Doctor Who “Heaven Sent” Spoiler-Free Preview


Okay, so what do we know about “Heaven Sent”, the penultimate episode of Doctor Who series nine, from pre-publicity and trailers? Crucially, this is the “Doctor-only” episode (which makes a pleasant change from the many Doctor-lite episodes we’ve had over the years). Although as you will have noticed from the trailer, that doesn’t mean he’s the only character in it (we see something chasing him) but he’s the only one with dialogue.

There’s also a castle in the middle of the ocean that does some spinny, room-changey thing (echoes of “Castrovlalva” perhaps?), something that looks like a block of ice which the Doctor hits, a portrait of Clara (damn, there goes our chance to tease you with a “Clara makes a cameo appearance” comment) and the Doctor’s still angry.

So what else can we tease you with?

  1. It’s very odd.
  2. Some people will get it and love it.
  3. Some people will not get it and hate it.
  4. Some people will get it and hate it
  5. Some people will not get it and love it.
  6. By “get it” we don’t just mean “understand it” – although there is an element of that. But also “get it” in the sense of “getting into the spirit of it.”
  7. Just for the record, Buzz loved it while not always getting it (we got most of it there’s just one element that made us go, “Huh?”)
  8. At times it’s as wilfully inscrutable in the way the final episode of The Prisoner was…
  9. On other hand, the main narrative is clear, strong and ingenious, with a fantastic – epic (in a sense) pay-off. The weirdness is in the margins, the details and a certain storytelling device.
  10. Peter Capadi is utterly magnificent, but then you’d expect that in an episode that relies on him so heavily.
  11. The direction from Rachel Talalay is superb; this could have been slow and talky but she keeps it pacy and visually interesting. Sure Moffat has written some magnificent visual to play with, but even in the less “showy” scenes she keeps the episode looking amazing.
  12. Aside from the hooded figure we see in the trailer, two other characters make an appearance.
  13. There’s a Time Bandits moment.
  14. There’s a Sherlock moment.
  15. There is the mother of all montages.
  16. A familiar piece of Who mythology makes a reappearance,
  17. A little-known fairy tale provides some inspiration.
  18. The Doctor discovers a grizzly secret beneath the waves.
  19. Some very big numbers are involved.
  20. A big revelation will make you go, “Oooooh!” and then, probably, “Eh?”
  21. Listen?

Read all our Doctor Who series nine reviews so far



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