Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 3 Review: Under the Lake

at .  Updated at .

I love a good ghost story! Can't say I've ever seen an underwater one before.

While the premise was unusual, action-packed and creepy, I must confess these two-parters may just end up irritating me. Yeah, I'm a Netflix guy and rather than build anticipation for the second part, waiting a week (with other shows in-between) simply frustrates me. Can't you already tell the juicy stuff is coming in the second half?

Let's be honest, Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 3 was setup for the next episode.

Though the TARDIS wasn't happy, she delivered the Doctor and Clara at The Drum – an underwater mining facility – in Scotland. Why the mysterious spacecraft was buried on the ocean floor remains to be seen, but it certainly didn't take long for the "ghosts" to appear. Sure, the entity killed Moran who later appeared as a spectre, but how do "ghosts" explain the Doctor's fate? We all know the Doctor's not going to die.

Is it me, or was Clara behaving a little too gung-ho after almost dying on Skaro? The Doctor's companion has always been a bit of a worrier, but suddenly she's downright enthusiastic to face monsters, explosions, etc. Are the writers hinting that this newfound recklessness will end in disaster?

Am I reading too much into it since we all know Jenna-Louise Coleman is leaving the series?

Either way, Clara got her wish. The adventure was about to begin.

The Doctor: Tell me, what about those things out there? What are they? Why are they trying to kill us?
Bennett: Well, they're... they're ghosts.
The Doctor: They're not ghosts.

It's curious that one minute the ghosts didn't harm the Doctor, yet once he and Clara found the spaceship they attacked. Also, they're not active during "morning" hours. What was the significance of the TARDIS not translating the alien writing?

The Faraday cage blocks radio waves, so my first thought was they were some kind of projection or hologram. The mention the cage is lined with lead must be important, right? However, later on the ghosts were trapped inside the cage which blew a hole in that theory. If you've got a clue, please share your thoughts with me below.

The Doctor asking who was in charge in order to ignore them was hilarious. As were the little cue cards Clara prepared to help him behave more socially acceptable. When Bennett mentioned a dam bursting and the valley they were in becoming submerged, I got the feeling the real answers were coming in part two. Will we see that event take place?

Was the original ghost responsible for the catastrophe or is this all someone else's design? You can't help assume the flooding was intentional.

I loved that the Doctor managed to make a bad situation sound even worse.

So we are fighting an unknown homicidal force - that has taken the form of your commanding officer and a cowardly alien - underwater, in a nuclear reactor. Anything else I should know?

The Doctor

Though the Doctor coming to terms with the fact they were dealing with ghosts was amusing, it only confused me even more. Surely, these things could not be actual ghosts, but what are they? The Doctor rattled off a list that included holograms, flesh avatars, and digital copies. Guess we'll have to wait until part two to find out. He was as excited as a little boy to "meet a proper ghost."

However, the episode ended, and I found myself still wondering what the ghost's deal was. Yeah, that was aggravating.

Pritchard was totally obnoxious, and I knew he was the next to go. His greed got the better of him. He just had to go looking for that missing power cell, didn't he? Interesting that when the lights came on, ghost Pritchard vanished. Also, the entities didn't speak so how did they contact topside for assistance?

Using the crew as bait was nerve-wracking, but effective. The music was great, too!

Wait a minute, you know what this means? It means that they're not a natural phenomena. It means that someone is deliberately getting people killed, hijacking their souls and turning them into transmitters.

The Doctor

Ultimately, we're going to have to wait a week for any real answers. That said, this installment was loads of fun. A tad slow, sure, I'll give you that. Again, I wish I could have seen both episodes back to back. With so many shows returning this week, I'm bound to forget all the little details before part two airs.

In the meantime, let's just keep a few things in mind. "The dark. The sword. The forsaken. The temple" were coordinates to a church. The group discovered the suspended animation chamber there, but what's in it? The alien writing is supposedly an earworm. The Doctor went back "Before the Flood" and returned a ghost. What?!? I've got no clue how all this stuff ties together. Confused yet Whovians?

What did you think of "Under the Lake"? Are we dealing with ghosts or something else? Is the Doctor a goner? Who is responsible for all this madness? Go ahead and enlighten me in the comments below guys.

Need to try to make sense of all this? Watch Doctor Who online via TV Fanatic now!

NOTE: Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 4 is titled "Before the Flood" and airs on Saturday, October 10.

Under the Lake Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
  • 3.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (77 Votes)
Show Comments
Tags: ,

Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 3 Quotes

The Doctor: Tell me, what about those things out there? What are they? Why are they trying to kill us?
Bennett: Well, they're... they're ghosts.
The Doctor: They're not ghosts.

We are fighting an unknown homicidal force, underwater, in a nuclear reactor.

The Doctor