This week’s episode* is a spooky found-footage sort of deal that starts with some dude vlogging to the audience about how we shouldn’t watch this video because it’s too horrifying and we can never unsee it, but in case we’re dummies he’s put together a little Blair Witchy movie of how a space crew recently tried to rescue him from his space station orbiting Neptune.
His fun home movie starts with the rescue crew boarding the station which appears to be empty except for the Doctor and Clara who have also recently arrived and are lightheartedly bantering about space restaurants and whether or not it’s appropriate to put “space” at the beginning of things when describing them.
The rescue crew immediately starts pointing their guns at them so the Doctor psychic papers them into thinking he’s some kind of inspector or something.
The commander lady is like “Ok cool but guess what, I’m your boss now so let’s go find out what happened here.” BTW the rest of the crew consists of mostly humans and one genetically test tube grown soldier called a Grunt. Grunts are super strong and good at fighting but things like the English language and basic thought processes were not really a part of their programming. This particular Grunt has a lady boner for one of the crew members, Chopra, because there cannot be a Spaceship Crew In Peril episode of this show without somebody being in love with their coworker I guess. But anyway, when the Grunt tries to stroke his cheek Chopra is like “EWWW GET YOUR FILTHY GRUNT PAWS OFF OF ME!” Which is fair I guess, but I don’t know how much of the sexual harassment seminar you can expect a Grunt to retain.
So anyway, everybody bands together to explore and pretty much right away they come face to face with some kind of creatures that we don’t get a good look at because of the Blair Witch factor, but apparently they’re terrifying enough that the Doctor asks Clara to hold his hand. They manage to lock themselves in a lab but one of the creatures sticks its arm through the door. It’s scary for a sec but then its arm just dissolves into gross-looking dust.
The Doctor starts analyzing the dust to figure out what it is while the crew tries to contact Deep-Ando, the one crew member who didn’t make it to the lab. He is out wandering around alone and shitting himself basically. But anyway, Clara stumbles across some space pods over in the corner and starts poking around until one of them sucks her in. The Doctor manages to get her out and is like “What the f is this thing and why did it try to eat my friend?” They are like “Duh-doy, that’s Morpheus. What planet are you from?”
Before they can explain Morpheus, the Grunt pipes up to say “Hey bros, there’s def somebody inside this other Morpheus pod in case you were interested.” The Doctor tries to pry it open but fails, so Clara knocks on the area near where the person’s face would be and then makes small talk with it which of course works. It opens to reveal the dude from the beginning of the episode, who is actually the inventor of Morpheus and apparently the only survivor on the space station. The Doctor wants more deets on what Morpheus is so the crew plays a floating head ad for it which explains that it’s a sleep pod that condenses a full night’s sleep into five minutes so you can work basically 24/7 and increase profits. Basic evil future corporation shit. Clara is like “That shit’s fucked” and Chopra is like “FINALLY SOMEONE AGREES WITH ME!” because the rest of the crew thinks Morpheus is swell. I personally could not get behind this unholy invention but if it had to exist I do have some design suggestions:
They go out to look for Deep-Ando and the Doctor explains his brand new theory that the creatures are made out of the goop from the corner of your eye you get when you sleep. Which, gross. Mr. Morpheus is like “THIS IS SLANDEROUS NONSENSE, MY INVENTION IS WONDERFUL AND THOSE CREATURES PROBABLY JUST SPRANG INTO BEING RANDOMLY FOR NO REASON!!!”
Deep-Ando is not really super enjoying his lonely afternoon stroll, and it gets worse when he gets stuck in a room with monsters approaching.
There’s a locked door and he tries to get the ship computer to open it for him, but the computer is like “When the crew was crunk after the Christmas party they reprogrammed me so you have to sing the song to open the door.” Deep-Ando is like “WHAT FUCKING SONG” and eventually after toying with him for a while it tells him the song is “Mr. Sandman” (which is also the song that plays on the Morpheus pods while you micronap). He manages to sing enough of it to get the damn door open right as the monsters approach. Unfortunately he goes into a room that has another monster in it and is killed immediately so this entire scene was completely pointless.
