Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / Doctor Who S35 E12 "Hell Bent"

Go To

    open/close all folders 

     When is the end of the universe? 
Even accounting for the show's usual lax concern for chronology, saying the universe will end only four and a half billion years from now is pretty hard to swallow, especially considering earlier episodes have taken place in the year 100 Trillion.
  • The universe will NOT end in 4.5 billion years. We knew this decades ago. There is no way to know how much literal time passed while the Doctor was in the dial, whether it was subjective time or just pure simulation. He observed the stars to count the passage of time, but had no way of knowing how much literal time had passed. Since episodes were shown to occur further forward in time than 4.5 billion years, someone somewhere made a mistake in the script.
  • The Doctor didn't necessarily live through the entire period until the end of the universe in the Confession Dial, he only lived through enough to get through the barrier.
  • The Doctor says to Clara they're "several" billion years in the future. "Several" rarely means more than five, which matches with Ohila later saying the Doctor was trapped in the Confession Dial for four-and-a-half billion years. Hence, it's been 4 1/2 billion years since 2015. The Time Lords also state Gallifrey is currently located at the end of time. Ergo, the end of time is 4 1/2 billion years from 2015.
    • There are several episodes that take place FURTHER into the future than 4.5 billion years. Ergo, the end of time is NOT 4.5 billion years from 2015. A mistake was made in the script - I suspect they are talking literal 'billions' or meant trillions.
  • It seems intentionally vague; "several" needn't necessarily be restricted to a number or range of numbers, especially when doing so would imply several things that don't make any sense.
  • Time inside the confession dial is not necessarily the same as time outside it. Though if the stars inside are fake, there does seem to be a plot hole: why didn't they reset, too?
  • Presumably the reset only applied to the castle and not the entire world within the Dial.
  • And it's not necessarily 2015 outside the Confession Dial, either. The Doctor finds that on the sand of Gallifrey when he arrives. And Gallifrey was hiding at the end of time. The Doctor was transported to Gallifrey, and its hiding place, at the end of "Face The Raven", and whatever time zone it was located in.
  • This is how it seemed to me, too, that the Doctor was teleported/uploaded to the Confession Dial in 21st century Londonnote , and then the Confession Dial itself was zapped to Gallifrey's hiding spot at the end of the Universe.
  • That explanation doesn't hold up, because the Doctor tells Clara from 2015 she's "several billion" years in the future, just as other characters say she died "billions" of years ago. Moffat's script itself is consistent, in that it treats the Doctor's time in the Confession Dial as if it happened in real time. It just doesn't get anywhere near to one Trillion, let alone 100.
  • Here's a possibility. They're both correct, just different units of measure. The Doctor takes human companions with him, and we've seen the display on the TARDIS console tick things off in human measures of time. Gallifrey, however, is not Earth, and would have different units of measure. We've seen that Gallifrey is significantly larger than Earth. Therefore, to still remain in a habitable zone, a planet that size would have to rotate and orbit more slowly than Earth. Gallifreyan days and years would be longer than a human day or year. So, the year 1 trillion to us is only billions in Time Lord measurement units. The same amount of time, just measured by a different scale, like the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius. The Time Lords and The Doctor, on Gallifrey, are using Gallifreyan measures now, and don't correct them to Clara's reckoning when they talk to her.
  • The script doesn't imply that at all, though, only that 4.5 billion years is how long the Doctor's simulation loop lasted within the Confession Dial.note  "Billion" is just a very big number for the sake of shorthand; "half the life of the Universe" and "billions and billions" are also used at varying points. Also, very little has changed on Gallifrey since "The Day of the Doctor": the General has scarcely aged and many of the soldiers there served under the War Doctor. Even granting bizarre lifespans for Time Lords, it seems immensely unlikely that billions of years have passed from Gallifrey's perspective. This leaves aside the fact that time passing on Gallifrey needn't relate to the rest of the Universe surrounding it; the Time Lords presumably have the planet out of sync with the rest of time. (Wasn't that a thing in the original series?)
  • Obviously it hasn't been billions of years for Gallifrey; clearly, the Time Lords moved it to the end of time, as opposed to that time having passed naturally. But again, when the Doctor talks to Clara in the extraction chamber, he says they're currently located several billion years in the future from her perspective, which was in 2015. Also, going over the script again, there's this line from the Doctor in response to the General: "I know [Gallifrey is located at the end of time]. I came the long way round." Again, it insinuates that his time in the Confessional Dial happened in real time.
  • That still seems like too literal of an interpretation of what came off as a more poetic statement. Four and a half billion years in a simulation, instead of giving up all his knowledge and getting out of it immediately, is definitely "the long way round" (and probably feels like the end of the Universe, anyway). No other reckoning of Doctor Who's chronology (never mind real chronology) puts the end of the Universe a mere 4.5 billion years into the future. Heck, the Universe seems just fine in "The End of the World", which is set 4.5 billion years into our future, when the Earth is slated to die of natural causes. At minimum, Gallifrey is around 14 billion years into the future (Clara being dead "half the lifetime of the Universe"); more likely, it's some greater untold number of billions that's flung around as shorthand for "a really damned long time."
  • Possibly Big Bang II's universe had a significantly shorter lifespan than its predecessor?
  • Possibly, but unless it's brought up in the script or another piece of canon, it's just Fanon.
  • Or maybe the end of the universe from "Utopia" was never literally the Year 100 Trillion, but rather, that's the reading which every TARDIS's chronometer defaults to when you get too close to the very, very end of Time. Indeed, Ten immediately declares it's impossible when he reads off that date. Twelve did tell Clara that going that far into the future would prevent the Time Lords from tracking them, and the Master assumed the same when he fled the Time War; perhaps that's why.
    • That still means the end of time is NOT 4.5 billion years into the future, if every chronometric reading defaults to 100 trillion. It wouldn't be defaulting to a reading that high otherwise. It would be like a clock that had already stopped at 11am reading 6pm instead.
  • We have no idea whether the Doctor suffered for 4.5 billion years in realtime (yours and mine), or only in disc-time. Or whether the Doctor ended up breaking through the unbreakable substance into Gallifrey's "pocket Universe." It is clear that TO GALLIFREYANS, only a very short time has passed since the end of the Time War, meaning "Hell Bent" could easily by set in THEIR 2013... What I want to know is, if our protagonists truly went to the end of the Universe, where was Orson?
  • Even a universe that's shutting down is HUGE. There's no reason to assume the planet where Orson was stranded was Gallifrey; it was just the last surviving planet that wasn't sheltered within a protective field by the Time Lords. And Orson didn't have the means to travel to Gallifrey even if he had any idea it was out there.
  • We do have an idea about where Gallifrey is, actually; in the Cloisters, the Doctor specifically says the Time Lords unfroze it and moved it back to the real universe.
  • Perhaps the Doctor and other Time Lords were using the "Long Scale" version of "billion" in this case, where 1,000,000,000 is "a thousand million" or "one milliard", and 1,000,000,000,000 is "one billion" (originally "bi-million" meaning a million million). That would make the time in question 4.5 trillion years in modern parlance, a much more reasonable time for the end of the universe.
  • But, the general says "we're at the extreme end of the time continuum".
  • The Time Lords set the exit point from the dial to Gallifrey at their time zone. So however long he spent in there he'd emerge more or less at the right time for them to (presumably) continue the conversation after he'd told them everything. Didn't quite work out that way...
  • Perhaps the universe ends 4.5 billion years in the future BECAUSE that's when The Doctor saved Clara. Removing her from time could have caused the end of the universe which in turn caused the Timelords to choose it as their hiding place which caused it to be the end of the universe and so on. Maybe Clara never made it back.
  • The 'End of The Universe' here seems more to refer to the spatial end of the universe, given the "give or take a star system" bit, not to its specific calender year.

     The power of the medkit 
If the Mire medical kits are so powerful that one was able to keep Ashildr alive until the End of the Universe, why aren't the Mire invincible warriors who have conquered all of reality already? Alternatively, why hasn't the technology that makes living beings immortal been used by other races, who had all of the time in the Universe to figure it out?
  • I think the implication is that the Mire tech only rendered Ashildr immortal because it's built as a healing unit for the Mire, and once adapted to humans is incredibly overpowered by comparison.
  • The Doctor explicitly tells Ashildr in "The Woman Who Lived" that living life as an outlaw was dangerous because if she took enough damage she could still die. Her response is that she's just that good due to how long she's had to hone her skills. In the same episode, the second kit is used to save the life of Sam Swift, but the Doctor says its possible the way it was used there burned it out. Since we never see Sam again, we have to assume he was right on that count. Also, the Mire probably don't want to be immortal themselves. The tech was built to heal them in battle, much like the nanogenes from "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances". Applied to its original species, it has limits. Applied to a species it was never designed for, under circumstances that it was never meant to be used under, the results are a bit different.
  • The Mire are warriors who likely go into dangerous situations a lot more often than Ashildr/Me, meaning they get hurt beyond the abilities of the medkit to repair.
  • They're also regularly confronted by weapons that are fully capable of disintegrating a body instantly. Ashildr spent her first several centuries coping with only medieval-level weaponry, which gave her enough practice at tactics to be prepared when more physically-devastating weapons were invented on Earth. But even she probably avoids them a lot more than she used to.
  • Maybe she faked it? After all, at the end of the episode she is in possession of a TARDIS, taking the long way back to Gallifrey with Clara. Maybe she didn't want to actually have to face the Time Lords on their own planet where they might impound said TARDIS (and her)? So instead at some point she has Clara drop her off before the Doctor was due to arrive at the end of time, and then Clara went back to earlier Gallifrey alone? She might not really have been billions, or even millions, of years old at all. She could have been only a bit older than she was when she and Clara took off.

     Clara's splinters, Bonnie the Zygon, and the mind wipe 
Did the Doctor forget Victorian Clara and Oswin Oswald too, or just the original Clara?
  • Since Victorian Clara and Oswin were 'splinters' or aspects of the original Clara, he naturally forgets about them too. He'll remember the details of the adventures aboard Starship Alaska and Victorian London, but he won't remember Victorian Clara and Oswin per se.
  • Basically, his old memories went all back to being what is shown in-series (no Clara telling the First to pick that specific TARDIS instead, he just decided that on his own), except for all the episodes that were originally designed with Clara in them. It's quite an elegant way to do it.
    • He doesn't have to forget the Gallifrey Clara or any of the others because Name of the Doctor establishes he never remembered them to begin with. So the Doctor still retains his memory that a young woman steered him towards the correct TARDIS, just as his subconscious likely remembers the words of encouragement he received as a boy from Clara. He just doesn't remember the exact details. Nothing has to be undone.
  • The Doctor's reference to how "Every Christmas is a last Christmas" shows us he remembers what dream-Danny said, even though he can't recall anything that Clara herself said or did. This rather implies he might still remember experiences that were filtered through Clara - shared dreams from "Last Christmas", seeing via her hacked optic nerves in "Flatline" - rather than experiences directly of Clara.
  • Keep in mind that the episode establishes that the Doctor does remember Clara. He remembers travelling together and their adventures. Therefore he remembers Oswin and Clara Oswin too. What he has forgotten is her personality, her voice, and (until he gets the visual cue later) her face. So he will still remember Oswin but he won't remember what she sounded like. He'll remember Clara Oswin but not the aspects of her personality that made him instantly grant her companion status (otherwise known as falling in love at first sight), and in terms of Clara herself he cannot remember the aspects of her that made him fall for her the way he did - the facets of her personality that he spells out unambiguously in "The Girl Who Died" and "The Zygon Inversion". He just remembers he had a friend who meant a lot to him. But the infatuation aspect that drove him into the Sanity Slippage is no longer in place.
    • We don't actually know if the Doctor remembers Clara once he realizes who the waitress was. The neural block could be an ongoing thing. In the diner, once Clara starts to give away too much, the Doctor starts to get very distracted, talking about the last time he was there and noodling on his guitar. Even when the diner disappears from around him, revealing his graffitied TARDIS, he starts looking at the top, and his gaze travels downward — until he gets halfway down, then he blinks several times and looks upward again. The picture of Clara is just below the halfway point. One would expect the Doctor would stare at her portrait, maybe even kneel down to gaze closely at it — unless there's something still actively preventing him from remembering Clara, causing him to turn away from and forget even the most direct evidence of her.
  • Speaking of "The Zygon Inversion", any guesses how he'd remember his encounters with Bonnie? Would his memories of her in Clara-guise be just as inaccessible, or would he remember Bonnie as Jenna Coleman but have no clue the young woman she'd been copying wasn't a random stranger?
    • Other than perhaps forgetting what she looked like when she impersonated Clara, and perhaps little things like grinning like an idiot when he found she was still alive - or his depression upon thinking she was dead - there's little to suggest he'd forget the key aspects of his encounter with Bonnie. And now she looks like Osgood anyway.

