Hell Bent *Spoilers*

Moffat, a man I love to hate, or just hate, is probably the king of disappointments. Many of these disappointments tend to be in his finales. He always builds up the series well but lacks the finale instinct. This weeks finale was the same.

I didn’t completely hate the episode. In my opinion there have been worse; the series 6 finale springing to mind immediately. Series 7 finale as well come to think of it. But this was another disappointment in what is just becoming a vicious cycle for Doctor Who and Moffat.

The story started with the Doctor stumbling into the diner from the Impossible Astronaut where Clara was now working, and we were led to believe that Clara had forgotten the Doctor. Although of course we found out later that it was the other way around, and the Doctor was simply trying to find ‘his Clara’. But more on that later.

Back to Gallifrey, possibly the biggest disappointment in the episode. The Doctor had been searching for his home planet for so long, he had gone the long way round and he was going to wreak havoc. Except that he didn’t. And he didn’t even stay long and didn’t do much there and the return of the most fearsome planet in the universe was well pointless. For a race that’s meant to be so corrupt, so evil, they really were shown to have no power in the episode. Rassilon was weak and Timothy Dalton played him so much better back in 2010; the decent general was shot down and regenerated, and the high council were exiled with no fight. And the biggest Moffat clanger… He didn’t even bother to explain how the planet had unfroze!

Right. Now my biggest issue.

Clara. Oh Clara. Possibly the character I’ve hated the most. I was over the moon when she finally croaked it the other week but of course this is Moffat. And he loves Clara. She lives (well not quite but basically so). The Doctor was able to use a time lord extraction chamber to reach into her time stream before she died and pull her out. Yes she will have to go back and die eventually, but don’t we all. She is now free for as long as she wants. She could technically never go back until the end of the universe. Spin off show alert, oh dear. Oh and together they also stole a brand new Tardis, flew away together and met up with Ashildir (Me). Of course…

The Doctor couldn’t cope with the fact that he couldn’t completely save her so he decided to wipe her memory to keep her safe (stealing the Donna idea). But Clara didn’t want that, she wanted to go back and die. We agreed on something. So she reversed the polarity and the Doctor lost all his memories about Clara. And so we’re back in the diner and Clara flies off in her diner Tardis with Ashildir leaving the Doctor back with his Tardis. Happy endings all round. Apart from mine. So now basically Clara and Ashildir get to fly around in their own Tardis forever, not a fan of that.

Some other quick points – both positive and negative. What was the point of the sisterhood of Karn? What was the point of Ashildir? The sliders were a bit silly, Moffat always has to stick a Dalek in, Capaldi was excellent again, Jenna Coleman was good, and brilliant to see an original Tardis! 6/10 

P.S. How crap does the Christmas special look!

Heaven Sent *Spoilers*

From the trailer I didn’t really know what to expect from the first part of the finale; and I think I was more interested in how this episode was going to take us to Gallifrey, which we all knew was the setting for the final episode. In short this episode didn’t disappoint, in fact it very much exceeded my expectations. Huge credit should be given to both director Rachel Talalay and Peter Capaldi, both excelled themselves this week.

The story started off with someone pulling a lever just before dying so that the Doctor was able to arrive at the building. Back to this problem later…

Most of the first half of the episode was the Doctor exploring the place, finding some clues and dodging the monster following him around. I very much enjoyed the monster, thought it was a good idea and from early on it was obvious the Timelords were behind this place, this trap. The idea of having to confess to the creature also worked well, obviously the Timelords wanted to know where this ‘hybrid’ was. Capaldi’s monologues, self chatter throughout the episode was well wrote and well voiced, kudos to Moffat for this episode. Some of the middle parts of the episode were rather forgettable, and it wasn’t til the Doctor realised how long he had been here that the episode really got going.

