Tell Us What You Thought of Under the Lake!

October 4, 2015

Toby Whithouse is back, bringing with him a shed-load of the supernatural.

The Internet seemed largely in favour of Under the Lake, the opening episode of a two-parter that’ll conclude with next week’s Before the Flood – but what did you think?

Let us know in the poll, and if you feel like it, back up your decision in the comments section below.


Apologies this article is later than usual: we’ve had a bit of a problem with this poll, so fingers crossed it’s all up and running without a hitch now!

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83 comments on “Tell Us What You Thought of Under the Lake!

  1. alistair thosmon Oct 4, 2015

    Just this;

    • Similar stock characters, and the first to be ‘taken over’ in the same pale blue as Toby. Yes, this base-under-seige reminded me muchly of TIP/TSP. I hope it develops into something better next week, as the opening two-parter did.
      As it stands, for something under all that water it was a bit shallow: ghosts without much spookiness, death without grief, mystery without intrigue. A change of tone would be welcome.
      It would be great if the many deaf people watching got lots of the plot before those of us who can’t lip-read; I loved the choice of leader, and her decisiveness and practicality, but felt it unlikely that her colleagues hadn’t learned enough sl to not need an interpretter all the time.

      I’ll wait & see, but won’t be holding my breath.

      • Vader the White Oct 5, 2015

        Contrary to popular belief, deaf people don’t all lip read, which is a hell of a lot harder than you would think.

        • Yeah, I grew up with some who did and some who didn’t, and a few hearing peole who lip-read. Just saying that it would be nice if, in the future when this story is set, more people had moved towards better/more varied communication skills. It felt like communication or lack of it was a theme in the story, which was more interesting to me than the surface one.

    • TheLazyWomble Oct 7, 2015

      Runic script. Vikings on their way. Coincidence?

  2. Gary Murden Oct 4, 2015

    Good solid fun. Not original, but I am a sucker for good bus story.

    The point where the Doctor wanted to talk to the dead was odd, as he could have talked to Danny or the Brig.

    Sunglass web cam is fair enough, both possible and made sense within the story, certainly better than the sonic cane from Let’s kill Hitler.

    Other than that, yeah, more of the same please.

  3. Ranger Oct 4, 2015

    Was anyone else strangely bored? I love a good DW base under siege story, The Moonbase, The Ark in Space, I even like Warriors of the Deep (and, perversely, have a soft spot for the Myrka). But this one just didn’t click with me. It all seemed a bit subdued, even Capaldi seemed like he couldn’t really be bothered. The threat didn’t seem threatening, the ghosts easily out-witted, the crew charmless and I really couldn’t get worked up about any of their potential deaths. Clara’s gone back to being all gung-ho and irresponsible, yet at the same time irrelevant to the plot. Pritchard was a caricature of the caricature big business figure we always get in DW. Just once I would like to get a businessman who actually has some morals and helps save the day. You know, just for the shock value. No atmosphere really, strange for a base under siege story. And those bloody sonic glasses!

    Still, it did have its good moments. Like the use of the deaf crew member, liked the Doctor’s prompt cards. It started to pick up in last few minutes, what is in the cryo-box? Where is the missing power cell? The Doctor’s imminent death, how’s he going to get out of that? Clara being better used to save the Doctor? I’ve got hope the second part will be much better.

    • Rick714 Oct 4, 2015

      I think you’ve echoed my thoughts perfectly. Lots of potential for next week anyway.

    • krumstets Oct 4, 2015

      Sonic Sunglasses™ ©BBC Coming to a toy shop near you soon.

      • Bernard Duff Oct 4, 2015

        at least its not the pathetic glowing phallic substitute.

      • Edward Delingford Oct 4, 2015

        I actually thought the sonic glasses use this week was good and thank God Capaldi got his wish to get rid of the f***ing awful magic wand which really should have been shoved up Tennant’s nose as its best final resting place.
        I wonder if some of the images stored in the sonic glasses might inform Mark Gatiss’ episode down the track as he mentions found footage as something which features. It could be that the glasses were inserted in the opening of this series not merely to allow kids to have a prop which doesn’t add to the coffers of the BBC merchandising department (Peter Capaldi has been pushing this which is why his clothing is more pedestrian. I think it’s great and shows again why he is the perfect choice in the role), to give the sonic screwdriver a rest and to add something iconic (along with the guitar) to Capaldi’s doctor, but also to lead directly to the Gatiss episode?

