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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who blogging: “Listen”


[previous: “Robot of Sherwood”]

warning: spoilers!

So, the monster under the Doctor’s bed when he was a kid was Clara. Well, why not? She’s been responsible for every other important thing in his life.


And while we’re at it, why not another example of Steven Moffat’s recycling his own ideas — whatever you do, don’t look; the monster in the shadows; the impossible astronaut — and other Doctor Who-ish things: the knocking from outside in a place where nothing’s supposed to be alive; the stranded time-traveler who’s related to someone else in the episode. As long as it’s all a fairy tale anyway, it doesn’t need to actually hang together as a narrative, right?

Because: awwwww. The Doctor as a little boy! Fear is a superpower! Toy soldiers!

Anyway, none of it’s really real, right? Everyone has the dream about their ankle being grabbed from under the bed, and Clara appears to confirm that she has had it… but, no, it’s actually just the Doctor obsessing over something that happened when he was a kid. Except he found mentions throughout history of people having the same dream. And the thing under the blankets. And the thing knocking from outside at the end of the universe. And the writing on the chalkboard.


There’s pleasantly tantalizing ambiguity in a story… and then there’s this.

Hey, maybe it’s a metaphor for warantless wiretapping by our overlords! The CIA and GCHQ are the monsters in the shadows listening to us?

Or maybe it’s all about how we create monsters that aren’t there, for some reason, to torment ourselves. But this is a strange thing for the Doctor to be doing to himself, because he lives in a universe full of real monsters, truly horrible beings for whom dealing out death and destruction is all in a day’s work. The Doctor is the last person for whom it makes sense, narratively speaking, to be delusional about monsters. He does not need to invent monsters for himself. And if that’s what he’s doing here, we need a lot more help to understand why he’s suddenly in such an odd frame of mind.

We go in circles while we wait for something to happen here. Clara’s timeline — which is controlling the TARDIS (the TARDIS that supposedly hates her, but I guess that’s not a thing anymore, or even a plan) — takes them to Danny’s childhood, which is not part of her timeline, and to the end of the universe, which is not part of her timeline, so that the Doctor can confront a fear that he didn’t even know was going to lead them to the end of everything. Except Clara is connected to that fear in him, which isn’t real except it is.

Then again, the TARDIS could take them literally anywhere and anywhen, because as soon as Clara is there, it’s part of her timeline!

Is everything connected, or not?

Is random creepy mood still creepy or moody when it’s just a thin soup of Doctor Who ookiness yanked from any context and tossed into a pot to stew?

Random thoughts on “Listen”:

• Astronaut in a restaurant!


Because no one would notice, right?

And wait a sec: Was this some pointless, random cruelty on the Doctor’s part? He discovers a man who has been stranded at the end of universe and says he can take him home, but instead he first takes the man into his own past — we’re left to imagine how the Doctor explains to Orson why he needs the traumatized man to do this bizarre thing and wear his helmet into a restaurant and flag down some woman he doesn’t even know — and then takes him back to the place where he’s been stuck. Why? The Doctor wants to find out who’s left after the rest of the universe has died? Fine. He doesn’t need Orson there to do that. He doesn’t need Clara, either.

But then we wouldn’t have gotten to see an astronaut in a restaurant.

• Let’s talk about the unintended creepiness of having an episode revolve around the Doctor bluffing his way into a home for vulnerable children in the middle of the night.


Because the sexual abuse of children in British care homes (and in other situations) has been a huge nightmare of a story in the news. Unlike last week’s episode, in which a scene of a beheading was deleted because it accidentally coincided with a reality that could not have been foreseen in a way that might have upset people, this real-life horror has been in the public consciousness for several years now. (Just this weekend, actress Samantha Morton went public with her experience being sexually abused in a care home in the early 90s.) And there’s not the tiniest hint of awareness of that here… in fact, it’s just the opposite, with the Doctor cavalierly turning up in a child’s room.


