Like Toy Soldiers

Doctor Who : Listen

In Listen the Doctor popped in on Clara right in a middle of a date with Danny Pink, which wasn’t going particularly well, and whisked her off for an adventure where he told her of his new theory about everyone having the same dream.

I guess that he must have been bored as he spend quite a bit of the episode talking to himself, which showed Capaldi at his best because he really owned the screen in those scenes and not just because he was the only person in the scene, but because he is just such a magnetic presence that you cannot help but just stay transfixed to him when he is on screen.

He also looks incredibly at home inside the TARDIS, like he owns it. I also quite liked the sparkly jumper that he was wearing, which was quite fetching. He even drinks coffee out of a mug which is just like my wife’s mug at work.

I noticed even more in this episode how Cara really does behave like the Doctor’s mother, or his carer, such as telling him to shut up and slapping him when he is out of order, like an unruly toddler.

It was quite evident in this story such as when Clara is trying to calm down young Rupert Pink, which the Doctor just cannot understand, so she gives him a clip round the ear.

I also enjoyed the reference back to Day of the Doctor, which might ask more questions than it answers. I must admit that I didn’t twig that it was meant to be the young Doctor until the mention of the word Academy and I wouldn’t have put two and two together re the barn without it being spelt out to me either.

As good as Peter Capaldi was in this episode it also can be said of Jenna Coleman who is coming along in leaps and bounds this series and this episode saw her at her best particularly in the scenes between her and Rupert Pink, and her with the young Doctor near the end where she was absolutely brilliant. She also looked lovely again in her date outfit.

The scenes between Clara and Danny Pink during the date were very well written scenes, if not scenes that we normally see in Doctor Who, but that is where this new version of the series scores, as it takes the series places it has never been before and its fits in with the story as though it was never wrong to include these sort of scenes as some more traditional fans have said on various online forums. The scenes could just as easily be seen in Coupling as in Doctor Who but they don’t seem out of place at all, at least I wouldn’t say so anyway.

I think once Clara saw the toy soldier in the hands of Orson Pink (which is quite a funny name, I am not surprised that the Doctor laughed when he heard it) and realised that her time line is inextricably linked with Danny Pink, and that Orson is likely to be her descendent then there was only one thing to do when she got home and I bet Danny thought that he had blown it!

Samuel Anderson was good in his dual role of Danny and Orson Pink even if the was pretty much playing the same character. I love the interplay between the two of them which you can imagine happening between Ian and Barbara even if they seemed to just get on with each other (unless you read fan fiction or some of the original novels that is) and it is a lovely riff on that original relationship between two of the main characters in the show fiftieth year, which it is still is, technically speaking.

They even compared notes on a problem pupil that they both teach which was another nice little riff on the very first episode of the show. This is entirely intentional, for long terms fans, and it is a really nice little touch, but makes perfect sense even if you weren’t aware of that reference considering the professions of the two characters making conversation over dinner.

The episode was often unbearably tense partiuclarily in the scenes where the strange bulge under the bedding of Rupert Pink’s bed which was never satisfactorily explained. It was either something nightmareish, or just another kid playing a joke, either way it was quite spooky and probably scared some little kids half to death who watched it so it did what it was designed to do really.

I liked the Doctor trying to tell Clara that the strange noises that they were hearing were just the noices that you associate with a spaceship a bit like the also mentioned pipework in old house which you sometimes hear when it is really quiet and think that it might be something else.

That worked up until they heard a knocking sound on the exterior of the spaceship because a knocking sound is quite difficult to pretend might be something totally benign.

I am glad that we didn’t get to see whatever it was, if there was anything, outside the spaceship as you can let your imagination run wild about what it might of been and it can be anything that you want it to be, which is a lot of fun.

This is easily the strongest episode of the run so far and is one that is worth watching again and again just for the Capaldi-on-his-own-in-the-TARDIS-scenes alone!

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