes.

The Doctor: I'll be the judge of time.
posted by metaBugs at 5:43 AM on November 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


He said "Longest month of my life." Which could either be interpreted literally or figuratively in the circumstances.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:43 AM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm missing something. Why are people assuming Ashildir is the hybrid? She's a human with some alien tech keeping her alive, but I don't think that makes her a hybrid.

In the episode where she is introduced, the Doctor explains that the alien tech will change her and he specifically refers to her as a hybrid. And the line really sticks out, at the time I was wondering 'why did he make that point?'.
posted by memebake at 5:47 AM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


From 'The Girl Who Died'

The Doctor: I was angry. I was emotional. Just possibly, I have made a terrible mistake. Maybe even a tidal wave. Time will tell, it always does.

Clara: Whatever you did for Ashildr... I think she deserved it.

The Doctor: Yes. Yes, she did. But Ashildr isn't just human any more. There's a little piece of alien inside her, so in a way, she's. In a way, she's a hybrid.

posted by memebake at 5:49 AM on November 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think Heaven Sent is the best episode I've ever seen.

Re-watching it, at 36:20 he realises what 'bird' refers to and then he's in the mind-Tardis ranting about 'that when I remember, always then' ... and later 'But I can remember, Clara. You don’t understand, I can remember it all. Every time' ... terrifying.

For what its worth, I think the creators of the prison meant the 20 foot diamond wall with the word 'home' flashing on it to show the doctor that there was a way out, a very tempting way out to Gallifrey in fact. Perhaps it represents the firewall around the micro-universe he is trapped in. But they meant for the only way through to be him confessing and being released. I don't think they were expecting him to break through it by repeating himself for 2 billion years - that is a 'hack' the doctor thought of.

"You might think thats a hell of a long time. Personally, I think thats a hell of bird"

Also, I'm wondering if one of the reasons this episode is so good is that there aren't any other characters in it. The constant need to introduce new characters every episode becomes a bit of a strain.
posted by memebake at 6:01 AM on November 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


So, speculation: one of his greatest fears was the dementor thing chasing him about because he remembered being a kid, and seeing a woman's body decompose.

Later, he says it takes a long time for a timelord to die, regeneration and what have you, and that's why timelords like to die around other timelords, so they don't get buried alive by accident.

Toss in bit of lore from the episode where he's a frightened kid in a barn; where we see that he's not from the elite class of society from which the timelords seem to exist. But, we've also heard how he and the Master used to be besties, hanging out on the Master's estate.

Could it be that the master's father (a timelord) had a bit of droit du seigneur with one of the peasants on the estates, who subsequently gave birth to our Doctor? And it was her death and decomposition that he witnessed? Subsequently, the Master's father treated him as noblemen have historically treated their peasant offspring, which is to see that they attend good schools, and have a comfortable starting position, while never actually owning responsibility for them?

So; the Doctor could be a human hybrid, and the Master could be his half-brother/sister. Cause, sibling rivalry can get ugly, y'all.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:25 AM on November 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


The line that really got to me in this one was something like:

"The day you lose someone isn't the worst. At least you have something to do. It's all the days they stay dead."
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:31 AM on November 30, 2015 [9 favorites]


he says it takes a long time for a timelord to die, regeneration and what have you, and that's why timelords like to die around other timelords, so they don't get buried alive by accident.

I thought this was a very interesting idea, and it worked really well in this episode. But it leaves me with horror, when I look back on Jenny's "death" in "The Doctor's Daughter." He left her so quickly. This episode shows he should have known better, he should've stayed longer. He knew this about Time Lords, but he was willing to leave so quickly after she fell.
posted by meese at 9:03 AM on November 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Could it be that the master's father (a timelord) had a bit of droit du seigneur with one of the peasants on the estates, who subsequently gave birth to our Doctor?

Are you saying the Doctor's father also had a habit of using and discarding human women?? I loves it.
posted by bleep at 10:07 AM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm wondering if one of the reasons this episode is so good is that there aren't any other characters in it.

And yet he still manages to announce (to no one in particular, mind you) "I'm the Doctor!"

It's like a verbal tic.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:24 AM on November 30, 2015


Could it be that the master's father (a timelord) had a bit of droit du seigneur with one of the peasants on the estates, who subsequently gave birth to our Doctor? And it was her death and decomposition that he witnessed?

