On Doctor Who Episode 9.9 “Sleep No More”: Arriving on a seemingly abandoned space station orbiting Neptune, the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) run into a group of soldiers on a rescue mission to recover the crew. But with only one surviving crew member alive, the group soon discover that they are not alone… and that the Sandmen are coming…
During TARDISblend 94, we are joined by guest Dwayne DeFreitas of Geeks Of Doom’s The Drill Down podcast, and we discuss Doctor Who‘s first attempt at a found-footage episode, accompanied by the first-ever notable absence of the show’s opening sequence. We look into the confusing and disorienting nature of the episode, deconstruct it, and discuss that ending.
All this and more on the latest edition of the TARDISblend podcast!
Doctor Who Season 9, Episode 9 “Sleep No More”
Directed by Justin Molotnikov
Written by Mark Gatiss
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Reece Sheersmith, Elaine Tan BBC America
Air date: Saturday, November 14, 2015
This week’s episode of Doctor Who, 9.9 “Sleep No More,” seems to pose a question: Can the Doctor ever lose? In over 50 years, we’ve seen some rather pyrrhic victories (as in “Doctor Who And The Silurians” or “A Good Man Goes To War”), some inevitable stalemates (as in “Genesis Of The Daleks), or even the occasional tragedy (as in “Earthshock”), but we’ve rarely, if ever, seen him lose. What would a loss look like? Would the Doctor escape? Would anyone be hurt? How would the Doctor fail to grasp the full scope of the situation?
Writer Mark Gatiss presents us with such a situation this week. Framed as a sort of found-footage horror film, the Doctor and Clara escape with their lives but allow their enemy to achieve its goal. This raises two competing sets of issues. First, there are matters of plot convention; the twist ending that sets up an escape and/or sequel to a horror film is a pretty stock affair at this point. At the same time, this competes with the fact that the Doctor’s success rate averages somewhere very close to 100 percent of the time. An entity that defeats the Doctor had better be something pretty special, and sadly, much of “Sleep No More” is worse than average. Given Gatiss’ track record with the series, as well as his work on Sherlock and An Adventure In Space And Time, one should hope for better. This time, he pretty well missed the mark.
While audiences are gearing up for The Day Of The Doctor, Doctor Who fans can also expect another great special coming from the BBC called An Adventure In Space And Time – telling the story of how Doctor Who came to be in real life, 50 years ago on November 23 – an valuable depiction of the beginning of what would become a cultural phenomenon and the longest-running sci-fi series in history.
Mark Gatiss, of Doctor Who and Sherlock fame, writes and produces the special, which features David Bradley (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) as William Hartnell – the first Doctor – in a piece of casting that sees Bradley look just like Hartnell. The similarities are eerie.
An Adventure In Space And Time tells of how the television show came into being, the importance of first showrunner Verity Lambert (played by Jessica Raine), and the world-shattering approach in the impossible task of trying to tell stories on poor budgeting and how much of a phenomenon the series quickly became.