The Doctor Finally Returns to His Home Planet in ’Heaven Sent’

Sunday, 29 November 2015 - 2:53PM
Reviews
Doctor Who
Sunday, 29 November 2015 - 2:53PM
The Doctor Finally Returns to His Home Planet in ’Heaven Sent’
Ever since the 50th anniversary special, Whovians have been waiting for the moment Gallifrey would officially return. Two years later, that moment is finally here.

In 'Heaven Sent,' the Doctor arrives at his destination after being forced to wear a teleportation device by Ashildr in last week's 'Face the Raven'. The place he's brought to is essentially a giant castle with a central rotating spire. He's chased by an extremely slow-moving creature that forces him to confess things he's never told anyone before - and it's revealed that it's specifically looking for confessions about the Doctor's knowledge of the hybrid, a being who's prophecy has been at the center of the overreaching arc of series 9.

After learning how to avoid the creature and picking up clues to his whereabouts throughout his wanderings, the Doctor eventually reaches the top of the spire where it's shown that there's a barrier made out of a substance harder than diamond blocking his way out. He repeatedly punches the barrier before the creature finds and mortally wounds him. Before his death, however, he's essentially able to 'hit the reset button' of the castle and start the entire process over again, before reaching the same fate as before. He does this repeatedly, each time resetting the castle after being mortally wounded, waking up not remembering the previous reset, but wearing down the barrier bit by bit with his punches. The process takes two billion years, but he's finally able to punch his way through the diamond barrier. What's on the other side? Gallifrey.

The conclusion of the episode revealed that the prophecy was wrong about the hybrid being half Time Lord and half Dalek - according to the Doctor, nothing could ever be half Dalek (he's forgetting about the series 2 episode 'Evolution of the Daleks,' but whatever). 12 then claims that the hybrid that leaves Gallifrey in ruins has been him all along.

This is huge, as it seemingly confirms a moment in the 8th Doctor's TV movie that many fans have called non-canonical in which the Doctor says he's 'half human' on his mother's side. Some fans (this author included) have speculated that the eternal Ashildr could end up being the Doctor's mother - and it looks like that may very well be the case.

If it does turn out that the Doctor is half human, this will no doubt cause quite the controversy. Many fans found the 8th Doctor's statement embarrassing and contradictory to other statements made by the Doctor in the past. Of course, this is Doctor Who, so a completely different and unexpected twist may still await fans in the series 9 finale.

Next week, the Doctor will be making a return to the barn where he activated the Moment and had to make the choice whether or not to destroy Gallifrey in the 50th anniversary special. The last time the Doctor was there, he didn't even know it in 'Listen,' one of the greatest episodes of series 8.

It's hard to believe there's only one episode left int this year's series, not counting the Christmas special. Things have certainly reached a climax, and no Whovian could ever want to miss what's next.

The final episode of series 9 airs next Saturday night on BBC America.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi TV Shows
Reviews
Doctor Who