Heaven Sent

Home Forums Episodes The Twelfth Doctor Heaven Sent

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  • #48526
    Anonymous @

    @mudlark

    Thanks mudlark, and thanks for the warm welcome.

    I’m one-and-a-bit feet in the physical container camp, but until I grasp everything I’m definitely open to being convinced otherwise. The fact that it’s Time Lord technology makes its physical nature feasible, and an unphysical interpretation leads to a lot of physical metaphors for unphysical things (the stars, clockwork, erosion, gravity, combustion, etc.) that are so vital for the plot.

    I’m with you on the personal nature of the confession dial. It’s certainly his confession, they’re all his skulls, its his nightmares and regrets… It’s his dial, meant only for him (like in Kafka’s Before the Law, but then again that was not a physical place either). But the idea that HOME is a subliminal message to himself doesn’t sit right with me. All of the other messages he leaves himself are physical: HOME is the only one that stands out. Even an unphysical interpretation begs the question of why just that one clue was of such a different nature.

    One possibile physical explanation is that the message was there all the time, but it just caught the light for a moment. But that’s not very satisfactory either. I hope that this one question, more than anything else in the episode, has an explanation that we haven’t seen yet.

    Thanks again 🙂

    #48527
    jphamlore @jphamlore

    As I have remarked on another forum, there is already a major science fiction franchise whose premise is that leadership should be determined by a genetic lottery, Star Wars.  I like the current situation where the Doctor and Missy are the only Time Lords left in this universe.  I am really hoping the hybrid is not by DNA but by spirit, mind, shared experiences.  In particular I hope the Doctor is a Time Lord / human hybrid by his experiences with humans, in particular, his relationship with Clara Oswald.

    #48528
    tommo @tommo

    @brewski – love that link you make from the mind palace revelations into the 4th wall breaking that has been occuring throughout the series.

    i too am looking forward to watching the series in a secondary order if it turns out to be the case that there is a parallel thread concurrently running.

    wow – quantum writing. (moffat rules)

    #48529
    Mirime @mirime

    @mudlark could be one of those running away from destiny causes it to happen things? And he did recognise Ashildr.

    Not that I’m convinced it is Ashildr, I think Clara is still more likely – though I’m not convinced of that either.

    #48530
    Mirime @mirime

    And he’s lying when he says it’s him, isn’t he? He couldn’t lie when he was in the confession dial, but he can now he’s out. Is he trying to protect the hybrid and/or Gallifray?

    #48531
    Mudlark @mudlark

     

    @Morpho

    an unphysical interpretation leads to a lot of physical metaphors for unphysical things (the stars, clockwork, erosion, gravity, combustion, etc.) that are so vital for the plot.

    True, but then it is highly likely that a technology so advanced that it could create a space/time vehicle which is bigger on the inside – seemingly almost infinite, in fact – would be capable of creating the technology to generate a completely realistic, internally consistent and fully immersive virtual reality, right down to the shifting star patterns and everything else.

    As for the clockwork images, it is those as much as anything which make me think that some of what we were seeing was pure metaphor or symbol.  Things are not always what they seem in the whoniverse  😉

    As you say, though, there is a strong possibility that what is actually happening is different, and possibly even more bonkers, than the most bonkers of theories any of us has come with so far 🙂

    #48532
    Anonymous @

    @mudlark

    Haha! Well, I’m sure you guys are up to the challenge. I might even have a little go myself when I’m feeling brave. 😀

    #48534
    nerys @nerys

    @morpho

    does anyone have any insight into how and why the word HOME appearing briefly in the azbantium wall?

    @geoffers made an excellent observation about that earlier in this thread; initially the Doctor thinks it means his TARDIS, but once he’s through he realizes it points to Gallifrey:

    when the doctor reaches the wall (and the word “home” is there, then disappears) for the first time (our viewpoint), he clearly thinks that it’s the TARDIS waiting for him on the other side. his “home… away from home,” so to speak. he doesn’t realize he’s broken through to gallifrey until he’s on the other side. he looks around, sees the city, and then the boy runs up behind him…

    #48536
    ichabod @ichabod

    @countscarlioni  on the hybrid: It appears the Doctor truly believes he is the hybrid, but that does not necessarily mean that he’s right. Or perhaps there can be more than one hybrid. It might not be either/or.

    Excellent point — he’s been wrong before, after all.

    @jphamlore  Not only that but for just this one episode, that the Doctor’s pockets are bigger on the inside than the outside seems to have been completely forgotten

    Maybe for this episode his pockets have been sewn shut.  Seriously though, this episode doesn’t need the kind of coherence people normally look for.  It’s either designed by Missy (and swapped for the real Dial), or set up by the Doctor and tampered with to work the way it does.  So details are less important than making sure that the basic elements are in place and functional to serve the exact purpose, which is clearly *not* being his Will, as he apparently had prepared it to be.  For one thing, it operates at full bore, and then releases him alive on Gallifrey — whereas Missy described it as something that would only open after his death.  Of course, that’s Missy talking . . .

    @tardigrade  A major point of the dial was to keep him occupied for geological ages, and by giving him something to rail against, they could guarantee that. I don’t think he “beat” the confession dial- he simply did exactly what was anticipated of him.

    Only if the passage of time was objective; it’s not, IMO, but purely subjective instead.  He breaks through the diamond wall and emerges unaged, unmarked and unbloodied, except of course mentally scourged to death and beyond.  I’m betting smoke and mirrors, + his own precarious mental balance immediately following Clara’s death. Someone arranged for him one Hell of a psychotic break, which he embraced for his own purposes — expiation and the discharge of what would otherwise have been a potentially paralyzing wall a grief he might never have been able to punch through.  (well, not for a long time — this is the Doctor, and time is something he has oodles of.)

    Of course, a bonkers idea is that he set this up for himself somehow, to get past all that and clear his mind for the execution of a supernova of revenge . . .

    @mirime  I now get the missing flagstone and where it went

    Whoah!  Enlighten, please — I haven’t a clue, myself.

