Listen - First Response
Listen (take one)
|Clara, the Doctor and Slate - will the chalk tell all, some or nothing? Screenshot from 'Listen'. Doctor Who Copyright © 2014 BBC.|
I made no notes while I watched "Listen" the first time round. Not sure if that was a sign of good or of bad things.
I definitely enjoyed it, definitely want to watch it again.
"Listen" is drenched in atmosphere, which is augmented by its tiny speaking cast. The Doctor, Clara, Danny and Orson Pink (played by the same actor) and a couple of child actors.
Steven Moffat brings us back to one of his favourite motifs, making strange and terrible the stuff of everyday life — think gas masks (okay, not really "everyday life", but nevermind), think shadows, think statues. This time, it's the dark, and ... something under the bed ...
It sounds silly when I type it out, but it gave me the shivers as I watched, and might have had me hiding behind the proverbial sofa when I was small.
And further, it had some clever time play (yes, another favourite Moffat trope), Jenna Coleman stretching her thespian wings and a visit to a moment in the Doctor's life we've never been privilege to have before (so far as I know). And also, some awkward flirting between Clara and Danny Pink that, while exaggerated, still rang true.
All in all, a compelling episode. At first glance.
But I feel uneasy, as if the confection will shatter upon re-view like some snow-castle in a spring morning's sun.
Whence came the Doctor's sudden obsession with the universal dream of something under the bed? Why drag Clara into it and out of her date? He's got a time-machine, for god-sakes! Couldn't he wait 'till morning (or afternoon) to go get her? And was there something under the bed (besides you-know-who) or not? Do we have something to fear, or not?
I dunno. A lot of questions, not so many answers. And a track-record that, in recent years, doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.
No judgement, yet. I liked what I saw, but distrusted it, and so feel compelled to post this note, like some over-worked, sleep-deprived obsessive. Am I about to forgive Mr. Moffat his many transgressions, or add another charge to his long list of crimes against Time and Space?
Come back tomorrow (I hope) for my answer ...