By Nicole Wilson
Every Doctor Who fan has an opinion on Steven Moffat. No matter where their opinion lies on the spectrum, they simply can’t dismiss that he’s written some stellar episodes for this heart wrenching, fantastical science fiction show. In honor of the last two Doctor Who episodes “Listen” and “Time Heist,” which were written and co-written by Moffat respectively, it’s time to take a look back and list the Top Ten Moffat episodes. Will “Listen” and “Time Heist” make the cut?
10. The Day of the Doctor
At number ten, “The Day of the Doctor” was the 50th Anniversary episode of this time honored serial. It left the fans of the Who with many throwbacks to previous series, such as Billie Piper’s cameo as Rose Tyler/Bad Wolf and bringing back the Tenth Doctor and the Fourth Doctor for some nostalgia. Viewers got the privilege of watching the process of how the Doctor became the man he is: “Never Cruel. Never cowardly.”
9. A Good Man Goes To War
Number nine would be “A Good Man Goes To War,” an episode with an opening monologue by Amelia Pond and a montage of the Doctor gathering his army and threatening his enemies with the help of Rory Williams. The world turn because Rory is referenced to as The Last Centurion as he is questioning cybermen and destroying their ships. The audience was introduced to the Paternoster Gang (Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax), and found out, along with the Doctor, just how dangerous he is – “Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.”
8. The Snowmen
Hello again, to the Paternoster Gang in number eight, “The Snowmen.” This was also the second time the audience sees Clara in Doctor Who, whom remained shrouded in mystery throughout this episode. Clara and the Paternoster Gang played an integral role in reminding the Doctor who he is after he lost the two people he loved most. “There’s a man called the Doctor. He lives on a cloud in the sky and all he does all day, every day, is to stop all the children in the world ever having bad dreams.” It kept coming back to the children, especially in this next one.
7. The Beast Below
“The Beast Below” at number seven is a great example of how children become a large thematic image in the story arc of the Eleventh Doctor. Riddled with metaphor for the difficult decisions humans are faced with and the moral ambiguity and ugliness of humanity that results from those decisions, this episode further revealed why the Doctor chose his name. “What if you were really old and really kind and alone – your whole race dead, no future. What could you do then? If you were that old and that kind, and the very last of your kind, you couldn’t just stand there and watch children cry.”
6. The Girl In the Fireplace
Ringing in at number six is an episode from the era of Russell T. Davies as show runner, “The Girl In the Fireplace.” This was an incredibly fun episode featuring a hole ripped through time and space, masked clockwork creatures, and Madame de Pompadour of 18th century France. This episode showcases the Doctor’s need to save this one woman, even if it means being callous to those with which he already travels, and becoming her guardian angel of sorts. “One may tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel.”
5. Let’s Kill Hitler
With answers to questions the audience had been asking since River Song was introduced in season four, “Let’s Kill Hitler” is on this list as number five. Following “A Good Man Goes to War,” this episode revealed more as to who River Song really was and how she became the woman we met in season four. Many Doctor Who fans love the scene when the Doctor was in his TARDIS, desperate for a way out of his current situation, and talking to a voice interface that manifests itself as his previous companions. Left with a follow up to “A Good Man Goes to War” after finding out the Doctor has many rules, this episode was riddled with his rules and this one will keep popping up, “Rule one: The Doctor lies.”
The new episode “Listen” is making this list at number four. With its mixtures and convolution of time streams, it screamed of Moffat’s pen. Something striking about this episode was that every question has an answer, but there was never a confirmation whether any of the answers were the correct answer. As the audience previously learned the impact that Clara had in the Doctor’s life, his life decisions seemingly came full circle when Clara helped him prove whether or not we are all truly ever alone. The theme of this episode was fear and using that fear towards a purpose: “Fear is a super power. Fear can make you faster, and cleverer and stronger and one day, you’re going to come back to this barn and on that day, you’re going to be very afraid indeed. But that’s okay, because if you’re very wise and very strong, fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly. Fear can make you kind.”
3. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
This two-parter counts as number three. In the era of Russell T. Davies as the Doctor Who show runner, this Moffat episode stood out as one of the creepiest. Other than the creepiness, the audience was introduced to the charming Captain Jack Harkness. The flirting that ensued between Jack and Rose and the Doctor left the viewers wanting a lot more of this witty banter and a lot more of Captain Jack. However, these episodes will never allow the viewers to hear this innocent question again without wanting to run far away: “Are you my mummy?”
2. The Eleventh Hour
Matt Smith’s big debut rings in as number two with the moment Doctor Who fans fell in love with the eleventh doctor. The Doctor met his new companion, Amelia Pond, “the first face this face saw.” Many of the things that gripped the audience’s heart about the Eleventh Doctor were also introduced in this episode as his relationship with Amy became integral to his story arc and development. Believing in the imaginary and impossible are themes relayed throughout this episode, and never will Doctor Who fans forget this: “I am definitely a madman with a box.”
“Blink” at number one probably doesn’t surprise anybody. This is one of Moffat’s first episodes for this serial and it is one of the show’s overall best one-offs. It introduced the audience to a brand new monster, which is one of the show’s most terrifying – the Weeping Angels, concrete statues that come to life when no one is looking at them. Hence, the episode’s namesake and sage advice, “Don’t blink.” Not only was this the debut of the Weeping Angels, but it was told from the POV of the beloved Sally Sparrow, the character this episode revolved around. In fact, the Doctor only showed his face sparingly and interacted in unconventional ways with Sparrow to resolve the episode.