We all know the Doctor is a Good Guy (even if he has been behaving in some very odd ways since his regeneration), but this is a fairly astonishing lack of awareness of how this scenario might be seen in this very sensitive cultural environment. I don’t think Moffat intends to make the Doctor dark and creepy in this way. But he kind of did. It’s one thing to ignore context within the episode, but quite another to ignore the much larger context that, particularly, an institution like Doctor Who exists within.

Oh, and there’s this: The Doctor hates soldiers, but he psychically put the idea of the Dan the soldier in young Rupert’s head?

• Speaking of the Doctor being creepy, apparently he will not be able to refrain from making awful comments about Clara’s physical appearance. This upsets me more and more with every new denigration of her. It’s a cruelty I never would have expected from the Doctor. And it serves no purpose whatsoever.

[next: “Time Heist”]

posted in:
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  • I_Sell_Books

    I love Peter Capaldi, I do…but…I don’t know if I like this Doctor? Or rather, I like his stern, creepy, not-quite-sure-what-you’re-going-to-do-ness that reminds me of William Hartnell’s Doctor, but the rest – I don’t get it?

    And yet…I don’t get the sexism and misogyny? I mean, it’s always been there, yet so far in this series it seems about as subtle as a brick in the face. Please, just…stop. Because that shit isn’t funny, never has been funny, etc, etc.

    I don’t get Clara or why she’s with the Doctor any more? I hated the whole ‘date’, where she seems like a cock-tease and Mr. Pink is an aggressive asshole? There’s a lot of potential for Mr. Pink and 12, as long as Clara isn’t there. I’d rather have Pink as a companion than her quite frankly.

    The ideas…I find myself thinking Oo, what a great idea for a plot! That somehow is never realized in the show – wtf? And I didn’t even think of Rotherham when he was in the children’s home – holy crap what a thing to miss.

    I might be reaching my JN-T turning point, as I did when Peri appeared on the show – I stopped watching. I feel like I’m slowly but surely getting there with Moffat, which is a shame.

  • Martin

    I like the idea of a monster that turns out to be just a quirk of Human (and Gallifreyian) psychology, I think it’s an interesting angle for the show to explore, but it gets ruined by pushing the “is it or isn’t it real?” question too far into the “it’s real” territory. It turns the scene with the monster on the bed into just a kid acting really weird for no reason.

    That said, I’m really liking Clara being more assertive, I’m still loving Capaldi as the Doctor and I love the idea of fear being a superpower.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    C.J. Anders has a good take on what this episode was about, and what it says about the current state of ths show, over at io9. http://io9.com/theres-not-much-point-in-arguing-about-moffats-doctor-w-1634481730
    (The headline’s a little flame-bait-y, but that’s Gawker Media for you.)

  • Elwood

    Surprised by the negative reaction, for me this was the strongest epidsode in the season so far, in fact outside the excellent “Day of the Doctor” it was the first thoroughly well-executed hour of Doctor Who since “the Bells of St. John.” I liked the idea of the Doctor setting off to find something, driven by curiousity, instead of stumbling on a situation. I liked the ambiguity of not knowing whether he had discovered a secret monster, or if he was having a bit of a mental health episode (I choose to believe that it was just another kid under the blanket, and I love not being told). I actually liked Clara again, and Clara and Danny – seeing how she likes this guy and has taken the initiative for the entire relationship has been a fun way to round out a character who was tragically underwritten last season. But most of all I finally got a sense of who the 12th Doctor is, and never once wished he was Matt Smith or David Tennant. The only downside was the Moffat-y misogyny, which I think is intended to stress that the Doctor’s no longer experiencing sexual tension in his companion (in the spirit of, “You’re a beautiful woman, probably”) but just doesn’t work at all. But after being underwhelmed the first few weeks (and by much of Season 7) I’m finally hopeful about Doctor Who again.

