Doctor Who: Season 9 Episode 12 Liveblog

Doctor Who: Season 9 Episode 12 Liveblog

Hell Bent

Doctor Who, Series 9 Episode 12 of 12

By the Tripwire LiveBlog Team

Well, my pretties, Santa Steven really pulled a surprise from his Christmas sack last week didn’t he? Now the Doctor’s on Gallifrey, and not happy. So what next? Well, we here at the LiveBlog have long reckoned that there’s some stuff about Clara that needs to be resolved. Where are all the ‘other’ Claras who were scattered across time, for example, now the original is brown-bread? Coal Hill School is the focus for the Who spin-off, but the teacher mortality rate is a bit scary. We don’t feel we’re done with her yet. We also feel some Missy magic might occur, we know that Mayor Me will be back, and surely that’s a Dalek in the trailer. And a Cyberman – although neither look their best. Well, not long to go now… See us here at 20:00 hours for the season finale…


A red truck is driving. Twangy guitar is playing, giving us a subtle hint that we are in the US. We’re then given a title, informing us that we’re in Nevada. The Doctor pulls up at a diner, wielding a guitar with menace. [It’s a customised Epihone SG by the look of it. Bit of a mystery how it works without an amplifier]. Clara is the waitress. Is it a dream? Probably. They’re doing banter and now he’s playing the guitar. Help.


Clara doesn’t seem to be Clara – something is afoot. The Doctor makes a lame joke about travelling from ‘time to time’. Not Clara asks about Clara. The Doctor looks shocked. Roll title sequence.

Now the Doctor is on Gallifrey, as we were led to believe last episode. He’s going to a shed while looking smouldery. It’s may or may not be a time shed.

The President of Gallifrey is looking worried. All the cloister bells or cloister wraiths are ringing. It’s a bad sign for everyone.

The Doctor enters the shed, finding that it’s just the damn set from the Viking episode. A comedy woman enters, generically fussing. She seems to recognise the Doctor, and tells him they’ll kill him.


They’re outside, The Doctor is sat at a table eating cream of tomato soup. A crowd of Time-Amish is gathered around him. A naughty gunship shows up, telling the Doctor to lay down his weapons and go to time jail or something. The Doctor draws a literal line in the sand. The Time-Amish clap.

Back in the Timelord Timeboard Room everyone is displeased by what is going on. They can’t agree on what to do about the Doctor.

So they send a bloke to see him, with a bunch of soldiers. The Doctor goes back inside.

So they send all the nobles with their silly hats. The Doctor goes back inside.

The President asks what he wants. The wise woman tells him the Doctor doesn’t blame Gallifrey for the time war. Just the President.


So the President shows up. The Doctor goes out to meet him and drops his confession thingy on the floor. The Doctor wants the President to get off his planet. The President is unhappy about it. He tells the soldier to shoot at the Doctor. They refuse. He tells them again and they do it.

So naturally they shoot around him.

The President is very unhappy about this. The soldiers start mutinying.

The Doctor visits cafe-clara again. She asks him if the story he’s telling is real or not. He says ‘Every story ever told really happened.’ *double wanking hand gesture*

The President, who turns out to be Rassilon, gets really upset as all the soldiers mutiny and side with the Doctor. The Doctor has called in some ships to arrest Rassilon or something. Now he’s deporting the high council.


The Doctor has gone to see the spooky ghosts in the Cloister thing. The Old Woman of Karn is being a total shitass to him about him deporting Rassilon. The Doctor tells her to fuck off, then goes to argue with the council people a bit. He quizzes them about the hybrid, then mocks them a bunch.

We get a flashback to Clara having a Raven fly into her chest. She’s called into a mysterious white room with The Doctor, that general guy, and some dudes in stupid white outfits.


After a reaaally lengthy preamble, Clara figures out she’s dead. The General guy really rubs it in, so the Doctor punches him in the jaw and nicks his gun.

The Doctor has a really shitty plan to rescue Clara from the death-time-loopy room by shooting everyone or something? He shoots the guy and pegs it.

Clara’s mad about the shooting of the guy, until he explains the whole regeneration concept. The General regenerates from an old white dude to a younger black lady. So it can happen then.


There’s some business about a neural block for Clara. He’s got to wipe Clara’s memory of the memories of him. I’m guessing it turns out Cafe Clara is real Clara in real life but she doesn’t remember being Clara and they’re reusing the damn Catherine Tate shit.

