Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S06E09 – Night Terrors

In the ninth episode of the sixth series of Doctor Who, the Doctor receives a desperate message from a young boy who is terrified by monsters in his room. And then Mark Gatiss tries to scare the pants off of us for forty-five minutes. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.


Here’s a summary of what happened:

  • I went to Los Angeles for Labor Day weekend and found NO TIME to complete anything at all, so I did not update the site for Monday. SOMETIMES, I NEED A DAY OFF.
  • Then MARK WATCHES GOT HACKED. Okay, honestly, it was the most pointless hack of all time because the spammers who did it didn’t even do anything that benefitted them at all and just put a redirect code into my Adobe files and…the end? So nothing was compromised. I lost no posts, your info is fine, and it just provided a major irritation. I suppose that’s what spam does, right?

So, as consolation, the next Battlestar Galactica review will go up at 1:00pm PDT. On top of that, another BSG review will be posted Saturday morning. Thank you all for your patience! Sorry about the delay but WE ARE BACK. LET’S GO. 

At heart, “Night Terrors” is about the love a parent has for a child.

I’ve been anxious to see this specific episode since we saw the previews for this series early this year. I wanted to see the Doctor tell someone that monsters were real, and those creepy doll figures we’ve been seeing in adverts were sure to scare me because I don’t like dolls THEY ARE REALLY FRIGHTENING TO ME, OKAY? But there was another part of me that wanted to see “Night Terrors” purely to have a non-mythology episode, unattached to a larger story, and self-contained within one story. I’m actually a big fan of the more serial nature that Doctor Who is taking, even if it’s hard to like single episodes when they air because they’re pieces of a larger narrative. But I also like episodic weirdness and single-dose silliness and it’s about time that we got a lot of that. On top of that, “Night Terrors” might just be the best-paced episode of series six, alongside “The Doctor’s Wife,” because it develops so slowly, giving us a believable situation (as much as what happens here is believable, of course) and more richer characters.

I like that it’s such a familiar story, and writer Mark Gatiss slowly unravels that story trope over the course of forty-five minutes. I was George for the most part growing up, convinced there were demons in my closet, monsters under the bed, ghosts drifting through my bedroom door to watch me as I fell asleep. (I’m writing this after the episode aired, so remind me in the comments to tell the most awesome ghost story ever when this is posted.) And it’s not like we haven’t seen this idea play out in sci-fi and horror films, but I don’t know that I’ve then seen it dealt with in this way. George, terrified by the monsters in his room, manages to summon the Doctor through the psychic paper (I MISSED YOU, PSYCHIC PAPER), and the Doctor rushes to the boy’s aid with Rory and Amy at his side. I enjoyed the prolonged acknowledgment that the psychic paper doesn’t exactly act as a homing beacon, and we watch the three of them attempt to locate George. (Seriously, my new neighbor looks so much like Elsie it is FRIGHTENING.) What works so well about this “montage” of sorts is that it shows that the Doctor and his companions aren’t superheroes, and that they are sometimes limited by their own knowledge. Additionally, it serves to give us some basic archetypes of characters right from the beginning, from the feisty (and always-complaining) Elsie, to the predatory landlord, Purcell. And his dog. You can’t forget his dog.

I will say that it seemed a bit odd that the Doctor parted from Amy and Rory and then seemed not the slightest bit concerned about their location for the entirety of the episode, but splitting them up allowed Gatiss to explore both George’s mental creation and the more realistic side of a father lost by his inability to know what to do with his child. Daniel Mays is such a perfect father throughout “Night Terrors,” and might actually be one of my favorite supporting characters in the Doctor Who universe. He visibly cares for his son and wife, and is distraught and disturbed by the increasing anxiety and terror that this brings. And as frightening as this story ultimately becomes, Mays helps represent the real emotions and the humor of the situation. Understandably so, he’s upset as a father because he has no control over what’s happening to his son. At the same time, he has a pitch-perfect reaction to the appearance of the Doctor: relief into confusion into panic and then right back to the start.

One of the things I love so much about the character of the Doctor is his willingness to believe. He does ask questions, constantly so, but he believes that cynicism gets him nowhere. He’s inclined to have faith in what other beings tell him, and will give validity to the most inane of theories. He reminds me of Fox Mulder in a way: willing to believe anything, and generally right about those things as well. It’s fascinating to watch everyday humans fight this idea at first, and even more fascinating to watch his companions slowly change over time to become more like him in this regard.

In that sense, what happens to Amy and Rory is actually pretty intriguing to me. Rory’s exasperated joke about being dead again is not only a joke that he could make (and I’m glad he’s acknowledging his penchant for death), but when you step away from this, both of these characters have stopped fighting the believability of this all. I mean, after all they’ve seen? Plunging to their deaths in an elevator and ending up in a creepy house with sentient dolls is pretty low on their weirdness lift. And I love that the show is always inherently about the fact that weird shit happens and you’d better learn to accept it all and adapt to it.

But let’s just talk about that house. Even from the opening frames of the entire episode, Gatiss composes “Night Terrors” to be about what is intrinsically frightening to us: dark hallways, made of all corners, sharply jutting out and preventing us from seeing what’s around them, doors with no knobs, and lots and lots and lots of shadows. I came to realize that Gatiss was purposely filling that house with as many horror tropes as possible, not for the lack of ideas, but because those are the things that would frighten a young boy. They still creep me out and I’m twenty-seven. Dolls singing nursery rhymes? Creaking stairs? Floors made of quicksand, and garbage piles that eat elderly ladies, and shrieking lifts, and shadows that stretch into claws….the more I thought about it, the more I came to love “Night Terrors.”

And when those dolls showed up that first time, when Rory finally opens a door to find one just standing there, I wanted to curl up into a ball under my covers and NEVER COME OUT FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. The art design on those creations is so brilliant. The tiny eyes, that pinhole mouth, the painted faces….MOFFAT, DID YOU TELL GATISS TO DO THIS. I mean, it has Moffat spelled out all over it and yet again, this show can take an inanimate object and make me fear it with all of my heart. But okay, so there are dolls that sing and they creepily shuffle about and that’s not so bad, right? Even I can admit that they are initially frightening, but they sort of lose their power after a few minutes. Right? Right????


I’ve tried to pinpoint exactly what it is about that transformation process that sends me into a bout of shivers, but I don’t even know that I can. I suppose they would have to have some sort of power, or else why would it matter that Rory and Amy are trapped down there? Because WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY THIS IS AWFUL PLEASE RUN AWAY.

Yet even while shit is getting real in that house, I love that the pace with the Doctor and Alex isn’t racing ahead like the other plot. A lot of what the Doctor, Alex, and George do is talk. That’s just what the Doctor does, isn’t it? He talks to George about the cupboard, he talks to Alex about his son’s fears, and he asks for Jammie Dodgers. Also, Alex got to have tea with the Doctor. WHY ISN’T ALL OF THIS REAL FOREVER.

When it eventually does come time for the Doctor to face his fear of whatever is behind that cupboard, he meets it with…reluctance. The Doctor is reticent. When does that happen? He’s the kind of character to throw himself into any sort of chaos based solely on a whim, so it took me awhile to figure out that he was running on no information, and that scared him. (Ugh, seriously, I love that this episode is about all of these characters’ fears.) The sonic could give him no reliable information (and apparently lacks an embarrassment setting), and he still hasn’t figured out what is making this all happen.

