Heaven Sent

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    ichabod @ichabod

    Some one earlier (so many great comments!) asked why CapDoc didn’t use the spade on the crystal wall, which would make sense — if he didn’t have to get past the Veil (it was right behind him, remember) to get the spade.  He’d be killed by the Veil and have to remember each time after that to bring the spade with him from the grave-digging scene to room 12.

    Anyway, once he’s made up his mind that punching through the diamond mountain is his only way out, he wants to get to it, right now, with his own fists.  I think he knows at some level that he really needs all that fear, desperation, and pain, to expiate his guilt (Clara died on his watch, because she was with him on an adventure that turned out to be a trap for him and incidentally fatal for her) and his grief over Clara’s death.

    He *could* perhaps escape the castle run and run from that pain and keep finding it everywhere he pauses for  breath, as he told Clara he would if she were gone back in The Girl Who Died (now “The Girl Who Died is” Clara.  Ow.)

    Instead, with the voice of Clara-in-his-head encouraging him, he takes on and confronts the pain by beating his way through the crystal wall over millennia of smashing his hands on it and being killed by the Veil plus the teleporter thing.  By the time (on whatever real or imaginary scale) he’s done, he’s won: he’s beaten the pain into submission, so that it can’t paralyze him or sap energy from his new purpose: revenge.  And he breaks through, onto Gallifrey.

    Structurally, this functions beautifully in closing the arc of S9, as it leaves him a) crazed enough, I think, to do terrible things to his enemies; and b) clear-eyed enough to do those things cleverly and effectively, and then, in whatever manner, resolve his own arc and move on.  So Clara’s story is completed, and the Doctor is left free to embark on S10 with (probably) rarely a backward glance, after S9 is over.

    It’s a brilliant solution to the problem of properly seeing off a long-time companion who deserves every minute of these last three stories



    Anonymous @

    @ichabod @cheesemaster5000 and others

    I think the Doctor is the hybrid and not ‘me’ – that was pretty certain but in re-watching he speaks on the tower of how the hybrid, in legends, was a “storm which blew in on the wind”  -much like The Oncoming Storm mentioned by Tennant et. al. ? So, possibly that might help to settle the question.

    Just Puro

    janetteB @janetteb

    Five pages now!! I have a horrible feeling I will never catch up. I have just rewatched the first two parter of the series which has given rise to some reflections in no particular order and of no especial relevance. When Clara is threatened by the Daleks she runs. Later she does not run. She has gained in courage through the season. This season begins in Skaro and ends on Gallifrey. The structure of the first two episodes is circular as I suspect will be the structure of the series. (with a few cracks and bumps.) The Doctor betrays his own values, regrets it and makes amends. Maybe that is what Gallifreyan society is doing?

    The Doctor as the hybrid is probably a misdirect. Moffat does tend to play with us, like Dalek with its’ prey. However I think it likely that he is the bybrid only the hybrid is not what anyone else thinks or expects.

    Think I will make another coffee and take the plunge, page 1 of comments it is..



    tardigrade @tardigrade

    Seriously thought-provoking episode and I can’t wait for the conclusion. A few thoughts:

    I’m thinking that the Gallifrey the Doctor has arrived on is the time-war era Gallifrey- you can’t time travel to get there because of the time lock, but if you go the long way around- i.e. arrive billions of years in advance and wait it out, then that might do the trick. That seems more plausible to me than him accessing the “current” location of Gallifrey. So the confession dial is then, if nothing else, an elaborate way of keeping the Doctor busy to while away the time.


    The Doctor says “The hybrid is me/Me” rather than the more natural “I am the hybrid”. Which suggests to me that it is Ashildr (Me) that is being referred to (or at least that’s intended as a possibility / red herring). She could plausibly be referred to as a hybrid (human + alien tech), and being functionally immortal could have gotten to Gallifrey “the long way around” too, and she has vowed to keep an eye on him after all.

    Alternatively, if it is the Doctor himself who is the hybrid (half-human?), then the possibility of Ashildr being on Gallifrey raises the possibility in my mind that Ashildr is the Doctor’s mother… which would make both of them part of a multi-billion year bootstrap paradox, since the Doctor effectively created Me (at least as an immortal) and she created him. Given the preoccupation with bootstrap paradoxes this series, making the Doctor’s very existence part of one would seem to be a fitting conclusion to the series.

    My first post here, so let me know if I’ve gotten into the spirit of crazy theories sufficiently 🙂

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @puroandson     Oh, no, it was fine. The “shock” was merely due to suddenly being presented with the reality of our boy cuddling on the sofa with a pretty girl whilst watching Casablanca, and showing no sign of wanting to be anywhere other than as close to her as possible. She’s a lovely girl, he met her in the choir and she is a dancer (of all things given that he doesn’t so much as wiggle his butt when he sings!). She doesn’t follow any sport at all other than watching hockey with her dad, and is much more extroverted than my son, who isn’t shy but tends to view life with caution. It’s all very lovely, but I suddenly felt so old!

