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Saturday, November 28th, 2015 10:28 pm
That was an amazing piece of television. I'd heard online that it was going to be only Peter Capaldi and no-one else and I went into it a little terrified but mostly excited because I knew if anyone could pull it off, Capaldi could. And pull it off he did. By the time we were about a quarter of the way in, I'd forgotten about it being only him and just got caught up in the story. Fantastic.

And for once, I was able to just enjoy Steven Moffat being clever without worrying about it not being emotional, because Capaldi just resonates emotion. I did get a bit put off by the 'mind palace' thing which shoved me right out of the narrative and into Sherlock instead, but it was a good way of giving the Doctor something to interact with in an episode that was desperately lacking that, and of course his mind palace was the TARDIS. I thought that worked all right once I'd got over being jarred by it.

The whole thing was so contrive and full of meaning that as soon as he started bashing his fist into the diamond wall I knew there had to be something important about that, because he wouldn't do it for no reason, and as soon as he 'rewound' I worked that out. I'd already worked out that all the skulls were his, but not the reason for it. Very clever premise – if rather worrying for the Doctor's state of mind at the end of it. Except, he reset each time so I guess at least he doesn't actually *remember* two billion years, even if he knows they passed.

(Although I did sit there wondering why the diamond wall didn't reset every time like everything else. But perhaps that's because he was *supposed* to get out, just after a very, very, very long time?)

And then the final revelation: what he'd been trapped inside was his own confession dial. I confess (heh) I did not see that coming, even with the repeated emphasis on confessing. And now I'm wondering, did he design that trap for himself? Was that his intended penance? Or what?

I was pretty sure he'd end up on Gallifrey, thanks to various theories online, so that wasn't a surprise, nor was the idea that he is himself the so-called 'hybrid'. At this point, my main concern is what is it that actually makes him a hybrid? Presumably the two warrior races are Time Lords and humans, but are we revisiting the half-human thing from the Eighth Doctor movie, or is it just that he's spent so much time with humans that he now thinks just as much like one as a Time Lord? This does make me slightly anxious, but I'm willing to wait and see, next week.

(Or, now that I've done a little digging, other people have pointed out that what he actually said is "The hybrid is me." i.e. Ashildr. Which would certainly be a nice little piece of misdirection and make some sense out of the writers having insisted on having her call herself the incredibly awkward name of 'Me'. Okay, so she's not even Time Lord, so if it is here I don't know where the Time Lords got the Time Lord/Dalek thing from, but it's a stupid kind of myth anyway, so I'm okay with that!)

Odd little aside: did anyone else think the garden with the grave in was reminiscent of the TARDIS' cloister garden in Logopolis?

Also, I've seen a lot of comments saying children couldn't follow this, but my almost-ten-year-old completely followed it and was as blown away by it as I was.

Also also: I am assuming that the whole thing was virtual and that therefore no time actually passed. Because if he's skipped over two billion years from being trapped within his own confession dial, well. I think assuming this is Gallifrey two billion years in the future is a bit of a step too far…