Normally I do my Doctor Who reviews a couple of days after the episode. But this episode is so talked about and acclaimed, I feel like I need to talk about it now. This is easily the best episode of the series so far, and could very well be one of my favourites overall.
The episode deals with a very simple question- is anyone truly alone? What if everyone had a dream about the monster under the bed? It deals with fear of the unknown, which is the main idea through the episode. It’s easy to see why Robot of Sherwood was broadcast first; a light-hearted adventure feels needed after an episode like this. An episode which, for the first time since Series 6, is truly creepy.
The Doctor is at his most interesting here. All traces of Matt Smith are gone, instead, Peter Capaldi IS the Doctor, and he’s brilliant as always. I’ve noticed three things which I’ve associated with this Doctor. The first are his lecture-like speeches, the second is his habit of constantly changing suits, and the third is his tendency to write on chalkboards. His catchphrase seems to be “Question is…” followed by the answer. This episode basically revolves around the Doctor’s investigation into the dream about having a monster under the bed and he goes quite mad. There’s no big threat, no alien overlord threatening to consume the world or anything like that. It’s just the Doctor’s obsession about a monster which might not even exist.
And now-the monster. Or the lack of. The “creature” encountered by the Doctor, Clara and the young Danny Pink in his room is extremely creepy. What’s more effective is the fact that the thing under the blanket is covered up. Is it another child playing a trick? Is it an entity which feeds on fear? Or is it something else? It’s great having an unknown monster and playing with the primal fear of the monster under the bed. It also works with the Doctor looking into the door at the end of the universe? Is it just the ship falling apart? Or is it a creature so horrifying it even scares the Doctor? It’s all down to the imagination, which is chillingly effective.
But the best part are the character dynamics. It’s clever how Clara uses the Tardis to try and continue the date with Danny, only for Orson Pink, his descendant, come and causes causes Danny to question Clara (I can’t wait to see how the Doctor will react to Danny when they inevitably meet). The end of the universe portion is incredibly effective, as it shows how a man who is literally the last man alive in the universe reacts in this situation. The Doctor is maniacal by this point, determined to seek out his theory. It all links in with how the Doctor influences and changes people.
And finally, there’s THAT scene. The scene which caused everyone (including me) to jump up and go “GA!” (though not literally). The scene in question revolves around Clara, who has landed the Tardis in a barn (the same barn John Hurt used to try and destroy Gallifrey) and sees the Doctor as a child. It’s shown that the Doctor, as a child, was scared of the dark, of monsters under the bed and of joining the Time Lord academy. It’s here where the Doctor’s influence on Clara in turn allows her to influence him. The speech by Clara basically sums up the greatness of this episode-
“Listen. This is just a dream. But very clever people can hear dreams. So please just listen. I know you’re afraid, but being afraid is all right. Because didn’t anybody ever tell you, fear is a superpower? Fear can make you faster, and cleverer and stronger. And one day, you’re going to come back to this barn and on that day you are going to be very afraid indeed. But that’s OK. Because if you’re very wise and very strong, fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly, fear can you make you kind. It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing under the bed or in the dark so long as you know it’s OK to be afraid of it. So listen. If you listen to nothing else listen to this. You’re always going to be afraid, even if you learn to hide it. Fear is like a companion. A constant companion always there. But that’s ok, as fear can bring is together. Fear can be bring you home. I’m going to leave you something just so you’ll always remember. Fear makes companions of us all.”
Grrrr! This episode is so good! It definitely gets a 10/10! Next week’s episode is looking good, but how can it compete…