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PopWrapped | Recaps

Doctor Who: 09x09, Sleep No More

Sydney Lanier Burke | PopWrapped Author

Sydney Lanier Burke

Updated 11/17/2015 4:33am
Doctor Who: 09x09, Sleep No More | Sleep No More
Media Courtesy of Credit: Stuart Manning

This week's Doctor Who is the first stand-alone episode we've had this year. We now know for sure that Clara Oswald is not long for this programme, but we just have to wait to see what happens. From the promotional details the BBC has released, it doesn't sound like she'll be going in this episode or the next. Considering I've started to like her a fair bit, I'm not looking forward to her leaving, but I can't wait to see what the next Doctor/companion dynamic is like.

Anyway, on with "Sleep No More"! Things we know to expect this week are that the episode is comprised of 'found footage' (Blair Witch-style) and the iconic DW theme song is missing. Don't worry; I'll be singing it loudly enough for all of us to enjoy.

We start with a warning (from a man who introduces himself as Rassmussen) that we shouldn't be watching the video. He apologises that there are bits missing, but it was cobbled together from what there was. Instead of the usual theme song (told you), we get a digital Matrix-y screen with -- I'm sure -- some easter eggs someone with more time on their hands could explain for you.

Sleep No More, 09x09 Courtesy of Radio Times

We see some crew arguing and profile information about each crew member pops onto the screen. They are the rescue crew sent to find Rassmussen, and he says all the footage is either from their perspective or from the ship's. He says there was no crew left, but they did find strangers there.

We hear The Doctor and Clara chatting, trying to figure out where they are and why it's so dark. They are arguing over the term 'space restaurant'; you can't just pop the word 'space' in front of other words and make them interesting or sensical. They cross paths with the rescue crew. To solve where and when they are, The Doctor surmises, "Indo-Japanese, 38th Century, Tuesday" -- but where are the crew of the ship?

474 (the grunt) and Chopra get into a physical altercation. 474 is programmed to respond to physical attacks, and he nearly chokes Chopra. The grunts are clones, grown for muscle. Clara is utterly disgusted by this idea.

There is a huge, deep growl. They rush a cabin and try to close the door. Whatever was growling has its arm in the doorway, but, when they manage to slam it, the arm turns to dust. There also no longer appears to be a monster at the door.

Deep-Ando is still outside somewhere in the ship. Clara and The Doctor are looking at Morpheus pods. While Morpheus might be the God of Dreams, as Clara is proud to know, we mere humans can't help but think of The Matrix again. Clara is sucked into one of the pods, and they are apparently semi-sentient. We see a little dance of 50s-style women (maybe Clara -- my telly isn't big enough to tell) singing the intro 'bom bom boms' of the classic "Mr. Sandman".

474 notices that the last pod isn't empty. When they convince the pod's inhabitant to open up, we see Rassmussen.

Sleep No More, 09x09 Courtesy of BBC

A hologram explains that sleep has always been a requirement for humans, but Morpheus makes it to where they don't need sleep anymore. The machines will give you all the chemical benefits of sleep in five minutes, increasing productivity. That's what we want!

Sleep is good! The Doctor says! Even he sleeps when no one's looking (typically, if I remember correctly, when others are taking too long explaining things and he's waiting for his turn to speak). While Rassmussen may have conquered nature, he's also created an abomination.

Sleep dust! Sleep dust is what is stuck in the corners of our eyes when we wake. The Doctor thinks the monsters are made of the sleep dust! That means that the crew, who frequented the Morpheus pods, have been digested already. The dust "is adaptable [and] clever and it's coming for us" -- words you just love to hear from The Doctor. If they don't figure out how to get rid of them, it'll be dunzo for the human race.

Deep-Ando is still trying to get on out in ship on his own. He gives his ID details to the computer system, but it has been reprogrammed to require him to sing 'the song' to open the doors. He isn't familiar with the rules -- or why something 'amusing' needs to be required to get past a security door, or, to be frank, why the computer system is teasing him -- but he eventually sings a small piece of 'the Morpheus song', "Mr. Sandman", as the sleep dust monsters attack. "He was the first to die", according to Rassmussen.

