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    CountScarlioni @replies

    @ichabod     And — how ultimately there’s only “room” for one Doctor in the Tardis, as CapDoc said in S8.  We can have an uneasy and demanding team of (more or less) two Docs for a bit, but not, it seems, in the long run.

    Yes. And who but a Doctor travels through space and time with a stolen Type 40 Tardis and a companion?

    @fivefaces   Apologies if this has already been mentioned, but in Midnight the Doctor makes a very explicit promise, almost a contract, with the entity that appears to have possessed Mrs. Silvestry.

    He says, ‘Whatever you want, if it’s life, or form, or consciousness, or voice, you don’t have to steal it. You can find it without hurting anyone. And I’ll help you. That’s a promise. So, what do you think? Do we have a deal?’

    Very good! From Nardole’s mutterings at the end of Thin Ice, it seems the oath involves nothing more than not going off earth while guarding the Vault. And the Doctor’s already got tired of that. So in the set of `promises/promise/oath,’ then the promise/promises is/are maybe the thing(s) to focus on?

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @nick  @ichabod   Oops. On travel, and working off a crummy wifi link so I at first missed Nick’s later posting on Bell with the correction that the second Doctor claimed he’d studied under Joseph Lister. Maybe the Doctor studied under both; certainly the 10th Doctor claimed he’d studied under Bell (the Bell, I think we are meant to understand).

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @thane15  @janetteB  The paintings I’ve used for various purposes I can spot, but once outside that realm it’s another matter! I very much agree that the Coalbookdale image is striking indeed.

    @mudlark  Paintings can matter, witness the 50th Anniversary episode. But I’m also inclined to agree that by this point the paintings in this series are there pretty much for decoration and tone. The Doctor’s hung a few paintings in his study to make it look, well, like a professor’s study. Perhaps he sent off Nardole to buy some appropriate prints.

    @nick    I think the reference to Studying Medicine under Bell goes back to Pat Troughton. I’m probably wrong, but I think it was the “Moonbase” story.

    Very good! Pleased to see the Doctor is keeping his story straight eight regenerations later.

    @jimthefish  @mersey  The power of SM’s conception of Clara for me was that we in a way got to see at times perhaps not two Doctors in the Tardis but maybe a Doctor and a half. Certainly in Flatline we saw the first female Doctor. Maybe I’m misremembering, but I can’t recall any companion ever speaking to the Doctor as Clara did in Listen when she ordered him not to go out of the Tardis after she’d been in the barn (and the Doctor followed orders).



    CountScarlioni @replies

    @jimthefish    Much as I hate to torpedo a fine bit of bonkerising, I think the reference is to the Pertwee story The Time Warrior. As to other oaths, I’m not sure. Depending on what kind of Doctor he actually is, he might have taken the Hippocratic one?

    Always a sad moment to watch a bonkers theory slip sedately beneath the waves….

    In Tooth and Claw, I think the 10th Doctor claimed he’d studied under Bell in Edinburgh. If he made it to the end of his training, I suppose he could have taken the Hippocratic Oath. I’m still unable to come up with any other oaths.

    Don’t think there is much to be done with the paintings this week, though I think we did get a long shot of `Coalbrookdale by Night’ when the Doctor was inside the dastardly Sutcliffe’s town house.


      Image result for coalbrookdale by night

    CountScarlioni @replies


    I’d argue against it purely by mentioning his reasoning for doing so and the fact that Bill considers his reasons before agreeing. In other words, she makes a choice to let the Doctor take the lead. This is a considerable step up from say the Pertwee days when the Doctor would just arrogantly assume the lead and Jo/Sarah would be expected to go along with it. It’s possibly even a commentary on such tropes. That the Doctor makes such an arse of it is the icing on the cake.

    I like that reading and at least his hearts are in the right place.

    And I think the four knocks thing is going to prove to be such a massive piece of misdirection. We’ve already been primed for the Master’s return, I think he’ll come at us in an unexpected way rather than being foreshadowed like that. There could even be some mask action, which would be awesome.

    Again, that makes good (Doctor Who) sense. So, in fact, by hearing four knocks, we’ve likely been told that it’s not the Master in the vault, so the bonkerising can get seriously underway.

