Sleep No More

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    soundworld @soundworld

    @blenkinsopthebrave I haven’t seen much Star trek, but I love the idea of that episode you describe, the whole meta approach.  Its very much in accordance with the idea I’ve read, that according to (hmm – is it according to speculative cosmologists, or computer scientists, or – an unholy ‘hybrid’ of the two ) its impossible for us in our ‘reality’ and level of consciousness to tell whether or not we are actually real, or are  in fact in a gigantic virtual reality. Very Matrix.

    It also brings me back to my favourite Stanislaw Lem who constantly asks these questions of consciousness and reality through many of his stories – what is real?  The Futurological Congress, anyone?

    catladymeow @catladymeow

    To be honest, my reaction was one of great disappointment.  Up to that episode what was on offer had been highly entertaining.  I am one who loved Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, and even the movie in 1999.  I liked the other doctors, although Colin Baker tended to grate on my nerves at times, so he is my least favorite.  Still, the writing was always at least entertaining.  I was thrilled to discover the new series and have been impressed with the actors chosen for it.  There had been none of the new ones I didn’t at least like and watch over and over again, until this one.  So, as I have no one else to talk to about it, and can’t really post on facebook as my Whovian friends who have not yet seen it would get mad at me for “Spoilers”, I found a forum and vented.  In reality, I would love to stay here and talk about the show at length.  There was one time during the late 80’s that I had a friend who had EVERY known episode at that time on vhs tape, and he said I was welcome to come copy all I wanted.  So I scraped up every tape I could find, asked if he minded if I stay a few days and did a marathon of copying, starting from William Hartnell, and on up, day after day, falling asleep in the middle of one and having to find where the tape ended and redoing it.  😀  I finally gave up and went home after three days.  I had all up to the middle of Tom Baker, and still have those tapes.  No tape player unfortunately, but am working on collecting all the eps on dvd.  My Whovian friends have gifted me the first three seasons of the new series.  I have a bit of catching up to do.

    So, introduction.  I am a woman, mid 50’s, fan of Who and not a lot more, avid reader, planning to publish my first book in the next year, and living with my mother as her primary caretaker.  The idea of time travel is something that has always struck my fancy.  I play D&D, Champions, and a few other games in the past like Dr Who RPG and Changeling.

    As for Sleep No More, I didn’t actually mind the way it was done.  That was interesting, and trying to follow along was a challenge I didn’t mind too much.  As a way of doing a show, I’d rather not see one like that again.  Still, it was different.  The main reason I didn’t like that episode and said what I did above is that the whole premise for the monster is totally bogus.  Surely they could have come up with another reason for the Sandman?  Seriously? (No Shirley jokes please)  As usual, the acting was excellent.  I just love this doctor.

    soundworld @soundworld

    @lisa Hi! I very much agree that this theme has been present throughout the series, but I’m proposing that in Sleep No more and Before the Flood, we are dealing with signals which directly change our entire being, just by virtue of seeing/hearing them, no need to be plugged into anything.

    lisa @lisa

    There is a very strange component to all the signals/plugging in thru this
    series. It feels like Clara is being prepared to be submitted/recruited
    like an undercover agent to some purpose which might happen soon. So did Missy
    chose to give Clara to the Doctor on purpose as his apprentice/trainee?

    Think you are right! Saw the 1 with the flag on the other group of shots.
    I try to find that again.

    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @lisa   Getting back to the party late, so a belated, hearty thanks for posting the Radio Times piece. Interesting that Gatiss claimed there that the last time the Doctor lost was in Eathshock (1982), which saw the death of Adric.

    @blenkinsopthebrave  Very good! The reading of the episode in terms of meta fiction makes excellent sense. Perhaps this means that as we have a story, within a story, within a story, I can’t forget about beating my brains out trying to find ways around what look like lame plot points and chalk them up to Rasmussen’s story telling abilities.

    @supernumerary  The Doctor losing.  It’s a gutsy move, really. Fully agree, and after getting back to the posts after a bit of a break it looks like opinion on the episode has shifted much more to the same view. We’ve also been reminded in stark fashion of the Doctor’s limits the week before Face the Raven.

    @purofilion  loved the fighting post! (#47064)



    lisa @lisa


    I try not to chose favorites and I agree with you its one great long road trip.
    There are episodes that are good for me and others that are greater. So I’ll
    admit to being hooked into the series by Tom Doc. He had that joyfulness in his
    portrayal of being the Doctor for me. I started to feel that again from the new Doctors
    of this series reset. Sleep No more was in the goodish category. I don’t generally
    favor stories that are as spooky as this 1 was. Its my sensitive nature you see ;).
    Will be rubbing at my eyes all week now. But it did leave the open mystery at the end
    which I did like. Like the Doctor I don’t like endings unless they are not really the end.

