I haven’t been thrilled with the offerings of episodes so far, but none of them actively disappointed me, until now. Listen started out as what looked to be a good “hide behind the couch” episode, but took a swift turn south when Moffat just had to dive back into the Doctor’s past. The episode starts positing a very creepy idea; what if we are all never alone. What if there is a species perfect at hiding, that was always with us, but we never knew except for in dreams, such as the dream of something grabbing your legs from under the bed. After her date with Danny Pink goes south, the Doctor convinces Clara to help him suss out this “perfect hiding species” by using the TARDIS’ telepathic circuits, but she instead sends them to Danny’s past. There they may, or may not, have encountered this species. Back to the present Clara tries to salvage her date, but it blows up again, and Clara returns to the TARDIS to meet Orson Pink, a time travel from 100 years in the future who is also related to Danny. He was stuck at the end of the universe where he believed he wasn’t alone. Believing it is the concealment entity, the Doctor tries to make contact, but has to be saved by Orson and Clara. Clara then has to get them out before the entities break in.
There were a few things I liked about this episode. The whole concept of the “perfect hiding species” was a terrific one. It plays on very primal fears of what might be after us when we are alone. Things disappearing when they were just there a minute ago, or the thing that grabs you under the bed. These are things that can raise the creep factor in even the most rational of minds, especially when that mind grabs hold and starts running with it. I was so hoping for a great new species that we can never see but is always there. The Doctor’s monologue at the beginning was fantastically creepy. Capaldi played it brilliantly. And sadly, that’s about it.
What made this episode so disappointing it that after all that fantastic build up, the big mystery of what this species could be is just completely dropped. The is it/is it not real was fun for a while. Everything could be given a rational explanation, but the reason were never really convincing. While I don’t have a problem with the species never being shown, or even explained, I do have a problem with the whole idea just being dismissed. It felt like such a cop-out to go through this whole adventure just to have the Doctor drop it in the end.
Then there’s the whole traveling to the Doctor’s past. I am so sick of Moffat trying to play around in that sand box. He just needs to stay out of the Doctor’s past. I don’t want to know about who he was or what he was like before his adventures in the TARDIS began. Leave that to the fanfic writers. That part of his life should be left a mystery, never to be spelled out or shown on TV. That is one of the things that makes him such a great character, just like his name. Nothing any writer comes up with will be good enough, so just don’t try. I just want Moffat to stay out of this territory. He’s mucked it up enough as it is. Really, what was the point of stopping in the Doctor’s past? Just so Clara could give him the whole idea of the concealment entity? Moffat need to stop “moffatsplaining” the Doctor. Seriously.
And why do they keep making a big deal about Danny being a soldier? It’s being treated as if being a soldier is some horrible thing, something to be ashamed of. I don’t mind Danny having issues with returning after being on active duty, but what is with Clara’s reactions. I think Danny has a right to be offended to the way people are acting around him. I don’t know how I feel about Danny as a love interest to Clara. I’m not really feeling it between them. And while I usually like relationships with bite, it’s really not working with them.
This season is really becoming a roller coaster ride for me. Up on episode, down the next. Most have just been dips, but this was a seriously big plunge for me. Hopefully the next episode, Time Heist will be better.