     How come a human-compatible neural blocker works on the Doctor? 
  • He asked for a human-compatible neural blocker, but that does not mean it was not Time Lord-compatible as well.
  • Time to crack open that "half-human" theory again...
  • Actually, it's interesting that the technician could whip one up so quickly, especially given that Rassilon had apparently never heard of Earth before in "The End Of Time". Me, it makes me wonder if Andred and Leela's marriage broke up, so they concocted a human-compatible version and she was dropped off on her home world without any memory of where she'd been.
  • The Time Lords were able to tamper with Jamie and Zoe's memories in "The War Games" so they had the technology at that point (and were aware of Earth then, because that's where they exiled the Doctor to).
  • Perhaps one reason it doesn't fully wipe his mind of memories of Clara (i.e. he remembers the adventures he had with her) is because it was not fully compatible with it?
  • Well, humans and Time Lords have somewhat similar physiology for the most part, so adapting Time Lord tech to work on humans must not be this incredibly hard. And since it was originally Time Lord tech, Clara changing it back to its original settings makes total sense. The only thing that doesn't is the fact that the neural block apparently can't be "aimed", and affects everyone of compatible physiology around it when the button is pressed.
  • There is an Alternate Character Interpretation that the neural block is broken by Clara's meddling, and the Doctor knows this and fakes his memory loss, knowing that he has to move on. This could easily be tweaked to be "It didn't work on him, but he can't let Clara know that."
    • Probably Jossed by "The Husbands Of River Song", as the Doctor is every bit as discombobulated by having River do stuff like drag him along by the hand as he'd been when Clara did that to him for the first time. If he remembered, he'd have been used to such treatment already!
    • He clearly remembers Clara, or at least aspects of her. He mentions things they've done and seen. It's the recall of her face and voice that was missing, and once he realises 'that waitress WAS Clara!' he can mentally fill in the blanks. What he probably wasn't used to was RIVER dragging him around in a role-reversal like that. No, the 'mind-wipe' clearly didn't work all that well.
  • Also - he tells Clara it would be painless, but when the block is used on him, he is in considerable pain. Yes, of course, Rule 1, but what if not right now? Maybe it's for humans, and painless for humans, but Time Lords are similar enough for the block to work on them, just not perfectly?

     The Doctor's past — a noble or not? 
Ashildr/Me refers to the Doctor as a "high-born Gallifreyan." So what was a high-born boy doing sleeping in a barn in "the middle of the Dry Lands, where there's nobody who matters," where there were apparently a bunch of boys being raised by an older couple — an orphanage, or a boarding school, perhaps?
  • Two possibilities: One, Me was being a bit flowery (she was clearly feeling very poetic, end of the universe and all that) and just meant that all Gallifreyans are high-born compared to other races. Two, keep in mind that we have no idea what exactly that barn was. Could be the Doctor was a noble, but his parents died and no one was willing to take him in, so he ended up shuffled out into an orphanage in the Dry Lands. Could be that was his closest living relative. Or his parents could have shipped him out there to build character or whatever. We're never given an explanation for why the most technologically advanced species in all of time and space has a ramshackle barn on their homeworld, so we can only speculate.
  • An interesting sub-point to that is: where did they get the wood? From what we see of the Dry Lands, they are nearly as barren as the surface of Mars. No obvious trees from which wood could be harvested. Wooden structures also do not have a very long lifespan in harsh environmental conditions. A couple of centuries and they are usually gone. Unlike Gallifreyans, including the Doctor, who live for thousands of years. That would imply that the barn is not what it seems. For all we know, it is the equivalent of a child's play house, and was built out of materials intended to resemble wood but which were actually artificial and able to last for millennia. After all, the TARDIS isn't really a 20th Century British Police Box either — it just looks like one.
  • Excellent point. On a related note, "The Day of the Doctor" and "Hell Bent" imply the barn is way out in the middle of nowhere, but in "Listen" it's also close enough to a boys' dormitory to be easily accessible by the housemother and her male companion. Vortex manipulators must have been as common as smartphones are today!
  • Well, they should be, considering what planet this is. Indeed, that brings up yet another good question: where did all those people who came to gawk at the Doctor come from, and how did they know he was there? Despite The Wild West primitive look of the location and the people, they are all distinctly out of place. The Dry Lands has no visible vegetation suggesting agriculture or livestock herding. No other structures in view besides the Capital itself, either. Plus, Gallifrey is a "super-Earth" type planet, much larger than Earth itself. Even more so, since it does not seem to have any oceans. So the land area should be insanely vast, and the figurative "middle of nowhere" thousands of kilometers from the city! With no evidence of farms or ranches, and no vehicles parked all around the barn, the implication is that all those Gallifreyans teleported to the barn somehow. If not via technology, then possibly using Psychic Powers, which Gallifreyans are known to have great potential for. K'anpo Rimpoche from "The Planet of the Spiders" was revealed to be the Time Lord mentor who used to supposedly live on the hill behind the Doctor's childhood home. He was both fully-telepathic as well as able to travel through time and space without the need for technology.
  • "The Caretaker", among other episodes, hinted at there being a quasi-British class system on Gallifrey, with the Time Lords as the aristocratic class and regular Gallifreyans as the lower class. As well, The Master mentions in "The End of Time" that his own father had a vast country estate. The barn could've been part of the Doctor's family holdings, or dirt-poor tenant farmers who have sworn fealty to his parents. Despite being a Lord, and despite, as Series Eight highlights, having domineering aristocratic qualities at times, the Doctor seems to reject his aristocratic heritage in favor of being among the lower classes.
  • It's also possible his family was nobility of a sort, but any family fortune or high rank dried up a long time ago until all they had was a third-rate "estate" out in the middle of nowhere and maybe a meaningless title that could get their son into the Army or Academy as their last hope of regaining their standing. See the younger sons of nobility who ended up becoming mercenaries, clergy, or both in the hope of getting their own fortune.
  • Considering the amount of backstabbing we've seen among upper-crust Time Lords, it's even possible that someone murdered the Doctor's parents in a purge or political feud, and their son was placed in a backwater boys' home to conceal him from their enemies. It'd certainly explain why he seems to have no extended family, and why he'd suffered the terrible "black day" that Three spoke of way back when.
  • The dialogue between the caretaker and the man in "Listen" gives me the impression that he was hiding in the barn, afraid to join the Army but pressed with such a choice with little doubt of him making it into the Academy. So that definitely seems to indicate high-class.
  • The comment "high-born Gallifreyan" was based on the assumption that Gallifrey had a quasi-medieval human system, where "high-born" was considered literally, genetically superior. But why should it? Why shouldn't the status of Time Lord be an achievement, like the status of Ph.D.? "He'll never be a Time Lord" if he doesn't stop being such a cry-baby. And why shouldn't "the boys" be enrolled in some program that's the Gallifreyan equivalent of Outward Bound?
    • Ashildr herself spent her formative centuries living under a genuinely medieval human system. It's possible that, despite all the time she's spent living among advanced societies since then, her baseline assumption is still "well-off/powerful = high-born nobility". In which case, simply being born Gallifreyan at all may intuitively strike her as being "high-born" by the standards of the wider universe, especially if she's never been permitted to spend time with any of the drylanders or Shobogans or other members of Gallifrey's underclass.
  • It's also possible the Doctor was in the barn due to being in a Harry Potter situation. Potter was born to a magical family but sent away to live with a muggle family for his protection. Maybe there is an as-yet-unrevealed aspect to the Doctor's early life that required him to do something similar. There has so far also been nothing to suggest his parents were even alive at the time of "Listen."
  • The Deleted Scene that would have established the Doctor banished the High Council to work in Gallifrey's sewers included a comment from Ohila that making someone work is an aristocrat's idea of a punishment, which would lend further credence to the Doctor-as-noble idea.
    • Alternatively, this could just show that the Doctor understands what the High Council members, who are undoubtedly aristocrats, would see as punishment. Which interpretation Ohila makes says something about what she thinks about the Doctor, though.
  • Whatever the Doctor's socioeconomic background, the barn clearly was a place where he'd undergone some major formative event(s) in his childhood. Ohila tells Rassilon that he'll have gone "back to the beginning", and the Lord President immediately sends a gunship to the barn. ("The beginning" could refer to his childhood encounter with the Clara-under-the-bed from "Listen", but it's questionable whether young One would've confided his weird "dream" to anybody, let along Ohila.)

     Who's that woman? 
Is "the Woman" of this episode supposed to be the same one as in "The End of Time"? While they have the same (vague) credit, and thus the main page assumes so, it doesn't really add up. Even accepting that a High Councillor might retire to her country estate or whatever after being deposed by Rassilon, why would she be seemingly rendered speechless by first a platoon of soldiers, then the remaining High Councillors, and then the Lord President? She'd be far more composed and savvy, and presumably inclined to offer more help to the Doctor than a bowl of soup (nice as that would be). This Woman seems to be a commoner who, perhaps, took care of the Doctor at some point in his youth (a nanny of some kind?), as opposed to his biological mother, as Word of God stated The Woman was in "The End of Time".
  • "The woman" was not portrayed by Claire Bloom, therefore she was not the Doctor's mother. She MIGHT have been portrayed by the same woman who was the Doctor's housemother in "Listen." But why does everyone keep assuming that Gallifreyan society must be just like British society in 1750? Maybe a bowl of soup might be just what the Doctor needed after a long trudge through a semi-desert wasteland.
    • Let's not forget that Time Lords suddenly being played by someone else is actually quite common.
  • She's probably the woman from "Listen". The thing is that the Woman in White from "The End of Time" is clearly a Time Lady from the Citadel, as evidenced by the fact that she, among other things, is apparently a member of the High Council who voted against Rassilon's "Final Sanction". The Woman from "Hell Bent" is clearly not nearly that high-status. And given the fact that she's hanging out by the barn, also the same one from "Listen", means she's probably the housemother.
  • Related to the above Headscratcher - the lady might have been his and his brother (brothers?) nanny - a female Old Retainer.

     Ashildr/Me knowing about Missy 
How did Me find out about Missy bringing the Doctor and Clara together?
  • From the sound of things, she's probably met Missy/the Master off-camera. She's had four-and-a-half billion years to meet pretty much everybody by that point.

