Doctor Who: Series 9: Episodes 3 & 4

Spoilers below, please watch before you read… yes, it was worth it in the end.

For the first time in living memory, I fell asleep during a brand new Doctor Who episode, Under the Lake. Fair enough, just moved house and new homes take a while before they smell “normal” and I was tired etc. But it dragged in places. The Doctor and Clara dialogue was a bit flippant, the monotone revelation “oh my gawd it’s a ghost” was unbelievable…

This is more like what I’d have expected as a reaction:

So I embarked on the second episode Before the Flood with vast measures of trepidation… the Doctor dead, behaving like an idiot really… I’d moaned so much to the Captain about how two-parters all the way through is going to be so torturous that I might wait to watch it every fortnight, that I’m sure his ears are evolving the ability to fold in on themselves.

But it was a really good finish to what I thought was a laborious start. Think I’ll press on.

On the plus side of two-parters there’s the characterisation… more time means more words, feelings and thoughts. By the end the characters feel familiar.

The Doctor is tinkering in time, he’s aware of it but doing it anyway. I get a sense that this is part of the cause and effect of altering too much, creating too many ripples. It reminds me of a Tom Baker(?) season — I’ll need to get back to you on which one once I’ve found it — where it all ended up returning back on itself and everything that had happened, had ceased to exist. that’s how I remember it from the perspective of an old memory (30ish years ago). Maybe this is laying pipe for the series arc. Maybe it’s nothing.

The monster was awesomely hideous and the outcome was not without some of the Magician – an archetype which Capaldi brings life to in his portrayal. Clara and the Doctor’s relationship is still interesting to observe, but this series is unburdened by all the foreshadowing at the beginning of the last. It’s difficult for me to say which one was better because overall I loved series 8 – so much so that I really thought about it a lot. It really piqued my interest and I’m not sure that I feel the same intensity for Series 9.

What can I say? It’s lovely, polished and high quality programming from the BBC (No it should never, ever be sold off! Is everyone stark raving insane? It’s a British Institution, belongs to the people of Britain, there’s nothing like it anywhere else on the planet… what next? Suggest selling the Crown Jewels?) Inconceivable! The stories are strong (last night’s episode was a real doozy) and everything is good. I don’t know if there are plotholes (like potholes with a plah)… we’ll have to wait and see.

But I have had a couple of wonderings… if the Doctor is changing time in large and small ways could this help lure Gallifrey back into the right dimension? There is no authority higher than the Doctor when it comes to time. He’s inadvertently given Davros something from the Time Lords – Daleks till the end of time? Wouldn’t these timey-wimey tidal waves create signals for the Time Lords locked in whatever bubble they’re locked into so that they can work their way out again from the inside.

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