This Week on TV, Dec. 5, 2015

Spoiler Alert!

We are apparently waiting until February for the return of Castle, and Gotham had its fall finale this week. (oh no! the Holiday Drought encroaches! :p )

Easily the lion’s share of the spotlight, however, goes to Doctor Who‘s season finale. Wow. That was a heavy one.

Once-upon-time-logoOnce Upon a Time

“Broken Heart”

Ok… not good, not good, not good!

Hook falls far, fast, both in the past and present. Emma’s selfish betrayal, her lack of trust, her fear, these things cut him deep. Hook doesn’t fight the Darkness he’s become lost in… he embraces it. He is out for revenge again, to kill Rumple. When he was in Camelot, the Darkness quickly talked him into performing The Curse (what is this, the fourth time that’s been used now?). It even provided a way to enact The Curse without tearing Emma’s heart out, this being the one thing Hook was unwilling to do. They used Merlin’s heart instead, as Hook’s connection with Nimue would allow her to vicariously crush it with Hook’s hand.

Merlin is dead.

The greatest and most powerful wielder of magic in all of history… is dead.

Not good!

Emma took drastic measures, adding a spell of forgetting to the Curse to try and save Hook from the Darkness. She tried to handle everything herself. Alone. All as the Darkness is talking ever so smugly. That did not work out so well in the end. No one, no matter how strong, no matter how clever, can do everything alone. All she managed to do in dividing herself from her loved ones was make herself easier to conquer. Oh, and she earned their distrust.

Kudos to Henry, by the way, for being so reasonable and so forgiving. He’s been learning magic at Rumple’s shop, it seems, and he ever so quietly plays a pivotal role in helping Emma get everyone’s memories back. Mind you, this was partially because Hook took memories from her, to hide his intentions, so she had to get them back.

While she’s trying to put things right, again, Hook challenges Rumple to a duel, meaning to savor his long-awaited revenge. Rumple shows, and fights, and, surprisingly, wins, taking Excalibur from Hook. But even so, the game was rigged. Hook got what he was really after anyway: Rumple’s blood.

Just as Emma is remembering his plan, and just as we see her horror when she first realized what that plan is back in Camelot, and as we see that horror is the true reason she behaved to irrationally… the plan is complete. Guided by the Darkness, Hook uses Rumple’s blood, the blood of a man who has died, gone to Hell, and returned, to open a portal straight to the Underworld. A familiar boat comes, bearing many figures hooded and cloaked in black. The first one to step back into the mortal world is none other than Nimue… leading all of the Dark Ones out of Hell, and into Storybrooke.

Not good!

Rumple tried to patch things up with Belle, but Belle refused, a decision which I personally approve of as you can only give someone so many blank checks before what you really need is a clean slate. Zalina tried to steal her child, but Regina blocked her… and then she and Robin allowed her to hold her baby for the first time, and promised she can do so again, so long as either Robin or Regina are present. Emma and her loved ones are at odds, the heroes get their memories back, it was Hook who put the sword back in the stone, and all of the complications that exist between these character all sinks into perfect insignificance when compared with the impending invasion of all the Dark Ones throughout history rampaging through Storybrooke!

Just how many Dark Ones are there now? One at a time was a curse and a bane across the whole of the world, and now they have to deal with all of them?! Holy freaking crap! The good guys have one Dark One, and one former Dark One, on their side. The enemy has all the rest! They are outnumbered, outgunned, out… everything else! To an absurd, ridiculous degree!

And who even knows who all of these terrible new villains are? That’s an intriguing idea, which opens the gates for all kinds of nefarious figures to step out of Disney lore, ancient legends, and the creators’ imaginations. But the heroes don’t know much more about them then we do. If knowledge is power, then ignorance is weakness, and that just stacks the odds that much more against them.

It’s going to take a miracle to get out of this one.

About the only hopes I can see are Excalibur, capable of killing Dark Ones, and possibly the Lady of the Lake, which we now know Lancelot was racing to go find. But as it seems he was not caught up in The Curse in the first place, I’m not sure how they can help anyway.