    #48537
    Anonymous @

    @nerys

    Yeah, I saw that, but thanks! I actually forgot the first time that he thought the Tardis was on the other side of the azbantium. It would be an odd line to put in there for no reason, and the Doctor is alone with no-one to lie to, so I’m quite sure he had no idea he was on Gallifrey, even if he did suspect the Time Lords behind his imprisonment. Played it pretty cool when he found himself on his home planet, given the anguish he experienced in Death in Heaven over not finding it.

    But I was more asking what the sign was and how it worked. If it’s not real, like mudlark says, that sort of makes sense. I’m starting to suspect that someone else might be on Gallifrey helping him, maybe flashed the word through the azbantium face of the dial and scarpered, but that has problems of coincidence.

    @ichabod

    He buried it in the garden with I AM IN 12 written on it, didn’t he? As you do. XD

    P.S. Gutted I made such a bad typo on my first proper post. Appeared, not appearing. 🙁

    #48539
    gamergirlavatar @gamergirlavatar

    This was another great episode of the best season yet. The story was wonderful and very emotional when you think about all the time The Doctor spent entering the same place to hit his way through too his home planet. The music and lighting pulled this episode together and add the cold feel of the setting. Seeing into The Doctors mind was great for the story (similar to seeing into Sherlock’s mind). Seeing Clara in The Doctors mind was good for this episode and I’m glad that The 12th Doctor isn’t sad and moping, instead he’s angry. The Doctors anger has made it fine for a dead companion too still be part of the show but I don’t want Clara to be over staying in death.

    #48540
    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Well, a bit late to the party…honestly, I go away for a few days, and not only is there an amazing episode, but there are eight pages of comments!

    Well, let’s forget the comments for the moment. I’ll get to them later. Yes, it was a great episode. And very, very, Moffat. The mind palace, the the story within the story, the dialogue with the dead. All great stuff.

    As my mind tends to work, I kept seeing influences. A few were: 2001, especially the final sequences of Bowman in the bedroom; Sherlock, well, pretty obviously the mind palace sequences; but most of all Cabin in the Woods, pretty much the whole set up, and especially the interlocking wheels and the attendant sound.

    OK, off to read the eight pages of comments–yikes! And maybe a glass of wine. No…definitely a glass of wine. Or two. Or…

     

    #48541
    ichabod @ichabod

    @morpho  He buried it in the garden with I AM IN 12 written on it, didn’t he? As you do. XD

    Must remember that next time . . . !  Thanks — I didn’t catch that the thing buried in the garden was a stone thing, thought if was a coffin top or something else wooden.  As is not uncommon, expectation obscured reality.

    @blenkinsopthebrave  OK, off to read the eight pages of comments–yikes! And maybe a glass of wine. No…definitely a glass of wine. Or two. Or…

    Too late, blenks — I drank it all, during a re-watch . . . self-medication, you know.

    #48542
    ichabod @ichabod

    As to “HOME”, I’m not worried about it since I see the whole event as subjective, so when his subconscious says it’s time, it supplies the final bit of motivation with a word that suddenly appears on the wall and then fades out.  I don’t see any other way that can work, actually — I have my doubts that super-diamond is something that could be “programmed” to do that, but the mind can do whatever it wants to with its own creations.

    Wasn’t the Dial partially open when we saw it in Missy’s hands?  Which indicates that it’s not the original one prepared by the Doctor, since the thing is only supposed to open when he’s dead — and he’s not dead during tWF.  He’s at a party.  So the thing shouldn’t actually ever be seen even partially open, as the Doctor only “dies” while he’s inside it, in Heaven Sent.

    #48543
    Mersey @mersey

    @jphamlore

    I made four attempts to watch Andriej Tarkowski’s Solaris and I failed every time. I can’t agree with his vision of the future.

    #48544
    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

     

    After walking around the pool a bit suspiciously, dipping my toe then arm into the water, I’ve decided to, mixing my metaphors, embrace fully the `Ashildr/Me’ as supervillain (or at least superpower) theory and key driver of the next episode. Missy introduced her to the Time Lords and has helped Ashildr/Lady Me move up and down her timeline, but Ashildr/Me is now the architect of events.

    The last five minutes of The Girl Who Died' seems to me the most important part of the series to date, with the Doctor deciding he saves people but also realizing the risk in reviving Ashildr (the ripple that might become a tidal wave), hence the surveillance room in the Tardis dedicated to following Me (as Clara explained to the Mayor inFace the Raven’). Lady Me had decided in `The Woman Who Lived’ that Clara was the Doctor’s weakness and it was Clara who received the call from Rigsy that led to the trap in Face the Raven. Me is clearly obsessed with the Doctor, and why wouldn’t she be?

    A central feature of the `dramatic flow’ of the series has been to show Me growing in force from the simple storytelling Ashildr to an increasingly formidable figure in the subsequent episodes in which she’s appeared and with the final episode of the series, she becomes a full-blown supervillain/superpower.

    Of course, this bonkers theory is overwhelmingly likely not to survive the first five minutes of the episode (or the next posting on the forum!!), but this my best shot….

     

     

    #48545
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @ichabod

    He breaks through the diamond wall and emerges unaged, unmarked and unbloodied, except of course mentally scourged to death and beyond

    Whether the objective passage of time was billions of years or much shorter doesn’t change that, since he was “reset” to his original state and experienced less than a day before getting through the wall. I don’t see he can have any memory of all the iterations, just his own inference that they have occurred. So while obviously a troubling experience, he doesn’t have the experiential memory of all the suffering – he might not even fully realise how things would go down if he doesn’t get through the wall and the Veil catches up to him – so I don’t buy into it inducing deep psychological scarring in someone who has experienced as much as the Doctor. Hence I don’t think that was its purpose (or at least major purpose).

    Of course, a bonkers idea is that he set this up for himself somehow, to get past all that and clear his mind for the execution of a supernova of revenge . . .

    I don’t think it’s altogether bonkers to think that he set it up for himself. After all he did create the confession dial originally and he’d certainly know how to push his own buttons. And there is precedent for him setting a task for himself and wiping his own memory during his incursion into the vault of Karabraxis. Somehow I don’t think it would purely be for revenge though- though I’m aware that this episode is entitled “Heaven Sent” to set up the next one to be called “Hell Bent” 🙂

    #48546
    Anonymous @

    @ichabod

    The HOME problem in the literal interpretation might lend some weight to a subjective interpretation like you say, although I’m not there yet in seeing how that falls into place either.

