The Good: Nothing.
The Bad: Lame plot, Lack of character development, No significant performance moments
The Basics: "Sleep No More" might well be the worst episode of Doctor Who since the show returned in 2005.
Sometimes, there are things that are sophisticated enough to be worthy of a complicated evaluation that one looks at from many different angles. Then, occasionally, there are things that are simple and do not require much in the way of review. The Doctor Who episode "Sleep No More" is definitely the latter. "Sleep No More" is the Doctor Who equivalent of The Ring (reviewed here!).
Coming at an indeterminate time after "The Zygon Inversion" (reviewed here!), "Sleep No More" might ultimately be significant if it is followed-up upon. The episode might be an annoying "necessary evil" episode as the only real take-away from the episode is that Clara Oswald is now on a ticking clock for her death.
"Sleep No More" follows a rescue crew arriving at the Le Verrier Space Station around Neptune in the 38th Century. The rescue crew encounters The Doctor and Clara, who arrived at the station and soon they are on the run from sandlike creatures that digest their victims. Running into a safer room, they unearth Rassmussen from a Morpheus pod. The Morpheus pods were engineered to make it so humans only had to sleep for five minutes a day. The Doctor, however, realizes that the Morpheus pods have disastrous consequences, including generating the creatures that are stalking everyone on the space station. As The Doctor and the members of the rescue team try to flee the station, The Doctor realizes that everyone who uses the Morpheus pod might be infected with something horrible and that the dust on the station is actually spying for the horrific entities.
"Sleep No More" is a "recovered footage" style episode and that does not make the episode any better. Instead, the episode is a cheap combination of The Ring and The Blair Witch Project (reviewed here!). The episode employs shaky cameras and assumes viewers won't notice for quite some time that there are camera angles and eye lines that do not fit any characters, banking on the revelation that the dust "sees" everything. It doesn't exactly explain how the dust - which is explained to be the optic nerves of the Sandmen - makes video recordings.
So, there is an explanation, explained in the episode's final moments, but it is ultimately unsatisfying and counter-productive (i.e. if a parasite needed to gestate in people who watch the footage, why would you include in the footage any sort of truth about the parasite that someone who watched might use to try to defeat said parasite?). So, the direction is pretty terrible.
The acting in "Sleep No More" is bland and there are no moments that require any talent from any of the performers. Similarly, "Sleep No More" is utterly devoid of significant character moments.
And there's truly no more that needs to be said about it; "Sleep No More" is a terrible episode with contrived adversaries, horrible direction and nothing to recommend it.
For other works with Reece Shearsmith, please check out my reviews of:
The World's End
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Doctor Who - The Complete Ninth Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the sophomore season of Peter Capaldi as The Doctor here!
For more Doctor Who reviews, please check out my Doctor Who Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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