Hell Bent

Emotions are complicated, often messy human traits — flaws, if you were to ask a Dalek or a Cyberman. They can inspire songs and uplift spirits, motivate heroes and move armies, weaken the stalwart and petrify the proud. We rely on them as much as we are hindered by them. In some fashion, we cherish the negative as much as the positive, for as every artist will attest, the light requires the shadow for contrast. What happens when those emotions are altered, muted, or wiped clean? Is it better to remember a lost one fondly, or not remember them at all, to avoid the pain? Have we not earned the right to carry both weights upon the scales of our lives?

The tumultuous, often quite dark Season Nine of Doctor Who comes to a close with “Hell Bent”, and with it, moments of controversy among fans of the program. Clara left us in “Face the Raven”, given an abrupt but heartbreaking farewell that succinctly encompassed all she meant to her Doctor, to us as viewers, and to the show’s legacy. She suddenly reappears, and we all have to find some way to handle mourning her all over — or perhaps not, as Steven Moffat once again entertains the idea that ‘Death on Doctor Who‘ is not a permanency. We have to ask a very simple, but surprisingly complex question that transcends more than just television program, and speaks to storytelling on a larger scale: does a beautifully crafted tale justify a story that risks upsetting the audience for what it does with its principal characters?

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2 Thoughts on “Hell Bent”

  • Regarding Clara’s final(?) departure I can recognize with you guys and considered myself if flying off in the Tardiner cheapened her beautiful death scene. But I think to me, the fact that she hasn’t died, doesn’t mean, she didn’t die. I mean a main reason I consume this show is to experience the range of emotions it delivers. And for two grueling weeks Clara was dead. I felt and experiences it along with the Doctor. And, as promised, by the Moffat it was an emotional farewell. But then, we were given even more emotion than we were expecting; fun, energetic, “he saved her and she’s flying off in the diner to the end of the universe!” kind of emotion. I was moved when she died. I was thrilled when she didn’t die. The season overall, there are many things we could say could have been better or worse or just different. But all in all, I was thrilled, laughed, cried, scared, fist-pumped on more than one occasion, I thought more deeply about our refugee crisis, I felt… many things… strongly… and what more can you really ask for? Season 9 overall (that which shall not be mentioned aside), Superb!

  • I discovered your podcast a few weeks ago. And to this point, I have enjoyed it immensely. It is quickly approaching must listen status.

    I am someone who watched “classic” when came across it (mostly Tom Baker), but has become a “new” Who devote. Enjoyed Tennant & Smith a lot, but they are quickly being passed by Capaldi. During your last episode you talked about “classic” references, and my response to them has been, “I love them, even if I don’t get them all.” Although thanks to various podcasts, and reading, I get more of them all the time.

    As long as stories are good, I will leave the “critiques” to you guys. Enjoy the episodes and then try to play the “what will my favorite podcasts say about the episodes” game.

    Keep up the good work.

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