     Clara and TARDIS 2. 0 
So how the heck can Clara pilot the TARDIS by herself? If anyone besides the Time Lords could do it, any of the Time Lords' enemies (Daleks, Cybermen etc) would have just stolen one, learned how to use it, and boom, bad guys have access to all time and space. Whenever she has done it before, it's been a case of the Doctor letting her drive (the equivalent is you sitting on your parents' knee as a child and steering the car whilst they do everything else) or the TARDIS driving itself.
  • The strong aspects of Clara's character mean that it would be unusual if she didn't know how to pilot the TARDIS. The entire three-episode finale sets Clara up nicely as close to Time Lord as it's possible to be, complete with TARDIS and companion. It's no surprise some fans were so taken by this that I've seen whole online comments pages of people asking to see THAT series rather than Dr. Who. Clara in terms of the tropes used to write her character was an author avatar, a character designed to do virtually anything the Doctor can do. Since Clara has spent the last two seasons essentially eclipsing the Doctor, abusing him, correcting him and schooling him on human behaviour (something he should understand very well by now), it's unsurprising that she knows how to fly his ship.
  • Most of the major Time Lord enemies do have time travel. They just use their own variants on the technology instead of a TARDIS. No one has ever said that only a Time Lord can pilot a TARDIS, it's just hard, and the Doctor's is harder than usual because it's old and heavily modified. Clara's is brand-spanking new, and she even has the manual.
  • They have crude Time Travel. To use the transport analogy again, a TARDIS is a supercar and their version is a Scooter. It will get you there, but it's not even in the same class.
  • She also has the benefit of having been more or less taught how to fly it by a Time Lord.
  • Ashildr's been camping out in the abandoned ruins of Gallifrey for quite a while, probably ever since she came there to deliver the Confession Dial to Rassilon. She's had a lot more than 10,000 hours to learn everything there is to know about operating a TARDIS.
  • Other companions have been showing flying the TARDIS before, it's not actually a new thing. Also, and this is just WMG, the Daleks were shown to have their own TARDIS's in "The Chase" and "The Daleks' Master Plan". Yet these were apparently a very limited resource, as they were not used in later serials. It's entirely possible that they were simply stolen Time Lord TARDIS's that the Dalek's managed to change the "desktop theme" on and fly around in, but were otherwise unable to successfully reverse-engineer. Think about it. Driving a car is not that hard. But just because you have one does not mean that you understand every aspect of how it works, or that you could build one from scratch if you had to.
  • Thing is, driving a car is harder than you think. There is a lot that you have to do whilst driving (checking mirrors, checking your speed limit, looking at other cars on the road to see what they are doing etc), it's just that when you've done it for a few years, you are doing it without even thinking. But it takes that time before that happens, time that Clara has not had. In Big Finish's "Dark Eyes", the 8th Doctor comments there are a thousand different calculations that must be made before each time jump, you cannot just watch the Doctor at the controls and just copy what he did.
  • Driving is simpler than you're giving it credit for. The speed limit is only important if there are police, mirrors are nice and all but you can drive reasonably well without them especially without traffic. More importantly the implication with the TARDIS has generally been that the Doctor's is old, modded and that the start up sequence is complicated. Beyond that we have very little idea how difficult it is to pilot once it's started. Is the time stream crowded? It never seems that way, in fact them seeing something in the stream at all is cause for alarm. It's possibly very similar to why we have flying drones all day and night to the point that we don't think anything of them. Self driving cars while close are still in the testing phase. Why? Look at your window. What exactly are you gonna hit at five thousand feet in the air? Now look at your street. What happens if you veer just a tiny bit off course? Exactly. Without knowing the time stream is more similar to air travel (relatively little risk assuming your vehicle is operational) or ground travel (filled with other vehicles, pot holes, curbs, and tiny tiny children chasing balls) its impossible to judge this accurately.
  • Actually, if you watch carefully the idea that Clara can fly the TARDIS is not far-fetched at all. First, she successfully asks the TARDIS to fly into another dimension in "Hide" (the first time the show really indicates there is something unusual about Clara). Second, the Doctor is shown teaching Clara how to fly the TARDIS starting in "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS". Third, she already knows how to fly it using its psychic circuits as per "Listen" (and the comic book story "Four Doctors"). Fourth, Clara is seen several times in Series 9 adjusting controls on the TARDIS by herself, most notably at the end of "The Zygon Inversion" where she is clearly shown fiddling the the console and the Doctor just flips the lever, suggesting she knows what she's doing, and in "Face the Raven" we see she's familiar with other aspects of the TARDIS as she uses it to scan Rigsy's phone. Fifth, in "The Bells of Saint John" Clara receives super-hacking ability which does not completely go away given that several times she is seen using unfamiliar tech with little or no instruction, such as that alien scooter thing in "The Rings of Akhatan" and Captain Jack's vortex manipulator in "Day of the Doctor" (not to mention she shows some mad computer skills in "The Magician's Apprentice"). Any one of these factors suggest that by the time of "Hell Bent" she can fly a TARDIS. It doesn't hurt to have a manual and someone who can read Gallifreyan, too, for any rusty stuff and we don't really know how long it's been for Clara between the Doctor passing out and being left in the desert and Clara setting up the diner to reunite with him; from her perspective it could have been days or even years, giving her time to get better at it.

     Gallifreyan technology 
What is it with Gallifrey and Schizo Tech? Those flying craft appeared to be using jet engines! This is the homeworld of the species that builds TARDIS's! Every remark ever made about the Doctor's Type 40 being an antique seems bizarre in the face of that! Likewise with the BFG's. The Doctor's sonic screwdriver is a fraction of the size and can do a lot of interesting things! Sure, it makes for a Rule of Cool image, the Doctor facing down the Gallifreyan equivalent of an Apache helicopter. But there is no good explanation for why the Gallifreyans, being Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, even have such things! Since they could easily locate the Doctor from the Capital, why not just transmat or time scoop him directly to the High Council chamber?
  • Just because it LOOKS like a jump jet, doesn't mean it IS one. That's been the point hammered home about the TARDIS and Time Lord technology throughout the series. The TARDIS doesn't LOOK like a spaceship, but it's actually one of the most advanced ever made by anyone - and even that one is considered old tech by Time Lords. They can make anything look like anything else. The Daleks (the closest thing the Time Lords probably have to a 'contemporary' race, given the two fought each other to stalemate) could cloak and shield entire planets.
  • Remember, this is a Gallifrey that has not long come out of the Time War, so it's possible they've expended a lot of their advanced tech and have been forced to fall back on more 'conventional' methods. (Remember that back in "Day of the Doctor" it was stated they'd used up all the forbidden weapons save the Moment - and only because they couldn't use the Moment, otherwise that'd have been long gone by then - so it's not unreasonable to think that over the course of the war they'd used up other, less extreme, resources too.) Alternatively, those attack craft are a form of battle TARDIS which have had their chameleon circuits locked in that form for whatever reason (maybe the General has a thing for that design). As for why not T-mat or Time Scoop the Doctor to the Council Chamber, maybe Rassilon, with his huge ego, wanted to make a public display of the Doctor by humbling him in front of all of those civilians who saw the Doctor as their saviour?
  • That would put an interesting twist to when the Doctor could figure out the war on Skaro was lasting a long time by the different technology levels employed.
  • The aircraft in question may just be a whole lot cheaper to produce and operate, making them more appropriate for domestic air patrols than fancy Time Lord hypertech. Hypothetically, a Real Life government could equip every small-town police force in the country with AI-controlled drone missiles, jump jets and tracking satellites, but that doesn't mean they should do so.
  • While a show of force seemed a possibility on first viewing, Fridge Logic kicks in when one considers that Rassilon showing up with a firing squad at his back actually makes him look weak, rather than strong. Now, perhaps his aged new body is an outward sign of Villain Decay. But again he is a firm believer in Clothes Make the Superman and is generally tricked out with bling-of-mass-destruction (more on that below). Forcibly bringing the Doctor to him would seem like a more intimidating gesture to make for the Plebs, as it would emphasize his godlike power and reach. On the vehicle front, we know that there were TARDIS's in the repair bays of the Capital, because the Doctor stole one. While the hypothesis that the attack ships were Battle TARDIS's is interesting, there is no visual evidence or dialogue to support this. As with the situation in The Day of the Doctor, the Time Lords seem to habitually underarm their troops. Considering how much powerful technology the Time Lords can squeeze into very small devices, that bulky armour should by all rights contain force fields, anti-gravity systems, Vortex Manipulators and at least something equivalent to a sonic screwdriver. The Frickin' Laser Beams remain inexplicable.
  • There's actually precedent for that style of vehicle in the Classic series: the Whomobile. Three claimed to have based its design on a kind of (presumably civilian) vehicle he'd used as a youth on Gallifrey, and its aesthetics - curved lines, semi-aerodynamic shape, vaned exhaust grills - bears at least some similarities to the gunship seen here.

     Why does the Doctor banish Rassilon and the High Council? 
Isn't banishing Rassilon and the High Council members an impending case of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! (something which the Doctor is legendary for)? As the Time Lords' ancient Emperor Scientist, Rassilon invented the majority of the technology that made them so powerful in the first place! Just to reiterate that - he is the inventor of things like the Eye of Harmony, and at the very least contributed to the creation of TARDIS's, possibly the Time Scoop, Gallifrey's defenses and the Matrix! In terms of sheer potential to cause mayhem, Rassilon is whole orders of magnitude beyond the Master/Missy on the Sliding Scale of Villain Threat. Even banishing him in a conventional spacecraft, rather than giving him a TARDIS, would only seem to delay inevitable future calamity. Especially if the exiled High Council members join up with him and continue to serve as his minions...
  • Maybe not the end of time, maybe the "end of the universe" they're talking about is the end of space, not time.
  • Still, given that the Doctor is acting out of character as a Villain Protagonist, anyway, why not have them executed to make sure they don't cause trouble for him or anyone else later? They are war criminals after all, and much of the universe probably wants their heads on pikes. He'd probably be lauded as a hero for giving them what they had coming, which would only make things better for him in the long run!
    • Because part of him is still consciously holding back from becoming a Villain Protagonist, presumably because he knows Clara would be disappointed in him if he did.
  • Presumably because the Doctor saying, "Get off my planet" was too much for the writers to resist.
  • The 2016 Doctor Who Titan miniseries Supremacy of the Cybermen is specifically about Rassilon seeking revenge against the Doctor — as soon as he's exiled (alone), he tracks down the last Cybermen and teams up with them to retake Gallifrey, and from there the universe. The comics are not usually considered hard canon (same goes for the audio stories and the novels) and the story ended with a Reset Button, but still, it's telling that the Expanded Universe is playing with this idea.
  • A Deleted Scene reveals that the High Council was actually sent to work in the sewers of Gallifrey instead of being exiled along with Rassilon.