    Now already started thinking ahead to the Raven next week and got lots of notions spinning
    around my mind on that.

    nerys @nerys

    Something my husband worked out, which I didn’t, is that Clara figures out how to open the Morpheus pod. She does a hand gesture to her face, indicating to the Doctor (we think) that’ she’s not just a pretty face. There’s a brain up there, too. (Then there’s a distraction before she is pulled into the pod.) Nice bit of humor in this episode!

    janetteB @janetteb

    I rewatched this morning with the 17 yr old and we discussed it at some length afterwards. He loved the concept and execution but like some others here, really felt let down by the “eye booger” monsters. I am still not entirely convinced that the Doctor is correct in his theory about the Sandmen. After all, as has been noted, we are being led by the hand through this episode by an unreliable narrator.

    One thing that struck me as odd was that moment when Clara is pulled into the pod. The Doctor appears to be standing there next to her. This could be the result of “Rassy’s” editing and not a slip on the part of the actual editors.

    @purofilion I too picked up on the bemused expression on the Doctor and Clara’s faces when the crew “read” the psychic paper.

    The episode, like most, I found improved on re watch but left me even less certain of what was real. How much of what we see is simply the work of Rassmussan.

    @lisa. I have the same problem especially after reading several pages of comments, so I often take notes as I go or I would have no chance of remembering who said what.



    Carrieanne @carrieanne

    @blenkinsopthebrave  When you mentioned the story within a story within a story it took me back to Last Christmas and the dreams within dreams. The Doctor also said in that episode that none of us can ever know if what we’re seeing is real or dream.  I don’t think Clara’s still in the dalek, it seems to me this arc goes back further than this season.  Perhaps as @kharis suggested in another post somewhere on here lol, the CAL theory.  Maybe Moffat knew long ago where he wanted to go with Clara and why it was important to get her to sign on again for this season.  Bonkers theory…..I know but that’s kind of this sites thing right?

    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion  Or, PissedOffPuro — lovely! — Yes, it wants more watching, partly because it goes very fast, and there are lots of visual figures to keep track of in many scenes (while you’re figuring out whose “eyes” you’re looking through).  Just got home from a family visit in San Diego and watched for the first time tonight.  It’s all a bit helter-skelter still for me, but the very busy weave has some dark, dark threads.

    “To die.  To *die*.”  Damn it.  CapDoc is so thinking about death, which has, perhaps, no benefit, whereas sleep, which  Rasmussen has “murdered”, is something we can’t do without . . . And good Lord, who goes around quoting The Scottish Play?!  Because they’re in a drama of death and confusion, luridly lit, or black and white, like the changing light on a battlefield as shells go off.  It’s a *story*.  What else is a story and a drama?  Maybe a lucid dream?

    For the record, I liked Robot of Sherwood very much — the playful, gently satirical tone, the evil sheriff’s vast ambitions growing even as he articulated them, Robin using the Doctor’s maneuver on the bridge to bop the Sheriff into the gold soup, and so on . . .

    And I like the Doctor’s defeat here, which is not a small one — the potential infection of all sapient life in the universe through the spread of the video is at stake.  Confused, missing things (that’s not new), but I think maybe it’s this low hum of death-death-to-die in his thoughts (connected, I can’t help but think, to Clara’s future or the snuffing out of her future) is part of his discombobulation.  Usually when he’s annoyed with himself for missing something (usually something he later declares was obvious all along), the next thing that happens is that he *gets* it, as if saying he’s missing it is an order to his subconscious to get going and find that missing perception and present it.

    Not this time.

    Clara caught a few minutes of this sleep-concentrate in that pod.  Will she now be unable to sleep for a while?

    ichabod @ichabod

    @blenkinsopthebrave  — It’s a story.  Which Rasmussen is telling us, admitting at the outset that bits are missing.  But he’s the bad guy; must we accept the ending we see — his victory, the Doctor’s failure and retreat — is the truth?

    @django  Ah, you got there before me:  I loved the audacity that what we had all just watched was not only a fiction in our world but was a fiction within the Doctor Who world. Who knows how much of what we were presented with actually happened and wasn’t constructed by Rasmussen.

    And he’s not only a bad guy, he’s also psychotic, so — this could be a *very* crazy version of events that did or did not happen in reality (such as it is).

    @whisht   Doctor: But I’ll *try*.

    Ooh Whisht — chills.  I love it; but no such luck, I fear . . .

    @arbutus  The Twelfth Doctor always seems a bit taken aback by what people see on the psychic paper!

    Their imagination has to supply the text, so always is a surprise to find out what they see (because they expect to see it); right?  Or can the Doctor sometimes “pre-load” the psychic paper so that it shows what *he* wants them to see?

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @kharis- if you mean the origin story of the Angels, I only wish it had been my idea 🙂 + @Bluesqueakpip- yes, this was above all a brave episode, and I think it will be a grower. I also think that at the moment, with the information we have right now, it’s hard to tell its precise significance. As a one off it’s interesting, if a little baffling, and perfect for bonkers theorising. If it gets picked up on later, who knows…

    JimmyP @jimmyp

    @geoffers Your thoughts re. the dust cameras:

    maybe it’s how missy managed to monitor the doctor and clara all last season, with impunity (the doctor wondering if he was ever truly alone, in ‘listen,’ and missy watching the events of ‘in the forest of the night’

    I love this idea! I’ve wondered before whether we’d ever get an explanation for that, so in lieu of an official one I’m accepting yours!

