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The Beast Below: SPOILERS!!!!


Idiom's picture

Idiom - Posted on 10 April 2010

The tone of the Moffat series begins to really be set with this story. The dark fairy tale indeed: part Peter Pan (I was interested in Moffat’s explanation of why Amy stays in her nightie and liked the analogy of her as Weny darling to the Doctor’s Peter Pan); part Jonah and the Whale; part Terry Pratchet; and a bit of little Red Riding Hood thrown in for good measure. It’s a tone which is something new for Doctor Who and something which I think I’m going to like a lot. Having said that, this story was never going to live up to the promise set by the first episode – my expectations were far to high and although there were definite pluses to the story, there were quite a few minuses for me as well.

Positives:

·         The opening scene narrated by Amy with her floating out in space.

·         The tone and the feel of Starship UK; also the face of the Smilers like vampiric ventriloquists’ dummies (Steven Moffat does look suspiciously like a Smiler)

·         Matt Smith growing every week – here a touch of Tom Baker’s hypocrisy, there a flash of Jon Pertwee’s righteous anger. Definitely the Doctor.

·         The Doctor’s grooming of Amy – explaining, teaching her to observe – he really comes across as a Sherlock Holmes type figure with impeccable logic behind all of his observations

·         The telephone in the TARDIS – although this is something new and we have never really seen anything like it before (except for Martha’s calling of the Doctor in the Sontaran Stratagem), it has been hinted on various occasions before  that the Doctor has been called back to Earth to help out.

·         More little references to the past of the series: Magpie Electronics, the Doctor’s relationship with Good Queen Bess.

·         A cliffhanger! Yippee!

Things I wasn’t too keen on:

·         Too many unexplained plot points – where did the half-Smilers-half-humans come from? Why did the Smilers exist in the first place? Would a police state like this really change its rule if 1% of the population disagreed?

·         Amy’s reactions – I didn’t really believe that she would select the forget button. Her later actions speak of a keen intellect and a fierce bravery and this clashed with the act of...well, if not cowardice than at least an abdication of responsibility earlier in the episode.

·         By the same token Liz 10, who spent half her life trying to discover the truth behind Starship UK, only to chose to forget again and again. Once more this didn’t really ring true for me.

Overall, I felt the story was a bit rushed and could have done with the extra 15 minutes that the Eleventh Hour benefited from. Still, it was nice to see the first real sci-fi story for quite a long time and I have a feeling that this story (without the immense pressure of expectation created by last week) will improve with age. 6.5 out of 10 for me. Maybe I’ll upgrade that with time.

bah to this not being able to copy and paste. The new ep was just barely more watchable than the last one. Matt was good; the Doctor was a jerk and stpuid again, Scott writeds for Tennant and Chris E again, Amy fared a bit better, the plot made no sense, the sci made no sense, the story made no sense, the guest stars had dull personality less characters and the story is stolen from other places really.   

I am definitely new to all this so bear with me. Being a very recent (David Tennant era) fan I can't make references to any of the old things but in my opinion this episode was great. I loved how they used it to tell the Doctor's background (which I know we all already knew but hey it was still cool how they did it). It was also cool how they had many nods to former things we've seen. I loved the promo for the next episode. And they also showed us another crack in the universe and of course that is going to be what ends this season and I'm excited to see where they take it. I thought this episode was pretty well written and I also enjoyed Amy's learning. I can't wait for next weeks episode! Lets hope it isn't as hard to find as this weeks! 

"There is an old Earth saying, captain. One of great power and wisdom and consolation to the soul in times of need. Allons-y!"- The Tenth Doctor

tarashnat's picture

The smilers represent the video surveillance in modern Britain.

Those who protest were fed to the whale, the 1% was a lie in the documentary to chose those who would rebel to get rid of them.

 

---
Have we done the crash of the Byzantium yet?

DWNY a New York City based Doctor Who meet up group.

Idiom's picture

Yeah, OK. But why make the Smilers look like end of the pier amusements. That didn't really fit for me. Stylistically and from a programme production point of view I understand it but don't understand why a government would choose that look.

Doctor Who: The Beast Below

3.5 out of 5

Review:

Thought the opening shot of the space city floating by with the Union Jack flag on the hull of the ship was really cool. I thought that with the serious tone of the children and the fear in their faces you really got that chilling feeling about the Smilers and what they represented. The little poem that the girl sings on the monitor was cute in my opinion.