  • Bri

    Going in circles…that is a good summation MaryAnn. I looked at this episode, and I couldn’t decide whether I loved or hated it. Some of it was quite good, and other shaking my head. This episode just didn’t seem to have much reason to exist. It didn’t seem to advance much, let alone resolve anything.

  • I was excited by the teaser for this, in that I thought we were going to get a very different type of story than what we got. I found it to be a total mess.
    A few good scenes, and a few good lines, surrounded by nonsense.
    The whole Clara/Danny thing is just being done so awkwardly.
    And I’m friggin’ tired of the random insults by the doctor towards Clara! They make ZERO sense, and serve no purpose. Claras constant grey hair jabbing is stupid as well.

  • Shay

    I’m rather surprised at all the negative reactions this season has garnered, especially this particular episode. I was genuinely moved and teary eyed by the end of the story. It one of those Moffat gems were the labyrinthine story was bound with an emotional center that underscored why these characters need each other and have formed relationships.

    Capaldi is fantastic and every week full of surprises. I enjoy that he is still a bit scrambled and doesn’t have easily defined features like Tennant and Smith…net yet anyway.

    Clara is finally blossoming into a real character. Season 7 I kept thinking she would make a good companion if she wasn’t just a plot device and sidekick. Ever since The Name of the Doctor her character has grown as a person and is swiftly becoming one of my favorite companions.

    I believe it is rational for the Doctor to be afraid of, essentially, his own fear. There has been a sense of looking back to the Doctor’s age and origin this season so far. His talk of Skaro helping him realize what he wanted to do, the question of whether he is truly a good man, his face being subconsciously chosen. He is a Doctor who is questioning his years, somewhat frightened of being left alone, and has been constantly on the alert. The idea of fear as a driving force was beautifully handled in his scene with Rupert Pink and I hope they dig deeper into the Doctor’s psychology. There are certainly some interesting ideas that will hopefully be followed up.

    By the way, the Astronaut in the restaurant was a bit odd yet I was so in the moment I didn’t mind! I too wondered why the Tardis has made nice with Clara. Is it because of the paradox in The Name of the Doctor?

  • Maria Niku

    I surprised myself by liking this a lot. It isn’t really the point whether the monsters are real or not, it’s about the fear itself, and about the Doctor’s obsession to prove that there is something there, because he can’t

  • ThreeOranges

    It requires a huge leap to be offended by the Doctor going into the school. Clearly you’re determined to find things to hate and aren’t approaching this from a place of honest criticism.

  • No, I actually thought the same thing. Why are these weird people skulking about a childrens home? Wouldn’t they get caught and thrown in jail? I know he showed his doctor card thingy, but it’s still odd.

  • While it all ended up being kind of a big nothing, the first half of the episode was creepy as hell; I loved it. I did find myself wondering why Moffat’s “scary” episodes are always about the same fear, but it’s probably because that’s what he’s afraid of.

    And the bit when the mattress sagged over Clara? That was awesome, don’t deny it.

    I definitely agree that the potshot’s their having the Doctor take at Clara’s physical appearance are ridiculous — adolescent pig-tail pulling tripe; I get the feeling they’re going for here, that the Doctor is oblivious, but it’s a bad idea and horribly implemented. And the point is undercut by Strax having the same “humorous” sort of shit in the premiere.

    For a moment though, this episode was spot on.

  • If you’re going to accuse me of being dishonest, you’re going to have to cite a helluva lot more examples than one aside in one review.

  • Yes, it was creepy at first. But then it threw that all away.

  • Yeah, definitely. Such a shame. I was utterly delighted by the first half.

  • Me three. It was enough of a jolt to take me out of the story for a while. See also “Day of the Moon”.

  • Jim Mann

    The reactions to the last two episodes have been interesting. Both episodes have people calling them wonderful. Several reviews of Listen have called it the best Doctor Who in years (did they forget Day of the Doctor).

    Each also has people who really dislike them.

