Doctor Who Before the Flood Review

Normally when I write my reviews I always end up regurgitating what happened in the episode. And actually that’s not really what I want to do. I want to focus more on the stuff I did or didn’t like in an episode. So I’m going to try to do that with this review.

So in summary. This is part two of a two part story. Last time the Doctor traveled back in time without Clara, following which his “ghost” appeared to Clara implying that he had died. In this episode we see the events in the past (the 1980s I believe) and the future (22nd century) unfolding in tandem with the Doctor able to talk to Clara in the other time period. He gets a shock with the discovery that he has a “ghost” and eventually he faces the Fisher King whose technology was responsible.

At the start of the episode before the credits there was a scene with the Doctor talking directly to the audience. He’s describing the Bootstrap Paradox where s time-traveler goes back in time to meet Beethoven only to discover that the composer never existed. The time-traveler then has to copy out Beethoven’s music so it is not missing from history. So the paradox is, who composed the music?

While lots of Internet people were upset with this talking-to-audience development I kind of liked that sequence. At first I actually thought he was talking to the two guest companions who were with him and it was from their point of view. It also reminded me a bit of the start of the episode Listen where he does something similar. So I didn’t mind it at all.

The episode also incorporates a time loop with the Tardis going back in time about thirty minutes or so. I do love time loop stuff. I loved that the Doctor and the two “guests” had rematerialised just around the corner from their first iterations and we can see both sets of people at the same time. Also the second set get to observe the actions of the first set. I actually wish they did more of that kind of thing. I kind of hoped there would be more material with the second group following the events of the first group than there actually was.


Later the Doctor meets and confronts the mysterious Fisher King who had been in the alien spaceship. At one point there was a moment where the Doctor was backing away from the alien towards the opened suspended animation pod thing. And I thought, “hang on a second…” I thought it would be fun if the doctor was in the pod in the future. And that is exactly what happened. So the Doctor ended up in the life pod thing and was under the water for a century and a bit until the crew of the base recover it.

Actually I really enjoyed how the events on the two different time periods linked together. The Doctor being in the pod for over a century sort of reminds me a little of the DeLorean in Back to the Future III, sitting in that abandoned mine from 1885 until 1955 waiting to be dug out.

(I think I once worked out that the DeLorean is in four different places at the same time in 1955 across all three BTTF movies. But that’s a topic for another post. Perhaps one to be written on 21 October 2015 perhaps…)

Some of the sequences set on the underwater base were very tense. I think my favourite bit was when the deaf crew-member Cass was walking down the corridor and we saw her point of view with a silent soundtrack. And behind her one of the ghosts appeared with an axe… And she can’t hear him! That was tense. I figured she might feel the vibrations of the axe dragging on the decking. This is what happened and the makers of the show depicted it with a little Daredevil homage, the outline of the axe appearing in negative. Although some internet people are annoyed with this as it implied that she had “superpowers”. Calm down, Internet people, it’s just a way to portray the vibrations.

And for once I cared a bit about the guest star folk and wanted them to survive. Must be good casting or good acting or both.

At the end of the episode we discover that the Doctor Ghost was not actually a ghost at all. Instead it was a clever hologram he created with the fore-knowledge of what it needed to do in the future.

I don’t think I worked out the Doctor Ghost was a hologram but I was pretty sure it was some alien transmission that the Doctor worked out how to send to Clara, like hacking into the Fisher King’s technology that created the ghosts. I guess hologram is easier to explain.

Anyway, it tied in nicely to the whole Bootstrap Paradox that they had gong on.

Yes, I really enjoyed those two episodes. And the added bonus of absolutely no Missy.

There. I’m not convinced that’s any more successful of describing the events of the episode. We’ll see if I do that again.