    The sequence of three knocks at the end of Thin Ice and the oath: In Listen, we’ve already had a sequence of three bangs (knocks?) when the Doctor, Clara and Orson Pink are inside Orson’s `time ship’  at the end of the universe. In Listen too, the Doctor after getting knocked out, wakes up in a dazed state and blurts out  “Sontarans! Perverting the course of human history!” That I take as a reference to the Fourth Doctor story The Invasion of Time, which is the only other occasion I can remember the Doctor taking an oath, when he becomes President of the Time Lords and takes the oath to recover the Great Key of Rassilon. (Does anyone know of any other oaths taken by the Doctor?) At the end of the Invasion of Time, the Doctor is supposed to have had his mind wiped of the recent events on Gallifrey, but from the reference to Sontarans in Listen, he’s remembered. Don’t think this is going anywhere but it’s interesting!

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Four knocks on the soundtrack at the very end of the episode after we’d had a sequence of three knocks suggests that the bonkerising on what’s inside the vault would seem to be over. But it’s surely way too early in the series for us to be handed the answer in such a simple manner, so what’s going on??

    Another visually very impressive and I thought strong and engaging episode. The Doctor’s relationship with Bill is deepening nicely.  Using`Pete’ for the friend who stepped on the butterfly and ended up deleted is perhaps a little reference to Rose’s father.

    One more immediate thought: Along with the “whitewashing” of history comes downplaying the agency of the downtrodden and victimised, thereby making them seemingly passive. When the Doctor tells Bill to be passive in the meeting with Sutcliffe, he’s reduced her agency and then he promptly takes a swing at Sutcliffe, putting their lives in danger. The villain (enjoyably) gets thumped, but I’m still uneasy with that bit of the scene. However, the speech then delivered by the Doctor on the value of life and human progress is superb.




    CountScarlioni @replies

    @mudlark  Great spot on the Raft of the Medusa! To follow-up @pedant‘s suggestion, has anyone established if it is the cyberman version?? I spent five minutes on my hands and knees in front of the tv trying to decide, but with no success. The cybermen in the painting in the Under Gallery look to be modern versions, well beyond the Mondasian stage.






    CountScarlioni @replies

    @blenkinsopthebrave  Still waiting for my own copy of DW Magazine to make it here (also in Canada but not such a remote part I suspect) but Dan Martin quoted a section of the interview in his Guardian review of the episode. Here it is: “I love watching what happens with emojis, how people use them for different things, and the change of meaning of them; it feels like a growing language, a universal language of some sort. This episode was always about utopia and utopian ideas. It seems to me that the emoji is a utopian idea. It’s this yearning for a language that’s universal, and doesn’t depend on literacy and allows you to be creative and funny with it. The messages that kids send with emoji are really funny, and at the same time there’s something really touching about it.”

    @mudlark Very good points on the sonic, but on a second view tonight it still felt like a bit of a missed opportunity for more from the Doctor in performing the reboot.

    Another impression from a second view is that, as in Smile, the Doctor making a big blunder can make for an exciting episode, as in the manner of BG Horror of Fang Rock when we get a very rare admission from the 4th Doctor: “Leela, I’ve made a terrible mistake. I thought I’d locked the enemy out. Instead I’ve locked it in… with us!'”

    @ichabod  @missrori As well as “promise,” there has been a reference to “promises” and Nardole referred to an “oath.” To whom or what has the Doctor made his promises/promise/oath? The being(s) in the vault (assuming there are beings in there)? To himself? To a Keeper of the Vault?

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Agree with the various up-thread comments on the `old school’ feel to this one. Aberdeen clearly plays on the Doctor’s mind. And was that a bust of Nefertiti in the Erewhon?

    Like @craig, I thought Smile was much stronger than Cottrell-Boyce’s In The Forest Of The Night. Overall, the episode struck me as very good with Bill stellar again, but my one reservation concerns the ending, which felt rushed. I want the Doctor to do more than just wave his sonic at a problem as it has then becomes a wand.

    @blenkinsopthebrave & language. Frank Cottrell-Boyce has things to say on this point in the latest DW magazine.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Rembrandt: In the classic Who story The Time Warrior (Sarah Jane’s first story), the third Doctor announced he wanted to study under Rembrandt.

    DOCTOR: You know, I was never much of a hand with a paint brush myself.
    SARAH: No?
    DOCTOR: No. Nor a palette knife for that matter. But I’d like to study under one of the masters one day. Rembrandt, preferably.
    SARAH: Rembrandt?
    DOCTOR: Mmm hmm.

    Maybe he did!