Aaaaaannnnndddddddd then the photos. Wow, what an unsettling revelation. How could you forget a person’s birth? The fact that your wife could not have children? Or WHERE THE CHILD IN YOUR HOUSE CAME FROM? In that moment, “Night Terrors” sort of becomes everyone’s fear, that a mysterious intruder has been LIVING WITH YOU THE WHOLE TIME. I was initially worried about the pursuit of this plot line because I didn’t know how they could deal with this without rejecting the child that Alex and his wife, Claire, loved so much. What a painful idea, honestly. But after Alex and the Doctor get pulled into the cupboard and the Doctor begins to put the pieces together, I started to see the other message this episode was creating: acceptance.

We haven’t had an entirely new alien species introduced on Doctor Who in quite some time, and I really loved the way that Gatiss dealt with the Tenza. The reveal was creepy enough to begin with, and helped alleviate my fears about Amy being turned into one of those dolls. (WHICH, BY THE WAY, SEEMED EVEN WORSE THAN PURCELL’S TRANSFORMATION.) A the paced rapidly sped up in the final fourth of the story, I began to think we were about to be given the “To Be Continued” screen, that this was a two-parter. How were they going to resolve the existence of the doll house, or Amy’s change, or even get out of that place? If it was all a refuge for the fears of a scared alien being, could being unafraid simply undo it all?

That’s not quite it, and instead, the Tenza operate under acceptance, and that’s how I came to know that Gatiss wasn’t going to give us a story where George and Claire’s son would disappear. Even further, it was proof that this story was about the accepting sensation of parental love: no matter what your child is or grows up to be, they should be loved regardless of this. Of course it’s cheesy, but it’s Doctor Who. You sort of can’t criticize the show for that. (Unless it’s Ten carrying the Olympic torch. That’ll always be too much for me.)

I would say that my only complaint about “Night Terrors” is how abruptly it ends. I suppose there’s not much else that could be shown, but it all seems to be over in thirty seconds. Rory and Amy are confused by the whole experience, but the Doctor isn’t phased at all. (Is he ever?) He’s ready to head out on the next journey to some distant planet or universe, but we’re given another reminder of what hangs over all of this: the Doctor is going to die. Again? Soon? Ah, to be able to figure out what the HELL is going on.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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129 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S06E09 – Night Terrors

  1. NB2000 says:

    So yesterday afternoon I decide to rewatch the episode and make notes for this comment…and I realise that I'd completely forgotten to download the episode. Probably a sign of how much I didn't enjoy it. Maybe it's because I had a massive migraine while watching, maybe it's because I know it was supposed to be episode three, maybe it's because I don't find dolls scary but I just didn't enjoy this one very much.

    Part of it is that the tone never quite feels right to me. It's obvious that some scenes are intended to be scary and tense but it just never quite hits the right balance. For example, the landlord being sucked into the floor is very creepy I'll admit but it's just that bit too quick, and the dog's "___" reaction just makes me lol and kind of kills the moment. Similarly the climax with the dolls surrounding the Doctor, Rory and Alex is supposed to be the big climactic moment but Alex poking the dolls with giant pink pinking shears just sucks out the tension and leaves me giggling at how absurd it feels.

    I just can't escape the thought that it would have been so much better in its original slot. The final scene, and the Doctor's last line about "universes" feels like it would have been a nice lead into The Doctor's Wife. Similarly his "In the flesh" line would have been really good foreshadowing but now it almost feels inappropriate. As if Amy and Rory should have had more of a reaction to it because of what happened to her (not saying it should be a big reaction just a side-eyed "Really? Did you have to go there?" kind of thing)

    I would say that my only complaint about “Night Terrors” is how abruptly it ends. I suppose there’s not much else that could be shown, but it all seems to be over in thirty seconds.

    Yeah that's one of my biggest problems with the episode, the last two scenes with Team TARDIS just feel…there. Nothing really happens in either of them except to have the three characters back together and leaving which could have been done so much better. I have wondered if something got cut when the episode was moved (the one of them sitting outside on the wall in particular feels like something went missing in the middle). It's sort of related to my point about the tone, the final scene in the TARDIS just doesn't quite land. It doesn't have the right "End of episode" punch, it just fades out.

    This is starting to turn into a wall of negative text, there were a few really good moments and details that I loved. The Doctor distracting George from having to overhear his father dealing with the landlord by making the toys play by themselves is a sweet moment and really nicely handled. Alex and the Doctor getting sucked into the cupboard, and the shots where it looks like the room has shrunk and the cupboard is right next to George's bed are good too but overall…yeah not terribly impressed with this one.

    • echinodermata says:

      To be safe, Theories Abound:

      "Similarly his "In the flesh" line would have been really good foreshadowing but now it almost feels inappropriate."

      I'll just throw this out there, but I remember tons of people speculating that we weren't done with the flesh. So there's still the possibility of it still being foreshadowing for the later half of the season. It might not, of course, but it ain't over yet.

      And I know you're not the only one who brought up this issue, but hey, you had the first comment.

    • ldwy says:

      Ahhh, I didn't realize it was originally slated for such an early slot! The "in the flesh" line stood out like a sore thumb, and I couldn't understand why there wasn't any acknowledgement of it.

      But I did like the episode. I thought the new alien was an interesting concept…the idea that we don't really know people is intrinsically frightening. So the concept of a new alien that discerns a niche and just fills it, and you might never even know is very interesting

  2. Dana says:

    Night Terrors is Fear Her done right. Also, the nursery rhyme at the end was super creepy.

  3. rewritten says:

    I knew this was a "The Curse Of The Black Spot" situation. This episode had a tough act to follow so I tried not to be too critical. Originally I had a big chunk of text here about how little I cared for this episode but after reading Mark's review I gave it another chance with his points in mind, and I'm glad I did. I found Daniel Mays and Jamie Oram so believable as father and son, which is probably one reason I never saw the 'george isn't human' revelation coming. Definitely a good thing.

    One request though, can Matt Smith just have a monologue in every episode? I love them, and he delivers them so beautifully:
    “It means I’ve come a long way to get here, Alex. George sent a message. A distress call, if you like. Whatever’s inside that cupboard is so terrible, so powerful that it amplified the fears of an ordinary little boy across all the barriers of time and space. Through crimson stars and silent stars and tumbling nebulas like oceans set on fire. Empires of glass and civilisations of pure thought and a whole, terrible, wonderful universe of impossibilities. You see these eyes? They’re old eyes. And one thing I can tell you Alex, monsters are real.”
    Goosebumps over here.

    The least said about the carpet sinking effect the better, but the doll transformation made up for it, big time. I was freaked, so kudos to everyone involved in the design and execution of them.

    One last thing before the gifs though: I AM SO GLAD ELSIE WAS OK. Man with dog, not so much.

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    P.S. It's finally Tom Macrae's episode this week, and I'm kind of in love with him/his twitter feed (don't judge me), so I'm just going to go ahead and leave this here:
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    ~totally justified swoon~

    • Beth says:

      I watched the one of Purcell turning into a doll in horror for a few minutes. I thought I'd never see it again, but there it was. I literally jumped.

  4. nextboy1 says:

    This came straight to mind with those transformations:

    creepy creepy creepy

  5. ShadowMarauder78 says:

    I was looking forward to this one too after seeing the trailer, but i found it pretty boring to be honest. I've still to enjoy a Mark Gatiss episode since the Dickens one, which i loved. On the bright side though it was better than Victory of the Daleks.

  6. Katy says:

    So what is your "most awesome ghost story ever"? With that lead-in, I can't help but be curious.