    Personally, I’ve like all 4 episodes so far. They’ve all been good, but I’m really waiting for the first great Capaldi episode. Of course, it took Eccleston until his 6th episode (Dalek) to get a really great episode. Tennant really hit his stride in his 4th and 5th episodes (School Reunion and The Girl in the Fireplace). Matt Smith perhaps fared better, staring with The Eleventh Hour, which was a very good episode. and he had good episodes scattered throughout that season, but for really great episodes it’s later in the season when we get Vincent and the Doctor and The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang.

    So I’m willing to give the show time to hit its stride with a new Doctor.

  • Jemcat

    I am loving Capaldi and find the Clara reboot in this series a refreshing change from Clara#1 but something isn’t clicking for me. I can see that it is good and by hell the newspapers shout out that every episode so far is THE BEST EVAH – FIVE STARS!! but I don’t feel it and I am afraid my Moffat heckles are so sensitive now that they get raised by the merest hint of sass or perk from Clara. So I will continue to watch for Peter, the cleverness of it all, the occasional snippets of delightful dialogue, the cute clothing Clara wears and the good CGI but it is just a bit of an empty experience. Ashamed to say I still haven’t watched Listen yet but I feel that I really should. This week’s looks more my cup of tea – good old fashioned stand alone story with hijinx, great guest cast (the gorgeous Jonathan Bailey and Keely Hawes – be still my heart) and hopefully no Missy person plot arc shoehorned in.

  • Brad Statham

    Is anyone else bothered by the fact that there was a thing under the bedspread that all the characters reacted to but couldn’t have been there if the whole thing was just in the Doctor’s mind from Clara grabbing his ankle as a kid so there really wasn’t a hiding creature to be under the bloody blanket?

  • Jamie

    No because they left it vague so that it’s possible there could have been a creature (We weren’t told for sure), or that it could have been a child playing around (and probably confused about what these strangers were doing there in the middle of the night). Either way, wasn’t nothing, it was either a creature, or a child.

  • Jemcat

    Just watched it at last. Little bits of random brilliantness with Capaldi acting his socks off (I continue to admire Capaldi ‘doing’ his Doctor but not feeling it yet) and Clara taking charge of events and some gorgeous lines (the one about the dark night was lovely – Steven Moffat is great at that kind of thing) and further evidence of the great casual chemistry between the two leads and I like Danny but (and boy is this a big but) that made no sense whatsoever. There is a difference to leaving things open ended or having an episode about introspection but that was codswallop psychology served as profundity. There was the making of a good episode in there looking at how fear shapes us but instead we got a big goop of stuff which made as much sense as the gui (gooey – geddit) interface which the Tardis has now conveniently sprouted to propel Clara’s plotline further to make her even more special to the entire history of the Doctor than she was before. Clara’s dress was nice, though.

  • Yeah, it was a child that didn’t look human even out of focus, and who just accidentally happened to pull a trick that was directly related to the issue under discussion at just the right moment.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m sure someone else was bothered. OTOH, to many viewers, those kinds of ambiguities are features of the story, not bugs.

  • Damian Barajas
  • Brad Statham

    But it couldn’t have been a creature because the creatures never existed in the first place. They were figments from the Doctor’s dream from Clara grabbing him when he was a child.

  • No, it’s supposed to be ambiguous: Is it real, or is it merely the Doctor’s own imagination. That’s what all the talk about the dream being reported throughout history is about.

    But if you want to accept that it was just a kid under the blanket, doesn’t the outrageous coincidence bother you?

  • Brad Statham

    I get the attempt at being ambiguous but if it was in the Doctor’s imagination, why did the other two see it? If it was outrageous coincidence, that is exactly one of the things that bother me about Moffat’s weakness in story telling.

  • But if the other two saw it, then it’s almost certainly a creature/monster, not a random child who happened to fulfill a precise role by sheer coincidence. Which removes all the ambiguity!