Credit: BBC Courtesy of BBC

The ship is destabilising, shaking and trembling, as they near a planet and the grav-shields have been deactivated, and one of the sleep dust monsters is attacking. Rassmussen gets sucked up into the monster -- goodbye Rassmussen? Chopra and 474 don't make it through the door into the freezer with The Doctor, Clara, and Nagata. The Doctor says that we now know that sleep is a requirement, and we can't just push away with technology. It's a crazy sharp episode, for sure, but he seems particularly intense this week.

Chopra and 474 are trying to radio in to Nagata and decide to head to the rescue ship. If they haven't heard from Nagata and Co. by then, they will have to destroy the ship.

The Doctor is reviewing the footage from the rescue crew's helmet cams -- though Nagata says they don't have helmet cams. The Doctor is unhappy because Clara has called the monsters 'Sandmen'; he's supposed to name the things. They can't stay in the freezer because the Sandmen will inevitably get through the door, or they might freeze to death in there.

Chopra and 474 are faced with a fire on one side and Sandmen on the other. 474 punches Chopra in the face to knock him out and carry him to 'safety' through the fire.

The Doctor has figured out that the Sandmen can't see. If they stay silent, they won't attack. Unfortunately, they aren't entirely silent and must run the rest of the way to the engine room.

474 isn't going to survive, so he urges Chopra to go ahead. The Sandmen can walk through the fire -- and not turn to glass? -- and 474 attacks.

Credit: BBC Courtesy of BBC

There is footage from all over, and it's being stored somewhere. There are no cameras anywhere. The dust floats around and sees, and that's why the Sandmen can't see. Their visual sensors have been hijacked somehow. Clara's vision is being recorded because she was in the Morpheus pod; Chopra's isn't because he refuses to use the pods.

"Warning: Dangerous materials in transit. Human contact is not advised." We see a pod of some description -- it looks more like the suspended animation chamber from "Before the Flood" than the Morpheus pods from here. Chopra gets back to the rescue ship, assuming Nagata is dead, and immediately screams like he's being eaten as the doors close.

The Doctor, Nagata, and Clara make it to the ship, and The Doctor knows something still isn't right. He knows someone is helping the Sandmen. Rassmussen reveals himself. He thinks the Sandmen are a better life form and says that it is only right that they consume all of humanity. It has all been explained to him.

Credit: BBC Courtesy of BBC

The pod holds Morpheus' Patient Zero -- a man who has not slept in five years. The system is adapting, and it knows how to infect new planets, species, solar systems, etc. with its dust. Nagata threatens Rassmussen, as the pod opens. A giant Sandman awakens and doesn't seem to be bothered by Nagata's gun.

The Doctor provides a distraction with his sonic shades in the form of the dancing "Mr. Sandman" ladies. They manage to run out, and Nagata shoots and kills Rassmussen. Things still aren't adding up for The Doctor, and the Sandman has managed to open the door. They have to destroy the Morpheus pods when they get to the TARDIS, but there are Sandmen EVERYWHERE! The Doctor self-destructs the grav-shields, and the planet's gravity begins to rip the Sandmen apart. Clara opens the TARDIS, and they jump in.

Credit: BBC Courtesy of BBC

Rassmussen's video continues, and he shares that there are no spores. The video isn't his alibi -- it's his plan. The video has a feed encoded which puts the Morpheus code into our brains. There's nothing we can do now, and we will show the video to everyone we know. Won't we?

Rassmussen begins to peel at his face (STOPSTOPSTOP), and we see that he's dust inside. He's no longer dead or alive -- he is just dust, and the dust is teasing us.

I can honestly say that I don't think I was in the right frame of mind for this episode. It's not that I didn't enjoy it; it's just that it's a little too dark outside, and I'm a little too emotionally strained with everything that's happening in the world right now, and, well, it was pretty scary.

What did you think of this episode? Did you notice that Rassmussen, at the beginning, was clearly talking to us after all the events of the episode? What about The Doctor not mentioning Clara dying at any point -- he even says that he has a lot to experience ahead of the modern day? Are you a little afraid of going to sleep now?

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