     The Hybrid mystery 
Won't the Time Lords - and I suppose, the Daleks - continue to pester the Doctor and Clara about the prophecy of the Hybrid? He did not give them any answers about what the Hybrid refers to, and the Time Lords should still be fearful about a warrior that "will stand in the ruins of Gallifrey, and destroy a billion hearts to heal his own". A prophecy as terrifying as that would be difficult for the Time Lords to ignore, despite the difficulties they have had in their latest attempt at getting answers.
  • It would not be surprising if the 'Hybrid' storyline is returned to in future episodes. It was dropped in late in the season, was not resolved, and multiple characters have multiple theories about what the prophecy means, since multiple individuals fulfil the criteria when looked at in different ways. The Hybrid may well be a Time Lord/Dalek hybrid, a Time Lord/Human hybrid, the Doctor, or something else entirely that is made up to satisfy the requirements of the plot. This is Dr. Who, a show not massively concerned with the tightness of plots with regards to how they relate to one another.
  • From the subtext, "Hell Bent" makes it sound like it was Rassilon who was obsessed with the Hybrid prophecy, not the Time Lords collectively. The Daleks themselves don't have the imagination to worry about it now that the Cult of Skaro are all dead, and Davros thinks Gallifrey is lost in some other reality, so he doesn't actually need to worry about whether it encounters the Hybrid there or not.
  • The script for "Heaven Sent" confirms that the Doctor thinks Ashildr/Me was the Hybrid all along. While it's understandable that he didn't want to lose his one bargaining chip in the confession dial by spilling the beans then, why does he regard it as "a dark secret that must never be revealed"? And why was he able to confess he was scared of the Hybrid when, by that point, she was more scared of him than vice versa?
    • The Doctor first confessed that he knew The Hybrid was real and then confessed that he was afraid. He didn't actually state that he was afraid of The Hybrid.
  • The Doctor and Clara in tandem being the Hybrid? That's not how hybrids work, and the prophecy only refers to it in the singular. Ashildr should be smart enough to know this, so is her theory serious or just another attempt by all the jerk immortals in this episode to guilt-trip the Doctor into giving up his chance at happiness and resign himself to loneliness?
    • There is a line of dialogue at the end of "Heaven Sent", however, that opens the door to the Hybrid being two individuals: the Doctor introduces the concept of the Time Lords getting the prophecy wrong. Ashildr also touches on this when she talks about the prophecy theories. Also in a show that plays fast and furious with terminology (placing the end of the universe mere billions of years hence, for example), it is extremely possible that Moffat did consciously tie the word "Hybrid" to a technically incorrect term. Also, the Holy Trinity is treated as a singular even though it's meant to be three entities.
  • Even if the "Heaven Sent" shooting script used a capital M in "Me" and the Doctor claims to believe Ashildr is the Hybrid here, isn't it possible that he's lying and he meant himself in the last line of "Heaven Sent"? He usually refers to her as Ashildr, after all, and he was willing to forsake his title of "Doctor" when he threatened her in "Face the Raven" — in fact, he shouted "you are stuck with ME!" In this episode, he tells Clara that he can't be the Doctor all the time. So if he isn't the Doctor and he won't use his birth name, that might only leave "Me"!
  • Important note: In Fall 2016 Word of God — or at least Steven Moffat — confirmed that the Doctor and Clara were the Hybrid. Unless they meet again at some point and the Doctor recovers his memories (and it may only apply to Twelve in particular), the Hybrid is no longer a concern.
  • The hybrid is no longer relevant anyway, because the prophecy has already been fulfilled. Whether the hybrid was Ashildr, or the Doctor, or the Doctor plus Clara....they already stood in the last remains of Gallifrey! The Doctor already burned billions of hearts to heal his own! There's nothing more to fear from the prophecy because it already came true.

     Why doesn't the Doctor return to Gallifrey at the end? 
If being the Doctor means that one must "always make amends" when they act in an un-Doctorly way, why doesn't he head back to Gallifrey at the end of this story to mend fences with the Time Lords over his actions during his Sanity Slippage? He should have no problem getting there with the telepathic circuits. It would save him from being pursued by them, at the very least, if not Rassilon and co., and he would truly have his home again. He might even get an apology from all involved over how abominably he was treated (i.e. the confession dial), which would be a nice counterpoint to the compassion and forgiveness he displayed in much of Series 9.
  • How do we know he didn't? Considering the focus on the story was on the Doctor and Clara's relationship, not Gallifrey, there was no storytelling reason to have him return to Gallifrey at the end of the episode. What we do see is him dematerializing the TARDIS and heading to parts unknown. Maybe he did go back to Gallifrey. Unless a future episode indicates otherwise, we do not know.
    • But there were plenty of fans who were mad enough that this episode wasn't solely about Gallifrey. It would really upset them to just have him fix things up with them offscreen!
    • Supremacy of the Cybermen, set after this episode, suggests he doesn't even consider returning to Gallifrey until the crisis of the World-Wrecking Wave hits and he needs the Time Lords' help. Because the events of this Expanded Universe story end with a Reset Button, it wouldn't have any impact on timeline even if it were canon, but the implication that the Doctor hasn't gone back to Gallifrey is telling.
  • The Doctor hasn't exactly been eager to visit Gallifrey. In "Heaven Sent" he sees the azbantium wall labeled HOME and his immediate reaction is that it leads to the TARDIS, not Gallifrey. Gallifrey hasn't been his home for a long time, if it ever was. Every time he's visited Gallifrey, he can't wait to leave it.

     Alternatively, why doesn't he mend fences with Ohila? 
It would be a great bookend to the "Prologue" short: Now that he's sane again, he goes back to Karn and Ohila and they talk about their falling out. He admits he was wrong trying to defy the fates by saving Clara — and then she admits that she acted cruelly and cowardly too, in not acknowledging and understanding the pain he was in. After all, he really was owed a chance at happiness after all his suffering, and all he's done for the universe over the years.
  • Again, we don't know what he did after leaving Nevada.
    • Given how bitterly they parted, it would be dramatically unsatisfying to have the Doctor and Ohila shooting the breeze again later with little more than a brief acknowledgement that they mended fences, or to have this be the end of their story considering her status as one of Twelve's few confidantes. Perhaps it's going to happen in Series 10 or the Twelfth Doctor's Grand Finale, but given that at least 24 years pass between Series 9 and 10, why would he put it off so long if it's important to "always make amends" and both of them were in the wrong (he for trying to bring back Clara and — arguably — banishing Rassilon; she for not acknowledging his suffering, admitting he was wronged, and trying to help him)?
    • The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: The 2017 BBC Audio story The Lost Flame has the Doctor suspecting he isn't as welcome on Karn as he once was due to the turbulence the TARDIS goes through when it lands there, implying that he hadn't been there since "Hell Bent". But the events of this episode are otherwise never brought up by either character. Ohila notes that she's never claimed to be the Doctor's friend, and she does secretly use him and his TARDIS to track down the wayward Sisterhood member behind the events of the Story Arc this audio (the last of four) concludes, seeing it as collecting on all the times the Sisterhood saved him. Otherwise the relationship is the same as it ever was, with both people apparently choosing to put the past in the past.

     Nobody loves the Doctor, part 2 
Why don't Ohila and the Time Lords drop the What the Hell, Hero? speeches and offer to help the Doctor through his grief as a way of stopping his Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds actions? Perhaps saying something like "You can't save Clara from her death — but you can do this instead; you're right — you've earned it for all you've gone through and done for us and others." Surely they have some means of making up for the wrongs done to him in the past two episodes: A way to truly revive Clara which won't undo a fixed moment in time (how about Elixir of Life?), a new companion, grief counseling, reuniting him with his long-lost family or the Clara "echo" on Gallifrey (assuming they're still around), and so on. Maybe the reason the Doctor doesn't return to Gallifrey at the end is because he's realized he never should have saved it after all...
  • First, they have no idea the state of his grief after he leaves the dial. Remembering his meltdown was all in his head. Second, they had no idea he was planning to extract Clara and once it happens, things move too fact for them to do anything. Third, the Doctor is supposed to be a big boy who was once the War Doctor. Why would he need support? Even Head!Clara calls him up on this in "Heaven Sent". Of course we know he was in need of a hug, but there is no indication given at any time in front of the Time Lords and Ohila that the man who just led a swift and bloodless coup against Rassilon would need any emotional support.
    • This still counts as a monumental case of characters holding the Idiot Ball, because of course a man who willingly spent billions of years being tortured can only be emotionally healthy and mentally stable and couldn't possibly be hiding any ulterior motives.

     Why does Clara abandon the mind-wiped Doctor on Earth? 
She and Ashildr leave him to fruitlessly search for his TARDIS — possibly returning to London and then heading back in the process, and how did he do that anyway? They could have just as easily returned him to Gallifrey, and explain everything that's happened to them and him since he fled. They could make sure he would be treated with kindness and mercy by the Time Lords and/or Ohila, and by the time he came around he'd even find his TARDIS time-scooped from London for him, while Clara's returned to her intended fate. Or she could have taken him back to London, where his TARDIS is and where she can anonymously get in touch with UNIT and let them know he needs help. They would certainly be able to keep him comfortable and arrange counseling for him during his recovery, if she felt that the Time Lords and Ohila would not be up to the job of doing so.
  • It's possible she wasn't completely accurate in piloting the TARDIS and was probably grateful to get him to the right decade. As for leaving him on Earth, the series established decades ago that the Doctor considered Earth to be his home, and Clara - the woman who once gave a detailed biography of the Doctor when bluffing the Cybermen - would have been well aware of this.
    • But the closing monologue in "The Day of the Doctor" has Eleven saying that Gallifrey is his home, and Clara knew how badly he and later Twelve wanted to find it again. Really, this whole finale ruins the ending of that special...
    • On the contrary, Twelve outright states that Earth is his home in "In the Forest of the Night". That's the world he loves, the world he's spent much of his life on, the world all his closest friends are from. Since the Time War, he's desperately wanted to know that Gallifrey exists - that his people are safe and free from Rassilon's tyranny - but he's never actually said he meant to live there: heck, he could never stand the place longer than a few episodes, even before he had any traumatic war-memories to haunt him there.

     Why doesn't the Doctor use a Paradox Machine to save Clara? 
In the third season finale it was explicitly stated that the Paradox Machine allows you to change your own past without creating an universe-threatening paradox. So it would allow for the Doctor to save Clara without the paradox looming over her head and forcing her to let the raven kill her eventually. The reason the Doctor hasn't used the Machine in previous situations like this could be handwaved by saying he doesn't want to dismantle the TARDIS, the only one he has, to create it. But in this episode the Doctor is finally back on Gallifrey, with plenty of TARDISes and TARDIS parts available. He is desperate to save Clara, and the solution he comes up with is still dangerous: if someone or something manages to destroy Clara before she returns to her dying moment, the paradox still happens. So why doesn't the Doctor consider the Paradox Machine as a safer alternative? It would also allow Clara to live her life as a normal person instead of an undying zombie.
  • When the Master converted the Doctor's TARDIS into a Paradox Machine, it's strongly implied that doing so constituted excruciating torture for poor Sexy. Do you really think that she (or Clara for that matter) would permit the Doctor to do something like that to one of her "sisters"?
  • Sexy isn't there on Gallifrey, and Clara doesn't know anything about how the Paradox Machine is built, so neither one of them would stop the Doctor, who is desperate to save Clara any way he can. Also, it's never been established that the other TARDISes are even alive and sentient the way Sexy is.
    • Well first, it's likely that if the Doctor's TARDIS has a consciousness that allows it to function the way it does, it's reasonable to assume it's a built-in function, especially since there is no indication that it is unique in that respect. Secondly, the paradox machine seemed like a rather haphazard and fragile device. Jack was able to destroy it with a handful of bullets. If the Doctor builds one to save Clara, the minute it so much as loses full power it could potentially unravel the whole plan. An extraction chamber however, is a fully developed and time testednote  device and so is more likely to support the Doctor's plan long-term. A long-term plan to keep her alive is an intrinsically bad idea (as stated several times in the episode), but the extraction chamber is probably just the more reliable option in the Doctor's eyes. It's also possible it was a power move on the part of the Doctor. He uses the Time Lords' own device to save his friend who's death they were responsible for in the first place, putting them and the space-time continuum in peril, just to remind them what can happen when he's really pissed off.
    • Sexy explicitly calls the wrecked TARDISes on House her "sisters" in "The Doctor's Wife". Generally, you don't call non-sentient mechanisms devoid of consciousness "sister".
  • Why would he need to convert a TARDIS on Gallifrey? He could simply build one from scratch, or order the Time Lords to do so. Being Lord President would give him such authority, after all.

