I know you’re afraid, but being afraid is alright. Because didn’t anybody ever tell you? Fear is a superpower. Fear can make you faster and cleverer and stronger. And one day you’re gonna come back to this barn and on that day you’re going to be very afraid indeed. But that’s okay, because if you’re very wise and very strong fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly. Fear can make you kind. It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing under the bed or in the dark so long as you know it’s okay to be afraid of it. So listen. If you listen to anything else, listen to this. You’re always gonna be afraid even if you learn to hide it. Fear is like a companion, a constant companion, always there. But that’s okay because fear can bring us together. Fear can bring you home. I’m gonna leave you something just so you’ll always remember. Fear makes companions of us all.
Listen, because I think we just hit a historic moment in new Who. It wasn’t the most fun episode, nor was it the one with the most happening, but it was probably one of the best episodes in years, probably the best since season five. I don’t think that it will be appreciated as such by everyone. But that’s not what this blog is for.
It’s for my opinions, so listen.
Doctor Who has been going through another transition phase. It seems like the show is all about transition phases. But I think that the fact that we’re seeing strong links back to early episodes means something. The link in “Deep Breath” happened to be the robot and it’s origins. How the Doctor had met something like that before, even though he couldn’t quiet place it–which seemed realistic. It had been hundreds of years. Then the implied link between other people in the show and where the Doctor gets his faces. That has to mean something; it has to come from somewhere.
This link might have been the smallest and shortest reaching of all (it only goes back to the specials that took place before this season and season seven), but I think it was more significant.
When the episode opened on the monologue with him talking about being alone and talking to one’s self I already had a chill. The atmosphere and the tone of all this was perfectly done. I didn’t check who the director was, because I never really do, but the shooting, the lighting and all of it just mesh so well to paint a wonderfully unnerving picture.
The question of what the thing was never got answered and it doesn’t have to be. If we had gotten an answer for what the creature was in “Midnight” all those years ago the answer could have never sufficed. It could have never been as satisfying as what we remember of that episode. I got the same kind of chills here when the “thing” set up under the covers in that bed.
What the fuck was that? What the fuck did it want? It really just made me worry that they were going to pull the sheet off because in that moment I was wrapped up in every bit of the scene. Clara, Danny and the Doctor standing in that room with something at their backs. Something that has the Doctor afraid.
That was one of the most effective set pieces in the episode, but really all of them were well played out.
The ending was perfect, because I didn’t really need to see anymore of the creature. I didn’t need to see anything else. We got what we had come for. Clara was the Doctor’s dream. But she wasn’t the creature. the creature was there, three of them saw it. It exists.
Some people might call this a cop out, but I came up with a pretty easy explanation for why the thing used the word “Listen” in the beginning on the chalk board and what it all means. See, I figure that the thing under the sheet wasn’t fake at all and that it really had been following the Doctor all along. Either that or something like it had. The Doctor saw the word “Listen” because it had a special significance to him. It was part of what Clara was telling him when he was in bed as a child and the thing was there for that. It’s been following him all along. Maybe it’s a manifestation of fear itself? Maybe it’s the thing from “Midnight”. And more than likely we’ll never know.
But the episode works and it gave us more Clara and more Danny (which their budding romance seemed to be a small point in the episode, but even then I don’t think it disrupts or detracts, we haven’t seen a Companion in the new show grow into a new relationship really).
And to the question of how Clara’s memories could lead us to the Doctor as a kid, well easy. She was scattered into his timeline. She’s a part of his history. The whole “Impossible Girl” thing comes back into play. I feel like there was so much here that was going on at once and so much to speculate on and that’s why the episode will probably not get the praise that it deserves.
It seems like some that are into it like I was. Someone over at the AV club sure was. I am just liking the intelligent episode thing. I’m tired of watching dumbed down television and I appreciate this.