  7. FlameRaven says:

    This episode was definitely creepy. It was like Moffat said "okay, enough timey-wimey shenanigans, back to horror and making you hide behind your couch!" Except that it wasn't Moffat, it was Gatiss.

    I DO think this one would have fit better as episode 3, but I understand why it was switched– as much as I didn't like the pirates episode much, after the horror of the Silence, I needed some lighthearted pirate shenanigans. I think if this episode had aired after the first two-parter it would have been too much creepy horror.

    You know, as much as people have complained about the flesh line being out of place… I kind of wonder if it's not? Like, maybe the Doctor is saying that because he's set up a Ganger of himself at some point? I don't even know, but that's one of my leading theories for how the Doctor gets out of being shot at Utah, so… *shrug*

    Also, I will admit that anytime I hear about creepy dolls I think of the Jonathan Coulton song:

    And there’s a creepy doll
    That always follows you
    It’s got a ruined eye
    That’s always open…

    And there’s a creepy doll
    That always follows you
    It’s got a pretty mouth
    To swallow you whole…

    And when you come home late, the doll is waiting up for you
    And when you fix a snack, the doll says it would like one too
    The doll is in your house and in your room and in your bed
    The doll is in your eyes and in your arms and in your head – and you are crazy.

    Now it’s late and you head downstairs
    ’Cause you just can’t sleep so you make some tea
    And the doll disapprovingly asks
    If you really need that much honey.
    You decide that you’ve had enough
    And you lock the doll in the wooden box
    You put the box in the fireplace
    Next to your bag of big city money.

    As the smoke fills up your tiny room there’s nothing you can do
    And far too late you see the one inside the box is you.

    Full lyrics here:

  8. syntheticjesso says:

    You know, I didn't love this episode, either. It's a good one, but it's not one I'll ever rewatch, probably. I didn't find it all that scary, and I figured out that they were in a dollhouse the instant Amy picked up the weird frying pan. The resolution just felt a little *too* cheesy for me. Overall, it just wasn't as satisfying as so many other episodes.

    It wasn't bad, though! I guess I'm so used to being amazing and blown away that when there's an episode that doesn't amaze me, I'm disappointed.

    Oh, and it was REALLY weird that there was no mention whatsoever about Melody.

    By the way… Does anyone have the words to the song the dolls were singing?

    • knut_knut says:

      This episode was supposed to come before Melody was born (I think in place of the pirate one? I'm not sure since the pirate and his son show up to help the Doctor when they're rescuing Amy) hence no mention of Melody. I still think it's super creepy that in an episode about children, Amy and Rory couldn't care less. I wish they hadn't switched the order of the episodes.

      • syntheticjesso says:

        Me too.

        Though, really, neither episode would make sense in this spot- They should be searching for their kid, not having random one-off adventures, in my mind. I understand they want to stretch the plot line through the whole season, but surely there's a better way to do that. It feels like they should go from AGMGTW straight into whatever future episode where they hunt down the people who have Melody and get her back.

        I guess it's because they split the season and want a cliffhanger in the middle? But it makes the pacing of the season way, way awkward, and ruins a lot of good characterization. Would Rory "I'm gonna blow up this fleet to look for my wife" Pond really just sit back and wait for the Doctor to rescue his infant daughter? Would Amy ever just sit back and let, well, anything go one without her?

    • ldwy says:

      Yes. The George isn't human reveal was good, but I saw the dollhouse coming as soon as the frying pan was wood.

    • The Nursery Rhyme:

      Tick tock goes the clock
      And what now shall we play?
      Tick tock goes the clock
      Now summer’s gone away?
      Tick tock goes the clock
      And what then shall we see?
      Tick tock until the day
      That thou shalt marry me

      Tick tock goes the clock
      And all the years they fly
      Tick tock and all too soon
      You and I must die”

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

      Interesting, but I don't know how much we should read into it- how much Gatiss knew, as he wrote it.

      • anobium says:

        Gatiss says in the making-of thing that all he knows is Moffat asked him to throw in a foreshadowing about the Doctor dying; Moffat didn't tell him any details.

  9. @randomisjen says:

    I didn't like it at all. It wasn't that scary to me. It was also very jarring that there was no mention of Melody/River after the events of last week. Then, I discovered why- this ep. was delayed from the first part of S6, so there wouldn't be a mention of it.

  10. bookworm67 says:

    Yay, the site's back up! So yeah, this episode wasn't anything super mind-blowing or spectacular, but I liked it.

    I can definitely see why this would have been switched with CotBS. Both Day of the Moon and Night Terrors were very dark episodes (in terms of lighting, but in content too) with monsters that appear in silhouette just after people leave the frame. Not that it's a bad thing (creepy giggling and dolls NO THANK YOU), I just think it would have been just a bit too similar. And yeah, my mom and I were laughing at the giant pink scissors, the ending was a bit abrupt, and it could have used a bit more of a wrap-up, but really I didn't mind that much because there were so many great moments (I'm just going to make a bit of a mush of stuff here, 'kay? It's gonna be long)

    I jumped when the doll popped out of nowhere to ambush the landlord and when one appeared in the mirror, even though I totally knew it was going to happen.
    The Doctor making a house call to help one little boy was adorable, and the scene where the Doctor, Amy and Rory go knocking on doors was hilarious (IT'S ABOUT THE BINS!).
    This episode was completely solved by The Power of Love and it didn't bother me a bit! Hooray!
    The conversation in the kitchen when the dad's telling the Doctor to get out made me realize how creepy that would actually be in real life. Strange man turns up at the door and claims to be able to help your kid, then shoves past you and starts asking questions? Starts babbling on about monsters and helps himself to everything in your kitchen? Yeah, if it was anyone but the Doctor it would be really, really odd, and I'm glad Alex called him out on that. Also, that speech about the 'silent stars' and whatnot was lovely!
    Oh, the long-suffering Rory, who believes he's dead yet again, or in the 1700s, and the Doctor's in "EastEnders Land"…
    Took me a while to realize what the Doctor was saying about his screwdriver. The dolls are wooden – the sonic doesn't do wood! 😀
    Everybody lives! Although honestly, I kinda figured that out as soon as Amy got caught.
    Someone said this in the liveblog, but that line where the Doctor says he's "a bit rusty" at working with kids was actually pretty sad if you think about it. Yeah, when was the last time he actually played with a kid who wasn't in some horrible danger?
    Alex blames George's fears on too-scary television. Ha.
    The Doctor mentions "The Emperor Dalek's New Clothes" as a story he used to tell. I NEED TO HEAR THIS STORY NOW.

    And lastly, the extremely disturbing nursery rhyme, if anyone's interested:

    Tick tock goes the clock
    And what now shall we play?
    Tick tock goes the clock
    Now summer's gone away?

    Tick tock goes the clock
    And what then shall we see?
    Tick tock until the day
    That thou shalt marry me

    Tick tock goes the clock
    And all the years they fly
    Tick tock and all too soon
    You and I must die

    Tick tock goes the clock
    We laughed at fate and mourned her
    Tick tock goes the clock
    Even for the Doctor

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

    • ldwy says:

      Just for safety THEORIES ABOUND

      I couldn't hear everything when the dolls were singing, mostly the only thing that stood out was the line "Tick tock goes the clock, even for the Doctor."

      But now, seeing it all written out (thanks for posting it), it seems pretty possible that the whole nursery rhyme was about the Doctor and River.

