Sunday, September 14, 2014

Theories on "Listen" (Doctor Who)

I know I've written two Doctor Who themed posts in, oh, the past two days, but this shouldn't become the norm.  I think.  It's just that last night's episode of Doctor Who, "Listen" was extraordinary.  It left the viewer with a lot of questions.  Since this is actually the first time I'm experiencing new episodes of Doctor Who with the rest of the world (and not just playing catch up on the Netflix), it's pretty exciting to get to form theories and such.  This shouldn't become the norm, and if it does, I'll create a separate blog for my nerd posts. :-D  But for now, here it is.

The following absolutely contains spoilers, so don't read this unless you have seen the episode.

There are a couple of really obvious questions from last night's episode.

Question 1:

 What in the name of Tom Baker's scarf was under that blanket?

As the Doctor pointed out, there were two possibilities for what was under the blanket.  It was either just a kid playing a prank, was something else.

Let me go ahead and say that it was not a child under that blanket, at least not a human child.  I work with kids and know that even a really weird kid would probably not carry the prank out that far.  After he/she had scared the others pretty well, he/she would have probably just thrown off the blanket and shouted "BOO!"  A child, even a weird one, would probably NOT sit/stand there under the blanket acting all creepy for as long as that thing did.

Plus, we got a very fuzzy, distorted image of whatever was under the blanket, and it wasn't human--unless it was a human wearing a mask of some sort.  If it was a kid wearing a mask, then running away kind of defeated the purpose.  If it were a kid wearing a mask, then the kid would be wearing it to play a prank and scare people.  Running away and slamming the door was a bit pointless.

So it wasn't a kid.

I have a couple of theories of what it might have been.

A Different Alien Theory:

First, I don't think it was the same creature the Doctor was looking for.  The Doctor was looking for a creature that was a perfect hider, a creature that wanted, more than anything, to remain hidden.  Now, he conjectured that these creatures might come out of hiding for children, the elderly, the mad, people whom no one would believe.  That might explain why the creature was so bad at hiding if just Rupert were in the room, but that doesn't explain the creature's odd behavior if Clara and the Doctor were also present with Rupert.

Because if a creature were trying to remain hidden, why in the world would it noisily climb onto a bed and under the covers?  It was unnecessarily revealing its presence, if not its appearance, and in a very obvious way.  Why would the creature do that if it was a perfect hider?  That doesn't make sense.

Now, it could be that this creature got overly curious--perhaps it was a child (just not a human one).  It could be that this creature realized it had been discovered, and it got momentarily curious.  Then it shied away at the last second and fled the room. That's entirely possible.

But I think it more possible that it was a different alien, one that was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Stranger things have happened on Doctor Who.  This alien had been what originally scared young Rupert, whether intentionally or unintentionally.  When Rupert got up, however, it scurried off to a corner or closet or something to hide.  When Clara came in and climbed under the bed with Rupert (a little sketch, you think?), the alien tried to make a run for it.  But if you remember, the Doctor also came into the room.  The alien must have seen him coming (possibly already knowing the Doctor's reputation for being dangerous to unwelcome aliens on earth), and so it hid in the closest place he could find--under the covers.  When it thought it safe to flee, it did.

It Was Clara:  It was Clara.  It was Clara the whole time.  Isn't that what we learned?  Perhaps Clara realized she had been the one scaring everyone all along.  So she used the Tardis to go back to the children's home a few moments before she had originally arrived.  She put on a mask, just in case she actually was seen.  Then she sneaked into Rupert's room.  She hid under his bed and made creepy noises.  When Rupert stood up, she grabbed his ankle.  While he was freaking out, she rushed off into hiding and waited until her former self came into the room and got under the bed.  Then she climbed on the bed and under the covers.

So, Clara is the creature under your bed everyone.  No need to fear anymore.  She's like 5'2 and skinny.  I think we could all manage to take her down.

All I know is, I'm going to be searching her apartment every time they show it from now on.  I want to see if she's stashed Rupert's blanket somewhere.

Find the blanket, find the alien.

Question 2:

"What was knocking on the spaceship door?"

Sorry, everyone, but I don't buy the whole "the ship is just settling" or "the atmosphere around the ship is disturbed" or whatever nonsense the Doctor, Clara, and Orson were making up to make themselves feel better.  There was something out there.

