Friday, October 27, 2017

Goodbye to 12 - Doctor Who - Before the Flood Review

We celebrate the Peter Capaldi era by revisiting the 12th Doctor's adventures as we count down the days to his last adventure.

Doctor Who:
Before the Flood
By Toby Whitehouse

“Clara, I want to talk to my ghost self.”

The problem with two part stories in the new version of Doctor Who is that the second part for the most part has been disappointing or at the very least pretty mediocre and has not delivered on the excitement from the first part that got you all jazzed up for the conclusion.  So far in the Capaldi era the two parters have been mixed with the mediocre Dark Water/ Death in Heaven to the very well done The Magician’s Apprentice/ The Witch’s Familiar.  Before the Flood has the hard task of following the really good Under the Lake and despite not being quite as good as its lead up episode it wasn’t bad at all and was pretty entertaining.

Before the Flood starts off with one of the more confusing segments to start an episode.  At first I was what the hell does this have to do with anything and who cares about Beethoven and that stupid guitar.  I just did not care and wanted to know more about the ghost Doctor and what would happen to Clara and the others in the seas base.  Well that scene in a clever but annoying and confusing way explained how The Doctor escaped from the Fisher King and well did we really need that explanation at the beginning?   Maybe, but the explanation went by so fast that I had to watch it again.  It made sense the second time around but at first watch it was confusing.

I really enjoyed Before the Flood but did not think it was as good as Under the Lake.  While Under the Lake was scary and had a lot of tension that was missing from Before the Flood.   Before the Flood was not all that scary and was turned into a time travel story.  Yes, the scene with Cass walking in the corridors was a tad scary but you had a feeling that she would figure out that a ghost was behind her.  That scene reminded me a bit of Daredevil when he used his powers to sense that someone was there.  The scenes with the Fisher King screaming and chasing The Doctor, O’Donnel and Bennett were pretty good also and had a touch of Hinchcliffe to them.

Clara is starting to act too much like The Doctor and it is getting annoying.  I mean when she forced Moran out to get the cell phone back from the ghosts because he wasn’t infected was a good idea but who is she to order him to get it.  Yes he went because he knew it was the right thing but I did love how Cass called Clara out on that.  Something she needed and it almost ended up getting them all killed.  Also she came across very selfish telling The Doctor to die with the next companion after her.  That’s pretty cold and selfish especially when The Doctor finds out about his upcoming demise.   That did not paint Clara in a good light with me and thankfully she will be leaving soon.

One of the things that bug me is the new sonic sunglasses.  The plus thing is that The Doctor doesn’t wave it around like a magic wand to save the day but it is starting to become a safe way out.  I get how he used it to make the hologram ghost of himself and all that but what bugged me is if he could use the glasses to erase the imprint from everyone’s eyes why didn’t he do that earlier?  Wouldn’t have made things simpler when he figured out what the words in the ship did to you.  It would have made you immune from the ghosts and you wouldn’t have to worry about them anymore.

I did like the way The Doctor saved the day even if it became predictable.   I had an inkling that The Doctor would be in the statis chamber as the clues were there especially with the TARDIS being freaked out about being at the sea base.  It became even more apparent when The Doctor confronted the Fisher King.  It was a pretty good solution and even though you didn’t see The Doctor set the charge for the dam or set up the TARDIS emergency takeoff  it made sense as we knew only one power cell made it to the future and the dam does break.  The way The Doctor tricks the Fisher King is right out of Classic Who as The Doctor used his intelligence and his words against the enemy and not weapons. 

Before the Flood had a classic feel to it but just wasn’t as scary or clever as Under the Lake.  It was pretty entertaining and I really did enjoy it even though I had some problems with it.  It had a classic Doctor Who feel to it and even though they tried to be way to clever with the explanation of how The Doctor cheated death it wasn’t really needed as The Doctor could have explained all that to Clara at the end.  But still Toby Whitehouse gave us a two part story that was really good and very entertaining and it did escape the New Who two part story curse.
Grade B+

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