Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who


And another two-parter comes to a close. Join Deb, Erika, Lynne, and Tansy as we discuss how we’re feeling about two-part stories in general and “Before the Flood” in particular. Did it live up to the promise of “Under the Lake”? Reviews are mixed. As are reviews of the cold open, the sunglasses, and pretty much everything else. That’s what makes it fun!

How are you feeling about two-parters? How did you like this part, specifically? Let us know in the comments!

And congratulations to the winner of our $30 Amazon gift card!

ETA: The originally-released version of this audio file is missing Lynne’s track in several places. This has been fixed, so if you’re missing Lynne, please re-download the episode now. Sorry for the inconvenience!


Also covered:

Bonus links:
Burlington Bunker
Radio Times article about sci-fi references in “Before the Flood”
The Fisher King

Download or listen now (runtime 1:32:10) 

Comments on: "Ep 90 – Who Goes Before the Flood" (17)

  1. Hey Verities! I haven’t listened to the full pod cast yet, but I wanted to let you know that Lynn’s answers to Deb’s questions about two-part episodes falls out and there is dead air for her answers. First occurrence is around 20:43. Can’t wait to listen to the rest!

    • Thanks! But that’s been fixed already. I guess maybe I should have put the notE about it at the top of the post instead of at the end.

      Anyway, just delete and re-DL, and Lynne will magically be back!

      So sorry for the inconvenience.

  2. She sorry! I didn’t see the note-and I even looked!!!

  3. Thank you so much, not just for this episode, but for your entire podcast. I listen to several Who podcasts a week, but one of you almost always expresses what’s on my mind and in my heart about each episode. You talk about the things that interest me and address the things that I think are important. You are just such an intelligent and unique voice in the world of Who podcasts. You magnify my enjoyment of the show and make me feel like the way I interpret Doctor Who isn’t so crazy after all.

  4. Neil Ottenstein said:

    Just about a half-hour into the podcast … I was thinking during the episode that the explanation the Doctor was making actually could have been to Clara. It could have dove-tailed with the bit at the end.

    • I had that thought too, but as I explained, it just doesn’t quite work. He changes the direction he’s looking too fast and often for Clara to be there every time. Especially at the very end when he looks over his shoulder and shrugs.

  5. Henrik said:

    Right. OK. No.

    Apparently deaf people are magic now. Not only does being deaf give you Daredevil powers somehow but also gives you Spidey-sense so you know exactly when to touch the floor to activate the Daredevil vision.

    And the character didn’t have to be deaf. They introduced the Doctor’s sonic sunglasses just last story. Those could easily have been used to read lips. They already record and transmit a video feed of what the wearer sees.

    But fine. Whatever. I suppose all scientific progress stalls by 2020. All of it. That’s what ‘Doctor Who’ is positing these days. “Don’t get excited for the future kids, it’s the same as the present except grungier. We might even go backwards on some stuff.”

    I guess the t-mat technology never happened now?

    Why did they tack on the spoiler at the start explaining how it was all going to end? The paradox is fascinating but it’s not like it was really much explored. It also wasn’t any more complicated than any number of timey-wimey stuff that ‘Doctor Who’ does all the time.

    Then it turns out that the monster had already been dead for 150 years and was an incredibly easily tricked one. Made vaguely scary by referencing other scarier monsters and events from the past (which is always a massive unearned cheat).

    Well, it was an episode. I guess. It filled the time slot. And everyone suddenly found love at the end, of course. Is it too much to ask that professional military coworkers don’t all pair off at the end of a story? I hate to say it but I’m siding with Missy on this topic. There’s more to relationships than romantic love.

    Is this it? It might be. It probably is. Yup. This isn’t the worst episode of ‘Doctor Who’. It’s not the straw that broke the camel’s back. The back broke last year. This is the straw that poked the broken back and confirmed that, yes, it’s pretty well broken.

    I dislike the show more than I like it now. Poop.

    So long, ‘Doctor Who’ fandom! See you later, maybe!

  6. ccarol said:

    Hello, Verities, another great episode.

    About the opening: Capaldi has done a few talking-to-camera documentaries, hasn’t he? I haven’t watched any of them, but I’ve seen a few clips on Tumblr, and that’s what this sequence reminded me of.

    I think you missed a couple of places where the Bootstrap Paradox has been used before. “Blink” depends on pretty much exactly the same trick: the Doctor only knows how to solve the problem because he’s already seen it done. Same for “Time Crash”. It’s one of Moffat’s favorite gimmicks, almost to the point of being overused. I thought it was a little strange that they explained it so carefully here, when “Blink” just tosses you in at the deep end and expects you to keep up.

  7. Two more things. I was a bit upset about Osgood/O’Donnell being killed again.

    I was thinking about the phone call to Clara. I’ve always been annoyed in this series by calling people “very long distance” through space and time. It is not explained how it can work, but I can rationalize some of the “when” problem. It appears that calls can only go through to the same relative time of both parties. So, when Rose calls Jackie N days or hours after she left, Jackie receives the calls those some N days or hours later. And here Clara receives the call from The Doctor the same amount of time later for her that it is for him. Just part of the TARDIS magic that gets the call through. [Of course Missy arranged for that strange phone-call from Clara to the Doctor’s TARDIS via some rules of her TARDIS.]

  8. Sherry said:

    Thanks for a great Verity episode. Glad you brought up the mural. I immediately thought of the sea monster in Voyage of the Dawn Treader from Chronicles of Narnia.