      I mean, the last stanza, he cradled her and rocked her…he's known River since she was a baby, we've found…a pretty strange situation. But let me go back to the beginning.
      If you remove the creepy cadence and pitch of it, the lilting way it's written reminds me very much of how River speaks, especially to the Doctor.
      Stanza two: we don't know if River and the Doctor are married, but it's a theory that's out there. This was possibly hinted at in "Forest of the Dead", when Mr. Lux said, "squabbling like an old married couple", which was followed by River and the Doctor looking into each other's eyes, and then River revealing that she knows the Doctor's name, which he said he could only tell someone under one specific circumstance. I feel like this stanza might be further confirmation. It would make sense.
      Years flying by has specific ties to being a time lord. You and I must die? Hmm. Well, the whole season we've been waiting for the Doctor to die in real time. And we (and the Doctor) have always known how River is going to die. And it was just in the last episode that we found out that River used up all her regenerations (making her fully vulnerable to death) to save the Doctor, from death!
      I think "we laughed at fate and mourned her" could be referencing the sadness that tinges every River/Doctor interaction, because their relationship has been in reverse. That's a strange fate. And the whole time the Doctor has been getting to know and love River, he's known how she'll die-he had to watch!

      So there's my thoughts. Did this type of pattern jump out to anyone else?

      • Idk, I might be inclined to read more into it relating to the arc of this series if Moffat himself had written it, instead of just asking Gatiss to come up with it as a way to tie in the Doctor's impending death.

        Up until the first "Even for the Doctor" line, it's a pretty standard piece on the brevity of life, from play to marriage to old age to death. "We laughed at Fate and mourned her" entwines with that, how we feel invincible when we are young, and then as life goes on we come to mourn our losses both past and forthcoming.

        "He cradled her and he rocked her" actually makes more sense to me as carrying over the "her" from the previous stanza, meaning Fate. The Doctor, as a time Lord, must nurse Fate to a degree if time is not going to fall into chaos. More poignantly, he must do exactly that now, even though it means his own end.

        • ldwy says:

          Ah, I hadn't thought of it that way. I'm still musing, but I do think your interpretation is so interesting 🙂

  11. Foreshadowing, as Defined by Russell T. Davies

    Cleverly seeding a name or phrase into each episode, either in dialogue (even if it isn't English) or in the background, usually unobtrusively, such that on rewatching, you may have the joy of discovering references you may have missed the first time.

    Foreshadowing, as Defined by Steven Moffat


    • George says:

      I thought RTD was pretty obtrusive in terms of foreshadowing too tbh, although granted not to the same extent. Also there was much less of a series arc with RTD so there was less need to ensure viewers understood everything even if they missed an episode.

    • arctic_hare says:

      LOL, I'll agree that Moffat's foreshadowing of late has been rather heavy-handed, but I'm not sure that RTD comes off any better for a few reasons.

      1) The crack appearing everywhere was part of its deal, that it was showing up everywhere and consuming anything, so I'm more forgiving towards that.

      2) IIRC, in series one, RTD didn't have a planned destination to foreshadow from the getgo, so "bad wolf" was something kinda random that he found a use for later. So I wouldn't classify that as foreshadowing.

      3) I still have an anvil-shaped dent in my head from the way the Torchwood thing in series two was set up at the end of Tooth and Claw. Ow. That one was painful.

      4) After reading The Writer's Tale, I'm not convinced he actually knows how to foreshadow; or if he does, he consciously chooses not to and thinks it's better that way. I'm not kidding, there's that whole long silly thing someone brought up here ages ago, where he talks about how he didn't foreshadow the Archangel Network or various other things in the series three finale, didn't build up to it, and did that by choice, and it's so much better because he's writing a DW that happens in the now, or whatever.

      5) Let's face it, there wasn't much of a series arc in those early seasons. It worked okay in series one, but after that, he tried to repeat that schtick and it felt recycled and got more heavy-handed. This series, however, is more of a series-long story arc.

      • 1) I will give you that, but I still hated how the end of every episode was basically, OOOOH MYSTERIOUS CRACK LOOK AT MEEEEE. I wish it had been more subtle. (I think I thought it was cool the first time or so, but then I found it annoying.)

        2) Heh. Television is like that. There is an art, however, to using what you have, though.

        3) I'll give you that one.

        4) Hee.

        5) Yeah, RTD wasn't arc-heavy, which worked better for his technique. I was just so impressed with how episodes that seemed like filler ended up having greater significance in retrospect, and I'm annoyed with the way Moffat is just sticking these goddamn codas at the end of every episode as non sequiturs when I know he's a better writer than that. He trusts the audience to follow much, MUCH more complicated plot elements, but he feels the need to remind us of huge plot points we are definitely not going to forget? What?

        • arctic_hare says:

          Yeah, like I said, I agree that Moffat's foreshadowing has been heavy-handed of late; I can see where it's coming from, the desire to tie all the episodes together, and with the split-season, he may have been worried about people forgetting some stuff (which is not without merit, I remember some friends of mine would forget some plot points on Lost before it switched to the 24-style uninterrupted run starting in January/February). But it still can be a bit much. I just don't think RTD has quite mastered it either (and sounds like he doesn't care to). I think they're basically two extremes and I'd prefer something in between.

          Oddly enough, had we gotten this episode in place of CotBS earlier this series, there would have been exactly the kind of foreshadowing that suits me in it, as I discussed in my own comment. :/

          • I think they're basically two extremes and I'd prefer something in between.

            This. And honestly, I think either method would be fine, it's just seeing it done in the same way series after series. I liked the crack, but the screen of foreshadowing has been bothering me since it was doing pregnancy tests. Moffat in all other respects seems to really give credit to kids for being able to get stuff, so using a method this obvious and repetitive feels especially condescending. In this instance, they could have just stuck with the nursery rhyme playing over a shot of the Doctor and it would have been suitably subtle.

            It would actually really be great if they just cut that screen bit out and then when we re-watch we could put it in its proper place in the series.

    • ArrogantSage says:

      I adore both RTD and the Moff. That made me lol for realz.


      You have a bit of a point, but RTD’s foreshadowing didn’t really have much meaning to it until the finale of the respective season. “Bad Wolf” could have been “SMASH MOUTH EAT THE EGGS” and it wouldn’t have been fundamentally different. Torchwood and Mr. Saxon also weren’t really meaningfully developed between their introduction and the last few episodes of the seasons they were in. Points for the whole disappearing planets thing in Season 4 though. We didn’t understand the significance until the finale there, but at least it wasn’t just dropping in a word so we’d see how clever RTD was.

      And complain all you want about the zooms on the cracks (which was a bit obvious) but I liked that we got meaningful information on how they worked and where they came from in the Weeping Angels and Silurian two parters. It kept me informed enough to not be frustrated and uninformed enough to want to know how it all turned out. I could have done without the slow zooms and HEY REMEMBER THIS but that’s hardly doing the Season 5 arc justice to leave out the parts where the cracks actually played a part in the plot.

    • Gen says:

      IDK, I'd use the second definition for the both of them. The only one that was subtle was Bad Wolf, up until they noticed, which was late in the series.

      But admittedly Bad Wolf was pretty fucking cool.

    • Karen says:

      <img src=""&gt;

      My favorite series for RTD shadowing is probably series 3 because the Saxon stuff is there, but you think it's just an extension of the Martha family drama. BUT THEN YOU WATCH THE END OF THE SERIES AND EVERYTHING IS MORE AMAZING ON REWATCH BECAUSE THE MASTER HAS BEEN THERE THE WHOLE TIME.