    Here’s an interesting interview with Gatiss about the episode structure, meanings and potential sequel (no spoilers for other future stories or the series arc):


    Anonymous @


    Brilliant theory -it does indeed seem to connect to Listen

    geoffers @geoffers


    could Rassy be the evolved form of the dust or sandmen? In the way the others are not -the so-called “I’ve got a man here who has not slept for 5 years” is all rubbish -he’s the same as any other eye booger (to quote @whisht)  and lumbers about being monsteriesh and is pretty useless apart from needing to ‘add to the dust’.

    But Rassy’s monster is evolved ? So he lied about that too?

    knowing he’s the unreliable narrator, i watched that scene again, and i think rassmussen himself is the man who hasn’t slept in five years, perhaps? his nervousness and mannerisms throughout the episode, at first, could be due to the monsters, the life or death situation. but when we find out he’s been a bad guy all along, i think it’s a clue that he’s just not been sleeping well/or at all.  (i know if i hadn’t slept in five years, i would be just as psychotic, sandman creatures or not!) also, earlier, he gave the speech about how the creatures were evolving, always being hungry, etc. and i’m now thinking he’s the hungry creature! perhaps over time he’s evolved into his own nightmarish, sleep-deprived monster?!

    someone above mentioned that maybe nagata didn’t escape (sorry, couldn’t find the post), and if you pause the scene where clara is putting the key into the tardis door… nagata does seem to just disappear? she’s just behind clara, to the right of the screen, that glitchy video feed thing happens, and then she’s gone! the following wide shot shows the tardis door open, the doctor wailing about it not making sense, but it’s never shown that nagata entered the tardis after clara. maybe it was just the editing, but i had assumed she escaped the first time around. now i’m not so sure…

    what if…

    we had hardwired holograms* in ‘mummy on the orient express.’ maybe the rescue crew in this ep are those, as well? the confusing tardis p.o.v. shot makes sense if you think that clara is providing it, via her compromised visual cortex… so… *bonkers theory* this is a clara-made story (or an ashildr-made story using clara)? but to what end? to control the doctor? to pull the doctor into a trap? is missy using ashildr to use clara to get to the doctor?!! LOL, i’m spiraling into a maelstrom of bonkersness!!

    i think i may have to go through the whole ep and make note of all those glitchy video feed appearances, just to see if there’s a pattern. are those indicators of when a “bit” goes missing? (as rassmussen said earlier on, “there are bits are missing. sorry about that.” but i doubt he’s sorry, at all!) i’m pretty sure the bits went missing to purposely mislead us, the viewers, to tell us only the story that he wanted us to see…

    *as mentioned earlier, this ep was originally pitched for the previous series, so maybe it was delayed because the premise would have been too much of a “repeat?” too much of a giveaway that missy was behind the scenes, orchestrating a great deal of the doctor’s adventures, for her own purposes? we never were told explicitly who set up that scenario on the space orient express (!), but i suspect missy. and i also suspect, through ashildr/clara, she may still be “storytelling” in the background, moving the doctor about like a pawn…

    DrBen @drben

    @geoffers – we had hardwired holograms* in ‘mummy on the orient express.’ maybe the rescue crew in this ep are those, as well?

    This brings up a good point.  And thank you to everyone (@purofilion in particular) for all of your comments, which have forced me to rethink my opinion of this episode.  I still didn’t care for it, but I think now my reasoning is that, while I didn’t dislike any specific element of the episode (except, perhaps, the eye booger monster explanation), I actually think they didn’t go far enough with them.  To wit:

    It Was All a Story:  Similar to what Geoffers says above, I would have liked the facade to be pulled back even further.  What if the entire rescue ship crew (including the “dead” ones) had appeared behind Rasmussen right at the end, revealing that they were in on the story the entire time?  In that context, the Doctor and Clara would essentially have materialized in the middle of (essentially) a tele-play, albeit one with a nefarious purpose.  I think that would have sold Gatiss’ meta intentions even better, and would have explained why all the rescue crew were stock characters.

    The Doctor Failed:  I’m cool with the Doctor not always getting it right, but this could have been played up even more.  What if he’d been completely wrong in his “eye booger” hypothesis, and these are just evil alien creatures using a good story to infiltrate a population?  He’s so quick to make up his mind about what’s going on, and while we got to see some doubt and uncertainty, I think this could have been played up as well.

    I read an interview with Gatiss about this episode, and it revealed a couple interested bits of information that explain a lot for me (it’s not spoilery, so don’t worry):

    1. Gatiss pitched this story idea several years ago as one of several story ideas, and Moffat picked this one for this season.

    2. Gatiss says that he tries to avoid season arcs and merely create standalone episodes, except when Moffat insists on certain elements (here, his direction was that Clara be more confident and independent).  1 and 2 explain why this episode didn’t quite seem to “fit” with what had come before.  I remember feeling the same way about Gatiss’ “Cold War”, which didn’t seem to follow what had come before.  I guess I’ve been spoiled with season arcs. 🙂

    3. This had originally been conceived as a two-parter, but was shortened to one episode when he came up with the found-footage conceit, because they figured they couldn’t keep that up over two episodes.  This explains to me why the informational parts of the episode (both the exposition and the conclusion) felt rushed to me.