    Not billions of years old, however. I think the idea of the resets must have been somehow connected to the idea of getting as many “confessions” out of him as possible, more than one go-round might allow for? I really do have to watch again. I agree that the Time Lords must have allowed for the possibility that the Doctor would figure a way out. They know how clever he is, and how stubborn.

    I also agree that the Doctor would very much say, “I’ll tell you what I choose, when I choose, you are definitely not the boss of me!”   🙂

    Ericam @ericam

    This episode was just amazing!!! It has me on the edge of my seat for the next one.

    Did anyone else think it was incredibly sad that the doctor died like a million times. I wanted to cry for him. He almost literally had to go through hell just to escape. Oh and the skulls…. At first you don’t understand why there there. I wanna give him a hug and say “Doctor i’m so so sorry…”

    tardigrade @tardigrade

    I had one negative I wanted to raise from this episode- I’m really uncomfortable with teleportation being treated as remote copying for a few reasons (quite apart from the fact that means the original is killed):

    1. The Doctor says that he didn’t feel any time travel during the teleport. If he doesn’t actually exist in any conscious sense during the teleportation process and just gets recreated at the far end, then how would he? It’s not as if he had a sense of the absolute time- he needs the stars to confirm that- so he’d need to feel the time travel itself, from his long experience with it.

    2. Time lords at the very least seem to have a soul that’s relatively independent of the body- the Master for example living on through a ring. So it’s not obvious how a “3D-printer” could reproduce that, a problem that gets far worse if it’s possible to run off multiple copies just by providing power to the receiver.

    3. Just haven’t seen that used in the past. Seems an easier way to create an army of cybermen- rather than convert people, they could run one through the photocopier. Davros or the Master don’t appear to get restored from backup after getting “killed”, although that would explain their unkillability :). If multiple copies could be created, then they could certainly have one ready to go (or waiting in memory in case the original doesn’t check in) in the event of an unfortunate accident (and the Doctor could have a Clara backup ready to go too). So potentially, as a plot device, it really cheapens life and makes anyone resurrectable, so not something that I think is great to have lurking around.

    The only rationalisation I have is that maybe that receiver is somehow powered by the soul, rather the body. That at least resolves the issue of multiple copies being made, since you couldn’t run off a copy without the original soul, and may also resolve the niggle I had in watching, in that since the Doctor’s skull survives each iteration, there’s energy leaving the system each time, so the energy loop isn’t closed. The energy to create 200 billion skulls is going to add up. If the process is soul-powered, the “soul loop” is at least closed, and the system is getting energy from somewhere else.


    The impact was lessened for me by knowing that the Doctor wasn’t dying any more than any other time he used a teleport in the past. The only real effect was a bit of memory loss, which in the end was as a positive, since it meant the suffering didn’t mount up, and it kept him from going insane over the odd 2 million millennia.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @ichabod     I like your thinking here. It is of course necessary that the Doctor move on from Clara. We cannot have another situation as we had with Ten, endlessly in mourning for his lost companion, no one else ever measuring up. But we’ve been presented a Companion with a very special relationship to the Doctor, and it would be wrong for him to just “get over it”, especially given the manner of her departure. Your interpretation of this episode allows him to work through his grief in a manner suited to all she meant to him and the way he lost her (“I grieved for her for billions of years!”). And then, he can move on.

    @janetteb    That is very elegant. I suspect that when we have seen the complete series and can revisit it, we will find that it has been very tightly woven indeed.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @puroandson  I think the Doctor is the hybrid and not ‘me’ – that was pretty certain but in re-watching he speaks on the tower of how the hybrid, in legends, was a “storm which blew in on the wind” -much like The Oncoming Storm mentioned by Tennant et. al. ? So, possibly that might help to settle the question.

    “The hybrid will stand in the ruins of Gallifrey and destroy a billion hearts to heal his own.”  To heal *his* own.  I’m thinking its CapDoc, not Ashildr.  He is furious enough to destroy ten billion hearts and half crazed by the Confession Dial, so I think he’s our best bet, though hybrid of TL and what else, exactly, I can’t guess.  over to spoilers, I think.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @ericam  Did anyone else think it was incredibly sad that the doctor died like a million times.

    Yes, it was.  I guess you could think of it as an extreme distraction from being wrecked by Clara’s death . . . Also it’s Moffat getting him primed with anger for next time.  The Doctor is sensitive sometimes, but also very tough.  This is definitely the moment to put the pressure on, if you want him to even consider standing destroying “a billion hearts to heal his own.”  After all, Clara told him to heal himself, but not like that!

    And that doesn’t sound like the Valeyard to me, I must say, since that’s supposed to be all the worst of him rolled up into one.  This is about revenge against whoever set the Trap Street trap, which could be a small circle of top-rank TLs, not all of Gallifrey.  His rage is very focused, not (so far as I’m aware) a general lashing out at all and sundry.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @arbutus  Thanks!  I think it’s clever way to get an appropriate mourning period for Clara over very fast so the story can move on and conclude.  And Moffat is nothing if not clever . . .


    teddybear @teddybear

    (Hi, new here.)

