Well, you can’t say that Doctor Who is afraid to take chances. After Me made a deal to protect her alien refugee street, giving up the Doctor, and Clara was killed when she took the ChronoLock from Rigsy, he is transported – somewhere. Clara’s death has kindled a deep rage in him, greater than his own confinement has done. Clara tells him,
You’re going to be alone now. And you’re very bad at that. You’re going to be furious, and you’re going to be sad. Listen to me, don’t let this change you. Whatever happens next, wherever she is sending you, I know what you’re capable of. You don’t be a warrior. Promise me. Be a Doctor. Heal yourself. You have to. You can’t let this turn you into a monster. I’m not asking you for a promise, I’m giving you an order. You can not assault my memory. There will be no revenge. I will die, and no one else here or anywhere will suffer.
After Clara’s death, the Doctor confronts Me: “What Clara said, about not taking revenge, you know why she said that?” Not understanding him at all, Me responds, “She was saving you.” But this isn’t it at all. “I was lost a long time ago. She was saving you. I’ll do my best, but I strongly advise you to keep out of my way. You’ll find that it’s a very small universe when I’m angry with you.” And he teleports, into this week’s episode. The question, though, is not where, so much as why.
This was the nightmare version of the castle we started the season with. Except that one was really a medieval castle – this one has creepy monitors all over. And hallways. And flies. The first time I saw the flies cross the screen, I didn’t know what to think – but then they kept coming. And it made more – and less – sense. Over and over runs his day – but we have no idea how long that day is. So much happens each and every time – confronting the Veil, running out of corridor, watching the portrait of Clara disintegrate. We’re following him through one of those Groundhog Day iterations – but, as we figure out, not the first one. Were you baffled at first by the clothes drying in front of the fire? (And did you notice that the Doctor has a new coat? And that it has one red button, so we know it’s the original one?) Did you wonder why there were duplicates of his coat, his shirt, his boots? And now that we know, where did the extra set come from – the first time the Doctor arrived in the teleporter, and went through all of the locations, did he continue past this point naked? That could be the only explanation for the set of clothes left to dry!
Imagining Clara was an interesting trick – it gave the Doctor’s quick mind a way to fasten on to the questions he needed to answer. What is this place? What did you say that made the creature stop? How are you going to WIN??? Clara has been the Doctor’s touchstone – his conscience, his sounding board – for a long time, and just because she’s dead doesn’t mean she can’t keep doing those things for him, apparently.
We were given hints throughout that perhaps he’s been here before – he’s left messages for himself. “I am in 12.” He talks about the “other skulls.” The clothing, of course, and the thousands of skulls at the bottom of the lake. How long has he been doing this? The last we hear, it’s 2 billion years. Two billion years of regenerating. Remembering. Learning from mistakes, finally figuring out what has been done to him. And by whom? Was this all set up when Missy tells him that Gallifrey is back? This is the Doctor’s punishment. His own Hell, of being alone, in eternity. Except – he IS the Doctor. And he should not be underestimated.
Did you realize that you would have to sit through The Last Kingdom to see the trailer for next week’s episode? So did you miss it? Here are two trailers for you, just in case you did!
This week’s quotes – I guess I don’t have to (for the most part) indicate who said what… and I had a very hard time separating great quote from filler, because THERE WASN’T ANY FILLER! So here’s just about the entire script.
As you come into this world, something else is also born. You begin your life, it begins a journey toward you. It moves slowly, but never stops. Wherever you go, whatever path you take, it will follow. Never faster, never slower. It is coming. You will run, it will walk. You will rest, it will not. One day, you will linger in the same place too long. You will sit too still. You will sleep too deep. And when, too late, you rise to go, you will notice a second shadow next to yours. Your life will then be over.
If you think because she is dead I am weak, then you understand very little. If you were any part of killing her, and you are not afraid, then you understand nothing at all. So for your own sake, understand this – I am the Doctor. I will come to find you. And I will never, ever stop.
Clara said I shouldn’t take revenge. You should know, I don’t always listen.
What are you, gardeners? I hate gardeners! What kind of person has a power complex about flowers? It’s dictatorship for inadequates. Or in other words, it’s dictatorship.