      The crack nonsense was ridiculous and ~the Doctor's Death~ is becoming equally annoying. If you can't naturally refer to whatever the series arc is- LEAVE IT ALONE. Stop shoehorning it in. Like the whole Torchwood thing in series 2 isn't in every episode because it would have been awkward to force it in some places.

  12. Maya says:

    I'm sorry, but if I was a child I would most definitely be hiding behind the couch. Good Lord, the British have way more faith in their children's ability to survive having the pants scared off of them, don't they?

    • Always Amy says:

      well if you grow up with doctor who… you have a different terror scale. Normal things aren't as scary
      what? boat sinking? not a problem. no need to panic not as bad as being hunted by weeping angels.

    • jaccairn says:

      The confidence comes from parents knowing that they survived this in their childhood so their children should be able to do so also.

    • tehrevel says:

      What these two said but also we Brits get shown horrifically scary shit alot as kids, like these safety videos showing kids playing on a building site or a farm, getting stalked by DEATH himself and dying in horrible ways. Or our parents rent out Watership Down or Animals of Farthing Wood for us based on the cover being cute animals. Or we watch Threads or When the Wind Blows and dream of horrific nuclear annihilation.

      • Neet says:

        I have never recovered from Animals of Farthing Wood. I still rewatch it regularly, because it's part of my childhood, but why won't those hedgehogs just NOT CURL UP when I yell at them? Honestly. By the dozenth time, you'd think they'd have learnt.

      • Tenalto says:

        I'm American, but my (British) father rented Watership Down when I was little — I'm assuming also based on the cute animals on the cover. I started sobbing and went to hug my stuffed rabbit because six-year-old me couldn't understand why the bunnies were hurting each other. *laughs at the scars fifteen years later*

  13. Jenny_M says:

    I liked this episode as a total standalone, but it was glaringly obvious that it was rearranged in terms of airing order or whatnot. Rory was useless (as opposed to his badass Hitler punching motorcycle riding of the last episode), and both Amy and Rory were being a bit flip about having, you know, had their baby stolen. I don't blame the writer for that, just scheduling timey-wimey shenanigans that made the whole thing feel a bit 'off' in tone.

    Does anyone know where this one was moved from, or if I'm wrong about it being moved at all? (If it wasn't moved, then I'm calling shenanigans on the characterizations.)

    Anyway, if I rewatch this as a complete standalone episode, like I said, I'm sure I will love it, because it is exactly the sort of Who I like: creepy and just a bit unsettling.

  14. Bitsy says:

    This episode reminded me a lot of an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark, "The Dollmaker". Doctor Who added its own spin and took the storyline much deeper though, layering in fears on top of fears. Because I saw the other first though I caught on that it was a dollhouse much earlier in the episode, which just made it all that much more creepy!

    You can watch the AYAOTD episode here:

    • monkeybutter says:

      I loved that episode when I was a kid. I can still see the girl's hand falling off, and her friend tucking it into her pocket. So great.

    • drippingmercury says:

      Ha, I linked that below. Except I found this episode of Who less creepy, which just seems weird to me. I didn't find AYAOTD very scary as a kid (though this was one of the few episodes that did scare the hell out of me) so when it outdid DW on my terror scale I was… confused?

    • ldwy says:

      Oh my god. That episode scarred me for life. I had used to collect porcelain dolls, and they were all over my room.

    • nextboy1 says:

      I'm watching this again now, and even though I'm sure I saw it loads as a kid, it's freaking me out!

  15. doesntsparkle says:

    The split in this season is giving me unfair expectations. I'm used to every season having a few episodes that aren't so great, but because we had to wait, I just expect everything to be magically perfect. This episode fell a little flat for me. I rewatched the episode, and liked it much more the second time around, but when you call something "Night Terrors," I expect to be well . . . terrified. If they would have called it "Night Vaguely Creepy," I wouldn't be disappointed at all.

    The plot about people getting sucked into a doll house reminds me of a book that one of my teachers read to the class a long time ago, but I can't remember much about it. I think a girl was staying with her grandmother, and there was something about bones maybe. Does anyone know what book I'm talking about?

    • kartikeya200 says:

      Probably not the one you were thinking of, but I remember a book regarding a haunted dollhouse in an attic. Girl was staying with her aunt, had a younger, mentally disabled sister, and people weren't sucked into the dollhouse, but the dollhouse was an exact replica of the house they were staying in, with dolls made to look like younger versions of her aunt, her father, and her (murdered) grandparents, and every night the house re-enacted the murder.

      The Dollhouse Murders, I think? Now I want to re-read it. But that's what immediately leaped into my mind with this episode and your comment.

  16. Minish says:

    I loved this episode as a standalone. As part of the series, it felt a little disjointed. But on its own, it was fantastic.

    I love that the story is basically allowed to be as scary as it wants to be and throw in any horror tropes it wants because anything that is capable of scaring a child is actually part of the plot. Pretty clever. In any other story, it would just feel gratuitous.

  17. arctic_hare says:

    I had an odd experience with this episode. I went in skeptical, knowing it was a Gatiss episode and his track record with me has been mixed (though, ever since reading The Writer's Tale, I'm immensely grateful that Victory of the Daleks just exists, apart from having some fun with that episode's content). I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really enjoyed the first two-thirds of it or so, and then I glanced at the time and saw that there were only ten minutes left to wrap it up in. And the climax proved to be disappointing (though the actual end to the episode was creepy – more on that later). After thinking about it some more, and recalling that this was the episode that got switched with Curse of the Black Spot, I came to the conclusion that this would have been much better off if they hadn't switched it. Consider the following –

    – That supremely creepy line of the Doctor's about them being together "in the flesh". Would've been great foreshadowing had this been in place prior to the Gangers two-parter, hinting that the Doctor was aware that she'd been switched.

    – Amy getting turned into a doll would've been great foreshadowing too.

    – There's also the whole premise of the episode, of George's father loving him unconditionally, even though he's an alien; could've been used to set up Amy and Rory's feelings towards Melody after she's been brainwashed.

    – Putting things that scare you in cupboards – you know, that rings a bell.

    – Heck, the fact that the child was not what he seemed to be: that awful moment when "Melody" dissolved in Amy's arms.

    – I remember there was a weird moment in Curse of the Black Spot with a pirate that vanished: could a scene have been cut that mentioned Melody or something else that hadn't happened if the episode was set earlier in the series?

    – Plus, they seem pretty unconcerned about Melody in general here, which seems OOC until you remember that this was originally set when there wasn't a Melody to fret about.

    So yeah. Overall, I think it was a strong episode with a lot of funny moments, that faltered at the end and would have been better off in its original placement in the series. It still would've had the disappointing climax to the main conflict of the episode, but it would've worked a lot better as a setup for things to come, making the series as a whole stronger. I actually do have to give props to Gatiss for all that nice foreshadowing that sadly now goes to waste because of the switcheroo. I think I'm more frustrated by that than by the letdown of a climax, because it would've been such a strength to the episode itself and the overall arc had they not made that alteration to the episode order. I mean, I can kinda see them wanting to use the pirates in Good Man Goes to War, but it hampers things more than it helps them, IMO. Still a fun episode up till those last ten minutes, but a bit weakened by having its airing placement moved.

    I did find the actual ending to the episode unsettling, though – that singing was creepy, especially overlaid with the screen displaying the Doctor's date of death. Brrrr. That, at least, was well-done. And now, for some things I jotted down in real-time while watching the episode.

    – Poor kid. Would that all he was hearing was Woody, Buzz, and Jessie coming out to play.