    I took my own advice and rewatched it again, and discovered new things. Originally I thought room 12 was not an exit, but some sort of outer shell that any designer would reasonably think was unbreakable, not factoring in how extreme and stubborn the Doctor can be. But in third viewing I noticed he said “Just one confession away” suggesting it really was an intended exit but he just needed to confess and make the castle rotate the wall out of the way. This means that HOME might well be an intended design feature, so a literal interpretation might be back on the cards.

    As for it disappearing, I think this might just be a continuity fail. The Doctor takes off the sonic glasses in the shot before. I think it was meant to convey that the message can only be seen with them, another reminder that this castle was built specifically for him, indeed specifically for him at that stage in his life. Me, for instance, is very familiar with the sonic sunglasses.

    #48547
    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @ichabod

    The recuprative power of wine has alerted me to The Prisoner and The Avengers. Who knows what more wine will reveal?

     

    #48548
    Mark of the Rani @markoftherani

    <div class=”bbp-reply-author”><span class=”useratname”>@countscarlioni    Agree that</span> The Girl Who Died is clearly significant in an number of ways as you say. But in reference to the Hybrid: what about that episode’s emphasis on the power of stories. The Doctor says the Hybrid is a “myth” — so presumably a story?</div>
    <div class=”bbp-reply-author”></div>

    #48549
    lisa @lisa

    @Morpho

    The fact that the Dial was to me basically a software program  I’m therefore looking

    at ‘home’ as meaning homepage just like on your computer.  It helps me to

    think of it this way.     BTW,  I’ve spoken English all my life but still cant write

    properly in it so I wouldn’t get very upset over a single (or more) typos          😉

     

    @countscarlioni

    I cant see Me as the architect,   She may be villainess but it seems to me

    that whatever issues she has with the Doctor  its still  suspicious that in

    pursuit of  personal revenge she would inventsuch a very sophisticated

    trap on behalf of another party?

    It just seems weird to me.

     

     

    #48552
    jphamlore @jphamlore

    So if it is acceptable for theorizing for the Doctor to use “me” to refer to “Me” and thus Ashildr as a possible candidate for the hybrid, would it be equally acceptable to say when the hybrid is supposed to “conquer Gallifrey and stand in its ruins,” perhaps we misheard the Doctor and it should be “its runes.” As in Viking runes, Ashildr being a Viking. And even more, perhaps we should have heard “con her Gallifrey” instead of “conquer Gallifrey”. So perhaps the real prophecy is Ashildr is supposed to “con her Gallifrey and stand in its runes.” 🙂

    From this I deduce poor Ashildr with her limited memory retained as her basic skills the Viking runes and how to con people at the shell game. Because unlike the Doctor, Ashildr will never find herself without money no matter where she is.  🙂

     

    #48553
    nerys @nerys

    To completely change the subject (this has absolutely nothing to do with bonkerizing): Did anyone else think Peter Capaldi looked younger in this episode than … well, practically any other Season 8 or 9 Doctor Who episode we’ve seen him in? I think it had to do with the golden glow of the lighting. Somehow his face just didn’t seem as pale or as lined. Odd, too, considering the time trap in which he found himself.

    Also, this opening monologue (which we briefly saw on the wall of the castle) just floored me with its depth:

    “As you come into this world,

    something else is also born.

    You begin your life

    and it begins a journey.

    Towards you.

    It moves slowly, but it never stops.

    Wherever you go, whatever path you take, it will follow.

    Never faster, never slower, always coming.

    You will run. It will walk.

    You will rest. It will not.

    One day, you will linger in the same place too long.

    You will sit too still or sleep too deep and when, too late, you rise to go, you will notice a second shadow next to yours.

    Your life will then be over.”

    #48554
    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @lisa

    Sorry if bits of  this is preaching in large parts to the choir ande been aired on this sites lots of times before, but anyway….It seems to me that in BG Who, there was a strong emphasis on tight stories. In AG Who, there is far less concern for tight stories and much more emphasis on the dramatic flourish or the `thing’ (I wish I’d come up with this independently, but it’s from a commentary discussion by Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks on a BG story,  but I think they’re right).  I’ve come to think this is particularly true for SM and that he just does not sweat what seem to him to be relatively minor plot points or even sometimes quite big ones.

    What has this series been about to a large degree? Ashildr/Lady Me/Mayor. What’s her `dramatic trajectory’? From the innocent storyteller it’s been onwards (endlessly onwards) and upwards. As I read the dramatic trajectory, it’ll be the Doctor vs Ashildr/Me for what exact reasons I’ve no clue.

    So this is an attempt (very likely doomed!) to come at the final episode from a different place, not worry about tight story logic, and to see the `big picture’ and ignore the smaller stuff as SM won’t dot all of his i’s and cross all of his t’s anyway. That’s what we do for him in the week after the episode.

     

    @jphamlore    The Doctor: The Hybrid destined to conquer Gallifrey and stand in its ruins… is me.  That anyway is what we get from  the transcript of Heaven Sent at  http://transcripts.foreverdreaming.org/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=24027. In a posting yesterday, I suggested It appears the Doctor truly believes he is the hybrid, but that does not necessarily mean that he’s right. Or perhaps there can be more than one hybrid. It might not be either/or.

    @markoftherani  Stories. Yes, the story telling side of Ashildr/Lady Me seemed to disappear, but a big theme of the series has been story telling.  More to come when we get to the hybrid?

     

     

    #48555
    Starla @starla

    Rewatching. Just from an aesthetic point of view I appreciate the repetition of the circular, cog or dial like patterns throughout the episode. The path surrounding the graveyard (this actually reminded me of the floor of the Tardis), the room with chalk arrows, the fortress itself, the mechanized cogs, the teleportation device, circular turret, all reminiscent of the confession dial.

    This episode is just so well constructed: visually, musically, the script… it is simply spot on!

     

    #48556
    Starla @starla

    In regards to the sonic sunnies, the Doctor uses them to identify the substance the wall is made from. I assume if he could use them to break the wall he would have. Therefore he couldn’t use them.

    I also believe the wall was designed to be able to be breached, hence it not resetting each time.

