Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Beast Below

I enjoyed "The Beast Below" more than "The Eleventh Hour," because this second episode gets back to what Steven Moffat is really good at: Scaring the crap out of us.

What I really adore about Doctor Who—especially when it's done well—is the creation of an entire time/world within a single episode. The social/political issues of Starship UK hit close to my heart, as we're asked should we willfully wipe the truth from our minds and the issue of choice versus the illusion of choice.

I love that Moffat created the parallel between the voting booths and Amy's desire to protect the Doctor from the choice. His anger at the decision being made for him—"You don't get to choose what I know"—was the most human 11 has been yet. Also the oldest and the kindest and the very last... was beautiful. So it was wonderful to get to see the depth and range of emotions from all the characters.

Loved, loved Liz Ten. She was rocking the little red riding hood and the six shooters—it was like something out of Buffy! Loved the Winders and their gas rings; terrified of the Smilers, and can't believe that Starwhale vomit was a legitimate plot point.

My only concerns are that dear lovely Matt Smith doesn't quite do angry as well as his predecessors and the recap. Not questioning the necessity of connecting the dots for the audience—it is a kids show and the delivery was handled well—just the placement in this episode. It took away from the tension a little to do a breadcumb collection in the middle of "OMG THE DOCTOR IS GOING TO FRY A STARWHALE'S BRAIN." (Maybe that was the point?)

Two final thoughts: (A) Starwhales make me think of Peter Watts, and (B) I can't wait to see 11 hit a Dalek with a mallet.


Sarah K said...

I'll have to rewatch to comment fully on Matt Smith/angry, but now that I've watched series one and two and am part way through three, I can say: David Tennant is terrifying when he's portraying anger. Christopher Eccleston is amazing at angry, but as the Doctor he was seemed on edge the majority of the time and it never seemed like too much of a leap into anger [although there were a couple of Outright Fury scenes that were amazing].

Tennant, on the other hand, is playing the Doctor so light most of the time, that when he spins into anger it's so... I don't know... unexpected [even when you are expecting it], like when you get a shock from the carpet. You know it can happen, and you know it probably *will* happen if you drag your feet and are wearing socks, but you still are startled when you get zapped.

Chandra Rooney said...

Exactly. Ten has that anger that is so deep, so cold, that it's terrifyingly serious.

I think because 11 has been so unbalanced these first two episodes that when he does angry, it's just another mood swing. The fear is he's unstable and thus irrational—not that he's OMG ANGRY and about to throw galaxies at the source of his anger.