Hell Bent was the twelfth and final episode of series 9 of Doctor Who. It was written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay and featured Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald.
It was the final regular appearance of Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald; although Clara met her demise in Face the Raven, the Doctor arranged for her to be extracted from time using Time Lord technology; Clara would remain conscious of everything happening around her, leaving her alive but no longer affected by physical qualities such as breathing, heartbeat or even ageing.
Among them was Rassilon, now in a new incarnation after his previous body was last seen being attacked by the Master in The End of Time. Rassilon was banished from Gallifrey, along with the High Council, after losing the allegiance of his race for his cruelty to the Doctor and his role as one of the driving forces of the Last Great Time War. He was also deposed as Lord President, with the Doctor briefly assuming it in his place. Also returning was the General, who regenerated and was revealed to be a usually-female Time Lady who had assumed a male incarnation, marking the first instance of an on-screen regeneration where a Time Lord changed genders, as well as being a rare on-screen instance of a Time Lord also changing skin colour.
This episode also suggests that Time Lords are able to recognise each other, despite regeneration; however, as Dark Water suggests, it's harder to tell who a Time Lord is if their gender changes via regeneration.
Ohila and the Sisterhood of Karn also reappeared, wherein Ohila was hinted to have a greater personal history with the Doctor that may have gone back to his earlier days. Me, also known as Ashildr, made another appearance as well, having persisted to the final moments of time. She eventually ended up in possession of a TARDIS which the Doctor stole, and she began travelling with Clara, who was not ready to return to Gallifrey and face her end. Hell Bent ended up being full circle for the Doctor, where he was once again running away in his TARDIS. The story also saw the return of the sonic screwdriver, a brand new model to replace the model seen between The Eleventh Hour and its retirement in The Magician's Apprentice / The Witch's Familiar.
This story depicted the Doctor reaching his limit, seeing him break his own moral codes, step away from being the Doctor and unleash his fury on the Time Lords in an attempt to save his companion's life, which came with the price of losing his memories of Clara as atonement for what he had done. Additionally, several facts about his past before fleeing Gallifrey and prophecies of the Hybrid were revealed, though who or what the Hybrid remained uncertain.
After being tortured for billions of years inside his own confession dial, the Doctor has been pushed to the brink of madness. Returning to Gallifrey, he must face his own people, the Time Lords, but how far will he go in his quest for vengeance? Does he have another confession? And how fiercely does his rage towards them for causing Clara's death burn?
In the Nevada desert, the Twelfth Doctor walks into a diner and is greeted by a waitress who looks and sounds exactly like Clara Oswald (possibly another of her copies). Having no money, the Doctor offers to play his guitar as payment for a drink. He notices the waitress has an English accent, wondering how she got there. The waitress says it was magic, before quickly stating that she got on a plane and came here; the Doctor smirks at her sarcasm. She asks how he got there, to which the Doctor replies "by magic". Using his sonic sunglasses to turn a radio into an amplifier, the Doctor begins playing. The waitress says she believes him.
As the Doctor tunes his guitar, the waitress asks if he's a traveller (due to his Scottish accent); he tells her he travels "from time to time", finishing his prep work. The Doctor plays a piece of music, and she asks him if it is a sad piece. He says that nothing is sad until it's over, resuming his playing. He tells her that he thinks the piece is called "Clara". The waitress asks him to tell her about this "Clara"...
In his past, the Doctor walks through the desert-like plains of Gallifrey, after having just sent the boy with his message; he arrives at the old barn where he slept in as a child and worked out how to save his home. He climbs up into its loft, seeming nostalgic as he overlooks his old bed. A woman he recognises enters the barn; with the Doctor's face blocked by a beam, she cannot tell who it is, so she asks him to leave. Walking closer, she meets his gaze, immediately realising his identity; she warns the Doctor that "they" will kill him.
In the chamber of the High Council, the Cloister Bells are ringing without end, warning of great danger. Rassilon wonders if that means the Doctor has returned; the General confirms it, radioing a guard named Gastron. Gastron has arrived via lift to the Cloisters, being advised not to approach them; he reports that Cloister Wraiths are more active. Rassilon wonders why the Doctor hasn't arrived yet. Ohila enters the chamber with two guards, annoying Rassilon that the Sisterhood of Karn would arrive uninvited; she tells him that at the end of time, one should expect the presence of immortals. Having heard that the Doctor has returned home, she came to see the resulting "fireworks".
In the meantime, the Doctor is enjoying a bowl of soup, with a small crowd of Gallifreyans watching him in awe; he gives a friendly smile and moves his spoon to the bowl. However, he notices ripples in the soup and the sound of an incoming craft. Gastron arrives in a military craft, asking that everyone back away; they don't comply, even when he warns it's for their safety. Gastron orders the Doctor to drop his weapons and come peacefully. The Doctor silently walks up to the craft. Gastron explains he will take the Doctor to the chamber of the High Council. However, the Doctor instead drags his heel through the sand, drawing a line (it's a warning to not come closer than that). He then returns to his soup, unconcerned.
Watching via a monitor in the Council room, Rassilon wonders what the Doctor is up to; Ohila retorts that he's finishing his soup. Taken aback by the Doctor's bravado, Rassilon wonders who the Doctor thinks he is; the General states the Doctor is the man who won the Time War. The General decides they should try talking to the Doctor: words are his weapons, but when did they stop being theirs?
