Deep Breath may have caused problems for people who dislike same-gender kisses, and Robot of Sherwood upset those who like their Doctor Who serious, but Listen is going to be the episode this season that divides the audience, particularly the fans. It’s a tour de force for Peter Capaldi, director Douglas Mackinnon and writer Steven Moffat but there will be those who think that it goes to places that the show shouldn’t. Apologies for the vagueness here, but you really don’t want to be spoiled for any of the developments in the episode – we’re asked not to give away certain plot points, but there are plenty of others that will make you sit up and wonder where this season is going.
This is Moffat in full-on Blink mode, with the benefit of the longer scenes that this series has been boasting. One – featuring the Doctor, Clara and a young boy called Rupert – seems to go on endlessly (in a good way!); in other places, as the story dictates, the action cuts quickly. At times this is a psychological horror movie, and, as with Blink, you’ll find yourself looking at everyday objects in a very different way once the episode is over.
The scenes between Jenna Coleman and Samuel Anderson range from the comedic through the highly dramatic (although hopefully this is the last time we see Anderson’s head banging down onto a table), to the surreal. Capaldi may get more of the screen time, but I suspect it’s Coleman whose performance you are going to remember about the episode – and her description in this week’s Radio Times of the relationship between her and the Doctor is extraordinarily apposite.
Verdict: A creepy, beautifully performed and shot story that gets even better on second viewing. 9/10