April 26, 2010

Pieces of Life: Its Not All Happiness, Lollipops, Rainbows, and Unicorns Doctor Who The Beast Below Review

Ahhh so those cracks will fit into this story line…..


Plenty of endless babbling ahead that jumps around a fair bit so just brace yourself because you’ll find endless thoughts in this post….

I felt almost positive that “the crack” in our first Matt Smith Who episode would surely not lead up to anything but how wrong was I? The cracks in time continue this week…did you catch the third crack? The first was in dear little Amelia’s bedroom, the 2nd was quickly displayed on the Tardis monitor towards the end of the first episode (I do believe our good Doctor seen it as he quickly turned the monitor off hmmmm what does he know that we don’t? And by the way, it can’t be a mistake he too so long to return to Amy’s side. I think he’s traveled through Amy’s past before), and most recently, this past Saturday, one was seen on the hull of Starship UK, if you blinked (we know how very dangerous blinking can be) you may have missed it.

The Beast Below is another ever so slightly disappointing episode for me. Sadly, it just happened so quickly, that I may be one of the few people that isn’t totally convinced that Moffatt is the man to bring Who to my telly screen, currently I’m missing Davies more and more….please let’s not hope this turns into a pattern because I can remember by fair share of being so angry with Davies I wanted to throw my set on the window a time or two.

Yet again I felt completely rushed in this episode and still did my fair share of rewinding backwards after watching as I’m still trying to get a handle on the Doctor’s Northamptonshire accent. Both Matt and the Doctor happen to come from the same place it appears and its not Gallifrey….but seriously for some odd reason Matt projects himself too quickly and I find it difficult to catch on to what he’s talking about at times. I’m quite familiar with British accents but he’s terribly rushed and hyped up, it proves difficult to catch up with him before he’s on the next topic in a snap. So yes, indeed, episode felt rushed again to me.

You can see that Moffatt is fully hanging out to the fairy tale aspect and will continue to do so throughout the season I’m guessing. Wendy flying away to Never Never Land with her Peter is the theme of business.

I’d like to point out that the Doctor and Amy still haven’t really gotten to know each other completely as of yet but they obviously know each other well enough considering Amy’s all about hugging the dear man already. I guess I missed the part where they bonded?

A big nay to BBC America for cutting things off so quickly for commercial breaks as it appears just as something major was going to happen it was completely cut off for a break and later picked up and on to the next topic in the story….I dare say we missed one or two minutes that got shaved off by BBC America. Um hello boxed set I need you more than every before.

Our villains, the evil and sinister Smilers are reminiscent of many a baddie past but I must say they were the highlight of the episode in some cases and quite good times. Its a terrible shame that the Smilers probably won’t make any major appearance after this as they seemed to have the potential to be a terribly creepy foe for the Doctor!

There’s such a terribly strong emphasis on making the Tardis more of a spaceship than a time traveling device. I found the opening seen with Amy floating in space and the Doctor holding into her leg very endearing but….I’ve come to associate the Tardis with time travel not fly me to the moon and the stars….

Matt’s quirky humor was displayed in one or two scenes which was both disappointing and good. Good as too much of a great thing could grow sour quickly and corny for that matter. And disappointing as I do like his one line zingers to lighten the mood up some. Although Amy’s disgust when falling into the “belly” of the beast or the mouth in this case is pretty funny when she yells out that it’s “minging”! I had a belly laugh over that.

Amy seems to have picked up rather quickly on who the Doctor is and his struggle to be the last Time Lord. Seriously, she knows him what? A couple of hours? And already she’s grasped exactly who he is.

We see a brief return of the old sad Doctor as he struggles with decisions he’d rather not make. His relief is Amy who “shows” him the way and proceeds to save the day. Another reason why we need a companion in the Tardis…someone has to balance him out less his dark side come out to play. Think of a child with no adult supervision and you’ll pretty much have the Doctor only difference is he’s way more dangerous than a mere child, he’s a mad man with a time traveling box.

I hated how in some aspects he returned to being an alien in this episode where he promptly dresses the humans down, how very unlike the Doctor as we’ve come to know him the past few years. This is a side of the Doctor I’ve only ever seen once before in present times. That would be when he struggled with releasing Wilf from the radiation chamber, honestly, for a second there, just a brief moment, I thought he’d walk away….

