JReviews: Doctor Who Series 9 Episode 3- Under The Lake

Ok, so, just to let you all know I'm going to try my hardest to resist singing songs from The Little Mermaid during this review, even though the episode title really makes me want to. And with that out of the way, let's dive in. Pun intended.

So, I actually don't have a lot to say about this one in terms of actually doing a run down of the episode, mainly because of how the episode played out. For every bit of the mystery that the Doctor solved it just uncovered two more extra layers. It's the Hydra of episode mysteries this one and thank god they made it a two parter, because any attempt to solve this one in one episode would have been immensely unsatisfying. One of the most interesting points that I'm certainly going to be looking out for next episode though is how are the ghosts able to kill people if they don't have a form. We know that they are ethereal beings because they can walk through walls, so how can they pick up weapons and touch keypads. Also, why are they not trying to lure the interpreter to the ship? He hasn't read the co-ordinates, which is why they aren't trying to kill him. Also, yay for the company who runs this whole operation, they get major equal opportunities bonus points for employing a deaf woman in such a senior position as second in command, despite the extra cost of having to employ and house a signing interpreter just so she can communicate with her crew-mates.

Anyway, character-wise, not to bad. Clara has suddenly got all jovial at the thought of being killed by ghosts and the Doctor was possibly the best overall that he has been in this Peter Capaldi incarnation. He didn't have any "wow, that was outstanding moments" but the overall performance was charismatic, intelligent, authoritarian and, above all, likeable, which is what he struggled with badly last season. Sure he may need prompt cards for tact and sympathy (nice touch by the way), but seeing him act like a hyper child over the idea of real ghosts was great. Oh and this episode actually gave the Doctor and Clara some form of chemistry, which just made me go "what?!" I was not expecting that. Still don't really care all that much about Clara though. As for the episodic characters, they worked well. Sure you had that token arsehole from "the company" who put everyone in danger just so he wouldn't lose his bonus and very quickly got himself drowned, but apart from him, a decent bunch who worked well off of the Doctor and Clara. Special props go to our aforementioned deaf friend for being all of the following: sensible, brave and intelligent (so much so that it is her the Doctor bounces off of in the "figuring stuff out" scenes rather than Clara in most cases), although the systems tech girl does win Fan-Girl of the Week award.

So, so far so good, but before I go there is an elephant in the underwater room that I feel I need to address. Maybe it's just me, and I have been playing some more scary games lately and this is a family show so it's not going to go too far, but for a psuedo-horror episode, I was expecting more scares, well not exactly scares but bits that might scare the kids and make the adults jump a little, unexpected little moments you know. Especially with ghosts, the possibilities for jump scares with ghosts coming through walls could have been at least utilised. The atmosphere was great at setting the creepy tone, but they didn't really capitalise on it. Having said that though, those eyes on the ghosts were properly creepy. Or should I say, lack of.

But overall, good episode, could have utilised the atmosphere more, but great character work and an engaging story certainly mean it is the equal of the last two weeks episodes. It'll be interesting to see how next week plays out.

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