Two men have gone out to buy me chocolate today, so I am definitely living my best life right now.
But this past week’s episode, “Listen,” is a standout, not just of the season but of the rebooted series as a whole. It’s one of the most frightening episodes I’ve seen, up there with “Midnight,” “Hide,” “The Waters of Mars,” and, of course, “Blink.” The scariest Doctor Who episodes prey on very primal fears - things that move when you can’t see them, water that will kill you if you touch it (let alone drink it), loss of control over your voice and your movements, and now, of course, what it is that lives in the darkness under the bed.
Steven Moffat has always been an expert at creating monsters that are simultaneously devastatingly ordinary and horrifying - Weeping Angels, anyone? - and the fact that there are perfectly reasonable explanations for every instance of the mysterious creature(s) in “Listen” just makes the other option (that there’s always something hovering just at the edge of your vision, but you can never see it) all the more viscerally terrifying. What’s under the blanket in Rupert’s room in the orphanage? Is it really just a friend playing a trick on him? The image of the out-of-focus figure standing just behind Clara, Rupert, and the Doctor will stay with me for a long time - especially when I’m home alone at night.
I wrote about how much I like the new season of Doctor Who over at Word + Film!
I was taking the bus through dreamscape Brooklyn, and, staring out the window, saw Ian McKellen in costume from Waiting for Godot, standing outside the theater, which was somehow two blocks from my apartment. I was scrambling to get to the door of the bus before we pulled away from the bus stop, but couldn’t make it in time. I turned to find Patrick Stewart standing next to me, and told him how disappointed I was I couldn’t go say hi to Ian McKellen. He got the driver to stop and walked me back to the theater, where he took me to the green room, introduced me to Ian McKellen, and the three of us sat and shared a bottle of wine. We talked for an hour, and as curtain time approached, I asked if they’d take a selfie with me. They agreed, but we were having trouble getting all three of us in the picture, and suddenly they had to run because the show was about to start. I was left selfie-less.
The remainder of the dream was me wandering dream-Crown Heights, trying to figure out a way to find Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart again, thwarted at every turn, running into my boyfriend, my friends, old coworkers, my ex, and turning down half-recognized streets over and over.
I swear this is all true. My subconscious mind has reached the point of self-parody, evidently. Anyone have a dream dictionary for millennial social-media-manager Brooklynites?