Cone on, chop chop! The Doctor will see you now! Show me what you’ve got. Just watched my best friend die in agony, my day can’t get any worse. Let’s see what we can do about yours.
I used to know a trick. Back when I was young and telepathic. Clearly you can’t make an actual psychic link with a door, for one very obvious reason. They’re notoriously cross. I mean, imagine life as a door. People keep pushing past you. All of them knocking, but it’s never for you. And you get locked up every night. So if you just are a little bit nice… See Clara, I’ve still got it!
Oh, this is new… scared. I just realized that I’m actually scared of dying.
What am I here for? You’ve known about me for a very long time. So! What is it? Is it a trap? Is it a prison? No! Is it a torture chamber? I’m right. Somebody really should know better. Anyone who’d put all of this together and steal my bad dreams should know better. Seems as I have no chance – not me! I told you I was scared of dying. I wasn’t lying either. Advantage me! Because you won’t see this coming!
Sorry I’m late! I jumped out of a window. Certain death. Don’t you want to know how I survived? Go ahead, ask me. Of course I had to jump! The first rule when you’re being interrogated is that you are the irreplaceable person in the torture chamber. The room is yours, so work it. If they’re going to threaten you with death, show them who’s boss. Die faster. And you’ve seen me do that more often than most. Isn’t that right, Clara.
Rule 1 of dying – don’t. Rule 2 – slow down. You’ve got the rest of your life. The faster you hit,t he slower it will pass. Concentrate. Assume you’re going to survive. Always assume that. Imagine you’ve already survived. There’s a storeroom in your mind – lock the door, and think. This is my storeroom. I always imagine I’m back in my Tardis, showing off, telling you how I escaped, making you laugh. That’s what I’m doing right now. I am falling, Clara. I am dying. I’m going to explain to you how I survived. I can’t wait to hear what I say. I’m nothing without an audience.
It’s following me. Wherever I go, it’s tracking me. Slowly though, scary lurching. Scary. The screens everywhere, it’s showing me exactly where it is, how far it’s got, how near. Because it’s trying to scare me. Putting it’s breath on my neck. That’s the point. That’s what it’s doing. This is theater. It’s all about fear. Working hypotheses. I’m in a fully automated haunted house, A mechanical maze. It’s a killer puzzle box designed to scare me to death, and I’m trapped inside it. Must be Christmas.
Another spade. Someone wants me to dig. What do you think, Clara? Someone trying to give me a hint? What would you do? (chalkboard: Same as you) Which, let’s be honest, is what killed you. Something’s trying to tell me that there’s something important buried in this garden. That’s almost the first thing they tried to tell me. Could be a trick. Could be one of my predecessors. Because I’m not the first person here, am I?!? All those skulls – wonder where they all went wrong!
So! You can set traps, OK! I’m good at traps.
I’m actually scared of dying. The truth, yes. But not any old truth, Clara. This whole place is designed to terrify me. I’m being interrogated. It’s not just truth it wants, that’s not enough. It’s confession. I have to tell truths I’ve never told before. That’s the only thing that stops it. You see, the problem is, Clara, there are truths that I can never tell. Not for anything. But I’m scared and all alone. Alone, and very, very scared.
I didn’t leave Gallifrey because I was bored! That was a lie, it’s always been a lie! Enough? You want more? I was scared. I ran because I was scared. Is that what you want me to say? Is that true enough for you?
It’s funny. The day you lose someone isn’t the worst. At least you’ve got something to do. It’s all the days they’ve stayed dead.
This is how my world works Clara. I tick off the seconds as they pass. My life is a countdown. If I draw the creature to one extreme of the castle, and I run to the other extreme, I can earn myself a maximum of 82 minutes. 81 minutes to eat, sleep, work. My work is finding room 12. The castle wants me to. It’s luring me. The numbering is a bit confused, as if they’re all jumbled up. Maybe they move around. I saw the whole castle move, when I made the creature stop. Every room, if I leave it long enough,reverts to its condition at the moment I arrived. It tidies up after itself. Automated room service. I think this whole place is inside a closed energy loop, constantly recycling. Or maybe I’m in Hell. That’s OK. I’m not scared of Hell, it’s just heaven for bad people. But how long will I have to be here? Forever.