The Doctor rests on his old bed in the barn, and the woman comes in to inform him someone important has arrived. It's the General and his squad; the Doctor simply ignores them and goes back inside. Soon after, the Doctor hears someone else has come; he opens the door to see the High Council, who bow in respect to him. However, he simply shuts the door again. Watching, Rassilon is infuriated by the Doctor ignoring his attempts to open a dialogue, and wonders what he's waiting for. Ohila then goes on to explain the Doctor doesn't blame the Time Lords for the horrors of the Last Great Time War, just Rassilon.
A third time, the woman enters the barn, seemingly scared speechless. The Doctor exits to find Rassilon, escorted by the General's team. Rassilon greets the Doctor, offering a handshake. The Doctor walks up, giving Rassilon a grim once-over and simply drops his confession dial in the line he drew. The Doctor coldly states "Get off my planet", clearly sickened not only by the horrors Rassilon created in the Time War, but for the centuries he kept him trapped in the confession dial. Rassilon tries defending his actions, but the Doctor only repeats himself. Seeing he cannot win, Rassilon orders his execution; however, the guards are hesitant. The General protests, as the Doctor is a war hero. Uncaring, Rassilon threatens them into obeying his orders by raising his gauntlet; he turns his back to the Doctor, ordering shots to be fired.
In the present, the Doctor stops his story to take a drink. The waitress notices that he loves cliffhangers; she wonders if this is a real story, to which the Doctor says every story he's ever told is real. She recaps what he's told her: he returned to his "home town", a war hero and a "gang boss" who hates him tried to have him killed. Smiling, the Doctor emphasises "tried".
In the past, Rassilon laughs smugly; however, his smile vanishes when he turns back around. The Doctor is perfectly fine; all the soldiers missed him, and left a burned outline of him on the barn instead. Angered, Rassilon demands an answer from his men, but they remain silent. He grabs Gastron's shoulder, ordering him to tell him why they're all scared of an unarmed man. Gastron explains that in the Time War, the first thing that was noticed about the "Doctor of War" was that he was unarmed, and that "For many, it was also the last." Gastron throws his weapon to the ground and joins the Doctor, explaining that he served at Skull Moon with him. The rest of the firing squad follow suit.
Angered, Rassilon raises his gauntlet; he asks how many regenerations they granted him back on Trenzalore, gloating that he's "got all night" to kill the Doctor's remaining incarnations. More ships from the Capitol arrive, much to Rassilon's joy as it means he doesn't have to dirty his own hands to kill the Doctor and the traitors. However, the General states that he did not call them. Putting on his Sonic sunglasses, the Doctor states he called them; all of Time Lord society has turned against their founder. In disbelief, Rassilon begins listing all the titles he's gained through helping advance the Time Lords; he aims his gauntlet at the Doctor to kill him in petty revenge. However, the General forces his hand down, telling him "Lord President, with all respect, get off this planet." The General then joins the Doctor's side.
Later, a shuttle is seen leaving the top of the Capitol. On a balcony, the General then explains to the Doctor that Gallifrey came back into the universe at the extreme end of the time continuum, give or take a star system; thus anyone banished from the planet has little choice in where to go. This was done for the safety of the Time Lords, as the fact that the Doctor never confirmed that it was safe for them to return meant that Gallifrey could not be returned to the moment it disappeared. The General asks the new Lord President if he's gone too far, but the Doctor grimly warns that he's barely started; the High Council is next to go on a shuttle.
In the High Council chamber, the Doctor tosses his confession dial on the table, disgusted with what he had to go through. He tells Ohila and the General, the only other people with authority left on Gallifrey, that a confession dial is meant to purify a dying Time Lord's soul so they can be uploaded to the Matrix without regrets; instead, they re-purposed it to serve as a torture chamber. Ohila explains that Rassilon grew concerned about the prophecy of the Hybrid and felt that the Doctor would not willing give up the information. The Doctor sarcastically asks if they want him to protect them; he tells them he will, but he needs more information.
The General explains some Matrix prophecies foresaw the birth of a hybrid from two warrior races that will stand in the ruins of Gallifrey as it breaks millions of hearts to mend its own; however, the Doctor detects that the General is lying. The General explains it was not some, but ALL Matrix prophecies warned them of this coming threat. The Doctor mockingly asks "what colour is is it?", pointing out "the problem with prophecies; they never tell you anything important." Ohila tells him he shouldn't be playing the part of the fool. The Doctor says he needs help; he turns down the General and Ohila, saying people with bad hats cramp his style. He needs to talk to an old friend...
Clara's death by the raven is shown again; however, right before it kills her, time freezes. Confused, she looks behind her to see the Doctor looking out from Me's home. She then sees a light, with the future Doctor motioning for her to come into the light. Clara complies, finding herself in a sterile room with technicians and the General. Clara asks where she is and the Doctor tells her that they're on Gallifrey "billions of years in the future and [that] the universe is pretty much over"; she is happy the Doctor found his home. Clara hears a ringing in her ears, as the Doctor and General argue over telling her the truth. The Doctor finally relents, and explains she is frozen between two heart-beats; the ringing was her realising that she can't hear her heartbeat anymore. Thus she doesn't have a pulse or need to breathe, though she still does so out of habit. The General goes on to explain that her death is a fixed point in time; they will return her once they find out what they can from her about the Hybrid.
However, the Doctor takes the General's gun, threatening "on pain of death, no-one take a selfie". Clara is shocked by his actions, wondering what happened to him since she died. The Doctor asks for a human compatible neural block. The General informs the Doctor that his weapon has no stun setting, and that there is no way he'll allow the Doctor to leave the room with Clara. The Doctor coldly pronounces, "I will not let Clara die," before asking the General what regeneration he's on; confirming his regeneration is the tenth, meaning he is in his eleventh incarnation. The General is wished good luck and shot. The Doctor takes the device and drops the gun, running off with Clara. Clara is shocked by what the Doctor has done, but he explains death on Gallifrey is basically man flu.
