Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who series 8 episode 4 – ‘Listen’….
The Doctor: Why do you have three mirrors? Why don’t you just turn your head?
This weeks Who is a return to its opening form with “Listen” and one of the best things about this episode for myself is that I have children to watch as this episode plays out. You hear stories of Who fans, from generations before you, hiding behind cushions when the Daleks first appeared and we never got to witness this – but now I can and this week I watched my children hide in fear. Though what where they hiding at I don’t really know as all the way through The Doctor explained with an amazing amount of tension what the bangs, clangs and shapes on the bed – rationally – could be.
In “Listen” our story begins with the Doctor scribbling upon the chalkboard again (is this a very subtle story arc we’re missing?) and talking to himself. He believes we may have a hidden companion with us at all times and when the word “Listen” appears on the chalkboard – seemingly by itself – due to this phantom scribbler the Doctor places himself in Clara’s life again, straight after she’s arrived home from a disastrous night out with Danny Pink. The Doctor is on a mission to find and communicate with this hidden and silent companion who everybody in the universe the Doctor assumes has. From studying books on dreams he’s discovered that everyone has had the same dream and he believes its where Host and Companion actually physically meet. With that he insists that Clara telepathically bonds with the TARDIS and they head for her liaison. It’s here she gets distracted and ends up at Rupert (Danny) Pink’s children’s home in the early 1990’s.
The story could have easily spun off The Weeping Angels, giving us a new bad whilst scaring the willies out of us, but it didn’t and instead Steven Moffat made the Doctor that bit more fallible as we see him chasing ghosts around the Universe; ghosts that he himself spends the episode debunking but needs the physically proof of sight to release the bonds he welds upon himself. It wasn’t just the writing from Moffat that was the stand out in this episode – each actor in this episode gave their bit. Both Dannys – Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson), Rupert Pink (Remi Gooding) – were excellent, but The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) where truly brilliant as Doctor and Companion. Peter Capaldi has really nailed the Doctor even at episode four as a Doctor who is clearly looking for something he’s missed to fix and Jenna Coleman shines as the companion now. Her performance in this was brilliant from the calming nurse for the terrified children to the figure of authority stood between to TARDIS console and the Doctor, refusing to move and telling the Doctor to, “Do as you’re told!” after he tells her that he doesn’t take orders (also returning the favour when the Doctor shouted it in her face as the airlock opened).
Eventually our story wraps up to show the Doctor’s ghostly companion he believes may have haunted him –in the dark – since he was a boy was nothing more than Clara hiding and later calming him down as he cried alone in bed. It was also rather good to see why the War Doctor took The Moment to the barn in “The Day of the Doctor”; none of this is known to the Doctor however, as Clara is more than aware that the effect the meeting had upon him, what it created and what it would undo. Another brilliant episode in series 8.
Our next Doctor Who episode is called “Time Heist” starring Keeley Hawes (Spooks, Ashes to Ashes).
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.