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Doctor Who 'Heaven Sent' [TV-EPISODE REVIEW]

Okay. No muss, no fuss. No beating around the bush. No messing about. Just straight to the point. 'Heaven Sent' is pure unadulterated art. If there was ever an episode of 'Doctor Who' that could easily be put in an art museum, it is this one. I thought 'Listen' would be the magnum opus of the Peter Capaldi era... but oh was I wrong.

I might have to stop calling episodes awesome by this point because it got redundant several weeks ago. Though judging by the reaction 'Heaven Sent' has received around the internet I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that this episode is going to go down in history as one of the finest we have ever gotten. Whether or not it is the best piece of television 'Doctor Who' has ever produced overall has yet to be decided as we should give it a couple of months and let it breath first. If this kind of excitement and wonder remains next year when we look back at it then we know for certain just HOW good 'Heaven Sent' is (the same goes for Series 9 in general). What I personally do know for sure right now though is that it is definitely the best episode the show has produced since probably 'The Big Bang' from Series 5.

Peter Capaldi is utterly transcendent here. Encapsulating everything we know about the Doctor in 50 minutes and brings us the best performance any actor has ever given on this show. He has proven time and time again throughout Series 9 that he is a magnificent actor and one the BBC would be stupid not to promote for a plethora of awards when the time comes. From his speech in 'The Zygon Inversion' to his angry hatred towards Mayor Me in 'Face the Raven' to this entire episode - if you are someone who stopped watching because the Doctor no longer looked like a dashing young gentleman... then I seriously pity you. This is an actor who singlehandedly carries all the emotion weight of this episode near the end. You cannot even comprehend how good he is with words because if you have read my reviews for this season you know how I constantly praise his performance - and yet here he tops everything he has done. What can I even say about an actor like that?

Naturally he is also blessed by an amazing script by Steven Moffat who proves yet again why he is the showrunner and that no matter how flawed some things in his era have been - he still remains the best writer the new series has. 'Heaven Sent' is poethic, layered and so very clever. Steven has been saying for months how this has been the most difficult script he has ever written but the end result (and probably the greatest achievement of it) make it look easy. The narrative unfolds so well and effortlessly that you really have to applaud him for being able to pen episodes as good as this even after ten years of writing for the show. The re-watch value here is incredible as you constantly notice more and more things to like about it and thankfully it is all being shot by the brilliant Rachel Talalay who returns after the astonishing work she did on 'Dark Water' and 'Death In Heaven' last year. She brings such a Ingmar Bergman-esque feel to the whole thing in a way 'Doctor Who' has never really done before (again continuing the risks Series 9 has been taking). 

The final piece of the puzzle that truly makes this episode what it is, is Murray Gold who seriously continues to top himself. This is his finest hour as a composer. Bringing us a whole new style of music that again reminds me of Ingmar Bergman. It is through these main four people working in harmony that this episode works as well as it does.


The Veil itself is not one that will stand up next to the classic monsters the show has had but it serves this story perfectly. It is not a creature that even tries to draw attention to itself and there is really nothing special about it other than that it is always walking towards you a la 'It Follows'. The idea of a creature always walking towards you and once it reaches you you are dead is scary though and honestly it was done better here than in that aforementioned movie. The presence of The Veil is always there as you never get the feeling that the Doctor is in a safe position. Naturally we probably will not be seeing The Veil appear again and I will be very thankful for that as I felt it was used very appropiately and there is really nothing else you can do with it.

Steven Moffat bringing the mind palace from 'Sherlock' into the show worked surprisingly well. I will admit I was a bit hesitant once it first appeared but the more it was used - the more appropiate it felt for this kind of story and by the end it makes for some heart breaking scenes as we truly get into the mind of the Doctor.

Overall it is through the brilliant metaphors, poethic dialogue, pitch perfect editing and Peter Capaldi, Steven Moffat, Rachel Talalay and Murray Gold working together in complete harmony were they are all in their A game - that 'Heaven Sent' transcends everything else I have seen on Television this whole year and emphasizes that 'Doctor Who' is at the top of its game right now. It is time to send this show to the Emmys.


10/10


- Lucas

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