    I read and enjoyed the whole thread so far. A few thoughts.

    Why didn’t he want to give his final confession and instead spent billions of years pecking through the diamond? It might not just be stubbornness/Type A personality. He said earlier that the confession needed to be true in order to work. Maybe the ‘confession’ he gave after getting through into Gallifrey, ‘it’s me’, wasn’t true. In any case, we don’t know that it *is* true, since the confession dial is no longer forcing him to tell the truth.

    However, if it is true, then I think he said ‘it’s Me.’ From a movie-making perspective, it makes a lot more sense that Moffet has made so big a deal, and spent so much time on, Ashildir’s name being ‘me’, if he is going to use it here, than if he isn’t.

    Regarding how much time passed – the 4 billion years passed, the stars were proof of that. He knew what planet he was on the whole time, from the stars. Why hadn’t 4 billion years passed on Gallifrey? While he was in the time dial, it was not on Gallifrey.  And because Gallifrey was in the pocket universe, in any moment in time in our universe, Gallifrey was still at the time in which it was sealed by the Doctor. So no matter when it was, in terms of our universe, that the Doctor broke through into Gallefrey’s pocket universe, it would have been the same moment on Gallifrey. If this is true, then the Doctor enters Gallifrey just moments after the council saw him seal it in with 12 tardis’.

    I think whoever sent him into the dial wanted the information on the hybrid, and he didn’t want them to have it. Which really makes me think that he either lied or was deliberately being obtuse when he told them who it was at the end (‘I think you can still hear me’). I don’t think the Time Lords put him in there, because if so he wouldn’t have needed the boy to tell the Time Lords he was coming, as he had just spoken into the dial that could still hear him, and he could say ‘and I’m coming’ or some such.

    I want to know: Who put him into the dial. Who made the dial. Why did the Doctor think it was his last will and testament. And how will Clara’s grandson be born.

    Serahni @serahni

    I just watched it again, and I still have too many feels!

    Anonymous @


    Son of Puro here. I don’t think it was a copy in the traditional sense. I also don’t think the ‘soul’ idea works here. The Doctor does not, thankfully, speak of souls. And he shouldn’t. He is not that kind of person.


    Interesting you brought that up. Just reading about half a page up someone (I think it was Mum) neatly said that the Doctor will not be interrogated. Everything is on his terms. Also, and this is obvious to me, if he tells them, of what use is he to them? They should just kill him like any other interrogatory, no? I think so. I think that is the easiest question, in my opinion. But, yes it could be seen as complicated. In reality why should he tell ‘them’ anything? I wouldn’t either. Not on anyone’s life -particularly my own.

    It’s a choice. It’s about fixity of purpose -that’s what mum was teaching me anyway. She could easily be wrong. It happens!

    Anonymous @

    @teddybear hello again: I think that the part about last will -is different to ours. To mum, it meant strength of will and a confessional. The actual machine, the dial is a confessional not a confession, you see? It’s hard but yes, I can get it -I think!


    @serahni hello and how are you! Yes, I am churning too. I didn’t cry though -Mum did. She cries during Buffy, Angel, the news, all doctor who episodes and the 7.30 Report.  🙂

    Anonymous @


    Oh yes, that was by the way a brilliant bit of theorising. Sorry, I hadn’t read that part . I was reading backwards. Very silly on my part. Ashildrs mum? Oh wow! That is medal worthy!


    Kharis @kharis

    I’m not going to read anything on the thread yet, because I’m not yet ready to hear anything but that the episode was perfection.  Perfection from beginning to end.

    So well written, designed and executed on every level.

    The music!

    This episode was a gallery of genius.


    Anonymous @

    @kharis hello this is son of Puro. I’m about to go to the bed but I think you will see a lot of outpourings of love for this on the site. I think there are some questions but they are easily answered?

    I agree, it was a metamorphosis of a performance (I don’t think I have the right word) but it was great. Really.


    Son of P

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @serahni  I love the pic, and I’m a fan of fan art, but (unless you are the artist yourself of course) I think we should attribute fan art, in the same way we attribute other art, so the author’s hard work is not lost in the maw of the internet.

    The piece you’ve posted is by http://mmmmmppppfffff.tumblr.com/

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @teddybear   Hello and welcome to the forum.

    The confession dial clearly isn’t a Last Will and Testament as we understand it, nor a straightforward confession. As far as I can make out from the clues we have been given, it is more like a complete and continuously updated record of the Doctor’s life as experienced in his conscious and unconscious mind: not like a diary or a memoir, which could be edited by the writer, but the whole of it – all the good and bad, including his fears and regrets. It would appear that all Time Lords have one, and perhaps it is in part a way of storing memories, because even a Time Lord’s brain is probably not big enough to retain all the memories of so many long, consecutive lives.

