Season 9, Episode 3 “Under The Lake”
Directed by Daniel O’Hara
Written by Toby Whithouse
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman
Air date: Saturday, October 3, 2015
Think of a night at the opera. The crowd enters the hall, the lights go down, the orchestra plays the overture, the curtain rises, the tenor and the chorus sing the opening aria. That’s where we are at the start of “Under The Lake,” the third episode of Season 9 of the revived Doctor Who. While the last two episodes gave us first shock and awe, and then some genuine thrills, now things must start to calm down and we, the viewing audience, begin to see what we have on our hands for this season. I think the initial conclusion must be that this will be a return to certain historical series norms that were missing for the last couple seasons, and a departure from others. Ultimately, however, this episode was far too workmanlike to represent the series’ best work.
So who will the Doctor and Clara be this season? After previous appearances in a regular season episode and a Christmas special, we’ve had a season of the Matt Smith as the young, brash Doctor trying to solve the riddle of Clara Oswald, the Impossible Girl. We’ve also had a season of Peter Capaldi as a much older, less social Doctor composing one half of a very double life of Clara Oswald, teacher at Coal Hill School. While both at least tried to give more narrative weight to the Doctor’s companion by giving the companion a normal life in addition to life in the TARDIS, both of these developments messed with some long-established series norms.
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