Doctor Who Episode 6.09 “Night Terrors” Review

By Courtney Rowan

“Today we’re answering a cry for help from the scariest place in the universe: a child’s bedroom.”   Yes… yes  that about sums it up, doesn’t it? (Contains Spoilers)

When I said that I suspected that this episode would be one of those ‘hiding my eyes behind a pillow’ episodes, I think I was dead on.  Oh, and dolls are creepy, very creepy, especially when they are life sized and have no eyes.

First, let me say that I truly think that this was a classic Doctor Who standalone episode.  I love when we get these ‘alien of the week episodes’ because it reminds me why I’m a Whovian to begin with.  I hate when people call these episodes filler, because these are the heart of Doctor Who.   Don’t get me wrong I absolutely adore the overarching story lines that Moffat puts together and love to learn tidbits more each week, but these episodes are downright awesome.  I mean, Vincent and The Doctor anyone? It also gives the audience a glimpse into The Doctor’s world and just how much more vast it is than we can actually imagine.  I mean,  we can barely fathom just how old his eyes really are.  There are so many alien races in the Universe and we’ve only scratched the surface.. in 40+ years!

What I loved best in this episode is the way that our scared little boy, er alien, George, experiences every piece of terror in his world.  Seeing and hearing the old woman walk down the hall next to him was a monster.  The sound of the lift whirling and wheezing with evilness and  then shaking his whole room.  Seeing his toys in the dark corners of his bedroom come to life in the shadows.  No wonder he was scared!  Watching this with my little guys (4, 6 and 9) was also pretty damn cool.  I saw my 6 year old bring her hands to her face 3 separate times as she felt George’s terror with him.

The scenes with The Doctor and Alex (George’s dad) were also well done.    There are a few moments when The Doctor is genuinely scared and that draws the audience into his emotion.   Watching Amy and Rory wander though the doll house added an extra level of creepiness, not to mention those dolls!  The sound of the little girl laughing and asking them to play.  Wow.  I will say that Mark Gatiss has redeemed himself in my eyes because of this episode.  Oh and, Jammie Dodgers are our new Jelly Babies then?

The revelation that George is actually a Tenza, an empathic alien who has essentially adopted Claire and Alex as his surrogate parents was pretty clever.   The one complaint I have on this episode is the use of the Perception Filter yet again.  While the concept of the Perception Filter is bloody brilliant, I can’t decide if Moffat and his writing staff overuse this or if it is just something that the audience can assume is a commonplace tool for aliens all over the Universe.  I mean, it always works, but it’s seems to be an easy out.

So overall, a great non-storyline episode.  Classic Who at its best.  Some of my favorite quotes:

“That’s what it’s called. Pantophobia. Not fear of pants though, if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s the fear of everything. Including pants, I suppose. In that case.” – The Doctor

“Because George’s monsters are real.” – The Doctor

Amy: It’s just a dummy!
Rory: This is weird.
Amy: Yeah, says the time-travelling nurse. Yeah, um let’s just leave that for now. Come on.

“You see these eyes, they’re old eyes.” – The Doctor

The Girl Who Waited Trailer

Next week’s episode looks especially interesting as we get to see Amy battling things in what looks like a Wonderland for Alice.  Here’s the trailer:

The Next episode of Doctor Who airs Saturday September 10th at 9:00 PM on BBC America.  Until then, I leave you with these super creepy lyrics from the dolls’ song:

Tick tock goes the clock
He cradled her and he rocked her
Tick tock goes the clock
Even for the Doctor.

*shivers violently*

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