Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Six: "Night Terrors"
Posted 12 September 2011 in Doctor Who by Catriona
[Note: apologies for the late uploading, folk. Shouldn’t happen again, but we might have a blog-wide discussion about a change to the live-blogging format for next year’s episodes. In the meantime, live-blogging will continue on the usual schedule for the rest of this series, excluding (with any luck) my untimely death.]
Nick’s just brought it to my attention that “Let’s Kill Hitler” didn’t actually have an exclamation mark, but honestly! Who says, “Let’s kill Hitler” as a simple unmarked declarative sentence? There’s got to be an implied exclamation mark, at least.
And now, on to the point.
These apartments are kind of wonderful to look at, but I imagine horrific to live in. Still, at least the lifts work.
Elsewhere, George is being made to go to bed, despite his terror of the lift. His mother tells him that if he doesn’t like something, he has to put it in the cupboard. As his mother follows the requisite “turning the light on and off five times”, George repeats “Please save me from the monsters.”
His parents comment on George’s issues, as George himself freaks out (even though he’s safely in bed, and we all know that monsters can’t get you in bed, as long as you have all your arms and legs under the covers and you’ve written the magic words on a piece of paper and put them under your pillow).
Anyway, George’s mother says he needs a Doctor, and she probably didn’t use a capital letter, but I know what she meant.
On patronising voiceover and the credits later, we’re watching the TARDIS materialise in a puddle of water (we watch it happen in a puddle. It doesn’t materalise in a puddle. Or does it? Damn you, dangling modifier) and the Doctor says they’re answering a cry for help from the scariest place in the universe: a child’s bedroom.
Even scarier than when I have to walk down the hallway in the middle of the night and there’s that mirror at the end of the hallway and it’s 3 am and I think, “What if, this time, the person walking towards me in the mirror isn’t me?” and then I wonder if I really need to go to the loo or if it wouldn’t be safer to go and wake Nick up and make him check that there’s nothing there?
Anyway, the Doctor’s getting into a lift. Lift aren’t scary.
Except that did you know that there’s no point jumping up just before a lift crashes because it’s not going to help anyway? So, really, you’re better taking the stairs all the time, because what if the cable breaks?
Right. Back to the show.
George’s father is looking at photos of George and listening to some (BBC!) voiceover about Rolf Harris (talk about scary) while elsewhere, Rory, Amy, and the Doctor door-knock in an attempt to find the small child who was so traumatised that his plea for help managed to get through to the TARDIS.
Nick and I have a brief argument about whether the landlord is “the boy who killed himself” (to quote Nick) in Press Gang, which leads to a brief argument about which of three possible suicides/accidental deaths Nick might mean, and also a brief lecture (delivered by me) on the post Press Gang career of Christien Anholt.
This sequence is moderately creepy, but remarkably hard to live-blog, so I’ll just say that they don’t find George, but they do get a sense that apartment blocks are full of nutters.
They all meet briefly, but split up again to check the next level. But didn’t Rory and Amy just walk right past George? So they aren’t knocking on every door, then? So how do they expect to find the kid?
Oh, wait: they’ve just died in a horrible lift accident. So that’s that solved.
(See? See?! You can’t trust lifts.)
Wait, now the Doctor’s knocked on George’s door, to meet George’s father Alex. Now, this seems like the worst organised search of a set of apartments ever. Weren’t Amy and Rory just on that floor?
Oh, hang on: an old lady’s being eaten by a pile of garbage bags. I don’t really have time to go off on philosophical, or even geographical, sidelines.
Alex tells us that George is eight in January, never cries, and should have grown out of stuff like this.
(Grown out of stuff like this? Let me tell you about my fear of … no. No, let’s pretend to be a rational adult on the Internet, like all the other children playing on here.)
Alex says that George is frightened of everything.
DOCTOR: Pantophobia. That’s what it’s called. Not fear of pants, if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s a fear of everything—including pants, I suppose, in that case. Sorry.
(Matt Smith, I would like to apologise right now for ever doubting that you could play the Doctor. It was just anxiety because you’re the first Doctor who’s younger than me. You get that, right? No? You will when you hit 30, you young whippersnapper. And, no, I’m not talking to you, Matt-Smith-who-thinks-I’m-talking-to-him.)
ALEX: He hates clowns.
Oh, man: I can’t wait until “Greatest Show in the Galaxy” is out on DVD. We did just buy “Paradise Towers”. I may have squealed out loud in JB Hi-Fi when I saw it.
Elsewhere, Rory thinks he and Amy are dead, which is understandable, given how often Rory has died. Then he comes up with an alternative theory involving time slips and the year 1700-and-something.
George isn’t thrilled by the arrival of the Doctor, because he thinks the Doctor has come to take him away.
Poor George. I had an uncle named George, who died many years ago, but was one of those incandescent personalities that you don’t forget easily. I’ve been especially fond of the name George ever since my Uncle George died.
Amy and Rory find a wooden pan painted to look like copper and a lantern that turns on with a button.
At this point, I said they were in a doll’s house.
ME: Is this the point where I said, “Hey, they’re in a doll’s house?
NICK: Yeah. And I was all, “Why you got to be so crazy?” But you were right.
Elsewhere, the Doctor is diagnosing George’s issues.
DOCTOR: When I was your age, about, ooh, a thousand years ago, I loved a good bedtime story. The Three Sontarans. The Emperor Dalek’s New Clothes. Snow White and the Seven Keys to Doomsday.