    @mudlark  The bird on the Doctor’s desk. Yes, I agree it looks like a bird of an undefined, or at best very ill-defined, species. Maybe that it’s black and a bird is enough to serve as a reminder of the Doctor’s loss? Perhaps there is another reminder too. The Doctor’s forgotten Clara but after the exchange in the cloisters in Hell Bent (Clara: What happened to your coat? The velvety coat. I liked that one, it was… it was very Doctory), the Doctor made a big point of putting on his velvety coat at the end of the episode. Here, when Bill enters the Tardis for the first time, we see briefly the Doctor changing into his velvety coat again.

    @whisht  Educating Rita. Now there’s a very good thought to pursue!

    @thane15  Thanks. Delighted to have a new series underway so we can all swop ideas.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Wonderful episode and very stimulating comments, as usual. Coming late to the party and absorbing 167 comments in one sitting is tricky, so apologies if I’m repeating points already made….

    To follow up @wolfweed on Shada echoes, the Doctor tells the students in his lecture “time is an illusion,” which is the first part of the Douglas Adams quote, “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”

    To follow up @thane15 on the pictures flanking the Rembrandt (many thanks to @mersey on the Rembrandt!), I think one is (maybe both are) of Emma Hamilton by Reynolds. Does the Doctor know her?

    Image result for Emma Hamilton

    I didn’t see any comments on the black bird on the Doctor’s desk. Is it really a Raven as suggested in, for example, The Radio Times??


    CountScarlioni @replies

    A few drops of water in a dry and thirsty land…

    The first look at the Christmas Special, `The Return of Doctor Mysterio,’ is at the BBC site here:


    CountScarlioni @replies


    The inscription says “St. Luke’s University, Bristol.” So a return to Bristol & I think the first since `Flatline.’



    CountScarlioni @replies

    Matt Smith back as the Doctor?? Dr. Moffat is surely pulling our leg with this one!

    In the `BBC Dr. Who Newsletter ‘ from July 5 (I get sent this I think because I ordered a stand-up cardboard weeping angel a few years from the BBC Shop), there were some photos of the new companion’s first day of shooting. For this (blurry) image, the caption says  “We can also see from the official pic and Pearl’s video that snow is involved in the story, can we assume the story takes place in winter? (Though, in the UK, sometimes it snows in April.)” On the sign it says “St. Luke’s University, Bristol.”

    First time back to Bristol since `Flatline.’ Why?? I suppose we have six months to work out if this has a deep meaning or not…

    The same issue of the Newsletter has some news on writers for Series 10:



    alt text

    CountScarlioni @replies

    @missy  @kharis   See below for the link to the full story: “The source told The Mirror: ‘Bosses are already discussing a fresh start when Steven leaves. They’ve been happy with what Peter has brought to the role but some think it might make sense to give Chris his own choice of actor to play the Doctor.”

    I have no idea how accurate or reliable this piece might be; I hope it’s not true. Like earlier some posters on this topic, I’d have thought CC might appreciate not have to find a new Doctor as well as take over the show.

    @jimthefish  After training and practice, I can now read Dan Martin’s blogs without reading any comments!


    CountScarlioni @replies

    Disappointed by this news, especially as S9 was so stunningly good.

    I suppose a related issue is, Will Peter Capaldi choose to stand down at the same time as SM?

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    Great fun & in effect a big teaser for the next series. Agree with @blenkinsopthebrave that Moffat and Gatiss are brilliant at the “meta” stuff.

    In the bit when Holmes bones up on the obliquity of the ecliptic, we had another reference to the discovery of Neptune as the astronomer who had published a paper with the Royal Astronomical Society on the subject of the obliquity (before murdering the author of a still greater paper on the same topic)  was “Adams.” John Couch Adams, like Le Verrier, predicted mathematically the existence of what turned out to be Neptune, which gets us back to Station Le Verrier and Sleep No More and more  “meta” stuff from Moffat and Gattiss…..



    CountScarlioni @replies

    Enjoyed that a lot. A really spirited romp, but with a big sting in the tail. Terrific and I thought ultimately moving performances by Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston; loved the Doctor being shocked at the Tardis being bigger on the inside. I take it we had a call back/forward to the short extra scenes of `Last Night’ from Series 6 as River referred near the end to seeing two of you (two Doctors).

    Is it now onto the library and the end?

    River: But you will. You’ll wait until I’ve given up hope, all will be lost, and you’ll do that smug little smile and then you’ll save the day — you always do.

