Monday, September 15, 2014

Doctor Who- Listen

This weekend, Listen gave us our first scary episode with Capaldi, and it was a good one!


The Doctor examines why we don't feel alone when we know we must be. Why we talk aloud to ourselves alone in the house, why we hear ticks and creaks at night when there are none at other times, and why the little hairs on the back of our necks sometimes stand up and feel like someone is breathing on us. He says that all of humanity shares a common nightmare- the "something grabbing you from under the bed" dream. (Personally, I've never had that one, though. Maybe I'm not human.)

And Clara steers the TARDIS to the past to examine her own nightmare- except, she gets distracted by thoughts of Danny Pink and instead takes them to his bedroom for his nightmare. Oops.

And now Clara is inadvertently shaping elements of her friend's life. Rupert Pink gets the idea to change his name to Danny from her, and the Doctor might have had something to do with his decision to become a soldier. And later, on a future bit of Clara's timeline, the Doctor encounters Orson Pink- who became a time traveler because it "runs in the family." Hmmm. A Pink, who looks remarkably like Danny is part of Clara's future and had a great grandparent who time-traveled? Sounds like Clara just got a nugget of info about her own timeline that she probably shouldn't have gotten.

And we wrap the episode up with the revelation that it was just the Doctor's own fear all along. There really was nothing this time. No monster in the dark, breathing... just the terror of a young boy, scared of the dark- scared to be alone. Except...then what was that thing under the blanket then that all of them saw?? That seemed real. And who wrote "Listen" on the chalkboard, and who was pounding on the door? While I thought the ending was sweet and kind of neat that, for once, there was no sinister force actually plotting humanity's demise, I also thought it didn't sufficiently explain what we saw in the episode. It was a bit frustrating. Sort of, "What do you mean it was nothing??"

But then again, there was that moment when the Doctor asked Clara if she had had the dream and she says hesitantly, yes, that she must have. Maybe some experiences are like that- sort of universal, but not exactly like another. Maybe Clara remembers fear of something under the bed but not a specific dream. Maybe they were trying to say that fear is sort of contagious and when one person puts an idea into your head it can take on a life of its own. Sort of like how Clara put ideas into Danny's head and eventually the Doctor's too. Hmmm. And here's something- I've wondered why this Doctor went from being Clara's flirty chum to this sort of grumpy old man who is a bit cross with her at times. But think of this for a second- Clara has been in the Doctor's life always. Remember, she entered the Doctor's timeline to stop the damage the Great Intelligence had done to it. Little versions of her are scattered throughout his past. The Doctor really never was alone. It was even her under his bed. And it is his fear that was the focus in this episode. His fear has been of being truly alone. And this incarnation of the Doctor will be the first to have to face life without her. Is this why he is a bit testy with her? Does he anticipate losing her, and in order to steel himself for her departure he created an emotional wall?  This idea of him as a grumpy old man who is terrified to lose his one life-long companion makes this Doctor a lot more sympathetic for me. It's hard to know if its correct, though. Moffat doesn't really weigh in on theories too often.

But, I like my interpretation. Anyone else have one?

Next weeks episode is called Time Heist and here is a trailer for you. Till then, VampChix!


Anna (VampChix) said...

This Doctor is definitely growing on me, and sadly, it's taken the upcoming departure of Clara to get me to like her as a companion more.

We have a similar complaint about the mystery beneath the red blanket...very creepy and annoying that we never discover what that could be. Maybe it will be something that is revealed in a later episode?

SkyRhino said...

Could be...that's the trouble with this show. Sometimes something seemingly minor becomes really important, and sometimes something that seems important is a red herring. Darn you Moffat!!!