Sunday, August 24, 2014

Doctor Who--"The Beast Below"

I did not dislike “The Beast Below,” but there was a certain Russell T. Davies vibe to the story which I had hoped Steven Moffat would eliminate during his run. It is still early, so hope for the best.

So what reminds me of RTD? First and foremost, the episode is a carbon copy of the first season’s “The Long Game” right down to the doctor deciding to dump his companion for messing with mind altering technology. The more important homage--I am being charitable--is that a trapped creature is in control of an entire civilization. In this case, Starship UK, the last refuge of the British people far into the future. We also have royalty acting beneath her stature, villains creepy just for the sake of it, and heavy handed moralizing.

There was definite schizo split I the episode concerning the Doctor. I was quite happy early on when the Doctor jumped into the mystery of why a little girl was sitting alone crying with no one caring. He had a pure sese of fun and adventure right up until the point the discovered an trapped alien was being tortured into powering the ship. Then it is right back to the brutal, hates all humanity for its sins doctor who decides to dump Amy for deciding to keep a secret from him.

Which is not really her fault. She is told the truth about the alien early on and chooses to have her memory wiped. At the time of the story’s climax, she does not remember anything at all, but she chose to save the British people by keeping the alien trapped and tortured.

The Doctor is about to put it out of its misery when Amy realizes that the alien has volunteered to help for the sake of the children. When and if they stop torturing it, the alien will be even more capable of helping. The Doctor realizes the mistake he would have made killing it and how much of a kindred spirit he and the alien are thanks to Amy.

”The Beast below” is not particularly bad, but there is not much original, either. I was hoping Moffat would put a unique spin on his Doctor right out the gate but no such luck yet. I liked the season premiere better, but have high expectations for next week’s Daleks and Winston Churchill episode.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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