Doctor Who, Season 9, Episode 9 (Sleep No More).
Every once in a while there’s a script in Doctor Who that attempts to be original, yet is somewhat disappointing. Love & Monsters is perhaps the best example of a Doctor Who script breaking the traditional formula yet failing to intrigue viewers. Unfortunately Sleep No More also falls into this category as returning writer Mark Gatiss brings a scary-yet-bland script.
The point-of-view camera angles is a fantastic visual change to Doctor Who as the limited visual surroundings adds intensity during fast-paced chase scenes. This allows the new ‘Sandman’ creatures to appear frightful despite the clear lack of detail from the prosthetics. Yet more interestingly it allows the audience to see a new view-point in how The Doctor and Clara interact with each other in-between major scenes.
Throughout the episode, there was a lot of cool-down time. Many scenes were just throw-away scenes which seemed like they were there as filler for the 50 minute episode. Whilst it did bring an interesting perspective to the character interactions, nothing throughout the episode could essentially be marked as memorable.
The plot follows The Doctor and Clara as they explore an abandoned base with another crew. In the future, sleep-pods are capitalised so that people sleep less and have more time to earn profits. Gatiss hints on a dystopian future as it seems capitalism becomes an extreme factor. It’s interesting when Doctor Who takes on political stances – as little as they may be – yet the plot itself was mishandled and boring.
Whilst the concept is interesting, it was poorly executed. One major downfall in the episode was the lack of interesting guest-characters. These characters were killed off instantly, yet without the emotional connection to these characters, their death had no impact to the episode.
Another problem was the Sandmen themselves. Yes the cinematography did convey an eery presence, but it felt like these enemies had no purpose. What was their aim or intention?
Consequently, much of this plot is mystified and unclear. With the lack of interesting scenes, interesting characters and the unclear motivation of the enemies, the episode was convoluted and downright disappointing. It lead to the cliffhanger ending to be equally weird and difficult to understand.
As Doctor Who is building up to a climatic season finale with high stakes, it’s understandable that this episode is to cool down the viewers. The rest of Season 9 has so far been outstanding and enjoyable to watch – and an average episode doesn’t have the ability to ruin the success of Season 9.
EDITOR NOTE: Doctor Who Season 9 episodes 6-8 has not been reviewed yet during yBaX-Start's hiatus. However these will soon be updated at a later time.