Sunday, 25 October 2015


Our hero is dead…kind of. Clara is in danger…maybe. Time is being tricked out…sort of. But is this episode a satisfactory conclusion to the base under siege two-parter? A: Most definitely! Let’s take a look at the worthy, the unscrupulous and the pop culture-y bits in-between:

The Good

“Time travel does that sometimes.”

Let’s start with the fourth wall breaking. While I can understand why it would upset some fans (I was initially upset as well), I categorize the scene as part of the good section mainly because I appreciate the boldness it takes to have the main character of a show shatter the fourth wall like that. I would however say that this should be the last time Doctor Who tries something like this. Or maybe wait another 20 years.

I can’t go on without mentioning the theme music that follows. Once again, it works brilliantly as part of the Doctor’s fourth wall breaking, making it seem like the previous scene is bleeding into the opening credits. As with the above, unless they choose to change the theme permanently, I’d say this should also be a one-off thing.

before the flood promo pics (6)
Clara makes the good list, but not for doing something “reckless”, but instead for coming up with a sound and logical plan to get the phone back without putting anyone in danger, thanks to figuring out how the story’s internal rules work. I applaud this scene because it really is quite clever how she figured it out – even if the audience already knew this. While her selfishness (“I” need before “we” need) can contribute to an argument of increased detachment (I’ve personally always interpreted her character this way), her plan to use Lunn to retrieve the phone I can’t as this was a perfectly safe stratagem according to the rules set out by the narrative.

And now let’s take a moment to praise the costume design greatness that is the Fisher King. Moving on.

Making the second part of a story about why and how the first occurred is a refreshing idea for an episode. A lot of the time fans just go “why can’t the Doctor just go back to before the story and change things from there?”. This was an amusing way of playing with that particular trope and the change of location to mock-Russian training post makes for an interesting contrast to the claustrophobic underwater base.

before the flood promo pics (12)
The killing of O’Donnell, while tragic, did open up some awesome bits of dialogue for Bennett and the Doctor, showcasing just how much of a hypocrite the Time Lord is. It’s alright if some fangirl dies, can’t change time there, but heaven forbid one of his friends should meet the same fate. Screw the rules then. I liked Bennett and the darkened Doctor equally for each highlighting what I love about the show.

Lastly, thank you Toby for not killing Cass in an ironic way, even if it looked like you were going to.

The Bad

“First proper alien and he’s an idiot.”
before the flood promo pics (14)
Poor old Fisher King. Great design, terrific voice, not really a threat. The not-dead alien king manages to amount to nothing more than a footnote in an otherwise great story. His ghosts are more threatening than he is and that is a real shame considering how much potential there was.

While this borders on nitpicking, it is strange that even two TARDIS’ (two Doctors at one point) couldn’t translate any of the Russian text that appears in this story. There is an obvious out-of-story reason for this not happening, but in-universe it creates a gap in the story’s logic. When Donna stepped out of the TARDIS, she could read foreign languages just fine and almost instantly. At no point in this story does it even look like the words are going to be translated. With that being said, if halfway through the episode, this had happened and everything suddenly appeared in English, it definitely would’ve been added to the good section because of the freeze-frame bonus.

The Nerdy

“The proof is right there in front of you.”
Cass’ radar sense is very close to Marvel’s Daredevil which aired on Netflix in April this year. That or someone’s been watching a certain blind bandit in action.

It’s amazing how famous Magpie’s business became after his death considering that everyone in the Doctor Who universe now uses his products. Even the Doctor’s amp is Magpie.

Ignoring the companion name drop, the moon hatching and the Harold Saxon reference, we received not one, but TWO brilliant brick jokes this week. The Doctor mentioned in Under The Lake that he took apart the TARDIS radio to build a clockwork squirrel. Guess what’s sitting on his amp when he plugs in the guitar? And Clara says that the Doctor will save all of them and then probably explain how he did it. Guess how the episode ends?

While he turned out to as menacing as a cue at the ATM, I did love the Fisher King’s ironic death. Guess now we know why he wanted to drain the planet’s oceans.

Security Protocol 712 was last activated in Blink. Prentis’ card reads “May the remorse be with you”, a nod to the Star Wars franchise involving “the force”. This week’s music reference is sponsored by Beethoven and features the 5th.

Lastly, Big Finish, or more specifically the Sixth Doctor final story The Brink of Death gets a shout out when the Doctor claims “I’ve had a good innings”.

Tomorrow we’ll see if Doctor Who doing Seven Samurai (with Vikings) stands a fighting chance after this two-parter.

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