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Doctor Who S09 E04 "Before the Flood" Review

Watch full Episode here before reading this review.


The Doctor breaking the fourth wall was fun, and yes I Googled "bootstrap paradox."

Let's blame the wibbily wobbly timey wimey stuff for any plot holes that left us confused or failed to connect the dots. Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 4 is just one of those instances where you have to go with the flow. Don't try to make too much sense of it all, or you'll drive yourself nuts. Was it entertaining? Okay, then that's what counts.
That said, the ghost hologram was a tad predictable, and I'm over the sonic shades.
Basically, the Ludwig van Beethoven analogy was meant to illustrate the time travel theory running through this episode. The Doctor went back in time to change events and altered the deadly outcome at the base. Of course, he only did it to save Clara. Everyone else was pretty much dispensable.
Isn't the Doctor supposed to "save people"? Yeah yeah, fixed points in time and all that. I've got to say, I would have loved to see more of fangirl O’Donnell. Her little freak out was super fun to witness. “It’s bigger on the inside!” she squeed. Can you imagine yourself in her shoes dear Whovian? Wow!
After spending time in the claustrophobic underwater base, it was terrific to see the Doctor, O'Donnell and Lunn walking through the town before the flood. They quickly came to the mysterious spaceship/hearse, and the body lying outside the suspended animation chamber made me wonder if it ever made it inside at all. Yes, I had a feeling the Doctor might pop out of it in the future, but it was fun to watch nonetheless.
Prentis was an irritating little fellow. Not what I expected after meeting his ghost.
The Doctor: What are you doing here?
Prentis: Ah yes, of course. This is the Fisher King. He and his armies invaded Tivoli and enslaved us for 10 glorious years.
The alien undertaker's goofy nature was a clear sign he had nothing to do with the ghost transmissions. Back on the base, Clara received a call from the Doctor who soon learned his "ghost" materialized in the future. As I mentioned in my review for Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 3, having 12 regenerate was highly unlikely. Still, the ghost hologram was a bit of a cop out.
The Fisher King certainly was an impressive monster, and Corey Taylor's (Slipknot) roar was bone-chilling. Even his voice later on in the installment worked well. Yeah, the creative team nailed this big bad. I wonder if we'll see his species again? 
The Doctor chatting with his ghost self was super amusing.

Doctor, such an honor. I've always been a huge admirer. This is really a delight. Finally, someone worth talking to.
The Doctor
I like that the Doctor needed to know exactly what his ghost was doing so he could program it in the past. Of course, when and how he got his hologram looking like the other ghosts wasn't explained.
O'Donnell should have definitely stayed in the TARDIS. Yeah, the Doctor realized what the list meant and tried to keep her there. Lunn called him out though, and it was clever the way he put two and two together. Will changing history now come back to haunt the Doctor? Perhaps he won't be able to save Clara next time, leading to the loss of his companion. Boy, is that going to be emotional.
When O'Donnell's ghost walked off with the iPhone, all I could think was, "I hope Apple is paying a pretty penny for the product placement." There's nothing subtle about Clara's phone this season. Traveling back in time just a half hour confused me. What happened to the original group? If the Doctor's stuck in a causality loop, wouldn't these same events repeat endlessly? I let it slide, it's not worth the headache. Besides, the episode was fun-filled enough not to sweat the details.
One thing that was explained was that Lunn never looked at the alien writing, which is why the ghosts didn't try to kill him. The poor fool was sent on a mission to retrieve the phone. The scene with Moran's ghost following Cass and dragging the ax was far scarier, though. Actually, it was probably one of the creepiest scenes I can recall in recent seasons. The use of sound and lack of sound was brilliant.
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.
The Doctor
In the end, the Doctor tricked the creature blowing the dam and causing the flood. The scene was wonderfully rendered. I thought it looked fantastic. That was the end of the Fisher King and his chamber opened in the future to reveal the Doctor. I could have done without the WiFi and sonic shades explanation. It seems like they're going to stick around for a while, but I'm not crazy about them.
When the Doctor told Clara the Fisher King had been dead for 150 years, and he, himself, became part of the events that brought us full circle to the Beethoven intro. “Reverse engineering the narrative” was a nice way of telling us don't worry about the little inconsistencies, guys. It's all good, the Doctor saved the day. That's what really matters.
What did you think of "Before The Flood"? Were you surprised we were dealing with ghosts after all? Did the timey wimey stuff confuse you? Feel free to sound off in the comments below. I'm sure you've got thoughts to share.
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