Out of all the doomsday scenarios our heroes have faced, this one is easily, far and away, overwhelmingly, the single most dire of them all.

Have I mentioned, “Not good?”


“Worse Than a Crime”

Well that‘s a foreboding title, isn’t it?

This was one of those episodes where all the characters are running into each other inside a shrinking box. I love episodes like that!

Bruce is kidnapped, taken to be ritualistically sacrificed by crazy monks. However, that’s going to be at midnight, so his friends have all day to find him. Unfortunately, though everyone points to Galavan, Barnes is not about to move against the mayor again without solid proof, and what help he can give won’t be effective until the next day, just a bit too late to save Bruce. Meaning: everything’s off the books.

Thompkins is questioned by Barnes, after which Nygma directs her to his home, where Gordon woke up to find Nygma and Penguin singing together. Gordon’s up for taking Galavan down, until Thompkins tells him she’s pregnant (ah, Real Life, you deliver such plot twists to our television shows!), and he’s ready to leave town with her instead, until he learns about Bruce. Alfred managed to evade Tabitha, but then he had a run-in with the police which did not go as he imagined it would. At least it brought him into proximity of Fox and Bullock, and the three were planning to rescue Bruce on their own if necessary, but Nygma let slip where Gordon was.

It was getting to be a good sized raiding party, with Gordon, Bullock, Alfred, Penguin and half a dozen goons, with Fox adding a voice of reason to the process, and with a group so diverse as that, there was bound to be some friction. It was only the pursuit of rescuing Bruce that tabled their disputes for a moment, but there was still the matter of getting in, at which point the deus ex machina appeared: Selina. Exactly how she found all of them, I do not know, but it was some serendipitous timing. She sneaked in, took out the guard, then opened the metaphorical gates to let everyone else in. Just in time, as it happens.

I really love what they did with Bruce this episode, as well as Silver and Tabitha. Bruce displayed great intelligence and insight, seeing through Silver’s act, but also great compassion as well, both with his words and with how he put on a small performance so Galavan wouldn’t hurt Silver for failing his depraved test of her mettle. He was calm throughout the whole of the day, and probably found some comfort in his time with Silver. He kept his dignity even as he was tied up, acquitting himself with more grace than most grown men would manage. And, amusingly, after he was rescued, he thanked Selina and Alfred for their help, adding, “But I had a perfectly feasible escape plan.” Yep. Future Batman, right there. 🙂

Interestingly, we learn that Bruce’s favorite animal is the owl. Hmmm.

Though the Order of St. Dumas is more numerous than the raiding party, the Order has knives while the raiders have guns, and they can still fight hand to hand. The fight was one-sided, and Fox’s backup plan of bringing in Barnes and the GCPD just resulted in complications. Intriguing ones, mind you, as Gordon was on the verge of killing Galavan until Barnes talked him down, but then Penguin hit Barnes on the head and dragged Gordon back into the darkness.

Galavan, abandoned by Tabitha after he tried to kill Silver, was finally at the mercy of his enemies. That’s the sort of thing that happens when you don’t actually care about the people around you, ya know? In such a situation, it is a bad idea to gloat, as it encourages your enemies to just kill you. Gordon let himself be swayed into playing judge, jury, and executioner, all by Penguin asking him if he was sure things would go right this time? It’s a valid point, especially when Galavan has already walked away golden once, and so soon after an officer lost her life directly because Gordon spared a murderer. Even so, doing the right thing isn’t always about the results. Gordon just stained his soul, and he feels it. He crossed the line, and the law, first letting Penguin torture Galavan, then killing him in cold blood.

And then he proposed to Thompkins.

No idea if she’ll say yes, especially after all of this, but he could have made an effort to make it romantic, ya know? I think even Fisk’s proposal in Daredevil was better than that, and his was done while he was being dragged away by the feds, so that should be a relatively low bar to clear. Honestly, I actually can’t say I want her to be with him anymore, not after what he just did.

Despite victory, and saving Bruce, not all is well just yet. Not only can I envision Barnes dragging Gordon through the proverbial coals, but Galavan’s corpse is delivered to Indian Hill, which is apparently run by none other than Hugo Strange. With him involved, all bets are off, even concerning dead people.

