Saturday, November 14, 2015

Review: "Sleep No More"

Wow. As "Doctor Who" episodes go, this one was a special brand of WTF.

Spoilers follow. Blah-blah.

You were warned.

Okay, so the episode is done in a "found footage" format. No opening credits (first time ever). Narrated by some bespectacled wonk, it plays as shown from various camera angles starting with a crew of four soldiers coming to a space station that's gone quiet. As cliche soldiers go, they're pretty standard: there's the young female captain, the younger mouthy political wonk, the jokester, and the genetically-modified killing machine who happens to have a bit of a crush on the young mouthy wonk.

They get on the station and go through the motions of looking at the poorly-lit surroundings with flashlights.

In grand tradition, they stumble across the Doctor and Clara. There's a moment of guns pointing then the Doctor does the psychic paper thing and everyone is friends.

Then they're attacked by weird lumpy humanoids that growl a lot.

They're separated from jokester guy who later gets killed.

The main group finds a lab with a bunch of pods. Clara gets sucked into one and we all find out that the pods are "Morpheus", a technology that lets you go without sleep. Mouthy wonk guy is proud that he doesn't use it but the captain does, as does so many people back home on Titan.

I'm flashing to "Titan Maximum" as I read that. God I miss that show. Sorry. Going on...

So they find in one of the pods the bespectacled wonk who is narrating. Turns out he's hiding from the monsters in the pods. He's also the guy who created Morpheus.

In a scuffle with the monsters, the group got a part of an arm. Turns out the monsters turn to dust easily. The Doctor analyzes the dust and finds out it's eye-gunk from when you wake up in the morning.


Turns out the monsters are made up of eye gunk. Ponder that.

Okay, so there's another attack. Bespectacled guy is apparently eaten by one of the monsters and the group is divided again. Genetic killing machine and mouthy political guy go off in one direction while the Doctor, Clara, and the soldier captain go off in another. There's shenanigans. Killing machine sacrifices himself to save his crush: mouthy political guy, but that guy gets killed a few minutes later.

Meanwhile the Doctor works out that there's actually no cameras anywhere. Not on the soldiers' helmets. Not on the station. Nowhere. Turns out the "found footage" is coming from dust mites of sentient eye gunk that are eating people.

Ponder that for a moment.

Okay, move on.

Turns out bespectacled guy is alive and in-league with the monsters. He's trying to smuggle a creature to Titan to spore and infect all humanity.

He gets shot by the captain, then there's a scuffle with monsters. They flee back to the TARDIS but are cut off. The Doctor performs sonic sunglasses wizardry and destroys the "gravity shields" that are keeping the station in orbit around... oh crap, I forget. Neptune? Doesn't matter.

The creatures are crushed by the increasing gravity and turn to dust. The Doctor, Clara, and soldier-girl get in the TARDIS and flee to safety, planning to go to Titan to destroy all the Morpheus machines causing the creatures to exist.

Then we cut to the footage. Turns out bespectacled wonk is still alive. And he's actually an eye-gunk shell and has been all along. The "found footage" includes an electronic signal (blipped on screen) to infect anyone who watches.

Yup. That's you, audience.

And that's sort of it. I guess everyone dies "Ringu" style"? I... I really don't understand what that ending was all about.

Honestly, the best part of the entire episode towards the last quarter when the Doctor started going on about how nothing that was going on made any sense.

Way to break the fourth wall, Doctor!

I can't tell if this is a two-parter with the next episode. It doesn't appear related in the trailer.

So... yeah. This was sort of a waste of time. Nice mood and ambiance (for "found footage", a trope I truly hate), but a complete and utter failure in plot.

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