The Beast Below

Season 32, episode 2

No interference

The episode starts off with Amy fleoating around outside the TARDIS with the doctor holding onto her. No reason, just for funsies. I'd have thought that some sort of rope would be a better idea than just holding onto her like that, but whatever. This bit isn't important.

So then they finish fucking around and decide to actually go somewhere, but before they can go outside the Doctor is very specific about telling her how he never inteferes. At all. Ever. What? Since then? I don't think he's given a shit about that rule since he was William Hartnell. Also, what the hell does he think he was doing last week? And then he immediately changes his mind; apparently it's OK to help if there's a child who's sad.

This scene makes absolutely no sense at the time, it just serves as a trigger for Amy to figure something out later. Because apparently the writers really couldn't think of a less stupid way to have that happen.

The Doctor makes a good point

So they've arrived on this spaceship which apparantly holds the entier population of the UK (minus Scotland for some reason), and there's this little girl crying. This bit was actually pretty good, because the Doctor actually made a really good point about why the girl sitting there crying was indicative of some problem with the society.

Then he sends Amy off to talk to the girl, while he goes to investigate somethng else.

Amy is an idiot

After the girl reveals that she is aware that Amy's following her, Amy apparently took some stupid pills, because she completely forgets what she was supposed to be doing there and goes to explore an obviously dangerous closed-off area, and encourages the girl to follow her. The girl is apparently not an idiot, because she declines.

So the blatantly obvious security cameras spot Amy picking the lock, and after she discovers some monster tentacles in there, some security dudes turn up and arrest her. And she never actually asked the girl the questions she was supposed to.

The Doctor meets the queen

Meanwhile, the Doctor is in the engine room. Apparently the thing earlier where he put a glass of water on the floor (I didn't mention it, but he did that) was actually relevant. Apparently a space ship like that should have engines that make the whole thing vibrate, but the water in the glass was still. So he goes to the engine room to check it out.

And then the queen shows up (though she doesn't tell him she's the queen yet) and acts all mysterious. And he's like "There are no engines!" and she's all "I know! You should totally investigate that."

Amy watches a film

Turns out she hasn't been arrested, she's just been taken to a voting booth. The booth apparently has access to records going back to the 21st century, because it's able to identify her as a citizen. Although what it based that on is unknown. Driver's licence photo maybe? It's a mystery.

Anyway, it turns out that this voting booth is not for voting for the government, it's for voting about some mysterious secret. After you watch the film, you can either choose to have your memory of it erased, or protest. Amy chooses to forget, but records a message for herself saying to get the Doctor to leave it alone and go away.

As she's watching the message she sent herself, the Doctor shows up and decides to ignore it. The film won't play for him, because he's not human. Or maybe just because he's not a citizen and therefore can't vote. Who knows. Anyway, he decides to just hit the protest button without watching the film. This causes the floor to open up ridiculously slowly and they fall through.

The Doctor thinks he's Harry Potter

The chute they fall down ends up in a big cavern filled with food scraps in a big pool of liquid, which they get covered in. The Doctor then proceeds to wave his wand around at everything in sight for no apparent reason, until he realises that they're in a giant mouth, at which point he casts a spell to make the thing they're in vomit.

Queen, or warrior princess?

Having been vommitted into a surprisingly vomit-free room, they look around for a way out, and find a door with a button marked "Forget", meaning that they can leave if they have their memories of what just happened erased.

The Doctor decides to go with option neither and just wave his wand about a bit more, at which point a couple of the security cameras reveal themselves to be robot zombies and start lurching towards them.

Fortunately, the queen shows up and kicks the robots arses, fights her way past some more robots, and takes the Doctor and Amy up to her room, where she has a whole bunch of glasses sitting on the floor for some reason. Oh, right, to remind her that there's a massive conspiracy. Because that's the sort of thing you might forget.

Blatant clues to make stupid people feel clever

Then some cyborgs show up to take them to the "tower of London" and give a really blatant hint. But if you missed it, don't worry, they'll give the exact same hint again in a few minutes. And then just give you the answer anyway.

Torturing space whales

Once at the "tower", the Doctor spouts some cryptic bullshit to let everyone know that he knows what's going on and is smarter than them, and then we get the actual answer. Instead of an engine, they have a space whale, which they're torturing to make it keep going. And the whole voting thing is, you get told "We're torturing a space whale." and choose to either forget, or get fed to the space whale.

The queen gets a different version though. She actually gets to choose to forget, or let the space whale go. And apparently she's 300 years old or something, and has been choosing to forget every time, and each time it takes her ten years to figure out what's going on, then forget again.

So while the queen is going over this difficult decision, the Doctor takes the opportunity to be a dick to Amy for no real reason. Then he decides to make the space whale breaindead so it won't suffer any more and the humans can keep living.

For the kids

It's at this point that the Doctor's new rule from the beginning of the episode (No interfering unless there're sad kids) comes back. Amy realises that the space whale came to help the human children, and they never needed to torture it to make it help them, so she grabs the queen and uses her hand to press the "let the whale go" button.

This was all a huge wasnte of time

Fortunately, the space whale still wants to help, even after hundreds of years of torture, so it's all OK. And Amy uses an analogy to make the doctor stop being a dick to her somehow, and they leave. And as they do, you see that if they'd taken two seconds more to look around the outside of the ship before they went in, they'd have seen the space whale. It's right there on the bottom of the ship. Seriously, this episode could have been over in five minutes if they'd just paid more attention instead of rushing in.

Next: More fucking Daleks!

Once in the TARDIS, they discover that the doctor's phone is ringing. Wait, what? No, it really is happening. The Doctor has a telephone now. And people call him on it. People like Winston Churchill. Winston Churchill has the Doctor's telephone number. And can call him even though they're thousands of years apart. WHAT?

I have a strong suspicion that the next episode's going to be awful.

In summary

This episode had less of the stupidity that's plagued the show since it came back, and was actually quite good in places, but the whole thing felt really rushed. There wasn't time to wonder about what any of the clues meant because the answers were given pretty much straight away and none of the characters introduced for this episode had any real personality since there wasn't enough time for them to establish any.

I will acknowledge that sometimes the old series was a bit too slow, but this is really not better. Either write stories that can fit comfortably into one episode, or take two (or more) episodes per story.

Also, get rid of the fucking magic wand. Seriously. And stop going on about how all your people are dead. We get it. You've been saying so for five years. It was annoying five years ago, now it's even more so. Man up and get over it you fucking wuss.

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