‘Hell Bent’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

How Can Series 9 of ‘Doctor Who’ End?

And thus we come to the season finale of Series 9, ‘Hell Bent’ by Steven Moffat! And it’s here where things get really mucked up! Really mucked up! I was baffled upon seeing this episode on first watch.

This is where my disappointment of Series 9 came into place. From seeing this episode, I was pretty underwhelmed by how the climax was handled and how certain character arcs were resolved in this.

Let’s talk about the episode itself. It begins with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor in Nevada. I assume it’s the present day. He enters a diner similar to the one in ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ and in Cardiff Bay. 😀

The Doctor meets a waitress…who looks physically identical to Clara Oswald. And none of them recognise each other. Hmm! Maybe this is a splinter of Clara from ‘The Name of the Doctor’. It’d fit.

Anyway, the Doctor tells the waitress his story about Clara. We’re then given a flashback to what happened to the Doctor after he escaped his trap in ‘Heaven Sent’ as he soon ended up on Gallifrey.

The Time Lords of Gallifrey are alerted about the Doctor’s presence when the cloister bells in the city ring out. The Sisterhood of Karn are there as well! These ladies seem to get everywhere, don’t they?

This episode features the return of Clare Higgins as Ohila, who first appeared in ‘The Night of the Doctor’ as well as ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’. I get that impression her appearance was tagged on.

Donald Sumpter guest stars as the Time Lord President of Gallifrey who turns out to be Rassilon. I suppose that Timothy Dalton wasn’t able to reprise his role. I would have preferred his version here.

Actually Donald Sumpter has been in ‘Doctor Who’ before. He was in ‘The Wheel In Space’ and ‘The Sea Devils’. Donald Sumpter also appeared in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ story, ‘The Eternity Trap’.

Anyway, the Time Lords and the Sisterhood of Karn try to summon the Doctor to them. The Doctor however won’t answer them since he goes over to his barn from ‘The Day of the Doctor’ and ‘Listen’.

The Doctor is well-attended to in his barn by a small crowd of Gallifreyans. I assume these are the Outsiders as shown in ‘The Invasion of Time’. Anyway they give him soup. It must be tomato soup. 😀

Eventually the Time Lords including the soldiers and the High Council come out to him. The Doctor still refuses to see them. It is only when the Time Lord President turns up that the Doctor comes out.

The Doctor tells Rassilon to get off his planet. This is due to a combination of Rassilon causing the horrors of the Time War from ‘The End of Time’ and imprisoning the Doctor in the confessional dial.

Rassilon orders the Doctor to be executed. But the Time Lord military refuse to kill the Doctor as they see him as a war hero. In the end, Rassion gets exiled from Gallifrey as well as the High Council.

Now here’s the thing about the Gallifrey stuff. I’m glad we get to go back to Gallifrey and see the Time Lords once again. It’s rather refreshing. We haven’t seen Gallifrey since ‘The Day of the Doctor’.

However, I feel the Gallifrey stuff seems rather crammed into this one episode. It would’ve been better if ‘Hell Bent’ was a two-parter instead of a single episode, despite being the third of a trilogy.

Apparently it was Rassilon who imprisoned the Doctor in the confessional dial during ‘Heaven Sent’ because he wants the real identity of the Hybrid. I didn’t pick up on this until I watched Series 9 again.

Anyway, the Doctor has the Time Lords use an extractor chamber to…retrieve Clara before she died in ‘Face the Raven’. So…Clara is back alive before she died? Um…wow! I didn’t see that one coming.

Okay, I think I should make it clear on how I feel about this. I have no objection to Clara coming back to life. In fact upon my first viewing of this, I was really pleased that Clara came back and did not die.

But I feel what’s messed up is how they explain how she’s able to come back. The Doctor manages to extract Clara back from the dead before she died…and yet this doesn’t damage the web of time.

If Clara is back to life, how come the universe isn’t destroyed? Even by the end of this episode, I don’t feel Clara’s resurrection is justified. It seems to be handled in a rather haphazard manner here.

It also feels like Clara’s resurrection is too soon after her sacrifice and death in ‘Face the Raven’. If one of Clara’s splinters from Series 7 was put in her place instead of the ‘real’ Clara, I would buy that.

Anyway the Doctor says that Clara has information about the Hybird to give to the Time Lords. But what he’s actually doing is trying to save Clara’s life and defy the laws of time against the Time Lords.

