Doctor Who: Night Terrors – A Recap

Courtesy BBC: Night Terrors

***Warning this post contains spoilers about Night Terrors and may refer to previous episodes of Doctor Who. If you haven’t watched the episode or don’t want to be surprised do not read further.***

This week is a stand alone episode, a break from the action that this season has given us so far.

A little boy, George, is tucked in by his mother as she is leaving for work. George is a terrified little boy, terrified of everything around him, and especially afraid of the monsters in his cupboard. As he is laying in bed trembling, he keeps repeating, “Please save me from the monsters, please save me from the monsters.” This message is so strong and filled with emotion that it is transmitted straight across the universe, directly to the Doctor’s psychic paper. When the Doctor reads the distress call message, he decides that it is time to make a house call!

The Doctor, Amy and Rory arrive at a massive apartment building. They know that the signal came from this building, but they don’t have an exact location. In order to cover the building they all split up and start knocking on doors, looking for anyone who might be in need of the Doctor’s assistance. The entire building seems to be filled with surly, tired, working class families and a less then cordial landlord. Eventually, the Doctor sees a little boy peering out of his window and seems to know that this is the boy they have been looking for. While he goes to investigate, the Ponds take the elevator to another floor but when it starts plunging down it seems like the end for Amy and Rory.

The Doctor knocks on George’s door and his father, Alex, answers. Alex assumes that it is the social worker that he called to get advice about George’s fears so he invites the Doctor into the flat. Alex explains that George has always had fears but they have been getting so much worse lately. They seem to be crippling him from his daily routine. When the Doctor talks to George directly he finds out that George is most afraid of his cupboard, the place where he locks away everything that scares him. While the Doctor and George are talking the landlord is demanding his rent from Alex in the next room, this seems to intensify Georges fears. The Doctor tries to reassure George that its just a cupboard but when he sonics it he joins George in his terror. There is something in there that is terrifying. Especially terrifying if it can scare the Doctor.

Amy and Rory have apparently not plummeted to their deaths in the elevator but instead have been transported to a house somewhere. The house is dark and odd. Wooden pots and pans painted to look like copper. Lights that go on and off by on their own. Doors with no knobs. After running around for a bit they hear some laughing and upon inspection find out that its just a life sized doll making those sounds. The coast seems clear until they turn around and see the doll turn the landlord into a life sized doll in front of their eyes. The dolls begin to chase Amy and Rory wanting nothing more then to play with them. Amy and Rory are sent on the run. They barricade themselves into a room with no knobs. They need to escape but the only escape is blocked by the dolls. It seems the only way to get out is to let the dolls in and push past them. When they open the door, the dolls push in and Rory is able to escape. Amy isn’t so lucky and she quickly becomes the newest red headed doll in the big house. Rory runs as fast as he can to save himself from impending doll-doom.

The Doctor is trying to collect his thoughts by making a cup of tea. In the process he explains to Alex that the monsters in his closet are very real. When Alex gets angry for feeding George’s fears the Doctor explains who he really is and how he managed to receive George’s message. Alex seems to believe the Doctor and his only comment is, “So you aren’t from social services are you?”

The Doctor builds up enough courage to open the cupboard because there is no way to fight unless you know what it is. In a moment filled with tension, the Doctor pulls the cupboard wide to reveal toy dinosaurs, a doll house…pretty much a normal child’s cupboard with nothing out of the ordinary. So what was the Doctor missing? He paces around the apartment wracking his brain trying to figure it out. He knows the answer is sitting right in front of him but he can’t quite piece it together. AH HA!!!! The photo album! Alex had shown the Doctor a photo album of pictures from when George was born except that his mom had never been pregnant in the months preceding his birth. Alex remembers that his wife couldn’t have kids, he gets even more freaked out when he realizes that he actually forgot, and yet there is his son sitting in the next room. When George looks at them, having overheard everything, he banishes both of them to the cupboard as well.

Alex and the Doctor meet up with Rory on the stairs and they all fight to save themselves from the dolls. The Doctor quickly explains that they are in the dollhouse in George’s closet and that George is a Tenza. Tenza’s are born in space, where they drift until they find a habitable world. They then find a family that they can live with and infiltrate their lives. The Tenza infant would adapt itself to suit its environment and alter the memories of its surrogate parents and those around them. After that, the Tenza would live out its life as a member of the surrogate parents’ species without conscious realization of its true nature. If a Tenza feels threatened, its telepathic abilities effect everything around them even if they aren’t conscious of it. George is psychically bringing his own fears to life and even reached out psychically to the Doctor.

Turns out George’s greatest fear is that of being rejected by his parents. Alex had been talking about getting George help for some time and George was afraid that meant he would be taken away. George’s fears were heightened even further by the revelation that he wasn’t human. Why would his parent want to keep an alien?

So, how to solve a fear of rejection. Unconditional love. Alex needs to let George know that he is his son and will never be sent away. Love conquers fear and all is set right. Amy and the landlord are returned to their human forms and everyone else returns exactly where they disappeared from. George’s mom returns from work to her son, Alex, and the Doctor happily making kippers for breakfast.

I’ll admit, after watching the previews I was pretty scared of watching this episode as I am definitely not a horror movie kind of person and the thought of dolls coming alive really creeps me out. I made sure I left all the lights on and had my husband nearby when I watched the show. In the end, it really wasn’t as scary as other Doctor Who episodes. I loved the moral at the end. Unconditional love conquers even the biggest fears.

So what did you think of last weeks episode? What are you looking forward to about this week’s episode, The Girl Who Waited?

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