~by Korama Danquah

Doctor Who
Season 9 Episode 3 Recap
“Under the Lake”
Written by Toby Whithouse

What Happened
“Under the Lake” takes place, surprise, underwater. It’s another science episode where a team of scientists pokes their noses where they don’t belong and ends up dying off one by one (“Si-lence in the Library” and “The Satan Pit” are standouts of this episode classification). In this epi-sode we have our first death within the first three minutes, which means we have our first GHOST within the first three minutes. That’s right, ghosts.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) arrive on base in the TARDIS and Clara keeps going on about having their next adventure. It soon becomes clear that GHOSTS are their next adventure. Murderous ghosts that keep trying to kill the crew.

It comes to light that the ghosts are (unfortunately) not a natural phenomenon and are souls be-ing used to transmit weird cryptic coordinates to someone or something. “The Dark. The Sword. The Forsaken. The Temple.” They mouth over and over again. Creepy. Very Creepy. We don’t find out what exactly they are trying to point people to, but we do know that it has to do with the suspended animation chamber of a found spaceship on their base. Of course, the chamber is deadlock sealed shut so we can’t get a look inside. Yet.

Notable points in this episode are when The Doctor tells Clara to get a hobby or a boyfriend be-cause she’s becoming too much like him, and the introduction of empathy cards that the Doctor has to use to remind him that humans need a bit of coddling now and then.

Also notable is the inclusion of Cass, (Sophie Stone) the first deaf character to appear on Doctor Who, who signs throughout the episode. There exists a rich history of performance in deaf cul-tures. It has mostly been segregated from hearing performance, and I’m so excited to see Doc-tor who bridging that gap. Also Cass is a bad-ass lady who is in charge of the ship and won’t be bossed around by the Doctor. He even goes so far as to call her the smartest person in the room once he steps out of it (oops, sorry Clara).

The episode ends with The Doctor hopping in the TARDIS and going back in time to before the area they are mining for oil (did I mention that that’s the reason they’re there? I don’t know why people keep trying to strip the earth of its natural resources. It will only get them killed) gets flooded. He appears seconds later as a ghost and now saving the base is up to Clara, Cass, and Lunn (Zaqi Ismail).

What Does This Mean
It means we’re in for another two part episode. I have mixed feelings about this two part episode business. I hate ending on a cliffhanger, but I do enjoy the increased character development. We have, obviously cared about characters in the past, but with most of them only appearing for 43 minutes they were either characters painted with very broad strokes that we loved because we filled in the blanks with our own projections (like Sally Sparrow in fan-favorite “Blink”) or they are historical figures that we already know and care about (Vincent Van Gogh and William Shakespeare for example). In these double feature episodes we get to really love and know characters like Missy and Cass and Lunn.

The thing is, the Doctor isn’t dead. We all know that. So I’m more intrigued than upset – What’s next? How do we save everyone? Are the other ghosts actually dead? I have more questions than answers, but I am excited for more Cass and to find out what the heck is in the box. \

As a personal note, I hope that when the Doctor died in the past and came back as a ghost he lost his sonic sunglasses. They are so dumb and I can’t imagine the whole season without the screwdriver. I am not against change. I am against this change.

Notable Quote of the Episode
“I’m very sorry for your loss. I’ll do all I can to solve the death of your friend/family member/pet.” —The Doctor

To see the sneak peek of next week’s episode, ‘Before the Flood’ click here!

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