EPISODE REVIEW:Doctor Who: Night Terrors (Season 6, Episode 9)

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Tonight, the Doctor does what he does best- save kids from monsters. But this week, he faces a monster that he absolutely can not beat. So... who can save the Doctor and his friends from the creepy wooden people?

Recap

A little boy and his mum go through a bedtime ritual to save him from the monsters. He is clearly terrified, whispering into the night. His whispers carry through the stars, finding a pad of psychic paper in the Doctor's pocket. He decides to make a house call to the "scariest place in the universe, a child's bedroom'.

The Doctor and his companions arrive at the apartment block and try to canvas it to find the little boy. After hours of doors being slammed in their faces (I mean, you can't just go around asking if you have a terrified child hiding under the covers, can you?), they decide to ... well.. spend more time knocking on doors.

Amy and Rory heading to another floor, get on a lift that decides to pick that moment to plummet fifteen stories. The Doctor, meanwhile, stumbles upon Alex, the boy's father- and George, the boy. Alex talks to the Doctor about George, thinking he's from Social Services.

One of the residents that the Doctor encountered during their impromptu convassing is eaten by a pile of garbage.

Amy and Rory come to in a strange place, fairly convinced that they are either dead or that the TARDIS has gone a bit loopy. They find that their envionment is made up of theatrical props. Also wandering around the place (wherever, whenever it is) is the old woman. They find a large dummy with a wooden head.

The Doctor discovers that George keeps all the scary things in the cupboard in his room. He plays with George's toys using the sonic screwdriver to activate them. He then points to the cupboard with the screwdriver and is plainly startled, muttering "Off the scale!". He now knows that not only are George's monsters real, but very, very dangerous. Alex is convinced that the Doctor is a madman (perceptive chap), but the Doctor quickly convinces him that he is just the madman necessary to help George.

While the Doctor debates opening the cupboard with himself, using Alex as a Doctor proxy, the landlord is swallowed by his carpet. (That might be the weirdest sentence I've written in about a month). The Doctor realizes that George could not be Alex's and Claire's son; she's sterile. The Doctor asks George who he is... the room starts lighting up and shaking, the cupboard bursts open and he starts crying out "Please save me from the monsters". The Doctor and Alex are sucked into the cupboard.

Amy and Rory encounter the landlord... and watch as the china headed dummy changes the landlord into another wooden headed dummy. The Doctor and Alex arrive in the dollhouse (which is where Amy and Rory have been all along). Amy and Rory try to push past the increasing number of dolls. Amy fails, and is converted into a doll herself.

The Doctor realizes that George is a Tenza, an alien who became what Alex and Claire most wanted. But something scared him and he created the cupboard environment. It's still scaring him, the fear that his parents would send him away. Alex leaps to George's aid, confirming that he is his father, regardless of the circumstances.

With that, the Tenza child is able to put everything right. The Doctor tells Claire and Alex that it's all sorted out now, and everything will be fine, except for puberty.

Reunited, the Doctor and the Williams-Pondseses contemplate their next destination. As we leave, we hear the creepy singsong of the living dolls, proclaiming the coming demise of the Doctor.

Observations:

Suitably creepy episode, but there were a couple of glaring logic holes that you could drive a truck through (unless, of course, they show up later on in the season. This is a common theme with Moffat: Leave some apparent logic holes and then use them as plot devices later in the story arc). First- who, how and why is George there? That's completely dropped. Second, with that kind of power (the perception filter, the telepathy), what on Earth (literally) could frighten that kind of being? We never really know who the frighteners are.

The plot carries us from a child's fear of monsters to a child's fear of abandonment. The Doctor can deal with monsters... that's his 'day job' as he puts it-- another day at the office. But the one thing that the Doctor cannot deal with, he's uniquely unsuited in any sane way to deal with abandonment issues. Only Alex could save his little Tenza son from that particular monster.

An entertaining episode, but I don't think it's going to end up on anybody's top ten list.

Will Conservatives Like This Episode?

Yes! An intact family, a pro-adoption message- and the Dad saves the day.

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