Under The Lake – New Who Season 9 Episode 3 Review

Okay, okay, I know I’m way behind.  I don’t know what I’d do without a PVR.  Seriously I’ve had no time on my hands but have some serious catching up to do.  I’m going to try and work my way through some episodes as best I can.  I’ve even been avoiding Twitter so I don’t accidentally see anything about an episode.  Here we go with Under the Lake! – Spoilers!!!

A mysterious craft and some shadowy figures on an underwater base is always a good start to the show.  A character needs to die for us to realize we’re dealing with ghosts?  I’d like to think we’re all a little smarter than than.

Meanwhile back at my place I have a cat sleeping (and drooling) on my arm.  It makes it very difficult to type…

Après-credits (that’s right, my French is “awesome”), our heroes come along with an apparently unhappy TARDIS.  Clara wants some adventure and the Doctor seems to be right there with her.  I think this is a “be careful what you wish for” sort of situation.  But we run into the ghosts without incident and then arrive at the… ummm… spaceship?

Yes, the alien has confirmed the craft is alien.  Good.  Right.  On with it then.  So we now have ghosts that can wield weapons and in the general run-for-your-life scenario our dynamic duo meet up with the live portion of the crew.  Standard explanations ensue, and our ghosts now appear to be something else which only comes out at night.  Thankfully it’s “morning” in our dark scary underwater base and we can get on with our investigation.

On a side note, I love the fact that Clara has cards for the Doctor so he can be a little less… alien.  I’m really enjoying the back to “I don’t understand feelings” Doctor.  Also loving the fact that he gets so excited that he needs to calm himself down.  Clara seems to be getting overly excited as well.  She’s too at home as a companion, which may just get her killed this season.

We have some filler, the sub switches to night mode and we kill off an annoying character.  That means a close call with a ghost with a last second switch to day mode just in time for him to disappear.  All right, I take a bit of issue with this one.  It’s not like the group was trapped or there was another ghost blocking the exit.  They could have just run away.  But I digress…

They hatch a plan to catch a ghost but things go badly.  In the end of course the plan works out and all of the ghosts are captured.  The Doctor pops in and figures out what they want.  Some investigating leads to a stasis chamber from the ship and some more questions,  but the Doctor seems to figure it out.  Unfortunately the base starts to flood and he gets separated from Clara.  He and half he group jump in the TARDIS and head back in time to fix the issue.

Flash to Clara and the rest of the group who are waiting for his return.  We see another ghost, meaning someone died when they went to the past… and it’s the Doctor…

Okay, didn’t see that one coming.  Looks like we’re going to have plenty of multi part episodes this season.  I’d certainly rather see them do that and do a better job on the story than rush it.  And I really didn’t feel like there was a ton of filler here.  Looks like I can’t get to part 2 tonight, but I’m hoping before this week is out… and my cat is still drooling on my arm…

Deep Breath Review

I shouldn’t have to say watch the episode first.  If you’re reading something called Deep Breath Review and you haven’t watched the episode yet, I think you brought that on yourself. Fair?

Overall, I feel like the episode basically amounted to: The young flirty Doctor is gone, the older darker Doctor is here.  He’s the same character, but a different man.  The dynamic will be different.  Accept it, because the fan base is built up enough to withstand the shock.  It’s a return to the pre-2005 era, and I for one love that idea.

I also felt that the premier allowed Clara to shine, and Jenna Coleman to finally do something with her role.  Up until now she’s been just kind of there, and flirting.  This gave her a chance to start interacting with other characters and show a little depth.  Up until this point I haven’t been able to get attached to her because she was just window dressing, but now she’s more engaging.  Hopefully we’ll continue to see character development for her.

All right, to the episode itself!

Before the opening sequence, we’re treated to a dinosaur in Victorian London, the appearance of the TARDIS and the return of the Paternoster Gang (Jenna, Vastra, Strax).  There is something obviously wrong with Doctor, as he can’t tell Clara from Strax, can’t remember the Gang properly (the green one and the not green one) and calls Clara “the not me one, the asking questions one” then mistakes her for Handles (remember the cyberman head from 11’s last episode?) before passing out.  The regeneration needed to be addressed, and this was a good start.  It was also a nice way to let Capaldi be a little wacky right away without it being for no reason.

We have a new opening sequence, which is to be expected.  I’ve heard it was fan inspired, which is great.  I’m not sure if I like it, but I do, if that makes any sense at all.