     Why does the Doctor let Ashildr/Me follow him onto TARDIS 2.0? 
Leaving her behind would be the perfect punishment for her betraying him, especially after what he went through in the confession dial: Letting her know what Dying Alone and unloved feels like for a change.
  • It's hardly a "punishment" if she's already resigned to remaining there until the universe collapses around her. By that point, the Doctor doesn't see any benefit to be had in stranding her there; giving her a chance to make up for her mistakes is a better option, and she can't do that if he leaves her marooned. Plus, for all we know Ashildr/Me wasn't actually stuck there: she could have a stolen TARDIS of her own in the next room, waiting for whenever she gets bored with watching the stars burn out.
  • The Doctor isn't a bastard. And besides, as the last person left in the universe, Ashildr does command some respect.
    • She does? Certainly not from the Doctor.
    • Also, let's ask the Family of Blood about what the Doctor is capable of doing to those who really cheese him off...
    • That was another Doctor, and the personality clearly changes with each regeneration.
    • While it is true that Twelve isn't the same Doctor Ten was, he was willing to kill Missy in "Death in Heaven" despite seeing her as a friend gone bad (much like Ashildr/Me), slew the Fisher King in "Before the Flood", forces a regeneration on the General in this episode just to escape with Clara, and may well have been responsible for the Half-Face Man's death in "Deep Breath". He's not shy about admitting all the blood he already has on his hands. He was also ready to destroy Ashildr/Me and the trap street back in "Face the Raven", so after his suffering in the confession dial, why would he be any less ready to give her what for, especially in his mentally compromised state? Would the audience hold a death like this against him, given what he's been responsible for before?
  • The denouement of this story hinges on the Doctor being unable to completely disregard what Clara wants. Clara didn't want Ashildr or anyone else to suffer the Doctor's Revenge. He couldn't hold to that order with Rassilon and company, but Clara can be upset with him yet understand why he couldn't once she finds out what they did to him. By comparison, Ashildr is relatively innocent, and he can't abandon her without Clara figuring out what he's done (indeed, she's eavesdropping on them all along). As she would likely be even more upset with him than she already is over such an act, he shows Ashildr mercy instead.
  • In addition/alternatively, perhaps he plans to finally make her a companion, given his intention to mind-wipe Clara and return her to Earth — after all, she would be virtually "unbreakable" and they could just seek cheap thrills across space and time. At this point in the story, he may not want to risk caring about others again (via the influence of mortals) after his bitter experiences. But in the end, of course, he chooses to be the Doctor again.
  • Alternately, he'd intended to leave Ashildr on Earth to watch over Clara after he'd erased Clara's memories. When they'd last met, Ashildr had proven she's capable of integrating the memory-erased (Rigsy) back into their own lives without giving away what's happened to them, and she herself considered it her duty to attend to those whom the Doctor leaves behind. Demanding that she fulfill those tasks for Clara - the very person her "Face the Raven" schemes had inadvertently condemned - for the rest of his amnesiac friend's life could've been something Twelve (who knew he couldn't bear to watch over Clara himself, yet still wanted to protect her from harm) saw as Ashildr's due penance.

     Why don't the Doctor and Clara just fly away somewhere? 
Since she does have wiggle room and is functionally immortal, they could have had millennia of adventures together without him having to worry about his duty of care. He'll never have to worry about losing someone he cares about, never need to worry about post-companion grief and loneliness. Given how badly grief and loneliness warped him in this story, isn't he at the point where it is actually better for him to have an immortal companion?
  • The Doctor explains why a few moments earlier. Except the only difference is that the roles would be reversed with Clara, now immortal, being the one to fuss over the Doctor and potentially break Time to save him. A key plot element in the episode is how the two are too much alike. Both the Doctor and Clara knows that being together would be dangerous. Also, the episode makes it pretty clear that of the options presented, the Hybrid being the Doctor and Clara is the correct one since it's the only option that was directly referenced at the start of the season (by Missy), and Clara's entire character arc has been about her becoming the Doctor in everything but name. They both know that to stay together means to create the Hybrid and they can't take that risk.
    • But together, they have already saved the universe from the Great Intelligence, saved Gallifrey and the Time Lords, and kept them from returning to the universe and reigniting the Last Great Time War — and those are just the biggest things they've pulled off. Those are all objectively good things, and the prophecy of the Hybrid didn't specify that it would inevitably be a force for woe. Now that they know they're the Hybrid, they could be more careful!
    • The whole point of the episode is that they BOTH realise how insanely risky their behaviour has become. Clara became a risk junkie, not even fazed by hanging upside down out of the TARDIS while it circles hundreds of feet above London. She actually enjoyed it. The Doctor was becoming more and more concerned with her, as he has with other companions in the revived series. None of the Doctor's companions provoked him in this way, whether in a good or bad way (and he certainly was regularly provoked by her). Their mutually destructive behaviour wasn't noticed until the very end. And, it HAD to be the Doctor that lost memories of her. It would never have been the other way around.

     Why don't the Doctor and Clara just go back to Gallifrey to finish things up? 
The whole episode is leading up to this ending: The Doctor has his change of hearts, whereupon he takes Clara back to Gallifrey. They bid each other adieu, perhaps there is a Long Last Look, and she dies as she must. Then he and the Time Lords can have a powwow over what they did to him, and how they might atone now that he has broken a cycle of cruelty. He has his home again. Instead, there's the whole business with the mind wipe and Clara running away from her death instead, after claiming she was ready to face it. Why?
  • Because there would be no episode if they did that?
    • That's how the episode should probably have ended. However, the writer's precious character Clara would not have got to essentially BE the Doctor if that had happened. She is functionally immortal, owns and can pilot a TARDIS, and even has her own companion!
    • How so? All this would require is a different final 10-or-so minutes, with the characters deciding to return after Clara objects to the mind wipe and the Doctor has his change of hearts, and no Framing Device.
  • Because in this case, the real dilemma of the episode isn't Rassilon being a dick or the other Time Lords being uncooperative. It's the Doctor, himself, being incapable of having a change of hearts. He knows Clara has to die, he knows he has to lose her, but he just can't give her up, whatever the cost. Clara can't persuade him otherwise now, any more than she could talk him into making peace with her death in "Face The Raven". There's no way for him to get beyond his desperate dependency upon Clara, except for him to set his memories and feelings for her aside.
    • He intended to mind wipe her and drop her off on Earth, presumably never seeing her again afterward. If he really were that dependent on her emotionally, wouldn't he be busy finding ways for them to stay together instead? Also, if there really is no way for him to move on from Clara except getting mind wiped — if he is that mentally damaged by his recent experiences — aren't all the other characters just treating him like dirt for something he can no longer help? It's hard to see the Doctor as a Villain Protagonist so much as a very sick man.

     Double standard ending 
  • Both Clara and Ashildr/Me tell the Doctor that he must accept the former's death and move on. But if it's so important to accept that things end, why do the twosome decide to take advantage of wiggle room and bop around the universe in TARDIS 2.0 instead of going straight back to Gallifrey so the former can meet her death? And why don't they at least acknowledge that they owe their new freedom to the man they've abandoned on Earth?
    • The psychological issue and the objective right thing for Clara to do are different things. For the sake of his own psyche, the Doctor should accept that he can't save everyone, and, in this case, should just give up on saving Clara if it can only be done at the risk of a great cost to the universe. From Clara's point of view on the other hand, if she can figure out a non-universe-exploding way to survive for a while longer, she has no reason not to take it. The point is that the Doctor was mentally damaged to the extent that he was willing to go through with Clara's resurrection even if it blew up the universe.
    • If you were told that you must die, but you had the option to delay this for as long as you like, you'd take the option. "Hell Bent" is an origin story for Doctor 2.0/Clara.
      • The Clara story was always going to end with her essentially outdoing the Doctor in every way possible, just as she had throughout the series. She becomes immortal, gets a TARDIS and a companion, and the freedom to go anywhere. Clara even managed to cheat death!
      • They could have at least made sure the Doctor was happy by way of thanking him for their newfound fortunes. He won that for Clara over 4 and 1/2 billion years, after all, and Ashildr/Me never did make it up to him for the whole betrayal thing. They bring him back his TARDIS, but he doesn't seem happy at the end what with the hole in his memory; would dropping off a new companion or something be too much to ask — especially since they know as well as anyone he shouldn't be left alone?

     Why doesn't waitress!Clara tell the mind-wiped Doctor who she is — or at least repeat what she said in the Cloisters? 
If her message to him were that important, why not make it clear instead of leaving it as a song? She could just say, "You know, a friend once told me..."
  • Because her main purpose was to test that the mind-wipe did work. It hurts her to realize it does, but once he says to her face that he'd recognize her if he ever saw her again, she knows he's lost.

     Why is the Doctor accused of breaking every code he ever lived by for trying to save a life, his whole reason for being? 
It took the Doctor great courage to escape the confession dial the long way 'round, and to confront Rassilon with nothing but a Batman Gambit on his side. He showed mercy by only exiling him and the High Council for their crimes instead of turning them into red stains on the sand. It takes courage to risk the universe to save the life of one person — and the Doctor's mission in life is to save people. He does not give up, and he does not give in. Why do none of the other characters recognize this and realize that he's still being the Doctor, just in a more proactive way than usual?
  • As we saw in "The Wedding of River Song", changing history so that someone who should've died doesn't can cause a massive, universe-threatening paradox. So the Doctor is essentially putting the universe and everyone who lives in it at risk just to save one person, because he happens to care for her. He's acting very selfishly, and his decision to save Clara can doom countless others. If his mission is to protect life, then putting so many at risk because of one person, a person who specifically asked the Doctor to honour her death and not try to change it, is indeed a violation of his most important code.
  • Also note that it's a Time Lord making this accusation, and most Time Lords tend to put a lot more value on the sanctity of time than the Doctor.
    • But Ohila's not a Time Lord. Also, she encouraged him to give up his name and principles to do something about the Time War back in "The Day of the Doctor"; is she condemning him now because what he's doing is wrong or because it isn't useful?
      • Well, Ohila is sort of a Time Lady, to be fair.

     Why does Clara even have wiggle room — shouldn't there be Reapers everywhere, or time collapsing in on itself? 
So the Doctor has created a Reality-Breaking Paradox and time won't heal until Clara returns to Gallifrey to die....yet she decides to go back the long way 'round and there isn't untold destruction being wreaked on the universe. Certainly Ashildr doesn't say anything about untold destruction being wreaked on the universe — which she's lived through so much of by that point — in the cloisters.
  • For the last time, there are no more Reapers. Reapers = kaboom. Everything points to them not having survived Big Bang II.
  • As long as Clara eventually returns to be killed by the Raven, there will be no paradox, so the Reapers shouldn't appear unless the time-displaced Clara is somehow destroyed before she can return to Trap Street. Also, in "Father's Day", after the Reapers have appeared, the Doctor tells Rose that the Time Lords would have been able to handle them, had they not been lost in the Time War. The implication is that Time Lord technology can somehow smooth over paradoxes, which will avoid a Reaper attack. And Clara was saved by Time Lord technology.
  • Assuming Season 10 doesn't show the universe collapsing and Reapers running rampant, it's probably safe to assume Clara does go back eventually.

     Why did the Doctor steal another TARDIS instead of summoning his own once he was out of the dial? 
Assuming that it was not possible to summon ol' Sexy while he was in the confession dial (indeed, he thought "Home" was going to be the TARDIS), why didn't he immediately summon it once he was out? It would have made his plan to rescue Clara and make a getaway a lot easier — no need to risk danger in the Cloisters — or allow him to put a different, less risky plan into action.
  • The Doctor does not have the ability to summon his TARDIS remotely and never has except for one story, "The Two Doctors", in which the Time Lords give the Second Doctor temporary use of such a device. Even if he could, the TARDIS is billions of years in the past and on Earth.
    • The TARDIS is a TIME MACHINE. When the Doctor is doesn't matter, only the ability or lack thereof to communicate with it.
  • We've seen the Doctor summon the TARDIS using the key in the past, and Ashildr/Me took his key away from him. He may not need the key to get in, snapping his fingers instead these days, so there must be some reason he keeps one on his person.

