Having an episode which focuses almost solely on your title character, with only a couple very minor supporting cast members and an isolated location may not sound like it would work. But, this perhaps has set up one of the biggest finales for a long time. The scale throughout the series has been rather grand and the opening two-parter showed the return to Skaro being a major development to the show…but this time it is Gallifrey! Before Gallifrey though, The Doctor has got to figure his way out of this trap set up from the week before. Finding himself in a place which works like a living labyrinth, The Doctor has to figure out who has placed him here and how we can get out. Being followed by a lifeform draped in a white cloth, The Doctor finds that it is persistently following him and will not stop until it captures him. The Doctor feels he is in a place where time is not a factor, though he knows how many years it has been since he was taken from modern day earth. The Veil seems to be unstoppable, and will only stop when The Doctor commands a truth to the terrifying creature.
There is a massive twist in this story; a huge number of skulls are discovered by The Doctor. It turns out, they all belong to him! As the place shifts and *restarts*, so does the contents of the rooms (except the Azbantium wall which is slowly warn down over billions of years from punching and the skulls of The Doctor after he keeps restarting his self in the castle-like labyrinth). This is what keeps reviving The Doctor to when he first arrived, and the experience is played out over and over while The Doctor continues to punch through that wall (and explains the changing of his wet clothes to a replica which are hanging by a fire). Groundhog Day the sci-fi way, and it is indeed a unique experience for Doctor Who. The Veil keeps mortally wounding The Doctor when he reaches the wall and this eventually ends as The Doctor punches his way through that way and makes it outside. Where was he exactly? Well, it was his confession dial that held him prisoner. After making his escape, as he did while trapped, he continues to talk about the Hybrid, the supposedly terrifying creature which has been teased throughout this series (Though I still want to see who the “Minister Of War” is). The Doctor sees a young boy, and tells him that he is ready to see them. Who is “them” you may say? Well, it is the frigging Time Lords and The Doctor is back on Gallifrey to seemingly face-off against his own people. Ladies and Gentleman, you won’t want to miss this! THE DOCTOR IS THE HYBRID
The single-hander (well…mostly single) was indeed a success for Doctor Who. In a show which has shown that it can adapt and change itself into many different forms (much like the title character). Peter Capaldi is on his best in this episode. It is not easy to have to throw dialogue against yourself, but the scenes in his mind of himself in the TARDIS working out his problems were indeed genius. It does give a brief sense of confusion for the viewer as to whether we are watching a non-linear story, but we are getting to see inside the brain of the 2000 year old Time Lord. He lost his best friend, and finds he is determined to get out of this trap. Massive marks to Jami Reid-Quarrell as he brought The Veil to life, just as he did with the snake-ish Colony Sarff and retains an air of creepiness and spectacle. The very brief inclusion of Jenna Coleman may seem a bit of a cheat after her death to keep her in the show, but The Doctor does continue to talk to Clara even though he knows she is dead. Her illusion in his mind telling him to “Get Up Off Your Arse…” was a reminder of what she said to him before her death, once again giving him the will to carry on and continue to be a force in the universe. The chalkboard also makes a dramatic return again, even if is all in his mind. Steven Moffat provides his top script for 2015, it is hard to compare it to the series 9 opener ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’, but there certainly is a certain sense of scale which matches both episodes (though executed in unique ways). And has Moffat finally allowed swearing into Doctor Who? I know Arse is rather tame, but it is still there and it is shown late. Finally, Rachel Talalay is indeed the best director for Doctor Who finales and has set ending up to be just as jaw-dropping as last year’s penultimate was (though I did say from week one Missy was The Master, but will discuss that another time). She keeps the episode on a grand scale throughout and keeps the whole show ticking at great speed and captures all we need within her watchful eye. So, we still have some questions. How has The Doctor managed to now get to Gallifrey? Who wanted him? Why is Ashildr there? Is The Doctor about to have war with the Time Lords? And finally…will we ever find out how The Doctor found that cup of tea on Skaro? Find out next week, as we are surely ‘HELL BENT’ on seeing the conclusion to this so far perfect story!
P.S. I think it is official that Series 9 may just well be my favourite series ever!
Final Rating: 10/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove