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Doc breaks Beethoven’s fourth wall to explain how a tall chap who turns people’s souls into ham radios can plot to invade the Earth from beyond the grave

Doc, New Oswin, and Bennett have rock-rock-rock-rooocked up in Krasnodar, the MoD’s fake Russian town built to practise icing Commies at the height of the Cold War, in 1980, before the flood that caused the lake that caused the underwater base. Sometimes, history needs a push.

The spaceship has only just arrived, piloted by enthusiastic Tivolian wannabe-gimp Albar Prentis, whose job is to bury his former oppressor the Fisher King in a savage, barren outpost: Scotland. The Fisher King was just playing possum though and soon Albar and New Oswin are ghosted.

139 years in the future yet somehow strictly meanwhile, Clara, Cass, and Lunn are studying the Doctor’s ghost, who’s pronouncing the order in which everybody except Lunn is due to die. Will Doc bend the Time Lords’ rules and risk a universe ruled by cats, just to save his companion?

Here's what we think of N121 Before the Flood

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

4.2

Drew | @drewbackwhen

3.5

Jim | @jimmythewho

3.5

Here's what we think of N121 Before the Flood

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

4.2

Drew | @drewbackwhen

3.5

Jim | @jimmythewho

3.5

Here's what you think 3 Responses to “N121 Before the Flood”
  1. EcclestonIsBest

    The Doctor, science guy, and definitely not Osgood go to the past to discover what is causing the ghosts and the reason why there was a dam-bursting explosion. Meanwhile (kind of), Clara, loving deaf leader, and generic crew person with no real personality, face the new ghost and read the mysterious message left by him.

    Sontarans:

    —I found the Doctor to be cold and unfeeling. This was similar to his character in season 8 and that while he appears to be improving around Clara, he is still cold and calculated underneath. He reminds me of a certain umbrella-toting, Dalek-massacring Doctor with an Ace up his sleeve.

    —The missing battery is used to create the bomb to flood the valley. I just figured the battery would be dropped or some other ham-fisted excuse to divert your attention.

    —I did not expect the Doctor to spring out of the casket and I love his “morning breath” line.

    —I like how the already established hologram was used to create the Doctor ghost.

    Pigslaves:

    —THE RETURN OF THE SHREW MOUSE ALIEN WHO RUINED THE GOD COMPLEX. YES IT IS THE SAME WRITER BUT WHY, WHY OF THE HUNDREDS OF ESTABLISHED ALIENS IN THE WHONIVERSE WHY NOT BRING BACK LITERALLY ANY OTHER ALIEN? I should rename my beefs section to shrew mouse thing rather than pigslaves.

    —The MOW (monster of the week) is just plain dumb. He should be imposing but he can’t run, wields a tiny pistol, and competes with the Time Lords for most obstructive neck collar.

    —He is the FISHER king. Why does he just drown?

    RATING: 3.6 Abandoned fake Russias.

  2. Eddie Rock | @TheEddieRock

    Back to Rock your earballs with another mini! This episode certainly starts off with a bang. Unfortunately it only goes downhill from there. The opening segment explaining the Bootstrap Paradox had me hooked. Anyone notice the amp was from Magpie Electronics? I love that they’re still using that after 7 seasons. Follow that up with fun dialog from O’Donnell where she name drops former companions and a sadly dropped plot point in whatever the Minister of War was going to be

    O’Donnell dying was sad of course but I felt nothing of the “relationship” with Bennett cause it felt like it was just thrown in there for extra gravitas. The Fisher Kings costume was very impressive but also looked extremely silly. It ends up the Bootstrap Paradox scene at the beginning was only there to hand wave away a resolution that made no sense, which soured the whole thing for me. Also, he just stabbed the sunglasses into a random hole on the console? I guess he’s done similar with previous sonics, but this just looked dumb

    You’ve probably already mentioned it but those two subtle guest stars I mentioned last episode? The Fisher Kings voice was Peter Serafinowicz and the scream was done by Slipknot front man Corey Taylor! Great little cameos that saved this episode a bit for me

    Overall, not as good as part one but definitely not as bad as some part twos we’ve seen previously. I give this a 2.6 magically appearing hologram ghosts

  3. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club

    Likes

    – Scary stuff: the Predator-like Fisher King stalking the Doctor and co (more Fisher King people please) and the Shinning-esque axe wielding ghost of Commander Moran stalking Cass was all very creepy.
    – The time travel / paradox stuff felt satisfactory (I guess it worked if the Doctor’s ‘ghost’ was merely a hologram). However I reserve the right to deduct 1 point if Team Who Back When unravel it all as utter nonsense.
    – Good to know UNIT is back in action in 2119 after being unceremoniously abolished due to budget cuts in Resolution.

    Beefs:

    – If the Doctor’s ‘Ghost’ was a hologram projected by his Sonic Shades (groan), how could it operate the computer to open the faraday cage?
    – “The reason why the ghosts don’t attack in daylight is because blah blah blah (cough, bullshit)”
    – Dear Ministry of Defence, technically you wouldn’t find any posters of Stalin in 1980s Russia given Stalin was retconned a total arse by Krushchev in 1956.
    – Doctor fan O’Donnell reels off a bunch of big bads, including Saxon. But we haven’t seen the ‘Minister of War’. Abandoned plotline?

    Summary: a dollop of horror, a dash of really quite interesting time travel stuff, and a sprinkling of Richard Curtis Rom Com.

    Rating: 4.3/5 perfectly innocent campers, farmers, ramblers, scout groups and probably sheep, who all drowned horribly. Bravo Doctor. Bravo.

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