     

    #48557
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @starla

    This episode is just so well constructed: visually, musically, the script… it is simply spot on!

    Agreed completely. Much as we’ve been picking apart story points and theorising, the episode is not just interesting from where the story is going, but it’s also beautifully constructed from an aesthetic standpoint and well acted in what is virtually a solo performance by Capaldi.

    #48558
    spacedmunkee @spacedmunkee

    So I’ve watched Heaven Sent 3 times now. On each rewatch I thought I might get impatient and forward to the end but I didn’t. Each time I was drawn into the story and the puzzle that the Doctor has to solve.

    So my thoughts echo most people’s. Absolutely brilliant. Best piece of television I’ve seen in a very long time.

    My favourite part was the evolution of the Grimm story. At first the Doctor had barely started the story before dying but as he chipped away at the wall, the veil had slightly further to walk to reach him. Every step the doctor made through the wall enabled a little more of the shepherd boy’s story to be revealed. The total story not revealed until the very end when he breaks through. Beautifully done.

    My take on the confession dial. We know how clever the doctor is. I presume that no-one else in the universe could construct a situation that draws a confession from him. I think that the dials are another pod designed to tap into a TL’s own fears so each dial is unique to the person in it. The person in the dial chooses their own hell/torture/purgatory – take your pick. It’s possible he was only in the dial for several days at most.

    In essence the doctor was battling with himself. Clara’s death almost caused him to give up for once. In his own mind it took him billions of years to process it and come out the other side.

    Question 1. In his last conversation with Clara when he realises what it will take to get out, he mentions that he remembers it all – or words to that effect. Does he mean he remembers every life he has spent in the dial, or he remembers every Claricle? I still cannot make out what he is saying.

    Question 2. What was written on the wall behind the Doctor when he first sees the veil? He never acknowledged it. I tried pausing the tele but it was too blurred to read. Have any eagle eye fans with better resolution been able to make it out?

    So bonkers theory time. It was the Sisterhood of Karn who made a deal with Mayor Me on behalf of the Doctor. The Doctor will have to set in motion the events that lead him to Gallifrey. It will break his heart because he will realise he is responsible for Clara’s death.

    Gotta say I’m looking forward to the finale as much as that little space movie due out in a couple of weeks 😀

    #48559
    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @spacedmunkee   Question 2. What was written on the wall behind the Doctor when he first sees the veil?

    The writing on the wall was also the Doctor’s opening monologue; it’s written out just a bit up in a posting by @nerys   #48553.

    #48560
    spacedmunkee @spacedmunkee
    #48562
    jphamlore @jphamlore

    Ironically in the context of the new series, didn’t the Doctor already imply the reason he left Gallifrey was because he was scared? Here is one scenario he hinted at, from The Sound of Drums:

    DOCTOR: Children of Gallifrey, taken from their families age of eight to enter the Academy. And some say that’s when it all began. When he was a child. That’s when the Master saw eternity. As a novice, he was taken for initiation. He stood in front of the Untempered Schism. It’s a gap in the fabric of reality through which could be seen the whole of the vortex. You stand there, eight years old, staring at the raw power of time and space, just a child. Some would be inspired, some would run away, and some would go mad. Brr. I don’t know.

    MARTHA: What about you?

    DOCTOR: Oh, the ones that ran away, I never stopped.

     

    #48563
    ichabod @ichabod

    @countscarlioni  . . . in BG Who, there was a strong emphasis on tight stories. In AG Who, there is far less concern for tight stories and much more emphasis on the dramatic flourish or the thing’  . . . I’ve come to think this is particularly true for SM and that he just does not sweat what seem to him to be relatively minor plot points or even sometimes quite big ones. . . come at the final episode from a different place, not worry about tight story logic, and to see thebig picture’ and ignore the smaller stuff as SM won’t dot all of his i’s and cross all of his t’s anyway. That’s what we do for him in the week after the episode.

    What you said, exactly.  The change in emphasis is what has many older fans so annoyed and disgusted: they’re looking for the same thing as before.  But I think SM saw that that’s a good way to run out of stories, after so long, so why not go more for the metaphorical, the personal drama, the deeper connections?  I left because of the first approach, have come back been riveted because of the second.  I think SM is doing a bang-up job with it.

    @spacedmunkee  I’ve watched Heaven Sent 3 times now. On each rewatch I thought I might get impatient and forward to the end but I didn’t. Each time I was drawn into the story and the puzzle that the Doctor has to solve.

    The thing I can’t get over is that, after three times, the whole thing is over so *fast* — it starts on tiptoe, and then it just roars along and zooms to a close.

    At first the Doctor had barely started the story before dying but as he chipped away at the wall, the veil had slightly further to walk to reach him. Every step the doctor made through the wall enabled a little more of the shepherd boy’s story to be revealed.

    Damn!  Thank you!  I completely missed that, was wondering how come he had more time to tell it near the end . . . again, the power of stories . . .

    Just all of *what* does he mean he remember?  Hasn’t just realized that he’s been doing this misery for 7000 yrs?  And he’s protesting that he doesn’t want to do it again (and again and again) because he knows how horrible it is each time?

    And yes to everyone about the loving care that’s clearly gone into the visual and thematic aesthetics of the thing — it’s amazing.

    #48564
    Anonymous @

    @lisa

    absolutely. I also thought immediately of the Home Page -from that page is a further menu?

    @tardigrade @ichabod @mudlark @morpho (hallo and welcome to you!)

    It’s interesting to view the Doctor’s subjective ‘reality.’ If he dragged himself up flights of stairs, burned himself repeatedly only to dive into the sea yet again to complete endless calculations or dug an eon of holes, watch everything re-set and then say aloud: “I’m one confession away” then I believe there’s a transition ‘space’ of memory -and so his ‘time’ in the confessional might well exist in some inexplicable ‘measure’: something to be remembered should he wish to, or to file away in his ‘mind palace’ for another day. If I could share a personal story which I believe has a little relevance?

    Twenty years ago, after a particularly nasty operation with several resuscitations involved, I was in crisis centre and after that on a normal ward totally drugged up. Every time I awoke, anxious and grieving -and you do grieve to some extent when the world or your body turns upside down -the nurses plied me with more narcotics.