Um…why? Why would the Doctor do something like that? Surely even he should know that bringing Clara back to life would cause damage to the web of time. It’s even stated time will be fractured because of this.

If the Doctor can save Clara’s life, why didn’t he do the same thing when Adric died in ‘Earthshock’? Surely he would’ve learned his lessons regarding changing time in saving lives from ‘The Waters of Mars’.

Did the Doctor just forget those lessons he learned? Is he too old an alien to forget the error of his ways? Did he think he could overcome those errors with experience in his life? This makes no sense!

The Doctor then steals the sidearm of Ken Bones as the General, who was in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ apparently. The Doctor then shoots the General as he and Clara make to escape. Wait! He shot him?

Um…the Doctor must be desperate! Has he gone too far? Anyway the General regenerates from a man…into a woman! A black woman! The General’s now played by T’nia Miller. Okay. I’m alright with that.

The Doctor and Clara then go down to the Cloisters of Gallifrey where they find the Matrix. Has the Matrix moved house again? They try to avoid the Cloister Wraiths before getting to their destination.

To make a long story short, the Doctor and Clara soon escape Gallifrey by stealing a new TARDIS from the workshop below the Cloisters. This is all before the General and Ohila can even stop them.

By the way, it gets established that the Doctor spent 4½ billion years when he was in the confessional dial during ‘Heaven Sent’. Wow! That is cruel to imagine! Even Clara is very shocked by this revelation.

The Doctor attempts to take Clara far away enough from Gallifrey so that she can break from the time loop and regain her heartbeat. However it doesn’t work. Clara still doesn’t have a pulse on her.

Eventually the TARDIS ends up at the end of the universe, five minutes before its total collapse. There is soon a knock on the door and the Doctor goes out to answer it. There he meets ‘one’ person.

Maise Williams returns as Ashildr for the last time in Series 9. She’s sitting in the ruins of Gallifrey, having lived her entire immortal life and waiting for the Doctor to return, becoming ‘last’ of her kind.

There’s quite a lengthy conversation here where the Doctor accuses Ashildr for being the Hybrid. Ashildr presents her theory that the Hybrid may really turn out to be…the Doctor and Clara together.

Okay, if I haven’t made my point clear, allow me to do so now. The Hybrid plot thread for me has been…boring. I didn’t feel engaged with this plot thread in Series 9 at all. It just felt underwhelming.

I suppose the focus of Series 9 would’ve been about Ashildr being the Hybrid, except it gets changed around. It’s revealed that the Doctor and Clara travelling together may cause trouble in the universe.

If ‘the Doctor and Clara travelling together caused the universe to explode’ plot thread had been what Series 9 was about, then I would accept it. I would have been more engaged during the season.

Except it doesn’t feel like that. As I said before, Clara’s inclusion in Series 9 feels like an afterthought. I don’t feel Jenna Coleman had lots to do as Clara during the season, particularly in the early episodes.

It’s only in the last three episodes that her character served a purpose. If more time was spent on Clara and the Doctor’s character journey together in Series 9, then I would’ve enjoyed it more here.

But Clara was absent in ‘The Woman Who Lived’, making it feel like she didn’t have much to contribute in the season. Also for most of the season, she tended to get side-lined in many episodes.

The Hybird plot thread didn’t feel exciting enough for me as it was only references to it in certain episodes. By the time we come to the end of Series 9, the Hybird does not turn out to be a monster.

It was just some fear the Time Lords had and it never gets probably established what it was. I feel this was an extended version of the episode ‘Listen’ in an entire season where it was a marginal fear.

The reason why I enjoyed the plot threads like ‘Bad Wolf’, ‘Torchwood’ and ‘Harold Saxon’ during the RTD era seasons of ‘Doctor Who’ was because they got built upon. They had strong foundations.

The Hybrid plot thread in Series 9 feels to have weak foundations. If there was a Hybird that turned out to be an actual monster for the Doctor and Clara to contend with, I would’ve really gone with that.

If Ashildr was the Hybrid and became a monster at the end of Series 9, I would’ve gone for that too. But of course that’s not what we get here. We get something that’s so underwhelming throughout.

Anyway the Doctor intends to erase Clara’s memories of him, hoping the Time Lords will never find her. But Clara refuses to allow this to happen. Thus the Doctor’s memories of her get erased instead.

Back in the present time, it turns out the waitress the Doctor was talking to in the American diner was…Clara all this time. The American diner was the new TARDIS the Doctor had stolen from Gallifrey.

