Doctor Who: Under the Lake Review and All the Quotes!

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Hello, Whovians! You may have been looking for Tom Gardiner’s review. I’m sorry to tell you, Tom has decided to take some time off, and I’m left to try to fill his ridiculously large shoes. I will certainly try to give you what you want – I’m a big Who fan as well. Tom always gave you the great quotes of each episode – I’ll try to continue that!

This episode (first of a 2-part story) was on the lower side of scary – nowhere near the Weeping Angels, but somewhat scarier than the Face of Bo. Landing on an underwater oil base, the Doctor and Clara come across a crew terrorized by ghosts – including the ghost of their commanding officer, Moran, who was killed by a fiery blast from a salvaged craft of some kind. But the ghosts more haunt them than kill them – only Pritchard, the annoying rep from the oil company, is actually killed by the ghosts (and good thing, huh?). I guess it’s too much to ask to have every episode be as flashy and complicated as the last two were. This one was more psychological, less historic, closer in tone than most of 12’s stories have been to some of 10’s adventures. And I like that! What do you all think of Peter Capaldi and his portrayal? I wasn’t a big Matt Smith fan, but I really think I’m digging Capaldi.


The episode features a deaf second in command – actress Sophie Stone really is deaf, and Zaqi Ismail, who plays her interpreter, Lunn, really can sign. Farther down is a video about the two of them and how they came up with some of the unique signs created just for this episode.


The Doctor’s association with Unit comes up – and he has a fan! The sonic glasses are still hanging around – do they work? I kind of like the screwdriver, even though the Doctor says it ruins the line of his jacket. The RayBans are cool, but common… and they don’t light up. And speaking of jacket – cool casual Doctor! Going from the more formal Doctor of last season to the hoodie and t-shirt wearing Doctor of this season was a great choice. Like I said, I’m a big 12 fan – I love the way the Doctor’s personality has changed with each regeneration. 9 was angry and guilty; 10 was angry and guilty but looking for ways to hide from those feelings; 11 was a precocious teen, giggling at all the naughty bits but able to pull out his better self when necessary. And their approach to relationships and their companions was different – 9 wasn’t ready to really accept friendship. 10 understood friendship and the depths of feelings a bit better. 11 was gawky, giggling at the idea that he was married; but 12 – he doesn’t get it. Look at the cards Clara has had to create to help him communicate appropriately! (see the video below) He has a great big brother relationship with Clara – he doesn’t understand her, her interest in traveling with him, her love for Danny Pink – but he’s come to enjoy her company, and, as he says, he has a “duty of care” for her, which he demonstrated quite aptly in the season’s first two episodes.


So without further torturous episode explanation, here are this week’s Quotes!

Doctor: This is Clara, and I’m the Doctor (showing psychic paper).
Pritchard: You’re from Unit.
Doctor: Well, if that’s what it says.

Doctor: He’s from the planet Tivoli. The weirdest thing is that they’re not violent. They’re cowardly. They wouldn’t say boo to a goose. They’re more likely to give the goose their car keys and bank details.

Doctor: Who’s in charge here? I need to know who to ignore.

Doctor: It’s OK. I understand. You’re an idiot.

Doctor: So we are fighting an unknown homicidal force that has take the form of your commanding officer and a cowardly alien, underwater, in a nuclear reactor. Anything else I should know? Somebody have a peanut allergy or something?

Pritchard: I’d imagine they’re pretty valuable. I mean powerful, those power cells.
Doctor: Well, they can zap a vessel from one side of the galaxy to the other, so you know, take a wild stab in the dark… Sorry, why is this man still talking to me?

Doctor: So what have we got? Moran dies and then those… things… appear. They can walk through walls, they only come out at night, and they’re sort of see through. They’re ghosts! Yeah, ghosts!
Clara: You said there was no such thing. You actually poo-pooed the ghost theory.
Doctor: Well, there was no such thing as socks, or, or smartphones, or banjos, until there suddenly were. Besides, what else could they be? They’re not holograms. They’re not flesh avatars. They’re not autons. They’re not digital copies bouncing around the nethersphere. No! These people are literally, actually dead! Wow. This is amazing! I’ve never actually met a proper ghost.


  • “I completely understand why it was difficult not to get captured.”
  • “It was my fault, I should have known you didn’t live in Aberdeen.” “I didn’t mean to imply that I don’t care.”
  • “No-one is going to be eaten/vapourised/exterminated/upgraded/possessed/mortally wounded/turned to jelly. We’ll all get out of this unharmed.”
  • “I’m very sorry for your loss. I’ll do all I can to solve the death of your friend/family member/pet.”

Doctor: But don’t you see what this means? Death – it was the one thing that unified every single living creature in the universe. Now it’s gone. How can you just sit there? Don’t you want to go out there, right now, wrestle lthem to the ground and ask them qustions until your throat falls out? What’s death like? Does it hurt? Do you still get hungry? Do you miss being alive? Why do you only handle metal objects? Oh, I didn’t know I noticed that. So they’ll try to kill you, blah blah blah. What does that matter? You come back,! A bit murdery, but even so. Calm. You were like this when you met Shirley Bassey. OK. Question 1 – what is a ghost? Question 2 – what do they want?

Doctor: It must be the ghosts. That’s why she was upset when we got here. That’s just what I was saying. You live, and you die. That’s it. The ghosts are aberrations. A splinter of time in the skin. But imagine. She wants to get away from them.
Clara: So what are you going to do?
Doctor: Put the handbrake on.

Doctor: Whoa ho ho! Where do you think you’re going?
Clara: Out there. Where the action is.
Doctor: Look, umm. This is my own fault. I like adventures as much as the next man, if the next man is a man who likes adventures. But even so, don’t… don’t go native.
Clara: What do you mean? I’m not.
Doctor: Look. There’s a whole dimension in here. But there’s only room for one… me.
Clara: Wait a second. You just raved about ghosts like a kid who had too much sherbet.
Doctor: Really. You need a hobby. Or a relationship. You’re bananas about relationships. You’re always writing songs about them, or going to war, or getting tattooed.
Clara: Doctor, I’m fine.
Doctor: I just felt like had to say something.
Clara: I know. And I appreciate it.
Doctor: Because I’ve got a duty of care.
Clara: Which you take very seriously. I know.
Doctor: So can I stop now?
Clara: Please. Please do.

Cass: I can’t force you to leave. So you could stay, and do the whole ‘cabin in the woods’ thing. And get killed, or drowned, if you want. But my first priority is to protect my crew.
Clara: We are coming back, aren’t we?
Doctor: Yes, we’re coming back.

Doctor: Call back the sub. Call it back. This base is now under quarantine.
Bennett: What did you do that for?
Doctor: Well, none of us sent the message, did we. So that means that ghosts sent it. Which means they want that crew down here.
Lunn: Why would they do that?
Doctor: Well, I’m pretty certain it’s not so they can form a boy band.

Doctor: I won’t run. Not any more. So O’Donnell, kindly put the base back into night mode. We want to know what these ghosts are after, we ask them. We’re going to do the impossible – we’re going to catch a ghost.

Doctor: Coooooold, isn’t it! Take away your weapons and you’re not so scary, are you. Is that better, Cass?
Cass through Lunn: She says they’re saying the same thing the same phrase, over and over. They’re saying… the dark, the score – no, the sword, the sail.. no,  forsaken, the temple. She’s sure, the dark, the sword, forsaken, the temple. Just that. Over and over.
Doctor: The dark, sword, forsaken, the temple. What does that mean? What are you telling me, big man?

Doctor: They’re coordinates. The Dark, space. So whoever’s following the coordinates knows they’re going to another planet. Sword, Orion’s sword. The sword, the three stars,a lthough one isn’t actually a star. but the Orion nebula, hanging down from Orion’s belt. But, if viewed from back here, the earth becomes the fourth bit of the sword. So, you’re down to a planet now. Gettign closer. The forsaken, the forsaken or abandoned or empty town. See, it’s a location.  Beaming out to someone, or something, across the universe. Over and over. So every time they kill one of us –
Clara: It strengthens the signal. Another ghost, another transmitter.
Doctor: Get more of us down  here, kill them, make even more ghosts to beam out their coordinates.
Lunn: But why are they beaming out the coordinates? Is it a distress call?
Doctor: It could be. Or a warning. Maybe even a call to arms. It could mean come here, they’re vulnerable, help yourself. Waita minute though, wait a minuet. You know what this means. This means they’re not an active phenomena. This means that someone is deliberately getting people killed, hijacking their souls, and turning them into transmitters.
O’Donnell: So what to the coordinates lead to? To us, to the ghosts, what?
Doctor: Ah. So what the coordinates are for, that is part of the answer to the other question you’re all thinking. Really? Come on. None of you? Surely just being around me makes you clever by osmosis.

Bennett: You’re not suggesting that we’re… safe now. The ghosts are in the cage, we can get out of here.
Doctor: Noone has to stay. In fact, I would prefer it if you went. You’ll all get in the way and ask ridiculous questions. But, you know, you have chosen to protect and serve. YOU have given yourself to science and the pursuit of knowledge. No? None of you have chosen anonymous, or selfish lives. If you go, a part of you would always wonder ‘what would have happened if I’d stayed? How could I have helped? What would I have learned?’ I want you to go. But you should know what it is that you’re leaving.

Bennett: Sorry, have you gone insane? We can go home. Well, they’re ghosts though. How can they be ghosts? Well, at least if I die, you know I really will come back and haunt you. All.

Doctor: There’s something inside there. But it’s deadlocked sealed. Can’t open it. It should be the pilot, it should be. But I think it isn’t, More questions. Everything I’ve solved is more questions. I’ll have to go back to the beginning.

Doctor: Not translated by the Tardis? Why? Lunn, translate for me. You (Cass) – whenever I step outside, you’re the smartest person in the room. So tell me, what’s weird about this. I know that it’s all bonkers, but when you think about it, something keeps snagging in your mind. What is it?
Cass: The markings. On the inside of the spaceship.
Doctor: The markings! On the inside of the spaceship! Yes! Why?
Cass: I don’t think they’re just words.
Doctor: They’re not. They’re magnets. A localized and manufactured electric field, to be precise. The dark. Sword. The forsaken. The temple. When we heard the coordinates for the first time, did you ever expect them not to be that? No. Exactly. Me neither. We knew somehow. Like the words were already in us. Everything we see or experience shapes us in some way. But these words actually rewrite the synaptic connections in your brain. They literally change the way you are wired.

Doctor: Clara, why don’t I have a radio in the Tardis.
Clara: You took it apart and used the pieces to make a clockwork squirrel.
Doctor: AND… because whatever song I heard first thing the morning, I was stuck. Two weeks of Mysterious Girl by Peter Andre. I was begging for the brush of death’s merciful hand. Don’t you see, these words are an earworm. A song you can’t stop humming even after you die.
Clara: So. The spaceship lands here. The pilot leaves the writing on the walls, whoever sees it when they die, they become a beacon for he coordinates, while he/she/it snoozes in the suspended animation chamber.
Doctor: Waiting for his/her/its mates to pick the message up. My god, every time I think it couldn’t be more extraordinary it surprises me. It’s impossible. I hate it. It’s evil. It’s astonishing. I want to kiss it to death.

And here are some more of the pix from this episode:

BBC’s Doctor Who Site

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Erin Conrad