Gastron arrives in the extractor room, reporting the General's regeneration. Once the regeneration finishes, Gastron asks the General if he's okay; the General gets up, revealed to now be female. Gastron quickly corrects himself, addressing the General as "ma'am". The General is glad to be back to normal, explaining to Gastron that her last incarnation was her only male body; and sneeringly asks "dear god, how do you cope with all that ego?" After getting her bearings, the General wonders where the Doctor could have run off to. Ohila enters the room, explaining that the Doctor did what he always does; he ran straight into the most dangerous place he could think of.
The Doctor takes Clara to the Cloisters, an area located below Gallifrey's Capitol; it is guarded by the Wraiths, which only attack if they attempt to leave. Clara wonders how long they plan to stay, prompting the Doctor to retort they also attack if you stay too long. Clara asks if he notice how fast the conversation went south; he did. Clara asks him to explain what the Cloisters are better, so the Doctor explains that "the Time Lords have got a big computer made of ghosts, in a crypt, guarded by more ghosts". The Wraiths are basically the firewall to keep foreign things out. Clara is confused as to why a computer would protect itself from the very people that built it; "just wait until the Internet starts. Ooh! That was a war!" the Doctor retorts.
Clara questions what the vines around the pillars are, which the Doctor explains, as best as he can, are fiber-optic cables. They trap anyone who attempts to steal information from the Matrix; many enemies were trapped by the vines during the Cloister Wars. They are shocked to find a Dalek wrapped in the vines; not even having enough power left to self-destruct, the Dalek begs for a mercy-killing. However, the Doctor states there is nothing they can do; he ushers Clara on even as the Dalek continues to wail for them to kill it. They continue until Clara is surprised to find her arm being grabbed from behind by a Cyberman; the Doctor pulls her free of its grip, explaining that these are projections from the Matrix to deter them from finding the exit. They continue, but this time are surprised by Weeping Angels, which they mange to outmaneuver.
The Doctor tells Clara that a boy once got lost in the Cloisters and was told a secret by the Wraiths that caused him to never be right in the head again. However, the boy knew where a secret maintenance hatch was. Clara asks if the boy told anyone, the Doctor tells her that the boy kept it a secret; last anyone heard of him, the boy stole the moon and the president's wife. Remembering back to when Missy told her about the Doctor's past, Clara realises the Doctor was the boy in his story. The Doctor begins telling her about the time he spent in the confession dial; they are observed by the General and Ohila, who decide to go after them. Clara, meanwhile, is shocked to learn that the Doctor knew that the Time Lords were responsible for her death; he pretended to know about the Hybrid, so he could get back to Gallifrey and use their tech to resurrect her. He just "had to hang in there for a bit".
The General and Ohila arrive via lift, demanding that the Doctor come with them, unable to arrest them as the Wraiths would attack; Clara silences them as she tries to get the Doctor to tell her how long he was trapped in his confession dial, getting no result. Wondering how long the Doctor spent inside the confession dial, Clara turns to the two and demands to know how long. Thinking a moment, Ohila says 4.5 billion years; the General explains that the Doctor could have left any time he wanted, just needing to tell the Time Lords what he knew. Clara is shocked by this, realising that she meant more to him than she thought possible. Turning to the Doctor, she tearfully asks him why he'd put himself through hell for so long, and he replies with a simple, "I had a duty of care", and the significance of what had become a mantra for him in recent adventures is brought into sharp relief. She tells him that "people like me and you, we should say things to one another" and, taking his arm, proceeds to do so - words kept private from the audience and from the General and Ohila, to whom she refuses to divulge what she said.
Clara yells at the General and Ohila with a furious tirade - "Do you know why you have to hide here at the end of time? You are monsters! You are hated. You. Are. Hated." Smirking, she then tells them part of what she told the Doctor; he doesn't need to worry because, they will be looking at her. The Doctor has gotten through the maintenance hatch, and is heading to the repair shop to steal a TARDIS; as one appears around her, Clara waves good-bye to them. The Doctor asks Clara what she thinks of the original design for the control rooms; she's not too fond of it. Ohila demands that the Doctor face her; seeing her face on the monitor, the Doctor opens the door and sticks his head out. Ohila points out that the Doctor has gone against everything he believes in, just to give Clara false hope; he just shuts the door and takes off. The General wonders where the Doctor is going; Ohila says "away", heading to leave for Karn.
Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor tells Clara that they'll be having lunch, then breakfast, followed by cocktails with Moses, and then he'll invent a flying submarine because the fact no-one has is annoying. "Why? Because we're time travellers, and that's how we roll!" They break free of Gallifrey's time zone, which the Doctor explains is so the Time Lords can't track them; he tells her to check her pulse as she now has one. However, Clara tests her pulse and tells him that she still doesn't have one.
Slightly shocked, the Doctor states they must not have gone far enough yet, telling her that they are going straight to the very end of the universe; with the universe so small, the damage from reviving Clara would be minimal. They arrive, just mere minutes before the universe completely dies, with the Doctor expecting his actions to have worked. However, Clara states she still doesn't have a pulse; the Doctor checks himself, seeing she's right. He checks the back of her neck, finding the Chronolock still there. Anguished over failing to save her, again, the Doctor yells that he is no longer being accountable to anyone.