    I woke up and it happened again: all the routines were exactly the same, down to the washing, back massaging, the taking of observations, the reciting of name and birthdate, the rub of an alcohol wipe and then the sting of an injection (“just a little prick, dear” 🙂  ) and then I’d end up dreaming -worlds of colour with fat fuzzy teletubbies; long grey alleys; pink skies; water the colour of mauve.

    I believed I was in the African desert, shrouded with beautiful white tents where there were geese in the distance and close by, a party with champagne, epicurean treats and a fountain of gushing water. I was absolutely certain this is where I was. I frequently called out: “I need champagne! Where is everybody?”

    I also believed that this activity -of waking up and going back to sleep and dreaming was happening over vast stretches of time -and yet, later, in reading the official records, it was only three weeks. I was convinced it was at least three months.

    Time was melded into this confusing layer of discombobulated ‘events’ involving small activities which seemed to take weeks and yet took moments. Time, independent in this instance, was subject to my grief and fear. I was alone in an army hospital deep in the country, surrounded  by back- packing nurses who, for their base amusement would place elderly patients (they included me in this activity) into wheel chairs and race them through corridors (they never ran out of corridors -unlike the Doctor).

    Eventually just before the hospital and its Board were forced into an inquiry, someone burnt the place down -I’m hoping it was a disgruntled family member having witnessed the extraordinary treatment of patients during this period of the 1990s.

    I guess that in the end, no matter what the actual occurrence, my version of time and the subsequent events related to the memories of that period were split, fragmented, occluded and subject to repetition: the events were repetitive, but I was part of the events that I was struggling to understand and make coherent. I was preoccupied with determining linear ‘transmission’ and provoked myself to preoccupy my mind with where I was at any point in any minute over several months -or weeks. I could not trust my judgement -not just because of the narcotics (used I believe on many patients to simply keep us pliant) but because my level of anxiety, regressing and repressed, was inconsistent and explosive. At different periods I was catatonic, terrified, ecstatic, bewildered, a chattering monotonous patient talking to everyone and no-one -it was rare anyone would actually communicate with me but I was nevertheless convinced there were people just outside my hearing or sight.

    Being very young, it was perhaps predictable that I couldn’t quite handle the lack of not knowing where I was or even why.

    And I was just 27!  This Doctor is 2000 years old: wise, intelligent beyond earth’s conception and yet his childhood nightmares (like young Danny’s in Listen) haunt him. I didn’t have the benefit of knowing that fear is a superpower but I wonder if the Doctor knew that if he harnessed that sensitivity  (even though he seemed to re-set and ‘forget’), to what extent would he recall and revisit those nightmarish events and as @ichabod states, be “mentally scourged to death..”

    From my own perspective of course it was linear, but far shorter than what I remember and yet what I remember was utterly real to me. Whilst the Doctor has enormous (until now, possibly untapped) reservoirs of emotional strength, and it’s difficult to compare our human experiences with his, it does give me, and others, insight into what we may feel to be a truism: that indeed seven thousand or 700 000 million of his lives were experienced. We can agree that had he really lived through this almost eternal hell, then of course nothing of the orginal landscape would remain: the lillies, the picture of Clara, the table at which he sat for dinner and yet the castle dial did reset -much as I felt mine did each day of each minute (I’m writing that backwards deliberately) as time, inverted and re-created, was visceral. Combine that with sadistic, perverse nursing strategies I lost my mind: trapped in a world where I felt someone was deliberately hiding an important event (I was left out of the party where I could smell the appetisers!) I started to think there was evil lurking around every corner, that people had it ‘in’ for me, and that these folk with their predilection for violence and domination were stronger than I and so I was just a gullible plaything, devolving into histrionic outbursts to secure my sanity which only hardened the resolve of disinterested onlookers -to them I was just insane or ‘being silly’. Time wasn’t exact, obviously, but it wasn’t based on a spurious notion of unreality either: it floated in its own netherspace constantly.

    To summarise, I would suggest that the Doctor might remember his ‘time’ inside the dial differently and whilst he may recognise that actual time has passed only in the ordinary way of things, it is neither a completely fabricated reality nor a seamless accurate representation. He lives in worlds that are not tied to dimensions of our own creation or understanding. His mind, like a Tardis, matches a regenerated time lord’s body -so completely alien that he can commune telepathically (almost sensuously) with a door, transfer images to other people (Girl in the Fireplace), wipe  minds (such as with Donna) and literally stop people from speaking (Fear Her). I think we can hypothesise that the Doctor’s brain can hold infinite memories and images if it wishes to  -though as we witnessed in Under the Lake, with the Tardis’ assistance, the Doctor can delete certain redundant (or what he perceives to be unwarranted) skills.

    Kindest,

    Just Puro

    #48565
    ichabod @ichabod

    @puroandson  . . . there’s a transition ‘space’ of memory -and so his ‘time’ in the confessional might well exist in some inexplicable ‘measure’: something to be remembered should he wish to, or to file away in his ‘mind palace’ for another day. . . . We can agree that had he really lived through this almost eternal hell, then of course nothing of the orginal landscape would remain: the lillies, the picture of Clara, the table

    More evidence that this all “happened” (probably) in the time it took for the teleport cuff to move him from the trap street to Gallifrey, and that could be very short time indeed, in the Who universe.  It’s a loop that runs continually, overlapping slightly at the end each time so that the bird story can unfold, and eventually he breaks out of the loop and into reality (I hope!).

    So the re-set also includes a re-set of the configuration of stars he can see overhead, although in fact (IMO) only a very short time has passed outside his prison.

    Puro, thank you for that narrative.  I’m packing up for a weekend trip so I can’t respond at length here, but I do appreciate it as a way to cast a different light on the time issue from a place of (relative, you being human and the Doctor being what he is) experience.

    A question, though — he enters the Dial in his burgundy coat, and wears it throughout.  He steps out of the Dial onto Gallifrey in his dark blue coat.  ???

    #48566
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @puroandson

    If the Doctor had been forced to play out the same events again and again, I can certainly seeing him getting ground down and broken over time to the point of nothing of his original self being present, but I just can’t reconcile that with the total reset premise.

