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Doctor Who

"Listen" (Aired September 13, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

I was very excited about this episode after seeing the preview following last week's episode. It  seemed as if it would be similar to "Blink," my favorite episode of "Doctor Who." It looked scary and suspenseful, two of my favorite things! 

This episode added what proves to be a critical moment for the Doctor, delivered by Clara. This in turn makes Clara the most important companion to the Doctor's story. Not only is she the "Impossible Girl," but she's now the girl that inspired him to become the man he is. So with that, let's do this thing!

The episode opens with the Doctor traveling alone in the TARDIS, with a voiceover explaining the Doctor's theory of the perfect hider. We see the Doctor scribbling madly on the blackboard (which is still bothering me! Is this behavior going to be explained this season?!?). The Doctor explains that evolution has gone so well with other features, but not with hiding. But of course, we wouldn't really know for sure if there was a creature that could hide perfectly by sheer fact that it can perfectly hide. MIND BEND, amirite?!

We then cut to Clara returning home, and leaning against the door looking upset. We flashback to her date with Danny Pink (whom I've previously referred to as Pinky, but I should probably call him Danny as he's clearly going to be a very important part of Clara's story). We see Clara and Danny's first date, beginning awkwardly as almost all first dates do. (Truth moment: it made me happy to see that even outgoing, brilliant Clara struggles on a first date. Yes, I know she's a fictional character, but it still made me feel better, ok?) The two start gossiping about work, and things begin going well. Clara then makes a reference to Danny's soldier days, and he immediately gets defensive. He clearly isn't proud of his soldiering days, and the fact that he's incredibly sensitive means that there's a story we are going to hear at some point. The disagreement continues and ends with Clara leaving the restaurant in a huff.

Clara returns to her apartment, and we pick up where we saw her enter. She goes into her bedroom only to find the Doctor and the TARDIS hanging out. The Doctor tells her they have somewhere to go, but Clara declines saying even though her date with Danny went bad, she's hoping for a call to fix everything. The two go into the TARDIS, and the Doctor launches into his theory about creatures that are alway with you, even if you don't know. Clara notices the blackboard with "Listen" written on it, and the Doctor insists he didn't write it. He then tells her he believes that everyone has had the dream where you think you've woken up, and you can feel someone or something close. You're listening, but you dont hear or see anything. Then as you go to get out of bed, a hand reaches for your ankle. As the Doctor is describing this, we see the dream being shown. As the hand was reaching for the ankle, I though to myself "That hand looks incredibly petite and feminine. But that makes sense cause little girl ghosts are the creepiest."

The Doctor then tells Clara to think if she's ever had this dream, and to focus on that moment. The TARDIS is reading her memories. The Doctor tells her to focus solely on those thoughts (though by talking he's probably distracting her), and, as she's concentrating, her phone rings and flashes of Danny pop in her head. However, the TARDIS lands, and the two leave and they're outside an orphanage. Though Clara insists she's never been to this orphanage, the Doctor tells her she must have forgotten. She reluctantly seems to accept this theory, and then makes the point that young Clara shouldn't see grown up Clara. The Doctor tells her she's right and tells her to go back to the TARDIS. But before she can do so, Clara spots a young boy in the window who she strikes up a conversation with. The boy introduces himself as Rupert Pink, and tells Clara when he grows up he's getting rid of the name Rupert. Well obviously we're with little boy Danny. Clara then asks if he has had a bad dream, and in fact he has.

While Clara is talking to the young version of the guy she is dating (MORE THOUGHTS ON THIS LATER!), the Doctor is inside the orphanage. He comes across the headmaster of the orphanage, and with the help of psychic paper, is able to convince the headmaster he's an inspector. The Doctor then asks the headmaster similar questions he asked of Clara, including the feeling that something is with you, or you put something down then it is gone. The headmaster admits this happens to him sometimes.

During the Doctor's questioning of the headmaster, Clara sneaks into the orphanage to find young Rupert/Danny's room. She asks Rupert if he believes there's something under his bed and he says yes. To prove there's nothing there, Clara and Rupert lie under the bed. But as they're doing so,  THE BED FUCKING SINKS BECAUSE SOMEONE IS SITTING ON IT. You guys, this totally freaked me out. It's a freaking "Doctor Who" episode and I was scared. This kind of shit freaks me out. Clara and Rupert get out from underneath the bed, and we see a figure underneath a blanket. Clara is trying to convince herself and Rupert it is just another kid in the orphanage, but as she's talking, the figure continues to rise off the bed. Right then, a light turns on, and the Doctor is sitting in the corner. He insists that the three of them turn away from whatever is under the blanket. The Doctor tells Clara and Rupert that it is either a friend or that this mysterious thing is real. He then tells whoever or whatever is under the blanket that they won't look, and it can leave in peace. He promises they won't ever look at it. The thing gets really, really, really close to Rupert, then peaces out. 

After that terrifying moment, Clara is trying to clam Rupert down so he can go to sleep. She's pulling out a box of soldiers and setting them up at the foot of Rupert's bed to protect him. She pulls out the general, and asks Rupert what they should call that soldier and he responds, "Dan." This response causes Clara's eyes to get even wider, and confirms her suspicions she was dealing with young Danny. Rupert then asks Clara to read to him, but before she can do so, the Doctor touches Rupert's head and he's asleep. 

Clara and the Doctor head back to the TARDIS, and the Doctor wonders how they ended up there. Clara explains she got distracted, and the Doctor asks if there is a connection between the young kid and Clara. For some reason, Clara foolishly lies and says there isn't. I don't know if she's embarrassed that she was thinking about a boy or what. Clara asks if the young boy will remember any of this, and the Doctor responds that he'll scramble his memroy and give him a memory of being Dan the Solider Man. Ummm...Did I miss previously that the Doctor had Men in Black capabilities?

