Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Weekly Review: Doctor Who; Listen


Okay. They brought out another one. I created lots of opinions over it. Let's do this.

During Matt Smith's first season, Younger-Brother-Daniel and I went through this habit of calling each other after every episode and having epic 2 hour conversations about what had happened... you know, because we're so cool. As the series went on, we kinda stopped doing it. However, after this week's episode, I had no choice. I felt that it was important for me to get another opinion on this episode because, quite frankly, I was just the teensiest bit confused about the whole thing.

I've since watched the episode again and spent an unhealthy amount of time dissecting it and forming opinions on why it confused me so much. I've learnt that there seems to be three main schools of thought over this episode. People generally seem to be either thinking:

A. That it was the best episode Doctor Who has done in a long time.
B. That it was the worst episode Doctor Who has done in a long time.
C. That it was awesome until the last 10 minutes when the whole thing got "explained."

I don't really class myself in any of these opinions, but probably am somewhere between option A and C.

You see, this is the issue that I have. As mentioned before, I freakin' adore Steven Moffat's writing... I am a massive fan of the Moffat and, 9 times out of 10, have been impressed with what he has done with a storyline. What this has resulted in is that I hold him to a massively high standard overall. I didn't realise it, but I naturally now just assume that nothing short of awesome will do. One of my massive pet peeves in writing (and the reason why I will hiss at anyone who mentions the series Lost to me) is when a writer opens up a question that seems integral to the storyline and overall arc and then never explains it. Moffat doesn't really do this. He's not one to put in details to a story just for the fun of it. If there is a question, even if it isn't explained straight away, he will come back to it at a later stage and make us all go "Ooooh! That's why he did that!" My whole liking of this episode is reliant on the fact that this is what Moffat has done throughout this storyline. I have faith in the Moffat, always have had, and providing he explains some of the unanswered questions at some point in the future, this episode will fall into the list of my top 10 favourite episodes. If he doesn't, I will be highly upset... because I don't really have much else going on in my life that doesn't involve a fictional storyline of some kind.

The concept of a monster who's sole gift is to hide from others and also is never then seen throughout, is possibly the creepiest and most exciting monster to me. It's like taking the Silence, adding an extra layer of spooky, and then blowing my mind with it. The scene with the figure under the blanket actually terrified me. When the blanket slipped off and yet the figure never came into focus, I was pretty certain I wouldn't be able to sleep for days. As much as I love Doctor Who, I'm not really one of those who gets genuinely scared by things in it, this one sent chills to my very bones. That being said, because of the mystery behind it, I do like the added creepiness that it was never fully explained who that monster actually was. Sure, it's hinted by the end that it was nothing more than another child from the orphanage on account of the fact that it was all meant to be in the Doctor's head, but the fact that they never confirm this completely, does make for a more unsettling storyline.

I, for one, will be highly disappointed if the figure under the blanket turns out to be nothing more than another kid. This is mainly because the concept of this monster is too good and juicy not to be real in some form. I don't know if we will ever know about that particular point, and of all the open questions this episode leaves, I am most comfortable with never knowing this one. The others, however, I will need to know at some point.

Younger-Brother-Daniel and I have two very different approaches when it comes to watching Doctor Who. Younger-Brother-Daniel tends to accept everything, regardless of how little sense it makes, on account that he just loves Doctor Who and so will allow any storyline they throw at him. I, on the other hand, tend to obsess over the hints of storyline and have this need for it to make sense in my head. He has already shrugged off the knocking on the door in the scene at the end of the universe as creaky pipes and nothing more. I simply can't. I need there to be more to it. The knocking was too precise, the build up was too intense. It all leads to it being something far more integral and scary than being something that the Doctor was told as a child.

There are obvious bits of the storyline that will come back in further episodes. The questions that will clearly be answered (I hope) in the future are:

1. Danny/Rupert/Orson Pink (who I really am beginning to love, by the way). 

Who is he? Who has he killed? Why does Orson look exactly like Danny? What is he to Clara? How is it that his life is already so intertwined with Clara and the Doctor?

There is a small theory that I have. I think the Doctor is more aware of the future of these two than he lets on. In this episode, he was too present in their first date, and although it was clearly Clara's own psychic link that kept on throwing them into Danny Pink's lifetime, I wonder whether the Doctor has sensed that he is important to her in some way. I haven't really got more to go on than that at the mo, but it's just a thought.

2. Clara "Oswald/Oswin/Osgood."

Okay, this theory is my baby. It's one that I picked up from the 50th special. Remember Osgood from that episode? The woman with the Doctor scarf and the inhaler? Anyone else find it weird that her name was so similar to Clara's different aliases? Remember, Moffat very rarely does things by accident. Not only is that her name but there was that whole conversation about how her sister was so much prettier than she was. Why put that in? Could it be that Clara is somehow her sister? Or even her in another form? I don't know, but I do know that there is something in it. Also, in Listen, Clara mentions how she hates her name 'Oswald' to Danny Pink. This could be nothing, but to me; a woman who has been carrying this theory around with me for almost a year; it sounded like a small nod to that connection, suggesting that there is more to that name than meets the eye... possibly.

And then there are the questions from this episode that I'm really hoping will be answered, but slightly fear won't be...

1. The knocking on the door and banishing of Clara.

At the end of the universe, with that knocking of the door, I think there was genuinely something out there doing the knocking. I think that the episode hinted that it was all in the Doctor's head to throw us down the wrong path, but really there is something more to it. I have a few odd and very weak theories that involve Missy and the promised land but none that I actually am that invested in. The thing that makes me think there is more to it however is the series of events in that scene. The knocks on the door happened, Clara and The Doctor get spooked, The Doctor insists that Clara go inside (taking us with her and thus eradicating any chance of seeing what's out there), Clara tries to watch on the monitors, the monitors go dead just as the doors open, the next thing we know The Doctor is hanging on for dear life. There was a moment, albeit a very brief moment, where we didn't see what happened. There's a chance that this was done (just as the creature under the blanket was) to keep an air of unanswered mystery behind it and that will be it, but I like to think that it'll be cleverer than that. I think there was something out there.

2. The choice of scenery; the end of the universe.

It seems a little disjointed that that was where they ended up with Orson in comparison with the rest of the episode. I think the fact that they ended up at the end of the universe wasn't so much for the fact that it would be an interesting place to visit in this episode, but because there's something more that happens here. I would hazard a guess to say that this isn't the last time Clara and The Doctor will visit this place. We'll be back there at some point... possibly... I hope.

I'll be honest, when first watching this episode I was annoyed with it. Mainly because on face value, I didn't find the answer to the monster under the bed to be clever at all, but rather a cop out. If it turns out that all the suspense and drama was due to something in the Doctor's head then it sort of renders the whole episode redundant. If it was that reason, it would have been cleverer for it to have been something that affected The Doctor only, but clearly Clara and Danny and, according to the storyline, most people in the world have been affected by this 'monster' at some point or another. Therefore, unless Clara has been running around, hiding under beds and grabbing the ankle of the rest of the human race, it is a pretty poor explanation overall. If that is all this episode will offer then I didn't much care for it. However, the more I think about it, and the more I look over Moffat's previous storylines, I just don't buy that's all there is to it. So I'm going to wait and see.

Please feel free to let me know your theories. Especially if there's anything you noticed that I haven't picked up on.

Otherwise, I'll be back for another Doctor Who geekathon next week. I'm going to be honest, not too sure about this next episode. I mean, it'll be awesome because it's Doctor Who and therefore I'm naturally going to be happily entertained, but it hasn't jumped up and grabbed my excitable interest yet. We'll have to wait and see!

Peace out my lovelies.

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