    In each iteration the Doctor believes that his timezone hasn’t shifted when he steps from the teleporter gasping from the effect of the transport, and his most recent memory is of being transported at the other end. He’s genuinely disbelieving that significant time has passed- “If I didn’t know better I’d say I’ve travelled X years into the future”, and his situation is a revelation each time, when he gets the information to piece it together. Things play out the same each time, because he starts from the same state. If his mental state were even slightly different, surely things would play out differently over time- so I, for one, am satisfied that even if TL memory works very differently to ours, the reset is total. If he had full memory, he’d confess twice to the Veil at the far end of the castle, run to the wall and get 82 minutes with the spade to bash away at it (or engineer a better attack), instead of getting in a few rather ineffectual punches, and be through the wall in mere millennia 🙂

    So when the Doctor steps onto Gallifrey he has no recollection of being killed and crawling dying through the castle, because that didn’t happen to him, even if it did to billions of identical copies of him. He might even doubt that there were any iterations before, and suspect that things had just been set up just to appear that way. It would be hard to ignore your total lack of memory. So I just don’t see the experience would have caused him a seismic shift in state of mind. It’s for that reason that I don’t think that was the point of the confession dial, since whoever set it up knows him intimately and would know that. And it’s not to get information out of him, for the same reason – there would be no point in playing things out from the same position again and again with predictably identical results.

    @ichabod

    A question, though — he enters the Dial in his burgundy coat, and wears it throughout.  He steps out of the Dial onto Gallifrey in his dark blue coat.  ???

    He’s definitely in burgundy when picking up the dial from the sand, so it’s either just the lighting or a continuity error in that one shot that they hoped no-one would notice.

    #48567
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    He’s definitely in burgundy when picking up the dial from the sand, so it’s either just the lighting or a continuity error in that one shot that they hoped no-one would notice.

    I’d have to watch again to be sure but that’s a pretty massive continuity error so unlikely they’d let it slide. And let’s remember how significant an assumed continuity error with jackets turned out to be in s5

    #48568
    Mudlark @mudlark

    @spacedmunkee

    The person in the dial chooses their own hell/torture/purgatory

    Ooh, I like that idea!  It ties in very well with the concept of the Dials as full records of a Time Lords inner life. So it could be that, over his or her successive lifetimes, each Time Lord’s purgatory is created within their personal Dial  out of the record of their accumulated experiences, mistakes, memories, regrets and fears.  No tampering need have been involved in the creation of the Doctor’s ordeal, and the only external intervention was to push him into it prematurely.

    It occurs to me that Confession Dials, and the hard and software within them, might have a connection with the Matrix – the mega-computer which is said to store the personalities of Time Lords and all their knowledge after their deaths – and  be the means by which they were uploaded to the Matrix. If so, the purgatorial process might have been designed as a kind of audit and purification before the record entered the Matrix; which ties in with @puroandson ‘s analogy of the confessional.

    In this case the Doctor was not dying when he entered his Dial, and his mental passage through it and physical emergence from it could be seen as a kind of rebirth, more fundamental than any regeneration.

    #48569
    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade

    @ichabod

    thank you for that -it was quite a ‘thing’ to write about and share, ichi and perhaps it made little sense to others? I suppose what I trying to express -and making a bit of a hash of it was that if we saw the Doctor repeating the same tasks again and again, then to us it happened again and again -because to us and for us, it would be a repeating cycle. But we are not the Doctor -cumulatively or otherwise. I saw it from my own perspective -perhaps that’s a childish way to interpret it. I’m not sure

    Random copies aside, if that was the only measure of restraint we received from that episode -that there were copies or just a complete re-set, then I don’t think it fully stands up in my opinion (Puro speaking!) -for me, and maybe for some others, the key issue is one of metaphoric power. This speaks to the fears in the Doctor and the fears present in all of us -grief, the power of eternity (and the ever present question of what form it might take), being scared and alone, consciously knowing the moment which heralds our death (will we get a ‘bus mirror’?) and keeping infernal secrets, secret.

    It is very much about how we interact with the primeval issues of life, grief and facing our threats alone.

    To me, this episode wasn’t entirely literal. Nor did it need to proceed along logical lines. I feel that it exposed the Doctor as a very alien being with an enormous heart and a capacious brain.

    The metaphors abound and I guess that I found it spoke to me with great resonance about something that I recalled (or dredged up) from my memory.

    That was Puro writing > Now to son:

    If an episode can speak to us on many levels then I think it works well. I saw the logical bits and didn’t even realise the missing flagstone was a ‘thing’! So thankyou to the people who pointed that out to me. I liked the whole re-set idea and the skulls but listening to mum I can see that if affected her on a different level -she keeps seeing the metaphor in things. A lot of the time I don’t know if that’s important or not but she likes to think that it is and we had a long conversation about that time in her life which was really interesting.

    Theres so many posts that I need to read now. How exciting!

    Thankyou and goodnight from Puro and me (the son!)

    XD

    #48570
    Anonymous @

    oh one last thing (son typing): are we really hoping this reset “is total” because the idea that it’s not and that he really remembers all of that would be horrendous! It “satisfies” us, I think to believe that the “reset was total” because the opposite is something we can’t bear to think about.

    It solves the urgency & agony if we believe the reset was total. But if we see it from the way it played out -the re-climbing up the stairs, the dive from the castle, it was what we saw over and over and that’s pretty heartbreaking -whether it fits our truth or not -our own understanding of what ‘truth’ and ‘memory’ is could still be different. The Doctor is a very different alien being -how do we know exactly how his memory works? personally I’, glad to be a human right now 🙂

    Anyway….Thankyou for reading.

    Just Son

    #48572
    Mersey @mersey

    @jimthefish @tardigrade

    It’s definitely the lighting. The coat looks dark blue but it still has the dark red velvet glow.

    #48573
    Anonymous @

    @lisa Haha thanks! Good to know there are others of the creative spelling persuasion here. XD

    @puroandson

    Hallo you both, and thanks for the welcome. First off: wow! What a story! Why the African desert, do you think? Does it have some significance for you? Also what were the drugs and where can I get some? 😉

    I did have a thought that the 2 billion years in the dial might not be 2 billion years outside the dial because the Doctor thinks so fast. If I recall correctly from The Witch’s Familiar, he can do hard sums in his head in nanoseconds: billionths of a second. Scaling up, 2 billion years might just be a few years. But then I remembered that the only measure of the passage of time he has across his incarnations is the stars, which appear to be objective (a +1 in the literal interpretation column methinks).

