Violet recaps Season 8 Episode 4 of Doctor Who, titled Listen, where the Doctor is in search of a creature that has evolved with the skill of hiding! This creepy episode turns out to be very timey-wimey as well. Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts about the episode.
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Episode Recap of Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 4: Listen
The Doctor, alone in the TARDIS, contemplates whether there is a creature that has evolved to be perfect at hiding, and what such a creature would do. His chalk seems to move from the spot where he set it, and he reads an answer on the chalkboard: listen.
Clara returns home from a bad date with Danny to find the Doctor and the TARDIS in her bedroom, and asks her to come with him. He theorizes that everyone in their life has the same nightmare of waking up and starting to get out of bed, when a hand from under the bed grabs their ankle. The Doctor has Clara place her hands into the TARDIS telepathic interface and tells her to think about when she had that dream, and the TARDIS will hone in on that moment and bring them to that point in time. However, she gets distracted when her phone starts ringing.
They arrive at a children’s home during the 1990s, though Clara insists she’s never lived in a children’s home. The Doctor goes in alone, telling Clara to wait in the TARDIS so that she doesn’t meet her childhood self. However, a child in the home opens the window and speaks to her. His name is Rupert Pink. While the Doctor talks to the security guard, who thinks the Doctor is an inspector, thanks to his psychic paper, Clara sneaks up to Rupert’s room.
Clara finds Rupert sitting on the floor away from his bed, afraid that something is under his bed. He admits that he has had the dream about a hand grabbing his foot. Clara lays under the bed and invites Rupert to lay under there with her to prove that nothing is under there. However, while they’re there, someone sits on the bed. Clara gets up to see who’s there, and finds someone with a blanket draped over them. Clara thinks it must be a friend of Rupert’s playing a trick on him. The Doctor suddenly appears in the room, and tells Rupert why being scared is a good thing, that it’s a super power. He then has all three face away from the blanketed figure, and close their eyes. The Doctor tells it to go. It approaches them, and the blanket falls off. But then it disappears. Clara then plays with Rupert and his army men, and is surprised to hear that the name of one of the soldiers is Dan. The Doctor places his finger on Rupert’s forehead, making him fall asleep.
Back on the TARDIS, the Doctor wonders why they ended up where they did, though Clara denies that she has no connection with Rupert. The Doctor assures Clara that Rupert won’t remember any of this, and that he scrambled the child’s memory with a dream of being Dan the Soldier Man.
Clara then has the Doctor bring her back to the restaurant a few moments after she stormed off from her date with Danny. She apologizes, and they make up. That is, until she slips and calls him Rupert. This time Danny is the one to storm off. A man in an spacesuit enters the restaurant and motions for Clara to come outside to the TARDIS. When she enters the TARDIS, the man takes off his helmet and it’s Danny – or looks like him at least. The Doctor explains that this is Orson Pink from 100 years into Clara’s future. The Doctor found him because the TARDIS brought him to Orson, so he must have something to do with Clara’s timeline.
The Doctor found Orson at the last planet, at the end of the universe. Orson was a time traveler who was supposed to go to the middle of the next week, but instead found himself at the end of time. The Doctor assures Orson that he can get him back to his own time. However, the Doctor makes an excuse that the TARDIS needs to recharge overnight. The Doctor points out that everything in the universe is dead, and yet the door of Orson’s vessel is locked. Orson pleads with the Doctor not to make him spend another night there, and insists that the dark is not empty.
As Clara helps Orson carry his bags onto the TARDIS, Dan the Soldier Man falls out. He says it’s a family heirloom. Clara tells Orson to stay away from time travel when he gets home, but he tells her it runs in the family, and that he heard stories from his great-grandparents. He offers her the army man.
The Doctor and Clara wait in Orson’s ship, while Orson stays inside the TARDIS. Clara notices a message Orson wrote on the door that only shows up at night: “Don’t open the door.” They begin to hear noises, for which the Doctor comes up with logical explanations. Then it sounds like someone is knocking on the door. He unlocks it, and it begins to turn. He orders Clara into the TARDIS. The door begins to open, but we don’t see what’s there. From inside the TARDIS, Clara looks at the monitor to see what’s going on outside, but the picture is not cooperating.
