Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: "Listen"

Aaaand we're back to Steven Moffat's writing for the latest episode of "Doctor Who".

Spoilers, masked with a font tag... blah blah blah.

Still there? Okay, you were warned...

The episode starts with the Doctor musing about some kind of hypothetical creature that has evolved a perfect method for hiding. He's seeming a bit manic, though there's a bit of creepy stuff in the TARDIS that lends credence to the idea that the Doctor is not actually alone.

Cue Clara having her date with Danny (aka Rupert) Pink, her fellow teacher. The date goes poorly. There is much mutual head-banging over both Clara and Danny having classic date awkwardness issues. Blah-blah-blah.

The Doctor grabs Clara from her apartment and has her plug into the TARDIS mainframe for... um... reasons... so they can go to a point in her timeline when she had a weird dream about something being under the bed in order for the Doctor to pursue his bug hunt.

Clara gets a call while plugged into the TARDIS, causing the TARDIS to go to Danny Pink's childhood where she interacts with the young Rupert Pink (he changes his name later) in a boy's home.

Turns out there is something creepy going on. Clara and the young Rupert encounter a thing on Rupert's bed that hides under a blanket. The Doctor intervenes and he, Clara, and Rupert convince the never-seen thing that it can go away. It leaves, both the room and the story.

Clara has the Doctor take her to the tail end of her date disaster where she tries to reconnect with the adult-Rupert-now-called-Danny, but makes a slip by calling him "Rupert" when she's not supposed to know his name.

The date ends badly again. A guy in a spacesuit then comes along and lures Clara back into the TARDIS.

Turns out the guy in the spacesuit - who looks like Danny/Rupert is a descendant of Danny (and probably Clara) who blew a time-travel experiment and wound up at the end of the Universe.

The Doctor takes them to the end of the Universe so descendent-boy can pack. The Doctor and Clara then try to see if there's really something hiding at the end of the Universe that may be his mysterious hidden alien.

It's ambiguous if there ever is an alien. The Doctor gets knocked out by a hull-breach and Clara plugs into the TARDIS again to flee... this time accidentally to the Doctor's childhood where she gives him cloying words of wisdom against being afraid of the dark.

Everyone goes home to their respective timelines, Clara and Danny get busy snogging. The Doctor gets no closure. No sign is ever seen of these hidden aliens again or why anyone even needs to care about them.

Okay, that should take care of the spoilery-bits.

The episode was classic Moffat: great mood and ambiance with fantastic setup, then utterly falls short on delivery. The plot details are all about a cool gimmick with no proper delivery or attention to continuity or details. Mix in some cloying, overly-sentimental and navel-gazing nonsense and there's your story.

Another bit of cotton candy. He gets points for the awesome mood but the weak, disjointed, incoherent story kind of spoiled it for me.

Why is it so hard to write a goddamn story?

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