  • Brad Statham

    Absolutely. Which contradicts it just being the Doctor’s imagination from Clara grabbing his ankle when he was a child. At that moment, the story became an illogical logic loop. If the dream or fear is prevalent in the universe either there is a basis for it or the Doctor’s dream influenced the dreams of a universe but a creature is presented so they exist but they don’t because it was Clara that started the cycle. Can’t be both, that’s even worse story-telling.

  • K. M. C.

    The doctor didn’t put the idea in his head… it was Clara, telling him about being brave the same way any parents or babysitter does with a scared child. Nothing psychic about it. When he tapped Rupert’s head, he was putting in the idea to sleep. I do not think those comments are meant to be considered insulting either. He obviously doesn’t intend them to be, as many of the comments are neutral, him saying she looks fine, etc. They are also weird enough that they are more so that than insulting. You’ll notice though that they are leftover from his regeneration… go back a bit to the first time we see him: they are much more elaborate and frequent, and made about others as well. For Matt his messed up sense was taste and as a result Amy’s cooking got insulted- for a small girl less insulting of course, and far easier since the stimulation is interior, and there are fewer tastes than reflections of light…. not to mention the fact this new regeneration is a gift from Gallifrey, not even his own.

  • Tonio Kruger

    It was the ghost of M. R. James looking for royalties. :-)

  • K. M. C.

    The grey hair thing is the inside joke from her call from the 11th… rewatch first ep. from season.
    They make no sense because they are not insults. They consistently reflect a lack of visual recognition on his part. It was a result of regenerations. Again rewatch first ep., he does it with all of them, not quite seeing things right, mixing up Sontaran and Clara. (much in the same manner strax does, or the way it is very hard for a human being to tell squirrels apart) Not recognizing himself either, flirting and not flirting with a Dinosaur, not remembering his face, but recognizing his Pompeiien friend and trying to remember why… Most notable and shocking, not remembering how to fly the TARDIS, the love of his life. (End of last episode with 11) This has diminished of course, but many of his comments are in the same strain, hinting something isn’t quite finished after a few days, in the way previous Doctors were. Keep in mind though, to keep the show running he had to have a borrowed regenerations. Were they not to introduce some sort of physical ‘malfunction’ it would feel too easy, to viewers who have watched for years and were unsure about breaking the regeneration limit. So in this case, it would appear he does not quite recognize the people he used to before his borrowed regenrations…. He is not being mean, seems more like he simply does not see things 100%…

    Rewatch ep. where they go inside Dalek, she makes a comment about wide hips beings inconvenient. He says, no they’re fine, built like a boy. To him, he genuinely thought this was a compliment, trying to reassure her that she would have them as an advantage. To modern women, we are told curvy hips are sexy and looking at all masculine is not, so of course the joke is that she gets irritated. This is a horrible way to think. The only reason wide hips were ever first considered good for women was because they facilitated birthing, but this is extremely outdated considering the majority of modern women give birth twice, lets say, lasting less than 24hours, assisted now by modern medecine, at least in Clara’s society.
    Similarly with the make-up. He believes she has it off when she has it on. Why should this be an insult? He says she can’t go out, she’s taken it off. He obviously seen her many times before, logically with less or more make-up, and none at all, and in different places that she may have gone. Logically, he either knows her patterns and finds she usually wears more on dates, OR, his perception is somehow skewed, he’s been through the ringer after all! It is a shame that people think women need to be wearing make-up to look presentable, and because of this, instinctively assume this is what he means, rather than looking at their history together and registering first that he more than anyone knows her face, make-up no make-up, Victorian and Dalek, and that not knowing make-up from no make-up is ‘probably’ reflecting on something more serious than our own shameful views of how women should look.

  • K. M. C.

