The Doctor drives a truck up to a diner in Jackson, Nevada, and goes inside, carrying his guitar. The Waitress--who looks like Clara--greets him and he offers to pay. The Doctor wonders how she got there, and the Waitress says that maybe she caught a plane. He starts playing and says that it’s a sad song once it’s done, and it’s called “Clara.” The Waitress asks him to tell her about the woman.
On Gallifrey, the Doctor walks across the desert until he comes to a barn.
In the capital city, the President of the High Council asks his General if all of the Cloister Bells are ringing. A soldier, Gastron, goes to the Matrix and warns the General via radio that there are Sliders everywhere and the Cloister Wraiths are active. He confirms that all of the Bells are ringing, and the President is sure that they are facing great danger. He wonders where the Doctor is, and Ohlia of the Sisterhood of Karn comes in with her Sisters and says that the Doctor has probably gone back to the beginning. She says that she’s there for the excitement.
The Doctor enters the barn and climbs up to the loft. A woman comes in and complains that the Bells are ringing, and notices the Doctor. She says that he’s not supposed to be there, and then gets a good look at his face. The Doctor nods in greeting, and the woman warns that they’ll kill him. They go outside and she gets him some soup, and all of the locals gather to stare at him. Gastron arrives in a military vessel and orders everyone to move away from the Doctor. They don’t, and Gastron tells the Doctor to surrender and accompany him to the capital. The Doctor steps forward and draws a line in the dirt with his heel. He walks away, ignoring Gastron, as the locals applaud.
The President and his Council watch, and the President wonders what the Doctor is doing. As the Doctor sits down and twiddles his thumbs, the General suggests that they talk to him. Soon, the General arrives with a squad of soldiers, and the Doctor comes out. When the General greets him, the Doctor turns and goes back inside. The President, watching, wonders who the Doctor thinks he is and the General reminds him that the Doctor won the Time War.
Inside, the Doctor puts on his coat and checks himself in the mirror. He goes out to find the President and the High Council there. They bow to him, while in the Capital City the President asks Ohlia what the Doctor wants. Ohlia says that the Doctor doesn’t blame the Doctor for the horrors of the Time War: just the President.
Soon, the woman comes in and tells the Doctor that he has another visitor. He goes outside and finds the President standing on the other side of the line. The President offers his hand, and the Doctor drops the confession disk onto the ground and tells him to get off his planet. The President insists that they needed to know what the Doctor knew about the Hybrid, and he could have left after telling them. The Doctor isn’t impressed and orders him to again to get off his planet. The President says that in the Dry Lands he has no witnesses, and the Doctor says that he doesn’t have any, either. Furious, the President orders the soldiers to aim at the Doctor. They hesitate and the General reminds the President that the Doctor is a war hero. The soldiers finally aim and the Doctor stands, waiting until they fire.
The Doctor asks the Waitress for a lemonade, and she gets him one. She recaps what he said, that the President wanted him dead.
The President realizes that all of soldiers deliberately missed. He asks why, and Gastron explains that during the Time War, there was a saying that the first thing--and the last--that many saw of the Doctor was that he was unharmed. The soldier drops his gun and joins the Doctor, and after a moment the other soldiers do as well.
Fascinated, the Waitress asks if it’s a story or if it really happened. The Doctor tells her that every story really happened, and stories are where memories go when they’re forgotten.
The other soldiers join the Doctor against the President’s direct order. He prepares to blast the Doctor himself, just as more military vessels arrive. He congratulates the General on sending reinforcements, and the Doctor says that he sent for them. The President insists that he is Rassilon and Gallifrey is his, and the General tells him to get off the Doctor’s planet before joining the Doctor.
Later at the Capital, the General tells the Doctor that they’re at the extreme end of the time continuum, for the planet’s protection. He wonders if the Doctor has gone too far banishing the President, and the Doctor says that he hasn’t started yet. The Doctor banishes the High Council and goes to the Matrix. Ohlia is waiting, and says that the President used the confession dial to torture him. She tells him that the President was afraid of the coming of the Hybrid, and wonders if the Doctor banished him out of cruelty or cowardice.
The Doctor goes to see the General and asks why they didn’t ask him about the Hybrid. The General says that the Hybrid is thought to be a creature bred from two warrior races: the Time Lords and the Daleks. All of the Matrix projections warn that the Hybrid will stand among the ruins of Gallifrey. The General says that they need the Doctor to keep them safe, and he says that he will need an extraction chamber to talk to an old friend.
