As promised the second episode of the current series of Doctor Who is being given my judgment. My original intention was to do all of the episodes in one blog but after writing the first I realised that if this was to be achieved, sleep would not be and due to the impending doomsday of exam season tomorrow it seemed logical and indeed more compelling to do the episodes one at a time.
So let’s start on ‘The Beast Below’; as with ‘The Eleventh Hour’ it lacked much pace but this was somewhat to do with the immense focus on the British journey of space travel, and as anyone living in Britain knows, it’s not a brilliant country to focus on. Granted every country has its share of blithering idiots and Benedict Arnolds; Britain is rife with them and adding to this fact the horrible weather resulting in mass SADs, the recent conservative win at the general election after which David Cameron admitted that everything he had used to get into office was a lie but thanks for voting. I have little faith in the human race as it is but I have even less faith in the country I live in. What country allows Nick Griffin to become an MEP? Apparently the same country that wanted its own bloody space ship and tortured a massive anaerobic whale to allow themselves to sail across the universe bathing in ignorance of the horror they had created; in fact, this sounds just like my view of Britain. It may come as no surprise that I am not a follower of football, and as such, I will not express mock patriotism towards a country of which the general public has little good to say all for the support of a team of council estate monkeys kicking around a neo gen sheep’s bladder worse than most countries in the world. As such, in the next episode, which is so patriotic it’s sickening; I may offend some people describing the way Doctor Who deals with historic figures and I’m apologising for this beforehand because I don’t have a lot more to say about Britain in this episode, in fear of falling off topic as I usually do and already have. So in danger of this becoming my catchphrase I digress.
The episode starts with the concept of the smilers being introduced as some sort of big brother figure. They watch over the ship; sending the non-believers in their ‘perfect society’ into the belly of a giant starfleet issued whale which refuses to eat children because apparently it heard one cry once. Which besides the last point is a pretty neat idea, in fact my first reaction when the smiler turned its head and revealed its ugly side was ‘this is what monsters should be’ – exciting, mysterious and creepy. However, their story never really reached a conclusion; even when ‘everything was solved’ when Amy Pond has a lucky guess that the whale would carry the community without receiving regular electroshock therapy, the smilers received no change; assuming that everything wasn’t resolved after all; Winston loved big brother. Infidels were plunged into the stomach of an elegant, but very hungry beast.
Along with this gaping plothole the other large weakness of this episode was the identity of a masked vigilante as a queen who had essentially forgotten 50 versions of her life, this wasn’t weak just because in the star trek style life of this new Britain there would be much less reason to have a queen as there is in the monarchy’s rather redundant present, but that she really didn’t live up to her introduction. She was presented to us as the rebel and ended the episode as the dictator, as big brother, and this transformation was shown to us in a much less climatic way than it should have done, almost forcing the episode’s events to continue by brushing over the fact that she was the monster she had been fighting, which, like the smilers, had the potential for greatness but was looked over so that Amy could save the day and The Doctor could pretend that everything had become hunky dory when in reality big brother was still watching and the totalitarian world continued to oppress. This doesn’t seem like something the doctor would overlook and for that reason this episode stands as one of the low points of this series, starting off promising, and in line with the master and davros episodes of series’ yore, ended on a very anticlimactic note.
Not wanting to do the same I will leave you with this picture summing up was Russel T Davies did to the last episode of series 3 after building up so much tension he couldn’t work out how to resolve the issues without some much loved deus ex machina doctor praise.