After the Doctor finishes telling his story, Clara goes off in the American diner TARDIS with Ashildr as her new companion. Clara’s the Doctor now? What?! Clara goes off to Gallifrey ‘the long way round’.

The Doctor then returns to his TARDIS and finds a message on his blackboard left there by Clara. He also gets a new sonic screwdriver. A shame we didn’t get to see that a lot throughout Series 9, isn’t it?!

The Doctor then sets the TARDIS off for a new destination. In space, the Doctor’s TARDIS and Clara’s TARDIS pass each other by before they go off flying in opposite directions for some new adventures.

Wait a minute! That’s it? That’s the end of Series 9? We’re left on a bit of an anti-climax where it’s unclear whether Clara is dead or not and that the Doctor has no memory of her. That’s just…so dull!

‘Hell Bent’ is a ‘Doctor Who’ season finale that will give you headaches the more times that you watch it. It’s not the worst finale I’ve seen, but dear me this is really the most underwhelming made.

The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 2 of ‘Series 9 – Part 2’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there’s the ‘Heaven Sent’ and ‘Hell Bent’ – Doctor Who Extra’ featurette.

On Disc 5 of ‘The Complete Series 9’ of ‘Doctor Who’, the ‘Heaven Sent’ and ‘Hell Bent’ – ‘Doctor Who Extra’ featurette can also be found on there. There’s also the ‘Clara’s Journey’ documentary and the ‘Hell Bent’ trailer.

Like I said, Series 9 of ‘Doctor Who’ is not one of my favourite seasons. I think the finale ruined it for me in being underwhelming. Although I will say, having re-watched Series 9 again, I have enjoyed the season more and been able to gain more clarity with certain episodes compared to my first viewing.

Series 9 is not the worst ‘Doctor Who’ season I’ve seen, but it’s far from great. Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman stand out for me as the Doctor and Clara in this season and I feel their performances in each episode have been good throughout. I wish things could’ve been done differently with them.

I’m not happy with how Clara was handled in Series 9. I liked her as a companion and it seemed like she went to waste in this season. Despite a dramatic exit in the last three episodes, I don’t feel Clara’s character journey has been resolved properly and I honestly feel it deserves a better pay-off.

And do you know what? This is my take on Series 9 of ‘Doctor Who’ and I’m going to fix it! I’m going to give Clara the pay-off she deserves by writing my own ending for her. Check out my new scene for Clara’s departure in ‘Doctor Who’ called ‘The Impossible Girl Returns’! I hope you’ll enjoy reading it!

‘Hell Bent’ rating – 6/10


Originally written on the 27th of November 2018.

I’ve wanted to do this blog post for quite some time as I know I’ve been talking about this character a lot on my blog. This is a ‘Doctor Who’ companion that tends to really divide fan opinion. Some like her; some loathe her. Me personally, I quite like Clara Oswald as a companion. There you are, I said it.

I consider Clara Oswald to be one of the saving graces of the Steven Moffat era of ‘Doctor Who’. She’s not perfect, there’s no question about it. But despite some of the inconsistent writing and characterization on Clara’s character, I feel Jenna Coleman’s performances as the character are excellent.

It’s a shame how Clara’s character has turned out as she could have been one of the best companions in the TV show’s history through Jenna’s performances. I feel there’s a lot to like about her character, but due to Steven Moffat’s handling of the character as well as the TV series, it comes across as…average.

How can I put this? Well, let’s start from the beginning, shall we? Jenna Coleman made her first TV appearance in ‘Doctor Who’ in the 2012 episode, ‘Asylum of the Daleks’. She wasn’t playing Clara in that episode though. She was playing Oswin Oswald. And she gets killed off at the episode’s end. Okay.

The next time we see Jenna Coleman was in the 2012 Christmas Special called ‘The Snowmen’. Again, she wasn’t playing Clara in that either. She was playing Clara Oswin Oswald, who was a Victorian barmaid/governess. And she gets killed off at that episode’s end too. She dies before we know her! 😀

Anyway, we finally meet Clara Oswald as the Eleventh Doctor’s new companion in the second half of Series 7 in 2013, starting with ‘The Bells of Saint John’. Okay, this is a bit of problem in terms of introducing Clara as we’ve seen two versions of her character get killed early on during Series 7.

But to be honest, it is actually a clever idea. As we’ll discover later on in Series 7 by the time we get to ‘The Name of the Doctor’, the Doctor has been meeting alternative aspects of Clara Oswald in Oswin from ‘Asylum’ and Clara Oswin in ‘The Snowmen’. This is due to Clara jumping in the Doctor’s time-stream.

