DOCTOR WHO: Listen was.....a derivative weird mess - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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DOCTOR WHO: Listen was.....a derivative weird mess

Best episode ever? Or proof Moffat needs to step down as show runner? Stacy Embry gravitates towards the latter.

The complex Listen followed the delightful and light Robot and Sherwood. Perfectly placed to give real depth while expanding on the regenerated Twelfth Doctor. The opening monologue of Listen was just terrifically scary. I loved the exact same nightmare assertion, the thought of going into Clara's childhood to see what was under HER bed was terrifyingly intriguing. Even the children and elderly actors made a compelling montage...then, this episode settled into a convoluted deviation of Hide.

In Listen, viewers were given an episode created as an Emmerdale / Doctor Who hybrid.  Rupert/Danny/Orson Pink, is a shallow soap-opera character, underperformed by soap opera actor Samuel Anderson, while making the plot permanently lose focus AND promise. Here is another pioneer time-traveler, lost and possibly found by an ancestor just like in Hide. This, a pale interpretation of that corker, was a slap in the collective face. (Please let this be an alternative time line?)

I could rail against Mr Capaldi being reduced to a dark narrator, or again about using Ms. Coleman as a prop, or by begging Mr. Moffat to better articulate a cohesive story giving Mr. Anderson a chance to act (he deserves actual dialogue not gestures and head hitting), but it seems Moffat has no desire to do anything except try to be clever. Note my emphasis is on the word TRY as there is little cleverness in derivative work. Was this really Fifty First Dates meets Groundhog Day and Hide whilst trying to recapture the magic of Blink?

We get it... the idea is fear. Fear is the Doctor's true companion. I liked it.... and fear is a super power? What a great mindset for kids and adults alike. Fear as an ideal, uniquely evolved in each animal, including humans, is a brilliant theme for any episode of Doctor Who. The Eleventh Doctor even asked Clara to save the Twelfth by alleviating his fear! However, reducing fear down to the lowest common denominator - a sobbing child or a awkward first date - is not universalizing the experience, it's just dumbing it down, and is unnecessary.

Moments were delightful..."the accent's enough" about mood-lighting, and the turn of play on "follow the rules" was fabulous, and we did have a full authentic Twelfth Doctor here. As science fiction it's nice to again see the social sciences highlighted, but the heavy brush stroke of leaving the plastic soldier with a whimpering, yes whimpering, Doctor lying in the barn seen in the 50th was claustrophobic.

That lasting image, only dismissed by Clara aggressively coming on to Pink, was, in a word, weird.  Not good weird, but awkwardly weird and unworthy of an episode written by a show runner. It does seem that Whovians either love or hate Mr. Moffat, but both sides should now agree that after this current series he's got to be done with Doctor Who. I'm sure he's got gorgeous Sherlock episodes and other riveting stories to tell, but as show runner of Doctor Who the BBC now has to realize he's truly detrimental to the series.

I'll say it again, LISTEN was W-E-I-R-D.

Stacy enjoys sharing her occasionally polarizing opinions to elicit discussion.  In a phrase, she states:  "I don't want readers to be parrots...unless they are of the Python variety wherein a "palindrome of BOLTON would be NOTLOB." A former university professor and current secondary educator... Ms. Embry is also a writer, Educational Psychologist and Grief Counselor in Indianapolis, Indiana USA.

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