An alarm goes off, and Orson realizes that the air shield is breached. Outside, the Doctor is hanging on, trying not to get sucked outside. Orson goes out and lends him a helping hand, pulling him into the TARDIS. But something has hit the Doctor on the head, and he is knocked out cold. They hear more creepy sounds outside, so Clara uses the TARDIS psychic interface to get them somewhere else.
Clara exits the TARDIS alone, into a barn. A child is laying on a bed, crying underneath the covers. She thinks it might be Rupert, then Orson, but the child does not respond. Upon hearing a man and woman enter the barn, Clara hides under the bed. The woman tells the boy that he is welcome in the house, and the man makes comments about the boy never being able to make it into the army by crying. The woman protests that the boy did not say he wanted to join the army, and the man retorts by saying that he’s not going into the Academy, and that he’ll never make a Time Lord. At that, Clara realizes that the boy under the covers is the Doctor.
The boy wakes up and starts to get out of bed, and Clara instinctively grabs his foot. But then she tells him it’s just a dream, and to lie back down and go to sleep. He lays down and begins to cry again. Clara comes back into the TARDIS, and suggests that there was never anything, it was just the Doctor not being able to admit that he’s afraid of the dark. Clara won’t tell the Doctor where they are, and has him take off and promise to never look where they’ve been. As they return Orson to his time, we see that Clara spoke to the young Doctor, and learn that the barn he was in was the same barn that the War Doctor returned to in the 50th Anniversary special. We also hear Clara give the boy a similar speech about fear that the Doctor had given Rupert. She leaves the army man for him.
Clara shows up at Danny’s apartment, they apologize to each other, and she kisses him.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 8 Episode 4 of Doctor Who: Listen
Although I had a few problems with this episode, so far it’s my favorite this season, mainly because it combines two of my favorite elements: creepy and timey-wimey. That’s probably why the Weeping Angels episode, Blink, is one of my all time favorite Doctor Who episodes, because it contains those two elements. I guess that goes to show that I prefer the Doctor Who episodes that are more on the serious side, the ones that really make you really think, and that have a deeper meaning.
As for the Doctor himself, I feel like we’re finally getting to know him a little better, but I still feel like I need a little more time with him. One thing I don’t like about this new Doctor is that it seems that he likes to make fun of Clara’s looks a lot, most often commenting on her being fat. The first time I noticed it was in Into the Dalek, and I thought it was kind of odd, but dismissed it. But this episode he did it at least 4 times – one time commenting about her not having makeup on, when she in fact still did, another time insinuating that she didn’t look very good from behind, another about her face being wide (although Clara herself brought up a student calling her face wide), and also suggested that Orson might have seen her in pictures as fatter-looking. Clara is far from what I would call fat. In fact, I think she is in great shape, and I would call her skinny. It made me uncomfortable how many times she has had to put up with these comments, because if someone who looks like her is getting made fun of, how much would this affect the self-esteem issues of young girls around the world who watch Doctor Who? At least Clara has the good-natured personality to brush it off, and comment back that she thinks she looks good. Maybe these comments from the Doctor are supposed to be funny, but I don’t find them funny, I just find them awkward.
Now for a technical aspect about the show in general. I could be wrong, since it’s been awhile since I’ve re-watched the reboot of the show from the beginning, and I have never watched Classic Doctor Who episodes, but when the Doctor travels in time, isn’t it usually to change something that has already happened? Or if it’s not to purposely change something, that is what the effect turns out to be? And sometimes there’s even times where he cannot change something, because it’s a “fixed” point in time? However, in this episode, it seems to take the alternate approach to time travel theory, that when one travels in time, that whatever happens is what always happened. Here, the episode suggests that the reason that Danny (well, Rupert) joined the army in the first place was because the Doctor and Clara visited, and because the Doctor gave him a dream of being “Dan the Soldier Man” (which is ironic considering the Doctor’s dislike of soldiers). The episode also goes further, showing that the reason the Doctor had the “dream” as a child was because of Clara time traveling to him – as part of his quest to investigate that very same dream. In other words, his investigation of said dream was what caused him to have that “dream”! Very timey-wimey, but again, wouldn’t this have therefore changed what happened then, rather than have been something that was established to have always happened? I guess what I’m saying is that I feel like the show should be more consistent about which theory of time travel it chooses to employ. But I suppose the writers figure that Doctor Who can use any theories that they want, interchangeably, and can get away with it, just because it’s Doctor Who.
