Before The Flood – New Who Season 9 Episode 4 Review

Spoilers upcoming, though I shouldn’t have to say that here.  By now we all know how this works.

I finished watching the last episode and the ending has been bugging me.  I feel as though we’re going to do some kind of timey wimey cheat, but maybe I should give it the benefit of the doubt.  We’ll see.  This time we’re going to see how the Doctor winds up dead…

We’re starting the episode off with the Doctor talking to the camera and telling a cute little story about Beethoven.  It’s kind of cute and kind of freaking me out all at the same time, if that’s possible.  But we get to see Capaldi with a guitar again so I’m happy… even if the opening didn’t make any sense.

Back to the 80s (or so the Doctor tells us) and we get to see Ms. Professional have a me-style freakout about the size of the TARDIS interior.  She also seems to drop a hint about a maybe-upcoming episode?  Anyway, I’ll skip that for now.  We’re here to visit the spaceship before the area had flooded.  Everything is intact and we find out it’s actually a hearse.  We also meet our live version of the first ghost from the last episode.  Everything seems to be “normal” and non threatening…

Flash to Clara.  Ghost-Doctor is outside the ship repeating all of their names.  Clara’s phone rings and it’s the liver version of the Doctor.  This could get confusing… She’s a dummy and tells him that he dies, thereby solidifying this as the “real” future.  He’s visibly upset, but manages to get a crack in about this regeneration  being “a bit of a clerical error anyway”, and I love that he finally addresses that.  Clara has a meltdown and I swear her eyes are bigger than the rest of her head.

The body disappears from the ship in the past and the writing appears on the wall of the inside of the craft.  The first person is killed off and (we assume) turned into a ghost.

Clara works with the Doctor to determine how he dies, but ghost Doctor comes in and lets the other ghosts loose before that happens.  Bit of back and forth and Clara’s group runs for the safe room.  Meanwhile the Doctor’s group heads outside and gets themselves cut off from the TARDIS.  O’Donnell manages to get herself separated from the group and killed.  It’s revealed (as if we haven’t figured it out) that the order the Doctor was repeating the names was the order in which they’ll die.  Clara’s name is next, and judging by the name of the next episode I suspect it’ll happen.

In the future ghost O’Donnell takes Clara’s phone (an iPhone, might I point out – product placement perhaps?) , and in the past the Doctor is only able to move backwards in time a half hour.  So he’s stuck there with himself, trying to explain to his current travelling companion why we can’t fix things.  Meanwhile they need to stay out of sight.

Clara realizes that the translator (Lunn) can walk among the ghosts because he’s never seen the writing in the ship.  She’s clever, but I figured that out when they didn’t hurt him the first time they had the chance, and I’m sure most people reading this got it too.  Does that make us cleverer?  Of course she’s correct.  That doesn’t stop them from locking him

The Doctor decides to accelerate things by chasing after the Fisher King (the guy wrapped up in the hearse).  Idea being if he can change the order of the deaths then Clara can be saved.  Only she decides to leave her protected little room to chase after the guy who hasn’t returned.  It’s very much a “Carl stay in the house” moment.  Anyway, running, filler, flashing between Clara’s group and the Doctor’s and then we see the Doctor has taken the power cell out of the ship to blow up a dam.  Guess we know how the water got there.

The wall of water smashes into the Fisher King just as his stasis chamber is opening next to Clara in the future.  Our bumbling hero bounds out of it.  That’s a time lord win I believe.  The ghost Doctor lures the ghosts into the chamber down the hall and the actual Doctor locks them in.  So I get how we have a clean type ending, but we still haven’t addressed the issue of “dead Doctor”.  3 seconds later we do.  It was a hologram.  Anyone guess that?  Come on, I know some of you did.

I’m getting a little sick of the sonic glasses.  I know they’re trying to give the screwdriver a break because it was turning into a magic want but this?  This is so much worse.  Cool for an episode or two, but not unlike the fez it’s something that should be used sparingly.

We then have a little wrap up of loose ends (like explaining how UNIT will take the ghosts), a pep talk from Clara and a declaration of love.  A basic fairy tale ending.  Not sure how I feel about that, but I guess I don’t really get a say.  I was really thinking (hoping?) Clara would die in this episode.  The season isn’t over and I’m a few episodes behind so I’m sure we’ll see it happen sooner or later.

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