It bothered me that the Doctor was so nonchalant about the Time War and proceeded to tell Amy, “Long Story. It was bad stuff, bad stuff happened, and you know what, I’d love to forget it all, every last bit of it, but I don’t. Not ever.” Granted, he does express sincerely with his “Not ever” but the way he casually brushes it off suggests he’s still hurting but I hated he couldn’t express that pain.

I must admit it was rather disturbing that the Queen had a cockney-accent but I’m trying to not let it muse my Anglophile feathers.

As we near the end the Doctor again is a situation he isn’t really wanting to be in. A situation that requires him yet again to make a choice he really isn’t willing to make. And so it comes to pass that its not all happiness, lollipops, rainbows, and unicorns as we experience Matt Smith’s rage for the very first time. Baby face yes but no problems portraying that 900 plus year old Time Lord in a fit of rage. Obviously all the joking about and smiles and such are simply hiding the beast below pun intended….I guess the angst is still there and hasn’t been completely erased with the 10th’s demise and the 11th’s regeneration now has it?

And Amy steps into the game with her human authority to splice the good Doctor open and dig in for the autopsy….

“What if you were really old, and really kind, and alone. Your whole race dead, no future. What couldn’t you do then? If you were that old, and that kind, and the very last of your kind, you couldn’t just stand there and watch children cry.”

“You couldn’t. But I’ve seen it before. Very old and very kind, and the very very last. Sound a bit familiar?”

And finally the episode ends with a cryptic message perhaps?

“In bed above we’re deep asleep,
While greater love lies further deep.
This dream must end, this world must know,
We all depend on the beast below.”

Is it a star whale they are referring to…..? Or the Doctor himself.

Unless babble for you there that jumps around a fair bit but I wanted to get my thoughts thrown up for this week’s episode. I look forward to next week even they seem to be getting worst for me rather than better.

We’ll see. It takes time to embrace a new Doctor.

Feel free to get your geek on, would love to hear your thoughts.

Cosmetic Musings back on the way shortly!

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Basak

    You know what.. I hesitate to watch the new doctor. I will need time too.
    Still watching again and again the 10th and 9th Dr.

    Waiting for your Cosmetic Musings : )


    • the Muse

      aw basak totally understand many are still mourning their favs 😀

  • Heather

    I actually just got in to Doctor Who and I am on the season three (the new series). I find it amazing! Although I really miss Rose, because Martha bothers me haha. Anyways yes Doctor Who is amazing. Did you know Torchwood was an anagram of Doctor Who. : )

  • katros

    We don’t get Dr. Who here until it has been released to DVD but I do purchase the DVD’s for my son Carlito. But since he adores Dr. Who I’ll be waiting to be able to purhase!

    Off Topic: Muse I think I accidently put my full name on a comment I left for you on the Lancome summer 2010 blog entry. Could you please take that off? LOL I’m a knucklehead sometimes! 😀

    • the Muse

      katros aw that stinks! I’d go nuts without my who fix!

      I’ll revisit it in a little bit to clear it up. 🙂

  • Aimee Pan

    I actually liked this episode quite a bit but upon rewatching a few times the logic falls apart, and I actually like the Eleventh Hour better in the end. Brace yourself, though, because Victory of the Daleks is terrible but you still have to watch it as it is terribly important in the overall arc. I think you may benefit from watching Doctor Who Confidential—there were a lot of theories as to why the Doctor and Amy behave the way they did floating around in my mind after each of these episodes, and Confidential often tells me whether I am right or wrong. My instincts on this show seem to be pretty good because my explanations for why they behave however they do seem to always be right on.

    For instance, I do think the Doctor definitely knows about the crack, and as he turns it off he’s uttering the line “Yes, just that” (in response to Amy’s question about whether he is lonely or not, and is there another reason she’s along for the ride?), to me, clearly lying through his teeth. That’ll be interesting to see how it goes I think.

    I love the way Matt Smith just rambles on though I think they ask him to speak faster to fit everything in each episode. Both of these episodes could have benefited from being two-parters because Steven Moffat writes BIG stories, and they barely fit in these episodes. Actually the 3rd episode is like this also.

