blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Doctor Who (2005) s04e08 – Silence in the Library

Silence in the Library is writer Steven Moffat’s first episode since last season’s big deal killer stone angels episode starring movie star Carey Mulligan. No movie star guest star for Silence, rather “she made it in Hollywood on ‘ER’ and now she’s back in the UK” Alex Kingston. I mean… it was pre-streaming. It was prestige. Ish.

Also Colin Salmon. Colin Salmon’s a pretty solid guest star.

Salmon’s in the hook too.

The episode opens with psychiatrist Salmon checking on kid patient Eve Newton, who sees this giant library whenever she closes her eyes and now all of a sudden David Tennant and Catherine Tate appear, Newton screams (kid in danger, not a “Who” norm, got to take it up a notch), and cue titles.

When the show comes back, it’s back to normal—i.e. from Tennant and Tate’s perspective—and he’s brought her to the universe’s largest library. It’s a whole planet of books. Moffat’s sparing no expense with this one. Lots of big ideas.

Like dying people being trapped in their communicator devices—imagine if the predictive text on your phone was predictive voice and kept going when you died—and good old monsters like killer shadows who then inhabit space suits with skull faces.

The space suits come from Kingston and her team of interstellar archeologists—Tennant hates interstellar archeologists incidentally, which seems to surprise Kingston—who are at the library on an expedition for apparently shitty rich guy Steve Pemberton.

There’s a likable bunch of potential victims—Sarah Niles, Josh Dallas, Harry Peacock, O-T Fagbenle—plus Pemberton’s assistant, Talulah Riley, who isn’t smart but she’s hot and no one listens to her and Tate is nice to her because Tate seems to realize poorly written “stupid” characters are the worst.

Except not even Tate listens to Riley when it’s important and the results are tragic. Then things just race towards getting us to the “to be continued,” with Moffat taking the additional swing of having Kingston knowing Tennant from his future. And they seem to be intimate.

So apparently at some point in the future Tennant gets a libido and uses it on the female costar he’s had the least amount of chemistry with in his entire time on the show, which sort of draws attention to Tennant being nowhere near as fun in the role as he used to be.

His serious Doctor thing these days just comes off camp.


Big cliffhanger. But not really, of course. “Doctor Who” cliffhangers are pretty perfunctory at this point. Lots of “Doctor Who” is pretty perfunctory at this point.

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