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Reviews by Luke,

Professional Human

Doctor Who s09e04 Before the Flood Review

3 min read – October 11, 2015

Last we saw the Doctor he was a ghost floating in the water. Dead yet again, Doctor? Come on, really? Clara and two crew members are locked in a room waiting for the Doctor to save them, but how can he do that if he’s dead?

When the Doctor goes back in time to ‘Before the Flood’ we learn that an alien warlord called The Fisher King had “died” and was to be buried on earth. However, the Fisher King had a scheme up his sleeve to live longer. Can the Doctor foil his plan and save his own life, Clara, and the rest of the crew?

Under the Lake had the feel of a classic two-part opener. Before the Flood carried on with the mysterious ghosts, the silent speech, and the running through tunnels. There is a Back to the Future II vibe while the Doctor investigate events before the flood and then crisscrossing again and watching events happen but trying not to intervene, when really he should have. The Doctor, at the start of the episode tells the audience to google The Bootstrap Paradox which effectively sums how everything works: future events affect past events.

The problem with the Before the Flood is that it takes the Doctor about 15minutes to find the spaceship, learn what it is, and that the creature inside desires souls to prolong his life. Then the episode just bobs along. The Fisher King is just wandering about while the Doctor and two crew members hide. Before-the-Flood-1Clara’s storyline is solely about retrieving her iPhone and running form Ghosts. Eventually the Doctor destroys the Fisher King after a long boring conversation; then he creates the flood and wakes up in the suspended animation chamber from part 1 to save Clara from the ghosts, and his ghost was a hologram used as a trick.

I think there was real potential in this episode, especially when it came to the Doctor actually saving everyone. Why didn’t he do that? But because of the ridiculous moment in Angels Take Manhattan; because someone says it’s the future doesn’t mean it has to be the future when, previously, there was so much emphasis on how time can be rewritten. Look at Into the Tardis, the Doctor changed the fate of himself, Clara, and the three brothers. The show doesn’t keep to its own rules or logical and anytime decisions are made that break the rules of what was laid out before it comes across as lazy now, because it’s mainly to suit the plot only.Apparently the Doctor can only interfere when it’s convenient. I think it was a damn clever trick to have the Doctor inside the suspended chamber, but it was a trick wasted on a dull second half. The episode could have been all the more scarier if Clara and her crew were battling the Fisher King in the future while the Doctor Was in the past, then past and present collide and the crew is saved and Fisher King Stopped. BBC, I’ll let you have that one for free.

uktv-doctor-who-before-the-flood-8The Fisher King was very dull as a monster. Scary looking, kind of, but I didn’t appreciate his style. He was cut from the cloth of cheesy and cheap villains of Who’s past. His suit wobbled when he walked! And my did he walk. He just walked around and walked around some more, had a bit of a chat with the Doctor then walked some more before being crushed by the flood.

There’s a real struggle to create monsters with really scary and impending doom-like plots of late. You want to stop the monster, and you want to do that close to the end to build the tension, but that means tension has to be created and built upon throughout. And here is the problem with the two-parters. Many times not enough plot related events are happening to keep the momentum. I’m not seeing improvement this series at all, just a lot of the same things.

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