I'm pretty sure that even if Moffat is about to go back on his previously-expressed intention to keep the Doctor's pre-show backstory ambiguous, whatever he comes up with is definitely not going to be that his father raped his mom. Yikes.
posted by bettafish at 11:39 AM on November 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


And yet he still manages to announce (to no one in particular, mind you) "I'm the Doctor!"

I'm thinking less of a verbal tic than a reminder he's not the guy who blew up Gallifrey. (Or didn't, as it turns out, but committed other war atrocities, like the Doctor isn't supposed to.)
posted by immlass at 12:12 PM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


So; the Doctor could be a human hybrid

Nothing in your scenario leads to this conclusion. The Time Lords are a species, not a bunch of aristocratic lords in a society with humans as a peasant class. As far as we know they have their own peasant class.
posted by biffa at 12:50 PM on November 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I suppose we'll find out next week but how did the Time Lords manage to get in touch with Ashildr?
posted by plastic_animals at 12:56 PM on November 30, 2015


Oh, and I've seen comments elsewhere decrying the fact that the Doctor spent 20+ billion years protecting the secret of the hybrid (although not from his perspective) then immediately announced it.

I figure, if the only reason you're being kept alive is to torture a secret out of you, telling the secret is a terrible idea if you want to get out alive (see: the Doctor talking about how a torture chamber is your room, not the torturer's). He decided to tell after he got out either because it wasn't all that valuable after all, or it was too late to matter. Or he just wanted to show off.

Also, He had seen a dead, old woman, who was covered in veils. It was a hot day, so flies were buzzing around her corpse.

The Time Lords really did have issues, didn't they? Who leaves a corpse around like that, and shows a kid?

Between Clara's falling down dead, and the Doctor's half-dead-and-bleeding crawl, this is the most visually brutal I can remember Doctor Who being since... I guess Ten's run-in with the Cybermen, but even then most of the deaths happened offscreen.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:00 PM on November 30, 2015


The Time Lords really did have issues, didn't they? Who leaves a corpse around like that, and shows a kid?

Showing a kid is messed up, but he did mention that it takes time lords a long time to die and you shouldn't bury one too early.

That line also explains how a radiation filled Tenth Doctor had all that time to visit his old pals before regenerating.
posted by Gary at 1:40 PM on November 30, 2015


"But I can remember, Clara. You don’t understand, I can remember it all. Every time"

Oh, gosh. I'd forgotten that. In that case, it's surprising things just repeat so often from beginning to end. You'd think if he reached a point where he said, "I just hung up my wet clothes to dry for the 9,0000th time" (for example) he'd then decide to start doing things that were counter-intuitive or just random. Why did he never try jumping over the side of the tower into the ocean, or running TO the Veil, or just staying in one place and not doing anything? Those would all be terrible ideas if things were working normally, but they seem like things you'd try if you realized you were stuck in a Groundhog Day scenario.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:03 PM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Because he only remembers once he's face to face with the wall of diamond with the veil bearing down on him. Because the clue 'Bird' only makes sense once he's seen the wall. "Thats when I remember!"

(I don't really see how he _could_ remember, being a recorded doctor from the teleporter, but it makes for a nice dramatic touch.)
posted by memebake at 2:22 PM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


... this is the most visually brutal I can remember Doctor Who being since...

This series is being broadcast at a slightly later time by the BBC so they can go a bit further. (ref "This the first series the show has been allowed to use blood, as it has been going out after 8pm." The Guardian)
posted by memebake at 2:25 PM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Because he only remembers once he's face to face with the wall of diamond with the veil bearing down on him.

Oh, OK. I'd remembered he'd said that, but not when. I still wonder if he couldn't have come up with one more confession to stall for time so he could get in a few more punches to the wall or he could go get the shovel or something.

Jesus, does that mean the Doctor who left the confession disk thing remembers two billion years in that loop? That would seem like something that even a Time Lord mind would have trouble processing. I'm surprised his first words to that kid weren't the same speech he made every time he stepped out of the teleporter, just through force of habit. I'd imagine going forward he'd have a real phobia about visiting castles!

Hating gardeners fits this Doctor, who's a good hater of things, but I wonder if his previous incarnations hated them too.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:25 PM on November 30, 2015


Is the bird wearing down a mountain myth better known in the UK than in the US? Because the entire episode kind of revolves around it, and I don't think many Americans would get the reference.
posted by miyabo at 10:25 PM on November 30, 2015


The Time Lords are a species, not a bunch of aristocratic lords in a society with humans as a peasant class

Or, are they? We know (I think) that not all Gallifreyans are time lords, and that the Shebogan appear to be normal people, and they do seem to have an underclass.