The opening credits and music are actually really growing on me. I like the new feel and its definitely a refreshing change. Forgive me for thinking this but in the opening shot of the Doctor, Amy, and the TARDIS I couldn’t help but think that the Doctor was looking up her nightgown. Ha! & how does she wind up hanging out of the TARDIS the second time?? Odd. I really appreciated that you could see the Doctor’s awe of the humans on that ship while he is talking about them looking for a home with hope. And I thought the ‘escaped fish’ comment was hilarious. The hooded figures in black (Winders) have a great look and you get that eerie sense from them although I couldn’t help but think about ‘Organization XXIII’ from Kingdom Hearts. A small detail I loved, when we first seen Queen ‘Liz 10’ her cloak is perfectly laid out and I loved how she stepped forward and stood up and the cloak if moved in and perfectly draped her ankles. I next found it odd that the Doctor was pick pocketing small children. But whatever. I can let this slide because its here that we get a sense that this regeneration of the Doctor has a thing for helping children. First Amelia and now Mandy. Another thing I noticed throughout the episode is that the new sonic screwdriver was used a lot. Just to show it off? Or is the screwdriver still going to be a strong staple of the show? I think it looks really cool though. “Help us, Doctor. You’re our only hope.” … Star Wars? Haha. That’s okay, I’m a SW fan. We’ve all seen the story device where a character’s memory is gone but they watch a video warning from themselves before, but I feel that Steven Moffat uses it well here.

Assuming that the Doctor first sees Amelia in 2005 when she is 7, we can figure out that this is the year 3304. We can assume this because we find out Amy’s age here is 1,306. I thought the ‘You look Timelord, we came first’ comment was a nice gentle nod to ‘Planet of the Dead’ but I thought the way in which Matt responds to the question of whether there are more Timelords was a bit awkward but only for a moment. He then slips into his explanation and it moves smoothly.  “Say weeeeee” and “Geronimo” I could have done without. We’ve seen the 11th Doctor three times and have heard him say Geronimo each time. Though it was more subtle in ‘The Eleventh Hour’ it is there right as he hops into the TARDIS for the ‘5 minute’ trip. Its safe to say this is his phrase. Still don’t know how I feel about this. Not crazy about it just yet. And I got another Star Wars feel when the enter the Star Whales mouth (both A New Hope compactor scene and Empire Strikes Back meteor creature scene). And did they just NOT see the huge teeth in front of them when they landed? Ha. Moving along, I thought it was kind of exciting for find out who ‘Liz 10’ actually was and that she brought up references to previous Doctors and his experiences with her family. One thing that struck me as odd is that both the Doctor and ‘Liz 10’ introduced themselves in their first episode followed by saying “Basically….”  Hmmm… Then we get a big brain and the line, “Normally its above the range of human hearing…the sound none of you wanted to hear.” A small nod to ‘The Planet of the Ood’.  I cant help but feel like we keep getting reminders of ideas used in the past. It just feels weird to be seeing this many nods to old episodes whether intentional or not.  I like the serious tones of the Doctor that you get throughout the episode. And then he explodes in seriousness at the end of the episode. The serious tones in which he speaks to Amy putting her (in his eyes) in her place really struck a chord for me.



For anyone who thinks that the Doctor’s companions are getting ‘dumber’ this episode proves that theory wrong in my opinion. Its here that you see the capacity that Amy truly holds as a companion. The bravery and courage as well as the intelligence needed to be a great companion. She was a kiss-a-gram but so what. She’s able to peace together the truth while making the connection between the Star Whale and the Doctor and saves the day. Give her credit and let her prove herself throughout the season.  And I personally thought the warm embracing hug  between the Doctor and Amy was a great moment. He’s been on his own for the past while and its here that I think he realizes that he can put trust in a companion again. And I like how the Doctor gently admits that he ran away a long time ago when he was scared.  The phone ringing and the reactions to it again is another small nod. This time to Season 4 and the ‘Sontaran Stratagem’.

Winston Churchill phoning with the shadow of a dalek…. I like where this is going.
And I really like that we get to see the Star Whale at the end but ehn we see something else. The crack in space… So apparently this is what this season’s story arc is going to be about. Very much keeps in line of the RTD era and introducing the arc so early in the season.

This was an okay episode. Definitely had things that I liked. But definitely had too many things that reminded me of Doctor Who episodes passed.

I wont go into next weeks episode trailer but I’ll say that I am excited!

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Check out my blog "Realm Beyond Sight":
http://realmbeyondsight.blogspot.com/

I'm not going to rehash what other people has said.It was interesting that no one was thinking Dark City.,Sleeping gas,people forgeting and Hitchicker as well .The glass of water, the whale in space only the towel was missing.why is there so many nods to the past.Can't we think forward with a story something new.Still the story was ok ,and with this story i can call Matt Smith the Doctor and he is starting to place has mark as the 11th doctor.I agree on the star wars nods "what a lovely smell you discovered"i hope thats right.I did enjoy Amy in her nightgown,but i disagree with call from Chuchhill how does he have the doctor's number,and why would the Queen let him call.Did captain jack pass it along,Torchwood waked jack up from his sleep to get the doctor's number and then put him back to sleep hmmm.Also it reminded me of the sarah jane avd. with the last two stories with kids.Why are we also starting the  story arc so early Bad Wolf,Saxon ect.The time travel is a plus for me .I rate this a 3.5 out of 5   

Carrieking99 - Wow, you are so right with Hitchhiker's!