To Clara's shock and more surprisingly, not the Doctor's, there are four knocks on the door to the TARDIS. Clara wonders who could be knocking when they are at the very end of time. Seemingly annoyed, the Doctor simply states "Me" and opens the door to let himself out. He exists, saying that he once told the knocker that the universe would become quite a small place when they have angered him. He asks if it has become small enough now.
It's revealed he's talking to Me, who is sitting in a chair in the remains of the Cloisters; not too far away something burns. To Me's surprise, the Doctor says he knew to expect immortals at the end of time. Me explains the other immortals are gone; she's the last being alive, having finally earned the title Me. The Doctor notes that Me is staying alive by using a reality bubble on the Cloisters. Me tells the Doctor that she's been watching the stars go out, finding it beautiful. However, the Doctor tells her it's sad; she counters that it's both. She then notes the Doctor doesn't like endings, comparing it to someone who doesn't want summer to end; the Doctor tells her that summer can last forever, so long as you have a time machine. Me then tells him that she now sees the beauty and sorrow in Clara's death, angering him. The Doctor tells her to "go to Hell, which is about five minutes away."
Inside the TARDIS, an impatient Clara uses the sonic sunglasses to turn on the monitor to see what the Doctor is up to, becoming shocked to see Me is still alive. She watches them, wondering what someone who has lived even longer than the Doctor has to say to him.
Seeing as they have only a short time before the universe officially ends, Me asks the Doctor to finally talk about the secret of the Hybrid that the Wraiths told him about as a boy. He laughs, saying that he knows what the Hybrid is; it's her, a human with Mire medical technology inside; Me speculates it might refer to the Doctor and theorises that the Doctor might be half-human. She goes on to explain that he was a high-born Gallifreyan, yet he elects to spend all his time on Earth. He laughs at her, asking if that's her best idea; he's the Hybrid?
Me admits that he's got her there, going on to explain her real theory. The Hybrid is not one person, but two true companions who will go to extremes for the sake of each other; a powerful and compassionate Time Lord and human who serves as his guiding conscience. The Doctor denies the idea, until Me asks how he met Clara. Clara remembers Missy that brought them together, just as the Doctor remembers. Me goes on to explain that it was another of Missy's plans to win back the Doctor's friendship; loving chaos, she gave Clara to the Doctor, knowing he would abandon his code for the sake of saving Clara.
Me laughs that she wonders what mischief the duo will get into next; the Doctor counters they won't. He will use the neural block to erase Clara's memories of him, as the Time Lords can track her through them and then drop her off somewhere to live her life. As they are friends, he will tell Clara of his intentions to wipe her memory before he does so. Me joins the Doctor entering the TARDIS, to watch his actions unfold; Clara quickly shuts off the monitor.
Once back in the TARDIS, the Doctor reintroduces the two women, with Clara unable to hide the fact she already knew Me lived till this point. Clara tells the Doctor that she was watching on the monitor and is unwilling to be the cause of him continuing to abandon his oath of being the Doctor. The Doctor tries to explain, grabbing the neural block; however, Clara tells him that she used the sonic sunglasses to "reverse the polarity" of the neural block device to erase the Doctor's memory if he used it on her. The Doctor finds the idea unlikely as a neural block shouldn't be able to have its polarity reversed.
As they have reached an impasse, they decided to take a gamble as to which of their memories will be wiped; as the neural block was programmed to wipe out Clara's memories of the Doctor, if it's used on him, his memories of Clara will be wiped. They each hold an end of the neural block, smiling at each other for the last time. After Clara suggests they forget the whole thing and just "fly away somewhere", they press the button. As he feels fine, the Doctor assumes that Clara failed.
However, the Doctor soon starts feeling drowsy; Clara DID reverse the polarity. Clara grabs him, apologising. The Doctor tells her it's okay; he broke every single rule he had. "I became the Hybrid." As he starts losing consciousness, and therefore his memories of her, the Doctor decides to impart some final advice to his old friend, from "never be cruel or cowardly", to the more bizarre "never eat pears". He asks Clara for one last smile before he finally blacks out.
The Doctor next awakens in the middle of a desert, with a pickup driver telling him that a Clara told him to look after the Doctor. Picking himself up, the Doctor confusedly asks the man who Clara is. The Doctor is in America, without his TARDIS and only his sonic sunglasses.
Back in the present, the Doctor continues talking to Clara; he doesn't remember what she looked like, or the "very important" message she gave him in the Cloisters, but remembers their adventures and half-heartedly says he is trying to look for her. Clara tries one last time to spark a memory by outright suggesting that she could be Clara, only to have the Doctor assert that he would "absolutely know" if he ever saw her again, causing Clara to turn away to hide her tears. Looking around the diner, he suddenly recalls having been to it with Amy and Rory. He tells Clara that he is currently searching for his own TARDIS, as it has disappeared from where he left it in London.
As he begins once again to play the sad melody he'd been playing, Clara smiles and reminds the Doctor what he told her about that memories become stories; while he can't remember what she told him in the Cloisters, she suggests sometimes lost memories become songs. The Doctor compliments the sentiment and momentarily turns his back, as Clara walks into the back room, which is revealed to the console room for the TARDIS they stole from Gallifrey. The diner vanishes, leaving the Doctor astounded; he then turns around to find his TARDIS, which still has Rigsy's graffiti memorial for her, left behind. The Doctor notices the portrait of Clara, but gives no indication whether he has connected it with the mysterious waitress.
