I really love the set-up to this episode, straight away we are thrown into a new and interesting scenario. This episode felt very Classic Doctor Who, particularly due to the way he talks to the TARDIS after they land and asks her what is wrong. That seemed like a throwback to the show’s past, he even sounded like Tom Baker at one point in that moment. Which is interesting given that the Fourth Doctor used to talk to the TARDIS all the time during his tenure. The location and premise were very interesting this week, some really good science fiction and pure escapism. I love when an episode has a unique concept. An episode is good if from the very beginning you are introduced to a new world with its own nuances and intricacies, especially if it feels like you are watching an entirely new TV series. An episode is high concept if it seems like the world in introduces could be explored over a full length series. That was very much the case for this two-parter, it feels like the premise is a separate TV show.
I really like the look of the ghosts in this story, they were legitimately creepy. It was a really weird moment when I noticed that their lips were moving for some unknown reason. Toby Whithouse is smart, he knows that if the ghosts were stereotypically what we have come to expect then we wouldn’t really be afraid of them. So he has added an element that the audience notice but do not understand. You know shit is about to get crazy real fast when the TARDIS Cloister Bell sounds, it always injects some drama into proceedings, it looks like this season’s two parters are all going to be very high stakes. The last two episodes saw Twelve facing off against his oldest foe, the story delved deep into the Doctor Who mythos. This episode was very high stakes also with the Cloister Bell sounding early in the episode and of course the appearance of Doctor’s supposed ghost at the end of the episode. We know that he won’t actually die but it is very dramatic nonetheless.
Pritchard’s death at the hands of the ghosts was really quite unnerving. This episode was extremely dark, the idea that a pod you are standing in, at the bottom of a lake suddenly opens is the stuff of nightmares, there is absolutely no escaping that situation. The scene where Pritchard reappears back in the base just before his corpse floats past outside was expertly written and executed. The moment that we found out exactly why the ghosts were muttering constantly, that it was a saying that provided coordinates was genius. The idea that they were transmitters and the reason they are killing people is because it creates more of them, therefore strengthening the signal is genius. It was one of those moments in well written Doctor Who episodes where lots of clues that don’t make sense separately fit together like a jigsaw to form a satisfying explanation.
Although this episode wasn’t really as much of a character study as the previous there was a couple of good dialogue moments. For example The Doctor challenging the principles of the crew. They wanted to run but he challenged that and asked them why they would abandon their duty when they committed themselves to service and science. Really great scene. I thought the sonic sunglasses were really stupid last episode but in this one they were admittedly quite cool. Now that I have seen them implemented I actually think they could be okay, it was kind of cool the way they made the sonic sound when he put them on and it stopped when he took them off. What an excellent cliffhanger to end on, establishing that the things appear after the death of a character and then having one show up that looked like The Doctor. Absolute genius. That is how you do the first part of a two-part Doctor Who episode because it felt like an adventure in itself.