    The Doctor: No, I don’t, not always. Times end, River, because they have to. Because there’s no such thing as happy ever after. It’s just a lie we tell ourselves because the truth is so hard.

    River: No, Doctor… you’re wrong. Happy ever after doesn’t mean forever. It just means time… a little time. But that’s not the sort of thing you could ever understand, is it?

    Is 24 years though enough “little time”? Agree with @devilishrobby that on the Doctor’s current form, it ain’t over till it’s over. And even then it might not be over.
    Off to see the 3-D version on a big cinema screen on Monday. Yes!!


    CountScarlioni @replies

    son of @puroandson  Thanks! In catching up with my reading, I’d made it to Friday’s comments, then on the BBC site saw the script had been posted and got excited. So now I’m writing out my 100 lines “I won’t make any postings until I’ve caught up with the latest comments.”

    CountScarlioni @replies

    I’m days behind with the comments so apologies if this has already been posted, but the script with Moffat’s directions for Hell Bent has been posted on the official BBC Doctor Who website:

    At the top of p. 56 we get:

    And standing facing him – left behind by the parting TARDIS/Diner is the police box shape of his own TARDIS. He stares. And stares and stares. Not just at the box, but at the mural still painted on it. He kneels by it, puts his hand to – – the painted face of Clara. Oh! It was her! On Clara’s face we -DISSOLVE TO: 57 INT. CLASSIC TARDIS –  On Clara’s face. She’s grinning, flying the TARDIS.

    So some differences in the script from from what we saw (nothing either on squishy pears in SM’s script).



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    @tardigrade  For me, it’s the emotional connection that was the more important thing that’s been weakened by the wipe, more than the actual memories of what happened, which do seem to be there, even if not in their original form, so even if he does fill in the gaps over time, it seems he’ll be able to live with those memories now.

    @mudlark  the emotional connection which bound them together so tightly has gone.  This, it seemed to me, was what the Doctor is telling Clara in that last conversation in the diner. In its it own way it is as sad a resolution as if he had failed to recognise her completely, except that enough remains for the echoes of what was to be captured in a song or a story.

    You’ve convinced me! And it is indeed profoundly sad.

    @soundworld  The parallel perhaps being that in MOTOE the Doctor took on a similar challenge of certain death within minutes unless the puzzle was solved, as Clara went on to do. Yes! Thanks for the reminder of that.

    CountScarlioni @replies

    Great spot by @puroandson on the song playing on the radio when the Doctor walked into the diner. I’d missed the importance, but isn’t this grist for the bonkerising mill?

    As pointed out, it was Foxes’ version of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now that we heard in Mummy on the Orient Express (which was also supposed to be a Doctor/Clara parting).

    “Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time, I’m having a ball.”

    “Don’t stop me now, if you want to have a good time, just give me a call…”

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    @mudlark   By the time he had told his story and their conversation in the diner ended, he would, as I have said before, have to have been extraordinarily slow on the up-take not to have realised who it was he had been talking to, after the breadcrumb trail left by Clara, and all the hints and clues she had dropped.

    Would it matter if he’d not taken the hints? Once the Doctor, assuming he truly did not remember Clara in the diner scene, got back into his own Tardis, would he not immediately search the Tardis’s data banks for “Clara” and recover at least some of the lost memories? For him, it’s surely only a temporary loss of some memories. Have I missed something? Is there something extra clever about the neural block?

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    @geoffers    Thanks! Doctor’s trip to Ashildr/Me. he specifically says that it’s the last few hours of the universe, and that the time lords won’t be able to track him there. he also says to ashildr/me “go to hell, by my calculations you’ve got about five minutes…”  I’d wondered if there was a time stated in terms of how long in the future the Doctor had to travel to find Me at the end of time. But @tardigrade pointed out  the TL general said “Gallifrey is currently positioned at the extreme end of the time continuum, for its own protection. We’re at the end of the universe, give or take a star system.” So I don’t think he could have travelled on a whole lot further. 

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    After two watches and reflecting on the series, which I think was been spectacular and brave, what’s most striking to me at this point is the directness. In S8 and S9,  Clara became increasingly like the Doctor, until at the end of Hell Bent she’s off exploring all of time and space with her companion/fellow traveller (?) with a Type 40 Tardis stolen from Gallifrey. She may not be the Impossible Girl of S7 but she’s an Impossible Girl of a different kind. In S9, we see the Doctor increasingly willing to bend or breae whatever rules there are to protect or save Clara and also to put himself through surely (?) the most extreme situation he’s ever been in, 4.5 Billion years in the confession dial, to do so.  Both of these threads come together in what seem to me an amazing last ten minutes of the episode.

