Doctor Who Review: This Is The Show At Its Best

Doctor Who Review: This Is The Show At Its Best

Sharp writing, superb acting and surprising character revelations make this tightly-paced episode one of the best in a very long time.

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See? Moffat can still write gold when he tries.

gigastar:
See? Moffat can still write gold when he tries.

Moffat is very good when he go for a self-contained story, it's when he tries to do something over the whole season that things gets bad.

As I said in another thread, I think that that the overall story was a great idea but it focused far to much on Clara. I have no interest in her love life. I in fact have very little intrest in her at all. I watch Doctor Who to watch the Doctor do crazy stuff not watch the human strays he picks up do important things and be more important than him.

if he keeps this up he'll never get into the army or become a Time Lord.

One small point, I'm pretty sure that was "academy", not "army".

Given the Doctor's frequently expressed distaste for soldiers, that seems like a semi-important distinction.

This was a very well written, very compelling episode. However like Gizmo1990 I am not really interested in Clara's love life. As I said in the other thread, it is nice to see Clara getting some character development, however I do think they're running the risk of having her upstage and overshadow the Doctor. I don't know about anyone else, but I watch Doctor Who to watch the Doctor be awesome and save people and planets and do other amazing things.

gigastar:
See? Moffat can still write gold when he tries.

Maffat is certainly a capable writer when it comes to single self-contained episodes. He is just not very good at introducing over-arching plot points and then paying them off.

I find the break in Lore particularly jarring. Galifrey is removed from this universe, either by time lock or by being excluded in a bubble universe. The final sequence shouldn't happen. Good story otherwise.

Also, Army or Time Lord one or the other, the man says The Doctor will be in the Army because he doesn't have what it takes to get into the Academy and become a Time Lord. All Time Lords are Gallifrean, but not all Gallifrean's are Time Lords.

I don't know whether it's Capaldi, who I still don't like that much, or that I'm so fed up with Moffat-era Who by now that I just don't see [or want to acknowledge] the brilliance in this episode everyone else does. It certainly has to do with the fact that the "Clara is the monster under the bed" plot-point would've been a waaaaaay better pay-off for the "Impossible Girl" arc last season. It is kind of neat, but it annoys me quite a bit that it took them this long. Probably irrationally so.

I'm still unsure about one thing in the episode. What was on Rupert's bed? We only saw a hair of it, but it definitely wasn't human.

Soviet Heavy:
I'm still unsure about one thing in the episode. What was on Rupert's bed? We only saw a hair of it, but it definitely wasn't human.

This ^

This whole episode felt contradictory after I remembered this and saw the ending.
The whole episode "trys" to tell you that in the end there was truly nothing in the dark.

Yet that one scene when the "monster" uncovers itself for a moment shows there IS something always lurking.
So yea.. confused on how to feel at the moment

Netflix only has selected arcs of the earlier series, not every episode of all twenty-six seasons. Maybe they don't have enough servers.

It is Gallifrey from the moment of the end of the Time War that is time-locked. Gallifrey from when the Doctor was a child is still there in the past. As it was when the War Doctor returned there, along with Ten(nant/"inch") and Eleven, with the Moment just before end of the war. There is no contradiction.

As for what was on the bed, and what pulled off the bedspread out of focus looking a bit like an anthropomorphic horned lizard, we may never know. Just as we may never see the return of Eleven's nemesis the Dream Lord from "Amy's Choice" although they seemed to indicate foreshadowing galore, nor the Doctor's Daughter, even though she is flying through the cosmos on adventures of her own even as we cogitate. Then again, who knows what lies in the mind of Moffet?

Oo, wouldn't it be splendid if Jenny shows up to take over Companion detail when Clara eventually bows out? It'll be just like One and Susan again. That would be nice. She'd call him "Dad" all the time, much to his dismay.

VincentX3:

Soviet Heavy:
I'm still unsure about one thing in the episode. What was on Rupert's bed? We only saw a hair of it, but it definitely wasn't human.

This ^

This whole episode felt contradictory after I remembered this and saw the ending.
The whole episode "trys" to tell you that in the end there was truly nothing in the dark.

Yet that one scene when the "monster" uncovers itself for a moment shows there IS something always lurking.
So yea.. confused on how to feel at the moment

i know the feeling.
starts off great and then that whole thing is ignored and dismissed at the end where it lost me. i can see what he was aiming for but it needed another scene or something. them getting into the tardis, leaving and something in the shadows watching

octafish:
I find the break in Lore particularly jarring. Galifrey is removed from this universe, either by time lock or by being excluded in a bubble universe. The final sequence shouldn't happen. Good story otherwise.

Also, Army or Time Lord one or the other, the man says The Doctor will be in the Army because he doesn't have what it takes to get into the Academy and become a Time Lord. All Time Lords are Gallifrean, but not all Gallifrean's are Time Lords.

The time lock was often described as the TARDIS simply refusing to take the doctor somewhere.
Like in what the TARDIS did in "Time of the Doctor" by refusing to go to trenzalore.
In this case the TARDIS didn't take the doctor, it took Clara.

gridsleep:
Netflix only has selected arcs of the earlier series, not every episode of all twenty-six seasons. Maybe they don't have enough servers.

