I have not enjoyed the opening two episodes of Doctor Who, finding something missing from both episodes and the story over all.
So far Doctor Who just hasn’t gripped me. So lets try with some ghosts!
What a episode!
Doctor Who was pushed back this week to accommodate Strictly which had its first bumper episode this week and what a way to start! This is what we wanted when we got a move to Autumn and later time slots, something to send the kiddies (and some adults!) cowering behind the sofa and fearing for the characters life.
So maybe it wasn’t the scariest thing in the world but it started off actually quite creepy. Ghosts have been done recently in Doctor Who but not to this extent and not as well. I liked “Hide” but felt the story kind of lacked a good ending, everything about it had the right atmosphere and was pretty good up until it changed stories from a ghost story to a Sci-Fi one. “Under the Lake” didn’t do that, or at least hasn’t so far, and works so much better, so far.
I loved the ghosts, I think they were actually one of the creepiest things they’ve had for a while, I think there was something so real about them and so lost and horrible. It sent shivers down my skin just looking at them. The scene where you do not just have the ghost but the dead floating body of the guy going past the windows was possibly one of the best scenes in Who for a good few years. It just worked. Terribly well.
Not only that but I felt, even though I might need to rewatch, the story worked better then the last two. I loved that the Doctor and Clara just showed up for a adventure, I didn’t even care that it seemed that everyone in the underground base knew who the Doctor was either because it saved so much time and they just got on with the story which was great when we’ve had two episodes that just seemed to want to talk to us about Doctor Who instead of giving us a story to grip our teeth into. Not for a long time have I been this eager to get to a second part of a story so much!
What was really missing for me in the last two episodes was the firm ground of the Twelfth Doctor that we’d built up over last season. I know he isn’t a stable personality but he’d at least BUILT a personality of some sorts. That was missing from the last two episodes, he kind of turned into a mix of everything and anything and it got on my nerves. Not only that but it felt like “strong female lead” was being portrayed as “one line throwing bitches” and I just couldn’t like Clara at all. This time out both had much more of their normal personalities and were just allowed to do their thing which was great because it meant we got to see the best of both of them.
It all came together to wipe away the memories of the last two weeks which have been plagued by difficult stories, terrible characterization and missing a connection to me.
Also missing from last time out is a cast of likable and interesting characters. I’m sorry but Michelle Gomez as Missy finally got too much for me last week. In contrast this week we have a whole cast of interesting people to meet. I especially loved Arsher Ali as Bennet, something about that character made me feel like I’d be just like him in every situation he was in. I know it meant a lot to Anna (if you don’t know she’s partially deaf) to see Sophie Stone as Cass, a fully fledged deaf character who wasn’t there as a plot point (even if it proved useful and kind of was) but was the authority figure who was respected by her crew who wouldn’t leave her when she made the brave decision to stay seeing she was in charge. Her translator Lunn (I think, played by Zaqi Ismail) was adorable and I loved him so much! So happy he didn’t die! And just to round it out you also had Morven Christie who played O’Donnell who was very feisty and every bit a STRONG female character (that Moffat seems unable to write….)
The cast were just well rounded and all of them felt like they were there because they needed to be there, there because they were people doing a job and not just there to be killed off or shouted at. Cass stood up for herself and her crew against the Doctor, they showed great courage and strength being used as pawns in the Doctors plans and then all decided to stay together and help the Doctor instead of going home.
Honestly one of the strongest casts I’ve seen in a while.
Truly the most chilling and interesting story for a long while. I can’t wait to see what happens next!