    @sirclockface   Thanks so much for posting the image with the quotation; that’s lovely.

    @tardigrade   Regardless, my issue was more with continuity- in “Utopia” in S3 the Doctor and Martha travel to the end of the universe in the year 100 trillion. So 5 billion years from now isn’t remotely close to the end of time. I don’t have even any wildly desperate hand-waving, speculative tries to answer that. Though based on a second watch, when the Doctor travels to meet Me, he does not say how much farther forward in time he’s travelled (or did I miss it?).

    @puroandson   I can’t comprehend such huge numbers I start getting wonky at about 20!

    @serahni  One thing I’m confused about; why did they both say Missy brought them together?  I’m a bit lost about that bit.  Missy gave Clara the Doctor’s phone number, she was the woman in the shop referred to in The Bells of St.John. Clara then called the Tardis believing she had been given the number for a computer help line.

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    If any bonkers theorist had come up with a short version of that plot ahead of the episode and posted it, I’d have thought they were in serious need of a long lie down in a darkened room with a pot of coffee and twelve jammy dodgers. But I thought it worked beautifully. For me, Clara’s original death was a big surprise. It had been flagged up all season, was certainly handled convincingly and very much in character for Clara, but it felt too obvious a thing to have happened. I expected her to stay dead though, so this ending was even more of a surprise.

    By this point, I’m not sure what term should be used for Clara. Companion hardly does the job for her place in the Doctor’s history. Now she’s in a stolen Type 40 Tardis (wonderful to see the old console!) , something more like comptor would maybe fit better. Maybe @avaris is right: it should be Clara Who.

    @tardigrade    It bothered me, maybe more than it should have, that the present + 4.5 billion years is regarded as “near the end of the time stream”. The universe is 13+ billion years old- it’s not winding down in another 4.5 billion, and that’s certainly nothing like the timeframe given on the Doctor’s last visit to the end of the universe.  If there’s a real physicist on the forum, I’d be delighted to be corrected, but as I understand it, after the Big Bang (13.8 Billion years ago), stars and galaxies formed out of gas. As some of those stars aged and exploded as supernovae, other elements were created that went into later generations of stars, some of which exploded, and on things went. Eventually enough carbon and other elements were made that it was possible to form bonkers theorists and Time Lords (all of whom are made of star stuff) after another long evolutionary trail. There was then a very lengthy time before the clock started on the 4.5 Billion years the Doctor spent in the confession dial. Various ideas are in play on how the universe will end, but some predictions by a group of physicists from a few years ago were headlined:  “But according to a new paper, there’s one theory for the origins of the universe that predicts time itself will end in just five billion years—coincidentally, right around the time our sun is slated to die.” If so, things would sort of work. (Here is the link:

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    Like others, very much looking forward to the finale of what’s been a spectacular and brave series.

    I’m puzzled why the Time Lords are so very concerned about the hybrid at this point, and hope to find out why tonight.


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    @puroandson  SM does not bother with over explaining. Much of his work is metaphorical with a layer also easily understood by children  Very good point. And it seems to me modern day children are much more sophisticated `consumers’ of images and TV than my generation was.

    @pedant  That a few don’t get picked up on (most notable, I guess, Jenny-Wife-of-Tennant) is I think just a function of how TV gets made. Sometimes you just never get around to it. Another very good point I need to keep in mind when bonkerising!

    @starla  Cloister Wars. I’ve stayed away from the Spoilers forum but I hope we are going to find out what Missy was talking about and if there is any relationship to the Tardis’s Cloister Bell.

    @tardigrade   @arbutus   discussion of the title of this episode. What do we think the title represents (other than Clara herself, possibly)?  Perhaps worth remembering that the Doctor tells us “Or maybe I’m in Hell? That’s OK. I’m not scared of Hell. It’s just Heaven for bad people. But how long will I have to be here?”

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    @ichabod     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.   Agree completely. Three of my ten all time favourite episodes are SM written episodes; it had been two but he added one more last week. The current series it seems to me has been spectacular.

    @pedant  SM is quite willing to make the decision that any given issue can be ignored, or left for later.  I certainly was not taking a swipe at SM but the way you’ve expressed it put it’s better than my effort. It’s that he does not always dot the i’s and cross the t’s that opens up a space for bonkerising.