Oh, and Doctor Freeze is already loose in the city. Or at least a Doctor Freeze, considering how many of the classic Batman villains seem to be inheritors rather than original creations in this continuity, is already running amok.

agentsofshieldseason3bannerAgents of Shield


Well, the ATCU-Shield relationship didn’t last very long.

Rosalind was going to sniff around Malick’s operations with Banks’ assistance, but Ward just killed her, while she and Coulson were finally having burgers together. Coulson had just barely found someone he could care for and trust, and that was just taken from him in an instant.

Needless to say, this episode got very personal.

Ward just made Coulson furious. On purpose. Not the best idea. Admittedly, he does manage to manipulate Coulson into sending Fitz and Simmons into a trap, where a single Inhuman Hydra soldier takes out the team around them, including Banks. However, Coulson was motivated enough to begin the case from the beginning, so to speak, and he finds a weak spot: the last surviving Ward brother, Thomas. He went outside the box on that, but it paid off, they nailed Ward’s location, leading them straight to a Hydra fortress.

Coulson left Mack in charge as he took the field himself, as the most trustworthy person who did not have a personal axe to grind with Ward, making him the most objective of them all right then. He gets a good dose of the responsibility, weighing risks and benefits, making critical decisions. He has May to give him some counsel, and he keeps Daisy from running off half-cocked, so he’s doing well. He makes the call to take a team, including a number of men and all three of the Inhumans at their disposal, Daisy, Lincoln, and Joey, to follow Coulson to the fortress and attack it. It takes time to cross oceans, of course, but they’re on the way.

Unfortunately, Ward tortures Fitz by torturing Simmons, so Hydra gets what it wants: someone to help them come back from the other side of the portal. They’re going through, Hydra, Fitz, and even Ward, as team leader, just as Coulson, Hunter, and Morse arrive. They’re taking fire in midair, no way to get inside quickly… except for jumping straight down a conveniently open tower from the air, which takes Coulson straight through the portal as well, hot on Ward’s heels.

Ward, no surprise, wanted to stay and wait for Coulson, to finish him off, and Shield with him. What’s surprising is how Malick talks him into going through the portal to find It. He actually seems like an old man, for once, and one trying to pass on the torch when he talks to Ward. It’s skillful, both challenging and praising Ward, it’s the sort of thing you do when grooming your successor, the man in whom you are presently placing the fate of your entire life’s work. Sincere or not – and sincerity is something to always question when dealing with Hydra – Ward accepts the mission. He turns away from his own grudge to go and find It on the other side.

As it happens, he need not have stayed anyway. Coulson’s right behind him, though Coulson’s landing was much rougher and left him unconscious, having hit his head on a rock. That was just an accident, though, and, I gotta say, it was good seeing Coulson take out so many of Ward’s men like that. Ward may have gotten exactly what he was after, but he may have just bitten off more than he can chew this time.

And that’s not even taking into account that Ward’s team emerges into the middle of a storm, so It is probably very close.

So, Shield needs to take the well-armed fortress protected by Inhuman soldiers within twelve hours, and then, if they’re victorious, they’ll have to choose whether or not to open the portal again, possibly allowing It through to Earth, or forever abandoning Coulson, Fitz, and Will.

Would it be too much to hope for, if Ward were to, say, be left behind on the alien planet forever?

Flash-TV-Show-Teaser-TrailerThe Flash

“Legends of Today”

Well that was pretty cool!

This year’s team-up, as we all know, is the backdoor pilot for Legends of Tomorrow. There’s a lot of ground to cover to bring together so many heroes, and this episode got things rolling nicely.

For one thing, it really drove home the idea of a rapidly changing world that brings things no one is ever really ready for. In big and small ways, like have the characters catching up, comparing notes, see each others’ new tricks, etc.