    What I suggested yesterday in my post #48206 seems to be more or less confirmed by Moffat and Peter Capaldi in a clip which is now up on the BBC Approved Spoilers thread.  What the Doctor is experiencing in this episode does not necessarily have any objective reality, because he is trapped inside the Confession Dial – not physically, but in a kind of virtual reality projected by the Dial and containing manifestations of his greatest fears and regrets. In a sense it is all in his mind. When he sees the Veil he says, ‘I know you, I’ve seen you before’, because for him it brings back the memory he subconsciously associates with death – the childhood memory of the body of a dead woman shrouded in veils and the flies around it.  For him, subjectively, everything seems real, and all the evidence he sees indicates the passage of 4 billion years as he gradually chips and wears away the wall of Azbantium (400 times harder than diamond).  Outside this virtual reality, though, in the real universe,  the time which has passed could have been no more than a few hours or days.

    It seems that the Time Lords were able somehow to contact Ashildr/Me and persuade her to trap the Doctor so that he could be brought, if not to Gallifrey itself, to a point where our universe touched the pocket universe to which it was transferred by the 13 Doctors in Day of the Doctor.  The Time Lords then seem to have tampered selectively with the Confession Dial to create a nightmare scenario designed to try and force the Doctor to face things that he had preferred to remain buried in his subconscious.

    The Time Lords may have had another motive, also. According to @Juniperfish ‘s suggestion, the wall represents the barrier between our universe and the pocket universe containing Gallifrey.  We know that the Time Lords want to return to  our universe (Time of the Doctor), so it makes sense that, having forced the Doctor to face and admit certain truths, such as his fear of death, they might be using his qualities of courage, determination and dogged persistence to break through that barrier, and what we saw was symbolic of that process.

    As for the final secret, the Hybrid, we are now led to believe that the real reason the Doctor left Gallifrey in the first place was to protect that secret from his fellow Time Lords because he was terrified of the implications. Since then he has been given little reason to trust them, so it makes sense that he would endure a subjective 4 billion year hell rather than give it to them willingly – at least not while he was still trapped.

    Now finally, when he has broken through onto Gallifrey, with the mental strength and clarity he has gained through his ordeal and the confrontation of his fears, perhaps he feels himself ready to present them with the truth and able to face them down.  Personally I don’t think when he said ‘The Hybrid is me’, he was referring to Ashildr/Me, because as far as I can make out in his complicated time-line, she wasn’t even born when he left Gallifrey. I turned the sub-titles on to check, and it was lower case ‘me’, not ‘Me’, but that could, of course, be a bit of misdirection, or simply a mistake on the part of the writers of the sub-titles, so Who Nose?



    Mersey @mersey

    I’ve been thinking how the Doctor knew in which time zone he was but he told us that at the beginning. He remained in the solar system because the nearest star is Alpha Centauri and it is at 4.37 ly and he was not more than a single light year from where he had been. Very clever. But if he was at the same time zone, it had to be Greenwich. So if his teleportation started at GMT at night and finished at GMT during the day it means that his teleportation took few hours or he did moved in time.

    who’s been playing about with the stars? They’re all in the wrong places, for this time zone, anyway. 

    I didn’t understand how’s that possible that the stars changed their positions. No one can move the stars except the expansion of the universe which of course is recognisible only with time. But Doctor didn’t recognise that the time flew differently for the universe and for him. I think after all that time he spent at the castle he should understand what was the pattern of the stars movement. But even that that was bloody brilliant. Doctor Who plus physics. The best thing ever! 🙂

    Nyssa @nyssa

    What an amazing episode!! Had to jump on the forums and see what everyone is theorizing 🙂 My thoughts? It was a trap to extract information about the hybrid but how far does the trap go ‘back’? Obviously Trap Street, then whoever set it needed to know Rigsy had the phone number in the first place > Rigsy’s relationship with Clara > Clara’s relationship with the Dr. > Missy who gave Clara the phone number to begin with. Mind spinning. Love it!

    tardigrade @tardigrade


    Son of Puro here. I don’t think it was a copy in the traditional sense. I also don’t think the ‘soul’ idea works here. The Doctor does not, thankfully, speak of souls. And he shouldn’t. He is not that kind of person.

    It is the Doctor himself who compared the process to a 3D printer “Just like a 3D printer really…. There’s a copy of me still in the hard drive… All you have to do is add energy”, so it’s hard to get away from the traditional copy comparison IMO. And he runs off billions of copies of himself, so it does seem like you could use it to create perfect copies of people by pumping in energy, which is very problematical if it’s used as a regular plot device. One Doctor in, billions out- circumstances mean that all but one perish, but unless there’s some reason that has to be the case, it creates issues.