Meanwhile something has gone wrong with the gravity shields meaning the base is being pulled toward Neptune and also a bunch of the snot monsters just busted in so things aren’t looking great. The Doctor is like “I can totes fix this, please just fend off those monsters while I handle our shit.” He gets the gravity shields back up and he and Clara and the commander lady, Nagata, lock themselves in the cold storage room. Last we saw of Mr. Morpheus he was surrounded by monsters, and Chopra and the Grunt got left on their own to roam the corridors much like Deep-Ando before them.
Clara and Nagata want to go look for them but the Doctor is like “You will die” so they try to find another exit to the room they’re in instead. Meanwhile Chopra explains to the Grunt that they can’t leave the station in case the monsters get on board their ship and then destroy all humankind. Therefore they need to either kill all the monsters and peace out or blow up the whole station.
The Doctor says he’s been reviewing the footage he sonic sunglassed from their helmet cams and something about it seems fishy. Nagata is like “We don’t have helmet cams” but before the Doctor can think about that for even a second some monsters arrive. They all hide and whisper about how they’re going to freeze to death until the Doctor has an epiphany: the monsters are blind and if they’re real quiet they can sneak around them. And they do! They lock the creatures in and head for the engine room.
Chopra and the Grunt continue to wander the space corridors until they find their way blocked by a pesky fire. And at that moment some snot monsters catch up to them, so there’s really only one option.**
The Grunt heroically slings Chopra over her shoulders and carries him through the flames, firefighter style. She sustains some gnarly (and apparently fatal?) face burns in the process and tells him to leave her and go to the ship. He sweetly holds her hand before running away, and she stays behind to take down as many of the monsters (who can walk through fire like it’s nbd btw) as she can before she dies.
The Doctor, Clara and Nagata make it to the engine room where the Doctor announces that they have all kinds of footage of everything that’s been going on, but there are no cameras anywhere. Totally sPoOoOoOoKy! According to the Doctor, something about the monsters being blind also means that the bits of sleep dust floating in the air are cameras? Idk but let’s just go with it. Also anybody who has been in a Morpheus pod is now a camera, including Clara. They determine that somebody is watching everything and also turned off the gravity shields on purpose to fuck with them. The Doctor is like “I’m about to j’accuse somebody of being a real shitbag, let’s go find him!”
But before we get a resolution to this mystery we check back in with Chopra. It was very touching when the Grunt sacrificed herself for him but unfortunately on his way back to the ship he pretty much immediately runs into a monster and gets killed, rendering this already pointless semi-romantic subplot 100% more pointless.
The Doctor brings Clara and Nagata back to the ship where they find good old Mr. Morpheus, who was not actually killed by the monsters back during the “Oh fuck we’re about to crash into the surface of Neptune” thing. In fact, he was the evil mastermind of everything and is helping the monsters to get off the ship and take over the universe. For reasons! I don’t know, he goes on a whole villain rant and shows them Patient Zero of Morpheus: a man who hasn’t slept in five years and is therefore the ultimate dust monster. Once he gets off the ship he’ll spread his dust spores and infect everyone so the world will basically be
So Nagata murders the shit out of Mr. Morpheus on account of him being a dick and also having directly caused the deaths of her entire crew, and they all run back to the TARDIS. The Doctor turns off the gravity shields on the way out so the station will crash into Neptune and all the monsters will die, and they fly off on the TARDIS. But he’s still not sure the whole narrative Mr. Morpheus gave was right because it seems kind of bogus.
Which it is! We close with one last vlog from Mr. Morpheus who says that the video we’ve all been watching is less Blair Witch than it is The Ring and that the whole dust monsters thing was a ruse. The real way everybody will get infected is by watching this video! Then he dissolves into dust.
*By which I mean “the episode from three weeks ago”
**My sincerest apologies for the shittiness of this GIF. Of all the millions of GIFs made of this episode of Buffy I was able to find ZERO of this line which is absurd, and had to make my own.