      • Semi-Evil Semi-Genius Oct 4, 2015

        I like the sonic screwdriver, but I just I don’t like it portrayed like a magic wand. It should’ve remained a basic scientific instrument for interacting remotely with some high-tech devices, capable of of sonic-related abilities, and taking readings. Healing wounds, pulling dissolved face slab people out of the ground for oral jokes, and adjusting gravity to talk to overnight forest fairies – those I take offense to.

        I just hate that some writers built up the device too much, realize it’s crap, and then write dialogue in their next stories denigrating the same device they made unbelievable. It should’ve have simply remained a Tricorder like device with some out-of-left-field uses that only the Doctor could devise.

        • TheLazyWomble Oct 5, 2015

          I agree. The sonic screwdriver: a device that uses sound waves to screw/unscrew. Great at putting up shelves. NOT a magic wand. Sonic sunglasses: a device that uses sound waves to… shelter one’s eyes from bright sunlight… erm?

    • Bernard Duff Oct 4, 2015

      I agree this hasn’t got going at all. So middle of the road. “The Underwater Menacing but not bothered Ghosts”

    • Robert Mammone Oct 5, 2015

      Question – why would you have a deaf person in charge? Kill the interpreter and how the heck do you get anything done? And also – I’d say by 2119 they’d’ve learned to eliminate deafness. Tokenism.

      • Castellan Spandrel Oct 5, 2015

        Good points, but if the second-best person to lead, in terms of skills, experience and knowledge, happens to be deaf, then surely they have to take command regardless when the first leader dies?

        • Ranger Oct 5, 2015

          I agree. I like the inclusion of a deaf person, but realise it does have it’s limitations and certainly in a military setting is not really practicable. Which is why I was not a fan of the signing being limited to one person. Both my sister and I were deaf until our early teens when multiple operations finally restored our hearing. Unfortunately, my sister’s hearing started to deteriorate again in her late thirties and now she is profoundly deaf. She mainly lip-reads, with some basic sign within the family. Obviously, I am all for inclusion and anti-discrimination, but really, the way they had it set up in the episode was not really a workable option.

          • Castellan Spandrel Oct 5, 2015

            I wonder if it’s going anywhere – I mean, the inclusion of Cass as a ‘deaf person’ – in story terms? Or just tokenism, as Robert Mammone suggests?

          • Ranger Oct 5, 2015

            I’m wondering if the denouement will involve her inability to hear in some way. A bit ambivalent as to how I feel about that.

          • BrittlePacker Oct 6, 2015

            Her lip-reading has already helped forward the plot quite significantly; she was the only person who could decipher what the “ghosts” were trying to say. I must say I personally didn’t regard Cass as “a deaf person”; she was defined for me by her competence, intelligence (which even Twelve acknowledged, something he doesn’t do very often) and leadership skills, not by her disability.

            She struck me as the kind of leader I’d want in a crisis and a good addition to the roster of guest characters, nothing more, nothing less.

          • Castellan Spandrel Oct 6, 2015

            I wasn’t intending to belittle her due to her disability, hence my use of the quotation marks around the phrase ‘deaf person’.

            I felt her character came across more strongly than that of any other base member.

          • BrittlePacker Oct 6, 2015

            I didn’t for a second think you were! What I was trying to say is that seeing the most qualified person in charge is something to be admired on the grounds that I would myself always want to be the best person for a job, not the best woman, or the best hearing person, or whatever.

            Positive discrimination as they call it is still discrimination, so seeing a deaf woman being placed in a position of authority on merit can only be a good thing.

          • Castellan Spandrel Oct 7, 2015

            Quite so. As l said up top, after Moran (is that his name?) was killed, the best person to replace him got the gig, it appears.

            Incidentally, this week’s See Hear on BBC has a feature on Sophie Stone as Cass, if anyone’s interested. 8.15 this morning, BBC2 or 0.45 Thursday.

  4. Rick714 Oct 4, 2015

    In addition to my agreeing with Ranger, I think what we’re also seeing with these two partners is a money saving exercise. You have this underwater base set that they’ll use for two weeks instead of having to build an additional one. Same thing as the opening two parter.

    All understandable tactics to save money but I have to ask—exactly how bad IS the Beeb at saving money? You’d think DW would internationally be bringing in more than enough to support the series. The way they’ve trimmed down the episode numbers, reusing sets and all the talk of yet another split series next year, you’d think the BBC is hand to mouth.