Yes it turns out the man who died at the beginning… was the Doctor. And he was in a loop of arriving, trying to break through a wall of substance harder than diamond to get to the Tardis, or what we thought was the Tardis…

After roughly 2 billion years of going through this loop, the Doctor managed to break through the wall and it turns out he was inside his confession dial all along, and he was now back on Gallifrey to confront the Timelords, and it turns out that he was the hybrid all along (not so sure though). I did have a few tiny problems with the episode, most notably the bootstrap paradox because the first time round the Doctor wouldn’t have been there to burn himself so that the next Doctor could arrive…

But overall I think this episode was brilliant and will be looked back at in the future as a classic! One character, one villain in one building shouldn’t work, but it worked perfectly and next week’s finale looks incredible! 9/10

 

Face the Raven *Spoilers*

Well, well, well. Absolutely brilliant! I honestly was a bit worried about this episode, the idea of a raven being a villain seemed silly and knowing that Clara was leaving I thought everything might end up being too rushed. Luckily I was wrong.

The episode was fast paced from the start and it didn’t stop until the end. I enjoyed Rigsy being back, and the Doctor being around his baby was a sweet little moment to remind the viewers of how kind he can be before his angry turn later on. The concept of the hidden streets was interesting and worked well, although it’s kind of surprising that the Doctor would have never found one before. Seeing the range of past aliens was good fun for long term Whovians and I liked how all of them get on in peace. I had mixed feelings on seeing Ashildir again, I think the character overall has been poorly written and is already becoming quite boring.

Back to the story, for some reason Ashildir had to frame Rigsy for murder to get the Doctor to her rather than ask him, but the idea of him being summoned (clearly to the Time Lords – spoiler for the finale) was a good move, especially because of Clara’s exit. Right to Clara’s exit, I really enjoyed it. Clara’s arrogance was in the end what killed her, and the exit was very emotional. Murray Gold’s music was brilliant again and Capaldi nailed it once again, the scary ‘Malcom Tucker’ style Doctor sent chills down my spine.

Onto next week, the finale, and I wonder if that’s the Hybrid after him… We know its the Shade that wanted him but we also know the final episode is set on Gallifrey… so plenty of answers still needed. 9/10

Sleep No More *Spoilers*

I think this week’s episode was the ultimate marmite episode, some seemed to hate it and some really enjoyed it. I was kind of stuck in the middle but edging onto the side of enjoying it. It was new, refreshing, flawed in places but an enjoyable 45 minutes of television.

The found footage idea was an interesting concept and for the most part it did work; obviously there were camera angles that weren’t from a person’s perspective, but this was nicely explained later in the footage. Very cleverly done actually. Because of the lack of flow to some scenes the characters were never able to develop and the viewers couldn’t warm to then, but the story didn’t particularly need that. I wasn’t a big fan of the villain behind the monsters, his character seemed a bit weird and the whole process wasn’t too thought out.

The whole concept behind the monsters, the Sandmen, I liked. Doctor Who likes to put fear into everyday concepts and it did it well here with sleep and sleep dust; but the Sandmen looked quite amateurish and rather silly. Maybe this episode had a lot less of a budget… The Doctor I felt was on form once again and I even quite enjoyed Clara this time around, or maybe that’s just because I know she’s close to leaving. The script was lacking in places, and some of the humour fell flat, but overall I thought it was an experiment that worked. And I was happy to see that for once the evil won and the Doctor lost!

Next weeks trailer looks interesting, a cyberman, Maisie Williams back again and the start of Clara’s slow departure. But please god let the Raven be a shape-shifter and not an actual evil Raven!! 7.5/10

The Zygon Inversion *Spoilers*

I said last week that the Zygon Invasion was good, but needed a strong second parter to be great, and this second parter really let it down. From start to finish it was a no from me; it felt lazy, rushed and messy all over, a low point of the series so far.

To start the episode the cliffhanger was poorly resolved. The whole Clara in a reverse house felt stupid and the shaking of the TV to deflect the missile was utterly ridiculous. This allowed the Doctor and Osgood to escape by parachute and find a way back to London and Unit HQ. One of the shining moments of the episode was the Doctor/Osgood partnership throughout, and I for one would be happy to see them travelling in the TARDIS together next series.

