Season 9, Episode 4 “Before The Flood”
Directed by Daniel O’Hara
Written by Toby Whithouse
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Sophie Stone, Arsher Ali, Morven Christie
Air date: Saturday, October 10, 2015
Can the future re-write the past? That seems to be the question before us on Doctor Who this week in Episode 9.4 “Before The Flood.” One way to put it is this: Suppose you could travel back in time and meet your own grandfather before he met your grandmother. During that meeting, you cause his premature death. Could that death really happen? Would you still exist if it did, and how could the death occur? It’s a classic paradox… at least in the minds if philosopher and fiction writers. It is the conundrum that writer Toby Whithouse tries to mine for dramatic gold. What he finds, well, that feels a little unsettling.
I’ll give it this: the episode started very well. When we left our heroes at the end of last week’s episode, “Under The Lake,” the Doctor and two others, Bennett and O’Donnell, had traveled back in time to observe the origin of events. They returned to 1980, to a town made up to look like somewhere in the Soviet Union. The break was so clean that a whole bunch of possibilities seemed to emerge. Here, in O’Donnell, we have a companion who knows something of what the Doctor is before they meet. She relishes what he is, or at least she thinks she does. She knowingly savors the experience of finding the ship from the bottom of the lake freshly landed and meeting the occupant. That is a marvelous beginning that in another time and other place could lead to longer term possibilities.
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