"If you think because she is dead that I am weak, then you understand very little. If you were any part of killing her, and you’re not afraid, then you understand nothing at all. So, for your own sake, understand this. I am the Doctor, I'm coming to find you, and I will never, ever stop."
Episode #271: Heaven Sent.
Companions: The 12th Doctor.
Air Date: 28th November 2015
As if the death of his best friend wasn't enough, the Doctor's situation has only gotten worse. What initially started as an attempt to help clear someone of a false murder charge has evolved into to something much worse. Now trapped in an old rusty castle in the middle of an ocean, the Time Lord is being stalked by a mysterious creature that only pauses when he gives up his deepest secrets. What does this thing want? And can the Doctor escape and find his way back home?
Heaven Sent is the continuation of the theme running through this season, which properly started in the previous episode with the death of Clara Oswald and the revelation that someone paid Ashildr to capture the Doctor. Although it is part of an ongoing three part story, each one is separate enough in my mind to deal with each section individually.
This is actually a very odd story and it feels all too surreal for me. Especially once you work out what is going on closer to the end of the episode. Even so, Heaven Sent still works as an edge of your seat story. It's nice to have an episode that makes the viewer try to work it out before the Doctor does and there are plenty of clues.
One thing that does rub me the wrong way a little with this one is the revelation that the Doctor is just being recreated over and over again until he solves the problem. A situation that takes billions of years, quite literally. It is said that the Doctor's pattern is stored in the hard drive of the teleporter so that it creates an identical copy of him each time. But does this not mean that on some theoretical level, that our Doctor is dead by the end of the story? He would have been the first one out and killed. Everyone after that is just a copy. That's how I read it anyway and I'm sure an argument can be said that each copy is the Doctor. But going by how I see it, the Doctor we have followed for the last forty odd years is now actually deceased and we're left with a kind of teleporter clone (how very Star Trek). That doesn't quite sit with me. However, it is one of those elements where each viewer will take away their own interpretation of events and that is just as a good.
I'm rating this episode as 4 stars. It's not fantastic as of itself but it does work very well and the writer put some thought into it and it shows. It's a thriller of an episode I suppose and for me, Heaven Sent is a better than average episode because of it.