Listen to The Doctor, What’s Wrong With Being Scared?
Listen is an episode brilliantly constructed, but only if you do as the title suggests. Listen very close, there is so much to hear, and just maybe you will discover what is underneath your bed. Written by Steven Moffat, who tosses words around the page as if they were toy building blocks. There is so much happening, so many layers, different intersecting stories, and nothing happens quite the way it seems. Now there are weaknesses in these episodes, they frustrate me, but I have learned that what I think may be weaknesses in Moffat’s stories are really plot holes he has not resolved or revealed yet. I try to be patient with those elements, I may not like how they end up resolved, but I trust that they will be resolved.
Season 8 | Episode 4 | Original Airdate: September 13th, 2014
When ghosts of past and future crowd into their lives, the Doctor and Clara are thrown into an adventure that takes them to the very end of the universe.
What happens when the Doctor is alone? And what scares the grand old man of Time and Space? Listen!
Written by Steven Moffat. Directed by Douglas Mackinnon.
Unwrapping the each element of this episode would take forever, so I will attempt to focus on what I think is important. The first thing I will mention is the sound design of this episode is absolutely brilliant, as I said before it requires listening very carefully. The second point, I believe this episode is the first time we are seeing Peter Capaldi’s doctor fully realized. The way he picks apart a problem or a puzzle is amazing. He lectures, as if he was a university professor, but cannot quite recall what subject he is supposed to be teaching. He is absolutely alien to humans, at times, he seems he cannot be bothered to understand us, and other times he seems to understand us the way we understand a pet. He is brilliant and daft, dead clever, and all too often dead wrong. Lastly, this doctor can control the TARDIS more expertly than his previous incarnations it seems.
The third and possible most important element of this episode is the developing roles and relationships of Danny Pink and Clara. I can’t quite say where this is going, what they will become, but I can see they are going to have a very big part in this story, and it will be wrapped up and confused in time. Fortunately, we are allowed to watch Danny stumble he way into the story, Samuel Anderson is absolutely a joy to watch develop.
Listen starts to fall apart a little as too many elements are introduced into the story. When there are multiple storylines being wound up, at least one is bound to become frayed and a little lost. This is precisely what happens in the end, when we are given a resolution that fails to answer the questions raised throughout the episode. At least, that is how it appears. It is difficult to criticize what appear to be plot holes, when dealing with time travelers, they can always pop back, and fill in those gaps and holes. I hate to spoil anything, but I have to say, we are simply never given the answer to the question, what is in the dark, outside that door. I hope they come back, and show us what we missed.
I believe Listen is Capaldi’s strongest performance to date, he has arrived as The Doctor, and he is magnificent. Listen may have problems, and may ultimately be a weak episode, but its strengths are significant, and should not be overlooked.