One of my favourite little details in Heaven Sent is that whenever the Doctor enters a room he is tapping his fingers against his palm on his right hand - ticking off the seconds he has available to spend in that place before the Veil catches up to him.
This is in the script too, a couple of elements were slightly truncated to account for more visual storytelling, but the intent is so distinctly present.
You see it most clearly telegraphed by the camera in the scene where he discovers the diamond wall (the camera pans down and we see it’s like an instinctive reaction to being in a new place), but I only just noticed, on my last rewatch, that Peter Capaldi never stops that ticking motion.
Even when his hand is out of the camera’s shot, when you see it again he’s still doing it.
And that’s how he knows it’ll take him a-day-and-a-half to crawl and drag himself to the top of the tower after the Veil kills him - he’s been counting the seconds the entire time and extrapolates from there.
“Steven Moffat had the Doctor murder another Time Lord; he obviously doesn’t understand Doctor Who.”
Setting aside the obvious poor reading here that the Doctor committed murder (not that his assault of the General is not a big deal, but come on), the scene in question is concrete proof that Moffat understands Doctor Who very well. The impact of the scene relies on the audience’s understanding that the Doctor coldly shooting down another person is an act that goes against the Doctor’s ideals. It’s “out-of-character” because the Doctor is being driven to perform “out-of-character” actions by his attachment to Clara. These character extremes are the whole point of the Series 9 climax, and the single motivation for the Doctor and Clara to part ways.
Of course, this scene also proves that Moffat understands Doctor Who, because it is not actually out-of-character for the Doctor to go to extremes or take things too far. This has been an aspect of the Doctor’s character that has been hugely focused on ever since the show returned in 2005.
You can point to bits of dialogue that are evidence of the Doctor’s pacifism and refusal to do harm, but when the Doctor repeatedly commits violence and causes harm, you can’t claim that he is out of character when he does so.
The Doctor tries to express and live by certain ideals. The Doctor does not always live up to these ideals. The Doctor sometimes fails.
the doctor's ever changing opinion of gallifrey/timelords
fuck dese guys I'm out
wow my life's great now, can't believe I spent 200 years on that god forsaken orange rock, without jamie too!!
you know what idc that u pompous arseholes banished me to earth, I got da brig with me and let me tell you something they don't have moustache's like that on gallifrey
first u accuse me of treason and now you want me for president,oh my daze you guys are such nerds, jelly baby?
you killed peri! then fragmented her in to 5 different versions of herself, you guys are fucked up, stay away from my humans!
shit man... me, the master and the rani, used to be so cool back at the academy, like the ultimate squad y'know, now we all so damn fucked up, that's what gallifrey does to innocent childrens
take the master's jiggly sperm back to gallifey they said, it'll be fine they said
haha GALLIFREY STANDS bitches, totally keeping this jacket as a memento
well I'm just going to have to cover up my severe psd with immense sass, any way it's not all bad at least I have rose she's great, although somehow she reminds me of the time war and why am I still wearing the jacket that I wore when my planet burned?!?
well the thing is martha its like every story about a kid who wants to get out of their small town but then ends up missing it, except the kid is 900 years old, the small town is an entire planet and the kid ends up committing the genocide of his own species
yay!! my people are back they are actually alive and I can go home, this is the best thing ever!! two tics clara I need stand on a cloud with me, myself and I and stare at this beautiful planet full of my problematic faves
the bae is dead and its probably your fault!! my hybrid valeyard arse has smashed on some glass for two billion years to get here and get my revenge, I told you to stay away from my humans!! and clara and peri both have scattered lives, way to rub it in. jeeze I can't believe I was so thirsty for you two hearted cunts to come back