In Clara's TARDIS, Me, engrossed in a TARDIS Instruction Manual, tells her the chameleon circuit is broken, but Clara is unconcerned, saying that she likes it. Clara affirms that she still has no pulse and acknowledges that the universe still relies on her dying. She asks Me whether the Time Lords can return her to her place and time of death, knowing she will have to face the raven eventually, to which Me responds with the affirmative. Me asks Clara where will she go now, she replies "Gallifrey, the long way around": she isn't going back to face her death just yet. The two share a smile as Clara, having been undergoing training in how to use the TARDIS for a while sets the vessel in motion through the vortex.
The Doctor boards his long-abandoned TARDIS. The console room lights up, as if the TARDIS is welcoming him home. The Doctor puts his guitar away and finds a new coat on a chair in the back of the room, Next to it is a blackboard, which has a last message from Clara - "Run you clever boy, and be a Doctor." With that, the Doctor tosses the old coat he was wearing and dons the new one.
The TARDIS beeps, drawing his attention to the console, which spits out a new sonic screwdriver; the Doctor catches it and tests the new emitter. Smiling, the Doctor heads back to work saving the universe As the TARDIS dematerialises, it does so without Rigsy's paintwork. The memorial on the front door flakes off piece by piece - any trace of Clara having been with the Doctor now gone.
The Doctor's TARDIS is shown travelling through space, the Doctor once again setting off on a brand new adventure - unaware that Clara and Me's TARDIS quickly passes by his, setting off their own journeys through space and time.
- The Doctor - Peter Capaldi
- Clara - Jenna Coleman
- The President - Donald Sumpter
- The General - Ken Bones
- Ashildr - Maisie Williams
- Female General - T'Nia Miller
- Gastron - Malachi Kirby
- Ohila - Clare Higgins
- The Woman - Linda Broughton
- Man - Martin T. Sherman
- Wraiths - Jami Reid-Quarrell, Nick Ash, Ross Mullen
- Voice of the Dalek - Nicholas Briggs
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin|
|Director of Photography|
Andy Pryor CDG
| Special Effects|
Original theme music by Ron Grainer
• Titles by BBC Wales Graphics
• With thanks to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- When he was a student at the Time Lord Academy, the Doctor entered the Cloisters and encountered their Wraiths, but managed to escape from them.
- Gastron fought under the War Doctor at Skull Moon.
- The Doctor suggests that he and Clara could have cocktails with Moses.
- The area where the barn is located is called the drylands.
- The Capitol has been repaired since being damaged in the Last Great Time War.
- The Doctor says that "death is Time Lord for man flu".
- Sector 52, Extraction chamber seven is used to pick Clara up from her death spot.
- The Cloisters use fibre-optic cables to trap and file intruders into the Matrix database.
- The Doctor and Clara are found by the Time Lords and the Sisterhood by lift shaft seven in the Cloisters.
- There was once an animated scarecrow in the Matrix.
- The Woman who greets the Doctor at the old barn immediately recognises him when she meets his gaze. This suggests Time Lords can be recognised despite regeneration, like the Tenth Doctor implied. (TV: The Sound of Drums) However, it's also implied that if a Time Lord's gender changes, they are harder to recognise, as the Twelfth Doctor didn't know Missy was the Master until he was told. (TV: Dark Water)
- This is the first Doctor Who television story to actually show a Time Lord regeneration from a male body to a female. There have been references to this having happened with the Corsair (TV: The Doctor's Wife) and the Master (TV: Dark Water, Death in Heaven), and it was one of the options the Eighth Doctor received in The Night of the Doctor, but it has never been featured on a televised story until now, in this case the General from his eleventh to twelfth incarnation.
- It also shows the first change of skin colour from white to black. The first incident was of Melody Pond to Mels, but the change was never seen, but the change the other way around was seen in TV: Let's Kill Hitler.
- The General's regeneration is also the first instance in the revived series of a Time Lord regenerating while lying prone on the ground (as was usually the case in the classic series), former showrunner Russell T Davies having previously mandated that all post-2005 regenerations were to be shown with the Time Lord stood at their feet throughout the process.[source needed]
- This marks the first time a Doctor Who television episode has had the minor expletive "hell" in the title. The word previously appeared in the titles of the comic stories A Cold Day in Hell! and The Road to Hell as well as the audio story Minuet in Hell.
- This episode marks the first televised appearance of an interior shot of a TARDIS other than the Doctor's since Time and the Rani, the latter being the Rani's. It is only the second TARDIS control console seen other than the Doctor's since Time and the Rani, after the Junk TARDIS in The Doctor's Wife.
- The tune played by the Doctor when he was sitting in the diner is a simplified version of Clara Oswald's theme from the Series 7-9 soundtracks. It is a rare example of a piece of incidental music composed for Doctor Who becoming part of its in-universe narrative. The Doctor says he believes the song is called "Clara". "Clara?" is the name of the track on the Series 7 soundtrack, though it has also been performed at the Proms and other events as "The Impossible Girl" and was titled "Clara and the TARDIS" on the soundtrack for The Snowmen, which featured the first appearance of the melody. In the context of the story, it is implied that the melody represents the now-forgotten words Clara says to the Doctor in the Cloisters; this is supported by the fact the same piece of music plays (in a full orchestral version) when the episode cuts away from the couple as Clara begins to speak.
- The Radio Times programme listing was accompanied by a small colour head-and-shoulders shot of the General, with the accompanying caption "Doctor Who / 8.00 p.m. The General (Ken Bones) prepares for battle in the series finale".
