Heaven Sent

We are consumers of an entertainment industry bred to define “epics” as large scale, sweeping tales with casts of hundreds if not thousands, panoramic views of parapets, mountain ranges, or the front lines of a battlefield, and soul-baring performances between cinematic greats that ignite the screen and leave the audience exhausted for the experience. In a wild attempt to break down this convention, writer Steven Moffat and director Rachel Talalay saddled themselves, and their artist Peter Capaldi, with a formidable task: create an epic of one.

“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’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.”

In the penultimate episode of Series 9, ‘Heaven Sent’, we find our Doctor alone in an ever-changing prison, chased by a veiled creature that silently demands his every confession, and leading him on a terrifying venture through his deepest fears, into his hyper-intelligent reasoning mind, and into the ghostly arms of his own grief. The demands upon a writer to create a compelling hour’s tale for one voice, upon a director to draw equally compelling performance from a single actor, and moreover, upon that actor to craft such a performance, is unfathomably complex and risky.

Our beloved program has taken another great gamble — and won the house.

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3 Thoughts on “Heaven Sent”

  • Regarding head-Clara I really liked the appearance of Jenna. As it progressed she want from just the chalkboard, to her back, to her face, and a final speaking line. I see the progression of her appearance in his head and the Doctor building on the strength he got from her — thus her appearance also became stronger. The Doctor wanted to quit, but it took a full mental manifestation of ‘What would Clara say to me’ for him to have the strength to do what he had to for billions of years.

  • Fun bit that I haven’t seen anyone else comment, early in the episode when the Doctor is in the Mind Tardis, he says something to the effect of “I need an audience”, and for a second or two Capaldi looks directly into the camera.

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