12’s bedroom rant scene was fabulous!  “Don’t look in that mirror, it’s absolutely furious!”  It’s the first time you really notice his Scottish accent, and I love that they addressed it.  Vastra knows just how to handle him, which I feel is somehow fitting, but I could do with a little subtler man-bashing.  Yes, I get that Jenny and Vastra are married.  Yes, I get that they don’t care for men.  I don’t need to pointed out every 3 seconds.  This particular scene I found funny, but it was the first of many, which was taken a little too far.  Some people have already pointed out that they found it excessive, though I could easily let that go.

The Doctor translating for the dinosaur was a nice touch.  It was a nice setup for later.

The veil scene with Vastra was quite useful.  It proved that Clara was being judgemental, no matter what she was projecting to others and no matter what she thought herself.  After all, the veil was only there as long as Clara could see it.  Vastra reminded everyone (including the fans) that the Doctor was very old, that he had a young body to be accepted, and that the time for flirting is over.  She made Clara realize that the old Doctor isn’t coming back.  Seeing Clara angry/indignant was something we seldom see, and I rather enjoyed it.

12 promises the dinosaur he would keep it safe and get it home.  Seconds later, it bursts into flames.  It drove home the fact that innocents get caught up with the Doctor, and get hurt or killed despite his best intentions.  He does show remorse, so he’s not entirely different.

The interaction between Clara and Strax allowed for some much needed comic relief.  Sometimes Strax can be a bit much for some people, but personally I really like him.

Did you know that the homeless man that 12 is interacting with is actually Brian Miller?  That may not mean much to you, until you realize he was the husband of the late Elisabeth Sladen.  The alley scene allows 12 to give a little head nod to the 4th Doctor (the long scarf) and by extension Sladen herself.  It also gives him an opportunity to address the fact that we’ve seen him in Who before.  Did anyone else pick up the similarities between his comments on his eyebrows and the Scottish independence talk?

More comic relief, though I must say that Jenny posing made her look fabulous!  A little chit chat about the villainous plot that’s afoot, then Clara must decipher the code in the newspaper.  Meeting the Doctor for lunch she discovers him wearing the homeless man’s jacket and smelling like it.  Some banter here makes me love the new arrangement, and I love that it doesn’t stop once they realize it’s a trap.  Of course, each figured out the other didn’t write the ad while they were calling each other names… The ‘banter’ continues once they’re trapped and need to use the sonic to escape (“it’s times like this I miss Amy”) but then things get darker.

In another reminder that this isn’t the Doctor we know, he abandons Clara in the room with the captain.  He wouldn’t leave his screwdriver for fear he might need it.  So here she is with her life in danger, with no hope and just a memory of being asked how long she can hold her breath.  It would only be a matter of time before she would fail, and I think this was handled beautifully.  I found myself unconsciously trying to hold my breath along with her, and willing her to be able to keep going, even though I knew she wouldn’t last.  Once captured, the hope was there that the Doctor would rescue her, but it was never for certain.  Drawing on strength from her previous experiences let the audience further connect with her, and the edge in the scene was something we haven’t seen for a long time.  It was wonderful.  Clara held her own, and we needed to see that.

Of course, the Doctor still has to save the day, since that’s what he does.  A little more comic relief (“I had being wrong in public, everybody forget that happened”) along with a realization that something’s not right with the paper before the cavalry arrives.  This is where things get interesting.  First, the Doctor telling the captain he’ll probably be killing him and pouring two drinks.  How often have we seen the Doctor drink the hard stuff?  Next, seeing this ship (the SS Marie Antoinette) is the sister ship of the Madame Do Pompadour, and the Doctor not being able to place it.  Guess these droids are more familiar than we thought.  After that, the gang below holding their breath.  When Strax can’t do it any longer, he turns the gun towards himself to avoid betraying his friends.  Despite his value for comic relief, he obviously loves the group and is fiercely loyal.

By the way, I just need to say that the balloon made of flesh was nicely disturbing…

Lastly, the demise of the captain.  Did the Doctor do it or did he just manipulate him into killing himself?  Does it really matter?  Isn’t it really the same thing?

We get to see a new TARDIS and the Doctor’s new clothes, have 12 admit that he previously thought he was Clara’s boyfriend but no longer does, and have Clara decide to leave.  You can just see the disappointment in 12’s face even though he knows what comes next, but then… the call.  Oh, the call!  I have to admit that I knew this was coming, which spoiled it a bit for me.  As it was, I teared up and kept it in, but if it had been a surprise I don’t think I could have done it.  The second viewing was even worse, and I had to walk away from it mid-call for a couple minutes… a couple of times.  It made 11’s regeneration so much better, and I know it was directed at the fans to tell them to give Capaldi a chance (especially those who haven’t experienced an older Doctor yet).  I’d already embraced Capaldi, but it was still very nice to see 11 one last time.