    – "Maybe we should let the monsters gobble him up." It says a lot about me that Rory just became ten times sexier because of doing that really hilarious voice.

    – I completely understand why Amy found those little girls scary. My mind went instantly to The Shining when I saw them and went "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!"

    – Thanks, Gatiss. No, really. THANKS FOR MAKING ELEVATORS EVEN MORE FREAKY FOR ME. brb taking the stairs for the rest of my life.

    – I love it when Matt Smith does those twirls. I don't even know why, but I do.


    – Hell yes, Amy taking the wooden pan with her! <3 THAT'S MY GIRL.


    – I hate them too, Doctor.

    – Awwwww, Eleven is so lovely with kids. <3 It's so sweet.

    – BOY HOWDY that landlord is a CREEP.

    – I… I love the speech Eleven gives to Alex in the kitchen. Beautiful.

    – Ah ha, I called it once I saw the dollhouse in there. Very Twilight Zone. <3 <3 <3

  18. Meenakshi says:

    I loved this episode. Specially the chats between the Doctor and Alex and the Doctor with George. Matt Smith just keeps getting better and better.

    Totally agree with 'rewritten' above on that brilliant Doctor monologue:

    "“It means I’ve come a long way to get here, Alex. George sent a message. A distress call, if you like. Whatever’s inside that cupboard is so terrible, so powerful that it amplified the fears of an ordinary little boy across all the barriers of time and space. Through crimson stars and silent stars and tumbling nebulas like oceans set on fire. Empires of glass and civilisations of pure thought and a whole, terrible, wonderful universe of impossibilities. You see these eyes? They’re old eyes. And one thing I can tell you Alex, monsters are real.”
    Goosebumps over here. "

    Also like that the Doctor continues with his air kissing when meeting Mum at the end of the episode.

  19. arctic_hare says:

    Also, TELL ME THE GHOST STORY PLEASE! <3 <3 <3 I love ghost stories!

  20. kartikeya200 says:

    This episode is far from perfect, but I was satisfied with it. I agree with the person up there that this is Fear Her done right, too. Alas, this week has been stress personified, so I haven't had time to rewatch since Saturday, and I am missing so many thoughts!

    I am so glad they didn't have George losing his parents or vanishing or turning out to be evil personified or some such thing, though I will say that about a third of the way in, right before and definitely after the reveal that George wasn't human popped up, I was REALLY SURE the Silence was involved, and that George was a Silents kid or something. But no, he's just a scared child. A scared alien child who just wants to be sure that his parents aren't going to reject him.

    I did guess Amy and Rory were in a dollhouse pretty early, and felt all smart.

    Creepy dolls = No. Creepy dolls that have evil children's giggles = NO. Creepy dolls that have evil children's giggles and sing about the Doctor dying = HELL NO DO NOT WANT. And I'm not even particularly bothered by creepy dolls normally!

    The Doctor interacting with kids always makes me happy.

    I agree that this episode could have really benefited from a scene acknowledging Melody and what happened there, but there's not much you can do if filming is over and you've got a schedule change.

    Next episode I AM STILL NOT PREPARED.

  21. George says:

    I generally like this episode, although I did get distracted by Amy turning into a doll…which nobody seemed at all bothered about!? It reminded me more than a little of:
    <img src=""/&gt;

    Who wrote that one again…

    • Jenny_M says:

      Apropos of nothing, but Tennant's face is AMAZING here. It perfectly encapsulates everything about him and the way he played Ten in one facial expression!

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      "Her face is completely gone!"

      Sorry, I can't think of that episode without thinking of that Captain Obvious line. 😛
      Oh Doctor Who, you do make me lol sometimes.

  22. echinodermata says:

    Ack I don't take schedule changes well. So popping in and out to drop some gifs here:

    <img src="; alt="gif of the TARDIS flying through space with lots of pretty lights">(Source)

    <img src="; alt="image of a large group of flats arranged like a grid and the only movement being the Doctor looking out from a flat in the middle">(Source)

    <img src="; alt="gif that says 'Tick tock, goes the clock, even for The Doctor' then flashes images of the Doctor's death, Kovarian, and River from the previous episode pointing a gun at him">(Source)

    • Alice says:

      Does anyone else find that last gif creepy as hell? I mean, in a good way… with the typing nursery rhyme and whatnot.

      Also, I love Matt Smith's little twirl thing in the second one.

  23. Karen says:

    Sleeping in like yeah. Being late to the party like yeah.

    Anyway, I actually don't have all that much to say about this episode. It took me about an hour and a half to finish watching the episode after I started it because I just kept getting so bored and wandering off to do other things. I'm not sure if I can pinpoint exactly why that is. To be honest, I've never thought that Gatiss was a great storyteller. I do like "The Unquiet Dead", but that's because I am an embarrassing Charles Dickens stan. True story: I went to the Charles Dickens Museum in London a few months ago, and I definitely got there before it opened and was therefore awkwardly standing there while the actual people who worked there arrived. Who queues for a museum about Charles Dickens? Me, apparently.

    Anyway, I also like "The Idiot's Lantern" well enough because I think the Doctor and Rose are completely presh and adorable. But honestly, the plot in both those episode are not great. And then we have "Victory of the Daleks" which is like THE WORST THING EVER. It's an embarrassingly bad episode of Doctor Who. So my expectations for this episode were low. But even with my low expectations, I just found this so boring. Amy and Rory just spend a good chunk of the episode wandering around an old house while the Doctor chatted with a boy and his father. And then in the last 10 minutes things started to happen and the boy was actually an alien, but I just could not find any fucks to give.

    Maybe I would have felt SOMETHING about this episode if I were afraid of dolls? But I'm not, so I just spent most of the episode going "oh."

    Also, in an episode all about children, why the fuck were Rory and Amy not even the slightest bit upset about the fact that they will never be able to raise their own daughter? Apparently this episode was supposed to air in the beginning of the series, but I think it shows how little regard that the production staff has for character development if they think that this episode actually makes sense from a character standpoint after Let's Kill Hitler. WHY ARE AMY AND RORY NOT EVEN BOVVERED ABOUT THE WHOLE RIVER/MELODY MESS?

    • Amber says:

      You mean you didn't like it!
      <img src=""/&gt;

      jk, you always have excellent reasons for not liking the episodes!

    • arctic_hare says:

      And then we have "Victory of the Daleks" which is like THE WORST THING EVER.

      It absolutely is not. If it didn't exist, if there hadn't been plans to use the Daleks in series five, we would have seen Daleks in End of Time. Allied with the Time Lords. That alone makes it worthy of existence, even if one doesn't like the content of the episode itself.

      (Plus Fear Her is so, so much worse anyway.)

      • Karen says:

        I like Fear Her! To be fair though, I don't watch that episode for the plot. Or anything other than the Doctor and Rose being adorable together and Rose being awesome with a pick-axe.

        I don't know if Victory of the Daleks the WORST episode, but it's definitely in the bottom five. I just cannot with the space spitfires and the android bomb no longer being a bomb because of… fake memories?

        • arctic_hare says:

          Oh, I know it's not the best episode ever (though I do have some odd fondness for it because I had fun with some stuff, like Daleks serving tea). But I'm absolutely not exaggerating one bit about its existence saving us from Daleks in EoT, and that alone makes me grateful it exists, even if it could've been better.

          As for Fear Her, I'm with Mark on that one. XD

        • Shiyiya says:

          Wait, you DON'T LIKE the Spitfires In Space? The Spitfires In Space are awesome! Best thing about the episode!