    • Ranger Oct 4, 2015

      Understand what you’re saying. I like 2 parters as it allows the story to develop at a much more reasonable pace and allows better character development – usually! But it is a good way to save money, which in turn rings some alarm bells.

      • Rick714 Oct 4, 2015

        Totally agree. I’ve never been crazy about the breakneck of some of the episodes in nuWho. Some are obviously better paced than others but I like the ease of pacing the two parter brings regarding characters as well. I think the problem might be that some writers, like Whitehouse, might be SO used to the breakneck speed, that they don’t know how to properly pace a two parter. I think that may be an issue with a lot of the modern writers.

        I can’t remember who wrote the Almost People/Rebel Flesh, but I felt that suffered a bit like this one as well.

        • Edward Delingford Oct 4, 2015

          The gangers one was by Matthew Graham, not Whithouse. Whithouse has written School Reunion (just awful Rose/10 irritation from top to bottom, but saved only by an appearance by the lovely Lis Sladen and Tony Head giving Tennant a masterclass in hammy sci fi acting), Vampires of Venice (one of series 5 under rated stories but a wholly successful outing with great costumes, locations and plotting with the Smith gang at their very best – a real winner); God Complex (by far his best script prior to this one. One of the best series 6 stories); Town without Mercy (loved by the public but I found it underwhelming, despite terrific performances by Smith and Gillan).

          This two parter in fact is split across two very different locations based on the teaser for next week, so don’t think in any way it’s a bottle episode. The underwater base and the special effects were some of the best I think we’ve seen in new Who. Looking at Impossible Planet, 42 and even Waters of Mars, the design of the base really stands out as being much smarter and cohesive than those three. I thought the production team did a really outstanding job with Saturday’s episode.

          Kids must be having nightmares about the eyeless ghosts, their chattering teeth and the sight of the bodies floating lifelessly in the water – shudder.

          • Semi-Evil Semi-Genius Oct 4, 2015

            I thought the set was excellent. As was Vampires of Venice (all-around great, but lovely location as well). I do like stories that take mythical phenomena and reconstruct them as perhaps technology gone wrong in a less enlightened age. But they’re open in the sense that they are very specific, and other situations could still be possible; to explain a bit: we’ve had several explanations for ghosts in Doctor Who, so various phenomena could be misinterpreted by people as ghosts.

    • Prince Poopy Pooch Oct 5, 2015

      I heard it said that the revenue isn’t funneled back into the show. It gets it’s budget fixed from the licence fee income. It’s all too do with how the Beeb is structured. Indeed, in the latter years of Classic Who the show was making more money than it cot to make, yet one only has too look at the production values to see that the income wasn’t finding it’s way on screen. I wouldn’t be surprised is the same is true now.

      • Rick714 Oct 5, 2015

        That does have the ring of truth to it and if so, maybe the grand old institution does have some major faults.

  5. Simon Spencer Oct 4, 2015

    I don’t think it has anything to do with money where these stories are concerned. It has been proven with previous seasons that Doctor Who works well forcing viewers to wonder how they are going to get out of a tight spot, and this last episode is no different.

    I also believe a ship’s technology and language the TARDIS doesn’t recognise – largely because whoever built it doesn’t want the Time Lords to – may mark the beginnings of a grave threat to the universe. So far The Doctor’s greatest enemy has been the Daleks, but that’s not to say they’re the only enemy with the power out there.

  6. Castellan Spandrel Oct 4, 2015

    There seems to be a lukewarm response to this one on the web. I felt it was a bit better than given credit for.

    Sure, it’s another base-under-siege story, and it’ll be harder to find one that can better Waters of Mars. But I thought the ghosts added an extra dimension. The two ghosts ‘talking’ to each other before picking up the axes and attacking is a truly creepy moment.

    The base staff, as per, are ten-a-penny characters, but the use of the deaf leader and her signer is inspired.

    I could’ve done without the ‘I’m a huge fan’ moment from O’Donnell to the Doctor. I said on another thread the Doctor should lose his memory to take away his omniscience – well, maybe the universe needs a dose of amnesia where he’s concerned as well. It’s cheesy when guest characters are so reverential toward him.

    It was obvious who the approaching ghost was going to be at the end, and I lost a grip on some of the explanations just before that, but there was enough to intrigue me and make me anticipate the next episode.

    • Bernard Duff Oct 4, 2015

      Waters of Mars is smug rubbish.