Clara asks that the Doctor drop her back off outside the restaurant the moment after she left. She wants to try to fix things with Danny. So we see Clara enter the restaurant after her earlier self exited. However, she's without her jacket. She apologizes, and things are going well again until she calls him Rupert. He asks how she found out about his name, and she's not able to think of a lie quickly enough. 

OK HOLD ON - I thought they were going to scramble his memory or whatever so he would think he was Dan the solider man? This isn't really explained. So if he has a memory of being Rupert, then why the heck doesn't he remember Clara from his childhood? PLOT HOLES

As Clara and Danny are once again arguing, we see an astronaut come out of the kitchen. Was it me, or was that astronaut reminiscent of River when she "killed" the Doctor? Danny at this point realizes Clara isn't wearing her coat, and says he knows there are things she isn't telling him, and he's tired of lies and leaves. Clara is pissed off and heads to the kitchen to find the TARDIS and tells the Doctor to stop. She expects it's the Doctor in the astronaut suit, but when the helmet is pulled off, we see it is Danny. Well not really. The astronaut's name is Colonel Orson Pink, and he's from 100 years in Clara's future. Somehow, they're connected because the TARDIS took the Doctor to Orson. The Doctor asks Orson if he has any old lady pictures of Clara, but Orson says not. 

The Doctor takes Clara to the end of everything, even though no one is supposed to go that far.  Clara and the Doctor are looking out of the TARDIS when the Doctor says "LISTEN!" mainly cause they needed to work that word into the script as many times as possible. The Doctor tells her there's nothing to hear. He then tells Clara that Orson was a pioneer human time traveller, and somehow ended up as the last man standing in the Universe. The Doctor confesses to Clara that he thought he would be the last thing standing. The Doctor then asks Orson if he hears anything at night, because he shouldn't. 

The Doctor then tells a lie that the TARDIS needs to recharge overnight. He wants to see if this perfectly hidden thing exists. Clara takes Orson into the TARDIS, and promises him that nothing can get in or out, and he'll be perfectly safe. As Clara and Orson are talking, Clara notices a toy soldier in a box, THE toy soldier that young Rupert referred to as Dan. Orson explains to Clara that it is a family heirloom, and that there are rumors that his great-great-grandmother was a time and space traveler. EVERYONE FEIGN SURPRISE! ORSON IS RELATED TO CLARA. OH. EM. GEE.

As night approaches, the noises outside the shelter Orson had been staying in increase. The noises begin to sound like knocking, and the Doctor unlocks the shelter door and tells Clara to get in the TARDIS. She's scared and wants the Doctor to go with her. But the Doctor is obsessed with knowing if these creatures exist. He yells at her to protect herself, and she very reluctantly enters the TARDIS. She then get on the TARDIS screen and watches the Doctor's interaction with whatever is out there. It looks like the Doctor is going to be sucked out of the shelter, but Orson grabs his hand just in time. The Doctor is knocked out. The two manage to get the Doctor back in the TARDIS, and as they're talking, there's an intense knocking on the TARDIS doors. Clara sticks her hands back in the TARDIS to fly them away to somewhere else.

The TARDIS lands, and Clara exits the TARIDS, telling Orson to stay with the Doctor. She, and we, assume they are in Danny's timeline again. Clara steps into a barn, and we hear a child crying. Clara approaches the child. As she gets up to the kid, the barn door opens, and we hear a man and a woman talking. Clara crawls under the bed to get out of sight. The male adult who entered is saying  that the child is too weak for the academy and he won't make a soldier, but the female is more sensitive and tells the man the child doesn't want to be a soldier. And then, it happens. The man says the child will never be a time lord.


HO-LY SHIT. You guys, I did not see that coming. We're dealing with the baby Doctor! And notice how they're talking about soldiers and in "Into the Dalek," the Doctor expresses his wariness of soldiers. 


Right after the adults leave, the Doctor wakes up and shouts for Clara. This causes the child to start to leave the bed, but Clara, in fear of the child seeing his future self, reaches out AND GRABS HIS ANKLE. So IT WAS a feminine and petite hand in the dream sequence from earlier. Are you saying that the Doctor's entire theory, this whole episode, happened because Clara kept young Doctor child from seeing all growed up Doctor?!?! Yes. Clara then whispers to the child, "Listen."


Clara goes back to the TARDIS and tells the Doctor to never look back. She knows the truth, but she can't tell him. The Doctor tells her he doesn't take orders, but Clara speaks with such conviction, that the Doctor agrees.


We then see a series of events, including the Doctor and Clara dropping Orson back off in his time, as we hear Clara speaking to the young Doctor. Clara is explaining that fear is ok. Clara tells the young time lord that he'll come back to the barn and he's going to be very afraid that day, but it doesn't make him cruel or cowardly. As she's saying this part, we see the War Doctor coming to the barn during "The Day of the Doctor," when he believes he destroyed Galifrey and the Daleks. She goes on to tell the young time lord that fear is a constant companion, and it's ok, as it makes companions of us all. We see Danny and Clara kiss for the first time. We also see Clara leave the toy soldier by the Doctor's bed. And that's it. That's the end of the episode. 






So as I stated at the beginning, this episode makes Clara an even more important part of the Doctor's mythology. Though she convinces the young Doctor to go back to sleep, her talk to him influences his entire life. He uses that fear that she speaks of to act in the best way possible. She was there at a critical moment in his life, and it likely influenced every decision that he made after that. That's kind of crazy. It also means that we spent a whole episode chasing Clara. That's some psychological foder right there. 


So there's really one question remaining. Was that a kid that was on young Rupert's bed freaking him out? If so, how effing confused was that kid with the speech the Doctor gave? A question we'll never have the answer to.