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    @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.

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    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 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?



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    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….



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    @puroandson   Is a hybrid made of two? Or can it be more than two? Maybe it’s two and for it to work there’s a 3rd type of thing?    

     Yes! At this stage it probably pays to keep an open mind on what, exactly, the hybrid is.

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    @ mudlark    The anachronisms in The Woman Who Lived suggested that by the seventeenth century, if not before, Ashildr/Me had been in contact with someone who time travelled and perhaps even done some time-travelling herself, and if so, Missy is by far the most likely contact.

    Agreed, and lots to ponder in your full post! But as I can’t see a reason that would rule out Ashildr/Me from having taken control after Missy provided the introductions to the Time Lords (Missy as social secretary!), I’m still inclined to think Ashildr/Me may well be the key driver of these events.

    More general comment 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.

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    @mudlark   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. 

    Let me take an opposite position to see if this bonkers theory works to any degree….What if things are the other way round? What if Ashildr/Me had contacted the Time Lords (via Missy?) and is the one driving all of this rather than being an innocent victim of a protection racket who was protecting the street inhabitants? She set the trap for the Doctor. I  watched Face the Raven again and assumed Ashildr/Me was lying her socks off. It then makes lots of sense (it readily disposes on the nonsense she spouted about the contract, e.g.). I wonder if Ashildr/Lady Me has been hugely underestimated (including by the Doctor) and that the ripple the Doctor worried about in The Girl Who Died might turn into a tidal wave has indeed already turned into a truly catastrophic tidal wave. Ashildr/Lady Me has form in this area with her willingness to open up the portal with Lennie the Lion but time has moved on and she has acquired additional powers and has dreamt far bigger schemes. Why are we assuming the Time Lords are the evil ones here?

    @ichabod  on the dramatic arc for Clara in posting 48279: this looks on the money to me!


    @arbutus  And it was lovely to see the Doctor back in full deductive mode, proposing hypotheses and working things out. I liked that the blackboard was part of his mind palace! 

    Agreed! I thought he was just not himself in Face the Raven and fatally slow on the uptake.


    @puroandson  In recent times when we re-wrote the national curriculum in history (and that was a hellish job), I found that we concentrated on interesting pictures to help the children understand the process of thought back in the 1300s, for example. Then we would compare this with the Renaissance. Our Doctor is certainly a Renaissance man!

    That seems an excellent idea! To explain, say, the main ideas of the medieval cosmos, take your pick: look at a picture with a few words or try frantically waving your arms around with large amounts of no doubt very confusing words…

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    @whisht   Flammarion’s woodcut and moving between worlds. Now there’s a point to think about! Thanks so much for that. That image suggested another, the painting of Dante’s Inferno, with celestial spheres above to carry the planets and beyond the outer sphere of the stars is heaven, souls descending into hell, and the upward journey of a soul through purgatory, then conjuring up images of the Doctor endlessly crawling up to the teleporter room, `Heaven Sent’ indeed. Anyway, this might be a good prompt for bonkers theorising!

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    Wonderful and powerful episode. Great timey-wimey, very SM, stuff!

    The Doctor Winning: the Doctor losing has been an issue this series. My count before Heaven Sent was Doctor 3 (Davros, Fisher King and Mire) vs Forces of Darkness 2 (Rasmussen,`They’). But my, this win was a slog, 4 Billion plus years of excruciating effort.

    Is this the first time we’ve seen the Doctor so frightened? He’s been afraid on a regular basis (& hung onto Clara’s hand in `Sleep No More’ for that reason), but scared out of his mind? I don’t recall that happening.

    @ardaraith the writing on the wall. I’m not certain, but I believe the writing is in fact the episode’s opening speech that the Doctor delivers.

    @lisa  Can Bird refer to the Raven that took Clara?  To remind himself he was going to ‘win’ over imprisonment in this trap for her?  I think `BIRD’ just refers to a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm (The Shepherd Boy). I’ve pasted in below what I think is the relevant bit from a version of the story on the internet.  

    “In Lower Pomerania is the Diamond Mountain, which is two miles and a half high, two miles and a half wide, and two miles and a half in depth; every hundred years a little bird comes and sharpens its beak on it, and when the whole mountain is worn away by this, then the first second of eternity will be over.”

    Some echoes for me in Heaven Sent of an old (1965?) Avengers episode The House That Jack Built, where the aim was to drive Mrs. Peel mad, if anyone knows that one.