But by this point in the series from ‘The Bells of Saint John’, the Eleventh Doctor doesn’t know who Clara is and considers her as a mystery which he has to solve. Clara is actually a normal girl to which the Doctor is finding hard to understand. He considers her ‘impossible’, labelling her ‘the impossible girl’.

It is rather clever to have Clara be introduced that way where the Doctor considers her a mystery and where he seems to have met her twice over before she died twice over. It’s almost like River Song’s introduction in Series 4, except we see Clara becoming a companion rather than appearing on and off.

However there is an issue I have with this approach and it’s mostly down to how Steven Moffat applies it. For the most part of ‘Series 7 – Part 2’, Clara comes across as a companion who doesn’t need adventure. She does not need to travel in the TARDIS as she does not go with the Doctor in an instant.

At the end of ‘The Bells of Saint John’, she doesn’t immediately say “Yes!” to travelling with the Doctor in the TARDIS. She tells him to come back tomorrow so that she can have an adventure with him in ‘The Rings of Akhaten’. Once that adventure is done, she returns to her normal life again till next time.

This seems to be a repetitive pattern with Clara’s character in how she travels with the Doctor. She has an adventure with him; then goes back to her normal life; then has another adventure with him. Wouldn’t it be better for Clara to keep on travelling in the TARDIS and never return to her normal life?

This was done to a similar extent with Amy and Rory in the first half of Series 7, but not too much. I liked it when companions would constantly want to keep on travelling with the Doctor in time and space such as Rose, Martha and Donna. Clara did want some adventure, but it wasn’t a constant thing.

But let’s go back and talk some positives about Clara’s character. Initially I found her likeable and easy-going. I was hoping she would become a compassionate and caring character in the series. There were hints of promise in that, especially in terms of her family background and with being set up as a nanny.

My favourite moment with Clara in Series 7 is when she encourages and supports a little girl, Merry Gejelh, before some special ceremony in ‘The Rings of Akhaten’. Despite many fans not liking that episode, I feel this is one of the highpoints in Series 7 and Clara’s journey in terms of a character.

It would’ve been nice to explore more on why Clara became a nanny in the first place and why she wanted to be around children. At least that would give her more maternal, caring qualities which seemed evident in Series 7. But that did seem to go to waste as Clara was going in a different direction.

I can’t deny I find Clara an attractive-looking girl and it would’ve been nice if some of her attractiveness was reflected in the character she played. But there were occasions when she tended to be a rather bitchy, especially towards the Doctor. In ‘Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS’, Clara slaps the Doctor.

What?! Where did that come from? I’m all for Clara being feisty and getting rattled about being lost in the TARDIS for a bit, but there’s no call for her to slap the Doctor unnecessarily. Clara could’ve been a mild-mannered soul and be reasonable in her attitude towards the strange things that happen.

But most of the time, it seems that Clara wants to be control of everything especially when she has the Doctor come to her beckoning call as well as her normal life on Earth. It’s also suggested that Clara is somewhat seeing the Eleventh Doctor as a potential…boyfriend…toy boy…I’m not entirely sure here.

Again, back to positives. Let’s talk about the Eleventh Doctor and Clara’s relationship. Now I know there are some out there who might find this team-up a bit annoying. But me personally, I like the Eleventh Doctor and Clara together. I actually prefer it more than the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory.

I enjoyed the Eleventh Doctor and Clara’s chemistry together especially in ‘The Bells of Saint John’ and how it gets progressed in Series 7 despite some awkward moments. The two do gel together and it’s clear that Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman enjoyed working together as they were making the TV series.

I also like how Clara becomes a moral support to the Doctor on occasion, both to the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors in the series. The moments where Clara encourages the Doctor to ‘be a Doctor’ in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ is probably one of the best defining moments of her character in the TV series.

I just think it’s a shame Clara and the Eleventh Doctor didn’t spend more time together on screen. I think it would’ve been great if Clara and Eleven spent more time together after ‘the impossible girl’ arc in Series 7 ended and if Matt Smith did one more season since I was getting to like his Doctor more.

Sadly that didn’t happen, but there you are. Hopefully Big Finish can do stories with Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman as the Eleventh Doctor and Clara on audio someday. Anyway, let’s talk about how ‘the impossible girl’ arc gets resolved in style in ‘The Name of the Doctor’. And it is actually pretty good.