    The ‘doctor card thingy’ is called Psychic paper. It makes you see whatever you want to see to be comfortable with what he is telling you. It’s purpose is to show the man something that makes him believe it is perfectly natural, and has been used on this show for years
    . For example, the man could have seen police credentials, or something saying he was a social worker, one of the childrens parents, owner of the home, a medical doctor someone called in, etc.
    Not that any of that matters… the caretaker meant to watch the kids was already nuts. In real life he would be the weird person, and whoever allowed him to be the person caring for those children would be thrown in jail for neglect.
    HOWEVER this was a long time ago… they are in fact, time travellers. Remember?
    Our own real life doesn’t even apply. Back in the nineties, children’s homes were terrible places, where children were often neglected. I was in one back in that time, and I woke up once exactly the same way, having started to have night terrors. The day worker told me I could find someone if I was scared… but the one and only night worker had absolutely no idea whatsoever who I was, let alone that I had been told someone would be there to calm me down. She didn’t care either, she yelled at me and practically dragged me to my room that night. Not only was I lied to so I would shut up and go to bed, we were being looked after by someone who didn’t know who we were, or what we looked like. Should they ever god forbid find that someone had come in and kidnapped us, and need to find us, they would not even have known which kid to look for. Considering this lady had no idea what the kids she was solely in charge of looked like, it is doubtful she would know what every police officer, social worker, doctor, and their badges look like… Honestly, this women and others like her seeing a funny, grandfatherly man WITH a badge who played where’s Wally, and said things like “Dad skills” and a sweet, innocent smiling teacher-girl with big eyes who would literally hide under the bed herself to comfort a teacher would have invited them in, handed over the keys, maybe gone for a an extended lunch break or at the very least a smoke.

    But it’s great that you’ve had such a great life and live in a rainbows-and-butterflies utopia that you feel cool dissing the work of a crew of people who tirelessly re-created the setting at that time so you could have free entertainment. Especially since you don’t even have the decency to know the names of the things you are dissing, forgetting that you’ve had 9-50 years to learn them.

  • K. M. C.

    Please see an above comment of mine.

    I can see where he finds you to sound offended, you’re quick to bring up a touchy subject, and the tone you use when writing on it’s own sounds very offended.

    He didn’t say ‘honest’ he said ‘honest criticism’ which is completely different and is used generally in the same line as ‘objective journalism’.

    YOU think it is creepy. YOU find the doctor creepy.
    I don’t, Oranges might not either. That is what makes it subjective. Different opinions.

    Fine. But you are dragging very personal, traumatic experiences of children into the picture to defend your views of a character. Sure, use the term, larger cultural awareness, but frankly, that is just empathy.

    Of course children being abused in any way affects a culture, but this is not limited to the UK. Children have been abused in homes all over the world.

    I was, in the nineties to boot. I myself faced an almost identical situation to Rupert. Of course his nightmare was a monster, mine just felt like it.
    You know what else was different? I had a “responsible” caretaker drag me back to bed when I looked for comfort, yelling at me before locking my door. Turns out the nurse who was following my night terrors never actually told her there was a child who had been told she had someone who was there to look after and comfort.
    I would have loved Clara and the Doctor, two equally introduced people to help me.
    Because guess what? I still have insomnia that started then, and stayed without fail for over a decade. I cannot sleep without prescription medication, without some light on to see my surroundings. I cannot have a bed that doesn’t lie flat on the floor, because that way there IS no under the bed, and I must have a television on so there isn’t even the possibility of hearing noises I shouldn’t. I would have adored a stranger who looks like my grandfather asking me where wally/waldo was in another book. It is something so comical and mundane.
    Frankly, I would have asked Clara if she could lie next to me under the bed just like that for the rest of the night until I could fall asleep. I would have asked anyone, and I did. They instead chose to make me realized that the one person who was supposed to be protecting me had no idea who I was.

    Children, innocent and naive, they do not fear rape yet. They fear nightmares and mosters, ghosts and things they are too afraid to imagine. They take a running leap as they get off their beds so nothing can grab them. When you are a child, nightmares, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and rape can scar you equally. The one you don’t fear, and ironically the one that tends to cause the most fear to adults, rape.