    So I’m starting to sound like a retread, but this is productive for me.  Thanks for humoring me.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @geoffers   i think rassmussen himself is the man who hasn’t slept in five years, perhaps? his nervousness and mannerisms throughout the episode, at first, could be due to the monsters, the life or death situation. but when we find out he’s been a bad guy all along, i think it’s a clue that he’s just not been sleeping well/or at all. 

    Great theory, love it (as a person who turns into a smarlinb, stumbling lump when a few bad nights accrue, I know the feeling well).

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    This week’s tarot card reading seems almost like shooting fish in a barrel:  Sleep No More refers to the taro card The Moon:

    The action occurs on an artificial moon of Neptune, a space station, and the rescue mission comes from Triton, a moon of Neptune.   On the tarot card we see two man-made towers of protection, which may also refer to the union of Japan and India.  This union believes itself to be prosperous and apparently in union of mind, body, and spirit, as shown by the universal greeting, “May the gods be with you.”  Also one may expect a union of Japan and India to achieve such a balance.  However all is not in balance:  This union has reduced mind in its grunts.  And we find out that far worse, it has devised a means to reduce the time of sleep to near nothing.

    Sleep helps achieve a “life of the imagination apart from life of the spirit,” not just rest, but also integration of memory and thought.  It is blessed.  The attempt to eliminate sleep, upsetting the balance, arouses monsters from the deep, as symbolized by the crayfish coming out of the water.  This new species of Sandmen wants to fall upon human civilization like wolves devouring it.  Ironically, we learn one man’s mind, the scientist Rasmussen, has become incorporated into the collective thought of the Sandmen, in effect becoming a domesticated dog unto their wolf.



    Whisht @whisht

    yep @jphamlore – I agree about the Moon (though I don’t actually think Gatiss was aware of the Tarot thing when he originally wrote it, but we don’t care about that – he’s merely the writer!).

    I think that card also has something to do with “uncertainty and confusion” (according to my Tarot book) which fits in with everyone’s experience of it!


    I don’t think anyone’s mentioned this, but when Clara was talking about putting “Space” in front of other words and they start going through examples, I was mainly thinking “go on, go on, go on” just waiting for one of them to say “Space Dad”!


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    For you:

    soundworld @soundworld

    @blenkinsopthebrave Thank you – it looks like another late night for me.  As I remarked earlier, sleep – who needs it!

    ichabod @ichabod

    Damn it.  “A smarlinb, stumbling lump” = “a snarling, stumbling lump”, post #47202.

    @jphamlore  @whisht  When I was learning to read Tarot cards, The Moon was also interpreted, broadly, as “Seeing things by a False Light”.  That’s kind of what we’ve been saying here about “Sleep No More”, isn’t it.

    Anonymous @


    mmm. I’ve re-watched it and feel as you do -they didn’t go quite far enough. Some sophistication, perhaps, was missing? I don’t have the imagination, or follow thru, in the realisation of this as you do -but I really tried to spot some of the things above you mentioned.

    Firstly, why are the rescue crew on camera at the beginning? Surely, we could have them arrive on Le Verrier and then the ‘on camera’ scenes would have made sense -they had no helmet cams so why footage on their own vessel.

    Only 10 mins in and I also see the problem with Clara dragged in by the snaky sleep wires whilst the Doctor, at the most, is 3 steps away from her -unless she was taken in under 1 second,  no way he wouldn’t have noticed!

    A silly thing perhaps -but my first  ‘cross’ when it comes to editing. I’m glad you and others pointed that one out.

    Therein lies the ‘story’ I suppose –it is screamingly obvious therefore if things are missing is it excusable that it’s Rassy’s ‘fault’ for deliberately leaving out some footage? If so, any editor could use a character in such a manner. So, that’s another ‘cross’. We have the other screamingly obvious question the Doctor asks “A rescue crew of only four?”

    So, yes, this points towards another piece of unworked puzzle -holograms or just a lack of army budgets (not so different from any century then)? good on @geoffers there.

    Also, yes, I understand the rescue group die the way they do and yet we never really see much of that do we? I’m not convinced Nagata died either -or stayed alive . Neither?

    Grunt 474 ran off  with a primal war shout and ….boom we see nothing.

    Similarly, I understand on second view, that the ‘other one’ -I’m call him ‘rip’ for his political views -I still can’t work out why he died exactly  -he was in the room with Pod 1 (the one sliding about which I found funny, personally) so I guess, yes, he’s mercilessly absorbed.

    Like the absorbathon (sic) in Love and Monsters – these creatures perhaps do that .

    Still, I see (and thought from the outset) that ‘working’ these issues out would provide very little comfort.