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Check out my blog "Realm Beyond Sight":
http://realmbeyondsight.blogspot.com/

Tardis-Knight's picture

This series is 2 episodes in, and the SM era is shaping up REALLY well. This wasn't as good as last week's however. 

 

For some reason, this whole episode reminded me of a Target novel; I don't mean a book in particular - I just thought it had that general kinda feel to it. 

 

I thought it was quite bold to go down the road of Amy saving the day in her very first time travelling adventure. Not sure her knowing better than the Doctor completely worked for me - but still bold nonetheless. 

 

I love the look of the World War II Daleks! And if that isn't the actual Cabinet War Rooms they've done a wonderful job of re-creating them. 

 

4 out of 5 for me (maybe 4.5 - but not a full on 5 this week) 

 

Nothing Dies Of Old Age On Skaro!

"Matt Smith growing every week – here a touch of Tom Baker’s hypocrisy, there a flash of Jon Pertwee’s righteous anger. Definitely the Doctor."

I also felt it was a bit of McCoy too, at one point, where the Doctor seemed to hint at a darker history.

I'd give it a 4, I think. I really enjoyed this one, and I felt that it had some good elements that we hadn't seen much of lately. Plus, it was nice to have a story where there's no true bad guy, and nobody dies.

Companion Saves the Day is a bit cliched. I think at this point it is about needing to give the companion purpose and show that she belongs. But it was handled rather well, with Amy simply seeing things that the Doctor himself failed to notice. Different perspectives and all that, rather than something absurd.

Although, I don't think the story was set far enough into the future. Only 1300 years and Earth is burning? When you look at previous stories, I'm not sure this one really fits in, timeline-wise. But that's still a relatively minor quibble.

 

And, Chase, give up already. You hate every story, you hate every character. In short, if it's short of perfection, you hate it. It's well past time you move on to something else that you might actually enjoy, because it seems your only goal now is to bring everybody else down here with your posts.

I completely agree with liking that there was no straight forward bad guy here.
That was one of the reasons that I was going to give it a 4.  I gave it a 3.5 only bc I personally felt I was reminded of other episodes and Star Wars a little too much.

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Check out my blog "Realm Beyond Sight":
http://realmbeyondsight.blogspot.com/

Troy Baker's picture

The 'smilers' were creepy but other than being servailence stations what did they really bring to the story.

 

They looked good - even down to the cracking in the paint. I expected them to be more of a threat than just a camera.

Tardis-Knight's picture

They had a real Punch (of & Judy) look to them - which (despite it's place in the childhood seaside holidays of many a UK grown up) has always struck me as very sinister; not least because he (Punch) batters the living daylights out of his other half (Judy) in every show!. 

 

Nothing Dies Of Old Age On Skaro!

Hi all

On the whole I thought it was quite a confused episode and just a tiny bit cliched, but MS has the character of the Doctor totally nailed down! The bit towards the end where he loses his temper was amazing...my wife said he sounded like me!

The things in the box...I recall seeing one of those in my childhood at the fair. You put 10p in and it laughed and it always struck me as being incredibly spooky...I think Moffat is trying to catch that 'childhood harmless  but scary thing' atmosphere. It certainly sent a shiver down my spine! It's great sitting down on a Saturday evening to be scared again...takes me back to my younger days, especially now I sit and watch it with my nephew.

Overall I would mark the story at 3.5 Tardis groans.

Can't wait for the British Army Daleks on Saturday!!!!! 'They are my Ironsides'!

A quick question if anyone can help me...do the BBC own the copyright to the daleks now or are they still Terry Nation's estate?

 

Paul S. Mabley

South Shields

Great England (and Kitchener, Ontario as well) 

 

Tardis-Knight's picture

Terry Nation owns them (or  at least his family do), but the BBC have license to pretty much do what they want with them (I guess that could be "within reason"). 

 

Thats my understanding at least........

 

 

Nothing Dies Of Old Age On Skaro!

Not much to say about this one.

- Still like the new intro...perhaps more than the old one.  Still hate the DW TARDIS logo.

- Kinda liked the scary clown smilers, although I'm not sure what purpose they serve that couldn't have been done by regular security cameras.

- Continue to be impressed by Matt Smith.  Early haters are eating humble pie now, methinks.

- How can you view this and not think of The Long Game?  Perhaps that was the intent...we'll have to wait and see I suppose.  Both take place in the future, both have a spaceship orbiting Earth, with a group of human survivors, seemingly at the mercy of an external alien entity.  TLG's was malicious, whereas TBB was benevolent.  TLG's alien was up at Floor 500, and TBB's was "below".  Most of TLG's humans were oblivious to the alien entity, and TBB's chose to be.

- I was surprised about Amy's decision to click the Forget button after she viewed the video.  We've been given strong-willed female companions thus far and you'd think they'd be building her up to do the same, but she chose the easy path.  Granted it was she that realized the Beast's intent at the end, but still...