    I wasn’t meaning a soul in the religious immortal soul sense (even if the Doctor does ponder if he is in hell during this episode, albeit probably not seriously) but more in the sense of a life-force. We’ve seen the Master survive having his body burned and hence brain destroyed and coming back from that state, memory intact, through having a part of him survive in a ring (and if we go back far enough there’s precedent of the Master having his consiousness inhabit another body).  So it does seem that a TL consciousness is not simply a product of the brain.

    tardigrade @tardigrade


    I didn’t understand how’s that possible that the stars changed their positions. No one can move the stars except the expansion of the universe which of course is recognisible only with time.

    The stars within a galaxy move relative to one another as the galaxy rotates, so over tens of thousands of years the constellations do change. Over billions of years stars will be born and die, so the sky will change constantly, if slowly, and in principle that could be used to determine a time offset.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @mersey   When the Doctor said ‘Who’s been playing about with the stars?’  it wasn’t the first time that he had cycled through the whole experience, from his emerging from the transporter to the Veil catching up with him at the wall, he just didn’t realise it immediately As with the rooms of the castle, his experience was reset to the beginning of the sequence each time, so he remembered nothing of the previous cycle and had to work things out afresh each time, making infinitesimal progress over the course of subjective millennia.

    In fact we jumped into the story when this process had already been going on for some 7000 years within his Dial generated hell – time enough for the stars to have shifted perceptibly and a considerable pile of skulls to have accumulated in the Lake.  The environment may not have been objectively real, but it was designed to register realistic and internally consistent evidence of the passage of time in a way which he would notice.

    Frobisher @frobisher

    re. The teleporter / potential multiple copies of the Doctor

    My understanding/rationalisation of this scenario is that during a “standard” teleportation the object that is teleported is broken down into a packet of (incredibly complex) data by the teleporter at the departure point, transmitted to the desired destination point, and re-constructed there by the counterpart teleporter. In the process of physical reconstruction the data is deleted/lost/used up. This would normally mean that is impossible to “photo-copy” a teleported object multiple times, as the transmitted data can only be accessed and used once.

    However, in the special case of this castle, the room in which the receiving transmitter sits “magically” resets after it is vacated. The Doctor’s teleportation data is used up when he arrives in the teleporter, but once he has left the room to play hide and seek, go swimming, do the gardening, etc. the room (and, crucially, the teleporter) reset to the state they were before the Doctor’s arrival. The Doctor’s data is at that point back in the teleporter memory cache, waiting to be downloaded and the Doctor “printed”. There is potential for there to be multiple Doctors in this scenario, but the safeguard for this is that the teleporter needs energy to function – and the room has no source of energy available. The machine can only create a new Doctor if the old Doctor destroys himself as fuel.

    While immeasurably calculating and cruel, it does seem like someone has devised the scenario in such a way that the Doctor always has “another life”, should he choose to use it, but at the same time ensured that there can be no paradoxical multiple 12th Doctor occurrences. Very Time Lord-y, imo.

    Anyway, on to more important matters; the episode itself. Wow. Just wow. Put me down on the “absolutely loved it” list. Jaw droppingly brave and inventive, utterly terrifying and horrific (how many times did the Doctor have to crawl for a day and a half, bleeding and dying, up to a room in which he planned to electrocute himself to death, leaving nothing but dust and bone?), and pretty much the best thing I’ve seen on TV all year.

    The only things I could nitpick on (because nothing is perfect, after all!) are:

    * The jaws staying attached to the skulls. Seems unlikely. Also, incredibly minor and inconsequential.

    * How do the rooms “magically” reset? Is this a timey wimey, time loop thing? Any theories on that?

    Bring on the next episode!

    PS: For what it’s worth, I don’t think any significant time has elapsed in our universe during this episode. The Confession Dial is almost a pocket universe of it’s own, mirroring ours in some ways, but running independent of it. The Doctor has not aged that much either (just however long each copy of the Doctor was active for – a few days?). However, he will now have a sore hand, as he has punched the pseudo-diamond wall at least once. That’s gotta hurt!

    Rob @rob

    Each cycle was a repeat of the last, so where did the spare clothes come from ( different jackets remember [me])

    Trap Street to trapped. The Timelords or maybe a specific Timelord called Missy who was trapped on Gallifrey and definitely a hybrid. Missy also had her sticky little  mits on the Doctors Last Confession earlier in the series, so could easily have set up the inquisition.

    Perhaps Missy got her extra regenerations for services to Galifrey by getting the Doctor to return?


    RorySmith @rorysmith

    The missing scene in this episode is of the dead Clara lying in the street and Me holding her key to the Tardis. Obviously Missy has a plan here and we all know it. My silly question is why has the Tardis seemingly never objected to the Master stealing her away? No good ever came of it.

