It’s the 22nd Century and a Mining Corporation are drilling below an underwater military base when they find an alien space craft harbouring a ghost that picks off the crew one by one with the aim to make an army of ghosts, but to what end?
SPOILER WARNING FOR ALL THIS!
I loved the Doctor as usual; in ‘Under The Lake’ he’s very serious and very dark. Not a lot of people like Peter Capaldi because of this, but I personally do. It’s nice to know that the Doctor hates Peter Andre just as much as me! He has these index cards telling him what to say when he doesn’t know how to convey sympathy to people, which was very funny, and he used his brand spanking new sonic sunglasses for a very decent purpose; to transmit what he sees to a monitor for others to see. Very simple, but I'm glass the sonic glasses aren't been over used like the screwdriver was. I doubt the screwdriver will be gone forever, it was just so over used I think the Doctor needs a break.
I hated Clara, she does not blend well with Peter’s Doctor and I’m quite looking forward for her leaving. She’s whiny, annoying, completely useless and quite frequently becomes the damsel in distress. There’s a really nice moment in the episode where the Doctor has to tell her to tone down, and not in a jokey way as he has previously, he almost asks her to go home… makes me wonder if at the end of this series it’s the Doctor that kicks her out the TARDIS.
As for the crew of the mining facility; you have the military man that dies first making the crew helpless, the corporate jerk who then gets what he deserves, the shy nerd that has to mussel up his courage and the sweet female that will either die next episode or ask to join Team TARDIS. Although these are all cliches, but are necessary for decent story telling when it works, which is does.
My two favourite characters, however, are Cass, the deaf acting commander and chief (played by the only deaf actress to train at RADA) and her sign language interpreter (an actual interpreter). These guys are a new and really interesting pair. Cass is a lot more intelligent than she seems to everyone but the Doctor who he turns to when he can’t find the answers. With Cass’s ability to read lips, she helps discover what the Ghosts are repeatedly mouthing.
The Ghosts looked incredible with the highly improved special effects, very scary, especially when you can see the inside of their skulls through their hollowed out eye sockets! One of the Ghosts is an alien from the planet Tivoli, a race we’ve met before in ‘The God Complex’ which was a nice touch. The other two were previously crew members. In the episode Cass discovers that the words the ghosts are mouthing over and over are related to their location and the ghosts are acting as a transmitter. The more the ghosts kill, the more ghosts and therefore the stronger the transmitter. A transmitter that’s leading whoever’s on the other side back to the space ship and the stasis chamber inside, holding some being in suspended animation. Sorry for the spoiler, but it’s probably this chap!
There’s nothing in particular I didn’t like this episode; it was perfectly paced, the score was really cool with some Inception BWAAWWRRS, the characters blended and bounced well (apart from Clara) and the whole setting and background to the premise was very interesting: A military base that was flooded, turned into a lake and mined for oil by a branch of U.N.I.T. Another thing I really liked was that there was very little made-up sci-fi mumbo-jumbo, most, if not all, of the scientific, techno talk made sense and was real, and any of the made-up stuff wasn’t too ridiculous, which was a refreshing change for Doctor Who, but I expect all that will change next episode when they try to explain the Ghosts and also the Doctor’s death. Great cliff-hanger by the way...
Overall I thought this was a very good episode. All the issues I have with Moffatt’s writing hasn’t effected this series so far and every episode this series has only set the bar higher! This episode is almost perfect!
The only issues I have with ‘Under The Lake’ are Clara, and the fact that I don’t think there was anything iconic in this episode; I don’t think this episode, although very good, will be memorable. It didn’t have much of that indescribable Doctor Who magic. And for that reason I’m giving this episode an 8/10. But we’ll have to see what happens in part two!
So! What did you think of ‘Under The Lake’ or Doctor Who in general? And what do you think will happen next week?