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    @jphamlore   Clara Oswald is far from dead, far worse. Clara Oswald’s soul in in some form of hell.

    Which prompted me to think again about this exchange from Death in Heaven:

    MISSY: Cos she’s perfect, innit? The control freak and the man who should never be controlled. You’d go to hell if she asked. And she would. The phone’s ringing, Doctor. Can you hear that? Now that is the sound of your chain being yanked. Heel, Doctor! (as Clara) Help me, Doctor. Help me. Help me, Doctor.
    (The Doctor answers the phone.)

    Well, she didn’t ask, but she wouldn’t need to.


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    It’s still November 23rd in my timey-wimey zone, and I didn’t see this referred to in any of the postings today, so happy 52nd Anniversary to Bonkers Theorists everywhere! Which means it’s also Clara Oswin Oswald’s birthday (23rd November 1866) and Clara Oswald’s birthday (23rd November 1986). O.K. back to theorising….

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    Is anyone else concerned about the Doctor’s ponderous performance in Face the Raven? The Doctor was given assorted, big clues that he was walking into a trap, that the events around Rigsy were about the Doctor, rather than the Doctor being in the street to solve a murder mystery against the clock. Clara explains to him about “trap street” and then he, apparently, just stumbles across Ashildr/Lady Me, of whom is he profoundly suspicious. The Doctor was also told everything in the street was fitted to his expectations so he was seeing to a degree what he wanted to see. Why didn’t the alarm bells go off in the Doctor’s head well before they did?

    Towards the end of the episode, the Doctor also appears stunned for chunks of time. The series started with a trap set by Davros, and before entering that the Doctor prepared his confession dial. Was the Doctor taken aback he was about to see Clara’s death rather than his own, or did he at some level know when he stepped out of the Tardis with Rigsy and Clara (prompted by Clara’s imploring look) that this was all going to turn out very badly? Did he assume he wasn’t going to win?

    There have been some fascinating and beautifully expressed postings, especially @avaris  in posting 47504. But, for me, there are still things about this episode like the Doctor’s performance that don’t feel right. Like @mudlark I’ve posted on the nature of Clara’s death compared to the street person’s death and the differences there also suggest things are somewhat awry.

    Agree with lots of other postings on Jenna Coleman’s performance. When  she’s been given material to really get her teeth into (which I don’t think has always been the case) she has been tremendous. Face the Raven and Listen strike me as her two best performances and she soared in both.

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    I just rewatched parts of the episode.  We saw two deaths caused by the raven. They were rather different.

    Before we watch one of the street people die, another character says “He should stay with her.” But he runs and the character asks “Why do they always run?”

    When Clara died, she did not run. Also when the raven entered Clara’s body, there was an intense light. There was no such light when the street person died.

    Significant? Who nose?

    But I’m hopeful that @serahni and @bendubz11 (over on the Sleep No More forum) are onto something; at least I can now go to bed in a more optimistic frame of mind.

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    A few early, jumbled thoughts based on one viewing…

    A powerful and gut-wrenching episode, especially as I’d expected Clara to somehow or another avoid the death that’s been flagged-up for so long.  But I agree with @supernumerary that’s where the arc has been going for a season or so (Clara initially shocked at the 12th Doctor’s seeming disregard and callousness but in time she becomes like him) so now we’ve arrived at the logical endpoint of that. It now also makes sense why Rigsy was called back for this episode. Clara was the Doctor in Flatline, and in Face the Raven she paid the price of trying to be too Doctor-like, and Rigsy was there to see Clara as the Doctor again. But that death still didn’t feel quite right and I need to read again the earlier postings about the `story within a story’ idea.

    Hasn’t the Doctor lost for the second week running? The place in the larger scheme of things of Missy and Clara’s exchange in The Witch’s Familiar on why the Doctor always wins, “Because he always assumes he’s going to win,” makes more sense to me now. In fact, the Doctor doesn’t win them all.

    The ripple the Doctor caused by breaking the rules in The Girl Who Died by saving Ashildr has now become the wave that has swept away the person he cares about the most. He’s made a big mistake and some of his anger at the end of the episode must be to do with that realization. The special surveillance room he set up in the Tardis to track Ashildr/Lady Me didn’t do the job. Agree too with  @mirime that at this point Missy seems the best bet for the person/thing/entity who struck the deal with the Mayor.

    Refugees, a street ruled by fear, capital punishment: more contemporary references.