    Stories do lack internal logic . Well, no, not stories -but real gruesome, confusing life. A good story contains….conflicts, characters, resolution, actors with wardrobe, editors -obv I’m combining stories with film or TV but RL, no -my life today has involved nothing logical or sensible -no life lessons, no truth or dares, no lies or conversation, no solution to problems (no problems beyond RL boring ones: have paid the bills? Do I need to turn on the A/C? Why is the bread mouldy already? Oh, it’s humid).

    This episode is not a story either -it’s like a clip, it has a beginning and a middle -but the middle is much closer to the end and the end itself is either hurried, as you yourself suggest @drben  or it’s not an end. It’s RL; silly, confused, wrong-headed and somewhat stuffed up.

    it’s a puzzle too.

    If we were to take the Acts and the scenes and completely muck ’em up what would we have?

    We could start with the ‘end’ -ie Clara and the Dr (Nagata Yes or No) running into the Tardis and Rassy’s monster narrating. We could skip to the middle where all are running about and Deep Ando is lost and eventually eaten. Meanwhile before that, the Anti-Grav Shields could be ‘shut down’ so that the connection between Rassy’s monster and the Anti-Grav shields could be clearer: ie, the Monster is responsible (the monster is Rassy).

    It could also begin with Clara and the Doctor arriving and the Doctor blowing at the speck of dust. We are then ready to believe there are cameras. I get the distinct impression this like a Dylan song. He writes his two-line stanzas, mixes ’em up and puts them together again.

    So, Sleep No More -hmm, is it more of a song, a dream? It is like Morpheus and like Silence in the Library, where it’s revealed thru Donna that in dreams people tend to think something and then ‘abracadabra’ they’re there -this episode had that feeling. Was it successful in that? I don’t know, either.

    Peculiarly, I find this more like a confusing 20th century minimalist piece breaking its own rules rather than a piece of film. One enjoys it for the ‘other things’ -there aren’t the usual elements of resolution, introduction, conflicts or problems -it’s a feast for the eyes only.

    The moment one starts to ‘work it out’ the solution crumbles before one’s very eyes like the sandman. And it’s all a dream. Something gone wrong.

    Like all dreams… last night I dreamt I was simultaneously dancing, meeting a lover, jumping three decades, eating lunch after dinner, riding a water slide where there was no water -totally absorbing: colourful, fun, an adrenaline pursuit – did it have any sense?

    Hell no!

    Should all telly make sense?

    Probably most people would say ‘hell yes’ but I tend to think ‘not always.’


    Anonymous @

    Mmm still umming.

    So, the Dr fiddles with grav shields and yells ‘go, go go’.

    They end up in….cold storage….even Clara mentions how odd it is aaaand typically Chopra (rip -now, that’s an interesting  term -ripping a vid, a song) and 474 are not there. So Nagata (‘at-it-again’-fiddling with names and anagrams) says “I must save them” to which the Doctor replies: “don’t be ridiculous”

    Mmm. Also, why do they never shoot at the monsters. It would help to try, no?

    The first para above really suggests everything’s a story -the whole jolly thing. The cold storage (perfect horror movie riff), Nagata’s name, the fact she seems to disappear and…all the rest.

    it’s a bit of a Penny dreadful section -not even a chapter -actually, nope, nothing works to successfully drive this or label it. I’ll say that, yep, with Sherwood and Kill the Moon it would have fitted superbly but then again I  mentioned upthread that this was a coherent link between Part A of this series and Part B -in that way it works well, perhaps ushering us to the conclusion that “yes, we’re all stories” and that last year, also was, for various reasons, nothing but stories.

    Of course, maybe not!

    I’d feel a lot better about S 8 if those bizarre stories could be revealed, like a play with a purple curtain going down, to be part of something starting in Clara’s mind all the way back ‘then’  -I know others suggested this recently -the moon as an egg, young Clara meeting her hero Robin Hood (reminds me of Amy & her Romans) as well London: The Forest.

    I think that’s done and dusted, as it were  – oh, yes, very good  🙂

    Mersey @mersey

    @miapatrick @mudlark @bluesqueakpip @jphamlore

    I was relistening the epiosde and I noticed how often the characters used the word “god”or “gods”, e.g.”For God’s sake”, “Oh God”, “May the Gods”. I counted them and they used them 18 times. The crew, Rasmussen, Clara, even 474. Everyone except the Doctor. I’m not suggesting that Doctor is an atheist :-). He has used such phrases as „My God!” 3 times in this season (Missy used them twice) (And the fact that someone uses such words doesn’t mean that he or she is or isn’t a believer). But it’s interesting and maybe somehow significant.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I reckon it’s one of the themes this series, just like ‘afterlife’ was one of the themes last series. There is a reference to either God, gods, messiah, or religious sisterhoods (of Karn) in every series 9 story to date. The Doctor is, of course, our friendly Deus Ex Machina. 🙂

    Now, we could be referring to actual gods, or given that the Doctor is our D.E.M., ‘gods’ could be short for Time Lords, returning. Certainly Missy acts like one of the gods referred to in King Lear, Act 4, sc,ii –

    As flies to wanton boys are we to th’gods. They kill us for their sport.