- 2.5 out of 5.

- Next week: Daleks.  yay.  yippee.  *end sarcasm*

Zombie's picture

"And, Chase, give up already. You hate every story, you hate every character. In short, if it's short of perfection, you hate it. It's well past time you move on to something else that you might actually enjoy, because it seems your only goal now is to bring everybody else down here with your posts."

 

Thank you Silvanthalas, I was going to post something along those lines.

Sigh. Out of 60 stories of DW from RTD I have liked all but about 15-16 of them. I hate CHILDREN OF EARTH totally. Sarah Jane was good for the first two seasons. BUT these past two DW stories are awful. DW fans are too afraid to say stuff about them for fear of giving the  BBC notions of cancelling the show. IF the show remains as awful as 11TH HOUR and BEAST BELOW it should be cancelled. Those are the worst. They make no sense, they are not new and different, they are not entertaining, they make the Doctor look silly, mean and stupid and they have loud music that does not match the visuals, their internal logic makes no sense, the sci is wrong and off, it's totally dumb! Believe me I take no pleasure in seeing a once good show (in almost all four seasons) take such a terrible downturn. I thought, at first Moffat would be a blessing for this show but along the way, his comments made me worry and with good cause: look aat how awful those two stories are and the openings of a season should be the strongest. ! And next week we get Chruchill, yet another person who knows the Doctor (that's three stories in a row that the Doc is known by someone and we will have more with River Slung) and they are remaking POWER OF THE DALEKS in WW2 England! What is wrong wtih Moffat? can't he get a plot? And his arc stuff is just plain boring. God he's a dissapointment.   

Zombie's picture

  No, I do know what I'm talking about, you're an abrasive troll. You actually just proved the point from the post I quoted. If you only enjoyed 15-16 stories out of 60, why do you continue to watch the show and constantly spit venom here?

  I don't like every episode, I down right hate a few of them, but if I didn't like 3/4 of the new series I wouldn't bother watching anymore, let alone feel the need to constantly *#$@ on everyone else's parade.

I said I like all of RTD's era EXCEPT BUT 16 stories out of 60. I suggest taking either a reading course, phonics work books or tapes, and maybe ESL> 

Zombie's picture

  Sorry, my mistake. And yes, I do know how to read. Although your obnoxious posts sometimes make we wish i couldn't.

  All I"m trying to say is that you can post a review for an episode, positive or negative, without seeming like a ranting lunatic. I thought The Beast Below was a decent episode the first time I watched it, but after listening to Darth Skeptical"s review on the podcast I realized that the plot really was pretty bad. Unlike you, he knows how to give his review in a civil and intelligent manner that gets people to question their first impression of a story instead of making them feel like they're being flamed for having a different opinion.

  Anyway, sorry if I hurt your feelings. I'm actually trying to help.

"God he's a dissapointment."

This is my official request for an ignore function. I know it probably won't happen, since this is more of a blog-esque format, but I want to be able to do away with the silliness. An ignore function would allow that.

Dalzo's picture

As I have said many times, I have no problems with criticisms, makes one think... I have always had a problem with the WAY you criticise. Far too aggressive! You are wrong about fans being worried to criticise  because it may give the BBC thought to cancel. The BBC don't CARE about us fans... They worry about the average person in the street who likes to tune in on a Saturday. They don't need to worry about us fans because they know we will watch it week in and week out whatever happens, as you, yourself, are proving! From The Stolen Earth onwards you have constantly been negative and aggressive in your posts (not to an individual, just your manner in general) and have taken some of the joy out of being a Doctor Who fan (thanks for that, by the way). I do wonder whether it is because you have your first viewing of an episode whilst taking notes. Maybe watching Doctor Who has been a chore for you of late. Why don't you try throwing away the notebook and just go in with the intention of enjoying it? Maybe you will have a better time. Judging by the viewing figures AND the critical acclaim this season has so far after only just 2 episodes by professional reviewers you do seem to be in the minority on your views and you have said yourself that you are tired of the format (which is fair enough... there IS a lot of Doctor Who about at the moment, what with Big Finish, novels etc). Why not give up on the reviewing of every episode and just try to enjoy it. You have criticised the show for stealing ideas from itself and from other sources (you gave the example of The Twilight Zone... a forty year old show that very few 8 years olds have seen... I am 31 and I haven't seen it so I really don't care if it has been done before!!!). Doctor Who has done this ever since it started, especially the Hinchcliffe/ Holmes era and they were fantastic. After the disappointment that was the specials last year (I have no problems in saying that I thought them a bit of a mess... especially The End Of Time) I was so happy with The Eleventh Hour... It seemed fresh, great Doctor (we agree there, at least), promising companion and a story that had its loose ends tied up... It had a focus and direction and was a joyful experience. I agreed with you about the lack of threat that Prisoner Zero posed but that really doesn't bother me. This is a family show... Slight plot holes are not a problem in Doctor Who (whereas there are other series I love where it would be).

