Heaven Sent was, if nothing else, a visual and aural treat and something to be watched on a very big screen. But as a story, it was so-so nonsense to watch the clock to. It really didn’t need to last an extended 55 minutes.
The TARDIS-less Doctor found himself in the middle of nowhere with an opening monologue that makes him sound like he’s dead. This tower, an apparent prison, was like a giant edition of The Crystal Maze. It’s a medival-style fortress with modern technology, and The Doctor ascertaining he’s in the same timezone and no more than a light year away from the trap street in Face The Raven. He describes it as “a fully-automated haunted house… a mechnical maze… a puzzle box designed to scare me to death. It must be Christmas…” (No, mate, you’ve still got to suffer River Song again at Christmas!)
Cue lots of running about in corridors as ‘The Veil’ comes towards him, the mysterious creature played by Jami Reid-Quarrell who was previously seen as ol’ snake-face Colony Sarff in this series’ first two episodes, The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar.
The trouble with Steven Moffat‘s scripts is that as he’s progressed (in the loosest definition possible), he just paints his characters into a corner and then throws a dice to see what bollocksy way he can make up to get them out of it without the solution making a lick of sense. And in this, as The Veil approached and The Doctor gets to a dead end, he concludes, “I’ve finally run out of corridor. This is a life summed up”… at which point everything freezes, then the entire tower switches all around in sections like the roof of his TARDIS, and suddenly there’s an exit. Oh, how fortuitous!
That said, there were some nicely delivered lines but which felt more like soundbites, and all delivered by The Doctor since he was the only person onscreen which spoke, some of it addressing his silent foe and some of it just his own thoughts:
- “Make no mistake. I am the Doctor. I’m coming to find you. And I will never, ever stop.”
- “Clara said I shouldn’t take revenge. You should know I don’t always listen.”
- “I just watched my best friend die in agony. My day can’t get any worse. Let’s see about yours.”
- “The day you lose someone isn’t the worst. At least you’ve got something to do. It’s all the days they stay dead.”
- “If they’re going to threaten you with death. Show them who’s boss. Die faster!”
- “There are two momnents in life that nobody remembers – being born and dying. Is that why we always stare into the eye sockets of a skull?”
- “The Brothers Grimm. Lovely fellas. They were on my darts team.”
There was also some neat sound FX as flies buzzed all around the speakers in Dolby Digital 5.1, but while such audio enjoyment is something that home cinema fans will enjoy on a regular basis with Blu-rays and DVDs, it’s nice to see some effort applied in a TV drama.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the episode including a very special guest cameo from… well, you’ll only find out by going to page 2!
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.