Despite the criticisms I’ve made about Clara already so far, I like how her character bravely runs into the Doctor’s time-stream to save him from the Great Intelligence. It goes to show how her travels in the TARDIS have made her come to like the Doctor as a friend. She risks her own life in order to rescue him.

Even after the mystery is solved on who Clara is to the Doctor and why he had seen her die twice before, I hoped there would be some progression of that in the next number of seasons we’d see her in. But that’s not what happened. The ‘impossible girl’ arc in Series 7 never gets mentioned again! EVER!

How can Steven Moffat reveal such an amazing plot twist to Clara’s character in the series and never follow it up. Imagine the stories that could’ve come out of the arc being resolved. The Doctor and Clara could’ve encountered another version of Clara that had splintered from the Doctor’s time-stream.

It’s like once Clara’s journey in Series 7 had ended, there was nothing more left to say anything interesting about her character. Oh wait, I take it back. There are a few more things to say something interesting with Clara’s character. The first of course is when she becomes a teacher at Coal Hill School.

I got to be honest, I’m not really happy with how Clara’s promotion to being an English school teacher was handled in the series. It was only there because Steven Moffat needed a reason for ‘The Day of the Doctor’ to open on Coal Hill School as a reference to the first ‘Doctor Who’ episode on TV in 1963.

It’s nice it gets shown now and again with Clara being a school teacher in Series 8. But I feel once Clara became the school teacher, the compassionate sides to her character ebbed away. She wasn’t the maternal, caring, compassionate nanny character that we’d watched from the second half of Series 7.

She became more of a ‘control freak’ despite her denying it in ‘Deep Breath’. She got snappy and bitchier compared to how she was in Series 7. I feel the English teacher character in the 2018 film ‘Patrick’ fared better compared to how Clara did as a teacher. Clara should’ve followed that example.

The second interesting thing with Clara’s character is when she witnesses the Eleventh Doctor’s regeneration into the Twelfth. Now while I enjoyed the relationship between Clara and the Eleventh Doctor for Series 7, that enjoyment wasn’t there with Clara and the Twelfth Doctor for Series 8 and 9.

Now that’s not to say I didn’t like the Twelfth Doctor and Clara together. On the contrary, I enjoyed Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman together. But it wasn’t the happy, comfortable atmosphere between Clara and the Eleventh Doctor. The Twelfth Doctor was grumpier and less friendlier than the Eleventh Doctor.

The journey of the Twelfth Doctor in Series 8 was interesting in him wanting to find out whether he was a good man or not. Clara is there in Series 8 to guide him on finding out whether he is the good man he wants to be. It’s explored to a certain extent in ‘Into The Dalek’ where there could be a good Dalek.

However there are occasions where Clara can get really annoyed and upset by the Twelfth Doctor’s inhuman behaviour at times. This is especially the case when Clara yells at him at the end of ‘Kill The Moon’. Despite me not liking that episode very much, Jenna Coleman delivers a brilliant performance.

I didn’t like it when Clara seemed upset about being scared by the Doctor abandoning her in that episode, despite him giving her a chance to show how humanity can be better than what they were with ‘killing the moon’. But it does demonstrate how vulnerable Clara can be and it could be an intriguing trait.

After that episode though, it seems like Clara’s forgiven the Doctor over the events of ‘Kill The Moon’. Even though it does feel forced and haphazardly handled in terms of character development, it was nice to see Clara go back to the Doctor and consider him a friend, despite alien traits he seems to possess.

The third interesting thing with Clara’s character after Series 7 is the romantic relationship she had with Danny Pink in Series 8. I like that Clara does form a romantic relationship with somebody, especially at Coal Hill School. The less said about Clara’s relationship with Jane Austen the better I think.

It’s clear from Series 8 that the relationship between Clara and Danny is flawed. Even Clara admits she wasn’t good at the romance thing with Danny. But it’s good she took an interest in Danny and clearly loved him, even up to the point where she had uncharacteristically threatened the Doctor to save him.

The balance of Clara’s relationship with Danny and her relationship with the Doctor was uneven. Most of the time, Clara wanted to spend more time with the Doctor than with Danny. It tended to make Clara and Danny’s relationship fractious as she didn’t tell him of her continuing travels with the Doctor.

There’s also a sense that Clara wanted to be more like the Doctor rather than be the companion. This is an approach that shouldn’t be applied when trying to make the companion connect more with the audience than the Doctor did. Sarah Sutton has said this herself at ‘Science of the Time Lords’ in 2016.