      • Edward Delingford Oct 4, 2015

        Agree. This story was much smarter and presented a base much more effectively than Waters of Mars. A merely competent story over glorified simply because it wasn’t as appalling bad as the others in the so-called year of specials. The bloated egotistical ending could stand for what was so wrong with the show during the Tennant years. Give me a good strong unpretentious story like Under the Lake any day of the week.

        • Castellan Spandrel Oct 4, 2015

          “The bloated egotistical ending could stand for what was so wrong with the show during the Tennant years. ”

          -The whole point is that the Tennant Doctor has become bloated and egotistical by the story’s end. That’s why he gets a comeuppance of sorts via Adelaide Brooke and the hint – via the appearance of the Ood – that his time’s running out.

        • Prince Poopy Pooch Oct 5, 2015

          The ending is ironically what makes the episode and I think it’s the reason WOM gets the acclaim it does. Take off the ending and the Doctor’s dilemma and I find the episode otherwise to be quite average.

      • Castellan Spandrel Oct 4, 2015

        Well, gee, thanks for that nice little piece of searing insight.

        No manners, but what a critic.

    • Bernard Duff Oct 4, 2015

      The amnesia thing was done for FIVE years in the Eight Doctor books and NEVER resolved. Such a bad idea it hurts.

      • Castellan Spandrel Oct 4, 2015

        It was merely a suggestion, which I explained at greater length on another thread, as something that would allow the Doctor to become a wanderer in time and space again, just like in the old days, rather than someone who’s rebooted the universe, etc.

        I’m aware of the idea being used for the Eighth Doctor, but never read the books you refer to. Would it possible to use it in the series better, and not for five years? Serious question, as I guess you’ve read the books.

    • Prince Poopy Pooch Oct 5, 2015

      You must be reading different reviews from me. Most I’ve read have been positive for this episode.

      • Castellan Spandrel Oct 5, 2015

        The ones I’ve read haven’t been overwhelmingly negative – Twitter/web forum ones, I mean, as opposed to critics, who’ve been generally positive (bar Patrick Mulkern in Radio Times) – just lukewarm.

        • Planet of the Deaf Oct 5, 2015

          The comments on the other boards I’ve seen (DWTV, IMDB, Den of Geek etc) have all been very positive, I got the feeling that this episode was very popular with Doctor Who “traditionalists”

          • Castellan Spandrel Oct 5, 2015

            I need to read more comments then, as per your and Prince Ploppy Pants -or whatever he’s called -‘s comments.

            Sorry if I got yer name wrong, Pantster!

          • Castellan Spandrel Oct 5, 2015

            Gah! Turns out I meant Prince Poopy Pooch.

            In no way was I inferring anything about that man’s bowel movements or underwear status.

  7. Howard Railton Oct 4, 2015

    After soooo many bad Moffat scripts, Whithouse is a great ‘breath of fresh air’, thank heaven someone has written an enjoyable episode that doesn’t involve denigrating old enemies or putting in a load rubbish. This made me actually start to warm (a little) to Capaldi as I felt he tried to play the Doctor straight, without a script full of gimmicky drivel but try to engage viewers in a mystery story. A much needed change that for me shows how tired Moffat’s writing has become.

    • Robert Mammone Oct 5, 2015

      +1, esp. about Moffat. I think what I find irritating about Moffat is that he’s infliction all his writing ticks and tropes on a show I love. When you see the same thing in shows he created – Press Gang, Coupling, it’s great to watch. Doctor Who isn’t like those shows.

  8. Bernard Duff Oct 4, 2015

    I was unimpressed and strangely bored for the most part.
    The director made the show feel spacious and airy rather that claustrophobic and confining.

    How did the Dr leave the faraday cage but not the ghosts too?

    Cliffhanger was botched. Weak longshot. Probably so as not to scare the kiddies but was a vague effects shot.
    That “To Be Continued” and “3 days later” captions are an insult to Doctor Who

    Capaldi playing a caricature ala his Dr last year. Thought he would have bedded in by now.

    • Semi-Evil Semi-Genius Oct 4, 2015

      The ghosts seemed to move at average human speed. The door was only opened briefly, and the Doctor entered and exited quickly. That’s why they didn’t escape.

      I think that’s not a problem with the script, but with the idea of ghosts themselves. People that believe in ghosts obviously haven’t given them much thought because their mythology is so loosely cobbled together and illogical. They do so many human things for no reason. They’re all horrific, maimed murder victims or Victorain elite. There’s no prehistoric ghosts, or ghosts from other cultures and ethnicities, or hipster ghosts that buck the trend.

