Otherwise known as the episode with the ending that split the Who fanbase clean down the middle. Spoilers follow, obviously.
Episode four of Capaldi Who (as it shall henceforth be known) managed to be a better horror movie than most modern horror movies. The premise; that we are never truly alone, and that there’s always something hiding in the corner of your eye, is actually taken from a short Doctor Who story written by Moffat a few years back. Unlike that story however, the beastie of the week is left much more to our imagination (to the point that there very well may never have been a monster for the entire episode).
It’s this last reveal that will inevitably disappoint some. Many of us will no doubt have been on the edge of our seats waiting for the jump scare reveal of some ugly space nasty from the end of time, so it’s understandable that some may feel shortchanged by the final reel rug pull – that there was probably never anything there. Of course, no one ever explicitly said there was nothing there (after all, who moved The Doctor’s chalk?).
And naturally, we should get the big divisive “thing” out of the way first. The “thing” in question of course being the scene with a young (like, small kid young) Doctor. Fans who aren’t steeped in 50 years of Who lore might not know that this was in fact one of very, very few glimpses of The Doctor as a kid (possibly the second ever, but I could be wrong).
For some, this spoils the mystery of The Doctor’s character somewhat. Personally, I thought it was done subtly enough, and was a nice tough. It also seems a few people were ruffled by the fact that once again, Clara turns out to have had a seismic impact on his life. It should however, be pointed out that she only told him not to be scared, whereas a lot of people are acting like she wrote “BE THE DOCTOR” in neon lights over his bed. Like I said, it’s a divisive moment. At the end of the day, we got to see a glimpse of a young William Hartnell Doctor, and that’s awesome.
The first thirty minutes or so are terrifying enough to make most parents seriously consider showing it to their kids. The scene in Pink’s bedroom is properly unsettling, and one can’t help but wonder if Moffat decided at the last minute to write in that there was never anything there, just because he realised he might have gone a little too far.
For the most part however, there was a lot to like about this episode. It was brilliantly directed, it was suitably creepy, and it all looked amazing. I probably don’t need to tell you that Peter Capaldi continues to find ways to impress as The Doctor, be he comforting a small child or stealing coffee, he exudes a kind of rude charm. Jenna Coleman also continues to enjoy the transformation of Clara from Plot Device to actual character, and she’s all the better for it.
The date scenes helped elevate the episodes more somber moments, and showed us a little more of Danny (or Rupert) Pink (who is still brilliant). Although, the number of companions the Doctor has accidentally met when they were children is now getting slightly ridiculous. Evidently, Steven Moffat reaaaaallly likes that idea.
This is perhaps, the first episode of Capaldi Who where the 12th Doctor has felt right at home. Dark, brooding, and very scary, with enough laughs to keep us happy. This is the kind of Doctor Who most of us have been expecting from the trailers, and this is the kind of Doctor Who that I for one, want much, much more of.