    It’s also possible that this is the end of Clara’s arc. When Victorian Clara was introduced in The Snowmen, one of the Doctor’s complaints was that he’d done so much to save the universe – and the universe didn’t care.

    Enter Clara. 🙂

    tommo @tommo

    all this talk of dreams and dream-worlds reminds me of the episode ‘amy’s choice’ in series 5 featuring the dream doctor, brilliantly played by Toby Jones. i loved that episode.

    there’s no obvious links to ‘sleep no more’ but i just fancied mentioning it. maybe the dust is a load of psychic pollen floating around….hehe.

    Anonymous @


    not funny at all -spot on man!

    *murmuring: why didn’t I think of that?*

    Anonymous @

    spot -LOL everything to do with dust motes, spots, done & dusted etc is making me laugh. Truly I need to get out more.

    Brewski @brewski

    @tommo and @purofilion

    There is another (albeit tenuous) connection to Amy’s Choice.  The absurdity of the Doctor’s assertion that the monsters are made of eye gunk is like the absurdity of his assertion that they were near a “cold burning star”.

    I would not be surprised if in the sequel we hear him say “Eye Booger Monsters? ! Give me a break!”


    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    I think the eye booger monster (thanks @drben) objections passed me by, because once you have got past the Adipose (your fat just walks away!) and the total conversion of bodily material to fat in the shape of small cute alien blobs, you are in a mindspace to accept anything! 🙂

    I do think they missed a trick here though. If it turns out this is truly a stand alone episode for this series, then I think they should have broadcast it on Halloween in the place of the first Zygon two parter. I think promoting it as a quirky take on horror movies (like the Amicus films @whisht and I referenced) would have put people in a better mood for it.

    Just on the Halloween subject alone, you could make a case for this referencing Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. It was the one that John Carpenter, bored of the slasher flick they became, sought out Nigel Kneale of Quatermass fame. He came up with a bizarre anti corporation and TV parable that saw a witch in charge of a toy making conglomerate trying to unleash a spell by technomancy.

    Any kid wearing a mask subjected to one of his adverts would convert to your worst nightmares. As Gatiss is a known fan of Kneale’s works, I can’t help but feel this could have been a minor inspiration.

    Also @whisht, that Sandman animation is still brilliant and disturbing stuff.

    Anonymous @

    One thing that I had wanted for this episode was a bit more Clara, which we didn’t get. Given that she’s leaving very soon, she hasn’t really featured that much this season, particularly with regards to her own personal journey. Granted, we got lots of that last season, but there’s sort of been those conversations in Lake/Flood to highlight that she’s still partly grieving for Danny and is more reckless as a result, which haven’t been followed up on; and then mostly the companion doing the companion thing, with an implicit emphasis on her trust in the Doctor and confidence/maturity as a companion. And as to actual presence- she wasn’t in Woman, wasn’t there for much of Zygon, was separated from the Doctor and upstaged by Missy for most of Magician/Witch, is separated again during Flood, and isn’t given all that much to do in Sleep. And the next episode has a couple of +1s which doesn’t bode well for progress on this front.
    Not that there hasn’t been some good Clara bits, but it would be nice to see a bit more and follow up on her personal journey/grief/recklessness before she goes.

    Spider @spider

    Hi all. Late to the party again for this episode. Apologies in advance for any typos in the following post as am on my phone rather than my pc.

    All in all i really enjoyed this epiosode and thought it very clever. Loved the way it was filmed. On first watch i had started to twig something was off when i was sure we were seeing Clara’s point of view when i knew she wasn’t wearing a camera. So i was slightly smug when we got the reveal 🙂

    The other thing i loved about the way it was shot is i felt it drew me in, as if the Doctor etc. was talking diect. Especially the bit with the psychic paper – hands up who really hoped to read something!

    It was an interesting change for us to start with the rescue group and stumble across the Doctor and Clara. Normally it’d be the other way around. I also was happy there was more Doctor/Clara banter going on – something that has been missing in s9 (compared to s8).

    Prefer the Doctors slightly shorter hair here than in the Zygon epiosodes when it was just a bit too manic for me.

    Something i noted was a couple of references to things “in the corner of your eye” which immediately made me think of the ‘nursery rhyme’ in Listen. Also doesn’t that also make reference to “Slithering from underneath the bed” which sounds very snake like to me! Are the sandmen going to be the ‘thing under the covers’?

    I agree with others here that it seemed a bit off that the Doctor was right beside Clara when she gets taken by the pod. But ive decided to put that down to him just not paying attention.

    Overall i found the setting and the way it was all filmed was really spooky. The sleep monsters were probably the part of it i had the biggest issue with but the more i think about it the more i like the idea that sleep crust on ypur eyes is your bodys way of expelling some evil.

    I actually didn’t realise this had been written by Gatiss until i read the comments here! I blame that on being too obsessed with finding all the names in that flash of code :). Have to say about robot of sherwood, at first i found that episode quite annoying and silly but very quickly came to love it. Part of my change of mind was when i realised that this was the episode that i finally stopped worying/wondering if i accepted and got the new Doctor and decided to just jump onboard and enjoy the ride!

