By no means redeeming Moffat for the first three episodes of the new Doctor, Listen, in my honest opinion, has been the best of the series so far and shows that despite evidence Clara and The Doctor can work together.
I did have some sneaky sense that something was just terribly wrong and that they simply didn’t work as Time Lord and companion. I can now see they still have a fighting chance – and I almost warmed to Danny Pink as well. Almost. It still might take another story or three to get me really bedded into seeing him as a viable character.
If you haven’t seen the episode yet, you would be unwise to read any further.
On the other hand, if you’re still reading – it was interesting to watch an episode that really didn’t have a villain. The Doctor has fear as a companion and that fear gives him his strength. Without that fear, that voice that keeps talking even when no one else is around, when silence hangs heavy – without that, the War Doctor could not have stood the test and did what he did. Without that ever present companion, the Doctor would not continue to soldier on.
What was under the blanket? Was that Clara? If she’s under the bed, then was she under the blanket as well? I guess, in some ways, it’s interesting to leave that one unanswered. When you lie awake at night and you hear something in the house. When you settle yourself and the pipes creaks, or you can just catch something scuttling across the roof tiles. That isn’t Clara… What it is, well – like I say, best not to consider it.
That was an interesting character piece, grappling with the past and the future. The Doctor ended up at the end of the Universe again. This time, he seems to have gone even further than the last, when he disturbed The Master and the Toclafane. At the end of time, something lurked outside the door. Clara again, perhaps? Or, just the threat of something, the fear of something made real. A manifestation of that dependable companion?
Yes, Listen might have been a turning point for me. I saw a Doctor before me. I didn’t see Peter Capaldi. I felt I was watching the same old Time Lord I have followed so avidly before and he had a new face. This was not simply another actor playing a role in a way that left me feeling slightly uncomfortable. Here, Capaldi did his bit and he stepped into those big Gallifreyan shoes. I saw The Doctor and I found myself comfortable with it for a moment. I saw a little of the darkness, and I saw the touch of age making him something different. The Doctor that shies away from hugs, who questions existence, who struggles to accept that he doesn’t know everything.
And then the episode ended. I found myself watching the clock, wondering what might happen next. In the end, we discovered another facet of Clara, the Impossible Girl. Clara, who would be at the side of The Doctor from the start to the finish, watching over him. Even before he became The Doctor we know, blankets pulled tightly over his head in the dead of night. Sleeping out in a barn – a barn that would one day be a ramshackle place to think over the future of his homeworld and his greatest enemy.
In those wee hours when the monsters lurk everywhere and we’re certain, if only for just a moment, that we might not make it through the night.
I liked that rather a lot.
Almost as much as I liked the trailer for the next episode. That made me squeal.
Midway through the trailer, we catch a glimpse of a Police database with several brief mugshots.
- Androvax, The Veil – Who appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures, a destroyer of worlds and the last of his kind, a Prisoner of the Judoon
- A Sensorite – I’d be guessing if this was the City Administrator from The Sensorites, met by The First Doctor
- Captain John Hart – Nemesis of Captain Jack Harkness and the Time Agency, who first appeared in the Season 2 Torchwood episode Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
- Abslom Daak – The Dalek Killer, who featured in classic and more modern comic strips, as well as getting brief mentions in books, like Happy Endings
- A Slitheen – Could be almost any of the flatulent troublemakers
- The Terileptil – Responsible for the Great Fire of London and convoluted plans in The Visitation, with the Fifth Doctor
- The Trickster – Who has been behind plots against Sarah Jane, The Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble across various stories
Brilliant. Daak made me squee. I squee’d out loud in front of my whole family.