Prisoner Zero vs. The Cloister Wraiths [Doctor Who: Steven Moffat Monster Tournament – 1.6]

Doctor Who has generated lots of frightening monsters and creatures over its many years of existence. But out of all the writers who have ever contributed to the series, no one has invented quite so many such baddies as Steven Moffat…for the simple reason that nobody else has written as many stories (although to be fair, other writers have written more episodes).

(Daily Doctor Who #23)

For no other reason but that it’s fun, we’re going to figure out which of Moffat’s many monstrous creations is the very best, according to a strict scientific process of having a few people vote on them.

The winner of each bout will be decided on a best of seven votes, according to whatever standard that they want (though in general, it’s a contest about which one is more popular or well liked, not which one would win in a fight). The judges, like last time will be Ben McClure (myself), Johanna McClure (my 16 year old daughter), Laurelle McClure (my 14 year old daughter), Joshua McDonald (my friend from college) and Jeremiah McDonald (Josh’s brother–see his website here).

You can read a bit more about each of us in the post for the first bout of this competition, here.

The last two votes will be drawn from a poll I will / have put upon Facebook. The monster which gets the most votes on that poll will be awarded two points.


The Steven Moffat Monstrous Creation Tournament – Round 1, Bout 6

(The way I am “seeding” these early rounds is simply by having the earliest appearing creature go against the last appearing creature, and then working my way inward.)

The contestants:

Prizoner Zero

(The Eleventh Hour, in Season five)

Prisoner Zero was a shape-shifting interdimensional alien who had escaped imprisonment by the Atraxi and hidden on earth–specifically Amy Pond’s house in Leadworth. It resembled at times a floating snake made of energy, and also a series of comatose patients in the local hospital. Prisoner Zero’s original crime was never specified, but it was bad enough that the Atraxi were willing to destroy the whole planet to make sure it never escaped–something that Prisoner Zero seemed quite willing to allow happen.

The Cloister Wraiths

(Hell Bent, in Season Nine)

Creepy phantoms that lived under the Capitol on Gallifrey, the Cloister Wraiths were mental “ghosts” of Time Lords whose minds had been uploaded to the Matrix (the repository of all Time Lord knowledge), who served as guards to prevent unwanted access by those attempting to steal the Matrix’s secrets. Amongst their captives included such high proile enemies as Daleks, Cybermen, and Weeping Angels.

OK, Ready, Steady…go!

Ben’s vote:

Prisoner Zero

Comment: Er…I’m going to have to give this to Prisoner Zero, not because I’m enamored with the character (it was always a bit vague as to what the threat with Prisoner Zero actually was) but more because I simply remember it better. Also, Olivia Colman played Prisoner Zero for a significant scene and went on to be super-famous, so that’s interesting.

Johanna’s vote:

Prisoner Zero

Comments: The Cloister Wraiths were set up as something that were going to be creepy and were going to be significant in the episode. But they weren’t…they basically just showed up as something to keep others from entering a room, and I was disappointed by it. Prisoner Zero did play a major role, and there were one or two creepy moments, like when it started speaking out of the wrong mouths.

Laurelle’s vote:

Prisoner Zero

Comments: I think Prisoner Zero is better. The Cloister Wraiths were not that memorable–the episode was, but not because of them. And I like the idea of the shapeshifting bad guy, but it shapeshifts into multiple people at once. That makes it interesting.

Josh’s vote:

Prisoner Zero

Comments: The Perception Filter is actually one of my favorite NewWho concepts. That sense that something is lurking that can only be glimpsed briefly out of the corner of the eye … it’s the kind of unsettling creepiness that Moffat always excelled at.

Jeremiah’s vote:

The Cloister Wraiths

Comments: Well, I have to hand this one to my favorite Capaldi story. The Cloister Wraiths are terrifying.

The Facebook Poll:

Prisoner Zero (26 votes) over The Cloister Wraiths (9 votes)

Comments: None of these polls have really been a competition, although this one is ever-so-slightly the closest so far.

The Winner

Prisoner Zero

The earlier creations continue their streak! But can they keep that up with the next installment?

Next up: The Smilers vs. The Veil

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