What hides under the bed and lurks in the dark?
The Doctor doesn’t know, but he’s quite afraid. So afraid, in fact, that he makes it his mission to uncover the truth about the creature that lurks in dreams and shadows.
He picks Clara up after what probably counts as one of the worst dates of all time. She and Danny Pink can’t seem to communicate properly; her jokes make him defensive, and his assumptions make her angry, so she walks out on him.
Unfortunately, he’s still on her mind when the Doctor connects her telepathically to the TARDIS, and, instead of visiting her childhood as planned, they end up meeting a young Rupert “Danny” Pink.
There’s nothing under Rupert’s bed…but there is a creature in a blanket on top of it. And so much for the Doctor’s plan to find out what it is – he chickens out and tells them all to turn away from it, begging the creature (or child playing a prank?) to go in peace.
It vanishes, and the Doctor puts Rupert to sleep with a tap on the forehead, giving him dreams of ‘Soldier Man Dan.”
“Dad skills,” the Doctor calls his telepathic storytelling, giving us strange insight into Gallifreyan parenting.
Clara has the Doctor take her back to the restaurant, but her date with Danny soon goes afoul again. To make matters worse, a man in a space suit crashes the date, and Clara follows him back to the TARDIS. He is revealed to be Orson Pink, Danny’s (and possibly Clara’s???) great-grandson.
The Doctor found Orson at the end of the universe, where strange noises outside the hull of his ship had him spooked. The Doctor insists on staying the night and unlocking the hatch, which opens of its own accord. He sends Clara back to the TARDIS (and, after putting up a fuss, she reluctantly agrees, which still makes her more obedient than any other companion the Doctor’s ever had), and ends up getting knocked unconscious when the air field around the ship collapses.
Danny comes to his rescue, but the cloister bells ring, and Clara uses her telepathic TARDIS connection to fly them somewhere else.
That somewhere, it seems, is the barn on Gallifrey where the War Doctor nearly destroyed the Time Lords with the Moment. How they broke the Time Lock to get there remains a mystery, but we do get some insight into the young Doctor.
He lives in some sort of group home and sleeps outside because he doesn’t want the other boys to hear him cry. He is, it turns out, quite afraid of the dark.
When he wakes, Clara grabs his foot from under the bed. She tells him to go back to sleep, and soothes him with words stolen from the future Doctor. Fear, she tells him, just as the Doctor told Rupert, is a superpower. It kicks the human/Gallifreyan system into overdrive, and makes one faster and stronger.
And speaking of Gallifreyans…we get some very curious insight into their culture. “Well, he’s not going to the Academy, is he?” a man says of the young Doctor. “He’ll never make a Time Lord.”
Does that mean that being a Time Lord is a privilege bestowed on some Gallifreyans but not others? Based on “The Night of the Doctor” and “The Time of the Doctor,” we do know that it might be Time Lord science, and not inherent biology, that triggers the regeneration cycle.
Back in the TARDIS, Clara gives the Doctor a great, big hug, much to his dismay. “I’m against the hugging!” he protests, but Clara nearly knocks him off of his feet with her embrace. Back in her own time, she visits Danny Pink one more time, and their night finally ends with a kiss.
We never do find out if there’s really a monster under the bed, but, as Clara says, it doesn’t matter. “Fear makes companions of us all,” and there’s nothing wrong with being afraid. Even for a Time Lord.
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