Heaven Sent (Doctor Who Series 9)

The pervious episode left many people shocked and emotional, none more so than the Doctor himself who this week was transported to an unknown location. This was no ordinary place as it used his deepest and darkest fears in order to torment him into confessing his most closely guarded secrets.

Heaven Sent is set just after the events of Face the Raven and features a Doctor who is both angry and alone. There have been many episodes where the Doctor has been without his main companion but I don’t think he has ever truly been on his own before which was an interesting decision to make. However the Doctor is never completely alone as an unknown entity is slowly making its way towards him and the only thing that can stop it is your confessions.

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I really enjoyed the opening to this episode, particularly the narration from the Doctor as it did a really good job of setting up the tone of the story. Another thing that is good about this episode is the way the story was laid out but also in the way it progressed, not only because it fit into the overall theme but also because of the way it kept me entertained and engaged throughout. The location in which Heaven Sent was set was absolutely incredible, it fit the storyline perfectly and I was genuinely impressed by how good this episode looked on the TV. There was a lot of brilliant scenes in this episode, particularly ones like the one pictured above where the Doctor was trying to work out what was going on and of course there had to be some where he was just being a little bit cleaver.

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Not only did the penultimate episode of series 9 look good but it also had the substance to back it up with all of the usual running, the Doctor being cleaver and who could forget the Mystery. I really like the monster in this episode as it was unrelenting and no matter what happened in the story it would always be coming for you which kept it in the forefront of the audience’s minds, creating a lot of tension. In fact one moment got so tense that it really did make me jump.

In this episode the Doctor retreats to his own version of the Mind Palace that many fans of Stephen Moffat will recognise from his other program called Sherlock Holmes. However this space is a little bit different with his sub-concious taking on a rather interesting form that works to great effect and it fits in nicely with the way the story was being told.

The castle in which this episode is set is interesting for many reasons but the most interesting thing of all is that the rooms rotate and reset over a period of time. The whole moving castle thing is very reminiscent of the staircases that like to change direction in Harry Potter but unlike them the changing structure of the castle in Heaven Sent actually has a purpose in terms of the plot. This is especially true towards the end of the episode as the Doctor attempts to a room with the number twelve on it, in a castle that doesn’t want to make it easy for him to get to.

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Much like Matt Smith when he encountered room 11 in the God Complex, Peter Capaldi has to face the challenge that awaits him behind door number twelve. The Doctor faces a seemingly impossible task requiring a trip to his mind palace and some wise words from a familiar face in order for him to find the courage and the commitment to do what must be done. In fact that whole last sequence had to have taken a lot of courage and while some people commented that it might of gone on a bit to long, I think it was a brilliant piece of television and it really did hammer the point home that what we just watched was no easy task for the Doctor.

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When all was said and done, the reveal that followed really took me by surprise and I am really looking forward to seeing what happens in Hell Bent. There have been some incredible cliff-hangers in series 9 but this one tops them all and that next time trailer teased some very intriguing moments that should make up one hell of an Finale. Overall I really like this weeks episode as it was well written, well directed and Peter Capaldi put in an absolutely astounding performance as the Doctor.

Previous Episode: Face the Raven

Next Episode: Hell Bent

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6 thoughts on “Heaven Sent (Doctor Who Series 9)

  1. You’re absolutely right about the cliff-hangers in Series 9. I think this has been one of the most intense series so far. The “monster of the week” format has been dramatically reduced in lieu of a more continuous narrative–which is bothersome to some, but I really like it. It’s heavy. That’s my kind of storytelling. Also somewhat interesting is that we find in this series an attempt to make Capaldi’s Doctor more likeable by being more playful and humorous (done with a certain level of meta-storytelling as well), while at the same time, the plots of the current season are increasingly more serious. Great series, in my opinion. Can’t wait for this Saturday…

    1. Having a more continues narrative has really helped this series do well and yeah it was good to see them attempt to make Peter Capaldi’s Doctor more likeable and I think they did a good job at doing that although I kinda liked him already and it is good to have a few more series episodes. Writing about this series has been really enjoyable and I can’t wait to see the final episode and do my final review of the series bar the christmas special of course.

  2. I honestly expect to look back on Peter Capaldi’s run as the Doctor years from now and will consider this episode the moment where he truly became The Doctor. What a great acting performance, his ability to carry the entire episode as the only one acting on camera is reminiscent of I Am Legend (but with a better twist ending).

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