Welcome back to the third Doctor Who Review, where I recap the week's episode and give some thoughts and opinions on it. Please do not read if you have not seen this week's episode. There are major spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
Title: Under the Lake
Written by: Toby Whithouse
An alien space ship, an underwater station, a nuclear reactor, a crew, and ghosts with a cryptic message. All in a day's work when you're the Doctor. We join the Clara and the Doctor as they step out of the TARDIS into a station under water in the middle of what used to be a town. Years before, the banks burst and the town was flooded. Now all the buildings are under water, and the station is there with a crew to mine the oil recently found there. As soon as the Doctor and Clara start exploring the station they run into 2 ghosts, all white and hollow-eyed, and while the ghosts don't try and kill them immediately, they guide them to a space ship on the station, and then try to kill them. They run for it, obviously, and get ushered into a ghost-proof room by the still-alive crewmen, where they discover that the ghosts only come out at night, and that one of them was their friend. And so the Doctor and Clara have to figure out why there are ghosts, what they are doing on the station, what the want, and how to get the crew off the station without all of them dying.
I don't normally enjoy these sorts of episodes as much as others. I prefer the alien-planets, the historical-based episodes, or the ones on earth where something is going on, over spacey sort of ones with scientific reasons and experiments for everything. I'm not quite sure why, though perhaps it's about the crazy creatures or different alien cultures I like, or just because I'm sick of super-spacey-sci-fi things. However, I think the ghosts in this episode made it better, and there was an alien ship with creepy alien words on it, so it was better than I had originally thought it might be. And guys, how scary were those ghosts? It's the hollow eyes that get me. Blergh. *shiver*
The story was a tad confusing because there were so many things going on (the flooded town, with an under water station, and a nuclear reactor, which held a space ship that was alien, and then were ghosts everywhere...), and it only made it worse when we got to the end only to find out that it was actually a double episode. Now, I'm okay with a double episode...but not straight after a previous double episode. Episode 1 and 2 of this season were a double, and now 3 and 4 are too. I hope that this isn't a theme this season. I much prefer single episodes, with the last episode in the season being extended to a double, or the first 2. But argh. It's just frustrating a little bit. But having said that, the shorts for next week's continuation of this story look better than this episode, with the Doctor heading back in time to before the town was flooded, what (or who) is in the box they discover at the end, and also how the Doctor dies, or gets out of that. We'll see I guess.
There were several times during this episode where I was reminded of the funniness of the Doctor. I'm finding that Doctor 12 isn't as funny or crazy as Doctor 11, nor as cool as 10. But in this episode I loved how he talks to the TARDIS, and how he has to use emotional response cards to say the 'right thing' in a sombre situation. Too good. My favourite line in this was when the Doctor asks Clara why he doesn't have a radio in the TARDIS, to which her response is: "Because you took it apart and used the pieces to make a clockwork squirrel". Of course he did. Can I also just point out that the sonic sunglasses are still in play? Yes, they're cool, but no, I don't think that they should stay. Bring back the screwdriver please.
Some final thoughts, quickly, where is Missy at? Just because she wasn't in this episode doesn’t mean she's off drinking tea and eating scones. Actually, she may be doing just that, but she'll be plotting all the same. As much as I didn't like that it was a double episode, next week's does look quite good. Doctor Who has a certain knack for bringing meh episodes around to awesome with a second episode. Usually the first sets the scene for the real action which happens in the second. Hopefully that's the case this time also. I am enjoying getting to know Capaldi's Doctor more this season than last. A lot of people, I'm finding (both on the internet and friends in real life who love DW), don't enjoy Capaldi as the Doctor, and I was a little hesitant and wary of him at the beginning of last season, but I'm really enjoying him now. Capaldi definitely brings something new to the Doctor that we haven't had in these 'new' seasons.
What about you? Did you enjoy this episode?
Original image from here.