      • Minish says:

        Come on, guys.

        Love and Monsters.

        'Nuff said.

        • Karen says:

          I also like Love and Monsters!

          … sort of.

          If the episode ended like 10 minutes before it did, with Elton and Ursula going off to get Chinese food, I would probably legit enjoy the episode. Unfortunately it does not.

        • arctic_hare says:




      • burritosaurus says:

        we would have seen Daleks in End of Time. Allied with the Time Lords.

        It hurts to know that was a consideration.

        • arctic_hare says:

          Doesn't it, though? I remember just staring at the pages in horror and thanking my lucky stars that Moffat DID plan to use Daleks in series five and that RTD found out about it before we had to watch that travesty.

          • psycicflower says:

            I don't even want to think about it or acknowledge the fact that idea ever existed.

          • burritosaurus says:

            Victory of the Daleks is now my favorite episode of all time ever. I'll take android scientists and fake memories over a Time Lord-Dalek alliance any day.

    • Starsea28 says:


      Because this was swapped with "Curse of the Black Spot" before they even knew they had an abducted daughter.

      • Karen says:

        I know. I mentioned that in my comment. But I think the fact that the production team saw those two episodes as so easily swappable shows how little regard they have for logical character development.

        • Starsea28 says:

          Well, I disagree about the "little regard for character development" but I do agree that it would have been better if they were left in the original order. It would also make Amy's grief over losing Rory even more poignant – losing her daughter, then losing her husband.

  24. lyvanna says:


    <img src=""&gt;

    Hell yeah.

    Aside from my continued annoyance that Amy and Rory aren't more worried about their child, I really enjoyed this episode. Possibly even more than the serial-heavy episode which are usually my favourite. I'd been feeling a bit weighed down by all the plot points so it's nice to get back to a standard MOTW episode.

    <img src=""&gt;

    I must say I didn't really find the dolls frightening, the landlord was much more scary to me. But that might have had something to do with watching it on a bright sunny day. The transforming into the dolls was creepy…. but I kinda thought the going into the doll's house bit was awesome as it was something I'd have loved to do as a kid (too much Borrowers?). My favourite bits of this episode were just the Doctor and Alex talking.

    So, in conclusion.

    <img src=""&gt;

    • Starsea28 says:

      There's no mention of Melody because this was meant to go in Part 1. They ended up swapping it with Curse of the Black Spot.

  25. Albion19 says:

    Glad the site is back up!

    I really enjoyed this one. It had a slower pace which I liked. And seeing a housing estate made me feel nostalgic lol

  26. t09yavors says:

    Just wanna say that Doll!Amy was the creepiest of the bunch.

  27. Anzel89 says:

    The only thing that killed this episode for me was the fact that melody wasn't even mentioned. I mean my god the episode is about a scared child who's calling for help! Ring any bells Mr. "Maybe we should let the monsters gobble him up" Rory?! -_- It's not like I want them crying on the screen for 45 minutes, but a reference would be nice, some emotion in context would be good too. And yes, I know that this was released out of order, but to me that doesn't matter. If you're going to change the release order then make sure the episodes fit.

    This to me is just another example of how sloppy and piecemeal this season has been as a whole so far. I know that RTD was supposed to have kinda made the story up as he went along, and I'm not saying the man is a god among story tellers, far from it really. But personally no season of NuWho has felt this thrown together; as far as the main series arch is concerned. It's almost like Moffat came up with a general idea of what he wanted to do without thinking through the finer details.Then he continually came up with great idea's as he went along (mels I'm looking at you) and instead of just letting them go when they didn't fit. He decided to crowbar them in and it's just not doing it for me.

    • totiebinds says:

      Oh God, that's what I was thinking when Rory said that. He may be Rory, but no loving father would say something like "Oh, give the child to the monster, who cares!"

      I feel like this whole season would be less in pieces if it hadn't been split in half, to be honest. =/ But that's only part of the problem.

  28. nanceoir says:

    I rewatched both "Let's Kill Hitler" and "Night Terrors" yesterday and found I rather enjoyed "Night Terrors" more on rewatch. The pacing was a bit off to me because it was all omgomgomg for so much of it and then resolved itself in about five minutes. Rory seemed slightly callous about the kid being scared, but he didn't really want to be there, anyway; also, it's Rory, so he gets a pass… this time, even if it did feel not very Roryish.

    As for the Ponds not being concerned about their daughter, well, watching it right after LKH, I realized that they'd kind of put the idea of finding Melody to bed, in that they knew Melody as a kid and they've seen the woman she becomes and have left her in the best hospital in the universe. I think they think she's beyond anything they can do for her, in a raising her sort of way, since she's a grown adult. Also, the Doctor seems to nix the idea of Melody/River being with them because they have too much foreknowledge, which is dangerous. So I think that, given everything, the Ponds sort of have to trust that things will work out they way they should work out, and that there are some things that don't seem to be in the cards for them — like properly raising their daughter.

    I'll just be over here in my little Doctor Who cheerleading corner. 🙂

    • burritosaurus says:

      I'm going to hang out in your corner. Rah rah!

      I agree with you on the Melody thing. I can't even imagine how I would react in a situation like that (remind me again why I don't have time traveling friends and time lord children?) but knowing that, in a way, Amy and Rory have known their daughter through childhood and knowing who she grows up to be probably softens the blow. They've also been with the Doctor long enough to trust him when he says that some things just can't happen, and as much as it sucks, having Melody as a baby is one of those things.

    • Miyuko says:

      I like your corner too :3

    • bookworm67 says:

      I'm joining too! Party in the corner!
      ~woot woot~

    • Rob says:

      Thanks haven't re-watched it yet , but with all the people complaining about no Melody/River stuff I was beginning to think I had imagined the Doctor nixing the idea

  29. echinodermata says:

    My main thought with the episode switching is that if I can forgive Fringe for randomly bringing a character back from the dead due to episode rearranging, I can surely forgive Who for this emotional discontinuity.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Man, that makes me think of Space Mutiny. "I think it was very nice of you to give that dead woman another chance."

  30. MsPrufrock says:

    The dolls were super creepy, made only creepier by the maniacal giggling and the creepy kids singing. I will say, however, that any time a show or movie tries to use the "children singing creepy nursery rhymes" trope, I think of: (Rot13'd for Spoilers!)

    Pna'g rira fubhg
    Pna'g rira pel
    Gur tragyrzra ner pbzvat ol
    Ybbxvat va jvaqbjf
    Xabpxvat ba qbbef
    Gurl arrq gb gnxr frira
    Naq gurl zvtug gnxr lbhef
    Pna'g pnyy gb zhz
    Pna'g fnl n jbeq
    Lbh'er tbaan qvr fpernzvat
    Ohg lbh jba'g or urneq

    • NB2000 says:

      ATY gung jnf rknpgyl jung V jnf guvaxvat gur jubyr gvzr gurl jrer fvatvat. Gur Ohssl bar jnf fb zhpu perrcvre gb zr. Naq abj gung fbat vf fghpx va zl urnq.

      • MsPrufrock says:

        Vg vf qrsvavgryl zhpu perrcvre! Nf zhpu nf V nz rawblvat OFT, V ernyyl pna'g jnvg sbe Znex gb fgneg jngpuvat Ohssl naq gb trg gb pregnva rcvfbqrf (bs juvpu "Uhfu" vf bar). V guvax gur Tragyrzra ner fbzr bs gur fpnevrfg/orfg ivyynvaf gung unir orra ba gur fubj, vzub.

