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Recap: Doctor Who, Episode 6.09, “Night Terrors”

After last week’s pie tin full of plot was thrown in our faces, this episode seemed almost quiet in comparison; even with the giant, scary, paper-head doll monsters and a sad child. This will most certainly be an easier episode to recap, so let’s jump right in.

George is a sweet-faced, very serious child who has a problem. His cupboard is full of monsters. George becomes so frightened of the things in his cupboard, he cries out for help. He’s so frightened, in fact, his signal travels all the way to the TARDIS, so the best person ever to help deal with a cupboard full of monsters is on his way.

Our Doctor knows a thing or two about shoving things in cupboards, especially scary things, like monsters and Hitler. He arrives at the largest apartment complex I’ve ever seen, to find George alone with his dad, who is both worried and aggravated by George’s constant fears and quirks. The Doctor poses as a doctor from social services come to SuperNanny the family right up.

He talks to George, after getting the boy to warm up to him by making the boy’s toys come to life with his sonic. Playing plastic army men with a wee Time Lord has got to be loads of fun, and possibly deadly. The Doctor quickly susses up that the monsters are real, but George may not be. He confronts George’s dad with a book of photos, and demands to know about the day George was born. George’s dad remembers, suddenly, that his wife, Claire, can’t have kids, and he doesn’t actually remember George being born.

George is an alien foster child, and he came with his very own perception filter and particularly over-active imagination. More on that in a minute.

While the Doctor has been having tea and playing robots with George and his family, Amy and Rory have gotten themselves sucked into a world of trouble, as they do. They, along with George’s mean landlord and a cute little old lady who’s tired of taking her trash out, get pulled into a scary-looking house. A scary house full of even scarier dolls – the monsters who have been causing George so much trouble.

The next superpower will have an army of these.

Not only will the monsters scare the tea right out of anyone who runs into them, they can turn their prey into scary dolls, too. Like zombies. Creepy, giggling, giant-headed zombies. The doll zombies get Amy, and her ginger doll chases poor Rory around the house.

Amy and Rory are always getting sucked into things, turned into other things, and dying. I should hope there’s some sort of pension fund for former companions.

In George’s bedroom, the Doctor has decided to open the cupboard and let Hitler the monsters out. When he does, he and George’s dad are sucked in. They end up in the same creepy house as everyone else who’s been hoovered into the plot, and the Doctor quickly figures out it’s George’s dollhouse. (Let me pause for a moment and say DOCTOR WHO IN A DOLLHOUSE, my inner child is so happy.)

George learns a valuable lesson about mean girls.

The dolls are swarming, as Who monsters do, and the Doctor calls out for George to face his fears. George walks into the cupboard, and that wee actor playing him is so good I wanted to send him a glass of warm milk and a peanut butter sandwich through the teevee. As it happens, George created this whole world from his fears. He’s never felt really accepted by his human foster family, and since he’s programmed to do whatever it takes to fit in with his family, he’s constantly scared, lonely and lost. The Doctor convinces George’s dad to go to him, which actually doesn’t take much convincing, and father and son hug and cry and make everything right again.

And I’ll be sleeping with a light on, because those dolls are really, really creepy.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

3 replies on “Recap: Doctor Who, Episode 6.09, “Night Terrors””

I absolutely loved this episode! It’s been a while since they had a proper “monster of the week”-episode, and I discovered that I’ve really missed them! They were what got me into Doctor Who in the first place. That and a lot of timey-wimey stuff, of course.

The little boy who played George was heartbreaking, the dad and George hugging was heartwarming and the dolls were terrifying. What else do you need?

However, it was fairly obvious that they originally intended for Night Terrors to be in the first half of the season. To go directly from “Oh my god, River’s our daughter and she’s been in our life all along!” to not even mentioning her felt a bit odd. But still, loved the episode!

I think this was supposed to be the 3rd episode of the 6th season(instead of the piratey one.) I really wish they’d aired it earlier, because it makes “put Hitler in the cupboard” even funnier, and I did not think such a thing was possible. There’s also a moment when the Doctor says “all together again, in the flesh!” that would make a hell of a lot more sense pre-season break.

I was pretty sure that the apartment building was “council estate” (aka the projects) but then there was that one “landlord” guy with the creepy dog and he got sucked into the carpet. That was weird.

I loved the dollhouse (not the dolls though. Holy crap they were terrifying) and I had a dream recently where I lived in an apartment that was “bigger on the inside,” which is probably proof that I watch too much Doctor Who.

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