Doctor Who (9.4): In which the Doctor breaks the fourth wall (and my brain)


… and I’m left wanting to break his guitar. Not because I can’t get my head around the Bootstrap Paradox (even with the help of the Radio Times), but because I can’t buy the Doctor as a rocker. A dancer, yes; a reader, (*Tenth Doctor voice*) oh yes!; but a rock musician, not so much. (To be fair, I’m not that keen on Patrick Troughton’s recorder either.) But I digress.

[Here be spoilers…]

Let us move on to the things that I did like about Before the Flood… Toby Whithouse successfully sustains the mystery for most of the episode – the bubble only popped for me in the scene where the Fisher King is intimidating the Doctor, when it became obvious who was going to be inside the stasis chamber.

The whole episode looks fabulous and I imagine the Fisher King will be giving younger viewers nightmares for some time to come. I thought Whithouse worked the myth of the Fisher King very neatly into this story too – the wounded monarch awaiting his knights – albeit with a bloodier purpose in this telling.

The entire supporting cast was particularly strong in these two episodes, but Sophie Stone as Cass was the real star. I’m hoping there are writers who watched this and are creating characters for her even as I type this review. I want to see much more of her.

As for the Bootstrap Paradox – much as it hurts my brain, I find I don’t mind it. It beats love saving the day by a million miles and it is so clearly a deliberate choice rather than a desperate bid to get out of a very deep plot hole at the last minute, that I can’t begrudge it (even as my brow knits trying to unravel it).

Finally, I’m looking forward to the Minister of War – I can’t decide whether I’ll be thrilled or disappointed if we find it’s Missy…

Hopefully, I’ll be back on schedule next week (apologies for the lateness – but there was poorliness chez Hat Towers on Saturday night). Equally, I’m hopeful that the next episode will be more coherent than its trailer…

Jo the Hat



Filed under Dr Who

2 responses to “Doctor Who (9.4): In which the Doctor breaks the fourth wall (and my brain)

  1. Tim

    Much though I love Missy, I hope she’s not the Minister of War either. After all, her previous incarnation has already played this card as Harold Saxon.

    I enjoyed this. I thought the action was balanced nicely between both halves of the story and I’m fine with the Bootstrap Paradox. (Hey, the entire Terminator franchise is built on one Bootsrtap after another …) THe internal 30-minute time loop enforced by the TARDIS was fun too – you can hear the thump of the Doctor wrestling Bennett to the ground at the very end of the earlier scene in which the Doc, Bennett and O’Donnell are talking to Prentis – subtle but definitely there.

  2. dogdrovenorth

    If the first episode were a 9 (and it deserves a 9) this is a 1.

    The doctor talks directly to the camera, evaporating any continuation of tension and mild peril from the end of the last episode and derailing the entire story.

    The strong character who should have had more to do was killed (because the doctor created a random list of names?!) so obviously by pealing off from the protection of the doctor and being caught by the slow-moving fisher king.
    Also, at no point did I feel the fisher king has cut them off from the TARDIS.

    The doctor in the stasis chamber was obvious from the moment the lights started blinking out. Had the fisher king been in there, the right confines of the base might have bright some tension back in to the episode.

    The hologram was able to interact with a touch screen.

    The hologram knew how to call the ghosts to the Faraday chamber but where did he get the recording?