While we don’t necessarily review every episode of Doctor Who, we definitely write about it a lot. There’s lots of reviews going on out there right now – say, on Sourcerer and Part Time Monster, to name a couple in our local blogosphere!
So while I loved the most recent episode, Listen, I don’t want to just do an episode review. I want to look at a few of the specific reasons why I personally liked this episode. Then it’s just opinions! And you can agree or disagree as you like.
I think this is easily the best episode of this season, and last. The best of Capaldi. Some of the best from Moffat. And most importantly, it’s the best of Clara, something that in particular has been lacking. It also had some aesthetic ties to one of my favorite things, which gave me chills… but we’ll get there! SPOILERS!
The Best of Clara
So I did a character study of Clara recently, and I wrote it right after series 8 of Doctor Who started. At this point, Clara had played out her plot purpose, in The Name of the Doctor, and was finally getting to just be a companion who has some adventures with the Doctor.
But they also hinted, in Deep Breath, at there being more to Clara. And not in her future: but in her past. Like, an honest-to-goodness backstory and life! That’s right, her career as a teacher played into things, and she figured things out because of it.
In other words, she has her own life now, external to the Doctor. She does not just exist to be a companion. And this really featured in Listen. She was trying to have a date, trying to live her life. And then they gave her a child to interact with (timey-wimey: it’s her date) and she does a great job. Like she should. But without giving her the opportunity, how would we ever be able to tell?
However, better than just trying to breathe life into Clara (finally), they kept up with what they had done with her in the past: mainly, have her majorly impact the entirety of the Doctor’s life. To whit, the GIFs on this page:
So they’re building her character up, without stopping what they did before. Good work!
Evolution is trying to Perfect Moffat’s Monsters
I love the opening premise of the episode. Well, both of them. One, that a creature might have developed the perfect ability to hide – and if so, how would you detect it? And the second one: that the Doctor can actually come up with a hypothesis and spend the episode trying to resolve it. You know, instead of just showing up somewhere random and seeing what’s wrong.
I like how fresh this felt – while also really being totally a Moffat sort of idea. We’ve mentioned before that we love Moffat’s early Doctor Who work, and have enjoyed his time as showrunner (series 7 had its own problems).
Because for one thing, he gave us the Weeping Angels in Blink. An attempt at perfect hiding – you never see them moving! Are they really coming for you? Are you going crazy? By the time you generally have that answer, it’s already too late for you. Great creature idea.
And then he gave us The Silence, or I guess the alien race the Silents? I think that’s what people have decided they are called. The creatures that, once you look away, you forget you’ve ever seen them. Pretty darn good hiding!
The point is, we’ve kind of seen this before. But not perfect hiding. That’s a stretch even for these creatures. There’s a flaw in their methods of hiding.
I like that we’re left with a level of ambiguity as to whether or not they find anything that is hiding. And as Clara says, what’s under the bed? Only her…
The Ghost Inside
But for me, the clincher was that I loved the episode’s aesthetic, especially when they went to the end of the universe. Oh, by the way, was anyone else thinking that the last time they were at the end of the universe, they found the Master there? Just saying.
But first, it’s the spacesuit. That orange spacesuit.
But it’s more than the fact that it looks like they were trying to steal Danger Mouse’s look. How about that world they were on, at the end of the universe? With that sunset?
That’s the one. Meaning it’s entirely possible that what they find outside is robot Christina Hendricks:
Or perhaps you’d just find the disco from Holding on for Life. Come to think of it, either of those music videos would make a fascinating Doctor Who episode… or the Doctor versus our Mrs. Reynolds???
Anyway, that’s what I wanted to share. What’d you think of Listen? Let us know in the comments below!