    So far the only Capadi episode i really cannot bring myself to like much at all is still the ‘forest of the night’.

    Right thats enough ramblings from me. Roll on next episode – although its all going too fast! Gah!


    Brewski @brewski

    @supernumerary I wonder if it’s possible that these episodes were originally written with a new (still unknown) companion.  Or even NO companion.

    If we accept that Clara was going to leave before the Last Christmas episode, she may not have even been factored in to some of the stories originally.

    That may be why her character seems a bit “off” now.

    nerys @nerys

    That’s a very plausible idea, @brewski!

    Brewski @brewski

    @nerys Thanks!  Plausible, but not very bonkers, I’m afraid.  :p


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @brewski – it’s plausible that some of the episodes might have been commissioned for ‘unknown companion’, but Moffat was so very, very keen to get Jenna to stay. I’d have thought he’d have dammed the torpedoes and told his writers to write for CapDoc and Clara.

    Looking at the episodes to date while we wait for Face The Raven:

    The Magician’s Apprentice – Clara behaves as if she’s UNIT’s Doctor-advisor. Basically, she’s in the Doctor’s role until Missy rather rudely points out that she’s not yet in that class. Still the Magician’s Apprentice, not fully qualified yet.

    The Witch’s Familiar – first of what I’d call ‘the real story is hidden and unrecognisable’ hints. Clara, the real Clara, gets popped inside a Dalek and the Doctor can’t recognise her. The bright side for Clara is that Missy has at least upgraded her from ‘handy snack’ to ‘useful, especially for judging the depth of deep holes.’ That’s the dark side of apprenticeship, of course, when The Master sends their apprentice to do all the dirty and dangerous jobs. 🙂

    Beneath The Lake – last week we had real-Clara inside a Dalek, this week we have the real-Doctor, hidden throughout the episode, inside the suspended animation capsule. He can’t save the day until the right time – until then, he sleeps, unrecognised. Clara is basically Clara-the-apprentice – but accidentally gets left on her own.

    Before The Flood – the Doctor’s still, unbeknownst, fast asleep in The Drum. Meantime, he’s very busy in the past – but Clara is showing that she doesn’t want to finish her apprenticeship, throwing a major wobbly at the thought of the Doctor dying. Despite this, she does a pretty good job, even being handed her very own Companion-Who-Wanders-Off.

    The Girl Who Died – lots of ‘the real story is hidden’.

    The Doctor: I’m not actually the police, that’s just what it says on the box

    Then there’s the Mire, hidden inside that big, scary armour. Their leader, hidden inside a hologram. And all of them hidden inside their reputation. Deadliest warrior race in the galaxy? Bunch of wimpy drug addicts, more like. They’re adrenaline junkies, just like the Doctor and Clara – but instead of earning their adrenaline by taking on people their size, they steal it from those weaker than they are.

    And, of course, Ashildr, who can tell a story that hides the real story inside an illusion…

    The Woman Who Lived – again, the real story is hidden, this time with another villain who’s hiding what they really want. Boringly. 🙂 But Ashildr is also hiding inside Me; the Woman who insists she doesn’t care really does.

    The Zygon Invasion – an incredible amount of hiding… apart from a few characters, we still don’t really know who were Zygons in this story. And Clara gets popped inside another pod, and spends much of the episode fast asleep. Like, in fact, the Doctor in Beneath the Lake. The real Clara is not only hidden deep inside Bonnie, the Doctor can’t recognise Bonnie as fake. He can’t see the real Clara.

    The Zygon Inversion – things flip around, and we see them from a different direction. The terrifying terrorists are three year olds having a deadly tantrum, the Osgood Boxes are empty, the supposedly helpless Clara is quite capable of getting Bonnie exactly where she wants her and the Doctor remembered the last time he was in that Presidential plane and packed a parachute. 🙂 And jaw-jaw is far better than war-war. The real story was hidden.

    Sleep No More – the real story is hidden.

    Oh, and Clara is again stuck inside a box, asleep. For a little while.

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    I’m beginning to wonder if there is possibly a link between the Lake/Flood 2-parter and the Zygon 2-parter. and in turn will there be a link between Apprentice/Familiar and Heaven/Hell.
    I mean ignoring Sleep and Raven for the moment, then there’s 10 episodes, all as 2-parters. and the middle 2: Girl Who Died and Woman Who Lived, definitely seem to be important as a turning point of some sort. Not only does Ashildr get the immortality chip, but the names of the episodes I think could still have implications for Clara. Furthermore, Girl Who Died is the first time Clara properly acts as The Doctor, trying to reason with the Mire before Ashildr steps in and ruins everything, trying to persuade The Doctor to stay and help. In that episode she is no longer the apprentice, which makes it even more interesting that she doesn’t appear in The Woman Who Lived. Because you can’t have 2 magicians. You have to have a magician and an apprentice.

