December 6, 2015
This is both the easiest Doctor Who review I've had to write....and one of the hardest.
Context - Mom entered the hospital last Sunday evening. Needed surgery - received it on Friday. So after a very busy - and slightly dramatic - Chicago TARDIS (don't ask), I had to leap into caregiver mode. So after ten days of moving forward....my health is questionable, and I'm seeking deep rest.
But one thankful, pleasant activity was last night's group view of Hell Bent, the series finale, which hit a very emotionally satisfying conclusion....and which really hit home on several levels.
Much like Face the Raven, Hell Bent deals with loss.....and more specifically, how some people will do anything to avoid loss. The Doctor's actions in this episode were some of his most human - asking if the universe can't grant him just one thing, acting out of desperation to save the life of a friend...these were just the kind of things I needed to experience. My own feelings about Mom's health have been ambivalent, pushing me to try to force the issue....but learning to accept loss can be critical.
And there's a great reversal, too - it's not so much a cop-out (as the Moffatt haters will have you know), but the realization that sometimes, people have a right to their pasts. It means that letting go of another includes memories, and that there may always be some perception of loss....but that loss enables us to move forward.
There are also some....well, with minor spoiling - I'm not a big fan of the take-someone-out-of-their-time-when-we-know-they'll-die trope. I see why it was done, but I also think the tacked on "happy ending" felt a bit forced. This should have been about the Doctor coming to grips with his transient nature....but it felt all too much like the setup for a spin-off.
But anyway, Hell Bent was a satisfying conclusion to a consistently written, emotionally complex series for all but one episode. (The less said about Sleep No More, the better).
And arriving for Christmas - River Song.