        V nz fbeel nobhg trggvat gur fbat fghpx va lbhe urnq, gubhtu.

        • NB2000 says:

          Huh, I don't think IntenseDebate bothered to send me an email alert for this.

          ZGR nobhg Ohssl. V'z fb ybbxvat sbejneq gb Znex'f gubhtugf ba vg naq gur rkphfr gur erjngpu rirel rcvfbqr bs bar bs zl snibhevgr gi fubjf.

          V npghnyyl raqrq hc erjngpuvat "Uhfu" gur bgure qnl orpnhfr gur fbat jnf va zl urnq, tbq gung rcvfbqr vf tbbq. Gbgnyyl nterr nobhg Gur Tragyrzra. Gurl'er fb qnza perrcl.

    • Thiamalonee says:

      Is it sad that I can identify that poem in its Rot13'd state? I might have watched that show an unhealthy number of times.

      • MsPrufrock says:

        Haha, that's pretty impressive!

        Ohssl vf nznmvat, gubhtu, naq V ernyyl pna'g jnvg hagvy Znex ortvaf gb jngpu vg. Gurer ner n srj rcvfbqrf V rntreyl nagvpvcngr Znex'f ernpgvba gb, vapyhqvat "Uhfu." V'z cerggl fher gung gur Tragyrzra ner fbzr bs gur fpnevrfg/orfg zbafgref gung unir rire orra ba gur fubj naq gur pbaprcg bs gur rc vf fb tbbq V whfg ybir gb jngpu vg.

  31. psycicflower says:

    I am beyond late for this and don't have a review prewritten but pretty much agree with what most people have said so far so gifs!

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"> Love you Amy.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"> Yay sonic screwdriver.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"> Just because I love his reaction.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"> Matt Smith has chemistry with a wooden door, your argument is forever invalid.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"> Hugs all round.

  32. drippingmercury says:

    Meh, I didn't like this episode. It seemed like Fear Her only less rage-inducing. Also, as soon as Amy picked up the not-copper pot I knew they were inside a doll house and kept mentally comparing it to this episode of Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark? that scared the hell out of me as a child in the 90s. Sadly, this episode did not measure up… but maybe that's because I find the idea of slowly turning into porcelain and gradually losing humanity WAY CREEPIER than instant Dollification. The dim lighting, creepy songs and giggles? Meh. Since the plot didn't deliver for me everything just felt like it was staged to be super-eerie but…. it wasn't. Maybe if it were faster paced these things would have had more effect, but as it was I just felt bored. Then the big emotional climax came and…. more meh. "hugs make it all better" always makes me roll my eyes, though.

    Other people have noted that this was originally slated to be episode 3. Like others have said, I think it might have fit better there, really. At least the order swap partially explains why Amy and Rory totally don't care about their missing baby, but judging by their rather blase attitude during Let's Kill Hitler I'm not sure Curse of the Black Spot would have had any more season arc-related emotional resonance than this episode. :/

    Still, VERY EXCITED for next week!

    • dynamicfail says:


      I think it's second only to the one where the monster in the basement eats people when music is played. I still don't sing to myself when I do laundry.

  33. Inseriousity. says:

    Why would someone want to hack Mark watches!! Oi hackers, go hack something less important like the Pentagon.

    I didn't really like the episode much although I do agree that the whole being turned into a doll thing was freaky. Oh and the little nursery rhyme at the end of the episode

  34. FlameRaven says:

    Johnathan Coulton is great; he does all kinds of fun geeky songs. (He is the writer for the two Portal ending songs, also the famous "all we want to do is eat your brains" song). I only just recently looked him up and started listening to his stuff, but he has a lot of really good work. Definitely look up the actual song if you can.

  35. feanna says:

    I actually found the conclusion of "everything's fine now!" totally creepy. Because the kid is going to be "the ideal son"/ EVERYTHING YOU WANT? because he has to be what his parents want? That's totally hitting a few not so nice buttons for me. I mean, best case scenario this means he'll be exactly like a human child, but how much input do the parents get? Will their wishes influence his taste in music? his personality? his sexuality? his XXX?

    And I didn't like how the mother was left out of anything relevant. (I did like that the father got to do the "feelings stuff". Mother's are not obstacles or need to be left in the dark. They are (at least good ones and this one really seems to be) working hard at raising their kids right and that the kid in question is an alien (even though he'll imitate) really seems to be relvant to me.

    Basically I'd put this episode down as: Nice, with some great moments between the Doctor, the Dad and George, not terribly outstanding, but ok. But then there's the meta stuff that keeps bothering me.

    • blackrose says:

      "I actually found the conclusion of "everything's fine now!" totally creepy. Because the kid is going to be "the ideal son"/ EVERYTHING YOU WANT? because he has to be what his parents want?"

      I completely agree! The line about how George will be whatever the dad wants him to be was disturbing. So the dad will completely choose the son's identity? That's not right.

  36. blackrose says:

    Every time I see a tv episode/movie with creepy dolls in it, it makes me think of the Jonathan Coulton song "Creepy Doll" and then it just makes me laugh.

  37. Lady X says:


    “When I was a kid,only a thousand years ago…”

    Sooo…the doctor aged a hundred years in between episodes now did he?Or does that mean nothing? Just thought I’d throw that out there 😉

  38. Laura says:

    I was terrified during this episode. But I was simultaneously bored to death and thinking "Ok, when will this be over?" Not a good sign.

    Mark Gatiss… not the best, really. Changing this episode slot at the last minute? It shows, and badly.

    But most of all, this would have been a perfect opportunity to mention that AMY AND RORY SHOULD BE A BIT BOTHERED THAT THEIR DAUGHTER WAS STOLEN FROM THEM. And if they're not, well SHAME ON INSENSITIVE MOFFAT.

    More of my thoughts on my blog here.

  39. Kit says:

    Overall, I enjoyed the episode. I didn't think it was the best ep ever, but it was fun. Just a couple quibbles:

    -"George has always been afraid of everything." But his fears stem from thinking his parents want to send him away…?

    -Lovely father/son emotional bonding, but why wasn't Claire able to be a part of it? It bugged me that she had no agency in the story; everything we learned about her came form Alex, really. Wouldn't the "Claire can't have kids!" reveal have been just as surprising/emotional if she'd been there too? Instead, is Alex even going to tell her that their son is an alien?

  40. Tauriel_ says:

    Not a bad episode, but I'm afraid it didn't scare me at all. It was promoted as "TEH SCARIEST THING EVAR!!!!" and I was anticipating something really frightening (like "Blink" combined with "A Girl in the Fireplace" combined with the Silence) – and when the episode started I kept waiting and waiting and then the episode was over and I realised I wasn't scared one bit! I guess the dolls didn't really do it for me – they seemed like a very mild image of the Clockwork Soldiers from AGITF.

    I still loved bits and pieces of it – the "community survey" montage at the beginning was hilarious, as was the "we're dead… again" joke. Seeing Daniel Mays as a good guy was weird, though, because I'll always remember him as Jim Keats from Ashes To Ashes (CREEEEEEEEEEEPY!!!).

    So yeah, pretty decent episode, but nothing spectacular, IMHO…

  41. Sandy says:

    Knew Mark would enjoy this. After all, it IS about a boy who plays with dolls putting all his fears in the closet because he’s afraid his parents will reject him for being different…

    Also, you’d be scared of everything too if your Dad was Jim Keats.

  42. totiebinds says:


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