Doctor Who “Sleep No More” Review (Season 9 Episode 9)

Hey, Doctor Who decided to do found footage this week! That’s something new for the show, if a bit dated in relation to the cultural zeitgeist. Sadly, the show had very little to offer other than a gimmicky shooting style, making “Sleep No More” feel like the first real misfire of the season.

Stories where the Doctor is trapped in a remote location with some sort of research crew or rescue group live and die on two things: the supporting cast and the monster of the week. If both are great, you get outright instant classics like “The Waters of Mars.” Conversely, if neither particularly jumps off the screen, well, you get this episode. The supporting cast wasn’t too bad, but they weren’t particularly remarkable either. The show did its best at the top to set up the characters various personalities – the joker, the soldier, the leader, etc. – these character traits all fell away as everyone was left either dying or struggling to survive.

As for the monster of the week… look, they were fighting monsters made out of the “dust” that builds up around your eyes while you’re sleeping. I mean, come on, they were fighting carnivorous eye boogers; I don’t care how many creepy moans or dark shadows you throw over a scene, that’s never going to make for an effective horror villain. Good on the show for trying, and Capaldi for doing his best to sell the Doctor’s explanation, but there are better ways to sell a monster created by not sleeping. Have them be psychically-created from repressed dream energy, maybe? Just not eye boogers, is what I’m saying.

And then, there was the ending, which was a bit of a head-scratcher. So, are we to take it that the Doctor lost here? Even as the TARDIS was vwoorping, the Doctor had no clue what was going on, and it seemed like the dust creatures were getting exactly what they wanted. It was a creepy ending, but a bizarre one, even more so given that the show doesn’t have a second-part follow-up to further explore the outcome. A wonky ending for a wonky episode, I suppose.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!