I have read some really harsh reviews claiming that ‘Listen’ was disorienting and with no focus. In my opinion, they couldn’t be more wrong. First of all, because if those people watched the opening credits, it said the episode was written by Steven Moffat, so don’t try to think this is going to be a plain, straightforward hour with no ramifications. We all know that initial confusion will not matter, because the final moments always pay off.
After all, who would have thought that we would end up at the barn where the climax of ‘The Day of the Doctor’ took place? That we would see John Hurt again? That we would learn that Clara, as always, had a deep influence in the Doctor’s past? And on this occasion, his childhood, no less. A moment so important for the Doctor that he is still obsessed about it, almost 2,000 years later.
Because the fact is that ‘Listen’ was as much about Clara as it was about the Doctor. Clara and Danny, that is. After what can possibly be defined as the worst first date, the TARDIS travels to Danny’s childhood (when he was not Danny yet, but Rupert) to learn more about this creepy “presence” underneath people’s beds.
Thanks to this initial trip, we witness a poignant moment in Pink’s life, because it looks as if Clara and the Doctor are the ones who put the idea of becoming a soldier in his head. Although the most important thing here is Dan, a toy soldier that Clara gives him as a symbol of protection. A soldier with no gun, just like the Doctor (something that will obviously come back at some point later on in another episode).
So all I can say is this: I was in awe the entire time. I am loving Capaldi as the new Doctor, with his grumpiness, his dark character, his “fatherly” behaviour and his occasional foolishness. Clara is becoming far more interesting and independent than she ever was during the Smith era – not that I didn’t like her then. Far from that, but now it feels like she has more plotlines of her own. And this glimpse at Danny Pink’s backstory made me want to know more. And hopefully we will.
“The deep and lovely dark. We’d never see the stars without it”
-It is starting to be so obvious that Danny killed a kid by accident during the war…
-Psychic paper is back!
-How many shirts does Twelve have?
-Second time Clara’s death has been mentioned…
-“A soldier so brave he doesn’t need a gun.”
-“Once upon a time…the end.”
-“Fear can make you faster and cleverer and stronger. And one day, you’re going to come back to this barn, and on that day you are going to be very afraid indeed. But that’s OK. Because if you’re very wise and very strong… fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly. Fear can make you kind.”
-Congrats to Clara, because I wouldn’t be able to walk in such high heels for so long.