The Celestial Toymaker was a four part Doctor Who story, which first aired in 1966. Due to the BBC’s policy at the time of reusing film only the last episode survives. Due to this it is a much revered story, even though it wasn’t that well received at the time. So it was nice to hear it being referenced in an episode in 2020.
First Doctor references aside ‘Can You Hear Me?’ focused on depression. As a recent benchmark an episode of the latest series of Bojack Horseman tackled this subject with near perfection. Alison Brie’s voice performance coupled with the animation was so on the noise many people found the episode difficult to watch.
In the main ‘Can You Hear Me?’ did a good job tackling a difficult subject. There was a lighter touch than Bojack’s, but that is to be expected considering the differing target audience demographics of the two shows. The only jarring moment was when towards the end Graham confides in the Doctor about his own struggles; whilst I understand what the writers were trying to say, even the best of us can find it awkward when confronted with some ones difficulties, the reaction of this incarnation of the Doctor seemed very out of character.
If Doctor Who is meant to scare then this episode was fulfilling its mandate. Ian Gelder as Zellin, with floating fingers, was scary enough to be straight out of a horror. Unfortunately Clare-Hope Ashitey as Zellin’s fellow Celestial Rakaya was less scary and more reject from an X-Man movie.
Verdict: 8 out of 10- a near perfect episode with a jarring moment that kind of ruined the message.