In the interest of actually reviewing the whole series I have sat down to watch ‘Sleep No More’ on no less then five occasions. Finally I might have something intelligent to say on it all.
I have had to watch this five times because every time I pick up on something new. None of the new facts I have learnt since watching it a number of times has made me enjoy the episode any better but I’ve learnt them.
The episode was written by Mark Gatiss who is a writer I love, especially on Doctor Who. Unfortunately I just don’t really get this story, which is the first one I haven’t liked by him.
We follow a group of soldiers on a rescue mission, its shot in a found footage style and is about people who use sleep pods and turn into dust monsters from it. The whole thing has been organized by Reece Shearsmiths character to broadcast to the world, in all five viewings I failed to understand why he was broadcasting it at all but there must have been a point.
The rescue team were by far the best part of the episode. I couldn’t really tell you why though as they just kind of stumbled from scene to scene. All of the cast was really underused or miscast.
Rassmussen was a interesting character that I felt Shearsmith never had the breathing room to explore with, Nagata was nothing more then a cheerful leader but Elaine Tan stole every scene she was in. Chopra was just mean and moody but Neet Mohan managed to make him pretty interesting at the same time. 474 was possibly the most intriguing part of the story but was never really explored and I’d love to see Bethany Black back as another “batch” of Grunt to explain them more as there is a interesting story there (human versions of Sontarans?) Paul Courtenay Hyu didn’t really do anything other then run away but again was instantly likable. They saved the show really.
Gatiss can do horror and there are so many good parts of the episode that just kind of got swept away in the tide of other good parts that nothing really stuck. Clara just had time to react to things before being given something else to react to, Shearsmith popped up to “explain” things at different points but never really got the eerie narrator thing going properly, the found footage aspect was handled badly and just made it look like poor editing, and the story just didn’t flow well at all.
I honestly don’t know what else to say on the matter. It was the episode I looked forward to the most having been written by Gatiss and staring Shearsmith. I didn’t dislike the episode but there was potential for just so much more.