      That’s why I like the Doctor bringing up the hollow threat of a ghost killing you, and then you simply being a ghost as well. There’s a brief, but interesting Robot Chicken skit of the same.

      True, I don’t find the story scary, but I do find it intriguing. And I think that’s the tone they’re going for. The Doctor encourages the others to stay and ask questions, to solve the mystery. Not simply run for an hour.

      • Vader the White Oct 5, 2015

        “They’re all horrific, maimed murder victims or Victorain elite. There’s
        no prehistoric ghosts, or ghosts from other cultures and ethnicities, or
        hipster ghosts that buck the trend.”
        While that is the common perception of ghosts, there are plenty of other types of ghosts. In Britain, there are sightings of ghosts that date way further than the Victorian era, some dating back to the Middle Ages (like the Princes in the Tower). The US has seen ghosts going at least as far back as the 1700’s if not further. Also, cultures from all over the world have reported ghosts and there are some ancient sights reported to be haunted (such as Petra). And who knows how many strange apparitions that haven’t been pinpointed to a certain time period aren’t prehistoric. Plus, non-human ghosts have been seen/heard and I don’t mean demons but animals, like dogs, cats, and more.

    • Vader the White Oct 5, 2015

      “To Be Continued” caption is an insult to Doctor Who? How the hell is formally telling viewers that it is a multi-parter an insult? Hell, it’s common practice in TV for decades! And how is “3 days later” an insult? I’m am so confused by that statement.

  9. Patrick D. Anderson Oct 4, 2015

    Loved it. Very reminiscent of both classic Tom Baker and even David Tennant era Who. I think we need more Toby Whithouse stories in the Whoniverse for years to come.

  10. Edward Delingford Oct 4, 2015

    Thought that was a very efficiently enjoyable episode of old style Who. Of course it is going to fall under the shadow of the stunning two part opener but it’s a good call by Moffat to place this more traditional story as the second set of two parters to give everyone some breathing space.

    While the plotting and pacing were first rate, a little sidebar of appreciation to the character beats in this and the nice dollops of humour which felt more organic to the story than some of the comedic material Whithouse put into his last outing (Town Called Mercy). We clearly have a set up where the doctor is concerned by Clara’s overexcited sugar rush reaction to danger and the exchange in the Tardis seems to indicate that he can foresee a consequence for her bravado. This line of characterisation for Clara has been nicely developed over the last few episodes and Whithouse also acknowledges the drippy presence of Danny Pink in a way which now allows the character to move on completely. The cue cards were a great touch too and Capaldi really excelled again in the humour, channelling Tom Baker like crazy. I continue to stand in awe of his characterisation but particularly his comic timing – none of the other new Who doctors could have pulled off any part of this episode the way Capaldi did – I bow down again at his mastery of the art of acting!

    Lastly, the twist with the time travel and the glimpses of next week’s episode show that this won’t end up crumbling into a limp finale the way that similar base under siege stories might in their conclusion – in terms of new Who, this story has nice nods to 42, Rebel Flesh, Impossible Planet and Waters of Mars but already has overtaken each of those in terms of execution and writing. The closest analogue might be The Ark in Space which also shifted tonally across episodes but Under the Lake is very much its own thing and is a welcome return to form for Whithouse after the rather dreary Town without Mercy and shows many of the strengths of his two solid outings (God Compex and Vampires of Venice) which were tightly plotted, had strong characterisation of secondary characters and terrific dialogue.

    So, with three episodes in, we have three stellar stories, all different but with a wonderful consistency of characterisation for both Capaldi’s doctor and Clara and a great blending of humour and action. Next week may cement this episode as one the truly great base under siege stories in Who. Also heartening to see overnights have now stabilised despite the erratic scheduling and competition from rugby, so this one is likely to hit the usual 7-8 million mark when the final L+7 ratings come along in a few weeks time.

    Whithouse for next showrunner???

  11. Semi-Evil Semi-Genius Oct 4, 2015

    Very enjoyable episode. I loved the guest characters and the set. The plot is intriguing. I, like the Doctor, would be very sceptical about ghosts (why do they wear clothes? if they’re intangible, how come they still walk along floors, and not sink into the depths of the Earth or float off into outer space? so many questions …), and I like his explanation for accepting them; even though, I’m sure we’ll find out a scientific basis for them in the second part.

