Series Issues: Doctor Who 8×04 – Listen

(Source: BBC)

(Source: BBC)

Spoilers ahead.

The latest episode, Doctor Who 8×04: Listen, brings us back to those scary episodes such as Blink’s Weeping Angels or the guys from The Silence. It never quite reveals what it’s there, but rather it leaves the question open. For the most part it works. Basically this episode starts with the premise than when you think there’s something under your bed, there just might be something under your bed and I’m going to check mine again just in case.

There’s some great scenes in this episode and I don’t really want to give those away so this is the part where I have to walk in a minefield. The Doctor is thinking about… evolution. Somehow as he goes about in grand circles he comes up with the idea of a creature that is so good at hiding it has never been seen. Therefore comes with the idea that whenever we’re alone and talking to ourselves we’re not really alone. Nope, nothing under the bed. Sorry, I had to check again.

(Source: BBC)

(Source: BBC)

Clara is on a date with Danny Pink. They somehow get tangled in a misunderstanding and Clara leaves in a huff to find the TARDIS in her bedroom. The Doctor wants to use Clara’s subconscious and travel to the first moment she had that dream where you think there’s something under the bed that will grab you if you get down. Give me a sec… Ok, no nothing under the bed, let’s keep going. But Clara as it turns out gets distracted and they end up visiting a young kid – who happens to be Rupert Pink. Which might be Danny’s real name. As Clara tries her best to put his fears behind him, something appears under the covers and- oh great, now I gotta check under the bed and under the covers?

(Source: BBC)

(Source: BBC)

Whatever it is, we never get to see it. Clara ends up getting some toy soldiers to show young Rupert he’ll be protected. Rupert names the leader as Dan, making Clara wince. As they both leave, Clara asks the Doctor to take her back to her date just after she’s left. The result is that Clara gets a second chance at the date with Danny, which at some point she calls Rupert.

As Danny Pink suddenly becomes really suspicious of her, Clara notices a man in a spacesuit waving at her from across the room. It’s Danny’s turn to walk out in a huff. Clara follows the space man into the TARDIS to find out it’s….

(Source: BBC)

(Source: BBC)

Well, the space man is a dead ringer for Danny but it’s actually Orson Pink. A man that traveled to the end of the universe and is scared of things that appear at night. The Doctor takes them there and simulates a complication just to see if he can finally find out what is out there. Meanwhile Orson shows Clara a family heirloom, the toy soldier that has been in his family for generations. Apparently Orson’s family were time travelers. More seeds for future episodes.

There’s something scratching at the door… or there’s a  reasonable explanation. The Doctor orders – yes he actually orders Clara into the TARDIS. Eventually Orson’s ship/station has a breach and the Doctor ends up thrown about and unconscious. Orson and Clara carry him into the safety of the TARDIS. Soon enough, something is knocking at the door. Clara uses the telepathic interface to take them to safety but where they end up…

They end up in some sort of barn. It’s very subtle and unexpected but it seems Clara gets to interact with a young kid who she inadvertently scares. Who the kid is makes this episode a lot larger in scale. How does she manage to convince the Doctor to turn away and never come back to the same place is almost unbelievable except for the “do as you’re told” phrase.

Despite the lack of a completely satisfying explanation, there were some great scenes this week and for the most part I enjoyed the episode. Perhaps we’ll get to revisit some of the unexplained flaws later on. Perhaps not. No promised land reference in this episode unless I missed it.

Highs:

  • Clara becomes a central piece and a paradox at the same time. She’s given a lot to do this episode, and she delivers. Literally, she’s the impossible girl here. Remember that the safeties of the TARDIS are off the moment she’s given the telepathic interface to control it.
  • Danny Pink is revealed as someone a lot more complex and far more than just a love interest. Something that was already hinted on, but we finally get something tangible.
  • Orson Pink might or might not be related to Clara, and I really want to know how Journey Blue fits into this puzzle. If she doesn’t, I will be disappointed.
  • The Doctor sending Clara to the TARDIS with the very very very patronizing phrase, “do as you’re told” would have been an all time low if it wouldn’t turn out that Clara gets to return that very command to the Doctor later in the episode.
  • Great scenes and reveals in this episode, but…

Lows:

  • But… the payoff is a bit anti-climatic.
  • We get a lot of anticipation regarding these creatures that can hide just out of view. I don’t mind the fact that we never see them, but seems we are to believe that they never existed.
  • What was underneath young Rupert Pink’s bedsheet?
  • Who wrote LISTEN on the Doctor’s blackboard?
  • Are we planting more seeds for future episodes, or the whole “it was nothing” is supposed to suffice here?

That will do for now.

(Source: BBC)

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