I'm.... stunned. Literally stunned by "The Beast Below". Not since "Dalek" I think have we seen such great tension between the Doctor and companion as they stand on two sides of a moral quandry. I thought this would be an entertaining but "New Earth" / "Gridlock" type romp... I was so wrong. I just... can't even. Continuing under the cut for spoileeeeeeers.
This episode was like 25 minutes shorter than "The Eleventh Hour", far less ambitious and bombastic than our other forays into the far future, but in one fell swoop Moffat just makes it all understated and affecting and wonderful. I was thoroughly entertained with the first half. Eleven still showing us more sides - I loved his lying about never interfering, and Amy watching the girl cry and asking how he could not interfere and cut to - Eleven with the girl. LOL. Amy's intrepid and witty. I liked her last week, but I was a little ambivalent, about as invested in her as I was in Donna. As great as she was and as effing hilarious, I never fangirled Donna immensely. I was interested in Eleven and Amy's interaction, but now I can safely say that I truly love this character in and of herself. She has within one episode understood the Doctor in a way that it took Rose, Donna and Martha quite a while to, perhaps not until they neared the end of their time with him did they truly get him. But she's gotten it all in a nutshell, very old, very lonely, very kind, cannot stand to see children cry. It's simple, it's magical and it's the Doctor. I love it. I love Moffat for boiling down five years of hyperbole about Lonely Gods and Oncoming Storms into just an old man with a sweet heart.
All the political intrigue was interesting. Liz Ten being QUEEN EFFING ELIZABETH THE TENTH with a Cockney accent and a street wise vibe, and being stunningly
gorgeous in the guise of Sophie Okonedo - amazing. The star whale, again a lovely idea. Reminded me of something, some other story like that, I just can't quite recall. Eleven and Amy finding themselves in the mouth of the whale - LOL. Eleven telling Amy to find her calm place and go OOMMM before he told her where they were, again hilarious.
But the last couple of minutes knocked it out of the hemisphere. Eleven really getting dark for the first time, snapping at Amy, in quite a sudden and malicious way that I'm not sure we've really seen in New Who before. RTD has always kind of been sure to make the Doctor/companion thing pleasant, sometimes rocky, but never so pointedly "get the fuck off my ship". Even with Martha and taking her home in Lazarus it was more so avoiding the issue, but Eleven is just like, "you're out bitch, get walking". And Amy doesn't take it lying down, she doesn't beg, she doesn't plead, she works. She listens, she understands and she acts. When she made that speech about the old and kindly whale volunteering to save the human race and the flashes of Eleven with little Amy and the other crying girl, I just cried myself. I think "Father's Day" was the last time a DW episode actually elicited bawling tears from me. But I've cried with other Moffat eps like the end of "The Doctor Dances" and the end of "Forest of the Dead" with... meaning
, I think it might be. Moffat truly gets meaning, and puts it across in an unshowy way.
I loved the tension between Eleven and Amy in the last few minutes. I loved that threatening moment where he's like, "don't you EVER decide what I do and do not know". Wow. And when they meet in front of the window, one of the sweetest Doctor/companion moments ever for me, hands down. "Gotcha"... and he repeats it. BEST TARDIS TEAM EVER. Beautiful hug. Beautiful acting from them both. I can't even. This is the best show on TV right now for me. I was awash with wonder and excitement and love for Eleven and Amy. I know everyone keeps throwing about the exaggerated statements too early in the day... but this really does look like it's coming up as the best series of New Who. Not through it's the end of everything ever all over again... but because of the writing of our two main characters, full stop. I LOVE IT.