    About Amy—she’s known the Doctor not for a few hours, but for her whole life. She’d had enough time to observe who he is and also catch him in what is to her a huge mistake (the 12 years), and in fact she’s had more time to think about who he is than he has, and she knows him as the 11th Doctor better than he does, which I think is why she was able to make the choices she does this episode.

    I think the hug was about the fact that she sees him so clearly that he realized that she is really something special (even if there’s something about the crack/her that’s odd).

    I’ve a friend who saw episode 1 on TV and he says a lot of the best scenes in the show were cut short sometimes with some of the funniest lines that express the Doctor’s personality—ie the food scene. So… BBCA is just hacking away I suppose. This is why I try to watch online.

    I completely agree with you about the Doctor definitely needing a companion—we must never forget Water of Mars where there was NO ONE to tell him “no” and he just went out of control. We know that he is very capable of doing terrible things that are not right to suit his emotions and whimsy.

    I thought Matt Smith was fantastic during the part where Amy asks what he is. The way he hesitates and speaks extra slowly trying to filter out all his emotions and all the details, and then summing it up with “There was.. but they’re all–, I’m the only one now” and “Bad day, lots of bad things happened..” etc. was absolutely wonderful. It was very much a multi-layered performance I think.

    Maybe you’d be interested in http://www.behindthesofa.org.uk which is a review site for Doctor Who and there are some great thoughts on there on both episodes you’ve seen so far. You just have to be sure to click on the right episodes right away and not hit the ones that you have not yet seen.

    • the Muse


      First time I watched it was too rushed but after the 2nd watch I felt like the story had major plot holes and fell completely apart logically, def agree with you. Terribly sorry to hear about Victory of the Daleks…sigh..I was thinking maybe things would finally come together.

      I’m actually behind on Who Confidential at the moment 😀 but def watch it to wrap things up as well since I have alot of theories and such mucking about in my head after each episode 😀

      The Doctor is indeed lying, I agree. It’s not like the Doctor to travel off and come back YEARS later. He and Amy have crossed somewhere in the past I believe and it’ll come up towards season’s end I imagine. Perhaps he saved her life? Something is up!

      Matt’s speech patterns rarely ventures off his own original accent which isn’t necessarily bad but I tend to get lost when he rambles on endlessly…he also from time to time takes up a fair bit of muttering which also makes things a little hard to follow. Perhaps you’re right about Moffat writing epic tales but really didn’t RTD do the same? And those fit beautifully well into 60 mins.

      I’m TRYING very hard to relate to the fact that Amy’s known the Doctor for years but honestly I’m simply not grasping it as a reason to completely understand who he is…aside from a very brief few minutes as child I find it a tad silly that she knows exactly how he’ll react in certain situations and such, etc….BUT this also leads me the my theory that amy and he have crossed path before.

      The hug was endearing and sweet and really beautiful as the Doctor needs a little comfort however it still managed to be slightly uncomfortable for me when I really didn’t see much bonding on screen as of yet….I dunno…

      I honestly hate watching online 🙁 so I buy the box set and proceed to rewatch 😀

      Ahhh we are very much on the same page about his personality, the not so nice part of it. Indeed, he’s always needed someone to level down. I found this behavior started after Rose as he was NEVER so out of control when he was with her but proceeded to be downright dangerous at times where Martha, Donna, or someone else had to tell him what he was doing was simply wrong.

      I didn’t love the brush off of the Time War to be honest. He expressed some emotion but not nearly as much as I’ve seen him express in past situations such as the time he was sitting with Jack and Martha and telling them about the war. Emotional yes, very well done yes, but a tad bit swept under the carpet lets not talk about that anymore. Is this what he’s become?

      I subscribe to behindtehsofa 😀 on rss! I also love combom do you read it? Its rather brilliant!

      Always a pleasure geeking out with you Aimee 🙂

  • Aimee Pan

    Time to add Combom to my Google Reader feed! 😀

    I really related with Amy’s story I think because I HAVE had chance encounters of maybe one evening where I don’t forget that person EVER and I continue to mull over it and think about it and overanalyze it, and Amy is a smart girl so I can buy that she realized all these things about the Doctor, especially after his little speech.

