REVIEW: Doctor Who: Listen: There’s Something Under The Bed…

‘Why do we talk out loud when we know we are alone?’ Maybe its because we aren’t. This week the Doctor ponders if there is a creature designed to hide. In the dark. Behind your back. Under your bed. And why do we all have that nightmare where a hand reaches out and grabs our foot? One thing’s for sure, this week’s episode, “Listen” has us all a bit creeped out.

Back on earth, Clara is having a disastrous date with Danny Pink, fellow Colehill teacher and master of awkward conversations. Previously revealed as an ex soldier with a mysterious past involving a shooting, Clara makes a joke about the ‘sensitive subject,’ which Danny takes a little too seriously. In a scene, which only makes us more suspicious of Danny, we can only wonder why he gets so defensive when his past is mentioned. A disgruntled Clara leaves the restaurant upset and angry, only to be greeted by the TARDIS in her bedroom.

The Doctor needs her help with something. He is trying to figure out why we talk out loud when we are alone. Maybe we are never really alone. Is there someone or something listening? Clara forms a link with the TARDIS to extrapolate her timeline, so it can find the moment in her life when she had the nightmare of something under her bed. But she gets distracted and they end up outside a children’s home in Gloucester. Inside is a little boy, afraid of what might be lurking under his own bed. His name is Rupert Pink, and he has a toy soldier named, ‘Dan the soldier man.’ Interesting.

Trying to prove there is nothing under the bed, Clara goes under it herself, but the mattress begins to dip. Something is on the bed. But there’s nobody else in the room. Confronted by a mysterious creature hiding under a blanket, the Doctor and Clara are left to question if it’s a prank, or… something else. However, whatever it is doesn’t seem dangerous or hostile and soon leaves when they turn their back on it. A creature that doesn’t like to be seen. Creepy.

What did you think of the episode? (BBC Pictures)

Clara returns to her date with Danny to find out that his name used to be Rupert, but he no longer uses it and hasn’t in years. Does this mean the little boy was a younger Danny? It’s looking very likely. Just when the date couldn’t get any more bizarre, a spaceman walks into the restaurant and gestures for Clara to follow it. This is no ordinary date. After following the Spaceman into the TARDIS, he takes off his helmet to reveal… another Danny? Nope, this guy is Orson Pink, found by the Doctor on the last planet at the end of the universe. A time traveller stranded for six months who seems to recognise Clara and has an interesting family heirloom. A toy soldier. Apparently time travel runs in his family…

Something is lurking in the dark at the end of the universe. Orson is terrified and doesn’t want to spend another night there, and if the foreboding noises are anything to go by, he has every reason not to. But the Doctor is determined to find out just what is beyond the door and to Clara’s horror, stays to find out. After compromising the airlock, its left to Orson to save and take the unconscious Doctor back to the TARDIS and Clara to link herself back to the TARDIS, to a new destination.

This time, the time machine ends up in a barn, and inside is a little boy crying. Is it Rupert? As someone enters the barn, Clara hides under the bed and listens to the conversation. “Why does he have to cry all the time?.. There will be no crying in the army.. He’s not going to the academy that boy, he’ll never make a time lord.”

‘What if there was nothing. What if the big bad time lord doesn’t want to admit he’s afraid of the dark.’ The crying little boy in the barn was the Doctor. And the barn? The same barn the Doctor would return to during the time war years later, planning to active ‘the Moment,’ and destroy Gallifrey. A clever and touching reference back to ‘The Day of the Doctor.’

‘What’s wrong with scared? Scared is a superpower.’ Well we certainly were scared, as this might just be the scariest episode since we were told not to blink in front of a statue. Penned by Steven Moffat, the greatest thing about the episode was that there was an explanation for everything that happened to the characters, but we never found out if they were true. Was it a monster on the bed, or a kid playing a prank? Was there nothing there after all, or were there invisible monsters everywhere? We never find out. And that’s what’s scary.

Certainly one of the best episodes (if not the best) of Series eight so far, with another amazing performance from Peter Capaldi with his blunt, ‘Why is your face like that?’ yet kind and caring, ‘I’d like to know his prospects,’ demeanor. Samuel Anderson as Danny/Orson Pink is also shaping up to be an interesting character and the blossoming relationship with Clara adds a new dimension to the show. Next week the Doctor and Clara are planning to rob a bank. Sounds exciting!