Kendra was really the centerpiece of that theme, as one moment, everything is normal, then she’s hanging with Team Flash and learning about metahumans, then hanging with Team Arrow as well and learning about mystic stuff and the League of Assassins, then getting kidnapped by a flying man and learning about the immortal villain who is hunting her as he has hunted her and her lover through every life they’ve had for the last four or five thousand years, and finally learning about herself.

Even Barry’s having trouble with all the changing rules, and has a mini-freak-out over it. Kendra handled it all with more aplomb than one could really ask.

Speaking of reactions, though, I loved Damien’s after his first encounter with the Flash. Surprised befuddlement is not an everyday thing with him. LOL.

And I love what they did with Vandal Savage. I will be honest, I’ve never much appreciated him as a villain. Sure, he’s immortal, which makes him experienced and knowledgeable, and he possesses a diabolical cunning, but I’ve never found him, on his own, to be particularly threatening in a fight, especially against super-people. However, in this episode, he completely dominated the field with his skill and precision. He actually busted into Olly’s home and fought both of the heavy hitters, Olly and Barry, and not only held his own, he had the advantage! He actually hit Barry with a thrown knife! That is just not done, ya know? He threw Olly to the ground like a rag doll! It was only when Thea joined the fight that the fight went against him. Too bad that arrow didn’t actually kill him, eh?

This is a really good setup for the need of a number of super-people to take him down together, fyi.

Hawkman’s entrance was ill-timed, and he clearly has no sense of subtlety, but he’s also a capable warrior. He held his own against both Olly and Barry too, but not nearly so dramatically as Savage, and he lost to them in the end. He’s also pretty stubborn, proven by his drive to protect Kendra on his own instead of teaming up with the others despite being killed by Savage two hundred and six times in a row. After that many failures in a row, a little humility is not to much to ask, I’d say.

Still, Savage now knows he needs to up his game, which he is more than capable of, in order to kill the Hawks again, so he goes after an ancient weapon in Central City, which draws Olly and Barry after him, and that contest only ends as a draw because Savage senses Kendra’s awakening as Shayera, so he just blows up the church around them. Not really a draw, Barry, when your enemy gets everything he wants and decides when to end it, while you barely survive.

As it happens, this brings Olly into direct proximity of an old girlfriend of his, who his mother paid to leave him, and lie about losing the baby he’d gotten her pregnant with. He was just telling Barry how happy he is earlier, but this… this is a game changer. Especially in his bid to be mayor.

While all of that’s going on, Wells is trying to create a drug, Velocity 6. An ominous name for anyone familiar with the comics, as Velocity 9 was a drug created by Vandal Savage that granted temporary super speed, with devastating consequences for the inexperienced. This version is being created by Wells to help Barry speed up, as Zoom is two or three times faster than him. He was already trying to create it to help Jay Garrick defeat Zoom, but he only made some headway with Cait’s help. They called Garrick to come and be a guinea pig, which he refused to do, but when Patty all unknowingly followed him, tried to arrest him, and shot him thinking he was armed, well Garrick had to come, take the serum, and use the temporary speed to remove the bullet. So, Wells got his first test of the drug after all!

And now Patty knows that there is a Harrison Wells alive and well, and Joe West knows about it, probably Barry too. That’s going to have some repercussions.

On a final note… you gotta love how all of these characters interact with each other! 🙂


“Legends of Yesterday”

I admit, I was not expecting the time travel, which, considering both the title and how they’re setting up a spin-off that features time travel as its centerpiece, I really should have. That’s totally my bad.

Olly had his suspicions confirmed, that the boy he ran into at Jitters is, indeed, his son. His old girlfriend never cashed the check Moira gave him, but she was convinced that she didn’t want the woman anywhere near her child. There was some merit to that, but she was too hard on Olly, even the old version of him. I mean, she did play a certain role in “getting knocked up,” as she puts it, so shoving responsibility for that onto him was simply unfair, as was emphasizing her young age, as she’s the same age as him. It was also unfair and unreasonable of her to demand that he keep his son’s existence a secret even from the woman he loves. She does this even while acknowledging how he’s changed as a person, so, really, she’s full of it.

I can understand wanting to protect her child, but she’s being selfish and controlling.