    I think I prefer Matt Smith’s subtle emotional moment and the whole “swept under the carpet” thing. I adore adore adore David Tennant but for me sometimes his acting was a little too in-your-face for me and extremely overwhelming while Matt nicely underplays everything, but still with a layer of calculation and emotion underneath the silly. This made his outburst all the more scary for me!

    Moffat definitely needs to work on his pacing– I thought his pacing in The Girl in the Fireplace needed work, but Blink was pitch perfect. I don’t think he’s really gone wrong with a 2-parter yet as far as pacing goes but I guess we’ll see, right?

    Luckily for me my parents’ old TV set broke last year so they have a new one that works wonderfully as a second screen for my computer so I just patiently download new episodes from torrents and then play it back on my TV in HD when I’m home from uni on the weekends. Woohoo!

    Another possibility of Matt’s speaking speed is that he’s now playing a Doctor who has so much to say, so much to think about (out loud, perhaps), and you just have to keep up with it or smile and nod. I’ve had to rewatch the episodes quite a few times but for me that’s perhaps all the more fun as I pick up more things every time! I do kind of like the rambling Doctor and it reminds me a bit of David Tennant so I guess I’m not really having a problem. Christopher Ecclesion was the easiest to understand for me of the three and the other two are about the same.

    It’s ever so fun to come to your beauty/make up junkie blog and geek out about Who! 🙂 🙂

    • Aimee Pan

      Oh, I also think it’s really significant that the Doctor seems to keep showing up at the wrong time, in ep 1. I agree with you–it’s entirely out of character. It HAS happened before but twice in such a short period of time? Something is very wrong. All my theories basically bank on his line in the Eleventh Hour “Two places in time and space which should never have touched.” I’m guessing the two places are either

      1. The Doctor and Amy
      2. Amy and her surroundings/time/
      3. Amy and her past self (in the future, perhaps in the finale)

      Causing all these cracks to begin appearing all over the place everywhere she has been, because she is the only common denominator so far for the cracks. The Doctor and the TARDIS are both essentially the same and I don’t think they’ve really done anything (that we can see) that can cause these cracks, but Amy has been everywhere the crack has been and oddly, NOWHERE ELSE. It’s so strange we don’t know her family.. highly suspicious I say!

      • the Muse

        Oh Aimee totally happened before but not like this…it’s suspicious. I’ve always felt like he’s arrived in the wrong locations on purpose in the past. As in let’s go to 1960’s London and end up in 1860…kinda purposely. However, his showing up at entirely wrong moments in Amy’s time line is a little bit strange…………………………………! Amy and her past self for sure..something is up. Amy has done something that caused the cracks that the Doctor was privy too and yes the missing family…that’s something STRANGE.

        I do wonder if Amy is simply a one year filler and if she’ll resign on because I feel like this is going to end up with her very much married at the end of the season…dunno feels like its leading up to that. Amy has her fond adventure and settles down.

          • the Muse

            god aimee I hope so as I haven’t read anything ’bout her return as of yet!

    • the Muse

      Aimee such a joy geeking with you dear 😀 Oh combom is WONDERFUL! Such an endless resource of yummie tidbits and goodies 😀

      Amy is probably one of the more clever of companions I’ve seen in recent years. Martha had a certain something for sure as she had a bookish way about her, Donna wasn’t entirely the smartest in the bunch, and Rose kinda of learned as she went along, but Amy seems to be clever and quite street smart too. Its as if they took everything great about Donna, Martha, and Rose and placed it into what Amy would be.

      Oh that’s true. Ten was all about the angst especially towards his demise. I liked his outburst ALOT in all honesty. It was unexpected and interesting to see that just because he regenerated doesn’t mean the strong and sometimes dark emotion isn’t bubbling just under the funny, silly kinda guy surface. However, it was out of characters with the reference to humans as I always felt he respected, even admired humans and he simply had a little bit of a superior I’m a time lord attitude going on there for a sec.

      The Girl in the Fireplace displays Moffat’s romantic fairy tale theme that he seems to love to embrace but Blink, Blink was something entirely too perfect and brilliance at its best if he can bring more of Blink to the current season, I could get on board. We shall see.

      w00t! sweet 😀 can I come over?