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    @ichabod    Has the Doctor lost this round?  I’ve seen it posted that in fact the Doctor and Clara escaped in the Tardis after setting the station spinning into the colonized moon with nobody left alive on it but — no, Rasmussen is turned to sand, so nobody, just the video.

    Yes, the Doctor’s lost. The video is the point.

    Here’s Mark Gattis’s take in a Radio Times story (



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    Another trailer for Face the Raven from the official BBC site:

    @jphamlore   Yes, time to dust off the bonkers theories, polish them up and have them ready for inspection tomorrow evening! Also on the official BBC site is a piece on Ashildr/Lady Me. The dialogue between Lady Me and the Doctor that’s featured is:

    Me: …While you’re busy protecting this world, I’ll get busy protecting it from you.
    The Doctor: We’re not enemies now, are we?
    Me: Of course not. Enemies are never a problem. It’s your friends you have to watch out for. And, my friend, I shall be watching out for you.

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    @bluesqueakpip  I’ve stayed away from the `Spoilers’ forum so I’m happily wandering around in the dark as well.

    Great stuff on the Scottish play/King! Your points make good sense and it seems to me too the trailer  for `Face the Raven’ really underlines that the reckoning that’s coming will be the Doctor’s.

    What’s brought that on? The Harry Potterish type street in the trailer also suggests we’re going to get a another big dose of story telling Face the Raven.' InThe Girl Who Died’ much was made of Ashildr’s story telling, but that was dropped in The Women Who Lived.' Perhaps it 'll be back. BeforeThe Woman Who Lived’ my bonkers theory was that, in some way and in time, Ashildr’s storytelling abilities would be amplified, likely in dangerous and destructive forms, and that the Doctor would pay for his `mistake’ in letting Ashildr live. That outcome seems in line with a major theme of the series of the Doctor departing and leaving behind a mess/serious problems. So I think I’ll recycle that bonkers theory and give in one more try!

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    @lisa   Getting back to the party late, so a belated, hearty thanks for posting the Radio Times piece. Interesting that Gatiss claimed there that the last time the Doctor lost was in Eathshock (1982), which saw the death of Adric.

    @blenkinsopthebrave  Very good! The reading of the episode in terms of meta fiction makes excellent sense. Perhaps this means that as we have a story, within a story, within a story, I can’t forget about beating my brains out trying to find ways around what look like lame plot points and chalk them up to Rasmussen’s story telling abilities.

    @supernumerary  The Doctor losing.  It’s a gutsy move, really. Fully agree, and after getting back to the posts after a bit of a break it looks like opinion on the episode has shifted much more to the same view. We’ve also been reminded in stark fashion of the Doctor’s limits the week before Face the Raven.

    @purofilion  loved the fighting post! (#47064)



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    @janetteb     I think Moffat has left so many red herrings lying about that, to mix the metaphor, it is like wading through a fish sorting factory  Yes indeed! Though I do think @bendubz11 has found the twist that gets us off the path leading inexorably to Clara’s death. The Doctor and Clara will be separated, but it’s the Doctor who will do the “dying” (perhaps though on my part this is hope triumphing over reason).

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    @bluesqueakpip  Apologies with the typo in the first attempt to reply; trying again. … Clara is The Valeyard.  As one of the aliases was `Jack the Ripper’ I sincerely hope not! But by this point, SM has thrown so many pieces onto the table along no doubt with many red herrings, I’m open to almost anything in terms of how it all shakes out….

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    @arbutus   So, would the same gravity from Neptune that destroyed the Sandmen eventually destroy the station? And hence the video?

    Maybe my physics is messed up but….With the grav shields off, I’d expect the space station’s orbit to start to degrade and in time it would plunge into the atmosphere of Neptune and burn-up. While that’s going on, the Doctor, Clara, Nagata and assorted sandmen would have been floating about weightless. The Doctor would not even need his yo-yo to work this out. So, when the Doctor said he “self-destructed the grav shields,” I suspect they must not have turned-off immediately but for a short time he had in fact increased the effect of the grav shields, thereby exerting greater gravitational forces on the sandmen, who displayed little in the way of structural integrity, unlike the Doctor, Clara and Nagata.

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    @bendubz11   @blusqueakpip  … Clara is The Valeyard.  As one of the aliases was `Jack the Ripper’ I sincerely hope not! But by this point, SM has thrown so many pieces onto the table along no doubt with many red herrings, I’m open to almost anything in terms of how it all shakes out….

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