So, did the Doctor in fact find the creature that he set out to find? Was there a creature under that blanket, or was it just one of Rupert’s friends? What exactly did the Doctor see when he opened that hatch? Was there something actually knocking, or was it just sounds that could logically be explained away? Was something out there turning the door’s latch, or was it just the pressure being released, as the Doctor suggested? Apparently, we’ll never know the answers to these questions. Well, unless the show feels like going back and answering those questions later on down the road. But I have a feeling they were meant to remain unanswered.
It was really frustrating how Clara wouldn’t tell the Doctor about her connection to Rupert or Orson. I don’t really see what was the point of hiding it from him. We also don’t know exactly what Clara’s connection to Orson was. Is Orson actually a descendant of Clara and Danny? I guess he doesn’t necessarily have to be, since Clara was distracted by the thought of Danny, so the TARDIS could have gone to any point in Danny’s timeline, or that of one of his relatives. But why did Orson ask Clara if he knew her? That suggests that she might remind him of his great-grandmother that he never knew what she looked like when she was young. Is there another reason he could feel like he knew her? Plus there’s the stories from his great-grandparents time traveling, and why else would he give her the army man toy, which was a family heirloom? It sure seems like the implication is that Clara and Danny get together, and that Orson is their great-grandson. I don’t really like this implication, mainly because I don’t like Danny and Clara together.
Before this episode, I didn’t have a problem with Danny and Clara getting together, other than the fact that it seemed like the show was trying to throw a romantic relationship in too soon after it blatantly ripped away any romantic notion between Clara and the Doctor. But after their date, I really don’t feel like they belong together at all. They have not one, but two blowups that each result in one of them walking away from the date, with Clara coming back to apologize both times. Remember, this is a first date. Things shouldn’t be that hard on a first date! Okay, maybe one blowup over a misunderstanding, but two? That would be a huge red signal to me! It seems like they just don’t get along very well at all. If there’s this much trouble at the beginning of the relationship, think how much more fighting there would be once they really got into the relationship! The beginning is supposed to be all sunshine and rainbows, not this. I was hoping that there was some way that Orson was not Clara and Danny’s great-grandson, but at the end of the episode when Clara goes to Danny’s apartment and kisses him, it was plain to see that their fates were sealed.
Anyway, this is the most I’ve written about a Doctor Who episode all season, and I think it might be the most I’ve ever written about a Doctor Who episode since I started the blog, and there’s still more that I would like to discuss, but I don’t want to make this entry too long. Suffice it to say, that this is probably a Doctor Who episode that will be remembered and talked about and debated for years to come, since there are so many different interpretations that could come out of it.
One thing I did not notice this episode was any mention of Missy or the Promised Land. Wonder if we’ll get back to that little story arc next time?
Josh’s Thoughts: Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 4: Listen
This episode of Doctor Who seemed to be plotting the future for Clara while at the same time teaching us a little more about the past of the Doctor. It was interesting learning the origins of the Doctor’s prejudice against soldiers, when we see him as a child. We also see that he may have daddy issues with how mean the male authority figure in the barn was about him being a Time Lord. It looks like the Doctor proved him wrong!
But based on the conversations Clara has with Orson, Clara might be marrying Dan it seems. On top of that, Dan might be coming along for some time travel fun. So far, I like Dan, and think it would be interesting have him along for the ride.
We never really get an answer about the Doctor’s hypothesis though–is there a creature evolved enough to be able to hide so well we can’t see them? We never learn what the thing in Dan/Rupert’s bed was. I kind thought the Silence my qualify as what the Doctor is looking for, but they never came up in the episode.
There were a couple odd things about this episode. The first being that the Doctor was willing to risk Clara seeing her younger self, even after telling Clara it could be dangerous. The second that the Doctor willing scrambled poor Dan’s brains to think he was a soldier. That seems really unusual for the Doctor.
Overall the episode was pretty good. There certainly was a lot of “timey-wimey” going on, which is always fun. I hope to get an overarching story going soon though, as those tend to be the best episodes!
Scenes from Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 5: Time Heist
Here are scenes from the next episode of Doctor Who, titled Time Heist: