The 12th Doctor – Series 8, Episode 4 – “Listen” – The Power of Fear

Listen

“Fear doesn’t have to make you cruel and cowardly. Fear can make you kind.” – The Doctor

“Listen,” is a great episode, I’m just going to say that now. It has some of the best Moffat writing and really shows the potential and promise for the rest of the season. Speaking of which, Steven Moffat was the writer of this episode and Douglas Mackinnin directed. They did fantastic.

The story shows us the Doctor’s curiosity as it begins with the Doctor wondering if there is someone or something there under the bed and just out of sight as he’s read about the dream throughout time and experienced it for himself. This also happens when Clara is going on her first date with Danny Pink, and the story unfolds from there.

SPOILERS

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Tone – The tone is one of reflecting and fear. The Doctor is thinking about fear and trying to discover if there is a creature it is tied too. This leads to his usual recklenessness (Clara tapping into the Psychic link to the TARDIS to find her first memory of it) and his actions on the last planet in the Universe.

The Cinematography – The cinematography captures the epic scale of what the episode covers and shows us the personal and universalness of the emotion of fear. Mackinnon did a great job directing.

Danny Pink – Danny is in this episode briefly at the end where he and Clara make up, and during the date where there is romantic tension, but where they both aren’t very socially aware. Fear has paralyzed them rather than forcing them to action. This is sorted by the end as they both learn kindness from their fears of failing each other. We also meet Danny as a child as Clara has a link to him from the date and she and the Doctor help him face the mysterious creature under the covers and letting it leave the room. It’s a great scene and we learn Danny was an orphan.

Clara – We see her awkwardness here in her first date with Danny, her connecting with the their descendant who is also a time traveler who gives her the soldier without a gun that she gave to Danny as a child and that she later gives to the Doctor as a child. She is active in this and reminds the Doctor that fear is important, as his lack of fear and curiosity almost gets him killed on the last planet in the Universe. This is another great Clara episode as she is connected to the Doctor but still her own person, she isn’t the Doctor’s McGuffin like in “Name of the Doctor.”

The Doctor – I’m saying the Doctor as a whole cause though Capaldi is amazing, this story is bigger than him. We get a glimpse into his childhood as he is afraid of the dark and his own fears and demons that haunt him so he chooses to sleep in a barn. The young Doctor is always in shadow, but he has long hair like the 1st Doctor. It is similar to when we saw the young Master, and just as if not more powerful as he chooses later to return to the barn as the War Doctor to make his big choice. We see his curiosity as we visit a young Danny Pink and his ancestor who it implies is related to Clara. The Doctor is the soldier so brave, he fights without a gun. He faces his fears armed only with his mind and in that succeeds.

The Message – Like the quote above, fear can make us kind as we realize what it is that is making us vulnerable and afraid. Fear can make us fight for the ones we love and fear can make us superheroes and make us run and fight faster and harder than we would (as expressed by the Doctor to a young Danny).

The Mystery – Something was under Danny’s bed, so there is a creature or creatures most likely still out there. Not knowing in this case serves the story, like in Series 4 and “Midnight” where we never find out what creature was haunting the train and possessing people and the Doctor.

This is perfect Moffat. He does the tone and mystery and making you scared of what you don’t see and having a bigger purpose. He turns associations of fear on it’s head and show how fear can be a positive. We also get amazing Clara, Doctor and Danny development. I highly recommend this episode.

10 / 10. Moffat at his best and in his element.

The 12th Doctor – Series 8, Episode 3 – “Robot of Sherwood” – Doesn’t Hit The Mark

DoctorWhoS8E3

“Robot of Sherwood” isn’t some of Mark Gatiss’s best writing. It has good moments, great moments in fact…but the bad moments really bring it down. I’ll get into the details in the assessment.

“Robot of Sherwood” as stated above was written by Mark Gatiss and Directed by Paul Murphy. It aired today, September 6th, 2014 and is the 3rd episode of the 8th Series.

The story begins with Clara wanting to see Robin Hood to see if the legend exists as the Doctor does not believe in him. When they arrive in Sherwood Forest they find him and are taken in by him and his Merry Men. We are soon introduced to the threat of the Sheriff of Nottingham who is using Robots to steal all gold from the populace and kill the King. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Clara – This is a great Clara episode, again I ask why we couldn’t have got this in Series 7. We learn that Clara loves Robin Hood and has since she was little, which makes sense we see her reading before the Doctor asks her where she wants to go, and being a teacher she’d be sharing this story with her students. Her relationship to Robin in this is fantastic and we see her put her trust in him when she tells him the Doctor’s backstory. She is also the one who believes in the Legend as folks like Amy believed in the legend of the Doctor. The parallels are great when they are revealed through Clara.

Okay/Good: Robin Hood – Tom Riley does okay as Robin Hood, much better than say Russell Crowe, but not as great as some of the others. He has some good moments with the Doctor and Clara though which make up for it. Part of it is I’m unsure if some of the awkward scenes are from bad writing on Gatiss’s part or Riley not being completely cut out for the part. It’s for this reason I have the okay part.

The 12th Doctor / The Twelfth Doctor – We get the backstory of the Doctor and see him use his mind to defeat the Robots, but he isn’t given much to do and his rivalry with Robin Hood over Clara is childish. I hated it actually, he isn’t supposed to be the 11th Doctor who would pull crap like that, he’s supposed to be more mature. Worth it for the end though which was good and when we learn the Doctor’s motivations were much like Robin’s as he ran away from the wealthy corrupt Time Lord society to help the people of the Universe.

Con: The Robots and the Sheriff – The Sheriff’s motivations are only killing the King and becoming ruler, and the Robots have no motivation at all but to serve the Sheriff. The Doctor references the Robots being similar to the Half-Face Man and Clockwork droids who got sent back in time, but those guys got motivation even it was from doing their purpose of collecting parts and from it finding the idea of “Paradise.” The Sheriff is evil for the sake of evil and the actor who plays him isn’t good. These are the first dud baddies of the season.

Would I recommend this episode? It doesn’t do anything for the overall arc, but the reveal of the Doctor’s past which we’ve got from past Doctors was good, since I think a lot of people don’t realize why the Doctor first started running from Gallifrey in the first place. Jenna Coleman is amazing and this is her episode. The guest actor Tom Riley is okay, as is Capaldi but for Capaldi…this is his worst episode so far. He’s far too childish and Riley’s Robin Hood is far too idealistic. He doesn’t feel human at times even if he does have some good in how he’s played. I’d leave it up to you to watch it. If you don’t mind dud villains and want to know more about Clara, watch the episode. If not, you aren’t missing much here.

Final score for this episode is 6 / 10. Would be an average episode if not for the ending and Jenna Coleman carrying it.

The Doctors’ First Adventures – Worst to Best

12-doctors_492px

We end the 12 Days of Doctors Series with rating the Doctors’ First Adventures, Worst to Best. This was a fun thing to do, though when “Doctor Who” was bad it was pretty obvious. I’ll post my original reviews under the summary as well as have some contrasting in the summary on why they are rated where they are. “Doctor Who” is one of my favorite shows and it is great looking back again and seeing how each actor approached the role. So without further ado, lets look back on the episodes from worst to best:

12th Place

Twin Dilemma

The 6th Doctor – “The Twin Dilemma”

This episode is pretty insulting on a lot of levels (The 6th Doctor’s physical abuse of his companion) and there is not really anything good to say about it beyond the fact that it sucks less later on. The villain is also one of the stupidist bad guys in “Doctor Who” and believe me, that is saying something. He doesn’t ever feel threatening and is a complete joke, also we have two Wonder Boy/Wesley Crusher type characters we’re supposed to sympathize with, and who can’t act. Yep…this episode is one of the worst of the worst in “Doctor Who.”

1 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/12-days-of-doctors-the-6th-doctor-season-21-episode-7-the-twin-dilemma-everyone-is-terrible-or-boring/

11th Place

doctor-who-96-tv-movie-cast

The 8th Doctor – “Doctor Who the Movie”

So, after the show was off the air, they tried to bring it back with a movie. “Doctor Who the Movie.” It is pretty bad, pretty much the only redeeming qualities of this film are Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor and Sylvester McCoy appearing before he gets killed as the 7th Doctor. The Master is the bad kind of hammy and none of the Doctor’s companions are worth mentioning in this, beyond the fact that they are terrible people. This is a tragedy too given that Paul McGann owns this role and really deserved a series as the Eighth Doctor.

5 / 10. Was a bad action movie elevated by Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy.

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/12-days-of-doctors-the-8th-doctor-doctor-who-the-movie-paul-mcgann-should-have-got-a-series/

10th Place

An Unearthly Child 13

The 1st Doctor – “An Unearthly Child”

Things didn’t start out well for this series, they started out okay, but not great. The “Doctor Who” Pilot begins with two teachers talking their student Susan until they meet her strange Grandfather who kidnaps them because he doesn’t want to be revealed to Earth. He is great as the gruff Professor type but the teachers and Susan aren’t very good and the Doctor played by William Hartnell isn’t given enough to do. This should have been a longer episode.

6 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/the-1st-doctor-an-unearthly-child-season-1-episode-1-12-days-of-doctors/

9th Place

Robot 4

The 4th Doctor – “The Robot”

Tom Baker is a fantastic Doctor, and Sarah Jane Smith is a great companion…it is a shame the episode they appear in together for the first time doesn’t get to use their talents fully. The episode tries to be a morality play with The Robot of the title but the organization that wants to kill everyone is not fleshed out really well and in the process, the Robot they created isn’t either. There are a lot of good ideas here, they just aren’t fully realized. Seeing the Brigadier in action along with Harry is another plus though.

7.4 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/12-days-of-doctors-the-4th-doctor-the-robot-an-attempt-to-explore-the-formation-of-morality-through-a-robot-season-12-episode-1/

8th Place

christmas_invasion-1

The 10th Doctor – “The Christmas Invasion”

David Tennant was my first Doctor and the one who got me into my love of “Doctor Who” as a whole, both the new and the classic. His episode is good but it has a major problem. The companions are useless and the Doctor is a super hero who must save them and the world. I hate this…part of what makes “Doctor Who” so great is the fact that the Doctor needs his companions, if they aren’t used, it would be better if they never appeared in the episode at all. I still recommend this episode though, even with this big problem.

7.8 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/12-days-of-doctors-the-10th-doctor-series-2-episode-1-the-christmas-invasion-the-doctor-as-a-super-hero/

7th Place

Castrovalva

The 5th Doctor – “Castrovalva”

This is an episode where the biggest issues are too many companions (Mostly Adric) and the fact that the Doctor is out of it for most of it. The Master is great though with his two plots to try and destroy the Doctor, especially in how his creations are actually interesting compelling beings who are related to the world that is the title. Nyssa and Tegan are great companions too. Could do without Adric though, even though he isn’t as bad as he is in later episodes. Kids who can fly the TARDIS and know everything don’t lend themselves well to good stories…

8.5 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/12-days-of-doctors-the-5th-doctor-castrovalva-the-manipulations-of-the-master-season-19-episode-1/

6th Place

Dr Who: Spearhead From Space

The 3rd Doctor – “The Spearhead From Space”

This episode for me, had the same score has “Castrovalva.” What makes it better slightly and why it rated higher on this list is the lack of Adric and a slightly more coherent plot. In this episode we see the Doctor with UNIT face off against the Autons sent by the Nesetene Consciousness to take over the world. It is here we see him with the Brig and Liz having to invent things to stop the Nestene and to investigate to find out that the Nestene is behind all the issues in the first place. It is a lot of fun and well worth a watch. Jon Pertwee is amazing.

8.5 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/12-days-of-doctors-the-3rd-doctor-the-spearhead-from-space-the-beginning-of-an-exile-season-7-episode-1/

5th Place

doctor-rose1280

The 9th Doctor – “Rose”

Christopher Eccleston is fantastic and Rose is a great companion on her first outing. She works with the Doctor and we get to see a great Doctor and companion dynamic. This is also the first Post-Time War Doctor, and it shows. Eccleston does the PTSD Doctor so well that you can see how driven he is to save lives. He gives the Nestene Consciousness a chance and he has some great strategies for trying to stop the Auton invasion from the Nestene. Also Rose is a great character and very worthy of the companion role. She embraces the adventure, even with having a life and reasons to stay. I highly recommend this episode.

