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There’s a lot of Prestige in punching a perfect corridor at Fort Boyard

The Great Screenwriter once said, when you are born, something else accompanies you into existence. A newborn baby cries and grabs at the air not from the smack of the nurse, not as it gasps for breath, but because it’s lost its only companion in the womb: a vast monologue.

Once you’ve popped out of your maternal hard drive, your life unfurls ahead of you like a clockwork countdown prophecy, a programmed puzzle unknowable to its prewritten protagonist, so many lines of code, too many to read, stretching towards infinity, close to unending. And yet.

The 12th Doctor awakens in a bespoke hell, pursued by a slow-moving tormenter who’ll yield only to a confession. Who brought him to this place? How will he win? And if the hybrid was so blasted legendary, then how come Capaldi made her in the first place?! Bloody reckless, if you ask, like, genuinely anyone. Perhaps he deserved this hell. What a right hook, though, eh?

Here's what we think of N128 Heaven Sent

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

4.9

Drew | @drewbackwhen

4.6

Marie | @hammashandjelly

4.9

Here's what we think of N128 Heaven Sent

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

4.9

Drew | @drewbackwhen

4.6

Marie | @hammashandjelly

4.9

Here's what you think 4 Responses to “N128 Heaven Sent”
  1. Awesome Alfie

    Heaven sent was just ok. In other words a wee bit boring! Which I guess means I’m a traitor to the who fandom as everyone seems to give it a higher rating. I did like the skull that featured in it which made a return in season 12 in the haunting of villa dio dati (don’t know if I spelt that right).
    Overall I give it a 2.9
    From the rotten corps of awesome Alfie

  2. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club

    Likes:

    • The Nightmarish dreamscape, oozing dread and impending doom, reminiscent of It Follows.
    • The Doc’s scheme to lure the Veil to one extreme of the castle and then bomb it to the other to buy time to do stuff. I do the same with my newly walking, clingy son – I dump him at one end of the house, then leg it to the other to eat my dinner. It buys me about 12 seconds (he’s surprisingly speedy, even when I’ve barricaded his path and set traps).
    • The terrifying, fly-ridden, Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come villain.
    • Satisfying Groundhog Day loop.
    • This, Deadly Assassin and Waters of Mars (the only non-Christmas Who episodes without a guest companion?) are so, so good, you wonder why there aren’t more solo adventures.

    Beefs:

    • Was the hybrid stuff a red herring? The ‘Nothing is half-Dalek, the Daleks would never allow that,’ is balls – the Daleks have compromised on their purity a bunch of times in Classic and New Who.
    • Over Billions of years, surely the skulls would have broken the surface of the water.
    • The science of breaking through something stronger than diamond with your fist seems total bollocks. Surely you would need Azbantium to break Azbantium? At least if he’d used the shovel, or even got in a few more punches instead of monologuing, perhaps he could have shaved off several million years. In fact, he could have given Mr Cloak the runaround and bought a whole 82 minutes to bash away at it! Or at least write something more useful than BIRD (how abouts, ‘GROUNDHOG DAY – ROOM 12 – HIT WITH SHOVEL’). And there’s always more confessions – surely the Doc has loads of teenage pranks to fess-up.

    Summary: After the catastrophic offering of the previous episode, Heaven Sent, minor nitpicks aside, is a Phoenix arising from a puddle of poo. Bravo.

    Rating: 4.9/5 underwear changes required during this darn scary episode. Code Brown!

  3. Kieren Evans

    What to say about this episode? One of Moffat’s finest, it is a low key character piece on the Doctor and his grief at losing a companion. The sombre atmosphere is perfect and the labyrinth nature of the castle provides the excellent setting for the puzzle that the Doctor has to solve. The idea that the Doctor has been sacrificing himself for billions of years to chip away at a diamond wall with his bare hands just so he didn’t have to answer the ghoulish Veil sums up the Doctor’s will to never give up even if it is a slightly foolish thing for him to do. Why didn’t he use the spade? Might have saved his fist a bit.
    One thought: is what is presented here actually real? Is there anything to say that this is not all a simulation by REDACTED to get the Doctor to confess? Given some ideas in series 10, I can’t help but feel that this reading has some merit, though it equally works as it being all ‘true’ as well.
    So a score. Well, I could critique it here and there. But you know what? I’m not. It gets 5/5 why-didn’t-you-use-the-f-ing-spade?
    Next time however…..

  4. Eddie Rock | @TheEddieRock

    Hey WhoBackWhen. Let’s Rock this new year off right with Heaven Sent. One of, if not the episode most people think of when talking about the 12th Doctor. And for good reason. Yes, the whole confession dial thing confuses the bejeezes out of me but there is so much great in this episode (if you don’t look at it from too far away)

    Capaldi did this episode pretty much on his own. To have one character on the screen alone for nearly an hour and be riveting the whole time is pretty damn impressive. His performance was spectacular and all over the place. From scary to witty to broken, he absolutely crushes it on all fronts. His mental trips into the tardis were always a welcome relief as they usually let us catch our breath from the heaviness of this episode. The “villain” was fairly generic but visually cool, as were the underwater skulls.

    They did a great job on the small level, repeated lives bit with every fitting together well and an epic conclusion. That being said, on a larger scale it didn’t work great. I’m very tired of hearing about the Hybrid stuff and the confession dial purpose or logic just misses the mark for me.

    Overall, I really do love this episode and it ranks amongst the best of Capaldi’s whole run. Despite its flaws I give it a 4.6 out of 5 random wandering desert Galafrayian kids. Till next time. Rock on!

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