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"Under the Lake"

The tl;dr summary is "meh". It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad.

Spoilers, of course.


I think the problem was that I felt absolutely no tension throughout the entire episode. I suppose it didn't help that I saw Moffat say that this was going to be a super-scary episode; I've found that whenever Moffat claims something about something coming up, it usually means that it's not at all that way but he's trying to hype it up. But sure, there are monsters and we don't know what they want and the Doctor's trying to figure it out - no better or worse than any other episode, really.

I think the thing I really disliked here was the Doctor's monologue about the four words, "dark, sword, forsaken, temple", because though it was meant to show just how much of a genius he is, there was really no logical way for him to figure it out. How in the world does he know that the sword refers to the sword in Orion's belt, or that the temple refers to the church in the town? He doesn't figure something out - he just pulls it out of thin air.

There's also the problem that the science is bad: if we can see the three stars lined up to make the sword up in the sky, we are not the fourth point in that line. (Not to mention that we might see three stars making a line in the 2-D sky, but there's very little chance that those three stars are actually lined up in 3-D space.) Doctor Who really needs a scientific advisor on staff like Star Trek has. I realize that DW is meant to be sciency-wiency and I am perfectly happy waving away their almost magical technology and technobabble, but when they call out to real-world science and they're completely wrong, it ruins the suspension of disbelief - if they're going to get it wrong, it's actually better for them to throw the real science out the window and make stuff up. This was one of the main problems with "Kill the Moon" and "In the Forest of the Night", and it took a while for me to warm back up to this episode after that. (I used to rant about the horrible science at the end of "The Poison Sky", but now it looks good in comparison.)

Loved the note cards. That was a universal hit, I think.

The sealab cast was pretty vanilla except for the leader (who seemed to have been given a handicap only so that there could be someone who could read lips) and Lux the rich guy who got snuffed. Even Clara is pretty much standing around either being reckless (a new sudden character trait for Clara - imagine that; that's never happened before) or stunned.

I wasn't expecting a two-part episode, but it sounds like it's going to be pretty common this season, and that's cool. A piece of advice to the writers, though: killing off the main characters does not make a good cliffhanger. The audience knows better. And doing it twice in a row only makes us mock you.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
a_phoenixdragon
Oct. 4th, 2015 06:23 pm (UTC)
I thought it had to do with the fact that what they had was a space ship and they were in an underground facility (that was a part of UNIT) in a flooded township. There were only four markings, so the four words made sense to me. And technically Orion's 'sword' points AT us, so the idea isn't too far out there. I dunno, I had fun with this one. The advantage of ignoring spoilers or hype, I suppose.

As for Clara...sheer overcompensation. She is trying to throw herself into adventure to make up for the things she misses. By trying to NOT miss them. And I rather liked the deaf captain. Thought that was awesome and...why not, you know?

*HUGS*
shivver13
Oct. 6th, 2015 05:57 am (UTC)
Actually, I avoid spoilers and hype like the plague, but sometimes someone spouts off on Facebook and I don't look scroll away fast enough. :D

I liked the captain, too, but perhaps I'm too cynical - whenever on any show, a handicapped single-episode character shows up, the first thing I think is, "Ah, that person's handicap is going to solve some problem or otherwise be integral to the plot." And it was.
a_phoenixdragon
Oct. 6th, 2015 06:00 am (UTC)
One of the myriad of reasons I avoid Facebook, but I know not everyone has the luxury of 'just avoid'! :D

Awww...one day, honey. One day it will be more than plot-device!
shivver13
Oct. 6th, 2015 06:03 am (UTC)
Well, Facebook has its uses and benefits, but it doesn't help that I work for a company that makes Facebook games, so I'm even on it for work! :P
dm12
Oct. 4th, 2015 06:34 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... I was wondering about that bit with Orion's belt and sword. The stars look very different depending where (and when!) you are, so that whole bit really only somewhat works from Earth's point of view. If the aliens that were in that ship weren't from Earth (as it appears), what would they know about Orion or his sword? It just makes no sense from an astronomical point of view, especially if Earth was supposed to be the fourth item in the line. I agree, we just wouldn't see it the same way if we were.

I basically ignore and avoid anything Moff has to say beforehand. That way, I'm less disappointed. It worked here... up until the last second. His habit of killing off people/beings/Time Lords(Ladies) and bringing them back does leave one with a feeling of "Again? That makes x times he's killed so & so. So what?"

