They did some scaring this episode, but did the questions raised and the familiar scare tactic bog it down? Is our complicated love-hate relationship with this episode’s writer and showrunner tainting our enjoyment of the show? Maybe, but I’m going to allow the little part of myself that did enjoy the episode to take over for a bit.
‘Listen’ isn’t about a tangible thing that goes bump in the night, it’s about the nothingness that engulfs the space around you when you’re sure you’re alone. That thing underneath your bed doesn’t exist, it’s your own fear that holds you captive, but if Clara grabbed the Doctor’s leg all them years ago when he was a scared lil timebubby starting this whole tulpa/thoughtform, then why has it taken so long for the Doctor to remember to ‘Listen’? It boils down to the idea that fear is a companion, always with you. “Fear makes companions of us all.” Oh hi ‘Unearthly Child’ feels.
Moffat hammers in, again, the idea that Clara has seen the Doctor through some fearful moments of his long life- even if he didn’t know it. Capaldi’s initial monologue is great in that caught our attention and I do believe those first few minutes elicited some small amount of terror- however I can’t say I felt the same amount of ‘fear’ as earlier work from Moffat. Because I still don’t blink when walking past angel statues.
The monster in this episode was your own imagination, well the Doctor’s own, brought to life- sorta. I immediately thought of Supernatural, ‘Hell House’. Remember the tulpa? If enough people believe it it’ll come to life, right? I half expected Sam and Dean to burst into the TARDIS and tell the Doctor to change the story, and suddenly a crossover AU fanfic was born. However all it took was Clara’s maternal touch and a heartfelt speech, not sure I was exactly wowed by the anticlimactic resolution but it worked so I can’t complain too much.
– The side romance of Clara and Danny made a few steps forward, a jump or two back before hopping into a car and going full-speed ahead. They do work well, Coleman and Anderson have an interesting chemistry that I like. I’ll give them that. Are we to believe that Orson (the Pink line are not kind with names) is a descendant of Clara and Danny then? I still need Danny to meet the Doctor, that is all. Well, properly meet him, as an adult. Especially considering Danny became ‘Dan dan the soldier man’ thanks to his influence.
– “He’ll never make a Time Lord!” Is that person from the Doctor’s past the original cereal guy?