Doctor Who Episode 8×04 “Listen” Reaction Post

I know this is a book blog but I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who and after seeing the latest episode, I need to express my thoughts somewhere. This post will contain major SPOILERS if you haven’t seen this episode or any of this season. Fair warning.

dw804hd0153

Danny/Clara and their first date. It was adorably disastrous. I became a shipper after seeing their 5 minute interaction in Into the Dalek but now they are officially another of my ultimate Doctor Who OTPs, joining Doctor/Rose and Amy/Rory. I loved how real their date was. Starting from the awkward moment above when Danny stands up to greet Clara with a handshake but then midway decides to go for a cheek kiss. Completely relatable first date moment. And then Clara putting her foot in her mouth with the offhand comment that Danny threatening to kill someone actually means something. I think that even though Clara says she doesn’t have a problem with soldiers, subconsciously she has taken on some of the Doctor’s bias against soldiers. Danny really doesn’t Clara’s comment well and that says something about him. Clearly, people like to make assumptions about Danny and judge him without knowing him. The staff at Coal Hill assumes that Danny must be a smooth lady’s man (presumably because of his good looks and ex-soldier status), the kid asks Danny about the people he’s killed, making the assumption that because he was a soldier he must have killed a lot of people. I can see how being confronted with those type of assumptions on a daily basis can get tiring and the last thing Danny wants is for the girl that he really likes to have those same type of assumptions.

dw804hd0292

Head banging Danny makes an appearance again and he’s still adorable. Poor awkward, bumbling Danny. Don’t worry, I still love you.

And so the date is a disaster and Clara goes home. I love how we see the date through a regretful Clara, mentally kicking herself. Again, something completely relatable when you’ve had a date or encounter with someone that you’re into that you feel like you screwed up and wished that you could have a do-over. The Doctor is waiting for Clara in her bedroom (in case she brings her date home lol) and brings her along on his sudden obsession on finding out what is the thing underneath the bed that everyone has nightmares about.

I’ve read some spoilers about this episode and people were raving about how this ep is the new “Blink.” Personally, I don’t think the big bad was that scary or creepy but I do like the concept of it. Moffat is good at tapping into childhood fears and that thing lurking beneath the bed is certainly one of them. The Doctor links Clara to the TARDIS so that they could go to the moment in her childhood when she had the nightmare. Clara gets distracted by thoughts of Danny and they end up at an orphanage in Gloucestershire.

dw804hd0617

dw804hd0615

It turns out that Danny Pink was formerly Rupert Pink and he grew up in an orphanage. Clara comforts little Rupert and the Doctor banishes the thing on Rupert’s bed, whatever it was. Clara gives Rupert a broken soldier toy.

dw804hd1183

A soldier so brave that he doesn’t need a gun to keep the world safe. Rupert names him Dan the Soldier Man and the Doctor scrambles his mind so that he doesn’t remember the encounter with Clara and the Doctor and instead has grandiose dreams of Dan the Soldier Man. Thus, in a classic Moffat move, it turns out that Danny’s name-change and career as a soldier is owed in part to The Doctor and Clara’s interference in his timeline. I agree with what a lot of people are saying about the meeting-someone-as-a-kid trope is repetitive and overdone but I’m just resigned to it at this point. Moffat writes what he knows and this is what he knows. Yes, I would have liked for Danny to be a normal guy that Clara dates and not part of some time-wimey wibble-wobbly mystery but this is Moffat and not RTD that we’re dealing with here. RTD writes the normal, average joe companion extremely well, Moffat doesn’t. Moffat always has to have some big timey wimey mystery attached to his companions: Amy, River, Clara. I’d rather Moffat write Danny well in a way that he knows how than to force write Danny in a style that he’s not good at. So far he’s writing Danny rather well.

dw804hd1330

After a bad first date Clara has access to something that us lowly mortal folk can only wish that we have. A time machine. She returns to the restaurant to give her date with Danny a second go.

Danny: I like your name.

Clara: That’s a start.

Danny: Oswald. Suits you.

Clara: Drifting now…

Danny: Yeah, it’s better than Pink.

Clara: No, Pink! Pink is nice! I like Pink.

Danny: You can have it.

Clara: Ooh. Bold offer, Mr. Pink.

Danny: I meant! No…ugh..

