Doctor Who's Under the Lake splits Reg scribes: This Alien homage thing – good or bad?
'I've not seen tech on Earth like this before'
Under the Lake needs to deliver proof that Earthbound episodes can live up to Steven Moffat's Season 9 two-part, full off-world action opener. And indeed it starts in predictably spooky fashion with a biggish cast of humans to entertain the Doctor.
Pritchard is clearly marked for death from the outset. Number one rule of Doctor Who: thou shalt not put corporate interests before people. And with another fatality before the opening credits, this is clearly not going to be one of those “everyone lives” episodes.
Clara's demands for monsters and adventures shows she clearly isn't following the plot. Spooky underwater base, what did she expect? Another party? The Doctor is already better written this season, but Miss Goody Two Shoes is not so much companion as accessory.
Under the Lake teases viewers with a puzzle that we think we can solve: Faraday cage, ghosts that cannot come out in artificial daytime and can only handle metal objects – surely we can work it out. But then the rug is abruptly pulled out as the Doctor declares “they are ghosts!”
Doctor Who, Season 9, Episode 3 – Under the Lake. Pic credit: BBC
Pritchard nonetheless takes a good 20 minutes to cark it, before the danger factor ramps up. Clever ghosts who send Morse Code are a lot scarier than mindless, zombie-like spooks. The catch-a-ghost caper is good silly fun, but is disappointingly punctuated by the return of the goddam sonic sunglasses.
'A song you can't stop humming, even after you die.'
In the last couple of episodes Peter Capaldi didn’t do much running about, but his Indiana Jones-style dive under the door proves he can move when he needs to. But much more welcome is the thought of Clara being left behind for a bit while the Time Lord zips back to the past to sort things out without her incessant quips.
The ghost Doctor is a good cliffhanger of the sort we’re going to have to get used to this season, but come on ... We KNOW he’s not dead – just like we knew Missy wasn’t dead, or Clara or even the TARDIS. Right? RIGHT?!