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Doctor Who XXXV/9.9: Sleep No More

November 14th, 2015 (10:51 pm)

"...without soiidarity and without the acknowledgement that we need time to distinguish our essential selves from our careers, our greed and desire for advantage, we might as well be no more than dead cells and mucus." More (not quite) like this (and slight spoilers for Face the Raven) from me at The Event Library.

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2015/11/14/sleep-no-more.html.


Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: November 15th, 2015 12:53 pm (UTC)

Denofgeek.com invariably splits between the lovers and the haters, but the haters were clearly in the ascendant this week. Sadly I was among the... well, I won't say haters. 'Confused' is probably a better word. It was atmospheric, but I had no idea what was going on for long stretches of this, including the ending. To be fair, my mental health is not in a good state at the moment and that was distracting, but, again, looking online I see a lot of other people with no idea what was happening.

This whole thing seemed a bit improvised. The artificial nature of the grunts was stressed and then ignored. The bit about the doors only responding to singing the song was introduced surely to lead to a moment of tense comedy where the Doctor and/or Clara have to sing to get to safety, only to be ignored. Rasmussen disappeared, apparently dead (I missed his 'death' entirely) but then was alive again. The whole thing seemed a bit of a mess.

Back on denofgeek.com someone suggested that Doctor Who needs to do more than just be scary, which I would agree with. Someone else was rather worried that the monsters seem to win, to which I responded, with tongue in cheek, that maybe this whole story was a spooky campfire tale told by a future Doctor to a future companion to scare him/her. It would fit the fourth-wall breaking of this and Before the Flood.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: November 15th, 2015 10:21 pm (UTC)

I am very surprised at the negativity towards this episode. I thought the plot worked, but the realisation left something to be desired.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: November 16th, 2015 12:09 pm (UTC)

As I said, I wasn't in the best state of mind to watch it, so that may partly explain things in my ccase. But I think that there was a feeling that it was just about scaring children with no real plot and lots of hanging plot threads and odd contrivances. The drabness of the design also came in for criticism. I think people may be tiring of bases under siege, especially as we had a much better one earlier in the season. The twist at the end, which does make a lot of what happened make more sense, seems to have passed by most people, including myself, at least until it was explained to me.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: November 16th, 2015 12:43 pm (UTC)

I just read the interview with Gatiss on denofgeek.com and I feel bad for not liking this. As always, he comes across as such a thoughtful, perceptive man (along with Rob Shearman, he's probably the new Who writer I'd most want to have as a friend) and I can see this is something he put a lot of work into, but it just didn't seem to pay off this time and I'm not sure I can blame that all on my mental state. (This from someone who liked Night Terrors.)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: November 16th, 2015 03:44 pm (UTC)

It's been pointed out to me that the AI figure was much lower than normal for this story, suggesting that it did lose people.

Posted by: Matthew (emperor)
Posted at: November 15th, 2015 10:44 pm (UTC)

I enjoyed the Shakespeare references, and it was a neat variation on the "oh, it was just a dream" trope, but I'm not sure that was enough to make it quite work, if you see what I mean.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: November 15th, 2015 10:49 pm (UTC)

I have established a small support group for people who liked the way this story was constructed...

Posted by: cynthia2015 (cynthia2015)
Posted at: November 17th, 2015 11:56 pm (UTC)

I guess I would have to rewatch it.