There are two events in everybody’s life that nobody remembers. Two moments experienced by every living thing, yet nobody remembers anything about them. Nobody remembers being born, and nobody remembers dying. Is that why we always stare into the eye sockets of a skull, because we’re asking “what was like? Was it hard? Are you still scared?” There’s something I’m missing, Clara, and I think it’s something terrible. It’s a trap, Clara, a lure and a trap. I’m following breadcrumbs laid out for me. This is somebody’s game, and I can’t stop playing. The game everybody else has lost. I know how to move that wall,Clara, as long as I don’t run out of confessions. And what I really want to know is, who’s been playing about with the stars? They’re all in the wrong places, for this time zone anyway. And no, I didn’t time travel to get here. I can feel time travel. If I didn’t know better, I’d say I’d traveled 7,000 years into the future, but I do know better. So I’d say someone moved the stars. Long before the Time War, the Time Lords knew it was coming. Like a storm in the wind. Though any prophecies and s tories,legends before the fact, one of them was about a creature called The Hybrid – half Dalek, half Time Lord. The ultimate warrior. But whose side will it be on? Will it bring peace or destruction? Is it real or a fantasy? I confess, I know The Hybrid is real. I know who it is, and what it is. I confess, I’m afraid.
That’s what I remember! Always then. It was exactly then. I can’t keep doing this, Clara! Why is it always me? Why isn’t it anyone else’s turn? Can’t I just lose? Just this once. Easy. It would be easy. It would be so easy. Just tell, whoever wants to know, about The Hybrid. Ican’t keep doing this. I can’t! I can’t always do this! It’s not fair, Clara, it’s just not fair! Why can’t I just lose! I can remember, Clara. You don’t understand. I can remember it all. Every time. And you’ll still be gone. Whatever I do, you still won’t be there.
Clara: Doctor! You are not the only person who’s ever lost someone. It’s destroying everybody. Get over it. Eat it. Break free. Doctor, it’s time. Get up. Off your ass. And win.
Hello again, no more confessions. Sorry. But I will tell you the truth. The Hybrid is a very dangerous secret, a very very dangerous secret. But it needs to be kept. So I’ll tell you nothing at all. Instead, I’ll do something far worse. I’m going to get out of here, and fight whoever put me here in the first place. And whatever they’re trying to do, I’m going to stop it! But it might take me a little while. Do you want me to tell you a story? The Brothers Grimm. Lovely fellows. They’re on my darts team. According to them, there was this emperor. And he asks this shepherd’s boy, how many seconds in eternity?
People always get it wrong with Time Lords. We take forever to die. Even if we’re too injured to regenerate, every cell in our bodies keeps trying. Dying, probably takes days. It’s why we like to die with our own kind. They know not to bury us early. In my current condition, it’ll take about a day and a half to reach the top of the tower. I think, if I’m lucky…I have a day and a half. I have to do this, Clara. It’s the only way. I have to be strong. I should have known from the very beginning. Of course. The portrait of you. The creature from my own nightmares. This place is my own bespoke torture chamber intended for me only . But all those skulls in the water,how could there be other prisoners in my hell? The answer, of course, is there were never any other prisoners. And the stars, they weren’t in the wrong place. And I haven’t time traveled. I’ve just been here, a very, very…. long time. Every room resets. Remember I told you that. Every room reverts to it’s original condition. Logically, the teleporter should do the same. Teleporter – fancy word, just like 3D printers, actually, except they break down living matter and information and transmit it. All you have to do is add energy. The room has reset, returned to its original condition when I arrived. That means there’s a copy of me in the hard drive. Me, exactly as I was when I first got here, 7,000 years ago. All I have to find is some energy. And all you need to find energy is something to burn. How long could I keep doing this Clara, burning the old me to make a new one?
And I’m on my way. And if they ask you where I am, tell them I came the long way round. You can probably still hear me, so just between ourselves, you got the prophecy wrong. The Hybrid is not half Dalek, nothing is half Dalek, the Daleks would never allow that. The Hybrid, destined to conquer Gallifrey and stand in its ruins, is me.
Some production drawings:
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