Is the bird wearing down a mountain myth better known in the UK than in the US? Because the entire episode kind of revolves around it, and I don't think many Americans would get the reference.

I can't say for sure that I can recall hearing it before, or the Brothers Grimm tale, but I don't think it matters.

If it is known better in the UK, it might have something to do with the large numbers of immigrants from the Sub-continent (and their war on Christmas!)
posted by Mezentian at 12:52 AM on December 1, 2015


The castle put me in mind of the Castle of Bequest in Iain Banks' Walking on glass.

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
posted by monkey closet at 3:34 AM on December 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


(I don't really see how he _could_ remember, being a recorded doctor from the teleporter, but it makes for a nice dramatic touch.)

It's a neat question. Let's presume that there isn't any sort of paranormal, psionic link going on: all that happens is that the Doctor quickly processes what it was like for all his previous incarnations and he imagines their experiences, and it's empathetically overwhelming.

Most actual current theories of episodic memory claim that episodic memory uses the same resources as imagination: we imaginatively fill in gaps. You might not have stored a representation of everything that happened to you last Christmas Day, but you've stored enough to imaginatively recover a lot more. So even though you're building a lot of your memory out of your imagination, you experience it as a memory and we call it a memory.

Episodic memories are imaginations of your past that are truth-directed and that have some reliable correspondence to truths about what actually happened in your past. If you've got a theory of personal identity on which people survive teletransportation, so that the previous copies of the Doctor actually are the Doctor, then the flood of empathetic imaginings that come rushing to him once he sees the wall might be experienced by him as memories, and in fact genuinely be memories. Without the need to posit any weird telepathy.
posted by painquale at 4:38 AM on December 1, 2015 [6 favorites]




Ha. I love the, um, third character's needless befuddled fear in that video.
posted by painquale at 5:32 AM on December 1, 2015


They really need to have a guest appearance by Craig Ferguson before Capaldi's run is over. I'm still bitter than Stephen Fry never appeared on House.
posted by beowulf573 at 7:35 AM on December 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Guess I'll be the voice of dissent and say I loathed this ep enough to turn it off halfway through and walk away without finishing it for awhile.

Glad everyone else enjoyed it, but except for the Ashildr-centric eps, this season feels almost DOA for me.

DEFINITELY looking forward to the Christmas special, though!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:45 AM on December 1, 2015


Now my imaginary Higurashi/Doctor Who crossover fanfic is even more relevant!
posted by charred husk at 12:57 PM on December 1, 2015


Peter Capaldi,
Doctor who wanders a castle with video screens.
It's like a dream.
Look at his eyebrows
Jumping around like a doggie who can't reach a treat.
He can't be beat.

All the lovely dry clothes, where do they all come from?
All the lovely head skulls, where do they all come from?
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 1:11 PM on December 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, seriously, no one has a problem with the Doctor psychically opening a door by empathizing with it? I mean, is the dude straight up magic now? A small thing, but it annoyed the hell out of me.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:42 PM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


The door thing was really weird, but it went by so fast in such a tense moment in such a great episode that I think we've all kind of willed ourselves to look the other way on that one. The Doctor would tell you it wasn't magic, it was the application of the scientific principle of so-and-so. It's one of those examples of technology sufficiently advanced that to us it
is indistinguishable from magic.

That bit does take up like ten seconds of the episode, so...
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:49 PM on December 1, 2015


Sorry Doctor, you're lying, you just used your mind to imagine the feelings of a door, and the door responded by doing what you wanted. Unless you're part-door somewhere in your lineage, which I guess they could write in, because what the fuck ever sometimes. It's not about the explanation, it's about the laziness of the writing and the precedent it sets. And the pointlessness of it, given that he opens the door to find a wall. That then opens.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:05 PM on December 1, 2015


He also speaks baby. Don't expect this stuff to be reasonable. It's whimsy. That's okay.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:33 PM on December 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


I liked the door thing because I always imagined the sonic screwdriver as talking to locks and saying "Please open" and all the Doctor did here was figure out how to do it himself. He can speak everything, you know.
posted by bleep at 8:34 PM on December 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Not everyone likes it when it's just "whimsy." The show can do other things, and rules can actually apply sometimes.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:48 PM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Not everyone likes it when it's just 'whimsy.' The show can do other things, and rules can actually apply sometimes."

