Doctor Who: Under the Lake / Before the Flood (EPISODE REVIEWS)

Quite a bit late with these, I apologize (again). New York Comic Con last week, and being bed-ridden ill this week, I haven’t been very productive. But what a cracker of a two parter that was! It may have its faults, but the story was unique and mostly sound. The Doctor arrives at an underwater base in Scotland in the year 2119, a base the TARDIS specifically wanted to head to. Ghosts. Real ghosts. To fix the issue the Doctor attempts going back in time, only to find he creates his own Bootstrap Paradox. This will be a flash review, as it’s so late I feel I should just jot down some brief thoughts.

The ghosts were a good scare. Well, not THAT scary. But in the context of the show they served their purpose well. Hollow, sunken eyes. Cracked, dead skin. Wispy. The mix of CG layering and proper prosthetics did this two parter wonders.

The addition of a strong deaf character was a huge bonus. Having someone reading lips and translating is something rarely utilized on television, and a first for this series. Plus, it wasn’t just flavoring. It became an essential part of the actual plot when the twist that the ghosts had a silent message became apparent. Well done. It was also a nice touch seeing how they handled the silent perspective of the deaf character, versus what was actually happening.

The Fisher King wasn’t nearly as menacing as the ghosts were, and the revelation that he was just sending out a signal was a pretty lackluster one.

I occasionally enjoy the U.N.I.T. fangirling over the Doctor. This is one of those occasions.

The scene where the Doctor broke the fourth wall to explain the Bootstrap Paradox before the intro theme was odd, to say the least. I’m on the fence on whether I enjoyed it or not. I feel that Capaldi has such screen magnetism that I don’t mind anything he does, under the guise of the Doctor. But I could have noted the usage of a causal paradox regardless. It’s been done before on the program, in Blink and Time Crash, but this time the writer needed it to be in your face. Probably could have done without it.

Overall a solid base under siege story. The first part was, to me, far better. Never once did I question the location of the base, as the setting was extremely atmospheric. I quite liked it.

9 thoughts on “Doctor Who: Under the Lake / Before the Flood (EPISODE REVIEWS)

  1. Better by a country mile than the awful season opener (which I scored part one 3/10 part two 1/10, overall 2/10) but the menace from the first part of this story sadly didn’t carry over to the second part. An interesting story never the less. My score Part one 7/10, part two 5/10. Overall 6/10, more importantly it was just enough to keep this dyed in the wool old school Who fan watching for a while longer

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  2. Loved this story: both parts kept me on the edge of my seat, sometimes literally so. The scriptwriter does cracking dialogue too, especially suited for Capaldi’s Doctor. Excellent use of the deaf character, in fact excellent use of all the characters.

    I’d rate it higher than 7.9, personally. The FIsher (Fischer?) King himself was a bit of a letdown: a monster who was scarier when we didn’t see him, but then, that’s often the case.

    Btw, my husband, who is a guitarist and has been a fan since the very first episode (Hartnell), *loved* the reworking on the second episode.

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    1. Well these were some of his best, easily. Overall, a very unique approach to Who. Whithouse hasn’t written a bad episode. His work is very fresh. None of his episodes are in my personal favorites, but I could see him taking the show to good places. Anyone but Gatiss really.

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      1. If you haven’t, you should check out Being Human. It’s a fantasy drama he created and is honestly one of the best shows out there. And it stars several actors I’d cast as the Thirteenth Doctor. If he can write Doctor Who like he wrote Being Human, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

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      2. (And not the crappy SyFy remake.)

        The problem is, though – it’s going to be Gatiss, isn’t it? He’s Moffat’s best mate, and everything looks like it’s going his way. Personally, I see it as inevitable. It’ll be “interesting”, to say the least. If not for your reaction…

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  3. Yeah… I was mostly on board with this one as well… though we really don’t get a good understanding of who this Fisher King is/was and what he wants to do or even how for that matter. And while I don’t mind a bootstrap paradox, this episode really didn’t need one. I mean, the Doctor creates this paradox for no apparent reason, in that it really doesn’t help him resolve anything that he couldn’t have resolved without it. It struck me as a “look at how cool this idea is” moment rather than a plot-driving thing.

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