Tag Archives: Under The Lake

Doctor Who Series Nine Review

Another series has come to an end, but what a great series it was. Seeing a more settled Peter Capaldi lead this series, he gets to show a superbly fun streak while keeping the deeply moving moments when needs to. From busting out guitar solos to heart-wrenching speeches, it was a fantastic series which built upon the 2014 run and came out high. Jenna Coleman may now have left, but we got some great episodes featuring Clara to show how much we shall all miss her. Plus, who can forget appearances from Reece Shearsmith, Maisie Williams, and even Ingrid Oliver coming back as Osgood.

  1. The Zygon Inversion by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat

Not by any means a bad episode (compared to series 8 which had a few weak episodes), but arguably I felt this conclusion to the Zygon two-parter lacked much substance to me. I felt at this point Clara was very much just being sidelined to make Osgood appear to be a replacement. The threat from the rogue Zygons never feels as grand as it should, there isn’t that worldwide ramification which is teased in the first part and to see Kate Stewart minimalised is a crime. But, the speech from Peter Capaldi does really stand out as one of the best acting movements from the Scottish actor.

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  1. Under The Lake by Toby Whithouse

Following on from one of the most thrilling two-parters ever, Toby Whithouse had to give a story which could keep the same attention as Steven Moffat had done for the previous two weeks. Though it seemed some of the cast was wasted to short parts, the characters of Cass and Lunn really make a good mark as the double act. But Morven Christie is superb as O’Donnell, it is just a shame that her great presence is then minimalised in part two. The tension builds nicely and makes for a great conclusion, which I will discuss later…

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  1. The Woman Who Lived by Catherine Tregenna

When we see Ashildr after so many years, we find that she is almost nothing like the Viking girl we met in ‘The Girl Who Died’. Maisie Williams proves to be the best guest star of series 9 with her appearances in the show. This one sees her very much become traitor as she looks to trick The Doctor to get away from earth and explore the world, but the alien Leandro looks set to make his own plans (I have to admit, he was a weak villain in an otherwise strong story). Also, it was nice having a companion-lite story and who would have thought Rufus Hound was cast so well? It may not be a classic, but Catherine Tregenna should come back!

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  1. Sleep No More by Mark Gatiss

This episode took me by surprise, making a twist to the found-footage genre and giving it a Doctor Who episode was definitely out of the ordinary. On first viewing, I was greatly impressed. But, the second time really was a killer. I still get a great chill from that last scene, as it really does infuse a horror element to the show with an effortless performance from Reece Shearsmith. The creatures themselves were a great invention, though I would think this story could be expanded upon and a follow-up could be better.

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  1. Hell Bent by Steven Moffat

The finale came and wow! First off, The Doctor is back on Gallifrey and is finally free from billions of years stuck in his confession dial. Though the Time Lords ask for his help, he merely despises for their actions and eventually dethrones Rassilon. The humour is great and to see many story strands conclude here is all well and good. But, as much as I loved Jenna Coleman, bringing Clara back really seemed to destroy the outstanding exit scene she was given just two weeks prior. On the plus side, we do get to see a second TARDIS and Ashildr returns.

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  1. The Zygon Invasion by Peter Harness

The Zygons exploded back onto the screen this year, and they brought Osgood back with them too. With the fear of a fracture in the treaty between human and Zygon, The Doctor is called upon by UNIT to help stop everything going to hell. The choice to have a mostly female led cast was genius and highlighted the best in Doctor Who with Osgood, Kate and Clara. The cliffhanger may not be the most stunning in its history, but the Clara reveal was well played and really made the stakes high.

INVASION OF THE ZYGONS (By Peter Harness)

  1. Before The Flood by Toby Whithouse

A two-parter unlike any other, this second part saw The Doctor travel over 100 years to the past to see what happened to cause these ghosts to appear. As well as meeting the mole-like Prentis, we also get to see The Fisher King, one of the most haunting and creepy monster’s to appear in the show. The combination of three separate actors bringing The Fisher King to life was indeed impressive and how long will you be questioning if Beethoven really made his own music?

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  1. The Witch’s Familiar by Steven Moffat

Fighting the Daleks, stealing chairs and drinking a cup of tea from an unknown source was just the starters of this episode. Seeing two hero/villain double acts fill the majority of the episode was impressive. While Clara and Missy teamed up to save The Doctor, The Doctor and Davros were getting chatty and some serious and fun moments evolved from that. The joke about the only other chair on Skaro will be a long lasting one. Also, kudos to the special effects team, Skaro looked really cool.

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  1. The Girl Who Died by Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat

Jamie Mathieson wrote the superb ‘Flatline’ last year, and it was not an easy task to follow on from that. But, he did so and more. A Viking village is attacked by alien race The Mire and young Viking Ashildr declares war against the warrior race. The Doctor and Clara then have just 24 hours to train the village to become warriors like those they have lost. Putting in many great jokes, some stunning action sequences and seeing The Doctor talk baby again. A winning episode which finally tells what helped the Time Lord get the familiar looking face he currently holds.

