Doctor Who Episode 4 ‘Listen’ Review

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Series 8, Episode 4: Mysterious Monsters – Superb Story

It’s the one fans will be talking about for a very long time. The first two of the three episodes were delightfully dark, the third also underneath the humor and heartiness in which The Doctor was some what a buffer too with his moody demeanor. Many will claim that this fourth episode is where the series has peaked. Well either Moffat has knocked one out the park and the series will go on a decline from here or we have yet to even come close to heights the series is about to scale. Personally I’m indifferent.

So what was so special about this episode?

The preview didn’t impress me and I wasn’t expecting much, but less is more as they say, and the saying has never been truer about a Doctor Who baddie until now. These monsters under the bed every child imagines are brought to the fore with an intelligent introduction that raises more questions than it answers. What do they look like? What do they want? Where do they come from? The questions go on.

The doctor uses Clara as a compass via the TARDIS’ telepathic console unit, locating the time when she had had a dream of being grabbed by the foot by the monster under the bed. However, she slightly missed with her aim (in true TARDIS driving fashion) by thinking about Danny Pink, the fellow teacher whom she’d go on a date with (a disastrous and embarrassing date at that). They end up meeting Danny as a child when he’d dreamt the same dream.

doctor who listen
Doctor Who in the Tardis

The story gets even better when Clara asks the Doctor to break a time traveling rule (nothing new there then) and allow her to go back to her date (which she had previously stormed out of) in an attempt to make up for her first botched attempt at romantic interaction. Her mouth lands her in trouble – again – and things get even more tricky. In an attempt to not be like all those movie spoiler cretins I’ll simply say childhoods are explored. Was that too much? It probably was. I think the spoiler ship sailed long ago. Let me continue!

As always, Doctor Who is didactic in its story telling and the theme today was all about fear and loneliness. Clara doesn’t want to be alone in her attempt at pairing up with Danny Pink and failing miserably, The Doctor cant be alone, he needs Clara and states so earlier in the episode when he convinces her that whingeing about her date is far less important than the mystery he has lined up for her to help him solve.

Danny Pink’s descendant Orsen Pink definitely doesn’t want to be lonely after being shot to the end of the universe. However it’s a little bit more than just company, rather the company you keep. Orsen made it clear that he was not alone despite being the last man at the end of the universe, and that was by no means a good thing, as the monsters who are in constant hiding come a-knocking.

Fear is also touched on and the Doctor puts it aptly when he says “Scared is a super power.” And he makes the argument that it’s not so much being scared that is of importance but rather what we do when we are fearful – channel that fear into making the right decisions.

In a beautiful bit of writing almost only possible where time travel is concerned, Clara ends up under a bed … in Gallifrey … What follows makes Clara probably the most important companion the Doctor has had and will ever have.

For those who have said Clara’s character wasn’t fleshed out enough, they will be extremely happy with this episode. Her words of wisdom borrowed from The Doctor to sooth his younger self tie in perfectly with a segment from the 50th anniversary.

This episode will be remembered for its climactic last ten minutes that does so much to enrich the characters on screen in a way that hasn’t been achieved previously. Definitely a new high for the show and we have 8 episodes left in the series, I almost can’t wait.

Bring on episode 5!