Felicity was unfair too, going on the attack like that right after finding out (Barry is terrible at keeping secrets), and knowing he just found out. For a moment, I thought Olicity would finally end! …but Barry’s time travel altered the timeline, so now she still doesn’t know, or even really suspect. Oh well. Too bad. And, unfortunately, his old girlfriend does have a point, though not the one she thinks, about her boy being safer away from Olly’s life.

Which leads me to a most horrifying notion to contemplate: what if that ominous grave we saw at the season’s beginning belongs to William? Or his mother? I can think of nothing, absolutely nothing, which could make a man more inclined to kill, no matter his vow to never to take a life again, than his child’s murder. It would also explain Barry’s presence at the grave, when Olly’s alone, as the only other person who knows about William.

Heck, we can already guess that this secret will come out eventually, to devastating effect, so Damien could easily try to use it against Olly.

I’m hoping I’m flat-out wrong, ya know?

Anyway, the first time around, Olly is so distracted by this that he doesn’t have his head in the game. When everything goes wrong, with Kendra unable to access her powers and Cisco’s gauntlet failing in its function, everybody dies. Everybody.

The second time around, Olly is focused and forewarned. They make a few small changes, centering around Kendra, so they win. Yay!

The first time around, Kendra and Carter had some bonding moments as he awoke her fighting spirit. The second time around, Cisco helped her let go of everything, so she remembered her first life in Ancient Egypt. She even remembered her first death and the circumstances surrounding it, which provided a vital clue to making the gauntlets work, and gave Kendra firm control over her powers. They didn’t go half-measures this time, either, they brought the entire combat team, and that proved much more effective. In the end, they turned the immortal Vandal Savage into dust.

A little too easily, actually. He’s supposed to be immortal, so giving him his own kryptonite felt kind of cheap. But, of course, Merlyn picks up the ashes so he’ll be revived, and indebted to the newest Ra’s al’Ghul.

Yeah, it was highly suspect for the League to know nothing but rumor of Savage, especially when they’ve had their own long-lived leaders. Not surprising for our villains to be connected.


“The Rat King”

“Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don’t believe they exist.” Famous last words.

This particular rodent is a thing of myth and legend. And when wesen, of all people, consider something to be a tall tale, you know it something that really defies belief. When someone says it’s real, you know you’ve taken a turn into Crazy Town somewhere along the way.

Welcome to Nick’s world, where “crazy” has long since become “normal.”

The Rat King, as it turns out, is formed when a collection of rat-wesen join together in a woge. They’re genetically similar enough that the change joins their bodies together into one. In this case, a rat monster roughly twenty feet tall, very strong and dangerous. Still, just a mortal creature, with all the accompanying vulnerabilities. Nick thinks fast and draws it beneath some power cables, which Hank shoots loose, electrocuting the creature, knocking it out and separating the people back into individual bodies again.

Team Grimm: One. Rat King: Zero.

These rat-wesen initially had some good reason, as they were defending their “prince” from a trio of more predatory wesen, but they quickly went too far. It’s understandable, their anger, their wrath, after their prince’s death (though I didn’t think his injuries were that bad), but the ease with which they spill that anger onto others betrays their weakness. There is a reason “wrath” is one of the seven deadly sins, because it quickly becomes petty, selfish, all-consuming, and self-destructive.

I’ve never liked it when people hurt animals for fun, and doing that to another human, or wesen (any other sentient creature), is just as bad or worse. I do not hold with what those three thugs were doing, not on any level. But once the safety of their people was secured, hunting, torturing, and murdering their former-tormentors was just a needless, ugly descent into savagery. They did not need to hunt down the last survivor, or do anything to that girl who just happened to know them, or threaten Nick and his friends. You get too aggressive, you end up throwing yourself off a cliff.

The tragedy is… I can see how it probably all began out of nothing more than a desire to be able to live in safety, without fear of being another clan’s sport. That is a precious thing, something everyone should have, yet so few do. But the way they went about it, forfeiting their innocence, eventually led to their ruin.

