Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Doctor Who - Under the Lake / Before the Flood

The two-part episode featuring The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) fighting off ghosts in an underwater mining facility in the near future has a strong set-up and some intriguing ideas behind it's premise even if it does eventually falter and stumble with the reveal of the truth about its ghosts and the reveal of the Fisher King (who looks like he walked straight out of incomplete costume fittings of the classic Doctor Who). Even if only partially successful, it's still better thought-out bootstrap paradox than Looper.

Arriving at the facility, The Doctor and Clara come across its small crew who are being hunted by ghosts. An investigation into the impossible leads The Doctor to take an interest in an alien spaceship with odd symbols carved in its wall. The symbols themselves, and the relationship to the dead, are the most intriguing aspect of "Under the Lake" and "Before the Flood." Separated from Clara by the ghosts, and needing answers, The Doctor travels further back into the past for answers to what is causing the dead to rise as ghosts which results in Clara seeing her friend show up as the next ghost.

The cliffhanger forces the show to quickly explain how the lead character can die, but not die (or regenerate), in time for the conclusion. The result feels like a cheat (because it is one), but it does fall neatly into the logic of The Doctor discussing the works of Beethoven with the audience (a scene whose sole purpose is to explain the paradox directly to the audience - an extremely odd occurrence which feels more than a little out of place). Despite these issues the paradox is an interesting one which is more than I can say about the creature who caused it. The Fisher King, despite all the trouble it causes, is one of the show's more forgettable aliens.

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