     Now that he's back in his TARDIS, isn't the Doctor's mind wipe moot? 
Surely he has plenty of mementos, pictures, etc. of Clara in there, and the TARDIS itself certainly remembers her. Won't he quickly be able to piece together his lost memories of her — and if not, won't the TARDIS help him since he would like them back?
  • Although the episode does not address this explicitly, the fact Clara has been in the TARDIS — to leave the chalkboard message and a new coat for the Doctor — strongly implies she de-Clara'ed the TARDIS before returning it to the Doctor. "Sleep No More" confirmed that she once again has a TARDIS key.
    • This is a good explanation...except it falls apart when one realizes she left Rigsy's memorial to her on the TARDIS's exterior. Also, why would Sexy allow itself to effectively be mind-wiped and unable to help the Doctor remember what he wants to know?
    • Clara may not have had the heart to erase Rigsy's work, particularly given that she planned to face the Doctor directly and confirm he had no memory of her left. Having him see the artwork wouldn't change that, if seeing Clara herself wouldn't. As for Sexy's memories, remember that the TARDIS doesn't dislike Clara anymore, so she could've just asked it not to let the Doctor know anything about her, for his own good.
    • He remembers Clara. He just couldn't remember her face or voice. He remembers EVERYTHING they did together, every second. Once he twigs in the episode that the waitress was Clara, he now has a face and voice to go with the name. Ergo, he has already remembered Clara in the most important way. The mind wipe was only really relevant if it had been performed on Clara herself, as it SHOULD have been.
    • Rigsy's painting of Clara wasn't labeled with her name, so could not confirm that the waitress he'd talked to was Clara. And the neural block also wiped out the most critical element of all: his feelings for Clara, once an overriding obsession and now just a song in his head.
  • Watch the Doctor at the end of "Hell Bent." When things start to get too close to Clara being Clara, he turns away and starts noodling on his guitar. When he sees his TARDIS decorated in memorial to Clara, he starts looking at the top, scans down to about halfway, and then he stops, blinks a bit, and starts looking upward again. Clara's picture is just below where he stops looking. I think the neural block is an active inhibition on remembering Clara, not just a one-time wipe; it's the reason he can't look down at the picture or latch onto the conversation and ferret out what's going on. Once he was back on the TARDIS, he may even have forgotten what the waitress looked like, or the fact that his TARDIS had been decorated.

     The Doctor was preparing his plan for 4 and 1/ 2 billion years — why didn't he figure out a way to fix a Reality Breaking Paradox? 
He never reveals to the Time Lords, Ohila, Ashildr or Clara how he's going to heal the wound that saving Clara puts on time when they bring up the issue — just that he intends to break her out of her time looped state, maybe have "cocktails with Moses", mind wipe her, and take her back to Earth to live out a safe life. Given what the Doctor has achieved in other stories, from the Big Finish audio "Neverland" to "The Day of the Doctor", it's odd that after all that time in the confession dial he hasn't managed to figure out how to solve a Reality-Breaking Paradox. Is he just waiting for a Eureka Moment, has faith that time will heal of its own accord, or is this whole business a cosmic Murder-Suicide in progress — i.e., he sacrifices all of creation including himself so Clara can briefly live again, happily?
  • It's very possible he couldn't figure out a way to fix the paradox because it's actually impossible, but by the time he finally got out, his Sanity Slippage had taken full hold and he seriously didn't care as long as he got his Clara back. Alternately, his conversation with Clara in the Cloisters strongly implies that he didn't think everything through. His only priority in the confession dial was to bluff re: the Hybrid long enough to get to Gallifrey and use the extraction chamber to pull Clara out. After that ... he was just winging it. Just as he did in "The Girl Who Died" that reaffirmed that the Doctor does not always have a plan on how to win. He just assumes he'll win and he gets lucky.
    • Nothing is impossible in Doctor Who — the Doctor has reset the universe and saved Gallifrey when even he didn't think it was possible. In fact, what a great ending it would be if it turned out he DID get lucky and Clara lived AND the universe held! It would be a wonderful, uplifting message for all of us: Hold up under all your suffering, be good to others except the truly wicked, have faith and assume you'll win no matter what, and you'll get what you want!

     If the Doctor and Clara are the Hybrid, what does that say about the events of "The Name of the Doctor", "The Day of the Doctor", etc.? 
If they hadn't travelled together, learned from each other, and cared for each other as long as they did, the Great Intelligence would have triumphed, Gallifrey would have fallen, the Time War could have been reignited, etc. Few duos have done as much objective GOOD for the universe as they have. And nothing says the Hybrid will inevitably be a force for woe; vague as the prophecy is, the whole business of burning a billion billion hearts may well have been just the Doctor's confession dial gambit. Shouldn't they be allowed to keep travelling together and continue doing good, now that they know from this experience that they just have to keep better checks and balances upon each other?
  • I don't think Clara wants the Doctor to forget her because of the prophecy, he wants him to forget because losing her made him such a monomaniac that he spent billions of years trying to get to her, and after that broke his own number one rule (never cause time paradoxes), putting the entire universe at risk just to save one person. Clearly Clara was shocked at what the Doctor had become because of his devotion to her, and continuing to travel with him wouldn't change that devotion, so the only real solution that would allow both of them to live their lives was to make him forget about her.
  • It wasn't just the Doctor's concern for Clara that led to the Hybrid being a valid concern. She was quite blatantly turning into a risk-taking danger junkie that assumed that because nothing had killed her up to now, then nothing was going to. The more she wanted to take risks, the more the Doctor would worry that some freak of bad luck would kill her off. The Doctor knows that even as good as he is, as lucky as he is and as feared as he is by the bad things in the universe, occasionally even he dies. He's died at least ten times himself. He's done fairly well to protect companions in the past, but they do die sometimes and Clara is the one companion that sent him off the deep end when she did.

     Would the Doctor really have been better off if he hadn't tried to save Clara? 
Even if he simply said he didn't know what the Hybrid was and been set free on Gallifrey as soon as he'd figured out the confession dial in "Heaven Sent", not undergone four-and-a-half billion years of torment on a Tragic Dream, and still managed to avoid/stop Rassilon's wrath, what would he have done then? The grief he had over Clara's unjust death wouldn't just go away, especially taking into account Word of God that he spent years figuring the dial out the first time around. The Time Lords and Ohila are clearly thoughtless jerks, apparently There Are No Therapists on Gallifrey, and he doesn't have his TARDIS so he can't just start running again. Even if he found a way into the Cloisters and stole another one, as he said in "The Girl Who Died" the pain of losing Clara would still be there, so he wouldn't be his best self until...when? What new companion could compare to Clara so soon after her loss? Where would he go to get psychological treatment? Wouldn't he be tempted to track down Clara echoes or come after Ashildr? All things considered, maybe saving Clara, risky though it was, was the only chance he had to come to terms with her death because only she had a hope of getting through to him.

     More Hybrid Theories/Discussion 
To this troper, the prophecy of the evil "Hybrid" came practically out of nowhere and made very little sense. The conversation the Doctor and Me had at the end of time concerning said Hybrid, however, was golden. It felt like a discussion we might have on this page. I am still confused, however, on whether or not this prophecy was resolved. Given Moffat's propensity for long-term planning, something tells me that it's far from over, and that the truth about the Hybrid will make much more sense and feel much more satisfying, but I just wanted to go over the theories that were brought up onscreen, to make sure I have it all straight:
  • One possible Hybrid warrior, as interpreted by Davros, was a Dalek-Time Lord Hybrid. Probably not, though it was entertaining to see him try.
    • It also adds some retroactive Fridge Brilliance to why Dalek Caan killed all the human/Daleks immediately when they wouldn't obey orders, and why the Cult of Skaro equipped them with kill-switches to begin with. As the only Daleks permitted to have an imagination, they were likely the only ones to have any curiosity or suspicions about the Hybrid prophecy.
  • The Doctor suspected that Me (Ashildr), a warrior-hybrid Mire-Human; this is contingent on the Time Lords having interpreted the prophecy incorrectly, which, given the Time Lords' arrogance and that it opens up a myriad of possibilities to resolve the 'Hybrid' arc, is almost certainly true. Me, on the other hand, has had so little meaningful impact on history (at least, that we know of so far) that this troper just can't picture it.
    • She also points out to the Doctor that she's an (artificially at that) augmented human rather than a half-and-half being.
    • While the script of "Heaven Sent" uses a capitalized "Me" in its final line, it could just as easily be a reference to himself as to Ashildr, since he has already decided not to be the Doctor, but rather The Unfettered, to save Clara. As the Doctor does not use his real name anymore, there might only be Me — he even warned Ashildr in the climax of "Face the Raven", if the Doctor isn't around, she is "stuck with [M]e"! He may have figured out/been told that HE is the Hybrid, and is lying to Ashildr that she is the one to deflect suspicion when she asks. The Doctor IS a Consummate Liar, after all.
  • Then, of course, the Doctor. Naturally, in order to make this one work, we are drawn back to the age-old "half-human" debacle, first brought up in the 1999 TV movie. This troper shares the opinion of Russell T Davies: That the movie is canon, but the Doctor is NOT half-human. Somehow, I seriously doubt that Moffat would do something so canon-altering as confirming this rumour. I don't particularly want to get into this debate, it's been done to death on other forums; if the Doctor is NOT half-human, then Me was probably just drawing on some rumour she had picked up. If the Doctor IS half-human, just for the sake of discussion, does it make this theory any more viable? It could be another attempt to return the mystery to the Doctor's character (which, I daresay, very few of us would mind).
    • This was likely Moffat trolling the fans by referencing it. The Doctor did say quite clearly in the very much canon movie that he is half-human. The Doctor, however, often lies...
  • The theory that they decided on in-universe (sort of) was that the Hybrid referred to the partnership of Clara and the Doctor. I can easily see that their bond and the Doctor's selfishness could have and would have caused a lot of unnecessary problems for the universe, and like any of the Doctor's companions, it was time to cut her off. But this was just such a round-about "fulfilment" of the prophecy that I really can't buy that it's the end-all be-all answer. Thoughts?
    • While Moffat has since confirmed it was in fact this interpretation that was correct, it's awkward since, as noted above, their partnership did a lot of good for the universe despite being initiated and initially maintained by Missy to cause the Doctor grief. In the end, the relationship was not bad in and of itself; it just went on too long and became co-dependent as their personalities slowly synced up in the wake of such traumas as her scattering herself in his timeline, his regeneration and altered personality, the death of Danny leaving her with no real reason not to keep travelling with him, etc. Once Clara was unjustly executed and the Doctor tortured, there was no hope of it being healthy again, at least on the Doctor's end.
    • Alternatively, since the Doctor previously noted in "Heaven Sent" that there was no conformation in the prophecies as to whether it was good or evil, it's possible the Hybrid was Good All Along and things would have naturally worked out if the Doctor and Clara remained together. But everyone assumed the worst — or, alternatively, some didn't want that to happen because it would have looked bad for the Time Lords as a race, or simply wanted evil to thrive — and ultimately convinced the Doctor of it, perhaps ruining a golden age for the universe as the Tenth Doctor did for Britain when he helped unseat Harriet Jones, and thus making the ending of Series 9 unutterably tragic!
  • Or, it's possible the Hybrid has not yet happened, and won't for many (Time Lord) generations.
  • Or it's River Song (human/Time Lady) or her daughter or son with the Doctor (during those 24 years), or Susan's child with her human husband, or....

     Why doesn't the Doctor point out that nothing, or at least nothing good, exists after death in the Whoniverse, in which case Ashildr and Clara should be grateful he saved them? 
  • The Series 8 finale established that the human conception of the afterlife as a sort of Heaven was a lie created by Missy. Torchwood suggests it's Cessation of Existence at best, horrible things beyond at worst. No suggestions of anything better have been made. Perhaps the Doctor becoming more and more desperate to save those he cares about stems from this knowledge as much as anything else. Perhaps, had he been allowed to keep going and let Time and Space unravel a bit, he could have found a way to eliminate death from the universe altogether, and who wouldn't have wanted that?
Twice Upon a Time would soon show a man-made, explicitly non-evil one, and it is this troper's opinion that it's only one of many created all over time and space by basically any race with access to sufficiently advanced technology.
  • It may just be because of my own opinions on the existence of an afterlife, but I've never seen anything in the Whoniverse that definitively reveals whether or not there is an "after-life", in any traditional sense. The Netherworld created by Missy wasn't meant to be the afterlife, more like a way to trap consciousness on their way to... whatever exists in the Whoniverse, be it Heaven, Valhalla, or cessation of existence. Basically, a detour, not a dead end. Not saying there is, not saying there isn't. Just saying that there's still room for interpretation.
  • Because the Doctor knows that everyone experiences something different when they die. While Torchwood had some suggestion of Cessation of Existence, one of the Doctor's own companions (Dr. Grace Holloway) assured him that "there's nothing to be scared of" on the other side.
    • How does the viewer know she didn't just briefly visit the Nethersphere?
    • How does the viewer know that the Torchwood Cessation of Existence wasn't actually people visiting the Nethersphere, then having their memory wiped because Missy didn't want that lot giving her game away?
  • Doctor Who never comes down on one side or the other. It takes the sci-fi safe route of simply letting the viewer assume, and never dictates anything. In essence, there is no proof, so we don't know. It might be the Cessation of Existence, and that thought drives many people's actions in life. The Doctor needn't assume either - he helps people in the here and now.