- The prophecy of the Hybrid says that it will "stand in the ruins of Gallifrey, breaking millions of hearts to try healing its own"; this could actually be a Fourth Wall break- the Doctor has abandoned his morals in an attempt to save Clara no matter what; the audience's hearts would be breaking.
- Although they only receive a brief cameo, the inclusion of the Cybermen ensures the continuation of a pattern that has been ongoing since Series 5, whereby they appear in every twelfth episode of a series.
- This story marked the first mention of the Web of Time in the revived series. It was, however, previously mentioned by the Trickster in TV: The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith.
- This is the closest thus far the television series has come to showing the complete end of the timeline of N-Space (the primary universe of Doctor Who), showing it at the very precipice of collapse.
- It is suggested by the Doctor's change in clothes and his knowledge that the TARDIS had been moved from London, that some time has passed between the Neural Block scene and The Doctor walking into the Diner.
- Director Rachel Talalay said in an interview that she originally wanted to have Timothy Dalton reprise his role as Rassilon for this episode[additional sources needed] but due to his commitment to the series Penny Dreadful it could not happen. Donald Sumpter was chosen to play the character in the final episode instead.
- In a sense of irony, much like the Kovarian Chapter, who ended up creating the Siege of Trenzalore, Rassilon ended up causing the events of The Hybrid to occur. What these blunders have in common is that they were the result of actions taken in fear.
- The Twelfth Doctor's appearance in TV: The Day of the Doctor would be accounted for. This was something that was hinted at during production and early publicity for Series 9 - including public statements made by Capaldi. Ultimately, however, while the episode in itself was a sequel to The Day of the Doctor, no reference is made to the Twelfth Doctor's appearance during the battle and the story affords no opportunity for this event to occur.
- The diner waitress would be an echo/splinter of Clara Oswald. False. This rumour originated when images of Jenna Coleman in a waitress uniform appeared in media including Doctor Who Magazine prior to broadcast of Hell Bent, with no corresponding scene having occurred before Clara's death in Face the Raven.
- When taking off in the getaway TARDIS, Clara's hair changes from combed, to messy, to combed again, in a series of jump cuts. Similarly, her hair is noticeably different at the moment time freezes on the trap street than in the flashback footage from Face the Raven.
- The inner doors of the TARDIS are much shorter than they should be, only reaching about Peter Capaldi's nose and preventing him from getting out without ducking.
- When the Doctors TARDIS dematerialises, the mural of Clara flakes off the doors. However, in the wide shot prior to this, the mural begins dematerialising with the TARDIS.
- Rassilon and the High Council reappear. (TV: The Five Doctors, The End of Time, et al.)
- A Dalek invasion of the Matrix had previously occurred. (AUDIO: Ascension)
- Before the Doctor shoots the General, he asks "Regeneration?", to which he replies "Tenth", reminiscent of an exchange between the First Doctor and the Fifth Doctor in the Death Zone. (TV: The Five Doctors) Under normal circumstances, Time Lords are only allowed twelve regenerations (TV: The Deadly Assassin, et al.).
- The Doctor mentions a 20-foot wall harder than diamond, Ohila says how long the Doctor spent trapped, and the General says he could have just said what he knew. (TV: Heaven Sent)
- The Doctor mentions the Academy. (TV: The Deadly Assassin et al.)
- The Doctor mentions the time he was the First Doctor. (TV: An Unearthly Child et al.)
- The Doctor mentions his "duty of care" again. (TV: Under the Lake)
- The Doctor mocks the Time Lords' dress sense again. (TV: Time Crash, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS et al.)
- The Doctor has previously had a group of soldiers aim their guns at him. (TV: Aliens of London, World War Three, Dalek, Army of Ghosts, The Impossible Astronaut, A Good Man Goes to War) This time however, the soldiers willingly disarm themselves and support him.
- Charlotte Pollard had previously wiped the Sixth Doctor's memory so that he forgot travelling with her and went on other adventures afterwards with, in her case, the Viyrans. (AUDIO: Blue Forgotten Planet)
- The Doctor enters the Repair shop. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
- The Doctor steals a TARDIS and runs away. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
- The Web of Time is mentioned. (AUDIO: Neverland et al., TV: The Two Doctors et al.)
- The Chronolock still appears on Clara's neck. (TV: Face the Raven) (However, it does not appear to be visible in the Diner scenes.)
- The TARDIS' classic sound when the doors opens can be heard. (TV: An Unearthly Child et al.)
- The General said that Rassilon was once a good man. (TV: The Five Doctors) The Doctor was previously concerned about his new regeneration not being a good man. (TV: Into the Dalek)
- The Doctor mentions his warning to Me on the trap street. They talk about the circumstances around Clara's death as well. (TV: Face the Raven)
- The Doctor's TARDIS provides him with a new sonic screwdriver. (TV: The Eleventh Hour, et al.)
