The Drum: Underwater Mining Facility.
Caithness Scotland. 2119.
Under siege by a trio of ghosts (well, they’re incorporeal beings who disappear whenever the lights come on – what else can you call them?!) the crew of The Drum were quite glad to have the assistance of The Doctor and his assistant, school-teacher Clara Oswald. But the ghosts’ manipulation of the station’s airlocks have resulted in a flood that have separated The Doctor from Clara and split the party as a whole.
In order to figure out just how and why a strange alien ship is seemingly bringing the dead back to life, The Doctor and the two crew members who are with him must travel back in time. The TARDIS will take them to Caithness Scotland in 1980, before the flood that claimed the city that the crew of The Drum were originally investigating. Once there, The Doctor can solve the problem before it started and everyone in the future will be safe.
Or will they? Because a new ghost appears just moments after The Doctor leaves Clara behind in the 22nd century… and it is the ghost of The Doctor!
Paired with last week’s Under The Lake, Before The Flood is a good Doctor Who story that falls just short of greatness. Much as last week’s episode suffered somewhat from the being yet another “base under siege” story in spite of the twists writer Toby Whithouse added to the formula, this episode suffers for containing elements that have been explored and better utilized in earlier Doctor Who episodes. The opening monologue, for instance, where The Doctor explains the bootstrap paradox, is entirely reminiscent of last season’s Listen.
That being said, there are some moments in this episode which are truly great. Jenna Coleman proves better utilized in this episode, as the show explores the idea (first proposed last season) that Clara has become more manipulative and calculating under The Doctor’s tutelage. The design for the monster of the week is one of the greatest in the show’s history. And Peter Capaldi delivers a well-written speech extraordinarily well once The Doctor finally confronts the villain responsible for all of this.