It is Gallifrey from the moment of the end of the Time War that is time-locked. Gallifrey from when the Doctor was a child is still there in the past. As it was when the War Doctor returned there, along with Ten(nant/"inch") and Eleven, with the Moment just before end of the war. There is no contradiction.

As for what was on the bed, and what pulled off the bedspread out of focus looking a bit like an anthropomorphic horned lizard, we may never know. Just as we may never see the return of Eleven's nemesis the Dream Lord from "Amy's Choice" although they seemed to indicate foreshadowing galore, nor the Doctor's Daughter, even though she is flying through the cosmos on adventures of her own even as we cogitate. Then again, who knows what lies in the mind of Moffet?

Oo, wouldn't it be splendid if Jenny shows up to take over Companion detail when Clara eventually bows out? It'll be just like One and Susan again. That would be nice. She'd call him "Dad" all the time, much to his dismay.

Although Jenny returning would be cool.
I feel she and the doctor are to alike, she can't really balance the doctor out.

The female soldier from the dalek episode is the most likely candidate.
The Doctor blew her off for being a soldier, but she didn't seem to keen on being one either.

On the episode:

I loved the subtle connections, like Orson Pink.

Also, when the talking couple mention "Time Lord" really gave me a big "Wait.... WHAT.." reaction (Also did to Clara).

I like it when Steven Moffat does a spooky episode, since his goal seems to be to make even the most innocuous things scary. We've done things that move when you're not looking (Weeping Angels), the dark (Vashta Nerada), gaps in your memory (the Silence), and now the monster under the bed. I'm almost certain he came up for the idea when he was reminded of the old 'kids hide under the sofa when Doctor Who comes on' meme and gleefully decided to make underneath the sofa scary.

Wasn't a fan. It started off very well as a horror episode, then decided not to be and turned into a clara episode. If they'd run with the horror it would have been awesome, that's the reason blink was so good, but in the end I was disappointed. That the thing under rupert's sheet and the things outside orson's door were supposedly red herrings is just not great at all.

I was actually really disappointed with this episode.

small:

VincentX3:

Soviet Heavy:
I'm still unsure about one thing in the episode. What was on Rupert's bed? We only saw a hair of it, but it definitely wasn't human.

This ^

This whole episode felt contradictory after I remembered this and saw the ending.
The whole episode "trys" to tell you that in the end there was truly nothing in the dark.

Yet that one scene when the "monster" uncovers itself for a moment shows there IS something always lurking.
So yea.. confused on how to feel at the moment

i know the feeling.
starts off great and then that whole thing is ignored and dismissed at the end where it lost me. i can see what he was aiming for but it needed another scene or something. them getting into the tardis, leaving and something in the shadows watching

Plus theres the whole "who wrote Listen in the chalkboard?" since it showed the chalkboard being full of writing that the Doctor actually DID write in the beggining, yet poof! chalk falls down and "LISTEN" is written.

This episode was just all over the place.

Well I enjoyed it too, I thought it was refreshing to see a Mofatt script that didn't keep hammering in, with it's own self importance with more smug gitty writing to roll my eyes at.

I'm an old fan of Steven's writing, but in recent years his ideas have been all over the place I believe mainly because nobody is in charge of his scripts and he needs somebody to reign him in from time to time.

This episode had me worried for the 1st twenty minutes, while I kept thinking to myself, what is this all about? As it appeared as if there was no story at all to get invested in and I thought it bland, but I kept telling myself it's Steven Mofatt, one thing he does not do is bland. So I kept on watching.

It eventually paid off and I think as an overall story it worked... Eventually.

I'd give it a solid 8/10.

The monster under blanket scene was one of the most enjoyable moments of this series while I was watching it. It was akin to the horror episodes like the Angels, Vashta Nerada etc that I love. What let it down was that they gave no real explination for this and Moffat showed he can't link his ideas together properly at all. He can write really compelling stuff but it's so hot and cold that you never know if you're going to get a love and nonsense episode in which the old reliable themes are boringly trotted out or a compelling sci-fi script mixed with mood lifting moments of comedy and character development.
This episode was a bit of both for me.

VincentX3:

small:

VincentX3:

This ^

This whole episode felt contradictory after I remembered this and saw the ending.
The whole episode "trys" to tell you that in the end there was truly nothing in the dark.

Yet that one scene when the "monster" uncovers itself for a moment shows there IS something always lurking.
So yea.. confused on how to feel at the moment

i know the feeling.
starts off great and then that whole thing is ignored and dismissed at the end where it lost me. i can see what he was aiming for but it needed another scene or something. them getting into the tardis, leaving and something in the shadows watching

Plus theres the whole "who wrote Listen in the chalkboard?" since it showed the chalkboard being full of writing that the Doctor actually DID write in the beggining, yet poof! chalk falls down and "LISTEN" is written.

This episode was just all over the place.

