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Last week on Doctor Who, we were treated to adventure and comedy of the highest order. That's nothing compared to this week's episode though, as Steven Moffat has just provided us with an episode that reclaims his title as the best writer on the Doctor Who staff. If you loved “Blink”, then you're going to freak out over “Listen.”
”Question: Why do we talk out loud when we know we're alone? Conjecture: Because we know we're not.”
Speaking of reclaiming titles, Clara Oswald just reclaimed hers as “the impossible girl.” This week's adventure is the most wibbley wobbley timey wimey the show has gotten since her trip through The Doctor's timeline in “The Name Of The Doctor,” and it was exciting. Not only did we learn about her future with Danny Pink (who she finally gets to have her night out with,) we learn about his past and their presumable great-great grandson's future. Most importantly, we see Clara generate another one of the series' trademark ontological paradoxes by traveling back to The Doctor's childhood and teaching him a line that he taught her.
In this moment, she fully prepares him to become the man he eventually becomes, and now she can truly state that she's seen every one of The Doctor's faces. Clara is getting more and more likable, which only proves that the show really should have held off on introducing her until they could give her a full season of development. Let's just hope the rumors of Coleman's departure at Christmas are greatly exaggerated, as she'll be terribly missed if she does leave.
”Imagine a thing that must never be seen. What would it do if you saw it?”
The main thrust of "Listen" is similar to an episode that consistently ranks up on the list of the best Doctor Who installments of the modern run. Once again, Steven Moffat tries to make the audience think about the origins of something that exists in the common lexicon of fear. We all have the fear of a “monster under the bed,” and “Listen” teases the creature that might be hiding under all of our beds. We never get to see the creature, but that doesn't stop a couple of genuinely scary moments from occurring.
The only real criticism this episode could endure is that it's a little too wibbley wobbley in the sense of the narrative. The setting continues to shift as quickly as it sets, suggesting that this could have been a great two-parter at the center of Series 8. Still, this is all Sunday morning quarterbacking, as “Listen” managed to grab my attention and hold it throughout. Steven Moffat shows the audience what he can do when he's on top of his game, and following so closely after Mark Gatiss' “Robot of Sherwood” puts the show on track for reclaiming the momentum that's always lost after a regeneration story.
”Fear doesn't have to make you cruel or cowardly. Fear can make you kind.”
Besides this week's obvious implications for Clara's storyline, I can't help but wonder what implications “Listen” has for the rest of the season. If the engines on Doctor Who are revving this week, what's going to happen when it goes full tilt? We'll hopefully find out next week, as The Doctor and Clara are about to pull off the biggest bank job in the galaxy. Join us next Sunday, as we'll be recapping “Time Heist!" Now it's time to head on over to page 2 for this week's Doctor's Notes!
The Doctor's NotesThe Doctor really seems to have a professorial air about him in this episode, and it looks to be one of the new gimmicks the show is adopting.
Clara's really sensitive about any mention of learning how she dies. Steven Moffat, are you trying to tell us something?
The Doctor is apparently a coffee fan, as he stole that night watchman's cup of joe.
Orson Pink is wearing the spacesuit that the Tenth Doctor also wore in “The Impossible Planet”/”The Satan Pit,” courtesy of Sanctuary Base 6.