Review: Doctor Who Season 8, Episode 4: Listen

Relationships develop further in this rather chilling instalment from Doctor Who, and we learn a bit more about what makes the Doctor scared...

This episode played with childhood nightmares. What’s under the bed? Is the monster real or imaginary?

It was written by Steven Moffat. We were hoping this would be one of his better episodes, and it turned out to be. Although, he did seem to revert back to formats that are familiar from older episodes. Some of his more successful Doctor Who episodes have also been one word titles (Blink comes to mind). Plus, they seem to rely on the scares coming from imagining the monsters. Listen is concerned with the idea of whether we are really alone in the darkness of night, or when we are on our own. Could the Doctor even be scared of being alone?

In this episode we see more of the relationship developing between Clara and Danny, the new teacher at Coal Hill School, where Clara also teaches. A bit of trivia for you: this school is the school featured in the very first episode of Doctor Who back in 1963. The Doctor’s granddaughter went to the school and two teachers from there became the First Doctor’s companions. We begin to see how Clara is developing more of a life outside of the TARDIS, and how she juggles this.

We see a young Danny in the episode, deepening the link between Clara and older present day Danny. There was a nice twist to the episode behind the origin of the monster under the bed (you’ll have to watch, as we won’t spoil it by telling!). There a hint that the blossoming relationship for Clara and Danny could lead to a lasting legacy. We also learn more about the Doctor – what does make the Doctor scared? Does he get scared at all?

The atmosphere was chilling, and the episode as a whole gave us a lot to think about. Sometimes we wish Moffat could write every one of his episodes this well!

We’re liking the dark twist to this episode, and the darkness of this season in general. Some people may argue that Doctor Who is getting too scary for children. However, this could be a good thing, as the series can also teach them how to overcome their fears.

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