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Doctor Who - Before the Flood - Review: "More important than time"

© BBC Pictures
Episode: 9.04 "Before the Flood"
Directed by: Daniel O'Hara
Written by: Toby Whithouse
Air date: 10 October 2015

Reviews so far:
Episode 9.01 - "The Magician's Apprentice"
Episode 9.02 - "The Witch's Familiar"
Episode 9.03 - "Under the Lake"

And here's the 2nd part of this season's "ghost" story. It was a good episode and a satisfying conclusion. It probably won't go down as one of the most memorable ones but there were at least a few great scenes I'll definitely remember, like the Doctor telling Clara why he has to die and her refusing to let him go. I also really liked some of the guest characters and found the Doctor's speech at the beginning quite an interesting concept. And now, to the details.

The Doctor - "Lost in Time"
One of my all-time favorite quotes on the show tells the story of the Doctor, who refuses to accept that there is no chance to save a life. He always tries, no matter the circumstances. Unfortunately, before he gets to save the world, people die, he simply can't save everyone. This episode, the Doctor was confronted with the fact that it may be his time to regenerate but he's not exactly risking everything to save himself, he does however says he's willing to change history to save Clara. The bond between the Doctor and his companions has always been the heart of the show, so every little moment we spend on strengthening this bond between them is worth it. The confrontation with Fisher King was rather short, I did enjoy their entire exchange though. Everything the Doctor said, how the Fisher King robbed people of their deaths, broke the rules of life and death and how this means more to the Doctor than time itself. That was a great speech, it's no wonder the Doctor is the one still standing, despite not actually fighting with anyone. Very often there's just so much wisdom and power in his words alone. Not to mention he's clever enough to have a back up plan. Also, our Time Lord sure loves his new sonic glasses which are really replacing the screwdriver with all its tricks. Of course his ghost wasn't a real one and he used the hologram to entrap the others. By now, we all know it takes far more than that to really hurt the Doctor. Peter Capaldi once again proved the role of Twelfth Doctor is a perfect match for him.

Clara - "You do not leave me!"
If there was only one thing to remember about this episode, for me, it would be Clara's reaction to the Doctor trying to explain to her why he has to die. Her anger at him, the way she said he can die with the next person he's travelling with, but not her, that's probably the most powerful part of the hour. Beautifully acted by Jenna Coleman. Clara has been through so much and even though it may seem she has managed to move on from her pain and grief, she's clearly not okay. She's not just trying to become more like the Doctor, she's holding on to him. So much that I'm starting to be worried about how her story's going to end. Her life in the Tardis, it feels like it's all she has now. Also, Clara seems even more willing to take risks than before. She calculated the risk of sending an innocent man alone against the ghosts based on her theory they aren't after him. She turned out to be right, but Cass' response to Clara's idea said it all. At the end, when reunited with the Doctor, it's clear how much she's relying on him. Their friendship is done quite beautifully on the show but I can't wait for Clara to find her new motiviation, other than what she's doing with the Doctor.

The Crew - "Before it's too late"
First of all, I hate how often it happens that the one person we can relate to the most ends up as a victim. Poor O'Donnell, we didn't get to really know her and still, she made quite an impression. Her mentioning the Doctor's previous companions and "it's bigger on the inside!" comment, together with her bravery to face their enemy head on, made her such a likeable guest character and things really felt worse when she died. She could have been quite a wonderful companion herself. Her death ended up being a real turning point in the lives of the rest of the crew, with Bennett realizing he missed his chance and instead helping Cass and Lunn find theirs. I found that a little surprising to be honest, as I kind of thought the two had more of a brother-sister dynamics but either way, it was nice to see a happy ending for at least some of the members of this crew. Finally, about Cass herself, her getting away from the ghost was a really great scene, love how the show focused a bit on her strength in the story. Also, all the actors did a brilliant work with their characters!

Fisher King - "To drain the oceans"
And finally, Fisher King and his ghosts. I'd say both ghosts and their leader ended up being quite scary with their looks and choice of attack but in general, not one of the best villains of the show. I wish we would see more of his scenes and the motivation behind the Fisher King's actions, to make him the opposite of this one-dimensional character we've seen. His confrontation with the Doctor and the speech about the Time Lords were really well done, though.

Whovian notes and questions:
1. Since the 50th anniversary of the show, UNIT sure seems more present, we got another mention of the group in this episode. I do wonder if we'll ever go back to Torchwood as well. What do you think? Who would you like to see return in a similar way?
2. Favorite member of the ship's crew? Maybe someone you'd like to reappear in the future episode?
3. Breaking the fourth wall is not always a popular idea. Personally I liked the concept. What are your thoughts on the "Who composed Beethoven's Fifth?" question?
4. The Minister of War - any theories?

Memorable quotes:
1. The Doctor: "Doctor, such an honor. I've always been a huge admirer. This is really a delight. Finally, someone worth talking to."
2. O’Donnell: "IT’S BIGGER ON THE INSIDE! IT’S BIGGER ON THE INSIDE! IT’S BIGGER ON THE INSIDE! How can it be bigger on the inside, Bennett? OK, let’s go."
3. The Doctor: "What are you doing here?"
Prentis: "Oh yes. This is the Fisher King. He and his armies invaded and enslaved us for 10 glorious years. Until we were liberated by the Arcetenians. But thank the god, soon we irritated them and they enslaved us too. HAAA!"
Bennett: "First proper alien, and he’s an idiot."
4. The Doctor: "You robbed those people of their deaths. Made them nothing more than a message in a bottle. You violated something more important than time. You bent the rules of life and death. So I am putting things straight. Here. Now. This is where your story ends."
5. The Doctor: "This isn't about saving me, I'm a dead man walking. I'm changing history to save Clara."
6. Clara: "Not with me! Die with whoever comes after me. You do not leave me."

What did you think about "Before the Flood"? Any favorite scenes, quotes or theories? Feel free to let us know in the comments. As always, thanks for reading!

Justyna JJ Kubica
23. SpoilerTV Writer. Loves Movies (especially Marvel Cinematic Universe), TV Shows (The 100, Agents Of SHIELD, Teen Wolf, Sherlock, Person Of Interest, Supernatural (especially 1-5), The Musketeers, Agent Carter, The Flash, Doctor Who, Fringe, Psych and many more) and Books (Harry Potter!). Fantasy & SciFi geek! Scene Of The Week articles author. Writes reviews for Doctor Who, Sherlock & The Musketeers. Member of SpoilerTV team since 27th November 2011.
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