Doctor Who: Season 9: Episode 12: Hell Bent by Steven Moffat

December 5, 2015 | By | 2 Replies More

As usual with these examination of ‘Doctor Who’ stories shortly after transmission, if you haven’t seen them, I’ll try not to give away too many unintentional spoilers, although I will give a quick resume of the plot. Much of the analysis will be about it so feel suitably warned. It’s going to be really tough this time so expect me to be cryptic and re-read this piece after watching the episode in case you read it first.

In a word: WOW!

You really do have to keep your eyes on the box here and we’re not just talking about your telly (other visual machines are available) as well as time machines. The beginning is explained at the end and if you have déjà vu, then you are joining the Doctor for a change.


There is so much spoiler here. The Doctor on Gallifrey emulates a specific scenario from a film. If you haven’t seen ‘Our Man Flint’, then pick the film up. Going from lapdog to the boss is a direct borrow. There’s something familiar with the execution as well but can’t play the film although it might be eaten with spaghetti or western or both.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 28/11/2015 - Programme Name: Doctor Who   - TX: 05/12/2015 - Episode: HELL BENT (By Steven Moffat) (No. 12) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED UNTIL 28th NOV 2015*** guards, The President (DONALD SUMPTER) - (C) BBC   - Photographer: Simon Ridgway

The Time Lords are after the hybrid and the Doctor wants to rescue Clara, even if it means entering the Matrix. I love the twist and seeing another Type 40 TARDIS in use. Pure nostalgia. I wonder how long before both versions of these TARDIS will be available as merchandise or is one of them petals in the wind. I wonder if the second TARDIS is now a Quantum Leap into the past. Remember, it’s not all about me.


There’s still a matter of the Doctor aging 4 1/2 billion years but that depends on whether it’s real or Matrix time. As it could be both, I have a feeling his age will revert to normal.

How much more to say. Remember what happened to Donna Noble. Well, it’s not quite like that. You’re going to applaud the solution and things are going to start to get back to normal if they ever are. If you haven’t applauded at the end, then you aren’t a ‘Doctor Who’ fan. I know playing with time is showrunner/writer Steven Moffat’s favourite MO with ‘Doctor Who’ but this time he really does carry it off exceptionally well.

Undoubtedly, Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman steal the story between them. A beautiful interplay of strong performances and minds. The other cast do equally well and there’s a nice twist that would give an old ‘X-Files’ story a reminder that things can change. One vital question, are some Time Lords capable of staying only one sex?

Can’t wait for the 25th.

GF Willmetts

06 December 2015



Category: Doctor Who, TV

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (2)

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  1. Julian White says:

    The age thing isn’t a problem for the Doctor – remember that his body was generated anew each time he went into the loop last week. More troubling perhaps (since even Rassilon has regenerated since ‘The End of Time’) is Ohila, whose body seems the same as in ‘The Night of the Doctor’ – does this mean that the Sisterhood are immortal in the usually accepted sense and don’t regenerate?

    A splendid end to the season and a decent send-off for Clara. I liked the Sapphire and Steel reference!

  2. UncleGeoff says:

    Hello Julian
    The Tennant Doctor was also aged a considerable length of time against the Master but that pales compared to what the Capaldi Doctor aged. There are limits to even how much a regeneration can last, look at the Hartnell Doctor although we weren’t told how old he was.
    As the Capaldi Doctor was in the Matrix and went through repetitive action without any damage to his sanity one should also assume he didn’t act while the rest of the cosmos did.
    As to the Sisterhood. I tend to see them as an off-shoot of the Gallifreyians but we haven’t yet seen their full potential yet and I suspect Moffat has plans to show more of them.

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