December 1, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “Listen”

The Doctor goes hunting for what he assumes is an unknown apex predator.

So, the previous episode showed Clara and the Doctor more or less disagreeing that something was real as she was interested in something he considered a legend, only for her to be proven right.

This episode more or less does the same thing, only the other way around, and the Doctor may still be wrong.

Yeah, this is one of those, I dunno, “sweet” episodes that gets kinda philosophical and ends up being rather mawkish in the end.  The Doctor, monologuing alone on the TARDIS, starts talking about the possibility of an apex predator, one that adapted so well that no one has ever seen it, and that’s why so many people have the same dream of a hand reaching out to grab them when they think they just woke up from a bad dream.  Do we, the Doctor wondered, talk to ourselves because on some level we know we aren’t really alone?  And something wrote the word “listen” on his chalkboard.

Wasn’t the concept of a thing that you forgot you looked at as soon as it left your line of sight the Silence’s whole deal?  Eh, never mind.

Clara, when she’s picked up, says that’s his handwriting and asks how long he’s been alone.  That, well, that turns out to be a big hint here.

Ultimately, I wasn’t all that impressed with this one.  Clara is trying to have a date with co-worker and ex-soldier Danny Pink, but the date keeps going wrong, and the Doctor keeps picking her up and dropping her off again.  Both Danny and Clara seem to be trying to hit it off and keep failing miserably for different reasons.  The Doctor meanwhile really wants to find this thing he is convinced exists and no one else seems to be certain of.

See, the Doctor needs Clara because he figures he can see the thing if the TARDIS can take her back to the exact moment she had this common dream.  It doesn’t quite work since the telepathic interface of the TARDIS ends up sending the pair to Danny’s childhood instead, only then his name was Rupert Pink and looking for a name change.  There might be something under Rupert’s blankets, but it might also be another kid from the children’s home he’s living in, and the Doctor’s words inadvertently inspire Rupert to become Danny in the future.  Clara kinda helped there.

That’s followed up by a trip to the end of time with Mason Pink, humanity’s first time traveler and possibly the grandson or great-grandson of Clara and Danny.  Same actor as Danny with some old age make-up, that’s for sure.  Can the Doctor find this mysterious, possibly dangerous thing at the end of time?

OK, here’s the thing…there is no such apex predator.  The Doctor did write “listen” himself.  He has just been alone for too long.  Same with Mason, stuck at the end of time and starting to have some problems.  Clara’s attempts to fly the TARDIS home after the Doctor finds himself unconscious following a hull breach actually lands her on, well, Gallifrey.  She doesn’t know that until she goes to comfort a scared child sleeping in a barn under some blankets, only for the kid’s, I dunno, parents coming in and saying he won’t make a Time Lord at that rate.  And yes, the juvenile Doctor did experience a hand grabbing him from under the bed when he got up after a bad dream.  It was Clara’s hand.

She was the monster all along.

There may be a metaphor there for some fans.

Regardless, Clara gives the juvenile Doctor some sweet words of comfort because she’s not really capable of other kinds, and the Doctor takes everyone back where they belong where Danny and Clara really hit it off.

So…will this Doctor be right about, oh, anything?

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