     Why didn't the Doctor just ask — or threaten — the Time Lords to help him save Clara, since they owe both of them? 
Had it not been for Clara's interference/encouragement in both "The Day of the Doctor" and "The Time of the Doctor", Gallifrey would have fallen, as Twelve's existence was needed to save Gallifrey to begin with. With this in mind, the Time Lords, indeed all of Gallifrey, owe both Clara and the Doctor their lives. So...the Doctor could have just escaped the confession dial by telling the truth about the Hybrid and returned to Gallifrey at last, assuming Rassilon didn't have him killed straightaway, and really the chances of that happening were probably slim given the support the Doctor has in "Hell Bent"'s first act. Having lost Clara as an indirect victim of the Time Lords' treachery, he would still have a bargaining chip in the fact that they wouldn't exist if not for her. So shouldn't they pay their debt to her and atone for their vicious crimes by safely bringing her back from the grave? If the Time Lords' hearts are too stony to be turned by such a request, Twelve could always threaten to break out the Moment, or something similar, and finally end this blight on the universe that proved itself unworthy of a second chance...after all, he's really angry, and who would miss 'em?
  • Time Lords aren't particularly nice or honorable. Classic Era, they refused to interfere in time, and Time War era, they became "just as bad as the Daleks". Not sure how they are post-Time War, but it's probably safe to say that they are still arrogant, pompous, and miles above a puny human being. This troper has always interpreted the Time Lord's giving the Doctor a new set of regenerations as, "we need this moron to get us out of the time lock," not, "we're so grateful to him for saving us!" Why in the world would the Time Lords bring Clara back? As for the part about the Doctor breaking out threats, perhaps he had already thought of that, and decided that the plan he eventually did use would work better.
  • They CAN'T save Clara. It's even said that she's been dead for billions of years and it's essentially a fixed point. Not necessarily a Fixed Point In Time in the Dr. Who sense, but historically she has been dead for all that time. All the weight of the history of spacetime is essentially resisting the Doctor's efforts to save her, because she's been dead too long. Had the dial been brought to an earlier point in time, it may have been much easier to save her with the extraction chamber idea. The Doctor simply hoped it would work, as it was the only thing he could really try.
  • It may well be a genuine Fixed Point In Time, given that it was witnessed by a Time Lord. But I don't think how long ago it happened matters, given that they are time travelers. It was just as fixed five minutes after it happened as five billion years later.

     Why is it that neither the Doctor, nor the Time Lords thought of The Key to Time? 
The Key to Time is a cosmic artifact that maintains the equilibrium of the universe. In-universe, something like that would be perfect for not only bringing Clara back, but doing so with zero consequences. Not only that, out-of-universe the writers wouldn't have needed to come up with the newer concept of The Hybrid.
  • The Key took the Fourth Doctor a whole season to pull together. Twelve trying to track all six pieces down without his own TARDIS would have been too much to add to a season finale that already involved the Time Lords. Series 10 could have been built around this concept, perhaps, but it would fundamentally change the nature of Doctor Who to have him travelling the universe not to help the helpless and/or have wacky adventures but rather to bring a woman back from the grave. Indeed part of the point of this story is that the Doctor can't obsess over one person without giving up the things that make him the Doctor. This is not to say that he can't fall in love/love others, but he must keep a bigger picture in mind and accept he will never have anyone forever. This is why he gets an unhappy personal outcome in this story, but a happy ending in "The Husbands of River Song".
  • Even if he'd thought of it, he'd need the White Guardian's tracer to track down where all the Key's pieces went after Four scattered them. There's no guarantee that any of them went back to the same time-space locations or guises as when Four and Romana initially tracked them down - yes, Astra reappeared, but for all we know the White Guardian recreated her from whole cloth rather than having the sixth piece revert - and zero chance that the WG would let the Doctor borrow the tracer merely for a personal agenda.

     Why is the Doctor cheated of his happy ending? 
The Doctor's horrifying suffering over the course of this three-parter comes from the good things he did: saving Gallifrey, saving Ashildr and inspiring Clara to be a hero (however reckless) herself. He endures anyway, not letting his tormentors having the satisfaction of getting the information they wanted from him, and finds a way to save Clara. He has earned his happy ending, so the fates must now go HIS way. He doesn't need to find a way to save Clara, because Time and Space must bow to all his sacrifice and suffering. He should end the story with a happy, immortal companion, and he need never be lonely again. The Doctor has, as noted above, been lucky many times before; he saved Gallifrey when even he didn't think it was possible, and even reset the universe. Why, in his darkest hour, when he has been wronged so badly, does he not get the miracle he earned for being the universe's greatest hero?
  • The Doctor's relationship with Clara was becoming unhealthy. Perhaps the universe thought that he would be happier in the long run if he moved on.
    • He sure doesn't seem happy at the end of this story, and it's not made clear how much time passes between this and "The Husbands of River Song". Maybe the universe just likes to cheat Twelve of the miracles he earns, given that he hasn't had anything along the lines of "Last of the Time Lords", "The Big Bang", "The Day of the Doctor", etc. Really, The Power of Love alone should have held the universe together.
    • Sometimes it's not a matter of what one thinks they are entitled to. Do you think anyone deserves to lose a friend, sibling, spouse, or parent? "The universe" doesn't owe anyone anything. The important thing is that we face it, deal with it, and move on. The Doctor's happy ending wouldn't be found hanging onto a memory; he will find it by letting it go and finding a new adventure. Watch Up sometime. It's chicken soup for the soul.

     Why didn't Twelve enlist his other selves to help him save Clara the way Ten, Eleven and War did to save Gallifrey? 
If the Doctors all putting their heads together could save a whole planet from being burned to a cinder, saving one woman's life should be easy-peasy. Besides, Gallifrey wouldn't have been saved if she hadn't convinced them it was possible if only they tried, so it would be a great way of bringing things full circle.
  • That would have failed for a multitude of reasons, the primary one being that the past Doctors would have definitely opposed him as a villain. Can you imagine any of the Doctors responding positively to someone willing to rip apart the universe and time itself to save one person's life, especially someone they don't personally know (Eleven excluded, but I'm sure he's stable enough to accept her time had come). The ninth and tenth Doctors were particularly fond of the "everyone has their time and everyone dies" outlook. It's difficult to get different incarnations of The Doctor to cooperate at the best of times, just two Doctors together barely managed to cooperate enough to stop Omega, it took something on the scale of Gallifrey being about to perish in a war against The Daleks to get all the Doctors to put bickering aside and cooperate, and even then they weren't really interacting with each other so much as each handling something on their own. To get them all together to have a group conversation would end up with a bickering match to end all bickering matches, not to mention that it wouldn't really generate any amazing ideas; the reason getting the Doctors together worked before was that they already had a plan but they needed the previous incarnations because of the screwdriver calculations as well as them being the only Time Lords to be wacky enough to be so on board with such a crazy plan (the other Time Lords showed immense distaste at the plan and would have been a third wheel to get involved).
    • To clarify: The idea is that Twelve could enlist them to save Clara and keep the universe together, which is not villainous; rather, everybody would win that way. Besides, they could not have finished the plan without Twelve — and since it still hasn't been established when he participated, it's possible that Twelve could threaten not to help with that when the time comes if they don't help him now. Especially when he tells them that they all would have died many times over without her.
    • All of the arguments I'm reading on this page are very selfish; Clara was dead, it was time to move on. Otherwise, why wouldn't he just use these same methods to make sure none of his old companions died?

     Why didn't the Doctor just consider tracking down Clara echoes and loving them instead of trying to retrieve the original? 
After all, he got on pretty well with Oswin and Victorian!Clara. Why not find another, romance her, and — should she die — move on? It's often said that falling in love is the best part of love anyway. Possibly millions of lovers, different yet the the saying goes, there's plenty of fish in the sea!
  • Okay, hold your horses! There is nothing in the TV show (unless you have your shipper goggles on) that indicates the Doctor's relationship with Clara was anything other than platonic. Also, that's really, really creepy.
  • Also, it was bad enough for him to watch Clara die once. How could stalking her echoes - many of which have also died unpleasant deaths, if Oswin and Victorian-Clara are typical - and thus, inevitably witness their deaths, ever possibly be good for his feelings or even his sanity?

     Why didn't the Doctor consider other ways to save Clara once he became Lord President, such as... 
  • Acquiring Elixir of Life from Ohila — collecting his payment for the whole "stopping the Time War" thing — going back to the moments after Clara died, and using it to revive her?
    • We don't know if that's how the Elixir works, nor whether the Quantum Shade could be fooled and cheated that way.
  • Going back, collecting some DNA from her corpse, and creating an aged-up clone? If the Doctor copies in the confession dial had all the memories they needed, a similar machine to the teleporter might be used to restore her. With a few tweaks, she could also be made immortal, and the duty of care would need no longer be an issue.
    • He didn't do that for River Song in the Library, makes me think he knew it wouldn't work.
  • Ordering the Time Lords to give her a massive dose of regeneration energy? Perhaps his own would not have been sufficient to revive her, as discussed in the headscratchers for "Face the Raven", but what if everyone worked together?
  • Using Matrix technology ala the Nethersphere to collect her soul from "the other side" and put it in a new body (i.e., a clone or artificial construct)?
    • I'm not going to try to answer each of these individually, not because I don't have a reason he couldn't do these things, because that doesn't matter. The point is that the Doctor shouldn't have been trying to bring her back at all. The Doctor's relationship with Clara was unhealthy. He knew it was unhealthy, and had tried to cut it off several times. He tends to do this with a lot of his companions, because he knows just as well as any of his companions that "if you get too close to the Doctor, you get burned." Clara died, and it was time to let her rest. Theological implications aside, (i.e., whether or not there's an actual afterlife for her to live,) what exactly would happen if he brought her back? Eventually, she would die, either during another one of their adventures, or from old age. She couldn't go back to her old life, she had already died. Make her immortal? The Doctor feels (and this troper is inclined to agree) that such a sentence would be worse than death. One could easily argue that even now, with Clara traveling with Me in their nicked TARDIS, she's in for a long, cruel journey. It's a similar moral-of-the-story to "Waters of Mars": Time Lords don't deliberately mess with time. Not fixed points, and especially, no matter how hard it may be, the death of a loved one. It's my personal headcanon that Time Lords have some sixth sense (evolutionary result of living on a planet with a rift in time and space) that goes off when something ought not to be messed with. Clara died, and the Doctor, crazy with grief, was trying to stick it to time. I will repeat, THIS IS NOT HEALTHY. The moral of the story here is clearly, even if he could possibly succeed or not, let her go. Move on.
    • Exactly. Have a peek at The Four Loves page - what the Doctor actually needs after Steven Moffat is a good, long break in Numidia circa 400AD, listening to the local bishop and making notes. And if someone writes a fanfic like this, I might put it on the fanfic recs list.

