Doctor Who: Listen

Title: Listen
Episode: 8.04
Earth--mid-90s, Present & The end of time.

Companion: Clara

Guests: Samuel Anderson {3}
Remi Gooding {1}

Writer: Steven Moffat
Director: Douglas Mackinnon {d12}

Rating: *****
The episode opens with The Doctor monologuing alone on the TARDIS, as he explores the theory of
what if no one is ever really alone.

Meanwhile Clara gets that drink with fellow teacher Danny Pink. First introduced in Into the Dalek, two episodes ago. Things start off great at first at a restaurant and both of them fumbling over what to say. Danny and Clara obviously like each other, but both have past that they need to get past. Clara leaves the date in a huff.

The TARDIS telepathic interface is introduced, and Clara is given control of flying the TARDIS. A distraction puts them in the wrong past, not hers. They meet a nine-year old Mr. Pink, named Rupert, not Danny, then they discover it is Danny. There never is an explanation as to who is on the bed when Clara and Danny are checking under it, the thing under the Afghan. While the Doctor. Clara and Rupert agree not to look at it and close their eyes, it blots out of the room, never seen.

Clara tries to make Rubert feel safe by putting toy soldiers around the foot of his bed to "protect" and defend him. She picks one out that has no gun, calls him the Colonel. "... he's boss. A soldier who's so brave he doesn't need a gun ... can keep the whole world safe (a look back at the Doctor). What shall we call him?" Rupert names him, "Dan, the soldier man." This harkens back to the Doctor refusing to take Journey Blue as a companion in Into the Dalek.

The Doctor and Clara return to the present and Clara resumes her date with Danny, and he suspects that something strange is going on. He leaves the date, suspecting that she is lying, as she is summoned back to the TARDIS by a guy in an orange space-suit. The space man, who looks like Danny, is Orson Pink, from 100 years in the future. He has Rupert's "Dan the Soldier-man" toy, a family heirloom.

The most interesting part is saved for last, when Clara pilots the TARDIS to a barn and a little boy sleeping in the loft. We quickly discover that the boy is The Doctor, and the barn is the one used by the War Doctor with The Moment. Clara talks to a sleeping Doctor and says, "Fear makes companions of us all." A line from the 1st Doctor's third episode, An Unearthly Child.

This episode had perfect hide-behind-the-couch moments, and very little special effects. The 12th Doctor hit his stride in this episode. When you go back and watch the episode, try it with headphones on; the little bits of conversation and sounds under sounds are amazing. I loved the fact that the story is unresolved.
Questions left at the end:
-Who wrote the note in the TARDIS?
-What was under the covers on Rupert's bed?
-Was there a monster?
-Where is that barn? It can't be on Gallifrey, can it?
-Why isn't Clara telling the Doctor who Rupert, Danny and Orson Pink are?
-What was knocking at the door of the ship?
-Why did the Doctor yell, "Sontarans! Perverting the course of human history!!!" when he woke?
-Why was the young Doctor crying?
-Was that the Doctor's parents?
-What changed and caused the Doctor to go to the Academy, instead of into the Army?
-When will we see Danny on the TARDIS?

Opening: 10
Setting: 9
Conflict: 4
Plot: 9
Dialogue: 8
Aliens: 0
Costumes: 5

Next time on Doctor Who: Time Heist

All images © BBC


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