Well, the knocking on the spaceship door really reminded me of the Midnight episode.  This was the seriously creepy episode where the 10th Doctor was riding on a bus with a bunch of strangers (and Merlin...?) to see the Sapphire Waterfalls.  They were on the planet Midnight, which had a sun that emitted Xtonic radiation that would almost immediately kill every living thing.  So they were apparently alone out in the middle of nowhere, since nothing could survive outside the bus.  Well, the bus broke down, and something started knocking on the bus door.  Then there was an explosion that killed the drivers, one of the passengers got possessed by an UNSEEN alien presence that mimicked voices. almost stole the 10th Doctor's voice.

"Listen!  It's me!"

All turned out well, obviously, but the creature was never seen.  There was never a good explanation for what that creature was, or of what it wanted.

Theory: The creature from "Midnight" was the same sort of creature the 12th Doctor was looking for in "Listen."

Imagine a race of creatures, I'll call them the Listeners.  These creatures feed off the voices of others; they get their nourishment merely from listening to the words of other creatures. They aren't malevolent.  They just want to survive and coexist with us.  They are perfect hiders, and NOT the same creatures that grab ankles from under beds--those really are just nightmares/primal fears/Clara Oswalds.  They're just Listeners.

I think it was a Listener who took the Doctor's chalk and wrote "Listen" on the chalkboard.  It realized the Doctor was onto it, and decided to have a little bit of fun.  Maybe Listening to the Doctor for so long had made it a bit quirky.  I wonder if a Listener can get indigestion if it listens to the wrong kind of voice for too long...hmm.  I digress.

Now, the creature the 10th Doctor encountered in Midnight was a little different.  I think this creature was a criminal, by the standards of its own people.  Perhaps it had gone insane.  Instead of merely listening, this creature decided it wanted a voice of its own.  It decided it wanted to master the voices of other beings instead of just passively listening and existing.  It had probably tried to steal the voices of other beings before its kind stepped in and banished it into the wilderness of a planet where there was no possibility of life--where there were no voices for it to listen to.  I think they left it there to die.

And I think these creatures take a very, very long time to starve to death.

Well, when the 12th Doctor was on that space ship, it was the end of time.  There were supposedly no creatures left alive in the whole universe.  The Listeners are obviously not typical life forms, however.  They were still alive.  And since there were no other beings in the entire universe for them to listen to, they were starving.

These creatures were not malevolent.  They didn't mean any harm.  But they were desperate for voices to listen to.  That's why they knocked on the door.  That's why they made themselves known.  They desperately wanted inside that ship where there were voices--the last voices in the universe.

When the Doctor unlocked the door to the ship, and the creatures opened it, he didn't speak.  He was too busy trying to hang on for dear life and not get sucked outside the ship to his death.  The creatures still had nothing to listen to.  When Orson pulled him back to safety inside the Tardis, the creatures were furious!  They made all sorts of noise and tried to get inside, just starving to listen.

I'm not sure if these creatures are why we talk to ourselves or not, but I am no longer going to feel so crazy when I do talk to myself.  I'm just feeding the Listeners.  Hopefully,what I'm feeding them is something pleasant to the taste.

Meh.  Voices probably taste like chicken.

So what are your theories about the creature(s) from "Listen"?  Do you think we'll learn more about them in future episodes, or do you think Moffat will just keep us hanging?  I think it's better sometimes not to know.  Knowledge has a way of taking the fear out of something, and well, as Clara told the very young Doctor, "It's OK to be afraid.  ...Fear makes companions of us all."

Let me know what you think.  Maybe my next post will be less nerdy, but until then, Allons-y!


  1. Spoiler Alert!!! If you haven't seen season 9's final episode stop reading this immediately.
    So the Doctor travels to the end of the universe, and finds none other than Ashildr (Me). And in Listen, he said he had traveled to the end of the Universe. Any connection?

    1. Just rewatching this ep today, saw this comment. Im not sure, but I noticed that too. Another interesting thing is a quote from the episode where the Doctor says "Last man standing in the universe... always thought it would be *me*."

  2. Spoiler Alert!!! If you haven't seen season 9's final episode stop reading this immediately.
    So the Doctor travels to the end of the universe, and finds none other than Ashildr (Me). And in Listen, he said he had traveled to the end of the Universe. Any connection?

    1. It's an interesting thing to note, but I've been largely unimpressed by season/series 9. I seriously doubt Moffat has intended any connections there. He seems to have forgotten about continuity altogether, as of late. Sad, because he's a very good writer and can do better that the stuff we've gotten lately (with the exception of "Heaven Sent," the second to last episode, which was one of the best episodes I've seen--and unfortunately led up to a complete let down for the blah season finale, in my opinion).