Review: Doctor Who 'Under the Lake'

Sunday, 04 October 2015 - 2:15PM
Doctor Who
Sunday, 04 October 2015 - 2:15PM
Review: Doctor Who 'Under the Lake'
Last week, Whovians saw quite a decent conclusion to the two part story detailing the origins of the Doctor's nemesis, Davros. This week, the Doctor and Clara started back on their episodic adventures throughout time and space with Under the Lake, and it definitely didn't disappoint. Though there was nothing absolutely groundbreaking about this week's episode, and while it certainly didn't raise the bar to some new level of storytelling for DW, the quality and style of Under the Lake was exactly what fans of the show have come to expect from a show like Doctor Who. Of course, there were some aspects of the episode that could have been better, but at the same time there were some aspects of the show that were definite reminders as to why Doctor Who is such a success. Here's a quick rundown of what went so well (and what didn't) in Series 9, Episode 3: Under the Lake.

The Bad



As Under the Lake is the first half of another two episode story, it definitely ended on quite the cliffhanger. Yet this cliffhanger involved a way too overused plot device: the Doctor's imminent death. How many times throughout the past five years has this same plot device been used? In fact, it was used in the very last episode! While this didn't detract too much from the overall quality of this week's episode, it's amazing that a show that has the ability to span all of time and space goes back to the same old plot devices again and again.

It was also a tad disappointing that the "ghosts" in this week's show weren't a bit more scary. They were sort of creepy looking, and yes, DW is technically a children's show. However, Doctor Who is a whole lot of fun when there's a bit more of a horror feel to the show. This week's episode would have benefited greatly by creating the same vibes viewers felt when watching the creature under the sheets in last season's 'Listen.' Sadly, the fright factor just wasn't there last night.

The Good



This week's episode was able to remind fans of almost everything they love about the show. The idea of "an ear worm" resulting in the souls of the departed repeating the same message over and over was an extremely fun bit of "what if this could happen" sci-fi that Doctor Who is just so excellent at creating. The Doctor getting giddy and talking real fast about something so incredibly dangerous is exactly what fans have come to know and love out of every incarnation of the Time Lord. And then of course there's that glorious running!

It was nice to see that the socially awkward/grumpy 12th Doctor isn't totally gone yet as well. Seeing him have to pull out a notecard after saying something insensitive and then repeating "I'm very sorry for your loss. I'll do all I can to solve the death of your friend/family member/pet" was definitely one of the best parts of the episode. Nevertheless, the Doctor of series 9 isn't the same as the Doctor of series 8, and that's a bit of a disappointment to Whovians who really enjoyed watching a Doctor who acted like he could care less about virtually everything last year.

Finally, Under the Lake really has the ability to be the episode that gets fans hooked on series 9. After such a long time off air in comparison to other shows, DW certainly needs to be able to remind fans why it's such a great show. At least for this author, Under the Lake did that perfectly.

So what's the verdict? Under the Lake earns itself an 8.2 out of 10, and can definitely be called the best episode of 2015 thus far. If the rest of the series follows in it's path, Doctor Who's 2015 run could certainly end up being considered a success.

Catch next week's episode, 'Before the Flood,' at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America.

Science Fiction
Sci-Fi TV Shows
Doctor Who