“I can’t be the Doctor all the time“
Clara, my Clara.
Hell Bend opens with Clara working in the Diner from The Impossible Astronaut. A Clara, who we know is dead, when the Doctor walks in. A Doctor who seemingly does not know who she is, who is lost, dust covered and searching.
At this stage I was very confused, is Clara really dead? Is this another Doctor internal mind projection, or has time been rewritten? The Anticipation.
Right, roll title sequence and the Doctor is back on Gallifrey, hunting down those who have trapped and tormented him for so long. There is a lot of power in these opening scenes, not a power of words or action, but inaction, contrasted by an authority of silence.
TV minutes pass and the Doctor doesn’t speak, he waits, biding his time until the Lord President finally turns arrives. I really enjoyed how this was handled, there was no bouncing about, no rushing towards danger. It has been just the quiet of an angry man, a man who endured four and a half billion years of slow time to come to Gallifrey the long way, seeking vengeance for Clara.
This interaction was also interesting in a second way, while not really pertinent to the plot, but it shows a large disparity between the Time Lords in their City of glass and wonder and the ordinary Gallifreyan’s, ragged clothed and downcast surviving on a dead and barren world at the end of the universe.
Moving on, The Doctor is not the Doctor today, he is simply an older, darker and unleashed version of himself. This is best expressed by a line towards the end of the episode,
“As of this moment I’m answerable to no one”