I wish you were enjoying it as much as the majority of the rest of us... But maybe it is your mindset... Throw away that notebook, go in with a childs hat on and give it a few more episodes. If you're still tired of Doctor Who then give it a break for a few years... Come back to it every now and again! But if you do stick with the notebook... try to criticise a bit more gently... Less of the unfunny gags (River Slung... How is that funny???) less of the "WTF", try to be a little more creative in your reviews instead of the unpolished sledgehammer approach! I for one would then enjoy reading your critiques because sometimes you actually say something that makes sense!!!

Oh, and why do you keep calling Steven Moffatt "Scott?"

The new team just continues to amaze me. From the moment that Matt Smith hit the screen he has been the Doctor for me and I can’t give enough praise to Amy as the new companion. I won’t try to rehash too much, I’ll just throw in my own thoughts on some stuff and be on my way.

 

One of the things I’ve noticed is how many people are talking about the last couple of stories reminding them of other stuff and to be honest this kind of thing doesn’t really bother me. I could probably take any story and find at least five other things that have similar themes, ideas, or plots. I am of the opinion that there really is nothing completely original. Everything is influenced by something that came before it. So I didn’t take points off for being reminded of other things, as long as something isn’t a carbon copy of something else I’m usually ok.

 

“DW fans are too afraid to say stuff about them for fear of giving the BBC notions of cancelling the show.”

            I’ve really got to disagree with you from what I’ve seen at least is that the fan community seems pretty happy with the new team. Besides I would be disappointed in the BBC if they really judged the show on the reaction of “fans”. To be honest the “fans” complain too much. Most of us have grown up with the show and it is something that is really important to us. We complain about the show being the same and when it does change we complain about that. “Fans” never seem to be satisfied but at the end of the day we have to remember that it is just a television show.

 

“the sci is wrong and off”

            Ok, what do you even mean by this. The science in science-fiction doesn’t need to match perfectly with real science, it shouldn’t. It’s fiction, above all else the story and the characters are important if science needs to be smudged to make the story work it should. I’m not saying it should be smudged to an absurd level (the whole Earth dragging scene at the end of Journey’s End just bugged the crap out of me) but if the science above the average viewer is smudged so be it. It is like judging House on its medical accuracy, which it isn’t accurate half the time, it’s not about the medicine it’s about the story and characters. If you dig to deep you will become very disappointed in what you are watching. Also I find it completely acceptable to make up science about stuff that not even real science has a grasp of yet. Give me specific examples of something that would be glaringly obvious to the average viewer.

 

            Overall I’ve got to say that I have liked the new season so far and even though I wasn’t sure about the “fairy tale feeling” that Moffat was bringing to the show I am now happy that he did. It’s nice to have a more “magical” feel to the show after the depressing last year of Tennant’s Doctor. I am looking forward to the rest of it and can’t wait.

daveac's picture

I thought is was a good enough episode - mainly for establishing Amy (Jessica) as a companion that is 'worthy.'

It had some similarities to 'Fires of Pompeii' - but with much more in common with 'Gridlock'

Of course in Gridlock The Face of Boe above, keeps the humans safe below :-)

There were plot holes this week but I think this is a story I will go back to and enjoy more.

Certainly not the clear winner that Episode 1 was but enjoyable for me at least.

Cheers, daveac

'IF the show remains as awful as 11TH HOUR and BEAST BELOW it should be cancelled. Those are the worst. They make no sense, they are not new and different, they are not entertaining, they make the Doctor look silly, mean and stupid and they have loud music that does not match the visuals, their internal logic makes no sense, the sci is wrong and off, it's totally dumb!'

The 'sci is wrong' because its SCIENCE FICTION! Jeez...when we watch the Doctor we totally suspend our disbelief...I mean, a Police Box that travels in space and time piloted by a man who can change his body when he is injured. That's totally plausible, isn't it?

Come on Chase, just sit down with a can of lager (or the drink of your choice) and ENJOY IT!

Paul S. Mabley B.Sc.(Hons), MA

South Shields England / Kitchener Ontario

Simon's picture

I agree with you Dave, there are an awful lot of similarities between this episode and many others including Gridlock. A previous post mentioned The Long Game and they are spot on. It also reminded me of the Satan Pit and of course the many references to Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back "... help us Doctor you're our only hope" and the teeth and tongue of the Star Mcguffin .. I mean ... Whale.

This is my big worry about the new series, the fact that it really doesn't feel ... well... new. We had Star Wars homages in the End of Time, do we really need to have them echoed here? Surely this is a fresh start, a new beginning (a new hope? Surprised) a show that can go ANYWHERE in space and time ... wow ... what possibilities! I guess I'm just surprised that we are in to episodes 1,2 and 3 and this is all that is in Steven Moffat's head. After years of waiting and obvious glee at taking over the role of head writer etc. doesn't he have more fantastical and original stories than space stations with hidden secrets?