I didn't really feel so bad for the corporate guy; he was the one who insisted they stay, apparently because equipment is worth more to him than lives.... True, he wasn't vanilla, but I didn't feel sorry for him!

The note cards were kind of amusing; it seems this Doctor needs a clue as to how to sympathize with others. I guess it balances out Ten's constant refrain about how sorry he was.... Capaldi's Doctor is definitely not emo, nor is he touchy-feely. He has to be cued, and even then, he does a pretty shoddy job of it.

Still, I have to say that this season is more watchable than last, at least so far. Capaldi is finally beginning to own his role as the Doctor. I heard that they wrote last season's episodes before they knew who would fill the role, but that may just be a rumor.
a_phoenixdragon
Oct. 4th, 2015 07:44 pm (UTC)
I heard that they wrote last season's episodes before they knew who would fill the role, but that may just be a rumor.

I heard that, too! And I generally don't hear (or listen) to much when it comes to rumors, spoilers, whathaveyou, lol!

Those notecards were brilliant. Definitely fitting! Poor Twelve needs a constant headslap - put notecards work just as well. Wonder if that was a Clara idea. Well, I know it was a Clara-idea, but I wonder how she managed to convince him!

That scene where he tried to talk her down was sweet, if a little sad in a way. His whole 'don't be me' (in his roundabout way) was funny, if telling. I love that Clara knows him so well she saw it for what it was...

dm12
Oct. 4th, 2015 08:01 pm (UTC)
Clara's a teacher, they are great at using note cards! Actually, one of my kids used to need scripts when he needed to make phone calls....

Indeed, it was telling... "Don't be me" was the message, heard loud and clear (to me, anyway... and you as well, it seems). It's sad how he was trying to encourage her to find another relationship (after all, it's what we puny humans do). Somehow, I get the sinking feeling she won't get the chance....
shivver13
Oct. 6th, 2015 06:19 am (UTC)
It gets worse if you start taking into account astronomical distances (which sci-fi shows never do). One of the three stars in the sword is 4,200 light years from Earth, which means that the position we see it in now is where it was 4,200 years ago. So, are the aliens sighting off of where the star actually is, or where earthlings think it is? But really, it just doesn't work. If there are three flies in a line on your wall across the room, that line doesn't point at your nose.

Nobody Moffat kills stays dead. Well, minor one-off characters, sure. My husband is convinced that Danny Pink will come back this season. But the sure-fire way of being invited back to Moffat's DW is to play a non-minor character who gets killed.

I definitely think this season is more watchable than the last.
doctorxdonna
Oct. 4th, 2015 07:25 pm (UTC)
The note cards thing killed me. It was the only time it felt like the Doctor was truly in character-it reminded me of Ten having to constantly ask Rose if he was being rude. But then again, the episode wasn't written by Moffat, so there's that, lol. The black, empty ghost eyes thing was a bit creepy, though.
shivver13
Oct. 6th, 2015 05:59 am (UTC)
It reminded me of when Chantho told the Doctor that her people were a conglomeration that had been wiped out and he gushed about being right, and Jack had to tell him, "You're supposed to say 'I'm sorry.'" :D
alumfelga
Oct. 4th, 2015 07:45 pm (UTC)
I'm glad I don't watch any interviews this season then. The last thing I want is the cast and Steven Moffat winding up my expectations.

Everyone seem to love the cards, I feel alone ;)
shivver13
Oct. 6th, 2015 06:01 am (UTC)
I just heard that thing about it being scary in passing - Facebook or something. I avoid pre-knowledge about the episodes and season as much as possible. I didn't even watch the pre-season trailer.
cynthia2015
Oct. 9th, 2015 03:18 am (UTC)
"The sealab cast was pretty vanilla except for the leader (who seemed to have been given a handicap only so that there could be someone who could read lips) and Lux the rich guy who got snuffed."

I liked the fact they hired an actress who is deaf and incorporated it into the plot. However it is possible for some people to read lips without being deaf.

"It reminded me of when Chantho told the Doctor that her people were a conglomeration that had been wiped out and he gushed about being right, and Jack had to tell him, "You're supposed to say 'I'm sorry.'" :D

Sometimes the Doctor can be oblivious to people's feeling's or how they will process what he is saying.

Billy Shipton: What in God's name are you talking about?
Martha Jones: Trust me, just nod when he stops for breath.

The Eleventh Doctor: Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense. You're just not keeping up.

Edited at 2015-10-09 03:32 am (UTC)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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