9 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/12-days-of-doctors-the-9th-doctor-series-1-episode-1-rose-the-consequences-of-the-time-war/

4th Place

time_and_the_rani

The 7th Doctor – “Time and the Rani”

This was an episode that nearly made the Top 3. There is only one factor that keeps it from being there, and that is the consequences the Rani forcing a regeneration into the 7th aren’t fully explored. It is a great episode, and one of my all time favorite “Doctor Who” episodes…both because of the Rani played by Kate O’Mara and Sylvester McCoy owning the role as the more wizard like Doctor (and the costume designs and alien civilizations are fantastic). Her plan is pretty cool and it takes a lot to defeat her in the episode. The thing that doesn’t really help it though is the fact that Mel isn’t all that memorable as companion. She is okay and has personality but isn’t as memorable as some of the ones before. Still a favorite that I very much recommend.

9.2 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/12-days-of-doctors-the-7th-doctor-season-24-episode-1-time-and-the-rani-the-rani-is-awesome/

3rd Place

Deep Breath

The 12th Doctor – “Deep Breath”

This is the episode I just saw today, and it is amazing. It makes the top 3 for a few reasons. The biggest being Clara is finally a human being and an interesting companion (we see her trials as a teacher and trials with the Doctor), the Paternoster Gang (Vastra, Strax and Jenny) are great and we get to see more of their dynamic and how they grow with Clara and the Doctor, the villain of The Half-Face Man and Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor. There is a lot to love, the only issue is how everyone keeps bringing up Clara and having a romantic partner. How many times does she have to say she wasn’t and isn’t interested? Can’t that be respected and why was that written in? Besides that, great story and one of the Top 3 First Adventures of the Doctors.

9.3 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/12-days-of-doctors-the-12th-doctor-series-8-episode-1-deep-breath-finding-the-doctor/

2nd Place

Power_of_the_Daleks

The 2nd Doctor – “The Power of the Daleks”

This is one of my favorite episodes for a reason, and it’s one that you can only watch via audio, pictures and what little film remains…it is worth it though. In the link I post you can see some of the recreations that fans did. This episode is great because it shows the Daleks manipulating humans against each other and only arriving when they’ve pretty much won anyway…Polly and Ben each help the Doctor in their own ways and the Patrick Troughton is a great Loki like Doctor. He is the trickster who manages to manipulate his way in a position to help by playing the buffoon. This is one of the best “Doctor Who” episodes and one of the best Dalek Episodes as well. This episode really establishes why they are so dangerous. I highly recommend watching the footage and audio of the full episode to really get apprecation for this Doctor, the Daleks, Polly and Ben and this story.

9.5 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/the-2nd-doctor-the-power-of-the-daleks-season-4-episode-3-the-daleks-manipulation-12-days-of-doctors/

1st Place

Doctor and Amy

The 11th Doctor – “The Eleventh Hour”

This is the episode that is the best of the First Adventures. The reasons for this are it establishes the Doctor as a Time Lord and time traveler (visiting Amy as a child and an adult and not being aware of the time change) a great baddie who plays with your mind (Prisoner Zero in the corner of your eye…the boogey man of childhood) and continuity (when facing the Atraxi they can the Doctor and find all his past numbered incarnations in their data bank as defenders of the Earth). It is wonderful and Rory and Amy are great companions. The Doctor isn’t a super hero and actually needs their help since it is only together they win. For people new to “Doctor Who” this is generally the episode I recommend. It is also visually amazing. This Doctor, is pretty cool.

10 / 10

https://cameronmoviesandtv.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/12-days-of-doctors-the-11th-doctor-series-5-episode-1-the-eleventh-hour-the-time-traveler/

“Doctor Who” both Classic and New is an amazing series and many of these episodes capture the good that this show can bring…whether it is wrestling with morality, showing us the good in ourselves or just being fun it is a series that I believe will remain timeless. I look forward to reviewing more “Doctor Who” episodes later on, but until than it was fantastic and I can’t wait to see what the new Series 8 brings to this very rich universe.