“Under the Lake” is the first half of another two-parter. It looks like a combination of a ghost story and accidental alien discovery. A mining crew located under a flooded military facility in Scotland in 2119 finds what seems to be a spaceship. The leader, Moran (Colin McFarlane), is killed after he’s attacked by a strange ghost
The Doctor and Clara arrive about three days later, and also meet the ghosts, who seem to be quite violent. They get away and meet what’s left of the crew, who seem to be familiar with the Doctor’s work for UNIT. From there, the Doctor goes from dour to excited trying to figure out what they’re battling. First, he asks the crew if they took something from the ship, like a suspended animation chamber or a power source. He discounts the idea of ghosts but changes his mind quickly. He wonders what they could learn from the ghosts, like what death is like…and whether it hurts. Clara calms him down with an all-purpose set of flash cards. However, when the ghosts interfere with the facility and the TARDIS, the Doctor decides to investigate. He is worried Clara is too eager to join him.
The ghosts soon kill another crewman, Pritchard (Steven Robertson), but don’t kill Lunn (Zaqi Ismail) for some reason. Cass (Sophie Leigh Stone), who is deaf, suggests they leave the base rather than wind up like Cabin In The Woods (nice reference). A lot of fans were impressed with the show having a deaf person play a prominent role in this episode. That doesn’t happen too often on TV.
Anyway, it looks like the ghosts want a rescue crew to come so they can kill more people and the Doctor tries to capture them to figure out why. Thanks to using a Clara hologram as bait, the ghosts are trapped in the cage. He also figures out they repeat the same words: “dark”, “sword,” “forsaken” and” temple ” Whatever those words mean, they may be connected to a church located in that flooded area. They also find a chamber from the spaceship, which may or may not be the pilot inside.
So the Doctor decides to head to the TARDIS and travel back to the 1980’s before the area was flooded, just as the ghosts are flooding the base. Clara is certain the Doctor will figure it out…until she sees what seems to be his corpse floating in the water.
This episode seems to be nearly all prologue to the second half compared to the first two episodes of this season. We see the Doctor being dour one moment, manic the next. It’s almost a callback to his fourth incarnation. While the situation is very serious, there’s a bit too much comic relief with those flash cards, and the Doctor admitting he’s a Shirley Bassey fan. Yet it’s a bit confusing why the ghosts needs dead people, and if it is to call someone, who it is? Hopefully the second half of the story, “Before the Flood” will lead to a strong finish.
One more thing: the Radio Times says there’s an internet petition to convince the producers to bring back the Sonic Screwdriver. Apparently they’re not accepting him replacing it with sonic sunglasses. While it shows he does like wearable tech, many fans don’t. It would almost be like wearing the TARDIS, which happens at some conventions. Here’s the article.