Of course, that would not have happened at all if those stupid, aggressive punks hadn’t gotten off on being malicious. How idiotic do you have to be to go hunting people instead of hanging out with such a killer babe as was right in front of them? Oh, sure, she wasn’t “offering,” but I am of the opinion that every moment a gorgeous woman is willing to spend with you is infinitely better than… well, pretty much anything else! Sheesh! Priorities, boys! Priorities!

On a completely separate note, Trubel’s back! Yay!

She’s apparently with the Resistance now, judging by her body armor, weapons, motorcycle…

…ADD moment: that was a sweet moment, when Nick realized he probably shouldn’t press anymore buttons. Yes, Nick, let’s experiment with the mysterious motorcycle’s strange buttons inside your garage, within spitting distance of your so, that’s a great idea! LOL! Ok, moving on…

…motorcycle, passports, working aliases, bundle of cash (did I see more than one country’s currency in there?), the phone that asks for a thumbprint, and Meisner’s concern for her well-being. Trubel and Meisner are right, “there is so much to tell” their old friends. Adalind and Meisner happen to talk and start to catch up, but that plan gets put on hold. I was right in that the Resistance knew where Nick’s moved to, but as Meisner didn’t know Adalind was with him, I’m guessing they just kept track of where Chavez’s phone was. Truble got pretty hurt in her most recent fight and was just trying to get to the nearest person she could trust, that being Nick, for help.

Nick, naturally, took her to the hospital, and that worked in the short term. However, the OTL is there, as they are apparently everywhere, and they are apparently familiar with Trubel. Three guesses who she was fighting when she was so badly hurt. At least three OTL operatives are in the hospital, and their able to isolate Trubel from Nick, and they’re just taking her away, most likely to murder her, when help arrives just in the nick of time.

Meisner had thought that Nick was keeping Trubel at his place, so, when she wasn’t there, he called Nick and, with Adalind’s vote of confidence, was able to warn him that her life was in danger. Nick was right behind the trio as they were wheeling Trubel out, but Meisner managed to get ahead of them, and the two met up, fighting back-to-back. They wiped the floor with the OTL operatives, and Meisner, who has been fighting them long enough to get tired of their motto – admittedly, that does not take long – takes out the last one trying to escape while Nick takes Trubel back to his place for safekeeping.

Whew! That’s a relief!

And WHOO! Heroes unite!

Things are about to hit the fan as the OTL is poised to attack… well, everywhere. Friends and allies are a good thing, and even better when you have agents of chaos running rampant. I can even see some possible truces made between sworn enemies in the face of global upheaval, though it would be tantamount to suicide for the Resistance to form any sort of alliance, temporary or otherwise, with the Royals.

Oh, and Renard’s old friend is gearing up to run for mayor, still asking for his endorsement, and holding out the possibility of being promoted to Police Chief. Not sure how that will tie into the overarching plot, but there’s something significant here. And I am still in a mood to be cautious, knowing the OTL apparently has eyes on him.

Doctor-Who-logoDoctor Who

“Hell Bent”


Just… wow.

The finale. The climax. The showdown. Back on Gallifrey’s soil, the Doctor, still freshly enraged by the loss of Clara Oswald, has his final confrontation with the Time Lords, and the stakes have never been higher.

…I have to say, I was not expecting it to open in Nevada.

Or for Clara, or any version of her, to be up and about and alive.

Ok, so obviously I went into this expecting one thing, and I was given something completely different.

For one thing, this was not a confrontation between the Doctor and the Time Lords. In fact, the Time Lords are, by and large on his side. He is a war hero, the greatest of them all, who won the Time War and saved Gallifrey at the same time. The Time Lords and all the regular Gallifreyans, frankly, hold his stature above that of their President, Rassillon. Small wonder there, since, last we saw him, he did try to end everything and become a god just because he didn’t want to die. He doesn’t believe other people, lesser people, matter, while the Doctor knows that they do.

For all the monstrous deeds the President committed during the Time War, the Doctor exiles him from Gallifrey, with the assistance of a the military which automatically sided with him.