Clara faces death on Trap Street. The Raven dives into her chest... and time freezes. A door opens out of nowhere nearby and the Doctor extends his hand, saying that he can save her. Clara looks over at her Doctor, and then enters the door. She finds herself in the extraction chamber with the Doctor and the General, and he explains that they’re on Gallifrey. The General asks her what she knows about the Hybrid, and but Clara says that there’s something she can’t hear. When the Doctor won’t explain, the General tells her that her life processes have been time looped: frozen between one heartbeat and the next. She died billions of years ago, and they have extracted her from her time stream to ask her a question. Once she answers it, they will send her back to face her death.
Angry, the Doctor punches the General and grabs his gun, and says that he must do it. The General refuses to let him leave the extraction chamber with Clara, and points out that the gun has no stun setting. He reminds the Doctor that if he saves Clara than he could fracture time itself. Clara takes the Doctor’s hand and says that she doesn’t want it, and asks him to put the gun down. The Doctor considers and then asks the General what regeneration that he’s on, wishes him luck, and then shoots him. He turns to the technicians and demands a neuro block. Once they hand it over, the Doctor runs out with Clara.
The Waitress points out that the Doctor doesn’t seem like the type.
As they run through the capital, the Doctor tells Clara that death is inconsequential .
In the extraction chamber, the General regenerates into a woman. Ohlia comes in and tells the General and Gastron that the Doctor has run into the Cloisters: the Hell of the Time lords.
In the Matrix, the Doctor tosses away his gun and Clara asks him what a neuro block is. He refuses to answer.
The Doctor tells the Waitress that he had to wipe some of Clara’s memories of her to keep her safe.
Cloister Wraiths--Sliders--surround the duo. The Doctor says that he and Clara are safe, because the Sliders only attack if someone tries to leave... or stay.
In the extraction chamber, the General orders her soldiers to block every exit from the Matrix. Gastron notes that no one has ever escaped the Cloisters, and Ohlia points out that one person has.
The Doctor tells Clara that there is a secret way out of the Cloisters. They come across an imprisoned Dalek and it begs them to exterminate it. The Doctor explains that they’re in a huge database and those that break in are filed. He tells Clara that the Dalek is left over from the Cloister Wars and there’s nothing that they can do. Other creatures wired in include Weeping Angels and Cybermen. The Doctor warns that the Matrix can use them as a defense, so they must be close to the secret exit. Clara steps into a symbol inscribed on the floor, and the Doctor says that it’s a service hatch. He explains that dying Time Lords are wired into the Matrix, allowing the living Time Lords to predict the future and use Cloister Bells to warn of coming catastrophe. The Sliders are the firewall of the Matrix database.
The General and her people watch on the monitor, and the General tells Gastron to keep monitoring while she leaves. After a moment, Ohlia follows her.
In the Matrix, the Doctor explains that an Academy student once entered the Matrix, got out, and learned of the secret passage from the Sliders. He went mad, and then stole the moon and the President’s wife. Clara realizes that he’s talking about himself, and tells him to look her in the eye and admit how long it’s been since he last saw her. The Doctor admits that he was stuck in a place for a very long time, and Clara asks what happened to the Doctor.
The General and Ohlia take soldiers with them to the Matrix, while Gastron tells them what he’s seeing on the monitor. They arrive and the General tells them not to stray from the lift.
The Doctor is explaining about his confinement in the confession dial when the General and Ohlia arrive. Clara tells to stay back, and then demands to know what the Hybrid is. The Doctor says that it doesn’t matter because he needed his knowledge as leverage to save Clara. Clara turns to the newcomers and demands to know how long the Doctor was imprisoned. Ohlia says that it was four and a half billion years, and the General insists that the Doctor could have left anytime he wanted once he said what he knew about the Hybrid. Clara is shocked at what the Doctor gave up for her, and he says that he had a duty of care. The Doctor works out the code and says that the hatch leads to the workshops and the parked TARDISes. Clara says that her time is up and she has something to stay to him.
Once Clara is done, she turns to the General and Ohlia and says that the Time Lords are monsters, hiding away at the end of time. She tells them that they are hated monsters, and Ohlia asks what she said to the Doctor. Clara says that there’s only one part she’s going to tell them of what she told the Doctor: that they’d watch her while he escaped. The General wonders what the Doctor is going to do, and Clara said that he’ll do the same thing he did last time:steal a TARDIS and run away.
The new TARDIS materializes around Clara and she finds herself in the control room. Ohlia calls to the Doctor, telling him to get out of the TARDIS and face her. He steps out and Ohlia points out that he has broken every code that he ever held. The Doctor insists that the universe owes him, and Ohlia warns that the Doctor is giving Clara false hopes. He goes back inside and the TARDIS departs. The General wonders where the Doctor is running, and Ohlia tells her that he’s just running away.
