Episode 3 – UNDER THE LAKE

Toby Whithouse kicked off this two parter excellently as we were treated to a claustrophobic episode where ghosts were on the loose. The ghosts themselves were terrific and looked great. Their blacked out eyes made them look so gormless and lifeless. I loved how they used weapons as they couldn’t inflict any harm physically on their own. The side cast were all very likeable which is important in a two parter. It was interesting to see a deaf character who need someone to translate for them into sign language. Disability is never really explored in Doctor Who so it added some realism to the story that one of the crew did have a disability. After the Doctor seemed too happy about the death of Moran and the ghosts, the cards he had with Clara that had different types of apologies on them was a hilarious little feature. The ghosts’ motive to kill more people to boost the signal of their coordinates was quite creepy. Putting the base in quarantine so the ghosts had no more prospective victims did make the characters seem to be properly trapped which made the ghosts even more threatening to the crew as there was no means of escape. As the Doctor went back in time to before the flood, the emergence of his ghost was a great cliffhanger to end this first part. Whithouse does a great job of making he ghosts as creepy as possible and the setting of the underwater base worked brilliantly. 9/10

Episode 4 – BEFORE THE FLOOD

I know this is something of a controversial issue, but the bootstrap paradox annoyed me a lot. The theory that something exists without actually being created is quite a poor way to make the Doctor’s ghost valid. If the Doctor never died, I don’t see why he couldn’t have created his ghost after the story took place narratively. It wouldn’t have had made any difference  to the events and it would’ve been a much easier concept to understand. If you, as a writer have to come out and make a video to explain a concept on social media to help fans understand, maybe you’ve over-complicated things. Also the opening scene where the Doctor breaks down the fourth wall and says “Google it” was so, so unnecessary. If you’re going to include a complex idea in a story, explain it properly. Telling the viewers to look it up themselves is incredibly lazy, in my opinion. Aside from that, this episode was another pretty good one. I liked the Doctor being split up from Clara, it felt as if she was trapped. O’Donnell reminded me a lot of Osgood. She was like a fan who was also a character which was entertaining to watch and it’s a shame she died. The design of the Fisherking was terrific, it was definitely one of the most imposing villains of the modern era. Maybe it could’ve been used slightly more as we didn’t really see it demonstrate its powers. The Security Protocol that returned Bennett and the TARDIS to the underwater base was a bit weak too, I didn’t see how that worked. I also didn’t particularly like the sonic sunglasses ending where the Doctor used them to trap the ghosts in the Faraday cage. It seemed a bit too easy after such a struggle. The way the Fisherking was killed was clever though and throughout the two parts I did enjoy making sense of how the two times were connected. As a spectacle, this is as intense as the first part but certain aspects of the story annoyed me. 7/10

Episode 5 – THE GIRL WHO DIED

Jamie Mathieson returned to write for the show after a successful debut series the previous year. Sadly this was nowhere near the level of Flatline or the magnificent Mummy on the Orient Express. The Vikings were very generic and their cry of “We are Vikings” was irksome. Describing the Mire as the “deadliest warrior race in the galaxy” could only make them underwhelming. They were eventually overcome by the remaining Vikings and didn’t really show any menace throughout the story. I did quite like the use of electric eels to defeat the metallic monsters though, it was a clever way to utilise the historical surroundings. Right at the beginning of this blog I did a character review on Ashildr (https://talkingtardis.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/character-review-ashildrme/). My views haven’t changed and I still cannot fathom why the Doctor was so unusually interested in such a normal character. Saving her with an immortality capsule was completely out of character for the twelfth Doctor who was inexplicably distraught about her death, despite saving the rest of the village. During that closing sequence, I did love seeing where the Doctor got his new face from. It was teased in Deep Breath that we might find out there was a link to Peter Capaldi’s character from The Fires of Pompeii, so seeing this on screen was amazing. Overall the Vikings and the Mire fell flat. The Doctor’s obsession with Ashildr was annoyingly left unexplained and despite some good scenes this episode is so far Mathieson’s weakest for the show. 5/10

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