    Adults call this abuse a cultural awareness, because what else can they call that sort of secondhand horror?
    Secondhand, because I have a feeling if you were unfortunately enough to be in almost the exact situation you would know well enough that this episode had a happy ending real life cannot afford, an ending that serves to completely detach the episode from the reality of your “cultural awareness”.

    Do you know what adults who were abused in homes call sci-fi reviews that feel it important to bring these things up to defend an OPINION? An unnecessary reminder when it is certainly not expected.

    Doctor who is a comfort show, for adults and children alike. A child sees the Doctor and Clara as fairy-godmother types, they are above ‘creepiness’ and ‘insensitivity’ because they are above what is realistic. Did you forget they also travelled to said Home via blue rectangular time machine?

    I watch Doctor Who to help me sleep at night. I watched it when I was excused from school being suicidal. I read about it because it is comforting and I want an escape from a world where strangers are dangerous instead of ready to save you.
    You apparently have another agenda. You are using other people’s trauma to defend your view of an actor. Most of the time, people reading reviews like yours bringing child abuse into the picture for shock value in order to exaggerate the defense to one’s opinion are not being hurt by reminders of actually living through an almost (But unfortunately not) identical situation to Rupert’s. (Mine had no Doctor… well, it did, only this one gave me pills that made me manic and violent.)

    Oranges says big leap. I kind of see what he means. You are using children being raped in a review of a G-rated science fiction serious with a time traveling Police Box.

    Is that enough of an example to get you to back off Oranges, and stop over-reacting?

    So “HONESTLY”: when watching this episode and they were time-travel transported back in time, let in using psychic paper, and fighting a hiding monster by not looking, was the first thing you thought: “Oh my god! How can they show this on television when all those children including Ms. Morton were raped in homes?”

  • K. M. C.

    Yes I’m not blind. This might read as hypocritical. However, keep in mind, this is my own story I am using for a subjective view. You are using the experiences of others to defend yours. My subjectivity comes from this. Yours, if it truly does, is again, taking quite a big leap. I am also writing a comment, where you are supposedly reviewing a television show. Again, subjective versus objective. You, are also causing some harm in your review, and not just because you are being so negative about a beloved show. If you want to write about a comparison to group homes, maybe choose a title as something other than the name of the episode. This implies the topic discussed is the episode, and that it will be objectively reviewed, not compared to another topic entirely. Especially since you are using what should be at least pg16 rated content to “review” a show children watch with their parents. (Ex.: The actor who you are critiquing that saw the show as a child and dream of playing the Doctor.)
    At least you warned their would be spoilers right? You should have been more specific, since what was most spoiled for me was my appetite…

    Oh, and again. Back off Oranges, and other commenters. You put something out there that upset him, he expressed it. You pushed the subject in a reply very aggressively. People don’t agree with you? Maybe instead of bringing up the touchy subject that did it you could be respectful and back off.
    It feels a lot like a wall of text being overly specific in pointing out a mistake you’ve make, perhaps a little more angry than the average person would be.
    When you can’t be seen or heard, you listen, hide from a confrontation. When you have the luxury of making yourself heard, you fight back when someone is picking on the little guy because they can’t handle criticism. You get more angry than the average person would.

  • bronxbee

    it’s her site, her opinion and her right — don’t like it? don’t read it

  • For example, the man could have seen police credentials, or something saying he was a social worker, one of the childrens parents, owner of the home, a medical doctor someone called in, etc.

    And it still would have been beyond tone-deaf to current events. It doesn’t matter what was on the Doctor’s psychic paper.

    It sucks that you had a horrible experience in a children’s home, but our criticism of this scene has *nothing* to do with living in a “rainbows-and-butterflies utopia.” And free entertainment is not above criticism.

  • No, it was far from the first thing I thought.

    Which is why is it an *aside,* a sidebar, to my review, and not included in the main review itself. Honestly.

    Look: there is no such thing as objective criticism. It does not exist. Everything I watch is filtered through my experiences and my beliefs. And so obviously my reviews reflect that. My only “agenda” is to report my *subjective* reactions. *That* is “honest criticism.”

