Fresh screencaps for The Beast Below are posted. The original set had 16 really blurry pictures. Review is behind the link.
Monsters and Wank
Monsters: yes, mechanical Smilers, half-mechanical Winders, and humanity itself
Emotional Wank: 3 out of 10 on torture and racial (national?) guilt
Intended Destination: not given
Actual Destination: 29th century, Starship UK
On their first outing together, the Doctor and Amy discover a mobile nation, Starship UK, full of refugees from solar flares. But it’s a police state, with an insidious fear at the heart. The Doctor sends Amy after a crying child to find out what the fear is, while he himself searches for engines, to find they don’t exist. He is confronted by a masked figure who seems to know him. She confesses that she shares his fears, gives him a device to help him find Amy, then vanishes.
Meanwhile, Amy is trespassing in a construction zone and discovers a growth like a giant scorpion tail coming out of the road. Monk-like Winders render her unconscious and deposit her in a voting booth, where she can watch a video about the starship’s secret and then vote to either protest or forget. She chooses to forget, but leaves herself a message that she must get the Doctor off the ship.
The Doctor finds her, but cannot get the video to play. He activates the protest button and they slide deep into the ship, into what turns out to be a giant mouth. The Doctor causes the mouth to vomit them into a spillover tube, where the now-unmasked mystery figure defends them from mechanical Smilers and whisks them away to her quarters in the Palace, for she is Queen Elizabeth the Tenth.
Winders come to collect the group and take them to the Tower of London, where a giant bit of exposed brain is being zapped. Starship UK is being propelled by a star whale, trapped and saddled to take humanity away. The Doctor’s dilemma is whether to let the torture go on, set it free, or kill the conscious part of its brain so that it will not suffer. While watching one of the scorpion-like growths play with children, Amy has the epiphany that the star whale showed up as a volunteer volunteer to save humanity from the solar flares because the children were crying. The Britons had no need to trap or torture it. Acting on this insight, she grabs Liz Ten’s hand and presses it upon the Abdicate button to set the creature free.
There is some quaking as the holds are released, but the star whale stays and carries the ship faster. The Doctor confronts Amy on her haste and the danger involved, but she compares the star whale to himself to demonstrate her understanding. They hug and then depart just as Winston Churchill phones the Doctor regarding a dangerous situation, with a Dalek shadow in his background.
- Starship UK itself, the structure and the artifacts. Except the Smilers.
- Escaped fish.
- Field phone.
- He’s so delighted to be standing on a tongue.
- The Doctor as a family legend, instantly recognizable despite whatever face he’s wearing. “Hair of an idiot.” Heh.
- They gave the Doctor a story that delivers him some rage very early in traveling with Amy. She gets to know he’s not immune and isn’t as traumatized by big rage later as she could be.
- Amy clinging on the outside. What, she just leaped? I have a hard time thinking of her as this stupid.
- Help us, Obi-Wan … Doctor. Your our only hope.
Comments, Questions, Speculation
- First time I saw this episode, when he told that big whopping lie about never getting involved, I laughed so hard I had to pause and get it out of my system. He’s even been on trial for criminal interference. Twice! Good thing he didn’t try to use psychic paper to prove it. It would have shown wavy lines.
- So, how do the Smilers have three faces, each with half the head?
- Isn’t Magpie Electricals a callback to something early in the classic series? It’s ringing a bell.
- I may be thick, but I found it a subtle evil that all the protesters get fed to the beast below so that the ratio never makes it to the 1% that would end the program. The deck is stacked against those with too big a conscience.
- For once I felt brighter than the Doctor. If you’re standing on a tongue, you don’t want to wriggle around a lot. There are reflexes – gag and swallow – to worry about.
- If you’re about to be vomited, shouldn’t you better keep your mouth shut? I realize screaming is a reflex, but I think I’d have my hand clamped across my face.
- One door, one forget button. So how is Liz Ten getting them out of the tube?
- This episode sets up the theme of Series Five, that forgetting is not permanent, that memories remain deeply hidden and continue to work on us.
- He kept his temper pretty well for awhile I think, given that he surely clued in the instant he realized he was in a mouth.
Raw Caps: 566
Finished Caps: 170
- The mouth scene makes me queasy. Didn’t save any images from it.