    RorySmith @rorysmith


    my thoughts too

    Mersey @mersey


    Yes, that right. At the beginning we don’t know what is wrong with the stars and we assume that there was some external interference. But in the end we find out that everything was fine with them. They changed their positions with the expansion of the universe. So every copy of the Doctor knew how the sky looked on Saturday 28 of November 2015 and how it differs from that scheme x years later. And he actually recognised that acknowledging that this is how the sky should look x years later. But he didn’t believe that’s true and didn’t understand how’s that possible. But he confirmed the authenticity of this world by admitting that he didn’t move more than a single light year from where he had been and he was at the same time zone. But it’s rubbish! The only star in the vicinity which can provide the light is the sun and the only place you can be at GMT is GMT zone. So he thought the sun works correctly but the stars don’t. But it doesn’t matter if the stars don’t work correctly if you are in an artificial world made exactly for you. I don’t know if this universe was true or it was a projection or a dial world. I like the notion that the stars are our ultimate guides and only them showed the Doctor the truth. The whole episode was beutifully made.

    And one more thing. Oil painting doesn’t crack like that. The cracks are too big and have white edges. And no oil painting on linen canvas (I presume it was something like than) can survive even 7000 years.


    Frobisher @frobisher

    I’ve seen a few people talk about the “time zone” line relating to GMT. I doubt the Doctor holds the way in which we mayflies choose to define when we should get up, go to work, go to bed, etc in that high regard. I would have thought that, when mentioning a “time zone”, a Time Lord is not referring to GMT, CET, ACST, EST, PST, etc. Instead, I believe there must be some sort of time zone on a more galactic level that 12 is referencing. Just the impression I got.



    Quite. Our times zones are two dimensional – essentially segments on a sphere.

    The Doctor can see fixed points; it’s “how he sees the World” (Fire of Pompeii, iirc). I think there are more than the standard four dimensions in his …er… World view.

    Mersey @mersey

    I think it can still be GMT. Doctor was teleported into his confession dial and at the time of the teleportation the dial was in London. So for the Doctor it was always the same time zone.

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    Wow, I go away for a day and a half and there’s 3 new pages to read. I see many new faces here so welcome to all newbies.

    I’ve been thinking and I think I might understand the seeming discrepancy in rooms returning to the original state. The two that don’t return are the teleport room and the exit room. In reference to the latter, I don’t see it as part of the rest of the building. It has the exit and the non-diamond wall is technically outside. Therefore it is not governed by the rules of the confession dial and any impact made remains. The teleport room I think does return to its original state, it’s just that nothing is changed from it. All changes are just CapDoc disintegrating and the skull remaining, still attached to the machine. The lever always returns to its original spot. The wires don’t because they’re still technically in use until they’re removed from the skull. The dust never leaves, the skulls never leave, so everything being used by one of those two cannot be reverted.

    Ozitenor @ozitenor

    Firstly, it’s good to be back commenting on here. It’s been a while as I have been completely out of action with a number of illnesses (minor enough) that cost me over a month out of my life. Tomorrow starts a concert tour for me (ozi-tenoring) so hoping that this absolutely mindbogglingly brilliant episode gives me the ju-ju to finally feel healthy again.

    Here are my unsolicited and possibly otiose (and certainly verbose) thoughts:

    1. After CapDoc first teleports into the dial, his first information is the teleport machine and the dust on the floor which he lets fall through his fingers. We know/assume the Doctor is brilliant and always many steps ahead in how he solves problems/puzzles and arrives at correct conclusions. So very importantly I think the first thing he learns is what the machine is capable of, both with respect to teleporting him in the first place and possibly being energized to download him again back to his point of first entry. I really think when he feels the dust in that first scene he can tell what it is – that it is residue from somebody being used as an energy source for the teleport. I know he doesn’t expose this out aloud, but I am convinced he must have worked this out either in that moment or after his first time being killed and crawling back to the room;

    2. We have been explained in this episode (and I think a few times over the course of Who) that if a TL body is so severely damaged it is unable to regenerate. We now have the new information that it takes 10 days to 2 weeks for the body to completely perish (and why Time Lord’s hate to die outside of Gallifrey and risk being buried half-alive). We know the Veil perishes after it achieves it purpose of killing CapDoc. So, it seems to me that the first time through the castle CapDoc probably died in that first corridor. He has a couple of weeks to crawl back into the teleport room and assess the information of the dust and the machine and calculate that he can use the vast energy left in his TL body to power a reboot of the teleport.

    3. Each time through the castle, he gets a little bit further, dies, and has 2 weeks to crawl back; and of course comes to the same conclusions about how to reboot. A causal determinism notion of free will applies here – that given the exact same conditions and mind, CapDoc will do the exact same thing each time, but each time he leaves for himself a clue that provides slightly new conditions allowing him to progress just that bit further along.

    4. Room resets: My understanding was that the rooms reset only when the clockwork mechanics of the castle shift to a new position. It doesn’t reset when he reboots himself. Why is this important? — because he can leave himself clues for his next run-through so long as he does this after the last time the castle has shifted. My impression was that after a couple of castle shifts (and confessions) he has determined the routes through the castle to avoid the Veil and avoid further castle shifts and room resets. It is in this time frame that he leaves the clues for his next iteration. That is why the spade is there in the first corridor, the arrows on the floor, the clothes by the fire etc…

    5. Grave: I was trying to think why CapDoc leaves the most important clue 10 feet underground. I think it is because he discovers the only way to keep the clue in existence following a reset is to dig below the level of the reset of the garden. It must be that only a certain depth of topsoil resets.

