Just imagine, there could be a baby on the TARDIS right now, and then an episode of Doctor Who, entitled Night Terrors could be all about infant Melody having bad dreams and Rory and Amy comforting her. There could be teddy bears and sweeties.
But the kid is missing and that would be dull, so instead we have an exercise in child-scaring from Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss. So, did I cry? Did you?
We Have Nothing To Fear Except Fear Itself
I didn’t literally weep, mainly because there was someone else there when I watched it and I didn’t want him to think I was a pansy, but this was creepy. The dolly villains, the cupboard, the transformation, all came together to create a sinister edge that Doctor Who doesn’t always manage, even when trying to be scary.
The direction by Richard Clark was also spot on, taking the feeling of uncertainty and claustrophobia in the script and multiplying up. Bravo. In terms of establishing a mood, I thought Night Terrors absolutely nailed it.
Another welcome presence for this one was Daniel Mays as Alex. Anyone who read my Outcasts reviews will know I love that guy, and nothing has changed. If you haven’t watched his great sitcom Plus One on 4OD, it really is very funny.
And Maybe Also Series-Long Story Arcs
Tellingly, the arc plot is still the main complaint that comes to me, even in an episode where it’s basically ignored. The reference at the end seemed bolted on, and it seems strange that Rory and Amy don’t even give a quick mention to their still-AWOL daughter, especially when some other kid is being waved at them.
In general this wasn’t the Ponds’ finest hour. Is it me, or did they take far too long to realise they were in a doll’s house? They were mostly sidelined in favour of the Doctor and Daniel Mays anyway, but as I like both those things, I won’t complain much.
Yes, this was a standard Doctor Who episode type, the scare-the-children episode, but a much better execution than, say, series two’s Fear Her. The parts may be familiar, but Gatiss, Clark and the actors polished them until they shone. After another good week, I’ve decided I like this new run, it seems more dynamic than the first half. Catch the episode on iPlayer and let us know how you feel. And if you cried.