Most of the middle parts of the episode felt rather pointless; Bonnie unmasked a Zygon in public (which we heard no more about after it was featured on the news) and Kate did a lot of pointless stuff just like the last episode. The Clara/Bonnie interactions were well thought out and worked, and it was a clever way to get all the main characters back together in the same place. So the scene was set: Kate, the Doctor, Clara, Bonnie and Osgood in the black archive with the Osgood boxes discussing the fate of the world.

Firstly, I liked the idea of 2 different Osgood boxes but the two buttons in each pushed it a little bit too far. Four different scenarios was probably too much for most of the audience to handle and the whole ‘Truth or Consequences’ idea was wearing incredibly thin by this point. I still don’t really understand what the Truth or Consequences was meant to mean…

The next few minutes was probably the best part of the episode and all the characters involved shone brightly. Peter Capaldi’s speech about war was epic and he had another brilliant episode, Jenna Coleman gave a decent performance as Bonnie and even Kate Stewart threw in some great lines. However, I truly hated the ending to the episode, the constant wiping of the minds and nothing being in the boxes felt ridiculously stupid, it was a sour taste left in the mouth at the end. Onto Mark Gatiss’s episode – 6/10.

The Zygon Invasion Review

After last weeks ‘Next Time’ trailer I was very much looking forward to this episode and it really didn’t disappoint. From the moment the three Doctors appeared on the screen in the first few seconds I was hooked and the episode was for the most part, rather faultless.

It was great to have the Zygons back, and even better to have the 50th storyline come full circle as I felt at the time it was all quite open ended with the ‘peace treaty’. Osgood was back as well! Although I don’t see the big hype about her like others do, I do think she’s a decent character and I think most people remembered there was two of her when she ‘died’ last series at the hands of Missy. Others characters did disappoint in my view, Kate Stewart seemed bored all the way through and I can’t warm to this Jac character, but many of the lesser roles were well cast, Rebecca Front to name one.

The story was essentially about some younger rogue Zygons who don’t want to pose as humans anymore, and plan to take over the world. Simple enough but there were plenty of real world connotations in the story. The training camps etc in middle eastern countries and the idea of radicalisation were shoutouts to the current Syrian crisis as well as ISIS and posed the ideas of how bombing the radicalised lot may set the others off. The main characters were split up across the world and each looked to have ‘met their fate’ by the end of the episode, although obviously we know this is unlikely to be the case. And once again the word ‘hybrid’ was used this series, a shoutout to the ‘hybrid’ the Doctor supposedly ran from all those years ago…

The big question, How did we not realise Clara had been taken over by a Zygon?! Watching the episode a second time I was able to see all of the little hints, showing how well thought out the idea and reveal was. Some parts of the episode did bug me a little, where was ‘other Osgood’ last series?, why have the Zygons suddenly changed how they deal with enemies?, and why did Kate seem so bored? The episode was slow in places, but I’m sure that’s just to build more for next week and overall the episode was very pleasing, possibly up there competing with the Witches Familiar for best of the series. 8/10

The Girl Who Lived *Spoilers*

If I had to describe this episode in just 5 words, it would be… filler but a good one. This review is likely to be short as not much really happened, but it wrapped up last weeks episode in a nice way.

One of the reasons I enjoyed this episode is that it was Clara lite, which gave the Doctor & Williams plenty of time together, which could provide a taste of a future Tardis partnership… Williams and Capaldi seem to have a great chemistry on screen, and they work really well together. The idea of Williams character not having a name and forgetting most of her life was a great twist, and added some real depth.

Most of the episode focused on this which meant that the plot never really got going, and the villain of the episode felt unimportant. There were some laughs, some decent scenes, some forgettable ones, but it was meant to be the Capaldi and Williams show, and it very much was so. One thing I want to mention is next weeks trailer, wow. Zygons, Osgood, Kate, links to the 50th, looks like it should be a cracker.