You can actually see the moment when Clara sees through the 12th Doctor’s old face and sees the 11th Doctor in him.  The moment when she realizes he’s the same man, and the moment when he knows she can see him.  The hug made me laugh, since he had no idea what to do with his hands, and I think we needed a laugh right then.

Okay, deep breath (ha, see what I did there?).  One more thing before I’m done.  There’s all kinds of speculation about Missy.  The fact that she seems familiar with him says she’s seen him before, and I just want to point out that the layout of the courtyard appears suspiciously like a TARDIS control room.

This is WAY longer than I’d planned, and I’ve left out a lot of things.  So, feel free to comment with your thoughts.  I want to hear them all!

And I don’t know about you, but I can’t WAIT for the next episode!

Series 8 Episode Titles

The episode titles for Series 8 have been officially released!:

Episode 1 – Deep Breath

Episode 2 – Into The Dalek

Episode 3 – Robots of Sherwood

Episode 4 – Listen

Episode 5 – Time Heist

Episode 6 – The Caretaker

Episode 7 – Kill The Moon

Episode 8 – Mummy On The Orient Express

Episode 9 – Flatline

Episode 10 – In The Forest Of The Night

Episode 11 (part 1) – Dark Water

Episode 12 (part 2) – Death In Heaven

Drunk Girls Reaction

These girls post videos of themselves reacting to Doctor Who episodes after drinking copious amounts of liquor.  Personally, I’d rather watch the episode sober to enjoy it and I’d definitely not want to put a video of myself out there, but to each their own!:

Series 8 Episode Details

Yesterday we had some goodies from the filming of Series 8, episode 1.  Some photos and video.  Now Doctor Who TV has posted some details about that episode.  If you don’t want spoilers, stop reading now.  If not, read their article (fair warning, you might not want to ruin the surprise if this is true!):

In the scene they shot on Tuesday, Clara is still having a hard time accepting the 12th Doctor and needs some reassurance.

Fortunately she receives a timey wimey phone call from the 11th Doctor! He’s calling from Trenzalore shortly after his regeneration on the clock tower, but before Clara enters the TARDIS and he changes.

Matt Smith is thought to have already recorded his half of the scene during filming of The Time of the Doctor.

Some incomplete dialogue after Clara answers the call:

Clara: What do you mean.. “it’s the Doctor?” 11th Doctor: I’m phoning you from Trenzalore. Clara: I don’t understand. 11th Doctor: From the past. From before I changed. It’s all still to happen for me. It’s coming though, not long now, I can feel it. Clara: But.. why would you do this?

The remaining dialogue was inaudible but Eleven reassures her about Twelve: “I know you’re scared, but he will be too; and he’ll need you.”

At some point the 11th and 12th Doctor will exchange some dialogue on the call.

The 12th Doctor: So who is it? The 11th and 12th Doctors at the same time: Oh, is that the Doctor?

Clara is eventually convinced and she hugs the 12th Doctor.

The Time Of The Doctor

I’m back!

I spent the holidays travelling, and spent several days without power.  Now I’m back and (for now, anyhow) the power is on.  Bet you know the first thing I did… In case not, I watched The Time of the Doctor.  Now I’ll admit that it wasn’t without issues, but being a month since the last episode I decided to ignore them and just enjoy it.

Although I couldn’t much enjoy losing Matt Smith.  You see, I’ve grown rather fond of him over the last few years.

If you haven’t watched the Christmas special yet, you may not want to read on.  This is going to get somewhat spoilery.  Myself, I pretty much avoided the internet altogether so that I wouldn’t accidently see something episode-related.  And to a certain family member that watched it first: thanks for telling me absolutely nothing.  Yes, I really mean that and am not just being facetious.

Certain things about the episode really bothered me, and it wasn’t even the big stuff.  For example, the Doctor is running around with a Cyberman’s head and an eye stalk, yet there’s no real explanation.