     Why didn't the Time Lords subdue the Doctor with a blaster in the Cloisters? 
While actually approaching him and Clara there is suggested to be impossible, what with the wraiths and all, surely someone had a weapon they could have used on him — perhaps when Clara asks them to give them a moment. He would either be stunned or forced to regenerate; either way, he'd be virtually harmless for a time. They could have had her carry/drag him out, locked him in a rubber room, sent her back to her demise (it's not like she'd have anywhere else to go!), and then worked on getting him treatment such as psychological counseling, a mind wipe, etc. Sure, it would be underhanded, but they are the Time Lords, it's a lot better than letting the duo escape, and they still need a Lord President!
  • Someone who goes unconscious in the Cloisters may be quickly absorbed or eliminated by the Wraiths. And how are they supposed to force Clara to do anything? Threaten to shoot her too? Then they'd have two unconscious bodies and still no way to retrieve them.

     If Clara is furious with the Time Lords over what they let happen to the Doctor, why is she so forgiving of Ashildr/Me? 
Because it was ultimately her own mistake that led to her death, Clara didn't blame Ashildr/Me for it. But Me willingly tricked and betrayed the Doctor into the Time Lords' trap — and billions of years of torture. Although she had a sympathetic motivation in protecting the trap street and may well not have known what was going to happen to him, the same could be said of the General and other Time Lords, even Ohila, and Clara called them monsters once she found out what the Doctor went through and how they showed no remorse or mercy to him. Me doesn't so much as ask the Doctor's forgiveness for having a part, however unwitting, in the horrors he went through — she shows no remorse at all in fact — so why would Clara forgive her if she truly loved the Doctor? She was willing to slay Missy over what happened to Danny and others, after all. (Of course, it's possible she's actually going to deal with Me on her own...)

     If the Doctor thought Ashildr/Me was the Hybrid, why not confess it? 
The Doctor claims he needed a bargaining chip. But if he had just up and confessed this as his answer (which would be the truth as far as he knew), he would have been freed the hero whose confession allowed the Time Lords to take down the Hybrid, chop chop (literally, perhaps). It's not like he feels any need to protect her anymore. While Rassilon would have wanted to take the credit and kill the Doctor anyway, the Doctor could just use the same ploy to overthrow him and reveal his suffering to the world. The grateful remaining Time Lords would grovel at the new Lord President's feet, and he could snap his fingers and commission a Paradox Machine or something. All that seems to be a better bargaining chip than claiming to need more information and having them make the riskier move of extracting Clara.
  • This is assuming the Time Lords feel like following through on their end of the deal, or value honor, justice, or mercy in any way. First of all, the Doctor doesn't know what their plan is to deal with the Hybrid. Post-Time-War Time Lords are just as likely to blast the Hybrid's planet into oblivion before he/she/it is created as they are to invite it over for tea. Even if the Hybrid is someone the Doctor doesn't particularly like, there is every possibility that the moment the Doctor "confesses", they permanently silence him while he's hidden in the dial, black-ops style. By dragging it out, the Doctor keeps his cards close to his chest, and is able to ensure he gets out of the dial on his terms.

     Why didn't the Doctor mind-wipe himself of Clara's memory once he was free and had stopped Rassilon? 
Back in "The Girl Who Died", he explained to Clara that he'd never be able to outrun the memory of her once she was gone. Between that and his It's All My Fault guilt over why she had to die, even if he'd succeeded in mind-wiping Clara and sent her home he'd still be emotionally compromised and have to deal with the Reality-Breaking Paradox he created. So instead, once comfortably situated on Gallifrey, why not ask his new underlings to prepare a neural block for him, whereupon he could have a fresh start — sneak out to the Cloisters one night and get a fresh TARDIS, and start running again with his Character Development intact but no emotional burdens? (Or, alternatively, retire and become the benevolent ruler of the planet.) Granted, he wasn't thinking clearly due to his recent suffering, but this would have been much easier on him to say nothing of everyone else, and come to much the same end as the finished episode.
  • It wasn't just about forgetting her. He had to know Clara was safebefore he could bring himself to let go enough to forget. To forget without trying everything he could to save her would have been failing in his "duty of care" and he'd see it as abandoning her, as giving up, rather than as accepting her loss.

     So why weren't the Teselecta, or something similar, an option this time? 
The Recap page for this episode notes that the Doctor can't send a duplicate to die (or "die") in Clara's stead — but why exactly would that be the case? In his new position of power, hiring someone to fabricate an android duplicate to save someone else from unjust execution seems a no-brainer. How's the quantum shade supposed to know the difference anyway — and didn't it just want to kill somebody, regardless of guilt or innocence (which is why Ashildr/Me couldn't call it off Clara)? It gets its meat either way.
  • Mayor Me specifically said that the quantum shade was owed a soul. Presumably an android duplicate wouldn't have one of those. And even if the Doctor were ruthless enough to coerce some shapechanger that did have a soul into assuming Clara's guise, it wouldn't carry the countdown-tattoo that marks out the shade's rightful target.

     If the key issue in Clara's death was the loss of her soul, why didn't the Doctor consider traveling to the afterlife? 
Clara using the TARDIS' telepathic circuits with Danny in mind brought her and the Doctor to the Nethersphere. Ergo, if the Doctor returned to his old TARDIS (and there's no doubt he would have found a way from Gallifrey) and used its telepathic circuits he could have traveled to the real afterlife — souls have to go somewhere, after all — and found some closure knowing her soul was at rest, even if he couldn't, say, bargain for her soul's restoration to her body.
  • Probably because he'd never actually been sure if there was an afterlife; when he brought Clara to 3W in search of Danny, he was mostly just humoring her in the hope that she'd come to her senses. And if he did find an actual afterlife, there's no guarantee he could bring her back with him, whereas the Extraction Chamber was (to Time Lords at least) a proven technology he could be sure would retrieve her.

     Clara knows the Doctor shouldn't be why doesn't she leave him another companion along with his TARDIS? 
Given that — especially after the events of this storyline — Clara knows as well as anyone that the Doctor just doesn't function well, or at least as well, alone, why didn't she make sure he'd have company and comfort by either clandestinely reuniting him with an old companion or bringing a new one who would love the prospect of travelling time and space with him? Think of the heartwarming ending it would have been for him to enter his TARDIS, put on the new coat, and find a new person waiting for him! And what a great surprise for the audience! As it stands, she's just rearmed a time bomb who might go off again at any moment!
  • So, what ... she's just supposed to find someone at random to dump off in the TARDIS and hope they and Twelve hit it off? Most of the people whom Clara's told about the Doctor are children, and Rigsy's got a baby daughter to take care of, so none of them can go. The Osgoods' duties keep them on Earth. The Paternoster Gang could've hitched a ride in the blue box on several past occasions, but opted to remain in Victorian London. There just aren't that many candidates Clara could turn to. Plus, foisting off someone on Twelve in order to manipulate his state of mind would be too much the sort of thing that Missy would (in fact did) do, not Clara.
    • Clara was a Control Freak — that was why Missy chose her to begin with — so she logically would jump at a chance to plan out the Doctor's future in a positive way. And some of the above people might have changed their minds once she told them of the suffering the Doctor had gone through. For that matter, why not bring in a child? Twelve tends to get on well with kids. Alternatively, Journey Blue and Shona were eager and are still available. And a random stranger...well, a stranger is just a friend unmet yet.
    • On the other hand, if there really weren't any eligible candidates she could think of, Clara should have just assumed a fake identity and given their relationship a fresh start. Everybody's (relatively) happy that way!
    • Or, what about the Plump Man whom Clara told to look after the Doctor when she dropped him off? At least the Doc knows him a little...

     Why does Clara lose faith that the Doctor will find a way to save her and keep the space-time continuum safe? 
Up until now, Clara had a lot of confidence that the Doctor could get them out of any jam — "Face the Raven" was the one time he couldn't, because everybody has a bad day. It's understandable that when the chronolock tattoo doesn't fade, her hopes do. But he didn't have the technology he does once they're in TARDIS 2.0, and she surely recalls Missy's explanation of how the Doctor wins (from "The Witch's Familiar") — he goes into a situation expecting to win. He may not have a plan yet, "but he will, and it will be spectacular" as Clara put it in "The Girl Who Died". And she knows what he's capable of in the Darkest Hour with a bit of encouragement, as seen in "The Day of the Doctor". Why does she chose to lose faith and trust in the Doctor at the worst possible time — rather than pave the way for the Doctor's brilliant rescue that saves everyone and reminds everyone that The Determinator always wins?
  • Clara is very good at reading the Doctor by now. She knows him well enough to pick up on the fact that he doesn't believe that what he's doing is right in this case. He isn't being the Doctor anymore, and it's the Doctor she trusts in.
    • But if the Doctor knows what he's doing isn't right, that means he hasn't changed his moral code and he's still the Doctor. This could have set up an interesting counterpart to "The Day of the Doctor", in that he believes there's no truly right choice today: he can either let Clara unjustly die and fail in his duty of care, or save her but mind wipe her and risk the universe as well. Either way he will have failed to save people, and that's what the Doctor does. Clara could help him Take a Third Option once more — one that saves her life AND keeps everyone else in the universe safe.
  • Also, losing faith isn't something a person chooses to do; faith doesn't work like that.

     Why does the General, when she returns to being to female due to her regeneration, espouse misandrist ideals? 
Seriously, when she gets back to being a woman, the first words out of her mouth are, "Back to normal. How do you deal with all that ego?" The fact that this doesn't make any sense is the least of this episode's problems, but it has multiple reasons why it doesn't make any sense.

1. The Timelords are supposed to be gender fluid, right? Why would any of them be sexist towards the opposite gender (I know the First Doctor had his moments & was flanderized in "Twice Upon a Time," but it's been hundreds to thousands of years since he left Gallifrey & it's never shown that they espouse those ideals on Gallifrey)?

2. As a man, she would experience for however long she did what it was like to be a man. On top of this, when she was a man, I don't believe she exhibited egomania like she claims she apparently had. She acted as a general as we saw her, so we have no point of reference as to why she'd say that.

So, yeah, it's obviously part of the BBC's SJW Feminist politics influencing the show, which started before the series entered into production & got the better of some things in Series 9 from what I can tell, like the castings of some of the U.N.I.T. officers, Clara talking about testosterone, & River Song saying it's weird for the Doctor to be thinking because he's a man (which also doesn't make any sense). These things make no sense, especially the thing I pointed out already.

  • Concerning 2., my best explanation is that this particular incarnation of the General had a lot of ego as its personality's core (though kept in check by excellent self-control), and, having been a misandrist earlier and returning to it now that she's again female, the General retroactively attributes this to this incarnation having been male. I don't know what to say about 1., though. Maybe, precisely because Time Lords change gender at random, this sort of prejudice is sort of "okay" in their society, in the sense that it's never something about the persons themselves, but more of a silly stereotype/superstition (that becoming male makes you egomaniac or something)?

     "Run you clever boy and be a Doctor" — why? 
At the end of this season, the runaway from Gallifrey chose to do the right thing and be the Doctor...and for what? He's abandoned and friendless, once again a fugitive from his people, and partially mind-wiped, while those who betrayed or failed him (with the exception of Rassilon) got off scot-free. The Doctor isn't glowing with the satisfaction of doing what is right at the end of this episode, so Good Feels Good wouldn't seem to apply. When Being Good Sucks and there's no eternal reward waiting for him at the end of it all, when others not only failed to appreciate his good deeds and sacrifices and even backstabbed him, why not just enjoy life and look out for number one, instead of looking for trouble? He's been at this long enough!
  • There was no way for the episode to end with the Doctor being able to get the outcome he wanted without compromising his morals. Looking out for number one goes against his code of selflessness, and it's established in the episode that what he needed was to return to his principles rather than continue to indulge himself. Besides, you're not supposed to be good because it feels good; that's just a pleasant consequence of it. You're supposed to be good for the sake of it, which is more in line with the Doctor's characterization.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: