Doctor Who: Series 5 – Episode 2 – The Beast Below – SPOILER FREE!

Stephen Moffat Wasted No Time Getting Karen Gillan Soaked

We’ve had a week to get used to the idea of Matt Smith as the new Doctor and this week is our first full on outing without him trying to save the world in 20 minutes.

One thing is for sure – the world is in love with Karen Gillan. At least men are. Oddly we’re getting a lot of traffic of people looking for nude or naked pictures of Karen Gillan. Sorry to temper the desperation by letting you all know they don’t exist! But we have posted a sexy picture of Karen Gillan here (warning NSFW!).

But hey at least we get a whole episode of Amy Pond in her nightie.

The episode was lovely – titled ominously the Beast Below – it’s a fine follow up to the 11th Hour premiere from last week. It picks up right where last week left off with the Doctor and Amy zooming off to adventures together. After proving that the Tardis is indeed a space ship (which is a rathe pervy moment for the Doctor as he looks up at Amy floating above her…), they find themselves floating above The UK. That is the Spaceship UK. As typical with Doctor Who – the Doctor immediately senses that something is not quite right.

The episode is certainly more compact than the previous episode – at least the Doctor isn’t trying to save the world this time – just Britain – future Britain that is. It’s the 29th Century and humanity has been chased off of the Earth by Solar flares and each country has taken to space on massive ark-like spaceships.

The most amusing bit is that Britain still has her Queen – Elizabeth the 10th! Also, we learn rather amusingly that Scotland went off and took their own ship, as they would be expected to. It’s obvious that cracks at Amy’s Scottishness are going to be a feature of the series and that’s fine with me.

My favorite line from the episode is this exchange:

“But you look human,” says Amy.

“No, you look Time Lord,” retorts the Doctor. Awesome.

The writing is really strong as to be expected from Stephen Moffat. The opening titles are growing on me – I didn’t really like them last week and the them song just seemed week – but it’s growing on me and I think I’ll come to like it.

I won’t spoil any more details from the episode as it has a very unexpected conclusion that endears Amy to the Doctor greatly. When all is said and done and they head back to the Tardis – they get a phone call and it’s none other than Winston Churchill – meaning next episode they’ll be going back to World War II Britain – which should be cracking!

The Best Below was a fantastic follow up to Matt Smith and Karen Gillan’s debut and I can’t wait to see where the series goes next.

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  1. avataremma morgan says

    As a true dr who , sarah jane and torchwood lover i am seriously impressed with matt smith and karen gillan ( i really didnt think david tenant could be matched but then i really loved christopher eccleston too) last weeks episode was the best ever as far as im concerned but tonights however had me on the edge of my seat laughing , breath holding and crying but really not sure what to do with my mini me who really is the house’s doctor who boffin whole dvd serious upto date .At 7 i feel this is gonna terrify her and give her too much to deal with (the only other episode she wont watch is the angels because it scares her senceless) we all love doctor who for the same reasons we love the simpsons , young old and even senile great uncle will find something to love in it but is matt smith along with the writers perhaps a little too dark? i was personaly scared watching serious 5, ep 2 is it maybe moving to adults only? however just wondering ignore my little rant a increidbly well written and acted episode just hoping that the younger audience will not be forgotten or alienated no pun intended.

  2. avatarwill jones says

    It’s ok – very very smooth though somehow over-hyper feeling; I think the new Dr has less sense of pacing than Tennant did so we feel the episodes go at the same frenetic pace throughout rather than having low-key bits which helped to add a bit of relaxation (while not being boring) in the old Who episodes. Not bad then – just slightly less rounded feeling than Tennant’s Dr.; a bit more inexperienced acting. Just what you’ expect if you think about it, Smith being less rounded acting wise than Tennant, in experience and years. Gillen in nightdress throughout was just gratuitous to be honest.