    My one quibble resolved itself. I didn’t like the over-excitedness of Clara for the adventures (that was the downfall of Rose for me), but they addressed it in the episode like it could be a problem. It’s a fine line for companions: you want them to enjoy their time in the TARDIS, but at the same time they can’t be spouting unbridled enthusiasm amidst a disaster or tragedy. The Doctor usually nails this aspect, seeing the good bits in the bad: being impressed by some new technology or admiring a way of life particular to a time period or alien culture.

    Tons of references in this. Using the word apple in the long serial number (End of the World). Was the alien ghost the same cowardly species from the God Complex? I thought it might be, but it’s been ages. The indecipherable writing is reminiscient of The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit. I’m sure they were more, but I’m forgetting the details. Well, now that I think of it, I do have one other minor quibble: the return of the handbrake joke (wasn’t that what River Song claimed to be making the TARDIS sound).

    I like the cards bit, and I’ve transcribed them below. Keep in mind, they were written in all caps with some lacking punctuation at points (Come on Clara, you’re a teacher!)

    1st Card: “I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND WHY IT WAS DIFFICULT NOT TO GET CAPTURED”.

    2nd Card: “IT WAS MY FAULT I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN YOU DIDN’T LIVE IN ABERDEEN”.

    3rd Card: “I DIDN’T MEAN TO IMPLY I DON’T CARE”.

    4th Card: “NO-ONE IS GOING TO GET EATEN / VAPOURIZED / EXTERMINATED / UPGRADED [/] POSSESSED / MORTALLY WOUNDED [/] TURNED TO JELLY [,] WE’LL ALL GET OUT OF THIS UNHARMED.

    And the Doctor read the 5th Card aloud. Question: is Aberdeen where he accidentally dropped off Sarah Jane? I haven’t gotten that far in the classic series, but I do know he dropped her off in the wrong town.

    • Vader the White Oct 5, 2015

      Yeah, the Aberdeen is a reference to Sarah Jane.

      • Castellan Spandrel Oct 5, 2015

        “Yeah, the Aberdeen is a reference to Sarah Jane.”

        -The fourth time my home city has been mentioned in DW.

        See also Underworld, Tooth and Claw, School Reunion – and, in a piece of retconning via the latter, a visual reference in Hand of Fear (sort of).

    • Prince Poopy Pooch Oct 5, 2015

      It is the same species from God Complex.

    • Robert Mammone Oct 5, 2015

      Seems to me Clara is being set up for a fall. All her gung ho-ness now will lead to a fatal error where she’ll be responsible for killing an innocent person. And then she’s out.

  12. Duncan Zarathrustra Oct 5, 2015

    after the anticlimactic over-egged “witches familiar” this was solid trad who;Capaldi,s ease in the role makes him the best since TOM in my opinion.

  13. TimeChaser Oct 5, 2015

    Been a while since we had proper base-under-siege and this one delivers on it in a different way than most, so I applaud it for that. I also appreciated the inclusion of a hearing impaired character. Diversity is about more than just race.

    Capaldi continues to climb the Doctor ranks for me. As much as Iike Tennant and Smith, I think by the time he departs Capaldi could become the best of the New Whos.

  14. Vader the White Oct 5, 2015

    I found this to be terrific. I love a good base-under-seige story (“The Moonbase” being of my favorite Classic Who stories) and add ghosts to the mix and you got me sold. The Sonic Glasses still bug me, but they actually really worked well in this situation. I loved all the little touches. My favorite being the Doctor’s cue cards. That nearly killed me.
    Also, I know the pain of forgetting sign as I took American Sign Language in high school and I barely remember most of it. Not that it would have helped me in this episode as British Sign Language is a whole different beast (for starters, it is primarily two handed where as ASL is primarily single handed. That and ASL is related to French Sign Language and not at all to BSL). I didn’t forget it for semaphore, though.

  15. Prince Poopy Pooch Oct 5, 2015

    Much much better than the openers. I agree with what someone said up thread about it being the best entry since Flatline.

    I’ve realised that I don’t mind Who under Moffat, it’s just Moffat’s own
    scripts that I am tiring of, which is a shame because it makes me sad
    that my favourite monsters, The Daleks, were wasted on the opening
    outing. This week we were refreshingly free of the overused Moffat
    tropes and the episode was all the more enjoyable. No tiresome gurning
    forced onto Capaldi. No silly gimmicks. An interesting plot with
    elements of mystery and suspense.

