The Clockwork Droids vs. The Empty Child [Doctor Who: Steven Moffat Monster Tournament – 3.3]

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 #163)

We are now entering Round 3 of this series, in which 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 3, Bout 3

The way I am “seeding” this third round of the competition is listing all of the winners in the order of what percentage of the vote they took in their most recently Facebook poll during round 2 (or in one case, back in Round 1).. If there was a tie, then I looked at the percentage of votes that they took in the Poll before that. Then I will put the top vote-getter against the lowest vote-getter, and so on. There were 7 winners in Round 2 and plus the top vote-getter from Round 1 (the Vashta Narada), leaving us with just four bouts in Round 3.

The contestants this time:

The Clockwork Droids

(Introduced in The Girl in the Fireplace, from Season Two)

Percentage taken in the Facebook vote in Round 1: a 82% victory over The Monks from Extremis and beyond. In Round 2, they had a 100% victory over the Atraxi, although only 3 votes were cast.

These bizarre retro-androids hail from the future, where there ship was damaged and they were confused…so starting harvesting body parts from the human crew in order to keep things going. This led to them traveling into the past to get the brain of Madame de Pompadour from 18th century France (because their ship is named after her). The telltale sign that they were near is if the clock was mysteriously broken–they’d break it so their potential victim would not hear a double ticking sound. These creatures appeared again, after a fashion, in Deep Breath, but there they were different enough that I’m going to count them separately.

The Empty Child

(From The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances, from Season One)

Technically, these are the Chula Nanogenes, or at least the creature that they created in their attempts to heal / resurrect the young boy Jamie, who had been killed in a London bombing in World War II. Young Jamie had been mistakenly created with a gas mask as part of his face, with no real consciousness except for a desire to identify his mummy. He was virtually unstoppable and would spread his physical and mental condition like a plague to anyone who touched him.

Percentage taken in the Facebook vote in Round 1: a 91% victory over The Testimony. In Round 2, they had 88% of the vote when they went up against the Veil.

OK, Ready, Steady…go!

Ben’s vote:

The Empty Child

I will say this is the vote that I’m the most interested in–for Round 3 of this competition, it’s the one whose outcome seems the most uncertain to me. For my part however, it’s not a hard vote. The Girl in the Fireplace is a good episode, and I think the Clockdroids have a cool look to them. But beyond that, I don’t find them particularly interesting or scary. On the other hand, I loved the Empty Child, thanks to the utter creepiness of concept combined with the mystery of what was going on. Steven Moffat came along into the revived Doctor Who with this story and just knocked it out of the park, proving to all of us just how amazing this new series could be.

Jeremiah’s vote:

The Empty Child

Comments: Okay, it’s a tough one, but I think the empty child triumphs in outright creepiness and cleverness of concept.

Josh’s vote:

The Empty Child

Comment: The Empty Child / Doctor Dances is my favorite of Christopher Eccleston’s season. It was the point at which I felt the new series found its footing. And it hit its stride with a monster that was mundane and creepy and poignant. And for once, nobody dies.

Johanna’s vote:

The Empty Child

Comments: I loved both of those episodes and the monster was a pretty reason for it (for both of them) because they were terrifying for me. As cool as I think the Clockwork Droids are, though, the pure terror of the Empty Child I think wins here.

Laurelle’s vote:

The Empty Child

Comments: The Empty Child, definitely. They are far more interesting than the Clockwork Droids. The Clockwork Droids weren’t really the appeal of their episode–it was more about the story with Reinette. But the Empty Child itself was the main point of those episodes–they were definitely very interesting and I liked them a lot. Particularly when things wee moving and nobody was doing it…like when they realized the typewriter was still going. It’s not much of a question for me.

The Facebook Poll:

The Empty Child (26 votes) over the Clockwork Droids (3 votes)

Comments: Still a pretty one-sided vote, considering how popular and well-regarded both contestants were this time.

The Winner

The Empty Child

Next up: The Vashta Narada vs. The Whisper Men

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