[SPOILERS for Doctor Who season 9 ahead.]
Among Whovians, many are touting Doctor Who's most recent episode, ‘The Zygon Inversion”, as Peter Capaldi’s best episode yet. His speech about war, expertly and eloquently delivered, is fast becoming an internet sensation, and it seems as though season nine might have turned a corner.
With only four episodes remaining in this run, there is certainly a lot to look forward to. Episode nine, titled ‘Sleep No More’ is penned by the hugely talented Mark Gatiss. Episode ten, ‘Face the Raven,’ sees the return of Maisie Williams’ character, Ashildre, and of course, the departure of Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman). The final two outings, titled ‘Heaven Sent’ and ‘Hell Bent,’ respectively, will conclude the series - and the BBC has now released the synopsis for ‘Heaven Sent’ ahead of its November 28th air date.
Here is the official 'Heaven Sent' synopsis:
“Trapped in a world unlike any other he has seen, the Doctor faces the greatest challenge of his many lives. One final test. And he must face it alone. Pursued by the fearsome creature known only as the Veil, he must attempt the impossible. If he makes it through, Gallifrey is waiting…”
Also, to mark Clara’s departure, the Doctor Who Facebook page has released a preview of the Radio Times's latest cover, featuring Clara as a diner waitress, along with an interesting quote (see below). The magazine contains previews of the last four episodes, which could well mean that there is a concurrent theme running through them all; in keeping with the rest of season 9, which has consisted of two-parters.
Clara appears to be working as a waitress in Eddie’s Diner, a location that has been shown in Doctor Who before, in the season six premiere, “The Impossible Astronaut" - but why is she there now? We’ve certainly seen a lot of strength and intelligence from Clara this season, but what of these repercussions?
Putting everything together, it seems as though stormy times are ahead for the Doctor, and an even tougher time for Clara. It now seems almost certain that she will die in ‘Face the Raven’, the synopsis for which states that “the Doctor, Clara and their old friend Rigsy, find themselves in a secret alien world, folded away among the streets of London. Not all of them will get out alive.”
‘Heaven Sent’ is written by showrunner Steven Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay (as is the finale, ‘Hell Bent’). It features Capaldi alone in the show’s first one-hander, perhaps the strongest indication of Clara’s demise. But is he trying to get to Gallifrey in order to change time? Did Clara sacrifice herself in order to save the Time Lords? Are they about to return?
In ‘The Time of the Doctor’, Matt Smith’s final episode, we learned that if the Time Lords do return, the Time War will once again take over the universe. This was further expanded in ‘The Day of the Doctor’, when the Doctor chose to hide Gallifrey in time rather than destroy it. Will this decision come back to haunt him, or will it turn out to be one of the wisest choices he’s ever made?
The other question is one of resolution. Will this storyline actually be concluded in the final episode of the season, ‘Hell Bent’? Or will River Song’s return in the Christmas special tie into the proceedings? The latter seems likely in some way; it looks as though any new assistant for the Doctor will not be revealed in this season, so they could make their first appearance on Christmas Day.
Doctor Who continues next Saturday with ‘Sleep No More’ @9pm on BBC1 and BBC America. 'Heaven Sent' will air on November 28th, 2015.