This week, The Doctor and his companion find themselves stuck in a contained environment with a small crew and some kind of creepy big bad hell bent on taking them out one by one. Whether it's on Mars, in a stuck submarine, on a planet about to be sucked into a black hole, or under a lake, this is a pretty popular theme for Doctor Who. The situation plays on our fears of being trapped, buried alive, drowning, etc. Essentially, being killed by our very environment. This time, they find themselves in an underwater, nuclear powered, mining facility on top of a submerged military base, with a strange alien ship and (what appear to be) actual ghosts. By the time they arrive, the captain has already been killed and his ghost has joined the ghost of a Tivolian man in a dashing top hat (particularly strange since the Tivolians are decidedly not aggressive by nature). The idea of ghosts has been toyed with on Doctor Who before, but they've always been proved to be something other than actual paranormal specters, so it will be interesting to see if they don't turn out to be some kind of electromagnetic/static projections, or something, instead of the spirits of the dead; especially given that we don't know who/what is in the suspended animation chamber, how the "spirits" are being brought back under its control, that they can only man-handle metal objects, and that the only way the gang has found to stop them is to enter "day" mode in which the electromagnetic locks are diagnosed constantly or by locking them into a Faraday cage (designed to stop the passage of electromagnetic/static influences). If they do turn out to be actual ghosts, it will be a first for Doctor Who.
Another first for the show is Cass (played by Sophie Leigh Stone). She's the first deaf (main) character on the show, and also happens to be a complete badass. She's smart, no-nonsense, and has probably already saved everyone by not allowing her interpreter, Lunn, onto the alien ship (he's now the only character who hasn't read the writing on the wall, making him the only one the ghosts have no use for). Since she took over command of the crew when the captain died, she's consistently kept their best interests in mind, has made the best possible decisions based on the situation at hand, and has succinctly put The Doctor in his place. I'd like more of her, please!
Unfortunately, the sonic shades are back. Chances are good we're going to continue seeing them for a bit whether we want to or not. I will say, that despite how utterly ridiculous they are the shades are at least being used interestingly. They're glasses, so using them as a way to transmit video or to scan seems pretty logical. They seems to be like a pair of Google Glass on steroids. (To be clear, I'm not against changing the sonic screwdriver on principal, I just hate the shades. I'm not a fan of things like Google Glass to begin with, so I doubt they'll ever win me over no matter how well they're written into the story.)
Continuing the two-parter trend for this series, the episode ends with Clara, Cass, and Lunn trapped in a flooding base with 3 ghosts locked up in the Faraday Cage while The Doctor, O'Donnell, and Bennet take the TARDIS back in time to before the base town flooded to try and figure out what happened. In true cliffhanger form, Clara and the gang are facing a ghost Doctor just outside the walls, indicating that The Doctor himself somehow died and became a ghost instead of regenerating when he went back in time. As it should, this leaves us with questions as to what the hell just happened, but the biggest (and probably most important) question of all is:
Eris Walsh is a writer/public speaker specializing in body image, representation, and all things geek from the female perspective. She can also be found on her webpage/blog She-Geeks, reviewing comics on Comicosity, and as a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She is also the woman behind the geek centric event production/planning company, Nerd Love NOLA, bringing nerds together at parties, weddings, dating events, and general meetups.