Well, that's because the answer to this is "we don't know." Unlike the other Moffat "monster" stories, this one is left purposefully ambiguous. Was it a monster or just another kid? Was Capaldi subconsciously doing the unexplained and we cannot take what we see when it is only him on the screen? Was there someone behind the door or just knocking? It's purposefully left up in the air whether a monster exists or not. And in this case, I think it works. It doesn't try to say "it was nothing". It more tries to say "we don't know."

xaszatm:

VincentX3:

small:

i know the feeling.
starts off great and then that whole thing is ignored and dismissed at the end where it lost me. i can see what he was aiming for but it needed another scene or something. them getting into the tardis, leaving and something in the shadows watching

Plus theres the whole "who wrote Listen in the chalkboard?" since it showed the chalkboard being full of writing that the Doctor actually DID write in the beggining, yet poof! chalk falls down and "LISTEN" is written.

This episode was just all over the place.

Well, that's because the answer to this is "we don't know." Unlike the other Moffat "monster" stories, this one is left purposefully ambiguous. Was it a monster or just another kid? Was Capaldi subconsciously doing the unexplained and we cannot take what we see when it is only him on the screen? Was there someone behind the door or just knocking? It's purposefully left up in the air whether a monster exists or not. And in this case, I think it works. It doesn't try to say "it was nothing". It more tries to say "we don't know."

Well.. that's one way of looking at it.
I kinda felt that they started with the intention of "Yes, there's going to be something" and in the last moment they we're like "fuck it nah" towards the end.

What I mean is it felt like they started the episode with a clear goal and in the end sort of just backtracked.

I personally felt the last five minutes kind of ruined it, I felt it was being far too heavy handed with the young boy making it explicit that it was the Doctor as a child, it really didn't need to be spelt out like it was,there was enough evidence and implication that it didn't need to be said.

The fact there was a solution to there being something or nothing, along with the implication that it was just dreams, and that it retroactively made the thing in Danny/Ruperts room basically into just another child from the orphanage playing a prank was more annoying than not knowing.

more ambiguity all round would have made this the perfect family friendly horror themed episode.

I'm more or less in the "thought the ending ruined it" column. I'm okay with the concept of whether or not the Doctor's mystery hiding creatures really exist being left ambiguous - they wouldn't be the best-hidden creatures in the universe if you could just decide to find them and then, voila, there they are, right? (This, if nothing else, suggests pretty strongly whatever was in Rupert's room wasn't one of these things, because really, if the whole idea of these creatures is that they hide, why would it deliberately make a show of letting them know it's there? Completely counter to their whole evolution, if we take the Doctor's theory as being accurate.)

For me it was more the Clara in the barn thing that kinda left me feeling meh about the episode. Clara and Pink's awkwardness was okay, if maybe a little overlong. The whole mystery of the creatures, that was fine. But this bit of Clara feeding the Doctor his own speech to buck him up to get over his fears and blah blah...why? Why do this? It's addressing last season's major events which were already thoroughly covered in convincing fashion. Why dive back into that to let us know Clara had even more of a role in shaping those events than we were already told she did?

I like Clara, both the character and the actress. She's fun to watch! I just wish Moffat would stop putting so much effort into making her important to everything already. I get it: she's an important character. I'm on board. You can stop trying so hard to prove it to me and move on now.

VincentX3:

Soviet Heavy:
I'm still unsure about one thing in the episode. What was on Rupert's bed? We only saw a hair of it, but it definitely wasn't human.

This ^

This whole episode felt contradictory after I remembered this and saw the ending.
The whole episode "trys" to tell you that in the end there was truly nothing in the dark.

Yet that one scene when the "monster" uncovers itself for a moment shows there IS something always lurking.
So yea.. confused on how to feel at the moment

Soviet Heavy:
I'm still unsure about one thing in the episode. What was on Rupert's bed? We only saw a hair of it, but it definitely wasn't human.

I dunno, it didn't really look that "alien" to me. It very much looked like a kid in some oversized sunglasses. Which frankly I originally thought it was just a budget cut, but retroactively it works as just /actually/ being a kid in some oversized sunglasses.

Really, it made no sense that these "creatures" would reveal themselves in the way they did in Ruperts room. I know it was under a bedsheet, but still. Why would it reveal the fact that it even exists in such a verbose way if it just wanted to remain hidden?

At first I wasn't sure I liked the ending, if you take it for exactly what it shows you its a bit of a let down. There was no unseen presence and all that build really was just the mind playing tricks. Then again isn't that exactly how people would respond if they'd heard the house creaking or thought they saw something from the corner of their eye? Despite all of the evidence we saw and heard the the show let us rationalise it, there were no monstes under the bed, they dont cause houses (or spacecraft) to creak and moan. The writing on the spacecraft door was probably just the ramblings of a man driven mad by silence and the doctor could have just forgotten that he wrote something on his board, couldn't he?

in the end we were left to make our own assumptions about what happened and the sensible conclusion is to do what we usually do when alone at night.

I may be a little late to this topic but I loved the recent episode. A nice self contained shindig about the doctor and what he fears goes bump in the night. Im looking forward to seeing more and hope that everything just gets better from here!

 

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