This season seems to be full of new things that the writers are trying out. This episode it was the Doctor speaking directly to camera and the audience. I honestly don’t know if I think this is a good idea or not. It seems fun but it felt a bit jarring as the series doesn’t often break the fourth wall in such an obvious way. The moment that the electric guitar played throughout the intro music was a nice one time thing. I wonder if they will have variations on the theme in other episodes. This prologue before the opening credits was very different however Doctor Who is about change so it makes sense that they are trying out new things. I was interested by the tease of ‘The Minister of War’. It seems that this could be a very big plot point, possibly for the season finale. They wouldn’t spend the time to mention it if it wasn’t something important. This was clearly foreshadowing a big bad. It is no small thing to be mentioned in the same breath as Harold Saxon, who of course was the disguise of the Doctor’s most dangerous villain, the Master.
This episode was astutely shot and filled with drama. Capaldi was formidable yet again, even when the story isn’t strong he makes the episode. It just so happened that the writing in this episode was as good as the acting. As I said in the review of the first part, this story feels like an episode of Classic Doctor Who. More so in this, the second part, because we got to see some classic time travel stuff. The characters looking at their past selves, it reminds me of Back to the Future. The setting is fantastic, the mock Soviet town looks great and the base under the lake that we got to see more of last episode was the perfect place for a tense situation. The Fisher King was a threatening villain until they showed the character out in the open. Once you know what the monster looks like there isn’t a lot to be afraid of. It is the unknown that is scary, when the creature is creeping around in the dark where you can only vaguely see what it is, it’s frightening because your imagination makes up what you haven’t been shown.
Every scene was gripping, the danger was full of tension and the last act was exciting as we saw the Doctor fix a rather dire scenario. Under the Lake and Before the Flood made for a solid two-part Doctor Who story. It was extremely dark, a triumph of writing and superbly acted with a lot of emotion. Impressive stuff from Toby Whithouse, the cast and crew.