I purposely tried to watch the episode when no one was around because I felt I may get a little weepy.  The regeneration scene was going to be very different from Tennant’s (or so we were told) but I didn’t really want to risk it.  I was doing just fine at the beginning, but when 11 appeared with an older face I started to feel it.  When Clara held onto the TARDIS and turned around to see him I REALLY felt it.  It pulled at my tiny underdeveloped heart strings.  When he began to regenerate… a couple of tears were shed.  But when Amy appeared… I alternated between happy and really sad.  Fantastic to see her appear before he changed, even if she wasn’t really there.  The ‘everything changes’ speech felt more like Matt Smith’s speech than the Doctor’s, much like Tennant’s departing speech.  It also felt like Clara’s tears were actually Jenna Coleman’s tears…

When Capaldi appeared I could see the Doctor in him.  I have high hopes for him when the show returns.  I also really liked that Smith got one last speech in before he went, as well as the fact that they (sort-of) addressed the numbering.  But to be honest, it really felt like he was mostly gone when his face aged.  Maybe because it didn’t really look like him and maybe because of what was done with the character.  His performance was enjoyable though.

The plan is to re-watch the episode soon.  In the meantime, what did you think?

11Swing

… and I will miss Matt Smith…

Dalek

Season 1 of New-Who, episode 6.  The TARDIS arrives in a museum with old foe in glass boxes (like a Cyberman and a Slitheen arm).  Rose and the Doctor suddenly find themselves surrounded.

A shot of a helicopter flashes by.  Normally not worth mentioning, but the copter name is “Bad Wolf One”.

Next we see a quick point of view look through a Dalek’s eyestalk, then back to our Doctor.  A collector has found him trespassing in his personal museum.  For some odd reason, he wants to show him his only living specimen, while leaving Rose with some of his staff.  Only he doesn’t know what he actually has… the Doctor does, though.

As soon as the Doctor introduces himself to the darkened room, the Dalek flips and the Doctor realizes what he’s locked in with.  Luckily it’s unable to attack him.  In another dark scene for the Doctor, he torments the Dalek, telling him his race is dead.  Then, when questioned, he tells him the Time Lords are also dead.  They each realize they are alone and there’s a moment of sadness before the Doctor decides to take out his anger and kill the Dalek.  The collector (Henry) steps in to save it, but only with the hopes the Dalek will speak to him.

Rose makes friendly with Henry’s cataloguer Adam, because you know that will end well.  They decide to patch into the coms system in the Dalek’s room, just in time to see someone torturing it.  Rose freaks out and goes running towards danger.

This is the first time we’ve seen the Daleks in New-Who.  Henry and the Doctor have a chat about the time war, and Henry realizes he has another alien.  Cut scene to the Doctor chained up.  He’s being tortured and he’s terrified that the Dalek will get out and kill them all.

Meanwhile Rose and Adam go to talk to the Dalek.  As soon as she says Doctor the Dalek plays to her sympathies.  She touches it, giving it the time energy it needs to regenerate itself and escape.  Henry releases the Doctor after being convinced it’s his only chance of survival.

The Dalek passes by the guards and sucks the energy and all the data from the internet through a control panel (interesting concept).  It then starts dissolving bullets fired at it and shooting down everyone in its path.  Kids show?  Really?  The stack of bodies suggests otherwise.  This was mainly done to show the New-Who fans that Daleks are scary and really, REALLY dangerous.  The Classic-Who fans already knew this.  This is the same reason they showed it levitate.

After killing the soldiers the Dalek talks to the Doctor via video screen.  It tells him he’d make a good Dalek due to his hatred and want for it to die.

That didn’t stop him though.  With Henry’s help he sealed off the bulkheads, leaving Rose trapped with the Dalek.  Rose said her goodbye to the Doctor and he heard an extermination shot.  He began screaming at Henry for causing it, then we see Rose.

The Dalek couldn’t kill Rose because it received feelings through the DNA transfer.  It felt fear and realized it was contaminated.  It held her hostage to open the bulkhead, knowing that the Doctor would do it because of his feelings for Rose.

The Doctor sorted through a stack of uncatalogued weapons while Rose tried to reason with the Dalek.  She discovered it wanted its freedom, and so she walked it out.  When they saw sunlight there was a melancholy moment where it opened its case to feel the sunlight.  The Doctor arrived to kill it and Rose talked him down.

The mutated Dalek asked Rose to order it to die, but she couldn’t do it right away.  Once she realized it was no way for a Dalek to live, she gave the order and it self-destructed.  Guess we finally know what those balls on the side of the case are for.

I get the purpose behind the episode, since we’ll see the Daleks a lot more later on, but there was just too much feely going on.  I mean, evolving the Daleks?  No thanks.  They make better mindless killers.

Henry was quickly disposed of by his female assistant, who decided to fill the place in with cement.  That left the Doctor and Rose to jump into the TARDIS with Adam and move on.