Clara: (laughing) I know, I know.

Danny: Why can’t I speak today?

Hee. So cute! And I just love how bumbling and nervous and awkward Danny is. I get it. He wants to be witty and charming and to impress her but his thoughts are traveling a millions miles a minute, and he’s so anxious and worried that he can never think of the right thing to say in the moment. I’m totally Danny. At least this side of Danny.

Anyway, they come to the agreement that Clara Pink is too much. Foreshadowing? Is it possible that Clara will eventually be Clara Pink? Or Danny could be Danny Oswald. That has a nice ring to it. He already changed his name from Rupert to Danny so why not? Speaking of Rupert, Clara accidentally lets slip that she knows Danny’s name was once Rupert. I liked the effect of the music stopping and glass breaking in the background when Clara makes this slip, effectively changing the entire mood of the date yet again.

We see a change from Danny to what Dan the Soldier Man must have been like. He closes himself off and turns the interrogation onto Clara as he tries to get her to tell him the truth of how she found out about his real name and if she’s having a laugh at him. He makes the observation that Clara walked out with her coat and now sits before him coat-less. Clara is cornered and distracted by a man in a spacesuit pointing at her (no one else in the restaurant notices this, really?) and Danny refuses to tolerate lying and weirdness and now it’s his turn to walk out of the restaurant.

It’s interesting to see this side of Danny and I hope that we see more of it as his and Clara’s relationship progresses. Danny has good observational skills (he immediately knew that Clara changed clothes when he saw her walk out of the closet in Into the Darkness; now he notices that she’s not wearing a coat) and he’s good at being able to tell when a person is lying. I think these skills that Danny has will make it difficult for Clara to hide her time traveling from him, especially the longer that they’re together and the more serious that they get. Maybe it will even cause a lot of friction for them as a couple. And this is all in the hope that we actually get to see Clara and Danny as a couple before he, inevitably, steps into the TARDIS and meets the Doctor.

dw804hd1551

It’s not Danny’s time yet to be in the TARDIS but it is Orson Pink’s time. After dropping Clara off on her date, the Doctor follows the traces of Clara’s timeline to the very end of the universe where he finds a wayward time traveler from a hundred years in the future: Orson Pink. He is clearly Danny’s descendant and it’s heavily implied that he’s also Clara’s.

There’s a lot of speculation as to who Orson Pink is and I think that while there could be possibility to the theories that Danny (and therefore Orson) is related to the Doctor in some way, first I want to tackle the reasons why I think Orson is Danny and Clara’s great-great-grandson.

First, Orson looks at Clara a lot. And yes, at first it may be because she’s looking at him all wide-eyed and freaked out while the Doctor questions her on whether Orson is her descendant. At first it seems like Orson genuinely doesn’t know Clara but I could swear that the more he looks at her and when the Doctor asks if Orson’s a distant relative, a look of recognition passes his face. When the Doctor asks if Orson has family photos of an older Clara, he says “I don’t…” but I think he’s lying.

dw804hd1841

dw804hd1844

This interaction between Orson and Clara is very vague but there’s no mistaking the understanding that passes between them. Time traveling runs in Orson’s family, his great grandparent used to tell him stories, and the soldier toy as a family heirloom. Some say that Orson (and little Rupert) is from Danny’s timeline and while he is most definitely Danny’s descendant, it doesn’t mean that he’s also Clara’s. It’s just an indicator that Danny will soon be boarding the TARDIS. I don’t really buy that. If that were the case, then why is Orson kind of weird around Clara? Why does he ask her if she knows him and then tells her that time traveling runs in his family. And most importantly…

dw804hd1847

Clara: It’s a family heirloom.

Orson: Yeah.

The way that Orson passes on this toy is definitely significant. Clara refuses to take the toy because it’s a family heirloom. Orson simply says “Yeah” and a look of recognition and understanding passes between them. They are family. I think that Orson knew all along that he would one day encounter a young version of his great grandmother. He probably didn’t know all the details of how, when, and why, but I think he was given the toy to one day give to his great grandma. It’s like older River meeting young Amy for the first time (in Amy’s timeline) in the Angels two-parter in season 5. River had to pretend not to know Amy when she knew all along that Amy is her mom.