    Looking at the series if you look at just the 2 parters:
    Daleks – Clara is definitely the apprentice, CapDoc and Missy make sure she is never alone.
    Lake/Flood – Clara wants to be more like The Doctor, CapDoc doesn’t like how adventurous she’s become, Clara is forced to step up and be the magician for a little bit due to the lack of CapDoc, CapDoc is in a pod
    Girl – Clara steps up and is the magician of her own accord, tries to convince The Doctor to stay
    Woman – No Clara, just CapDoc being the sole magician, though Ashildr/Me has grown to be similar to a magician by her own
    Zygons – Clara is brought back by The Doctor after 127 missed calls (shows Clara doesn’t need him to teach her anymore), Clara spends most of the time in a pod, thus CapDoc is left having to find another apprentice in the shape of Osgood
    Heaven/Hell (from what non-spoilery stuff we know) – No Clara at the very least in Heaven, CapDoc left without an apprentice or anyone to make an apprentice

    It seems to me that Moffat might be trying to create a very complex Ring narrative, with a turning point in Girl/Woman, and culminating at both ends with The Doctor being alone.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Honestly, mentioning that you know there’s a link between the two stories is in itself a spoiler. One of the reasons I don’t like spoilers is that they’re a killer for bonkers theorising.

    I’ve been trying to figure out the series arc, and now I KNOW there’s a link that can be spoilered. 🙁


    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    @bluesqueakpip my sincerest apologies! I don’t know how to move it to the spoilers page, how do I do that?

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    @phaseshift  how do I move my post (#47346) to the spoilers page? I can’t seem to work it out

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    It’s a great post – I think it’s just that last little bit that @phaseshift or @fatmaninabox needs to delete.

    Anyway, moving swiftly on – I think there’s definitely a link between stories. The biggie, I would bonkerise, is that what we think is the story isn’t the story.

    So – what we think is the story is Clara leaving? They’ve made a massive thing of it; heavily emphasised that Jenna was persuaded to stay on for one series only, hinted at some terrible, tragic ending for Clara.

    But maybe that’s not the story?

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    @bluesqueakpip ah right, so it was just the PS that was the problem, gotcha! as for Clara’s ending, I’m still trying to puzzle my head around Moffat’s words. 

    It will shock, terrify, and surprise you. strictly in that order.

    Why though? It just doesn’t make any sense to me, and i don’t think it will until we actually have seen the last 3 episodes and her departure.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    I have been giving this serious thought, and I think I have cracked it:

    Shock: Clara is revealed to have been Colin Baker’s Doctor all along…

    Terrify: …who will become the Capaldi Doctor’s companion for series 10.

    Surprise: Well, you weren’t expecting it, were you?

    <ok, I’ll get my coat…>

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    It just doesn’t make any sense to me

    ::cough:: Rule Zero: Moffat lies. ::cough::

    Though one theme that is running through is that the Doctor is, this series, often looking straight at Clara – or Clara’s duplicate – and failing to recognise who she really is. He asked her to see him – but right now, he can’t see her.

    There is something inside Clara, and it’s getting ready to be born. That’s the dalek casing/zygon pod/sleep pod imagery. The other image carries on from Last Christmas – that the real Clara is asleep and the Clara who is wandering around walking and talking is the result of Clara’s dream.

    bendubz11 @bendubz11


    ::cough:: Rule Zero: Moffat lies. ::cough::

    How did I forget that?!

    Now that you mention it, I can see CapDoc has been staring at Clara a lot this series. Maybe a rewatch of S8 is needed to see how far back he’s been doing it. If it was there last series as well then it might be pointing back to Name of the Doctor

    lisa @lisa

    @bluesqueakpip @bendubz11

    I thought that may have been the purpose of the sonic glasses? To see Clara in some
    different way? That said I have only a bit over a day to find out.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Good one…

    saraji @saraji

    These shows are getting worse, they should start calling the show Clara instead of Dr Who, she has taken over the show completely to the shows detrament

    ichabod @ichabod

    @bluesqueakpip  I think there’s definitely a link between stories. The biggie, I would bonkerise, is that what we think is the story isn’t the story.

    Good god(s)!  Now, there’s a chilling thought — a story hidden in a story (like a Clara hidden in the mind of a Zygon Clara . . . no, that’s just NUTS).

    He asked her to see him – but right now, he can’t see her.  There is something inside Clara, and it’s getting ready to be born. That’s the dalek casing/zygon pod/sleep pod imagery. The other image carries on from Last Christmas – that the real Clara is asleep and the Clara who is wandering around walking and talking is the result of Clara’s dream.

    Or . . . maybe *not* so nuts?  I also remain uneasy about where the dreaming started and ended (if it did) in S8.

    @lisa  I thought that may have been the purpose of the sonic glasses? To see Clara in some different way?

    I thought the glasses were to show him whether Clara was a Zygon or not.  As for the long looks — I’ve been seeing those as him looking at her because for one thing he knows (one way or another) that will soon be gone, no more looking; and for another, because he’s trying to see past some terrible image of her destruction that he’s brought back with him from a clandestine trip into her future.

    We’ll soon know; or begin to know, anyway.  Lots of room for surprises and reversals in three linked episodes, two of them unusually long!

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