    Some minor complaints, namely that this is the second cliffhanger this
    series already where we’re made to think a lead character is dead, when
    we know they aren’t. I’m also really not caring for the whole “sonic
    glasses” nonsense. I hope they don’t become a thing….and finally I
    found the whole “deaf girl is the smartest” to be patronising to
    disabled people in a “look, you can be special too!” sort of way. But
    overall none of these really got in the way of the overall story and
    drama and so I can overlook them easily.

    So, for me I felt this episode returned to the strength of the pre-Death
    in Heaven series 8 and I am pleased about that. Next week also looks
    interesting and a nice change of tone. I’ll give this one 7/10

    Btw, is one of the set dressers a Star Trek fan? I’ve noticed little
    hints here and there this season, such as the Cardassian style computer
    displays in Colony Sarrf’s shuttle and “1701B” printing on a door in
    this.

    • Castellan Spandrel Oct 5, 2015

      “….and finally I found the whole “deaf girl is the smartest” to be patronising to disabled people in a “look, you can be special too!” sort of way.”

      It didn’t feel as forced to me as the kid with dyslexia in ‘Hungry Earth’. That really was shoehorned in; every time the Doctor spoke to him it was like “And now a word from our sponsors.”

    • BrittlePacker Oct 6, 2015

      “Deaf woman”, surely???

      • Prince Poopy Pooch Oct 7, 2015

        If you are referring to my use of “girl” I don’t consider that any more offensive than using “boy” for a man.

  16. Robert Mammone Oct 5, 2015

    Underwhelmed. But way better than the first 2 episodes.

  17. Robert Mammone Oct 5, 2015

    Perhaps it’s me, but do the special effects seem a bit rubbish this year?

  18. I enjoyed it. Probably an 8/10. Good but not a patch on the majesty of the opening two episodes. Doctor Who hasn’t put a foot wrong since Last Christmas!

    • Planet of the Deaf Oct 5, 2015

      I get the feeling that this episode is very popular with Doctor Who “traditionalists” as a straightforward base story.

      Moff stories tend to be more divisive, as many love them, whereas others hate them (REALLY hate them).

      • Ranger Oct 5, 2015

        You couldn’t get more traditional than me as a fan and I didn’t feel this episode was much cop.

        • Yup; give me a mix of stereotype foreigner but solid moonbase staff, Polly, coffee and a tray!
          Peter C did seem to be chanelling Pat when talking to the first 2 ‘ghosts’ before they picked up their weapons, but I think the ascerbic humour from Into the Dalek suits PC better.

  19. Caleb Goldberg Oct 5, 2015

    After a rather messy first story, I was relieved to find this story thoroughly entertaining. While ghost stories have been done before, this was quite unique and certainly better than the series’ previous attempts. A great cliffhanger, too – bring on “Before the Flood.”

  20. BrittlePacker Oct 5, 2015

    I’m a bit late to the party this week – which is probably a good thing, as it gave me time for a second viewing before offering my opinion.

    I enjoyed it immensely on first viewing, and I liked it even better on the second.

    I’m a sucker for “base under siege”. I was enjoying Hide and Cold War for the first half-hour or so of each (the less said about the treacly endings, the better in my book 🙂 ) and I’m a traditionalist at heart. I’ve also liked pretty much all of Whithouse’s offerings before. What could go wrong?

    Well, the introduction of another fangirl did cause cushion to connect with TV screen, but fortunately O’Donnell toned it down thereafter and became another useful member of a generally likeable crew. Pritchard was a bit of a staple, but his efficient disposal left a good, hard-working, interesting team for the Doctor to marshal in his inimitable fashion.

    I laughed at the cue-cards; laughed even harder at the thought of Miss Oswald starting an argument with Gandhi. If anyone could, it’d be Clara. I found the Scooby-Doo “catch a ghost” chase hilarious, but then I’m a child of the 70s, Scooby was as much a part of my growing-up as Doctor Who. I also thought those ghosts were as creepy as all hell.
    One of our central characters “dying” at every cliffhanger might get tedious if it’s continued, but the whole feel was reminiscent of The Mind Robber (one of my favourites), and Capaldi makes a gloriously scary ghost.

    I’m not sure what a younger generation, used to the mad rush of 45 minute stories will make of the pacing, but for me it worked brilliantly.

