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Before The Flood

ShowDoctor Who / Series IX / Episode 4
First Broadcast2015/10/11 - 19:40 (Link: ABC Details)
Related LinksDoctor Who Wiki Wikipedia
Previous EpisodeUnder The Lake
Next EpisodeThe Girl Who Died

We begin with the Doctor breaking the fourth wall and explaining what the bootstrap paradox is, using Beethoven as an example, before launching into Beethoven's Fifth on his guitar which blends into a rock version of the title sequence. A very cool, if unusual, prologue.

The episode proper begins with the Doctor and two of the crew landing in the village before the flood occurs. They find the spaceship with all its cargo present and no writing on the ceiling. The meet the pilot and discover it a hearse for the Fisher King. The Doctor then contacts Clara and is shocked to discover he is a ghost. Clara relays that his ghost is not repeating coordinates but everyone's names.

The Doctor then discovers the Fisher King is alive, has written on the ship's ceiling and taken the stasis chamber. He tries to return to the future to save Clara, but the TARDIS won't let him, taking him 30 minutes into the past. He and Bennett must avoid contact with themselves, meaning Bennett cannot save O'Donnell.

The denouement comes with the Doctor and the Fisher King facing off. The Doctor tricks the Fisher King into going outside. He has used one of the power cells as a bomb to destroy the dam and drown the Fisher King. Bennett escape in the TARDIS, but there's no hint of how the Doctor will escape.

Back in the future, Bennett arrives in the TARDIS. Clara and the others see the stasis chamber opening and in a big reveal that wasn't hard to predict, out comes the Doctor. The real kicker is the after the Doctor's ghost lures the other ghosts into the Faraday cage with the sound of the Fisher King, it is revealed to be a hologram from the Doctor's sonic sunglasses.

A very clever finish and we're back where we started with the Doctor intriguing Clara with the puzzle of how he knew what to do. All up a pretty good episode with a solid mix of drama, spookiness and sadness. The ending managed to avoid being too clever or cheesy which was a plus.

One cool thing spotted: the Doctor's guitar amplifier is made by Magpie Electrical.