Yeah, but that's what bothers me the most. And I think it's bothering you. If it was always whimsy and unabashedly fantastical, with never any pretense toward scientific realism, then you'd not criticize the door thing. If it were the opposite, that'd be okay, too.

It's this mixing of the two that tends to irritate many people because we never know where to set our expectations. It doesn't bother many other people, to be fair.

The door and baby thing bother me less than you because my impression of this show is that it's basically 90% fantasy and whimsy and 10% science fiction and realistic. It's not even usually psychologically realistic -- the companions' psychology and motivation change as the plot (or clever idea) requires, not as actual people in more realistic dramas do.

Dumb attempts at science stuff bugs me, I admit that I've complained about it in the past. But the show is in almost every respect more oriented toward speaking the language of babies and empathizing with doors than it is toward anything realistic and consistent. The show is, on the whole, very inconsistent. It's easier to watch if you let the whimsical stuff be part of its charm and resist their undermining your suspension of disbelief. It's why I liked the Robin Hood episode. I admit that this episode was very science fictional and appeared to play by those genre rules and so the door thing didn't quite fit in. But this is really all magic and in a fantasy story with magic, the idea of empathizing with a door and getting it to open fits right in.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:17 PM on December 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm still bitter than Stephen Fry never finished his episode of Doctor Who.
It would either be awesome or awful.

But I assume would have involved Oscar Wilde.
posted by Mezentian at 11:48 PM on December 1, 2015


Maybe he finished writing it and then realised he'd just ripped off a different better story, again.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:40 AM on December 2, 2015


OK, the door thing. The Doctor did not escape through the door, so this was not lazy plotting. A moment of whimsy? Sure. But also it establishes that despite being able to do ridiculous things he is helpless in the face of a puzzle box informed and inspired by his childhood nightmares.

Note he doesn't put on the sunglasses until the end room. Nor he does not try to chuck the Veil out of the window.

As for whether it's OK, of course it is. He's in a simulation.

And the broader point, is it OK that "we never know where to set our expectations"? Of course. It is the essence of the programme. Open the door and there is a different genre, not just a differnt story or planet or time. Adventure, history, allegory, political satire, pastiche, pantomime, mythology, wandering around outside the BBC canteen because there's no money left, etc. One of things I love most about the new series is that they refused to leave even cheap and stupid (eg the Adipose) behind.
posted by hawthorne at 5:46 AM on December 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's not about "where to set our expectations," it's the ridiculousness of just giving the Doctor another magical power because who cares.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:59 AM on December 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


To be fair, it's a magical power in the context of an environment explicitly generated from his own mind. If he uses it outside the context of this episode, then it'll be a cheat.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 8:46 AM on December 2, 2015


it's a magical power in the context of an environment explicitly generated from his own mind

Was this explicitly said? The castle was built to contain him and be a torture chamber for him, but I thought it was an actual physical location (held inside the disk using TARDIS technology), not something generated from his mind.
posted by painquale at 9:19 AM on December 2, 2015


I kept thinking, "That's a hell of a lot of work to construct something like that for a single piece of information." The door think just kind of confirmed that this wasn't an actual place made of stone and wood. It was either some Matrix like thing or some sort of energy construct do-thingy. Remembering the Timelord Matrix makes the former more likely to me.
posted by charred husk at 9:58 AM on December 2, 2015


It was either some Matrix like thing or some sort of energy construct do-thingy.

The Time Lords had access to the Matrix (seriously, it's called that) as far back as the Tom Baker run. He basically jacks into the Matrix in The Deadly Assassin in 1976. When I figured out he'd been "in the disc", I was assuming it was an upgraded Matrix-related technology.
posted by immlass at 11:03 AM on December 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Imagine if the monster didn't disappear when the last doctor broke through, and he had to go through one last cycle. The final doctor would just think there's a weirdly excessive tunnel to the exit.
posted by lucidium at 5:16 AM on December 3, 2015


Also did the premise make anyone think of Ace?
posted by lucidium at 4:28 PM on December 3, 2015


Oh, you mean some other Ace.
posted by biffa at 2:30 PM on December 9, 2015


Did the oil painting of Clara remind anybody else of that photo of Laura Palmer?
posted by schmod at 10:27 AM on August 21, 2018


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