Not that there’s much of a universe left for the man to be exiled into. That’s where Gallifrey went, it seems. They hid at the furthest edge of time… the end of the universe. We’ve visited there before, and it certainly serves as a perfect backdrop for discussing “the end.” This is Clara Oswald’s last episode, the final parting, inescapable. All things must end, no matter how protracted their existence may become.

The Doctor struggles against that. He struggles mightily. His resolve to somehow do the impossible, and save the Impossible Girl, Clara, carried him through the cycle of the Confession Dial for, as it turns out, roughly four and a half billion years of hellish agony. When he finally broke free, he deposed the President simply by virtue of his presence, manipulated the general, and had them extract Clara from her final moment. They thought she could help them solve the foreboding mysteries of the prophesied Hybrid, who would stand in the ruins of Gallifrey. But that was just a trick the Doctor pulled, to save her, even if it meant breaking time itself in two.

They ran together, though Clara kept pulling back, trying to bring the Doctor back to… himself. They ran through the Cloisters, outwitted the Time Lords and last members of the Sisterhood, the leader of whom is apparently immortal (I did not know this). And Clara was a boss, giving the Time Lords a much-needed talking to. They brought their exile on themselves, having forsaken their vows and virtues, having followed Rassillon, and so they became so bitterly hated by everyone. After Clara learns what they did to her dearest friend, she hates them too, more than any other being in the whole of time and space.

The Doctor and Clara escape the Time Lords with a stolen Tardis, and go even further, straight to the very final moments of the universe, all to try and break Clara free of her fate, her established death.

The prophecy of the Hybrid, it seems, tells of a creature born from two warrior races, the mightiest and most terrible of all creatures. It will stand in Gallifrey’s ruins and break a billion billion hearts to heal its own. And so it comes to pass, the Doctor steps out, into the last moments of the universe, in the midst of Gallifrey’s ruins, trying to heal his heart even though the cost be the fracturing time itself. And there, at the end, in the ruins, he meets, as he puts it, “Me.”

Ashildr appears one more time, this time neither inferior nor equal to the Doctor. She has lived through much of the universe, and she is the last creature alive. Even “the other immortals” are all gone by now, and all of creation has mere moments left.

In those last moments, where space is dying and time is breaking and light is fading, she solves the riddle of the Hybrid: it is not one but two people. The Hybrid is the Doctor and Clara, a human and a Gallifreyan Time Lord, who drive each other to such very extreme lengths, such that the Doctor breaks all the rules to save her, and who were forced together by the other survivor of the Time War, the lover of chaos: Missy. And now, through her manipulations, she has turned the Doctor into an obsessed mad man. It is Ashildr who understands this, having seen so many endings, knowing they are sad, and beautiful, and inevitable.

To Doctor simply needs to stop trying to avoid the end.

But he can’t do that so long as he and Clara could be together. So, his plan: erase her memories.

Clara takes issue with that, and uses the sonic glasses to jiggle the device he was going to use on her, to make it more unpredictable. She has a right to the past, she argues, even if it means her death. So the Doctor agrees… and they use the device together, 50/50 odds. And the Doctor loses all his memories of her.

He has been telling her the story of them and he can’t even remember it. He is sitting in the same diner he brought Amy, Rory, and River to, and he never guessed it was a Tardis, her Tardis. She returns his Tardis to him, and goes with Ashildr back to Gallifrey… “the long way ’round.” The blue box goes off in one direction… and a diner goes off in another.

A parting of the ways if ever there was one.

And the Doctor is back to being the Doctor. Complete with sonic screwdriver.

I see why Steven Moffat was saying fans would be a tiny bit devastated by this episode. This is the Doctor’s episode of mourning, of moving through the loss of Clara, as she, having already been so very brave, must face her continued existence right on the edge of her death. Everything about this is personal, and so powerful that all the powers that be in the universe feel the weight of it. And for once in the history of Doctor Who, it is the Doctor who pays the price of the parting, who suffers amnesia while his Companion went off to have adventures without him.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it one last time: it is Clara, not Capaldi’s Doctor, who is the more formidable member of their partnership. As the Doctor himself says, she’s always right.

She’s not remotely my favorite Companion, but I will miss her.

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