Well. How to describe The Silence In The Library… I sat still afterwards for a few minutes, looking at the now empty screen I’d been watching it all on, and became very aware that I had a dark room behind me…
I’ve loved this series so far – so many things to like about the writing, the elusive “story-arc” (yawn). But the one thing I think we’ve been missing is suspense. Last year was not short of suspense – I think most, if not all the stories had elements of suspense – with 42 being extremely tense all the way through, and then the ultimate trio of episodes from Paul Cornell and Steven Moffat topping it all off. But this year, I think we’ve seen things coming.
The Sontaran story, as enjoyable as it was (and I mean that sincerely – it was incredibly watchable, even if I did have reservations about the plot), was not tense at any point, to me. The Doctor’s Daughter gave away the suspense within a minute of the start and from then on was light on plot and pretty predictable (but great all the same). The Fires of Pompeii had some suspense in, and was a cracking early episode, but that’s about it.
But as usual, The Moff defies us all. From start to finish, this episode pulsed like one of the classic Dalek tales or the relentless tension in the Web of Fear. There were some fantastic touches in structure – they’re sealed in a library, but there’s a little girl on earth (? Is it earth?) who can see all and communicate with them – even if she doesn’t understand. Shadows that eat you alive – “not every shadow, but any shadow” is how the Doctor described it. Weapons useless against such an enemy is something that also screams classic Who to me – and makes all this even better.
Then there’s Professor River Song. Odd name. Hope that means something good or important, because otherwise it’ll annoy me as a useless comedy name that reminds me of an Ocean Colour Scene song.
We discussed River Song briefly when we “did lunch” last week – only briefly, as none of us wanted to spoil anything and I’d only mentioned that I’d heard a couple of “facts about her”. Namely that she is meant to be the Doctor’s lover, but she’s from a future he hasn’t got to yet. So far, that’s half right.
Lovely touches, too, with the references to Donna – the way River started saying something about how the Doctor talked about her and then stopped herself. I wish they’d stop with all that now. We pretty much know that something horrible is going to happen at the end of the series – I just wish they’d let us wait for that in peace!
Fabulous cliffhanger too. That is something I miss from Classic Who – the weekly cliffhanger. Even the one in The Sontaran Stratagem wasn’t all that nervy (like Wilfred is going to die that early…). But this was great – with a horrible but brilliant touch of the real faces on the robots.
Those are creepy too, and I liked Donna’s earlier reaction to them “It chose me the face of a dead person that it thought I’d like?!”
By the time it had finished, I’d felt like I’d only just sat down to start it. It really didn’t register that I’d just seen 45 minutes of brilliant TV until I’d seen the clock. I’m not sure I’d breathed for the last half an hour of that, either. This is what it’s all about.
Bring on Saturday!