Listen
Episode / February 14, 2016

Aired 13 September 2014 A Doctor Who writer/producer has a choice of two distinct paths to go down with the programme, either to offer standalone stories that focus on the moment or to offer a bolder tapestry that changes both past assumptions and future trajectories for the titular hero. While his choices have not always been met with undivided praise, Steven Moffat has continued to tread the latter path with a grand and confident pen, and ‘Listen’ is undoubtedly one of the boldest tales yet. ‘Listen’ has a lot of highlights throughout, but it is the final fifteen minutes or so that are always going to the point of discussion. Without explaining how it is possible (isn’t Gallifrey history time-locked?), Moffat takes the Doctor and Clara back to the barn first seen in ‘The Day of the Doctor,’ this the thousands of years into the past when the Doctor himself is a child. While the young Doctor himself gets little screentime, mostly sobbing alone in the bed, it’s the background dialogue that really sets the scene apart. The implication seems to be that he is in some sort of children’s home, but the voices explain that the Doctor does not…