    @starla

    I agree. Sonic waves would set up vibrations across the entirety of the wall. After he is caught, the wall would release that energy as heat, leaving the wall exactly as he found it. The Doctor needed to do something that would have a lasting, more localised effect. I’d have gone the fingernails route myself…

    @spacedmunkee

    Question 1. In his last conversation with Clara when he realises what it will take to get out, he mentions that he remembers it all – or words to that effect. Does he mean he remembers every life he has spent in the dial, or he remembers every Claricle? I still cannot make out what he is saying.

    Good point! My immediate reading of this is that he remembers Clara’s death and the grief that follows in his days in the castle. He’s never allowed to move on because he resets when he’s suffered the worst of it. He suffers a new grief for 2 billion years. My immediate readings are rarely accurate, but if I’m right, it’s incredibly poignant, I think, that this is what stands out for him at the end of an incarnation, that the hell of grieving is worse than his own custom-made, personalised torture-chamber hell.

    #48575
    tardigrade @tardigrade

    Regardless of whether the Doctor ultimately remembers the details, it’s powerful to watch as an external observer. That he was prepared to spend a “second of eternity” suffering over and over, rather than give into his fears, speaks to the Doctor’s strength of character. It’s the first iteration, where the enormity of what he’s committing himself to is at its most obvious, where this strength is greatest, not the last one where he gets off unexpectedly lightly. So in a way, I think the burden eases over time, which is consistent with the purgatory analogy, burning off sins over time.

    #48577
    spacedmunkee @spacedmunkee

    @ichabod

    4th viewing tonight (a little obsessed now I think).

    yes he definitely remembers each incarnation but he only remembers when he gets to the wall – never before.  That alone must be torture for him.

    @mudlark

    You’re spot on about a rebirth when he leaves the dial. It fits in with some of this series themes of inversion and death and rebirth. Missy does say in TMA that the dial will open when the doctor dies however the opposite is true.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>It occurs to me that the dial acts as a grieving process for the doctor. I think he feels responsible for Clara’s death and each iteration of him symbolises a person playing out the same situation over and over again hoping for a different outcome … to no avail, until he reaches acceptance that she’s not coming back at which time he starts to move forward. Bugger, now I will have to watch a fifth time to see if he actually plays out all the stages of grief.</p>
    @puroandson

    maybe Just Puro will remember the music from the fifth doctor better than myself. The synth piece that occurs whilst the veil is approaching the doctor as he views Clara’s portrait. A call back to the Davidson era? (around the time of Adric)

     

     

    #48578

    @countscarlioni

    .It seems to me that in BG Who, there was a strong emphasis on tight stories. In AG Who, there is far less concern for tight stories and much more emphasis on the dramatic flourish or the `thing’ (I wish I’d come up with this independently, but it’s from a commentary discussion by Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks on a BG story,  but I think they’re right).  I’ve come to think this is particularly true for SM and that he just does not sweat what seem to him to be relatively minor plot points or even sometimes quite big ones.

    I think there’s a fair bit of selective memory going on here (a touch of the Ashildr syndrome: we only have room for the good stuff 😉 ). There was a lot of padding and many, many inconsistencies and retconning all the way through BG Who (practically from the move from concept to the first episode, in fact). Some stories were very tight, some…not so much.

    Moffat is all about tight stories – I find it baffling that people would think otherwise. What he is very good at – and this goes back to Press Gang and Coupling – is hiding the craft behind layers of characterisation. It seems very obvious to me that he does sweat the small stuff – but is quite willing to make the decision that any given issue can be ignored, or left for later.

    Oh, and the other thing he won’t do is spell out the obvious for the least attentive kid in class.

    #48579
    DEREDRUM @deredrum

    My thoughts on it are that missy is trying to get information out of the doctor and is actually the hybrid. Seeing gallifrey could be another part of the interogation, as its the Doctors own hell. Helping her carry out the prophecy.

    #48580
    nerys @nerys

    @spacedmunkee

    Question 1. In his last conversation with Clara when he realises what it will take to get out, he mentions that he remembers it all – or words to that effect. Does he mean he remembers every life he has spent in the dial, or he remembers every Claricle? I still cannot make out what he is saying.

    I think it is as @puroandson has explained so eloquently in her post 48564 about memory. I think the Doctor is saying he remembers everything. Unlike Ashildr/Me, who has an infinite lifespan but finite memory, the Doctor has the capacity to remember it all … including Clara’s death. He will always remember her death, and no matter what happens in his life (regenerations, etc.), she will always be gone. I consider that a metaphor for all the companions, and Gallifreyans, he has lost. He is always the one left behind. So what is there to give him hope? That’s when mind-Clara saves the Doctor yet again by reminding him that loss is a universal experience; his is just far longer than that of humans. But his losses are no greater than those anyone else suffers. That’s enough to get the Doctor on his feet again and keep pushing through.

    @ichabod I think you’re having the same trouble I was with the coat color. In different lighting, it appears to be a different color. My confusion was when he entered the bedroom in his wet clothing. The coat appeared darker, but in reality I think it’s the same burgundy coat. I think he’s also wearing the same coat when he steps out into Gallifrey. It’s just that the lighting makes it appear darker. I could be wrong, of course!

    #48581
    jphamlore @jphamlore

    @puroandson:  Thanks for sharing such a moving and relevant personal story.

    Perhaps we have this all wrong about the confession dial meant to be a torture chamber.  As Moffat himself wrote in Listen:

    CLARA: I know you’re afraid, but being afraid is all right. Because didn’t anybody ever tell you? Fear is a superpower. Fear can make you faster and cleverer and stronger.

    In my idea of the confession dial as originally an emergency escape route back to Gallifrey, this feature of the confession dial is therefore intended to help the user, if that user is  the legitimate possessor of the confession dial.

