The Beast Below. As many of us though it wasn't a vicious, murderous monster but rather a kind, helpful Star Whale. Of course, being the Government (probably Tory, I would have thought) they had to torture the bloody thing to make it fly when all it would really take was a gentle tickle from a kid!
Yes, episode two was a blinder! The Beast Below offered all the things we needed to see from Matt's Doctor in order to fully accept him. And, for me, there were three moments that SANG! Firstly, the Doctor swearing to stick to a policy of non-intervention, then appearing on the scanner to comfort a crying child. The most beautiful nod to children everywhere... It doesn't matter if he's not allowed to help, if you're upset then the Doctor is there for you! Brilliant.
Secondly, ANGRY DOCTOR! Matt losing his temper is a terrible and frightening sight. As one Twitter user put it, he made me feel "slightly ashamed to be a human" when yelling at Amy for keeping things from him. Simultaneously heroic (He has to help them! Whatever it takes!) and pompous and arrogant (Seemingly believing that he should be made aware of simply everything! As if it is his right!). A terrifying sight. When he spat "Nobody human has anything to say to me today!" I felt, for the first time, that this Doctor is not a nice chap when you piss him off! Fun loving and as heroic as ever, but owed something. And thirdly, the beautifully fresh throwaway line he spoke when Amy asked if people would wonder where they went after saving the place; "Oh, the songs they'll write...!" - sarcasm is either the lowest form of wit, or the most effective encourager of endearment!
Oh, it was a beautiful story! The supporting cast were great. The Smilers were threatening in a haunting way and the Star Whale evoked genuine concern from an audience, despite not being seen until it was safe again!
I enjoyed this as much as The Eleventh Hour, probably more - but wanted more time to explore the ideas in greater detail. That's my ONLY criticism. It was a great "back into it" story; deep space, aliens, conspiracies, a deep, dark secret and a satisfying cliffhanger - I'll be talking more about this in the week, but that Dalek shadow scene at the end? Tonally perfect! If this is what we can expect from next week's episodes then it'll be a 100% success rate from Moffat and the new team. And with a Gatiss script, I think things will be just fine! Nice, also, to see a blatant segue into the next story, a la Hartnell era tales. More of this please, production team! Thanks.
There was also the reappearance of "that crack". This time, spanning what must be a mile or more, along the shell of Starship UK, that same shaped crack in the Universe. Very interesting and surprisingly, effectively daunting. What the hell has the power to do this? Is Amy involved?
The Beast Below was a nice, touching, thoughtful fairytale in the mould of a Roald Dahl short story which was the perfect come down to last week's blistering "acid trip" of an introduction. I have a feeling some may disagree with this, but this is what Doctor Who should be like more often.
This episode gets a very high 8/10.
Now it's time to get in the mood for this!