There are occasions when Clara can be glamorous and made me want to fall in love with her in episodes like ‘Robot of Sherwood’ and ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’. Even episodes like ‘Flatline’ had me see Clara proving her best when she got to be ‘the Doctor’ for a change with Rigsy at her side.

I wish those qualities had been shown more in Clara’s character throughout the series as she could come across as glamorous, caring, kind, compassionate and full of adventure like other companions before her. But it’s difficult to ignore the flaws where she can be a bit selfish and not an ideal role model.

Now admittedly, not every ‘Doctor Who’ companion needs to be perfect as they are allowed to have their flaws and come across as learning from their mistakes at times. But it’s the inconsistency of Clara’s character development in the series that frustrates me, which is mostly Steven Moffat’s doing.

The epitome of Clara’s inconsistency is highlighted in Series 9 of ‘Doctor Who’ where her character journey seems to be rather side-lined for most of the season. I’ve stated in my reviews for Series 9, but it’s not one of my favourite seasons due to the lack of the proper character development for Clara.

There are some good moments with Clara’s character and Jenna Coleman’s performances are excellent as ever. But I think the episodes that show Clara having any kind of development are in the last three where she leaves the series. For the rest of the season, she doesn’t seem to stand out very well.

This is due to Jenna Coleman changing her mind in wanting to stay on in the series during the making of ‘Last Christmas’. I appreciate Steven Moffat putting Clara in Series 9 at Jenna’s request, but I wish he had a story arc for her in which we can enjoy. Whether this would be with Danny Pink or the Doctor, I didn’t mind.

But that’s not what occurs in Series 9 as Clara’s insertion into the season is rather shoehorned and more of an afterthought. Also the way Clara’s exit is handled in Series 9 feels rather haphazard. In ‘Face the Raven’, she gets the most shocking and emotional death scene given to any companion.

Now to be fair, I was deeply affected by that death scene of Clara Oswald. Despite all the flaws she had, I liked her as a companion and Jenna Coleman was a reassuring presence for me in the series. I was so upset by Clara’s death scene that I shared how I felt about it in a ‘Goodbye Clara Oswald’ post.

But in ‘Hell Bent’, that death gets reversed and Clara is alive and well before she travels off in her own TARDIS with Ashildr as her companion. I’ve stressed how I’ve felt about ‘the Doctor and Clara being the Hybrid’ theory in my ‘Hell Bent’ review, but I have more to say about Clara’s departure in the series.

Again, I feel the departure of Clara Oswald was poorly handled. Whilst I’m glad she’s still alive by the end of Series 9, the whole explanation for how she’s alive and the universe not being destroyed after getting extracted out of time before her death is shoddy. It just gives headaches the more you think about it.

Steven Moffat is clearly appealing to more sci-fi audiences watching this episode than he is to the general public. Yet he forgets there are bound to be people who won’t get his clever timey-wimey stuff and more time was needed to explain everything about what was going on for that season finale.

Maybe it would’ve been better to keep Clara dead at the end of ‘Face the Raven’ to make her exit more memorable. It’s something I personally wouldn’t want, but maybe it would best to leave her death alone to signify the self-sacrifice she made in that episode and to demonstrate how brave she can be.

Instead we see Clara travelling with Ashildr in the TARDIS where she fulfils her desire to be…the Doctor. Again, how is it Clara gets to be a Doctor-like person at the end where she’s supposed to be the companion? This is certainly not the direction I would have gone for in terms of Clara’s development.

I can talk more about the inconsistencies of Clara’s character development in this article, but I better round up my final thoughts with something positive. Simply saying, I do find Clara’s character pretty flawed for most of the time she was in ‘Doctor Who’. But I still can’t help like her in some certain way.

There are times where she can be annoying, but there are times when Clara can be compassionate, caring and full of adventure as every ‘Doctor Who’ companion should be. It’s a shame about the inconsistencies in her character, but Jenna Coleman’s performances radiated throughout in the series for me.

I wish Clara could’ve been the companion I wanted her to be rather than what she ended up being. But then again, this is what happens in a long-running TV show such as ‘Doctor Who’. Not everything’s going to be great. But for the most part, I have enjoyed Jenna Coleman’s time as Clara in the TV series.

I’ve demonstrated that enjoyment when I wrote for Clara in my own ending for Series 9 in ‘The Impossible Girl Returns’ featuring her and Danny Pink. That goes to show how Clara had a huge impression on me as a character. She wasn’t the best ‘Doctor Who’ companion, but I’m very fond of her.