    #48583
    DoctorDoctorWho @doctordoctorwho

    I have noticed a mistake in which The Doctor seems to shorten his opening sentence (when he steps out of the teleporter). For example, in the beginning he says “I am the Doctor” and overall takes longer to speak that line, yet when the next version arrives later on in the story, he says “I’m the Doctor” and takes less time to speak the line, of course this is minor but surely this would affect the precise timing of the whole thing, and what explanation could possibly be given to the shortening of the line?

     

    (Gosh it’s like Let's Kill Hitler with the “Watch out that bow tie” all over again!)

    #48584
    tommo @tommo

    has it been clarified at all since the ‘the time of the doctor’ whether the time-lords granted him a full set of regenerations or just that particular one (capaldi)?

    i re-watched ‘time of…’ last night and i don’t think it’s made clear in that. Smith mentions a ‘whole new regeneration cycle’ but that could be referring to that singular regeneration occuring. it is somewhat unprecedented as he confirms by saying that it ‘takes some time to break it in’.

    smith’s doctor AND his physical body, prior to this moment are ready to die. he has accepted his fate and yet all of a sudden has to deal with a whole new re-boot, so to speak, thrust upon him. hence the prevailing fear that has plagued Capaldi’s doctor.

    maybe the the episode will tie in to ‘time of…’ in that respect. ie. the time lords granted him another face so that he could (eventually) be summoned for whatever sinister/or not purpose. a tie-in also to ‘day of…’, as mentioned by someone earlier on here would be neat. something explaining capaldi’s appearance at the end of that episode.

    one more before i forget; what if clara has always been a claricle but this was just the final one? the one he managed to save and therefore was able to live on past 11’s timeline into 12’s. it may go some way to explaining her reluctance to settle with danny (until it was too late) and the pull of the doctor and his way of life being too overwhelming or too learned. also her increasing rashness in decision-making which ultimately led to her downfall could be attributed to her being a claricle whose mission it is ‘to save the doctor’.

    to me, the events in the ‘the name of…’ were never really resolved in that the clara that the doctor rescued from his timeline was still her ‘post splintering’, if you will? perhaps he just grabbed the first one he found in there.

    #48588
    Umbi @umbi

    mh quite the theories here for the upcoming hell bent. i just watched heaven sent again with a friend and after two hours of geekiness i came up with a another theory regarding the finale, which will (in my opinion) reveal that clara was the master all along. i know it’s kinda farfetched but i think it makes kinda sense, so bear with me. would love some comments on my theory, here we go:

    i think day of the doctor, end of time and heaven sent/hell bent are both happening at the same time.

    first we have the war council at the end of day of the doctor. they say the high council is in session and no help will come from them. i think that mentioned session is the one we’ve seen in end of time where rassilon enacts his plan to save gallifrey from destruction with the (unwilling) help of the master.

    so whilst the doctors war, 10 and 11 are about to save gallifrey with their other incarnations, 10 is battling the master and meets rassilon, when he shifts gallifrey out of the “time-lock”.

    my point here is, that rassilon started his plan at the same time that the doctor(s) saved gallifrey from certain doom with their tardises. so the second they sealed gallifrey in the pocket universe, gallifrey was also present in earths orbit and later got sucked back into the time-war.  we know the master got wounded and sucked with them back to the time-war, right?

    i think the john simm master regenerated back on gallifrey into clara. let me explain my reasoning:

    gallifrey was saved with the help of a statuscube which is timelord art and seals a moment of time into a painting, bigger on the inside. that means the pocket dimension/universe was the painting “gallifrey falls no more” all along. since it is a section of time removed from actual time, the flow in that universe goes by different, which explains why in the actual visible painting the time war is still full on with the remnants of the dalek fleet etc.

    the painting only shows the fallen city of arcadia, but not other parts of gallifrey like the panopticon, which has in the meantime be rebuild with the rest of the planet (besides arcadia which is still in war because of the painting depicts it that way)

    the doctor lands via his confession dial in the pocket universe (the painting). there he meets clara again which is unbeknownst to him the newly regenerated form of the master.

    ashildr/me will be revealed as the hybrid (two warrior races: viking + mire technology) who aquired the painting during her tenure through history and learnt through the cracks of the connection of the doctor and the time lords, possibly talked and worked with them to bring the doctor back to gallifrey.

    back on earth, claras dead body is still with ashildr. there she regenerates into missy (as delayed regeneration is a thing, 10, 11 and 8 didn’t regenerate immediately). thats where missy realises why she gave clara the doctors number. she gets into the doctors tardis and takes jacks vortex manipulator, which was in the possession of the doctor, after clara used it to escape from the zygons in the day of the doctor. thats how missy got hold of the manipulator in the first place.

    after that she seeks out the time when clara-prime first called for help, which missy provided by giving her the number of the doctor. missys remark that “she’s chosen well” refers to one of claras splinters, from which missy chose the prime clara. missy gave herself the number of the doctor to keep the web of time intact and make sure, that she’d be with the doctor. her closest friend in the original sense and in her incarnation as the doctors companion.

    so why doesn’t clara remember that she’s a time lord/lady? because the doctor (now on gallifrey in the pocket universe) sees the john simm master regenerate into clara and it starts to make sense to him. he rescues the incarcerated master-clara and uses the chameleon ark on her to turn her human and wipe her memory and send her to earth with a set of new memories.

    the scene with clara in the diner takes place when the doctor checks on her to make sure she doesn’t remember and clara is just doing a parttime job. this clara is the one that will meet 11.

    that would explain why missy gave clara the number of the doctor, how she got hold of the vortex manipulator and why she created the cyberman army for the doctor. she already witnessed all that has happened in her time as clara and followed her memories for her plot to show the doctor she was always and will still be his best friend. it was all to make sure she survived and came to be the way she’s now with that wicked fixation on the doctor.

    back on gallifrey the doctor is to stand trial for his (various) crimes and executed and this is where ashildr as the hybrid comes in, who saves him. that makes sense with the overall prophecy, because the doctor as the alleged hybrid and ashildr as the “real” hybrid are walking on gallifrey whilst its destruction (which is still depicted in the painting)

    i know, the theory is full of holes but i think it explains a lot and fits with the overall theme of the current series. all a bit timey-whimey.

    so what do you think? utter bs or maybe some possible truths?

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