Moffat is back in writer’s chair. It’s not a grand opening or series finale or special. It is just your ordinary, average episode that wouldn’t normally be written by Moffat. How did he do?
Well, we finally get an episode that isn’t about a crashed spaceship with robotic aliens disguised to fit in with the areas settings while they try and find a way home! Well done episode four! We get a story about fear and turning it into a superpower. We get a story about a scared little boy, a marooned time traveller, and a peek into the Doctor’s childhood.
There is a lot going on in this episode and most of it revolves around hints. Maybe it should have been called Hints rather than Listen. Unless you are meant to Listen to the hints. The episode is almost a spoiler for the rest of the series, or the rest of Clara’s time. We now know that Danny and Clara are going to get together, have kids, and their great grand kid, Orson, will be one of the first time travellers. Of course this is only one angle. Danny and Clara might not have kids at all but Danny’s time with the Doctor might encourage his decedents to time travel. However, that would be ignoring Orson giving Clara the ‘family heirloom’ , the toy solider Rupert named ‘Dan The Solider Man’, at the end, which she then gives to the Doctor as a child. Still, time travel can create paradoxes so we’ll see what happens, but certainly that is where things are pointing for Clara and Danny.
I’ve probably said this in every review, but series 8 is a lot more fun than previous. Don’t get me wrong series 6 and 7 had a few standouts but wildly failed to deliver. Capaldi is great. He shines in every scene. His moment with young Rupert was a great scene. It’s important to remember that Doctor Who is a kids show and it’s good to see the Doctor interacting with kids and giving empowering speeches. The whole turning fear into a superpower was heartwarming and fun. Moffat does do well to create creepiness. He nailed in Blink and this episode does well to follow. This is one of the scarier episodes. The story does well to frighten without ever truly seeing a monster. The series hasn’t become to burdened with a story arch, but what we do know has been interesting. The mysterious Promise Land and Missy character and this new twist with Clara and Danny. It’s all gentle enough to pique the interest but not detract from the episodes at hand.
I still don’t have anything nice to say about Clara. I think she’s a more solid character this series but her overall character was ruined for me with her whole overly important to the Doctor storyline plus I still find her incredibly arrogant and annoying. I don’t buy it when she tells that Doctor what to do and treats him like a child, or snaps him. It just doesn’t work and pulls me out of the story every time she does it. Some people have expressed their dislike when the Doctor pokes at Clara, but I love it. Let’s have more of that please.
I have two issues with the episode though. “of course you do,” you say! One is Clara’s shoes. Yes, Clara’s damn shoes. How can she be running about on all these adventures in unrealistic heels?! The show isn’t a fashion show, but has become more and more about clothing than it should have done. I don’t want to be distracted by what someone is wearing, I want to see a good story. Second, the monster. Is it real or isn’t it?! I mean, I don’t know about you, but I am sure I saw something sitting on the bed and then standing behind the Doctor, Clara, and Rupert. Sure when it removed the sheet it looked like Doby but still, there was something.
So why does Clara think there is no monster? Sure, Clara grabbed the Doctor’s ankle and started his whole ‘scary dream’ of something being under the bed but that doesn’t explain why every person in history has the dream. That doesn’t explain the beating on the ship, or the monster under the cover. I get it, the Doctor is afraid of the dark but there still a huge Moffat shaped hole that needs filling! But I suppose the story is about being okay with being afraid whether it is real or not, so maybe I solved my own issue here. Still, SHOES!
Overall, Listen was one of Moffat’s better episodes. Is it possible that he does better when he’s not doing the big openers and endings? Does he have more fun with these ‘smaller’ ‘less important’ episodes? It seems like it to me. But it wouldn’t be a Moffat episode without a few confusing bits, i.e. how did Clara travel to Galifray if it’s time-locked and trapped in another dimension. And of course the borderline anticlimax with the monster and its ambiguous state of existence.
A few questions remain that I’d like you to take a crack at:
Question: How can Clara telepathically or not travel to Galifray. I feel if Clara can do this telepathically it shouldn’t be to hard for the Doctor to do it which puts the whole time-lock/time-war/trapped in another dimension stuff back into question. Why does any of that have to happen at all?
Question: Is Clara going to die? This is the second episode regarding the length of Clara’s life. The first being Deep Breath. Or is this in reference to her time left on the TARDIS?
Question: Were those the Doctor’s parents, but more importantly why were they dressed like American farmers from the 1700’s?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the questions above. Comment below and let me know what you thought of Listen.
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