If You're Very Wise and Very Strong, Fear Doesn't Have to Make You Cruel or Cowardly
Holy cow, it's five minutes to midnight and I need to go to bed. So. let's talk Doctor Who?
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
This is, without question, my favorite story of Peter Capaldi's first season as the Doctor. First of all, it's genuinely scary in all the best ways. Second of all, it is unique as being perhaps the only story in the show's five decade plus history in which there is not a threat of foe to be defeated, just a mystery to be explored. The entire thing surrounds the notion that everybody at some point has the nightmare about the thing under the bed. It's such a simple premise, and so beautifully executed.
The story also feature's Clara and Danny's first date, which goes... poorly. Neither of them are particularly good at it, and both of them make terrible choices as the night wears on. But that's really just some framework to hang the story around.
There are in effect three big scenes, at the climax of each act. The first is creepy as all get out, as Clara arrives at a very young Danny Pink's bedside as he is having The Nightmare. And then the nightmare becomes real, as Clara and Young Danny hide under the bed while something sits on top of the bed underneath the blanket. It might just be another kid in the orphanage playing a prank. Or not. The beauty of it is, it is never in any way explained. The second set piece is at the very end of time, with Danny's great grandson having become the first human time traveler but being stuck alone with the nothingness, and whatever might be waiting out there. The third set piece is a scared little boy crying in a barn -- the boy being the Doctor as a child and the barn being the very location where the War Doctor will eventually decide to unleash The Moment in order to end the Great Time War. Oh, and Clara herself turns out to be the monster under the bed. It's a delicious moment, perfectly executed.
Just everything about this story is pitch perfect, and in the end nothing is explained. Nor should it be. It is a creepy tale that exists solely to be creepy, and to exploit the dark part of the imagination that runs wild in the dark of the night. This is easily the best piece of writing that Steven Moffat has done in years. I only wish that more of this season had lived up to this standard.
Companion(s): Clara Oswald
Steps Walked: 7,031 today, 3,360,193 total
Distance Walked: 3.41 miles today, 1,755.94 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 0 today, 6,579 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 929 total
Weight: 247.84 lbs (five day moving average), net change -59.46 lbs