    You are using other people’s trauma to defend your view of an actor.

    No. This is a willful misreading of what I wrote. This suggests that I had already decided that the Doctor (not the actor, not Capaldi) was creepy and went looking for evidence to support it. In fact, it was this one scene that made me think, “Hey, this is kind of a creepy thing for the Doctor to be doing.” This isn’t “using” other people’s trauma for anything. It is a *response to* other people’s trauma.

    I’m glad to hear that this scenario did not trigger any bad memories for you. But if it did for someone else who had a similarly awful experience to yours, would you deny the validity of their response?

    bringing child abuse into the picture for shock value

    No. Just no. Shock value?

    review of a G-rated science fiction

    I do not write for children. This is not a site for children. Lots of critics would refuse entirely to take *Doctor Who* seriously because it’s “only” a kids show. That’s not me. I take it seriously… which sometimes means pushing back hard.

  • Again, subjective versus objective.

    See my other comment about the nonexistence of “objective criticism.” It’s an oxymoron.

    you are using what should be at least pg16 rated content to “review” a show children watch with their parents.

    See my other comment about how I do not write for children.

  • bronxbee

    OR, it could have been “thank you, inspector, john smith, for coming to investigate all the weird happenings the children keep talking about!” it could have worked, sans creepiness, if done in the proper context.

  • Perfect!

  • Knutt

    I agree with your point about Moffat recycling his own ideas, but in all fairness, he did not write “Midnight.”

  • I’m pretty sure he’s aware that the idea has been dealt with in the show recently. I bet he’s even seen the episode!

  • Knutt

    “And while we’re at it, why not another example of Steven Moffat’s recycling his own ideas” – You can hate Moffat all you want (I can’t wait until he leaves), but if you mean he’s recycling recent ideas, say “recent ideas”. If he’s recycling “his own ideas”, don’t use as examples episodes he didn’t write. Or at least admit when you accidentally get one wrong.

  • Reread what I wrote. It is *perfectly* clear that I did not suggest that he wrote “Midnight,”

  • Jurgan

    (Catching up on S8 through Netflix, so I might drop a few comments. Don’t know if anyone will read them, but…)

    I groaned through the opening of this episode, where the Doctor talked about monsters that lived near us but can’t be seen, because it’s basically just the Silence all over again (and I’m not sure we ever got a clear explanation how they fit into the whole mega-arc that spanned the Matt Smith era). I talk to myself a lot, and I don’t think it’s because aliens need to hear me. The whole “thing that happens that people assume is psychological is actually aliens” is a trope Moffat has done to death. But I liked the twist ending that in fact it wasn’t a monster, just paranoia. You could read it as a meta-commentary on Moffat overusing this trope, to the point where the audience and the Doctor both assume “oh, another one of these stories?” I guess the nightmares that “everyone” supposedly has are just part of human and Gallifreyan psychology? That’s a nice twist, but it makes the scene with the kid under the blanket hard to understand. And what happened at the end- was the Doctor getting sucked out onto the alien planet because of the mythical explosive decompression? I guess so. This “end of the universe” was not nearly as compelling as the one in “Utopia.” And I guess Orson was supposed to be Clara’s grandson or something, but I’m pretty sure Danny dies at the end of this season, so I don’t know how Moffat painted himself out of that corner. Thematically, “fear is a superpower” is a pretty good message, and I have no real complaints there.

    So this episode was okay, especially the ending, but like a post-Signs Shyamalan movie, the twist is hard to reconcile with some of the set-up. Also, I had real problems with Danny and Clara’s date. It started great, with them commiserating about problem students, and I was enjoying that for once Moffat wrote actual human dialogue that wasn’t plot related (there are probably some good examples where he has, but not lately). But then we veer into rom-com cliches where people keep saying the wrong thing and annoying each other by accident, which wrecked it all.

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