    6. Clothes: Why the extra clothes? – because one of his failed attempts through the castle ended just after he hung his clothes by the fire to dry. Presumably he died in his undergarments and then crawled back to the teleport room in that state. After a reboot, there are now 2 outfits for him.

    7. The sountrack! Wow!

    8. Why does a confession in one instance stop the Veil completely frozen, and other times just slow him down and hesitate? – I think the first confession was entirely honest, and therefore froze him, and the other confessions were almost but not entirely true, and therefore were slightly less effective, although still enabled him to escape.

    9. Souls: There has been some discussion about this, and recent seasons have heavily delved into this topic, as well as topics of afterlife etc. I think it is fair to conclude that whatever the nature of a soul is in the Whoniverse, it is not a supernatural thing (i.e. non material). I think this universe is one of materialism, and whatever a soul is, it has physical properties. We literally see TL regeneration energy flowing in and out of TLs. So, I think the notion of a soul in the Whoniverse is that it has physical properties that are measurable and that interact with the real world. In this way, any issue with teleportation, regeneration etc. and what happens to the soul is answered – it is part of the physical information that is copied, downloaded, generated etc. This reminds me of a wonderful quote which I forget who first said: That when god(s) reach their hand into our universe they pull it out dripping with physics.

    10. I am a little confused as to why CapDoc says “of course, the final piece of the puzzle has to be the TARDIS” (paraphrasing) after he sees the diamond wall and the word “home”. Because there is no TARDIS nor any image of the TARDIS. All I can see (and presumably CapDoc can see) is a white light and a rectangular doorway on the other side of the diamond (I know it’s not diamond, but for the same of simplicity, I will just call it diamond). Did he misinterpret the word ‘home’? .. I think probably he recognizes the white light as being the same core element of the TARDIS (eye of harmony?/Heart of TARDIS?) and assumed it was a TARDIS gateway of sorts, maybe not *his* TARDIS but TARDIS technology of sorts. And I think the end of episode bears this out.

    I have lots of other thoughts and observations but this post is WAY too long already. So I will stop here. Maybe I will put them in another post later on. I can’t wait till next week. This season has been phenomenal and this episode truly was a masterpiece of writing, acting, storytelling, directing and cinematography. It challenges us to think, it challenges us emotionally, it is both horrifying and redeeming. Final thought, one for “the feels”: my oldest son (who is 7) adores the show. We watch religiously (even old episodes, mostly of 4) and during the great sequence at the end when CapDoc dies over and over again pecking away at the diamond, although my son said nothing nor made a whimper, I turned to look at his face and a single furtive tear was falling from his eye. Seeing this kind of empathy from my boys fulfill me more than I imagined it ever could. Una furtiva lagrima.

    geoffers @geoffers


    brilliant post! helps clear up a lot of niggles in my mind…

    10. I am a little confused as to why CapDoc says “of course, the final piece of the puzzle has to be the TARDIS” (paraphrasing) after he sees the diamond wall and the word “home”. Because there is no TARDIS nor any image of the TARDIS.

    there is a pulsing light behind the wall, as happens when the tardis materializes/dematerializes, and the tardis really is more “home” for the doctor, now, than gallifrey. whomever set up the trap, knew to entice the doctor with his tardis. and so the doctor (wrongly) assumes that he will break through to her… i think?! 🙂

    geoffers @geoffers


    5. Grave: I was trying to think why CapDoc leaves the most important clue 10 feet underground. I think it is because he discovers the only way to keep the clue in existence following a reset is to dig below the level of the reset of the garden. It must be that only a certain depth of topsoil resets.

    so, for thousands of deaths, he had found room 12, but hadn’t gotten an idea of how to get though the wall? (he would still always refuse to give them the final confession they seek, of course.) otherwise, how could he have known to put a reminder beneath the soil? is putting it in a grave a way to remind himself that he must continue to die in order to give himself enough time to succeed in getting out?

    geoffers @geoffers


    there is a pulsing light behind the wall, as happens when the tardis materializes/dematerializes,

    sorry, the pulsing light isn’t quite that strong. more reminiscent of the console when it’s in use, perhaps? still, i think there is a vaguely tardisy shape around the core of the light? (the telephone booth shape of his own tardis, of course.) i might just be seeing things, though…

    Akhaten @akhaten

    So after rewatching the episodes a couple more times,  here are some observations I had.

    1 – The writing of the ‘bird’ Message. After finally watching the part where they show him doing the same thing over and over for 2 billion plus years, i finally noticed the story that he was telling about the bird, shepherd’s boy and the emperor. Here’s the story according to the lines spoken by the 12th Doctor. “So do you want me to tell you a story? The Brothers Grimm, lovely fellas. According to them, there’s this emperor and he asks this shepherd’s boy… “How many seconds in eternity?” And the shepherd’s boy says “There’s this mountain of pure diamond. It takes an hour to climb it, and an hour to go around it! Every hundred years, a little bird comes and sharpens its beak on the diamond mountain And when the entire mountain is chiselled away, the first second of eternity will have passed!’ You must think that’s a hell of a long time. Personally, I think that’s a hell of a bird. ‘

    (Found the transcript online) So the whole bird message finally makes sense to me!!