This sort of predetermines Clara and Danny’s relationship now that Clara knows, or very strongly suspects, that she and Danny will one day have a child. It kind of takes away Clara’s agency in the relationship and I should have a problem with it, I know I should. But this is just another aspect of Moffat’s writing that I’ve resigned myself to. This is how he does relationships. I mean, he had Mels (the timey wimey child) be partly responsible for Amy and Rory getting together. As long as Clara and Danny have chemistry, I’m okay with them not having a completely normal relationship. Clara isn’t a completely normal person anyway. She’s inextricably linked with the Doctor’s timeline, as we see in this episode.

Clara comforting little!Doctor something I already knew from spoilers but I really loved her speech. And I think this scene humanizes a so far very alien Twelve. He was once a scared little boy who needed comforting. A part of him is still that scared little boy. The Doctor being really scared seems to be an ongoing theme this season, even Eleven says it about him in his phone call to Clara.

Now to address the theory that Danny is the Doctor’s son or a descendant through Susan. Putting aside the weird factor, I have to admit that it’s a possibility. There are interesting parallels between the Doctor and Danny. Both are former soldiers, (possibly) both grew up in an orphanage if that was where the young Doctor was, both have issues with their military past. Orson says time traveling is in his blood and he’s wearing Ten’s exact same spacesuit from Sanctuary Base 6 (Why?? Where and how did he get that?). Everyone makes the assumption that he’s Clara’s descendant but what if he’s the Doctor’s? It would certainly be a twist. And the toy soldier. How does Rupert get it when Clara left it with little!Doctor in the barn? What if ‘family heirloom’ is far more significant than just a supposed link between Orson and Clara? I think it’s an interesting and plausible theory because this season is supposedly about the Doctor searching for Gallifrey and who better to help facilitate that search than his own flesh and blood? The Doctor has been alone for so long that it would be incredibly touching to see him reunited with family. I’ve seen people suggest Danny as the Doctor’s son or Susan’s son but what about Jenny? Jenny is still out there somewhere. What if she had Danny and left him in an orphanage because she couldn’t raise him with her lifestyle? Maybe she wanted him to have a normal, human life on Earth. That would make Danny the Doctor’s grandson. Now the weird factor is that IF Danny is indeed related to the Doctor and he eventually marries and has babies with Clara, that would make the Doctor and Clara in-laws. Weird but a completely Moffat thing to do. He did, after all, have River be Amy and Rory’s daughter and the Doctor’s wife, making Amy the Doctor’s mother-in-law. So yeah, I can see Moffat going down this route. On the other hand, Danny could NOT be related to the Doctor and the links between Orson and the Doctor simply come from the fact that Danny will also be a companion and time traveler. After all, Orson seems a lot more focused on Clara than he is on the Doctor.

No matter how it plays out, I’m excited for the rest of this season. I wasn’t that interested and didn’t really follow the last half of season 7. My interest revived somewhat with the 50th Anniversary Special and the Christmas Special but this is the first time in a long time that I’m properly excited about and really anticipating a full season of Doctor Who. I’m liking Twelve so far. I think he’s a bit hard to get used to and a bit jarring after Eleven but he is growing on me. Clara is much better written this season and a lot more human. And of course, I’m completely in love with Danny. I like how he brings out another side of Clara. With Danny, she’s just a girl with a big crush and now possibly falling in love. I think, as a former soldier, when Danny finally meets the Doctor, he’ll bring out another side of the Doctor as well. There will probably be a lot of tension there as Twelve clearly has a problem with soldiers. I can’t wait to see Danny added to Team TARDIS.

dw804hd2623

I wish it wasn’t so dark and hard to see but eee! Clara and Danny’s first kiss! So awwww….

I hope Danny is in next week’s episode, even if it’s just in the beginning and end when the Doctor picks Clara up and drops her off. I already go through Danny withdrawals when he’s not in an episode. And I really want to see him and Clara be couple-y and see how their relationship progresses before the Doctor steps in. It’s been pointed out that while we have had a TARDIS couple with Amy and Rory, we never got to see the two of them fall in love. They were an established couple by the time the Doctor came and whisked Amy off. Here we get the novelty of seeing Danny and Clara meet, have an awkward start, and fall in love. I hope we also get to see some of their daily life as a couple in a way that we didn’t with Amy and Rory.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s