George is particularly scared of the cupboard, because “anything that frightens him, we put it in the cupboard,” says Alex.
The Doctor goes to open the cupboard, and Nick shouts, “Sonic it first, Doctor! Sonic it first!”
See, Nick knows what the Doctor doesn’t get: the cupboard is the scariest thing of all. Any adults here who are happy sleeping with their cupboard doors open, raise your hands.
Humph. I doubt your veracity, adults with your hand up.
Anyway, speaking of monsters, the landlord has come round to demand his rent—with menaces. “Money with menaces” is one of the phrases that Adrian Mole taught me. One of the many useful things that that text taught me.
The Doctor’s making George’s enviable collection of robots wander around the room. Then he goes to open the cupboard again, but he clearly heard Nick, because he sonics it first this time, and when Alex comes back in and tries to open the cupboard, the Doctor freaks out and tells him that George’s monsters are real.
Elsewhere, Amy and Rory find that the doors where they are don’t have doorknobs and the hands of the clock are only painted on. Something runs past giggling, and Nick says, “Oh, for god’s sake.”
Alex is trying to kick the Doctor out on the grounds that the Doctor is making things worse (and just making tea when he should be helping). The Doctor heads into a lovely, lovely monologue about what he’s seen and how far George’s message had to travel to reach him.
DOCTOR: See these eyes? They’re old eyes. And one thing I can tell you. Monsters: they’re real.
ALEX: You’re not from Social Services, are you?
Amy, Rory, and now the old lady who got pulled into a pile of rubbish are still being menaced by giggling voices.
Oh, okay. First creepy doll of the episode.
RORY: This is weird.
AMY: Yeah, says the time-travelling nurse.
Well, it was fine until it started moving.
Don’t get me started on creepy dolls. You know what? Dolls are just wrong. They’re little tiny inanimate things that look just like people but don’t move or talk, unless they do move or talk, in which case they’re even more wrong.
While I was typing out that rant, the Doctor was deciding to open the cupboard in a rather charming scene and the landlord was being sucked into his carpet in a moderately unconvincing special effect.
The Doctor opens the cupboard, revealing the doll’s house in which everyone is obviously trapped, but he doesn’t find anything particularly horrifying in there, and he can’t understand it. So he can’t comprehend what’s happening, and he goes back through the photo albums (he looked earlier, and I didn’t note it at the time), pushing Alex into revealing that Claire can’t have kids, even though they have a little boy.
The Doctor confronts George, asking him who he is, which isn’t a good idea in retrospect, because the Doctor and Alex get sucked into the cupboard. George doesn’t seem to be doing this deliberately, because he’s chanting “Please save me from the monsters” as they gets sucked in. But deliberation isn’t really an issue, because they get sucked in anyway.
Then the landlord gets turned into a doll right in front of Amy and Rory, which prompts Amy to give Rory permission to panic. You know, Rory’s a nurse. I doubt he’s prone to panic as a regular thing. Maybe, if he’s panicking, there’s a good reason for it?
ALEX: Where are we?
DOCTOR: Obvious, isn’t it?
ME: Yes. You’re in the doll’s house.
DOCTOR: The doll’s house. We’re in the doll’s house.
ME: I said that.
Alex wants to know how he could forget that Claire couldn’t have kids. Hands up who said “perception filter” either before or at the same time as the Doctor? It’s always a perception filter, isn’t it?
This whole situation get a bit complicated for me at this point. There are lift noises and creepy dolls and flickering candles. Amy convinces Rory to let the dolls in so they can try and squeeze past them, even though we know that they can turn people into dolls with a single touch, which, in fact, they do to Amy.
Well, that were a daft decision, weren’t it?
The Doctor tells Alex that they’re inside a psychic repository for all George’s fears. So it’s probably not a good thing that a giant doll just turned up right then, is it?
The sonic screwdriver doesn’t have any effect.
DOCTOR: I’ve got to invent a setting for wood. It’s just embarrassing.
The Doctor then realises what George is, but I can’t spell it, so I’ll just leave it out. He’s, essentially, a cuckoo and an alien. And something’s happened to frighten him, so he’s started this cycle of monsters, unconsciously, and he isn’t even aware that he’s controlling it.
Rory and the Doctor meet up, though Rory’s being tracked by doll-Amy.
The Doctor’s still trying to convince George to end this, and George does open the cupboard door, which initially stops the dolls from moving—until they start moving towards George.
Because George thinks that his parents are rejecting him. Because George thinks he’s being rejected, since his parents talked about sending him away, since they couldn’t cope with him unaided.
But Alex isn’t worried about the fact that George isn’t human: he’s Alex’s little boy, and Alex isn’t going to send him way.
Aw. That would be heart-warming, that would, if I weren’t currently curled up in a foetal position so I can’t see the dolls coming for me.
Everyone wakes up right where they should be, and when Claire arrives home from night-shift, Alex and George are making kippers, and the Doctor kisses her awkwardly but charmingly.
George is fine now.
He’s easier to reassure than most eight year olds.
Alex is moderately worried about George, what with him being an alien, but the Doctor says that George will adapt perfectly, and be whatever Alex wants him to be. Except perhaps around puberty. Always a funny time, says the Doctor.
Then it’s back into the TARDIS, and off to somewhere more historical and interesting—at least until the Doctor hits the death date that we just saw pop up on that monitor.
Next week: Amy kicks backside.