The Doctor and Clara are wandering about in the Cloister, where a big screamy time lord hat is buggering about having a scream. It’s also a greatest-hits rogues gallery of the Doctor’s enemies, as well as I think being the Pandorica chamber set.

It’s apparently a giant computer thing where Timelords go when they die, called The Matrix, just like the Transformers do. It also predicts the future.

Apparently the Doctor once snuck in there and got lost for a week and got told all the timey secrets or something? Now Clara and The Doctor are having a Moment. He’s being all tragic about being stuck in the last week’s episode place. Even though weirdly I thought he only really experienced one ‘life’ of the experience.

The Time Cops show up and tell Clara he was stuck in the evil castle for like 4 billion years. Clara is very sad. She’s doing all the shitty aesop shit about how she has to die and also say something important. I’m honestly not really very entertained. She says something secret to the Doctor and then cusses out the time cops. But it was a trick to let the Doctor escape and nick another tardis.


The Tardis (a new, shiny silver Tardis with the classic interior). The Grandma of Karn is super mad at this and the Doctor tells her to fuck right off, metaphorically speaking.

The Doctor tells Clara that once they escape Gallifrey’s timezone (GMT -2) she’ll get a heartbeat back and everything’ll be fine. But he’s lllllying and Clara knows it. She’s got no heartbeat and the neck tattoo is still there.

They’re going to the end of the universe. They get there and the pulse thing still isn’t working. Shouting shouting bleeeh.

There’s a knock on the door, like the classic sentence-long horror story. The Doctor goes outside, and Me is there. For some reason. I dunno how she got there, or how she’s failed to die in an accident during the entire remaining lifespan of the universe.


Me is mouthing up some shitty tropes about how it’s natural to die and how Clara died doing what she loved, having a tattoo and a crow flying into her chest. Clara spies on the conversation.

Me wants to know who the hybrid is. The Doctor tells her it’s her, BUM BUM BUUUUM. Like he told us in the last episode.

But Me counters with HIM being the hybrid, like he told us in the last episode. They argue a little more. Me then theorises that the Hybrid is two people, The Doctor and Clara. Which makes no damn sense. Anyway they go back to the whole subject of wiping Clara’s memory. The Doctor says he’s gonna do it. Clara says don’t do it.


They’re arguing about it. Bluh bluh do it, don’t do it, I love my memories, I hate you dying, etc etc. It’s really boring. Strings swell. Clara says she reversed the polarity of the brain wiper so it’ll wipe his memory instead, but will it?

I miss Clara being dead.

They agree to push the damn brain button together in some kind of asinine suicide pact. They push the button and it’s not clear who got brain zapped. Until the Doctor falls over and starts giving life advice. Including not to eat pears, which is pretty useful advice.

The Doctor is dying or some shit, whatever. He’s dead now Clara, and you killed him.


The Doctor wakes up in Nevada to a nice man asking how he is. He’s forgotten Clara, you see. And now he’s in the Diner with Clara, trying to remember Clara. I dunno how they fixed the whole Clara being dead thing. I think I’ve missed some stuff because my eyes rolled so hard that they fell out of my head.

Turns out the diner was the TARDIS all along, and Me and Clara are in the terlet, the time terlet, and they vanish, leaving the Doctor in the desert, because fuck him.


So, if I summarise for my co-writer who has cast this laptop aside in despair:

  • The Tardis is revealed when Clara and Me’s Tardis takes off
  • The Doctor gets his nice velvet coat back and a message from Clara on the blackboard “Never run with scissors”. Oh, sorry, apparently  it was “Run you clever boy and be a Doctor!”
  • The Doctor has no memory of Clara, which will be interesting when he next runs into anyone who has known her. “How’s your friend Clara?”, “Who?” “You know, that woman who was painted on the side of your Tardis! For 4 billion years.”
  • Me and Clara will travel the universe as the first LBGT couple, one of whom is effectively dead. Polyamory may come into it if they run into Jane Austen.

From my selfish point of view:

  • Clara can come back at any time, dammit, and don’t give me that “reversed the polarity” crap.

Steven Moffat clearly has trouble dealing with death. River Song is alive in a bloody computer, Rory and Amy in some kind of no-go area in time (which really makes no sense at all), Clara now in a time loop of some unspecified type. Hard SF fans will be spinning in graves. (If they’re dead. But how will we know? Perhaps they’re all in a time loop too!)

After last week’s tour-de-force, we have this week’s tour-de-farce. Oh well, three good episodes out of twelve is pretty good for Doctor Who these days.

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