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6 thoughts on “‘Hell Bent’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    You go fix it Tim because Moffat hasn’t a clue.

    What a load of shambolic piffle, nonsensical bafflegab of p..s poor writing, badly written characterization OMG i went nuts watching this, i literally became comatosed because this is how to deliver a pathetic lazy written climax 101.

    Gallifrey, what do we get? The Doctor eating soup & telling Rassilon “get off my planet” & he does, what in holy hell? This is Rassilon not Coco the Clown, were is the drama, the tense stand off, Rassilon wouldn’t just leave this is utter piffle, we waited for Gallifrey to return & this is what we get?

    The Doctor shooting the General who regenerates into a female lady of colour echoes we must keep the pc fans happy, i got no issue if there’s a reason why Timelords change gender or colour but were given no explanation except we can & we do because we live in a political correct world, this what worries me for a female Doctor, The Doctor is known as Susan’s grandfather so now is he her Grandmother?, Susan a Timelord but had a son named Alex, but can Susan regenetate or has she become human & if she can does she become a man & now Alexs dad?

    Ashilders return is awful your comment here “If Ashildr was the Hybrid and became a monster at the end of Series 9, I would’ve gone for that too” is spot on, this is what i actually thought the Hybrid was not the stupid technobabble it’s the Doctor & Clara being together……SERIOUSLY MOFFAT YOU FIND THIS A GOOD EXPLANATION?

    And as for Clara, well this episode ruined her demise in Face the Raven, all that tense emotional arc & the Doctor’s grieving for……..NOTHING BECAUSE MOFFAT A HACK WHO CAN’T KILL OFF CHARACTER’S FOR MORE THAN 5 MINUTES, oh look Clara & Ashilder leave together to off & have adventures in their Tardis oh isn’t that wonderful & exciting & utterly bloody stupid because Claras death is integral, weres the ramifications to the web of time, why ain’t thoses reapers from Father’s Day appeared because Clara decides to go travelling & escape her fate for God knows how long, this episode makes me mad, Moffat a award winning writer, i think he wrote this script on a postage stamp, lazy lazy writing Moffat, one of the worst finales ever & for God’s sake take that ruddy guitar away from the Doctor doing my head in, he’s a timelord not Brian May.

    So what were left with is a atrocious written disappointing climax to a muddled season, Clara had the perfect exit which was completely ruined, Ashilder is a unlikable irritating character, Gallifrey returns & adds nothing to the story & i literally lost the will to continue watching the Moffat era, the writing in this episode feels amateurish & is overall a disjointed mess.

    Please Tim, do a rewrite synopsis on how you’d fix this episode cause Moffat clearly hasn’t a clue.

    I’m off cry in my pillow at how Doctor Who being ruined by Moffat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Glad you enjoyed my review and thanks for sharing your insight on this episode.

      Yeah I can imagine you weren’t happy upon seeing this episode when it was shown on TV. I wasn’t happy with it either. I recall this being shown on the 5th of December 2015 when Day 5 of my Advent Calendar 2015 was happening. I was befuddled by some of the things that were going on and wasn’t happy with the resolutions to certain characters as well as the episode’s ending.

      Like I said, I wish we had the return of Gallifrey in a two-part story. Everything felt crammed in here and it was like Steven Moffat ran out of time to tell the stories he wanted to tell us in this season. Making ‘Hell Bent’ as a two-parter would’ve been great as we would’ve had more fleshed out characters, especially with the new Rassilon and having a stronger stand-off between him and the Doctor like you suggest. Sadly I think this is the way TV works nowadays as we’re treated to stories crammed full of everything and not being given enough time to breathe to appreciate the stories. Maybe it’ll be different in Series 11. Maybe we’ll have a fleshed out version of this episode in the Target novelization when it comes out. But at present, it’s uncertain.

      Yeah I can see your point and you bring forth a valid argument. There’s no reason or explanation given as to how Time Lords/Time Ladies can regenerate and switch their genders. It would be nice if we had that explanation given but it’s like the production team is saying “No! We’re not giving an explanation for this!”. We say “But we need it!” and they say “We don’t care!” I wouldn’t mind if it was stated that sometime during the Time War or at some point in Gallifreyian history that the Time Lords evolved and found this new regenerative ability to switch gender. It would at least resolve a few issues fans have with a Time Lord’s ability to switch gender. Maybe this might get handled in the Jodie Whittaker era of ‘Doctor Who’ at some point, although I doubt it.

