Series 8, Episode 4
During a disastrous first date, Clara and Danny Pink fail to hit it off. On top of all that, she also has to assist The Doctor on a terrifying investigation into the monsters under the bed. Every bed. Even his.
IMAGINE IT FROM MY POINT OF VIEW!
The first serious top episode contender for this series is penned by none other than Steven Moffat himself. In the past, Moffat has built a reputation on writing episodes that blend the terrifying with solid emotional underpinnings. The episodes in question also, for the most part, rank highly among most fan top tens, as examples of the best kind of Who. “Listen” opens with a cracking scene in which The Doctor is having a debate with himself (or is he?) about the source of invisible fear: the monster at your back, the creature under the bed, the shadows in our shadow. The story continues with the help of Clara (once again centre stage) as our pilot on this haunting and intriguing exploration of what makes us scared, and what makes us strong. Coupled with the sub-plot of her barely surviving first date with Danny Pink, and a bit of time-travel, and “Listen” easily sits as one of the best episodes of the season.
The Good Things
Don't Always Soften The Bad Things...
Primal fear: Moffat knows how to turn the regular, everyday nigglings of an average person into full blown shared panic with his “monsters”. This episode is no different, even going a step further to leave the debate open as to whether or not there actually was an enemy.
Super Powers: The bit about fear being a super power was an incredible chunk of dialogue and wonderfully portrayed by Capaldi, who is fast becoming an epic Doctor.
With or Without you: The fact that the Doctor continues his investigation after Clara leaves the first time is reassuring. This series in particular has given me the impression The Doctor can't seem to do anything without Clara. I'd like to see more of this.
...But Vice-Versa, The Bad Things
Don't Necessarily Spoil The Good Things...
Primary Fears: First dates can be excruciating, awkward, and scary. What we got with Danny and Clara was down right ridiculous. The whole date, from Clara first arriving, to her first exit, re-arrival and Danny's departure was maybe 20 – 30 minutes, on the outside. His beer was only half drunk, and they hadn't gotten beyond shop talk. There must have been other interactions after “Into the Dalek”. I had a hard time investing in the whole scene.
If you could read my mind, love: TARDIS “TELEPATHIC” circuits should not require a physical connection. Being telepathic in nature, they should scan or read or browse. Annoyed me to no end, and the actual interface looked like some kind of inappropriate anatomy class simulator.
Moffats Amazing Loopty Loop Machine: The Doctor invented Danny Pink. By giving him a “great dream about Dan the Soldier Man”, he effectively etched into young Ruperts mind the notion of taking on the character of Danny to fend of the unwanted fears of an invisible enemy. Rupert becomes Danny, who joins the army, becomes a soldier etc etc etc. And who was it ultimately hiding under the Doctors bed on Gallifrey? Right. Clara AGAIN.
...And Make Them Unimportant.
Stand Alone: On it's own, incredibly well written and scary story with a touching and poetic end. But with some other companion, it just wouldn't work the same. And that is a bit of a problem. No one companion should wear the “Be All/End All” crown.
Moff Calling Orson, Come In Orson: Foreshadowing or trolling? Also – why the Sanctuary Base 6 outfit?
The Doctor is in the Details: The Time Lock is gone. Gallifrey is lost. But Clara can drive there. Must mean the actual coordinates are stored in the TARDIS, like a browser history. Dot dot dot.