As the TARDIS leaves Gallifrey, the Doctor says that Clara’s heartbeat will start once they leave the time zone. She doesn’t find it, and the Doctor insists that they’re not far enough away. He confirms that the tattoo is still on her neck, and Clara wonders what the Time Lords meant about time fracturing. The Doctor insists that they’re exaggerating, but Clara doesn’t believe him. He says that they’re going to the last hours of the universe to the end of time, where the Time Lords can’t track them. When he gets there, he needs to make a small adjustment.
The TARDIS arrives and Clara still can’t find her heartbeat. He insists that it has to work, but Clara wonders what happens if the universe needs her to die. The Doctor says that they are on the last fragment of existence and he’s answerable to no one. There are four knocks on the door, and the Doctor says that it’s him. He tells Clara to stay inside and goes outside.
Outside, Ashildr is waiting for the Doctor. She says that the other immortals are gone and it’s just her, and she’s been watching the stars die. The Doctor says that it isn’t beautiful, and Ashildr says that he doesn’t like endings. Furious, the Doctor says that Ashildr killed Clara billions of years before, and Ashildr says that Clara chose to die for who she was and who she loved... and it’s over. She asks the Doctor what the Hybrid really is.
Inside the TARDIS, Clara turns on the monitor and listens as the Doctor says that as a child, he learned that the Hybrid is a combination of two warrior races... but not necessarily a Time Lord and a Dalek. Ashildr asks why he spends so much time on Earth, and suggests that he’s the Hybrid... and so is Clara. The Doctor admits that Missy loves chaos and brought them together. Ashildr warns that the two of them could do anything, and the Doctor admits that he’s taking Clara back to Earth and wiping her memories of him. He’ll hide her away somewhere safe. Ashildr wonders if he’ll tell Clara what he’s going to do, and the Doctor says that he’s going to tell her.
Clara quickly shuts off the monitor as the Doctor and Ashildr enter the TARDIS. She soon admits that she was listening to their conversation, and tells him not to wipe her memories. The Doctor assures her that she’ll be fine, but he has to wipe her memories because otherwise the Time Lords can use them to find her. Clara grabs the neural block and says that she reversed the polarity. If he activates the neural block then he’ll wipe his own memories. The Doctor insists that he’s trying to keep her safe, but Clara insists on keeping her past. The Doctor hesitates and then admits that she’s right. He’s not sure if Clara is bluffing, and says that one of them has to go. He doesn’t know if the neural block will work on him or Clara, and Clara hands him the block. The Doctor says that they should do it together, and Clara suggests that they just fly off. He says that would be great, and then they wish each other good luck. They activate the block and they wait for the effects.
As they wait, Clara says that she could never forget the Doctor. He feels his memories fade and says his goodbyes to her, and insists that it’s right after he broke his own rules. Clara insists that there must be something she can do, and the Doctor asks her to smile for him one last time. He insists that he’ll remember her smiling and then passes out.
When the Doctor wakes up, he finds a man examining him. He’s in the desert, and the man says that Clara asked him to look after him. The Doctor has no idea who he’s talking about.
The Doctor says that he knows his companion was Clara and they traveled together, and remembers their adventures. He doesn’t remember what Clara told him in the Cloisters, or what she looked like, or how she talked. The Waitress--Clara--points out that the woman he’s looking for could be anyone. The Doctor insists that he would know Clara if he met her, and realizes that he’s been in the diner before with Amy and Rory. As for his TARDIS, the Doctor says that someone moved it from London and he’s still looking for it. He remembers that the diner was on the other side of the hill, and Clara says that someone will find his TARDIS for him. As Clara starts to walk away, Clara asks what she told him in the Cloisters. The Doctor doesn’t remember, and Clara suggests that some memories become songs.
Clara opens the kitchen door and walks into the TARDIS control room. It dematerializes, leaving the Doctor standing in the middle of the desert. The Doctor’s TARDIS is nearby, covered in graffiti.
In the new TARDIS, Ashildr complains that the chameleon circuit is stuck as an American diner. Clara confirms that she doesn’t have a pulse and she’s still frozen. She’s not afraid to go back to Gallifrey and return to Trap Street at the moment she died. However, she figures that since she’s not aging, there’s a bit of wiggle room. Clara suggests that they could stop off on the way, and sets course for Gallifrey... the long way around.
The Doctor finds a picture of Clara on the TARDIS. He goes inside and finds his chalkboard... with “Run you clever boy and be a Doctor” written on it in Clara’s handwriting. A sonic screwdriver shoots through the air and the Doctor catches it, and then snaps his fingers and closes the TARDIS doors. He then throws the dematerialization switch and depart, and the picture of Clara on the outside disintegrates.
Written by Gadfly on Dec 6, 2015