Listen was an odd one for me. I don’t know quite what to say. But in typical Josh fashion, I’ll certainly say something.
A definite improvement on last week’s episode Robot of Sherwood, Listen explores the irrational fear of the dark and monsters beneath your bed. Capaldi, once more puts in a brilliant performance as the Doctor, dark, disturbed, and obsessed to the point of insanity. However the stand-out performance in this episode is definitely Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald. From her awkward date, to comforting Rupert, to her final “Listen…” speech. In fact, I think this is the most I’ve ever liked Clara in an episode. (Though a special shout out to Remi Gooding who played Rupert Pink is also in order. Great performance, very believable, very genuine.)
A lot of things did and did not happen in this episode, we never find out if there are monsters, which is often something held against Steven Moffat (not resolving things) but in this case, I think it worked. The mystery remains, and it does leave us feeling unsafe. Like we’re still under threat because the Doctor hasn’t saved us, similar to the dark ending of Moffat’s best episode Blink. This episode certainly having the same creepy tone. It seems to be the story that Steven Moffat likes to write, the things that are universally scary, monsters under the bed (see: Girl in the Fireplace, Listen) young children (see: The Empty Child, the Doctor Dances) and shadows (see: Silence in the Library, Forest of the Dead). These also seem to be the stories that he writes the best.
On the whole I enjoyed this episode, but it did definitely feel like it’s setting up for something bigger. Danny Pink, landing on what can only be assumed to be Gallifrey, it all feels like part one of something. A filler episode if you will, but nevertheless important (remember that Blink was simply a filler). That said, this is definitely the best thing Steven Moffat has written for a long time, I would go as far as saying the best since he took over as showrunner and I hope this good writing continues.
What did you think of Listen? Did you enjoy it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Leave me a comment or contact me via twitter @24hoursayear.