Title: Doctor Who S9.E12 “Hell Bent”
Released: 2015
Series:  Doctor Who

Previously on Doctor WhoThe Doctor is forced to spend eons punching his way out of his own confession dial, and when he exits, he finds himself back at the beginning: on Gallifrey.

I really can’t decide how I feel about this one, guys.

Here We Go Again

The Doctor being back on Gallifrey sends the planet into a tizzy, and the Lord President (Rassilon) wants nothing more than for them to be rid of him forever. But no one seems to agree with that vision, and side with the Doctor instead, who then banishes Rassilon off the planet.

But the Doctor isn’t just on Gallifrey to stir up political trouble. His main goal: rescue Clara from her death. The Gallifreyans warn him that he’s messing with things he shouldn’t but—being the Doctor—he doesn’t listen, and pulls her out of her timeline in the space between heartbeats. The two run to the end of the universe to try and restart her timeline, but instead, they run into Ashildr/Me, who’s the only living being left. She discusses the prophesized Hybrid with the Doctor, and makes the conclusion that the Hybrid isn’t one person, but two: The Doctor and Clara, who are messing with things they shouldn’t be.

With that realization, The Doctor and Clara decide that they can no longer keep on this path, and so play a game of Russian Roulette with a neural block—the loser will forget about the other. The Doctor loses (but still remains annoyingly fascinated with Clara). But Clara remains true to their deal, even when The Doctor visits her in Nevada to talk about her (not knowing who he’s talking to, of course), and then partners up with Ashildr/Me and a new stolen TARDIS to travel around time and space before eventually returning to Gallifrey to face her death. And the Doctor goes off, on his own yet again.


  • I totally cheered when the General turns to Rassilon and tells him, “Get off his planet.”

  • And again when the new Sonic Screwdriver appeared!

Don’t Blink or We’ll Exterminate

There wasn’t exactly a villain in this episode, not in the traditional sense. I do think the Doctor was sort of an anti-hero, however, when he was willing to do anything to get Clara back. In those moments, he wasn’t the Doctor we all know and love.

We’re All Stories

Winner: Lady General. “Urgh … Back to normal, am I? The only time I’ve been a man, that last body. Dear Lord, how do you cope with all that ego?” Let’s all give a hand to Lady General.

Loser: Rassilon. You’ve got to be a terrible person/leader when absolutely no one wants to be on your side.

Words from the Madman

Clara: “You been traveling?”
Doctor: “Yeah, from time to time.”

Doctor: “Uh, well, sort of Glasgow. Space Glasgow.”

Doctor: “Every story ever told really happened. Stories … are where memories go when they’re forgotten.”

Doctor: “I’ll need help, obviously.”
General: “Gallifrey is at your command.”
Doctor: “Oh, not from you lot. No, you’d cramp my style. Look at your hats. I’m going to need the use of an extraction chamber, to talk … to an old friend.”

Clara: “OK. Er … Hang on. Wait. What? What? Did I miss something?”
Doctor: “Well, we’re several billion years in the future and the universe is pretty much over, so, yeah, quite a lot.”

Doctor: “We’re on Gallifrey. Death is Time Lord for man flu!”

Doctor: “I’m trying to keep you safe.”
Clara: “Why? Nobody’s ever safe. I’ve never asked you for that, ever. These have been the best years of my life. And they are mine. Tomorrow is promised to no-one, Doctor, but I insist upon my past. I am entitled to that. It’s mine.”

Keep Moving

I’m torn. One the one hand, I like that Clara and Ashildr/Me are not dead, and traveling around the universe together. (There’s definitely spin-off potential there.) But on the other, I really wanted closure with Clara, even if it meant that she had to stay dead.

I do appreciate all of the nods to previous Doctors, however. There were a lot this episode.

I am left with a few lingering questions:

  • The neural block was human compatible, yes? And the Doctor didn’t really give Ashildr/Me an answer when she questioned him about why he loved Earth so much. So … he’s part human, then?

  • What happened to Rassilon? Banishment, sure, but that means nothing when you’ve got control over time and space.

  • What’s next (post-Christmas special)? Where do we go from here?

But, what did you think of “Hell Bent”? Let’s discuss in the comments.


Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.