I know alot of people on the podcast suggested that this episode was just to establish the new companion, but does a companion need settling in using a whole episode? I'd rather have seen a fresh and original idea and let the Doctor/companion relationship slowly burn through the series. I guess I share Ken's worry that New Who seems to be dominated by THE PATTERN. 

First episode - Doctor meets companion (mystery story arch begins)

Second episode - Companion taken to distant future space station with monster and a showcasing of companions talents (like being a companion is like being on The Apprentice or something). 

Somewhere along the line we then have a two-parter with classic villan and another stand alone episode with a historical figure to fill the educational remit of the show.

A few filler episodes and then the big finale with villan from the earlier two-parter and the resolution of the mysterious series arch.

I know I'm exaggarating here, but it does depress me slightly to see a show that was so innovative and clever reduced to such a predicable format. I really miss the run of follow-on stories that used to characterise Classic Who. If Lost, Prison Break, Desperate Housewives, etc. etc. can do this why is Who so episode bound? To me, this episode could easily have replaced Matt Smith with David Tennant and I wouldn't have noticed.

I agree with Darth Sceptical that this was rushed and had some pretty unforgivable plot holes given that it is only episode two and still trying to impress viewers. 2/5 groans for me.

Hey, wait a minute! What if that crack outside the ship WAS the plot hole? May be that's why Amy and Doctor weren't vomited into space and why the TARDIS/Sonic Screwdriver didn't pick up the HUGE Star Mcguffin as they flew towards it from space?

P.S. - Why did the crack at the end glow white? The other one didn't.

P.P.S - there seems to be alot of debate about the time/year of the 11th Hour. In the very first pre-title scene didn't I hear the TARDIS groan as it zipped away off camera? Whose to say that it didn't make one last jump through the time vortex from 2010 to Amy's back garden?

 

Someone posted a pic of Amy's boyfriend bum, clearly showing his ID for the hospital job and it reads something like 199_ something. So this story takes place at least on Earth in the 1990s!

BTW Science Fiction has to have some of the science correct and at least to make some sort of sense. Even if you chuck out the science as Moffat has clearly and view this as fantasy, it does not work because it still has logical faults. How did they build a spaceship around a giant whale who LET them torture it to provide energy?And then keep it secret? Who's doing what to whom? Who works the machines? The kids are taken by the queen's orders herself? WHAT? Clearly I'm willing to overlook some things but when the entire plot and background make no sense AND nothing is explained for its place in the story AND nothing is resolved character wise...the Doc just leaves without us findingout what's going to happen to the children..it's as if the writer does't care about the other charcters at all and so...neither do I. 

 

AND u can steal ideas from anywhere and make them seem fresh and original and better than the source material...DW HAS done this many times over and delivered classic action, great monsters, emotinally driven stories (those mostly during the RTD years), and interesting side characters among the TWILIGHT ZONE, OUTER LIMITS, STAR TREK, classic movie monster rip offs. My problem of late is that it's not doing this stealing with any sort of style, vision, motivation, or story in mind just to fool the youngsters into thinking it is great and new and it's not. It's not even good storytelling. 

Aurelius's picture

This is not a good story, nor is this a poor story. After all that has been said and discussed about it, I think this is a very misunderstood story. Here are a few thoughts and reflections.

 

In a loose sense, “The Beast Below” is an allegory (a form of extended metaphor in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative are equated with meanings that lie outside the narrative itself), and in a stricter sense, it is a particular form of allegory called an “exemplum.” In essence, this is a moralized tale. Medieval preachers made extensive use of exempla (plural) to point morals or illustrate doctrines. Often these exempla were highly artificial, and to most people of the modern era seem incredible and “heavy handed.” This is “The Beast Below.”

 

Numerous people in posts and on the podcasts complained that “science” of the show is wrong or illogical, and they are right. It is.

 

Numerous people in posts and on the podcasts complained that the plot and overall function of the story is illogical, and they are right. It is.

 

They are right because this isn’t a sci-fi episode being moral, this is a case of an exemplum being a sci-fi episode, and it doesn’t really work—perhaps overall, but not in its respective pieces.

 

The real problem with this story is that Moffat adheres too tightly to proving his point (his moral) and forgets and discards everything else in its wake. There’s so much vivid detail here—the people living in towers, the Smilers, the Winders, the Underground—it gets lost in the construction. As the Doctor first says to Amy, in not so many words, “Pay attention to detail;” he’s saying this to us and Amy. This episode is about establishing a moral center of the character of Amy, at the cost of the Doctor being completely obtuse and being merely a guide, not a character in this story.