    • TheLazyWomble Oct 5, 2015

      Fangirls tend to seal their doom the minute they express their admiration. It would be a pleasant surprise to have one survive. (I have just read that back and I may not be able to back it up with many examples: Astrid Peth and Osgood spring to mind)
      I liked the staff of the base: even Prichard, though I agree he is a bit of a cipher.
      The episode is suspenseful and well written, acted, directed, lit.
      8/10… or maybe even 9. But lose the sonic sunglasses. Have a terileptil blow them up or something.

      • BrittlePacker Oct 6, 2015

        The sunglasses didn’t annoy me as much as I expected, although I’m all for getting rid of them once the novelty’s worn off. Still, as long as they’re used less than that infernal ruddy screwdriver I daresay I’ll get used to them!

      • I love it that others really liked this ep, but I’m just not on board yet. To me the lighting was way to bright for a ghost story – reminded me more of Time Heist.
        And I’m finding Clara’s changeble personality disturbing again. Maybe she really did die, and is a ganger controlled by someone trying to lead the Doctor into danger at every opportunity!

        • Ranger Oct 7, 2015

          Someone up thread suggested Clara is being set up for a fall and I can see the logic in that and that’s why they’re having her go back to the gung-ho version of Clara from last season. It’s beginning to look like Clara is an adrenalin junkie.

          • If she falls the Doctor will take the blame – he told her last season ‘you only know if it’s an addiction if you try to give it up.’ She hasn’t, and he seems to be powerless to restrain her. The ‘duty of care’ speech showed all is not as rosy at they make it seem on the surface. I thought that (mis)communication was the story’s underlying theme, but maybe metaphorical depths are part of the mix too.

  21. On paper this should be good solid Who, and it wasn’t bad, but there is something missing and I just can’t put my finger on it? Capaldi is growing into the role, and is a good actor who treats the character seriously. I know he has great comedy credentials…….but the quips and flippancy are not quite working for me. Tom Baker could really pull that kind of stuff off, partly because he is a genuine eccentric, and Tennant could in a different sort of more theatrical way, but for me with Capaldi they feel a bit laboured. I felt the same about Eccleston, great actor and all but he did not pull off the elation, grinning and quipping bits for me. I approve of the doctor being ‘older ‘ again and I like the darker tone, may be I am just feeling a lack of charisma in the doctor? Sorry. I feel bad for saying that because I do like Peter Capaldi in theory as the doctor, he is a real fan, and he seems a nice person. May be its missing mystery? I am not sure. Don’t get me wrong I love the show, it’s just lost a bit of its magic for me lately? Still best thing on tv obviously! Anyone getting the same feelings? Were some good episodes last series and I really enjoyed magicians apprentice (apart from medieval section, which felt unnecessary to the story and silly). So early days for this series.

  22. Patrick D. Anderson Oct 6, 2015

    Has anyone picked up on the character named Cass and that the woman who rejected the 8th Doctor in “The Night of The Doctor” was also named Cass. Take that with the reappearance of Karn and that the chalice used by Capaldi in the prelude to this season also resembled the one used by McGann during his regeneration scene, you have some very interesting easter eggs already this season. Do you think it means anything?

    • Castellan Spandrel Oct 6, 2015

      Probably not, though it’s a good spot. One of the murder victims in Robots of Death was called Cass too.

    • I heard it and tried not to let my imagination run riot, but as you’ve brought it up I give in:
      OK, so the Sisters lied to 8 to convince him to change, Cass was not dead and the only long-term injury was to her hearing… They mended her and sent her off in a patched-up ship.
      Donna rejected 10 but got a second chance. 8 lost too many people, it would be nice if he got a second chance to save this one.
      Do you think Clara did 12 a card that reads ‘yes, I’m a Time Lord, but I’m one of the nice ones.’?
      No, come to think of it I prefer that 12 doesn’t try to appear ‘nice.’

  23. scuuzbuster Oct 6, 2015

    Really full on balls to the wall Doctor Who, to be honest. It WASN’T the awesome Tennant era episode THE IMPOSSIBLE PLANET, but pretty damned close.

  24. I know I said it hadn’t grabbed me, but just wondering WHY the ghost didn’t kill Lunn. He had his eyes very tightly shut…
    are the ghosts like the bugblatter beast of trall – if you can’t see them they can’t see you?
    Or could they not ‘use’ him as a transmitter or whatever for some reason?
    Much as I want Cass to keep her interpreter friend, there needs to be a reason.

    theories welcome…

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