Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Hell Bent
A Guest Blog by Hevy782
Usually when an episode disappoints me these reviews give me an opportunity to get it all out of my system and then look forward to the next episode with a somewhat positive frame of mind. This episode however I just want to forget about as soon as possible and immediately move on to the strangely appealing Christmas special, The Husbands of River Song. I mean I’m usually not a fan of the more whimsical specials but this one’s got River Song instead of Clara so that’s a definite plus straight away. Admittedly I’m not the biggest River Song fan out there but she’s been growing on me as of late and I’m really interested in seeing the tour de force of Capaldi and Kingston, especially because she won’t know who he is to begin with. It’s also got a shouting head for a villain so what’s not to love there? Okay, so I guess I should stop talking about The Husband of River Song now as I do want it to appear as if I’m taking this review somewhat seriously. So then, let’s actually start talking about the few positives and many negatives of Hell Bent.
Now I think it’s safe to say that this episode turned out in a way that none of us were expecting it to. For some that’s a good thing but for many like myself it’s a very big negative. This was supposed to be the grand return of Gallifrey after so many years of absence but it instead ended up being yet another departure for Clara and an unnecessary one at that as we had already experienced a fitting end to her story in the form of Face the Raven. I mean there was so much potential here for an epic Gallifrey story with the Doctor trying to bring down Rassilon and yet the most legendary Time Lord of all time just gets on a shuttle and leaves because the Doctor told him to. And it is from that point which the story goes down hill for me.
Now it’s only fair that I dedicate this next section of the review to the episode’s positives as believe it or not I do believe it has some. Most of them come from before Rassilon gets on a shuttle and flies off though. Peter Capaldi is of course one of them and while his performance may have taken a step down from last week it is still nothing short of incredible and it’s amazing how much he gets across without saying a single word. There’s also some good comedy there as you get into the routine of the woman going to the Doctor, the Doctor going outside and then the Doctor immediately going back in again. The General was also a welcome return from Day of the Doctor and Ken Bones did a good job expanding on the small role he was given there and he turns it into quite a likeable character actually. The female version was good too but I honestly don’t see why we had to get rid of the magnificent Ken Bones for what was ultimately nothing more than a cheap political move. It was also nice to have the Sisterhood of Karn back in this even if they didn’t do a whole lot.
Some of you may be a bit confused as to why I left Donald Sumpter’s Rassilon out when I was talking about the positives and it’s not because he was poorly acted but because the character just wasn’t written like Rassilon should be in my opinion. He was portrayed as more of a standard Time Lord as opposed to the legendary one he’s supposed to be. But anyway, let’s now talk about where this episode ultimately went wrong and that was when it bought back Clara. I didn’t care much about her before and I care about her even less now. The way it was written feels as if I’m supposed to care more for the Doctor and Clara and see the Time Lord’s as the villains but I was actually cheering the Time Lords on during this. It really did make Clara feel selfish in the way that she put herself before the safety of the timeline and when she called the Time Lords cowards for hiding at the end of the universe I was just sat there thinking that they’ve gone to the end of the universe so that the Time War doesn’t restart. As you can imagine, none of this rubs off well on Clara but hopefully now that she’s gone it’ll be a fresh start for the Doctor, especially since he won’t be able to remember her. Speaking of that, I’m glad they didn’t wipe Clara’s memory instead as that would’ve just been a blatant rip off of Donna’s fate so that’s another thing the episode has going for it, I guess.
Overall, I’m going to give Hell Bent a four-out-of-ten and now that I’ve done that I can go back to talking about my odd sense of anticipation for The Husbands of River Song. Maybe it’s just because I’ll take anything after watching this episode or perhaps I just want a light romp after all the serious stories we’ve had in series nine but either way I’m looking forward to watching this one on Christmas day. So then until we see it a few weeks be sure to sound off your thoughts on either this episode or if you’re like me and you’d prefer to talk about the next one instead then you’re welcome to do both in the comments below.