    The design of the Fisher King was exquisite. Until he started walking, I didn’t think he was cheesy at all… Cheers.

  9. Enjoyed the podcast, as always! The paradox-explaining fourth-wall breaking grated on me. A lot. I’m trying to bring myself to terms with it by thinking about how it might be important for paradox novices. I love paradoxes, which means I’ve seen them explored lots of different ways, which means it was like having Peter Capaldi lecture me on how two plus two equals four. (Though come to think of it, that might be fun.) Also, your note about Time Heist being a bootstrap paradox made me remember that Clara herself is one big bootstrap paradox. Without the Doctor, who would have died long before she was born if she hadn’t saved him, she would have been forever trapped in the datacloud of “The Bells of St John.” So now I’m hoping that Clara’s bootstrap paradox comes into play this series.

  10. In Star trek the red shirt marked you to die
    In Dr Who being a Fangirl/boy makes you for death or disaster

  11. Saxon_Brenton said:

    Hello, Verities. A few random observations:

    I enjoyed the opening, but perhaps too much because I think it caused my critical faculties to briefly shut down. After a lecture from Capaldi, followed by electric guitar version of Beethoven’s Fifth, followed by electric guitar of the series theme, the next time I remember reflexively analysing anything was when the TARDIS refused to take the Doctor where he wanted and just dumped him a half our in the past. (At which point I wondered: is she doing that because she’s scared, or because she’s telling the Doctor that she’s not going to let him use time paradox as a blunt tool and instead he has to think his way out of his problem? I’d have preferred it to be the later, but the way she had to be kept from fleeing by use of the handbrake last episode suggests the former.)

    My main problem with the opening is not that it feels the need to re-explain the bootstrap paradox. Hardcore SF fans may feel irritated at a repeated explanation of something so basic to us – but as we know Doctor Who is supposed to be a mass audience program. Perhaps the creators felt the need to periodically re-introduce certain concepts to the general public. Much as others have said, my problem was that compared to previous uses of the bootstrap paradox, the opening lecture was rather unsubtle. On the gripping hand, the practical need of the cold open is to keep the audience interested enough to continue watching, and a direct lecture by Capaldi culminating in electric guitar riffs will wallpaper over any amount of lack of subtly.

    I found the death of O’Donnell irritating for a different reason to most people: I think it was an authorial setup to get the audience to emotionally invest in character (a fellow fan of the Doctor) and then put them in peril/kill them in order to provoke a reaction. I considered it blindly obvious that this was the reason behind the death of Osgood last season, and I’m annoyed that they used it again so soon. I’m now worried that this may become an occasionally used tool in their box of writing tricks. That said, if I am correct in this then the gender of the character is irrelevant, and it could just as easily been Bennett who was the fanboy-redshirt. This in turn would have effects on the way other interactions, not all of them necessarily positive. For instance, if it had been O’Donnell rather than Bennett who had urged Cass and Lunn to acknowledge their love, would there be complaints of stereotyping O’Donnell as a romance-obsessed female?

    Playing what-if games in my head to variously subvert, invert, justify or dismiss O’Donnell’s death, it occurs to me that this may have been a missed opportunity to play on the theme of the Doctor inspiring people to become their best selves/turned into weapons. Alter and expand O’Donnell’s characteristics from ‘standing up to herself’ to ‘using the Doctor’s example that some problems need to be handled with lateral thinking and independent action’. Then give her three opportunities over the course of the two-parter to demonstrate that. The first two instances work fine, but on the third she overreaches herself because she doesn’t have the Doctor’s superhuman characteristics, and dies tragically. Bingo, instant use of ongoing theme, with two different but complimentary angles of killing fandom surrogates.

    The Fisher King’s appearance was impressive, even if was basically the alien-mask-combined-with-a-suit setup used in the past for the likes of the Ood, Tritovores, et al. However the suit was a nifty body armour carapace, which I thought worked really well with the mandibles on the face mask. I’ve seen the mask being compared to the ‘naughty’ features of Vervoids, but given the insectoid/crustacean nature of the body armour, I think that may be a case of interpreting the Rorshach blot the wrong way.

    By comparison the symbology of the Fisher King wasn’t as well integrated. Playing on the theme of the wounded leader who rules over a wasteland, and using it as a rational for why the Fisher King is stealing Earth’s oceans (in order to avert some environmental catastrophe elsewhere) would have given the story some dark poignancy. Or perhaps that was the whole idea, and the explanation was left on the proverbial cutting room floor. This is a pity, since the Fisher King has the same sort of background as the likes of classic villains as Morbius or Sutekh or the Greate Vampire: powerful world-spanning threats that are thought gone but are now making a comeback. Played right the Fisher King’s presence could have been hailed as classic by fandom.

  12. Was the Russian cold-war era village an actual location that they used? Like it was stated, it seemed like a lot of work for the set designers since it wasn’t fully utilized. Now I’m curious!

  13. Valencia said:

    I wondered if the Bootstrap Paradox explanation wasn’t necessarily for this episode but maybe it was for something further along this season. Maybe four episodes later we may have forgotten a bit and then hit something and realize, oh, this is what the explanation was for. Maybe it is a thread through out this season that we don’t know about yet?

  14. Listening to this in 2020, I have a new theory: The Doctor has heard about Brian May finishing his PhD, and he suddenly thinks “Rock Guitarist Academic” might be a fun way to retire.So when Clara’s not around he’s in his room *practicing his lecture style* to an imaginary audience! Next season of course he does it for real. =:o}

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