Doctor Who – Listen

by Alan Rapp on September 16, 2014

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Doctor Who – Listen
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“What’s that in the mirror out of the corner of your eye? What’s that footstep following, but never passing by?”
“Did we come to the end of the universe because of a nursery rhyme?”

Doctor Who - Listen

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) enlists the help of Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) to test a theory that no one is ever alone. Given the nature of the universe, The Doctor believes that some unseen creature has perfected the ability to hide and observe unseen. It is this creature whom you are addressing to when you thing you are talking to yourself. Their journey is complicated when Clara throws the TARDIS off-course by reflecting on her bad first date with Danny (Samuel Anderson) leading her to meet the man as a scared young boy (Remi Gooding) decades before as well as Danny’s great-grandson, a time traveler lost at the end of the universe.

Written by Steven Moffat, “Listen” is one of those Who episodes that turns out to be about something far different than it initially appears. Clara’s journey which seems to be all about Danny and how he is connected to her future ends on a path that explains The Doctor’s nightmares. The episode sets up Danny presumably as Clara’s future husband while showcasing how awkward the pair are with each other at this point in the relationship.

Of course with any Moffat-written episode there are some problems. The end of the universe we’re shown here is far different from what was previously shown in “Utopia.” As has become a pattern with Moffat’s writing, once again he over-relies a bit on rhymes (here a nursery rhyme) to explore the concept of the week. And, even if Clara’s discovery at the end of the episode makes sense, it’s a little too cute for my tastes and given the fact that she’s already seen (and been lost) in the entirety of The Doctor’s life there shouldn’t be anything new for her to discover at this point (meaning Clara should know what The Doctor’s obsession is really about from the beginning of the episode). And the conclusion Clara reaches at the end of the episode (that this entire journey is nothing more than a fool’s errand caused by a chance meeting centuries ago) doesn’t attempt to explain the creature under the sheet in Danny’s past leaving us with even more of a mystery than when The Doctor started his ramblings at the beginning of the episode.

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