Eye-booger monsters, an FPS perspective and heavy Pet’ing didn’t quite detract from the gargantuan plot holes in this one
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Boom! First-person perspective cold open aboard a spaceship where the crew’s gone missing, Doc and Clara have turned up for no real reason, and so has a team of soldiers, of whom exactly one was genetically bred for soldiering — because that’s what we do in the future, except for the entire rest of the team… of soldiers.
You know how you really want to work even more, but all that pesky free time and sleep always get in the way? Well, not anymore, buddy, because in the far-flung future a mad scientist with corporate backing has invented a pod that packs all your snoozing needs into one stretch like that lady from the start of Amelie Poulain.
Well, turns out the crew’s gone missing because they plopped inside the sleeping pods and were subsumed by the snoozie gunk in the corner of their eye. And now there are eye-booger monsters roaming the space corridors, plotting to take over the space universe under the spell of the aforementioned mad space scientist, or so the episode claims, because what just happened?!
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The episode opens with a guy telling us to not watch it. I should have taken his advice.
Sleep No More is basically Mark Gatiss’ attempt at a found footage horror episode, which runs into the problems of having a fake-deep premise involving eye boogers metastasising into lumbering boogers monsters which are boring as shit, zero effective horror scenes, and only about 1 sort-of-memorable character. Which is a shame because it tries (haphazardly) to do some genuinely inventive things with the found footage genre in the process, but lacks the ingenuity to make anything watchable out of it.
Why eye boogers though? I mean, sure, an alien signal that turns people into dust is all fine and good, but how is this connected to accelerated sleep? This somehow makes even less sense than Doc’s deductions in Kill the Moon. And since it was the Doctor’s deduction, it’s hard to brush it away as a red herring. It did make sense to him, somehow.
Finally, I would like to commend the episode for casting first ever transgender person on the show in a role of subhuman freak. This is bravery unheard of in the modern age.
Sleep No More is an episode which certainly attempts to be creative – the found footage element takes some adjusting but I think it fitted in well with and complimented the story tremendously. In terms of the episode then, I think it is overall quite creepy and very atmospheric for Doctor Who, though it does undoubtedly suffer from some serious pacing issues (going from slow-motion tiptoe at the start to a haphazard sprint by the almost nonexistent conclusion).
The performances for the most part are good, with Capaldi shining out as usual, while the guest cast are also acted well, but are unfortunately quite forgettable. On release, this episode was received very poorly, probably due to the aforementioned slow start and potential to feel gimmicky, and still maintains one of the lowest ratings on IMDB, but I think generally the fandom’s opinion of this story has grown over time.
Yes, it has its flaws, but I think the twisting plot, found-footage element and brilliant direction give it a cold, atmospheric feel virtually unrivalled by any other story.
Rating: 1.8/5 grunts consumed by gross piles of sleep eye. Yuk.
Hey Who Back When! You ready to Rock this….*sigh* Im sorry, I can’t even fake that level of enthusiasm for this episode. This might be the single worst episode of New Who. At least Love & Monsters had oral sex with a slab of granite. This took what might have been a cool idea of a story, combined it with an interesting first person twist and managed to turn out complete and utter crap
I’ll start with the good since there’s so little of it. The monsters looked pretty cool and they gave a clever explanation for the first person perspective. Also, I loved how they poke fun at things being named “Space” whatever. Was that a direct dig at Terry Nation? I certainly hope so. The whole sleep pod concept could have been a neat story basis but everything else just made it sink like it was tied to a bag of me’s
The acting from the guest cast was terrible, the crew were just a bunch of generic stereotypes and the Grunt was just plain obnoxious. The ending monologue from the “bad guy” was cheesy even for Doctor Who. I know it was supposed to come off as creepy but it was just the painful groan of an exclamation point at the end of this frustratingly abysmal episode
Overall, I give this a 0.7 out of 5 crusty gunks of eye dust. See you next time for a much better episode. Till then, Rock on