- Prior to dematerialising, the Doctor's TARDIS still has Rigsy's Clara Oswald memorial graffiti on it. (TV: Face the Raven) However, the graffiti is removed before the TARDIS moves on; unlike in TV: World War Three, however, the TARDIS removes it herself. The TARDIS previously removed posters plastered all over it when travelling through the time vortex. (TV: Vincent and the Doctor)
- When the Doctor first walks into the diner, the song Don't Stop Me Now as performed on the Orient Express can be heard in the background, apparently playing on a jukebox. (TV: Mummy on the Orient Express)
- The Doctor again plays his guitar. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice, Before the Flood)
- The Doctor returns to the barn where he nearly detonated the Moment, (TV: The Day of the Doctor) and briefly lies on the bed where Clara spoke to his first incarnation in a "dream" during his childhood. (TV: Listen)
- The Doctor extracts Clara from her death point on the trap street. (TV: Face the Raven)
- The Doctor, when threatening with shooting the General and the extractors, mentions selfies. (TV: The Woman Who Lived)
- Clara mention that the Doctor said Gallifrey was frozen in another dimension. (TV: The Day of the Doctor, The Time of the Doctor, Death in Heaven) The Doctor says that it had somehow become unfrozen. (TV: The Witch's Familiar)
- A baby Weeping Angel could be seen in a corner in the Cloisters. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan), along with other "adult" versions (TV: Blink et al.). A damaged Weeping Angel is similar to the one tortured by Julius Grayle. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan)
- Cybermen can be seen in the Cloisters. (TV: The Tenth Planet et al.)
- A Dalek can be seen in the Cloisters. (TV: The Daleks et al.) It is heard talking in a way Daleks normally don't. (TV: Asylum of the Daleks, Into the Dalek, The Witch's Familiar)
- A Mire helmet can be seen in the Cloisters. (TV: The Girl Who Died, The Zygon Inversion)
- The Doctor still has his confession dial. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice, The Witch's Familiar, Face the Raven, Heaven Sent)
- The reality bubble that Ashildr/Me uses to watch the universe die encloses a ruined section of the Cloisters from Gallifrey. The Doctor previously stated that Me was the Hybrid destined to stand in the ruins of Gallifrey. (TV: Heaven Sent)
- The Doctor finds himself once more at the end of the universe. (TV: Utopia, Forest of the Dead, Listen, PROSE: The End, Midnight in the Café of the Black Madonna, Do You Love Anyone Enough?, Engines of War)
- When threatening to kill the Doctor, Rassilon inquires into the number of regenerations granted to the Doctor as part of his new cycle, but no answer is given. (TV: The Time of the Doctor) The Doctor himself claimed to be uncertain as to the answer to this question, as he has previously speculated that he may be able to regenerate indefinitely. (TV: Kill the Moon)
- The Doctor refers to the Cloister Wars and the night he apparently stole the moon and the President's wife, (TV: The Magician's Apprentice) although he credits the latter as being a rumour spread by the Shobogans. (TV: The Deadly Assassin) Clara instantly recognises these tales due to Missy having told her. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice) Retroactively, this makes all three of Missy's statements (the third being that the Doctor was female as a child) untrue. Assuming she knew the rumour to be false, she was lying when she claimed only one of the statements was a lie.
- A Time Lord soldier refers to the "Doctor of War", while the General refers to the Doctor as the man who won the Time War. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
- When Gastron tells the Doctor to drop all weapons, the Doctor drops his spoon. The Doctor once successfully duelled a sword-wielding Robin Hood with a spoon. (TV: Robot of Sherwood)
- The General changes gender (PROSE: Interference - Book One, Interference - Book Two, Harvest of Time, TV: Deep Breath, The Doctor's Wife) and skin tone (TV: Planet of the Spiders, Let's Kill Hitler, Death of the Doctor) as a result of his regeneration.
- The Doctor assumes the title of Lord President of Gallifrey once more. (TV: The Invasion of Time, The Five Doctors) As with his fifth incarnation, he presumably vacates the position by running away from Gallifrey. (TV: The Five Doctors)
- The Doctor's promise that he made to himself "Never cruel or cowardly" is alluded to by Ohila, who asks if the Doctor was being cruel or cowardly toward Rassilon, and by the Doctor himself to Clara just before he passes out. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
- Clara's affinity for TARDIS controls is yet again demonstrated, (TV: Listen, The Woman Who Lived et al.) being able to fly her TARDIS without guidance from the Doctor like she had previously required or a TARDIS Instruction Manual like Ashildr. This mirrors the Doctor's first question to her after his regeneration (TV: The Time of the Doctor) The Doctor first started teaching Clara how to fly the TARDIS in TV: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.
- Clara and Me are unable to get their TARDIS' chameleon circuit to function properly. This results in their TARDIS having its outer shell stuck in the shape of an American diner that the Doctor recalls visiting with Amy Pond, Rory Williams and River Song, (TV: The Impossible Astronaut) mirroring the Doctor's own issue with his own. (TV: An Unearthly Child, et al.) Similarly, Clara claims to not mind, just as the Doctor himself has previously indicated. (TV: Rose, et al.)
- Like the Doctor, Clara theorises that a Time Lord technology has made her lifespan infinite. (TV: Kill the Moon) Like the Doctor, she plans to voluntarily face her death. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut, The Time of the Doctor, The Magician's Apprentice) With the Time Lords after her and after the stolen TARDIS she will fly, the Doctor advises her to run away like him. (TV: The War Games, Boom Town, Journey's End, The Woman Who Lived, et al.)
- Like Susan Foreman at the time when she was the Doctor's first companion, Ashildr has incredible knowledge by human standards while she looks barely adult. (TV: An Unearthly Child, The Name of the Doctor, COMIC: Time & Time Again)
- The Doctor states that he returned to Gallifrey "the long way around", while Clara also states that she plans to return to Gallifrey in the same manner. (TV: The Day of the Doctor, Heaven Sent)
- Clara and Me's TARDIS has a similar console room design to the Doctor's TARDIS during his early travels with it (TV: An Unearthly Child), and its original exterior is the same as the original exterior of the Doctor's TARDIS when he first stole it. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
- The Doctor finds himself asking the question: "Clara Who?" (TV: The Snowmen)
- The Doctor closes the TARDIS doors with a snap of his fingers once more. (TV: Forest of the Dead, The Eleventh Hour, Day of the Moon, et al.)
