‘Doctor Who’ season 8, episode 4 review: ‘Listen’ tells story of Clara’s past, future, and many nightmares
“Listen” is the episode of “Doctor Who” we have been waiting for all season. Not only was it the crown jewel in Peter Capaldi’s reign as The Doctor right now, but it may also be one of the best standalone episodes of the Steven Moffat era.
The biggest thing the show did that was effective in this episode was keeping its story delightfully simplified. there were really only a few characters who were important, but the questions were easy to relate to. Why are we afraid of the unknown, and what lies at the end of the universe? What makes us afraid? In order to properly answer these, The Doctor went both to the future, and to a part of the universe where everything was at an end.
These questions were juxtaposed Clara trying to have a successful first date with Danny Pink, and her memories of her ended up sending her straightforward to other iterations of the character, including a man who may be his and her great-grandson. Does this mean that Danny and Clara are destined to be together? Maybe this future can be changed, but meeting Colonel Pink told us a few things about at least one of her paths.
The journey to uncover the source of these fears led us eventually to a place we definitely never felt possible: The bed of a childhood Doctor, where Clara found herself being the source of this child’s nightmare.
Maybe there is an element of guilt within Clara at the end of the episode, as she told The Doctor to abandon his quest for understanding. Maybe it was truth. Either way, her words did ring earnest at the end: Fear is universal. It’s understandable to have fear, and to continue to moving forward. How can you understand something that is so natural?
This was a spooky and surprising deep “Doctor Who,” and the twist that brought Clara back to the Doctor’s own origins was to us surprising and wonderful. We’re sure that some will dislike little elements or go at Moffat for playing around with the past again. But, this is the “Doctor Who” we like to remember, and the one that carries a message everyone can feel … even when they are awake at night with a chill running down their spine. Grade: A.
What did you think about “Listen,” and do you think that the Clara story was enough to carry some of the episode? Share below, and head over here to further preview the episode that airs on the BBC next week. Also, be sure to sign up today if you want some other news related to all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter.