Saturday, October 3, 2015

Under the Lake - discussion the same night

It's another two parter!  This first part was more similar in pacing and content to traditional "part ones," so there's no uncertainty about how I feel.  I thought it was a solid episode with familiar elements from past episodes and an ongoing build of the Doctor and Clara's relationship.

More than anything, I loved the tone of this episode, and a huge contribution to that was Murray Gold's magnificent score.  I've been a fan of his work throughout the reboot.  I've even downloaded some of his pieces from iTunes.  Not sure what it was about this episode, but I particularly noticed how the music enhanced the emotion and pacing of this story.

We also got another glimpse of the sonic sunglasses.  I still like them, although pushing the bridge of the glasses isn't as dramatic a gesture as pointing.  But Peter Capaldi can pull it off and make it cool.  (See what Steven Moffat says about the sunglasses.)

The Doctor and Clara's relationship and chemistry - I feel like I'm constantly talking about it, and I suspect I will continue to do so throughout this series.  It's just going to keep getting better and stronger until her demise.  Yes, I said demise.  With all this build up and the growing attachment, of course she's going to have a tragic end (or is that the pessimist in me speaking?).

Full disclosure, in case you haven't gathered - Clara is one of my favorite companions, and I think Jenna Coleman is an incredibly talented actress.  As the Doctor is getting more and more attached to her, so am I.  I want her, the character and the actress, to have a worthy end, and I've been hoping it will be something positive for the character.  More of a "Rose" than a "Donna."

The coffee shop goodbye at the end of last series was lovely.  I'd take one of those.  Or even when we weren't sure if she would make it past Last Christmas, any of those almost endings would have worked for me.  If Clara had died, but it was because she had found that fake world where she and Danny could be together, it would have been okay.  Or if she had died of old age after a full life because the Doctor was late again, I would have been satisfied.  Now though, with their full throttle behavior, I don't think Clara will slip peacefully out of the Doctor's life.

Still, until then, we can enjoy the glory days of Clara and the Doctor.  These were some of my favorite moments this episode:

  • Did everyone notice how this time, it was Clara that told the Doctor to "RUN!"?
  • The continuing theme of Clara becoming more immersed in the Doctor's world and mindset is fascinating, especially with the Doctor's awareness of it.  He worries about her going native, and yet he loves it and her.
  • The way the Doctor looks at her makes my heart melt (kudos again to Peter Capaldi's amazing acting).
  • The flashcards on proper behavior that Clara made were hilarious and cute.
  • That moment when they're trapped and the Doctor has to leave her says it all.  I loved how that scene mirrored the one Deep Breath.  In both situations, the Doctor left because he had to, and he's going to save Clara, but all the details show how their relationship has developed.  Clara now trusts him and knows he won't abandon her.  The Doctor now wears his heart on his sleeve, but is still as brilliant and focused on the task at hand as ever.

I'm looking forward to next week and seeing how the dead ghost Doctor situation works out.  Toby Whithouse has written several episodes for the reboot, including The Vampires of Venice and School Reunion, but this two parter could be my favorite of his contributions to Doctor Who yet.

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