  3. avatarJeremy says

    My only desire for this new series is that Murray Gold (the composer) leave as soon as possible. He singlehandedly rains down ruin upon Doctor Who. I can barely stand to watch the episode (and most since 2005) without wishing there was no music at all. The opening theme song is attrocious, making what should be an eerie and strange into an upbeat disney saturday action cartoon. The base element of the Doctor Who theme (originally off-tune piano keys doing the “dun dun dun daa dun dun” part is missing completly) and Murray Gold’s idea for interlude and action music is nothing but human choruses over and over and over again. How many scenes in Tennant’s era and now Matt Smith’s era have human singers going: “ooh oooh aaaahh ooohh” over and over again? It’s so sappy and cheesy and a cheap way of driving thea scene where the acting and drama on the scene should be driving it, not the low-talent melodramatic soundtrack coupled with cliched human choruses over and over again. I really believe the human choruses are just a cheap musical shortcut to writing actual good music. The writing is so excellent and Stephen Moffat is a true Whovian, I simply wish we could watch it in peace without the horrible music of Murray Gold ruining every episode. One of the hallmarks of the original series were the eerie silences, there was hardly any music in the original show and when there was music, it was eerie and strange.

  4. avatarIGPNicki says

    It’s weird. On the one hand I thought it was a pretty standard Who episode, but it had so many nice details. Of course, I absolutely love both Amy and the Eleventh Doctor. Brilliant casting! And I loved how Amy was able to resolve the situation, and not the Doctor. And how about those little Star Wars references?

  5. avatar says

    I like Murray Gold’s compositions a lot, and I think the chorus makes it work. The Ood song that was also played in Journey’s End brings me to tears. Once Matt Smith’s name comes up in the opening credits, I like the theme song, but I miss the simplicity of the first few bars.
    I feel like Matt Smith is a little too new to the role of the Doctor to be getting uppity about humans and their choices, and I’m glad Amy thought fast enough to put him in his place. I really wish they hadn’t done a quick zoom on the side of the space ship at the end of the ep. I only caught on to the possible continuing thread because of some prop geeks on the TARDIS builders board, and BAD WOLF was a lot more subtle throughout the first series. I would have expected the “corner of your eye” bit to apply to the audience but no.. “WOOSH! LOOK AT THIS THING THAT WAS IN THE FIRST EPISODE! DON’T MISS IT! IT’S GOING TO BE IMPORTANT!”

  6. avatarmatt smith says

    Hey, im surprised the new doctor has my name. When i heard his name i started watching doctor who, it’s so cool. No one can match david tennant. He can really act. But when i watched matt smith’s i thought he was really mad. But i thought that he can’t get the sad emotion that tennant does. But anyone with my name is the best!!!

  7. avatarDave says

    “But you look human,” says Amy.

    “No, you look Time Lord,” retorts the Doctor.

    This is a very interesting bit of dialogue for anyone who is a fan of the Big Finish Audio Series. (For those who don’t know, Big Finish Audio produces Doctor Who audio Dramas starring Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann. Sorry no Eccleston or Tenant, but David Tenant does guest star in a couple of the audios as different Non-Doctor characters.)

    There is some evidence that Moffat is a fan of the Big Finish line. (He’s nicked a couple of ideas.) There is one BF storyline in particular, entitled Zagreus, where it is revealed that Rassilon was a horrible old racist who went through the various timelines back when he perfected the time travel technology. He searched out all the non-humanoid sentients that would prove to be major players in the universe and basically eliminating them before they could become threats. Genocide! That is certainly consistent with the vision of the Time Lords we saw at the end of Tennant’s run. So…. Being a terrifically speculative fan-boy, I wonder if his line about Amy Pond looking like a Time Lord is a back handed reference to that?

    I think Matt Smith will be a more beloved Doctor than either Eccleston or Tenant. Having only seen two episodes, I can say that Moffat’s vision of the series is much more in tune with the original show. When I watched The Eleventh Hour, I felt like I was really, finally watching proper Doctor Who. I see shades of Troughton, Pertwee, McCoy and Tom Baker in Matt Smith’s performance.
    My favorite line from the episode:

    “Nobody human has anything to say to me today.”

    It was angry, full of grief and just oozed the Doctor’s disappointment in these human children. The episode was very well done and well written. Not as good as The Eleventh Hour, but superior to most of the early and mid-season stuff of the RTD era.

    I am glad RTD is gone. I was so tired of his Deus Ex Screwdriver/Tardis/Rose endings. How many times can we sit through a magical pixie dust/ love will save the world endings?

    Smith’s Doctor feels like an old man delighted to be in a young man’s body. He is a planner. This Doctor IS the smartest guy in the room, he misses almost nothing. Except that one important thing that he does miss… and that reminds him of why he needs a travelling companion. I adore Amy Pond and I am happy to know I never have to look at Rose staring yearningly at the Doctor anymore. My one great hope is there will not be a companion as romantic partner sub plot.

    I have rambled enough. Thanks for reading!