      It’s a shame about Ashildr not being the great character I find her to be as Maise Williams is clearly a good actress and I would’ve liked her character to be epic as you seem to suggest her character in ‘Games of Thrones’ is. If she became the Hybrid at the end of Series 9, I would’ve appreciated her time being worthwhile in Series 9. But it’s not what happened and I feel Ashildr’s time in ‘Doctor Who’ is wasted. Ah well, at least she’ll get better character development next season…oh wait, she doesn’t come back EVER!!! Did Steven Moffat get bored with the character as he was writing it for Series 9? I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies that she didn’t come back in Series 10.

      I’m really disappointed with how Clara was handled in Series 9 as well as in the last three episodes of the season. I would’ve given Clara a better story arc compared to how she ended up in Series 9. What should’ve happened was that Clara could’ve gone out to try and find Danny Pink, since she felt bad about his demise in Series 8. Or we could’ve had what ‘Last Christmas’ promised by allowing us to see the Doctor and Clara going off to have adventures from the end of that episode, possibly to never return to Coal Hill School again. In fact, I don’t think we get a resolution on what happened when Clara’s missed at the school she’s supposed to be working at. The whole business of Clara now piloting a TARDIS with Ashildr at the end of the episode feels lazily-written. Again, ‘Face the Raven’ was an emotional departure for Clara and I can only repeat how disappointed I was that ‘Hell Bent’ ruined Clara’s departure by resurrecting her in a haphazard manner.

      I can see how ‘Hell Bent’ didn’t please you in the slightest Simon and I can only repeat how I found Series 9 to be an underwhelming season and not one of my favourites. It had a few good gems like the Zygon two-parter and the ‘Heaven Sent’ episode. I wish Series 9 was a better season, but then again I’m not surprised that it ended up like it did with Steven Moffat’s experimentation during his era as the stories had varying results of promise and disappointment.

      I hope to write a follow-up article to Clara’s Journey in ‘Doctor Who’ as I would really like to address that on my blog.

      Don’t forget my latest Short Trip called ‘The Impossible Girl Returns’ which is essentially a follow-up scene to ‘Hell Bent’. I wrote that scene when I was away on holiday in Amroth.

      Thanks again for your insight on this episode, Simon. Really appreciate your thoughts on it.

      Tim. 🙂


  2. Timelord 007

    No worries Tim, i had debates about this on forums which got heated, i only ever want Doctor Who to tell good stories & give satisfying pay offs to season arcs, had Ashildr been the Hybrid & become a monster at the end of Series 9 because she seen so much death, I would’ve brought that idea but this it’s the Doctor & Clara together is what the hybrid is utter nonesnse & reeks lazy writing.

    Gallifrey needed to be a two parter, maybe a Christmas & New Year special, it’s simply a waste here built up with zero pay off, seriously what does it add to the plot? Oh & the Doctor shooting the General is actually murder despite the regeneration as that life is at a end, i couldn’t believe my eyes.

    I’ll stop now Tim, this episode really irks me, i shall check out your short story which i have no doubts will be magnificent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Yeah I wasn’t taken in with the Hybrid plot throughout Series 9, even though I managed to pay attention to it this time whilst reviewing the season on my blog. It’s surprising because Steven Moffat at least managed to write story arcs that had some merit to them like the ‘crack in the wall’ in Series 5; ‘the impossible girl’ arc in Series 7; even the Doctor’s death and the Silence (as much as I don’t consider Series 6 as another one of my favourite seasons of ‘Doctor Who’) was at least trying to deliver an arc that had some merit. I can’t understand how the Hybrid plot can feel so lazy when it could’ve had been a thrilling and exciting story arc. Perhaps I’m missing something, but I just couldn’t feel emotionally invested in it.

      I would’ve liked it if they ended Series 9 with a cliff-hanger on Gallifrey and then we would get the follow-up in the Christmas Special of that year instead of ‘The Husbands of River Song’. A two-parter on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day would equally be superb. In fact, I’d like there to be another two-part story of ‘Doctor Who’ over Christmas and New Year’s Day sometime as that was handled brilliantly in ‘The End of Time’ by Russell T. Davies. How come we haven’t got another one since then?

      And yes, the Doctor murdered a man before he regenerated into a woman. I don’t understand how the Doctor can be so out-of-character in that moment. Is he really that desperate by this point?

      Thanks again for your comments, Simon. Really appreciate it.

      Tim. 🙂



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