Saturday, 13 September 2014

Doctor Who Series 8: Episode 4 — Listen

You know, I’m a Dr Who fan.

Never pretended otherwise: never wanted to, in point of fact.

I’m someone who’s grown up on the show: enjoyed, but very aware that some stories have been good, some bad and some … 

Well, some just OK.

Looking back … ?

Looking back for either, there’s probably a few I could point to.

The Greatest Show In The Galaxy always struck me as poor.

Last week’s episode, the Mark Gatiss directed, Robots Of Sherwood?

I’m thinking, right now, that Robots Of Sherwood was one of the OK episodes.

Light, fluffy and fun.   With the emphasise on ‘light’, I should add.

Then there’s Listen: tonight’s episode.

I’m very aware that some of my fellow fans aren’t fond of Steven Moffat.   Personally … ?

Personally, I think fans who’ve given tonight’s episode a miss, on the grounds it’s written by Steven Moffat would be bloody stupid.

Speaking for myself, I think Mr Moffat’s put in one of his best scripts: at least since Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead … 


Listen opens with a pre-title teaser showing the Doctor: wondering if everyone has the same nightmare.

Of being grabbed by something lurking under the bed.

And assuming its an embodiment of fear: and something he should look into.

Post titles, we find Clara and Danny having their first date: with both managing to very gently put their feet in their respective mouths.

Getting back to her flat, Clara meets the Doctor: who immediately recruits her into his search.

And hooks her into the TARDIS, to home in on when she’s had The Dream.

They end up outside a children’s home in Gloucestershire.  In the 1990s.

Where one scared resident, Rupert Pink, is having something of a rough time, getting to sleep.

He’s thinking there’s something under the bed.

That’s dealt with: with help from the Doctor.

Who gets Rupert, and Clara, to get rid the creature by deliberately not looking at it.

It’s only then that Clara helps Rupert some more: by using the toy soldiers in his room as faux ‘protection’, to see off nightmares.

It’s ALSO only then that Rupert tells us he fancies calling himself Danny … 

And becoming a soldier.

It’s ALSO only then — when Clara get’s the Doctor to drop her back at the restaurant, so she can try and salvage her date with the man she’s realised Rupert will become — she realises that time travel is starting to make her life more complicated than it could be.

Especially when the astronaut in the kitchen beckons her into the TARDIS.

And turns out to be a stranded time traveller called Orson Pink … 


Now, I was bloody stupid … ?

Absolutely: you would be bloody stupid to have missed Listen.

I felt the episode has added further to the relationship between Clara and Danny: contrasting the fantastic elements of the show’s universe with the real-world events of everyday life.

Not only that, it’s also deepened the relationship between Clara and the Doctor.

I can’t help that’s a good thing.

Something I believe is that, ever since the show’s reintroduction in 2005, it’s not about the Doctor.

It’s been about the companions.

In those early years, it was Rose: Rose was the show’s hero and central character.   The existence of the Dr and the TARDIS, were what allowed Rose to be a hero.

Pretty much the same — I felt — applied to Donna Noble.

It’s been up and down since then, I feel.

I think the Matt Smith years were good: but didn’t have as strong a story arc as Rose/Bad Wolf.   Or as Donna.

But both in performance, and in scripting?   And in how the Nethersphere/Impossible Girl arc is shaping up?

I feel the show is about Clara, is about the companion: about how we — the Everyman/woman that the companion is supposed to be — would deal with the situation of travelling with the Doctor.

And with being a hero.

That’s what we’re supposed to listen for.

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