- The Doctor implies that he was referring to Ashildr when he stated that the Hybrid was "Me". (TV: Heaven Sent)
- Me theorises that the Doctor could be the Hybrid, suggesting that he is half Time Lord and half human. (TV: Doctor Who)
- The Doctor once more displays his ability to defeat enemies by standing his ground and not resorting to force. River Song once mentioned that "her Doctor" could do things like this when talking about him. (TV: Forest of the Dead)
- The Doctor recalls an encounter with an Ice Warrior on a submarine (TV: Cold War) and seeing a Mummy on the Orient Express (TV: Mummy on the Orient Express) while travelling with Clara.
- Preparing to wipe Clara's memory of him with a neural block, the Doctor notes that he has done this before using telepathy. The Tenth Doctor previously wiped Donna Noble's memory of him to prevent her mind from burning up after she was given his Time Lord knowledge after interacting with the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor. (TV: Journey's End) The Time Lords also previously wiped his companions Jamie and Zoe's memories of the Doctor aside from their first adventure with him after passing judgement at his first trial. (TV: The War Games) They did the same with a version of Peri Brown after his second trial. (AUDIO: Peri and the Piscon Paradox)
- When there is a knock on the TARDIS door, the Doctor mentions that it is "always four knocks". (TV: The End of Time)
- Me refers to the Doctor's dislike of endings. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan)
- Both the Doctor (TV: The Magician's Apprentice, et al.) and Clara (TV: The Girl Who Died, Face the Raven) use the sonic sunglasses.
- Clara leaves a message for the Doctor on his blackboard. (TV: Listen, et al.)
- Clara says she reversed the polarity of the neural block, mirroring a phrase the Doctor has used on numerous occasions dating back to the days of his third incarnation. (TV: The Sea Devils, The Day of the Doctor et al.)
- Clara once again objects to having her memories wiped (TV: Face the Raven, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, COMIC: Four Doctors). This isn't the first time the Doctor has considered doing so without her consent. (TV: The Snowmen) She also willingly allowed the Doctor to erase some of her memories on at least two prior occasions (TV: Time Heist, Before the Flood).
- Clara previously lost the memories of one of her adventures with the Doctor, due to a timeline change (TV: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS); like the Doctor and his memory wipe, however, not all of these memories were ultimately deleted as she was later able to recall some of them (TV: The Name of the Doctor).
- Important information about a friend is forgotten. (In TV: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, Clara learns the Doctor's name but loses the memory.)
- Clara now knows the exact time and place of her death, something she previously indicated she did not want to know in advance. (TV: Deep Breath, Listen)
- Missy's bringing the Doctor and Clara together is mentioned. (TV: The Bells of Saint John, Deep Breath, Death in Heaven)
- Hybrids are mentioned again. (TV: The Witch's Familiar et al.)
- The Doctor mentions his hate of pears. (Previously mentioned in a video the Doctor records for Martha in TV: Human Nature; in the episode, the video is seen playing in fast-forward. What the Doctor says is revealed, alongside some real-life ad-libbing by David Tennant, in a slowed-down version of the video included as a DVD bonus feature.)
- The Hybrid prophecy is mentioned again, with multiple possibilities cited. (TV: The Witch's Familiar, Heaven Sent)
- Once again the Doctor, when faced with the loss of Clara and breaking the rules to save her, asks an old acquaintance whether, after all he's done for the universe, doesn't it owe him this? (TV: The Snowmen)
- The Doctor again attempts to change history in order to save Clara (TV: Before the Flood), except on a potentially wider scale.
- Clara invites the Doctor to fly away with her, paralleling his invitation to her when reconnecting at Christmas. (TV: Last Christmas)
- Clara notes she is no longer ageing; the restoration of her youth was important to her after waking from a dream where she was very old (TV: Last Christmas). Jack Harkness previously discussed how immortality affected his ageing (TV: Last of the Time Lords).
- The melody, "Clara", that the Doctor finds himself obsessively playing on his guitar becomes, for him, a form of earworm (TV: Under the Lake).
- The Doctor asks the nonsensical question "What colour is it?" when discussing the Hybrid. Rory Williams asked the same question about the Dalek Asylum because "all the good ones were taken" in TV: Asylum of the Daleks.
- The Doctor is served soup and he appears to react negatively to this, likely because this appears to have been all he ate while in the confession dial (TV: Heaven Sent).
- Clara stating that the she and Doctor need to say things to one another parallels Mason Bennett's advice to Tim Lunn to not let things be left unsaid. (TV: Before the Flood)
- The Doctor collapses and passes out in the TARDIS console room in similar fashion to TV: The Tenth Planet.
- The Doctor talks about piecing together what he and Clara did together. Although the episode does not go into detail, a previous episode, TV: The Crimson Horror, indicated how easy it was to find traces of Clara and the Doctor on the Internet, alone.
- The General regenerates; unlike most regenerations depicted on screen (or at least those of the Doctor), she changes with no apparent ill effects and is immediately able to carry on and pursue the Doctor. Romana (TV: Destiny of the Daleks) and River Song (TV: Let's Kill Hitler) likewise appeared to have no ill effect after their regenerations.
- Clara claims to have never asked the Doctor to keep her safe. In fact, she made this very request of him in TV: Mummy on the Orient Express.
Home video releases
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