 

Chase is right when he says that “science fiction has to make some sense” but this isn’t sci-fi, even though it looks like it. We must forget that—throw away our modern sensibilities and questioning. In essence this exemplum functions like a biblical story—when we hear about Jesus walking on water, do we cry out, “well that’s just bad science,” no because that’s not the point, that’s not the message. Just in this case, questions like how’d they did they build a city on a whale? Those aren’t questions we should be asking. We should be asking: How is the allegory working, and are we learning the lesson Moffat is teaching. We don’t want to ask ourselves that; we want to enjoy the ride and we can’t in this story because it gets bogged down in the symbolic and the mythological—those touches are best used sparingly, with tiny pinches here and there, and in this episode they are used in handfuls. It is too much here—overpowering at times (Jonah and whale stuff) and takes Dr. Who deeper into the realm of fantasy, where I’m not sure it belongs.

 

Some briefer points:

-         after two episodes, the death toll for Season 5/31 stands at: 0

-         both episodes feature a wrong being righted: a prisoner being returned, and a torture being halted.

-         A final note on the whole “world on the Turtle’s back.” This is not Mr. Pratchett’s idea. It is far, far older and can be found in Chinese, Hindu and Native American mythos. Like all great artists, Mr. Pratchetts steals and does not borrow.

 

Cheers. Can’t wait to see Spitfires vs. Dalek Mothership.

 

P.S. Matt was wonderful in this episode.

"Gosh, that takes me back. Or forward. That's the trouble with time travel; you can never remember." (The Doctor, The Androids of Tara)
kylemj6977's picture

I am new to the boards but I am not new to Doctor Who having watched in on the local PBS station in the 1970s/early 1980s. I lost touch in the 1990s and didn't reconnect with Doctor Who until around 2003.  I have, since that time, reconnected more than I ever had been as a child.  I am a Doctor Who geek and proud of it.

 

I find it interesting how we often find such faults in the stories, etc. etc. etc.  At the end of the day, they are stories crafted about a show we all love.  If we didn't love them we wouldn't watch and we most def. would not be on this site.  Cool  Not sure exactly what I mean to say here other than, as fans of The Doctor, I would hope that none of us on here complain for the sake of complaining.  We are all fans - don't be bitter - be better.

 

Kyle Jones

I am a longtime fan of Doctor Who and blog about both Doctor Who and my pr

...and I agree to an extent. Sci fic and fantasy can be mystical, metaphorical, strange, allegorical, symbollic and mythological...just like at season one of SPACE: 1999 or 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, and those had problems too but not like BEAST BELOW...SOME thing that makes some sense has to be set up to present those mythological bits and the strange bits. Here, the strange bits were why all of this was happening to begin with and the moral bits were just not that strong. If everything else came together, then the Moral would be more clear and the myth stuff better understood or enjoyed even if not understood but as this story stands (or falls) it doesn't explain very much and doesn't do it well when it does explain the small bits. In addition, characters come and go and so do events that seem as if they will mean something but don't. In 1999  almost everything strange meant something and in 2001 everything strange did mean something. In this, it was just bad plotting. Bad story and the elements trying to come out just didn't. IMO

Dr. Solar's picture

all they did was sit around, they where like security camera's.

and when they did get up they got taken out and we never saw what they do to people.

they looked like something from a Nine Inch Nails music video.

Man Of The Atom

What? This story was a little better than last weeks' mess but only just. At least it was enjoyable and one (ME) didn't feel like tuning out after the first 30 min or so. What was good was that there was a story, there was a feel, and there was some reason for everyone doing what they were doing...mostly. It ALMOST made me cry a bit there. Amy came off a little better this story and the Doctor...didn't. Oh, Matt Smith is still very, very good but Scott writes him like Tennant again and gives him the "you're going home" speech of both Tennant and Chris E (can't spell his name so I won't!). Well anywway it was watchable, which is more than I can say for the first story...

There's plenty to complain about. First, things are just rushed and thrown together. Second, more past references that are just hanging there: "I’m the last of the Time Lords speech” from…well every time he’s met a NEW SERIES companion, then there’s the “It was a dark day.” And the falliable, “aren’t there any more?” Well, yeah, there are. He doesn’t want to talk about it because….the writers can’t justify him being the last cause he ain’t any more folks. Not really. Then there’s the “you look human” and the “you look Time Lord” bit. It’s not funny, it was never funny really and it’s totally boring. The dialog between the Doc and Amy is just boring from the start to almost the finish. When Amy makes a mistake, he wants to take her home and dump her like he did to Adam and threatened to to Rose. He’s back to being a first class jerk. No matter how much Tegan was a jerk or Romana almost helped Scarlioni, did the Doc ever threaten to “take them home” or kick them off? Why should THIS Doctor or any Doctor and still be in our favor as viewers?

Thirdly, we’ve seen almost all of this plot before. Amy in a dark room with a creature about to kill/eat her but it doesn’t or doesn’t even seem to try…was like last episode! A space whale, a character in their PJs comes right from HITCH HIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY and the whale bit was ripped off by TORCHWOOD not too long ago…where it was equally poignant (only on that morbid tepid show the whale has to die slowly). Oh, look another space station in the future…oh wait, for it, it’s not a space station…it’s a space ship with generations on it and with an alien at its center. THE LONG GAME. Oh and children seem to be eaten (happily they are not) just like the start of SCHOOL REUNION.

When those criticisms run out there are more. As someone above may have said, there’s too much unexplained. Maybe I’m thick (I am sometimes) but I don’t get logic of this story, the background story, AND the science of it let alone the politics. It just doesn’t really make ANY sense. Why is the Queen over 300? How? How did the people build a space ship around a giant space whale and then keep it secret. That would be like trying to keep secret that the US had to help the Allies in WW2 (I’m sure France and England might have wanted to try). Who built and how does the machines that make people forget work? And not one person cared enough about the space whale to protest? And does one protest cause it to break down? Did the whale communicate with the people when it saved them? How? Why this entire thing set up this way and how was it kept secret? If anyone has any good logical explanations let me know. THAT alone makes this story not worthwhile. It makes no sense and has no logic to it.

Add to that a Doctor who’s stupid enough not to see the way out Amy took AND who then scolds her for it, “You
could have killed everyone on this ship” when she only didn’t but saved the whale, too…when he wasn’t going to…or was not smart enough to figure it all out…and you get a very uneven feel to the entire story and again, to this early in the season season.

Then we get the PM calling the Doctor. Can anything suck life out of the mystery and awe of DOCTOR WHO than scenes like that? It’s just baloney. And again we have a time zone where someone knows the Doctor…that’s three times in three stories, Amy and her pals at least know the Doctor in mess one, in mess two, the Queen knows the Doctor and in mess three the PM. BTW, two stories take place on Earth and the other takes place in an Earth colony on a spaceship. Can’t we get away from total Earth people tales? Why can’t this show do something REALLY alien?

We also get an unanswered mystery: with was that time warp thing with Amy warning herself to get the Doc off the ship? Are they coming back to this ship in the future eps? When does Amy do that? Trusting Moffat with some timey whimey stuff, I’m guessing it will make sense (more than this entire ep did) and will be some kind of nice twist to the story but I’m not hinging on it. Thing is it makes this “story” most unsettling and not in a good way, in a “ther’es no pay off” way along with all the other things that make this story also feel that way (see above).

The music is way too bombastic, and loud, the action not really action, and the plot unoriginal for the most part. So this gets a 5/10 over the 4/10 from last week because…I really don’t know why?!! See above I guess. It held my attention so maybe that’s why but there was no payoff really. Like what was happening based on what happened in the past and and why was it happening and that includes the main plot as well as the two subplots.

Anyone get the crack on the ship in the end? Was that supposed to be a GIRL IN THE FIREPLACE like ending? It wasn’t. It wasn’t even a good “season arc” type thing.

Well more than last week, this feels like it was thrown together from old Who and new Who (spaceship from Earth with survivors and monsters and androids on board, missing victims or children, “I’m the last” sadness, I’m a smart clever girl Amy Rose-ish stuff, The Doc making an impossible decision ala FIRES OF story (that wasn’t if he were just smart enough to realize that), the Queen like stuff from the werewolf story and maybe even with a tinge of TW feeling..I was sure she was going to say, “I’m continuing Torchwood.” Thankfully she didn’t. Maybe TW is gone for good. YEAH!!!! HOORAY!!!! In any event, this doesn’t work as a fairy tale either as fairy tales usually make sense.

A word about Karen. She’s better here but I am one who thinks she’s not in the least bit pretty. I thought Rose and Martha and even Donna were prettier and / or had something about them that made them more attractive. Still, maybe she had no make up on.

Again, the show has to do better than this in the script/logic dept. It has to have action that makes us care. This almost succeeded but didn’t. Often I felt it was going for a Tom Baker first season feel…it shouldn’t be trying for any past victory and it is, victory of the old show and the new show instead of going for it for its own NEW merits. Baker’s first season worked because it was suspenseful, it separated the companions for long stretches of time from each other (note how there were more than one and that works/worked), it has very different settings, and an arc that wasn’t too overblown (the Nerva Beacon) without having overblown end of the universe/end of time stuff that we know will work out fine by season’s end or next season’s start or the start of the Xmas story (do we really need an Xmas story? REALLY?). That season didn’t use its monsters as the center, it used them in stories, The Daleks almost don’t have to be in GENESIS, the Cybermen weren’t the only race or villains in REVENGE OF THE CYBERMEN, the Sontaran in EXPERIMENT was there to move the action along so that is the exception but he doesn’t really get going until ep2 of 2, and ARK IN SPACE has many likable characters that we get to know (unlike the extras in this story). Which leads me to another thing: the many likeable characters across Tom’s first season…were just that…and here we don’t get to know any of the other characters and their personalities don’t get to shine through. Perhaps that’s the differences in format (longer four part stories of over 90 min vs 42 min stories).






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