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  1. Heaven Sent by Steven Moffat

Imagine being stuck in a loop for billions of years, being chased by a creature that can’t die and won’t stop. Imagine being all alone with no companions and no exit. The Doctor literally punches his way out of this nightmare trap over the years and slowly wears a wall away until he is free. Seeing a vulnerable and frightened Doctor, it was a great in-depth look into the mind of our hero and a story which could never be replicated. A grieving Time Lord after losing his friend is a dangerous thing.

HEAVEN SENT (By Steven Moffat)

  1. Face The Raven by Sarah Dollard

We knew it was coming, but who would have thought the death of Clara Oswald would have been so moving? Jenna Coleman provides one of her greatest performances as she does her best to save friend Rigsy and tries to be like The Doctor. Learning the hard way she can’t be like the Time Lord, the ultimate price is paid for trying to be more than human. The Doctor physically and mentally is shaken by the series of events, and even looks to destroy former ally Ashildr after she sets up the trap which puts all these events into motion. Seeing Clara fall to the ground will haunt Doctor Who fans for many years to come…

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  1. The Magician’s Apprentice by Steven Moffat

To start off on such a massive high is a huge gamble, but started what was to be a fantastic series can’t be denied. With The Doctor missing, Missy and Clara working together and the best axe battle of all time, there was a lot to enjoy. The biggest surprise comes in the opening minutes when The Doctor meets a young Davros on a battlefield and leaves him to die. He then goes to hide, knowing that Davros survives the events and is looking to get him. With the pace being hectic, yet grounded, we have such a strong opener which floods the screen with references and characters. All perfectly placed, all pieces move towards what becomes the biggest ever cliffhanger in the history of the show!

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Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

 

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Doctor Who – Under The Lake. “I’m very sorry for your loss. I’ll do all I can to solve the death of your friend slash family member slash pet.”

Following an episode where we had probably the biggest threat ever presented to The Doctor, this week he takes Clara on an adventure to an Underwater Base in Scotland. Ghosts are the monsters of this week…yep, ghosts. Well, something related to alien technology to create the ghosts. A signal broadcasting out, but to who? This episode does make a huge shift in tone, settling once again for a more intimate setting. We find out that the mystery behind this spaceship and its contents go back some hundreds of years, so what exactly happened? We first see a ghost of a Tivolian (the creature that David Walliams played in Toby Whithouse’s ‘The God Complex’) as it follows the crew of the base after it finds the alien spaceship. Once a crew member dies, they too then become a ghost. They are all saying the same words, as a transmitter. The signal gets stronger with every additional ghost.

The humour does stay true in this episode, the cue cards was indeed a great scene to help The Doctor when talking to people. Also, Clara still has great comedic timing when it comes to running some of her lines against the Time Lord. Also, the TARDIS hand-break? Yep! Anyway, we do get such a great mystery to solve, the supporting cast do get their own chance to shine, but it is a bit much when a couple of one-note characters really do just dissolve (not a ghost joke, though one of them doe’s become a ghost and another unfortunately doesn’t get much time to really breathe). Also, we have a mysterious pod which is deadlocked and cannot be opened. I already have a theory behind it, but will put that right at the end if you want to see it. So to discover what happened, The Doctor with O’Donnell and Bennet (Morven Christie who plays O’Donnell is a delight, and I can’t explain why, she is just great. Also, Arsher Ali does a good job as Bennet) head to the TARDIS to travel back in time to solve the ghost mystery and stop more from dying, while Clara is stuck at the flooding base with the deaf Cass (a good move I think, it’s nice to see a deaf actress actually given a role on Doctor Who. Top marks for the casting and writing in that area) and her interpreter Lunn. While they question what The Doctor will do, we discover a new ghost outside…OH NO!

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The start of another two-parter, and immediately we have more questions than answers at this point. This pod is going to provide a lot of theories, but I am sure my one will be correct. Also, well done to the supporting cast this week, I really did like some of the characters that came up. Unfortunately, Colin McFarlane doesn’t get much to do as a human, and as a ghost his presence never changes and Steven Robertson just couldn’t convince me to like him alive or dead as Pritchard. Paul Kaye works the creep look as a ghost superbly, but can he do when we actually see his physical self next week? Peter Capaldi once again sails through superbly as The Doctor; he keeps up a great level of humour and dramatic tension in the 45 minutes on screen. Jenna Coleman still gets some great lines and I am sure will see her become a more involved presence in ‘Before The Flood’ as she keeps the future base under control. Still a good episode, but character development was a mix bag and the story looks set to really evolve in part two as we do have a few too many gaps. Next Saturday, please hurry, I want to see what comes next!

Final Rating: 8/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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P.S. The Doctor is a ghost, but I bet he is in the pod!