      Well as RTD was fond of saying you aren’t supposed to UNDERSTAND everything and some of it isn’t even supposed to make sense, wibbly wobbly timey wimey. I DO love the babbling Oh yes I do but sometimes I have to get a rewind in there 😀

      LOL! 😀 a little who with your make up is always fun right? 😀

      • Aimee Pan

        9 was sometimes super condescending about humans, and I feel like 11 is kind of a combo of 9 and 10. It’s weird.

        And dude, if I could have everyone on Musings of a Muse who is into Who come over and watch with me every weekend that would be the funnest Who viewing EVER, right? With a bunch of make up junkies like me. I spend half the time in my rewatchings just checking Amy’s outfits, nails, and face make up out, no joke.

        • the Muse

          ya aimee true CE had a certain superior air true! I felt like 11 is a combo of wonky and some of 10 but nothing of 9 so much. A little TB in there as well. LOL that would be awesome!!!!!!!! lol we could all bring our makeup over and go through it while we watch 😀

  • Kate

    YAY! Right after I watched this episode I wondered if you were going to do another write up.

    I was kinda underwhelmed with this episode. It seemed to be building into something and ended up not being what I expected. Almost like they had two episodes (one with the smilers and one with the star whale) and spliced the two together. The ending didn’t have the emotional punch I’ve come to expect from Dr. Who. Although, Amy’s quote about being old, kinda, and alone did have a bit of resonance.

    When I read the episode write-up on ew.com, someone there posted the series doesn’t really get good until episode four. Which, hopefully is true. I feel right now everyone is still adjusting to the behind the scene changes and one some old friends (blink and you’ll miss them) pop up, hopefully everything begins to work together.

    • the Muse

      kate I honestly never do full reviews on all episodes. Normally it consists of the season finale and the first episode 😀 but I couldn’t resist sharing a little more 😀 It is building and I think it has something to do with the Doctor knowing or crossing paths with Amy before. true….that’s actually very true the smilers and the star whale…just was a weird mix up. It was very moving, Amy doing her big ado speech about the lonely doctor etc…but…I dunno. Something was missing. I’ve read that it doesn’t really pull off until 4 myself and I’m hopeful that’s the case, I look forward to our angel friends return 😀 as of now, things just aren’t working quite right for me 🙁

      • Kate

        I’m so not worthy to the Dr. Who geekiness.

        I blame only being exposed to Star Trek:TNG growing up.

        • the Muse

          lol kate 😀 join in anyway 😀 plus I’m a trekkie anyway so I can get on board!

  • triner

    I’m one of the bad kids who can’t wait and therefore have forsaken waiting and BBCA for the Internet’s bevy of downloads.
    I’m up to episode 4 and must say I’m seriously enjoying Matt Smith as the Doctor. 10 will always be my most favorite and my first Doctor, but Matt Smith is shaping up just fine.
    11 seems to be taking some of the anger that 10 had at the end and really funneling that into specific outbursts and you can see the rest bubbling underneath, like a volcano in waiting. But he also has the charm and the humor and goofiness that have been a trademark as well.
    The mumbling and fast talking? He’s like Rodney McKay with an accent (er..non-Canadian one)! I’m very much ok with the mumbling and random outbursts. Then again, I enjoy the type of mumbly sciency doer of things guy.

    As far as Moffat’s writing, I’m sensing there will be plenty of 2-part episodes because his stories don’t always cram well into 1. Do the Confidential episodes come on the DVDs? I hope so because people who don’t watch them miss out on so much. Not so much story-wise but your experience feels richer for watching it. No idea how that works, but it does and it’s awesome.

    I don’t know if maybe I’m enjoying Doctor Who more lately because most of my other shows are not so good (Stargate Universe, I’m looking at you) or if I really do enjoy it. Rough spot to be in but it doesn’t change the fact that 11 is shaping up!

  • arilyn

    Not sure if you have comcast, but if you do and have on demand, they have the director’s cut which means it’s basically the version they are watching in the UK without the minutes shoved off for commercial. I usually find bbc america underneath the tv entertainment section.

    • the Muse

      no such lucky arilyn on comcast. I’m watching on DirecTV 🙁 But I always buy the box set so that has full episodes thankfully 🙂