    2 – When he tells the little kid to tell someone important in the city that he “came the long way round”, that’s exactly what the 11th doctor (Matt Smith), said in the 50th Anniversary episode. ‘My journey is the same as yours, the same as anyone’s. It’s taken me so many years, so many lifetimes, but at last I know where I’m going, where I’ve always been going. Home…the long way round.’

    So what do you guys think about that neat connection!


    3 – What is the time period in the end after he gets out? Is it before the time war or is it after they hid Gallifrey? I want to lean towards before the time war because of the so called ‘prophecy’ but what are your thoughts on this?

    Akhaten @akhaten

    Also I think the hybrid is Ashldyr, as the hybrid is a creature thought to be crossbred from two warriors, Ashildyr was a viking who are warriors, and then whatever the alien race was that was a fake Odin, they were warriors?

    Serahni @serahni

    @juniperfish  THANK YOU.  A friend sent me that painting and I’ve been searching for the artist but wasn’t sure where to start.  I absolutely agree and was at the point of asking it to be removed if I couldn’t find who created it, thanks for your help!

    @puroandson   Hello!  I also didn’t cry, I was too shell-shocked for that.  I am still staggered by how well this episode was carried by Capaldi, by himself with very little support for the whole time.  After sort of side-lining him a bit last series, I’m so glad he was given this opportunity.

    aclevername @aclevername

    Wow!! What an episode!

    You all miss nothing. Thank you so muvh for sharing all your thoughts and theories. I watched this with my 7 year old. The scene when the Veil comes up through the ground totally freaked him out.

    I love the me/Me question. Which did he mean?  I think Me is a red herring but I also think I could be wrong ☺

    I have a few questions. I’ve read mention of the Valeyard and The Nightmare Child. Are these things from Classic Who?  Also the prophecy concerning the Hybrid?  Does this originate in Classic Who or from this season with his talk with Davros?

    Thanks for any answers and for your patience with a newbie.

    TheTardisCoatrack @thetardiscoatrack

    Maybe “me” and “Me” are both right (in a sense).  Maybe Ashildr is his mother.  By the way, I loved the episode.  And I love playing the long game.

    Whisht @whisht

    @mersey – you may be the first person to ever say that that Clara ain’t no oil painting.


    @ozitenor – blimey! What a post! I for one would love to hear more (but you’ve set your own bar high!).

    @arbutus – at the risk of sounding gushing, your comment to Bluesqueakpip is just ace. Honestly. And Blue’s reasoning and general squeakness as ever deserves it.
    [I know this all sounds a bit back-slappy but I think it was &son who reminded me that saying nice things to people doesn’t happen often enough. And he’s a smart bloke.]

    Mersey @mersey


    Oh, I dream about the day when I ‘ll be the one who’ll tell the others something new and interesting and amazing and true but I’m afraid that day has not yet come.

    This painting looks like a mix of an old poster and an old carpet.

    Anonymous @


    you are so right! I watched it again with mum and the Doctor said ‘copies’ -I wonder what that means for Who. I see about the souls too. You meant ‘people/souls’. Golly, the internet!

    I have sport today but a late start. Mum wants me to read all these posts aloud. Whoa! Lots to do

    You are very smart tardigrade. Awesome theories. And yes, I agree it would be a problematic plot thingy.

    From son of Puro

    Mersey @mersey

    Oh, and I forgot, I relisten the episode and I want to say that I love Murray Gold. There’s no Doctor Who without him but… Beethoven is Beethoven. This is one of the most beautiful episodes of the modern era. It’s both visually and musically very, very moving. I know that I’m  echoing your opinions but what else I can say.

    Anonymous @

    @mersey the score was down to ben Foster, mainly -which was great -giving the reins to him, helped and yet Gold is mentioned in Copyright and head writer terms.

    Beethoven was used quite a bit but so was Star Spangled Banner and a couple of American pieces by one Davies of the Quakers? No, that’s not right. Will haul out of bed and check my collection…Also. some lizst was creeping along too.

    Anonymous @


    no luck there: threw out my Davies CD last year. Hadn’t listened to it in 2 years. he’s not a quaker. He was writing on behalf of a similar group, which, dang, my memory, I can’t recall.

    Ignore this post!

    Mersey @mersey


    Thank you for that information. I actually checked the credits because I wanted to know if they listed Beethoven and Ben Foster’s name wasn’t very conspicuous. I mentioned Beethoven because it was main Doctor’s theme, it fitted perfectly and it sounded in my ears long after I finished watching. I didn’t recognised Liszt though.

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