Rate & Discuss: The Beast Below

April 10th, 2010
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

The Doctor takes Amy to the distant future, where she finds Britain in space. Starship UK houses the future of the British people, as they search the stars for a new home. But as Amy explores, she encounters the terrifying Smilers and learns a deadly truth inside the Voting Booth.

It’s been one week since the Eleventh Doctor foiled Prisoner Zero using a homemade computer virus (as you do!), but 7 days is nothing compared to the long years Amy Pond spent waiting for the return of her beloved blue box. Tonight she finally embarked on her maiden voyage!

And her first trip in the TARDIS took her to Starship UK, a spaceship housing the future of the British people as they search the stars for a new home. Onboard, she learnt a terrifying secret inside the Voting Booth and encountered the deadly Smilers, learning a lot more about her ’imaginary’ friend in the process…

Was it one of Steven Moffat’s finest or would you rather forget it ever happened? Leave your post-Beast Below thoughts and reactions as a comment on this discussion article.

The man above might say hello, if you stop to leave your thoughts below…

Rate this episode
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(45 Votes, Average: 4.20/5)
38 comments on this article
  1. Nathan Lovern
    April 11th, 2010 at 3.30am | #1

    I liked it but thought the Star whale would have been cooler if it was the alien that was on the torchwood episode “Meat”

  2. TC
    April 11th, 2010 at 5.38am | #2

    I thought this was a very good episode. Not every story has to be a constant mad dash from killer monsters, and this one displayed that quite well. That said, it’s still much faster paced than the classic stories, and even after five years I still find it disconcerting to see stories go by so quickly.

    Matt and Karen are definitely a perfect team, they play off each other in just the right way. I enjoyed the scene in the Beast’s mouth. It’s early days, so I don’t think it’s fair to judge Matt at all yet on just a couple of episodes, but I think he’s doing well. He has the eccentricity down just right with his own bits added, like more hand gestures. He’s also less manic that David was, and can be quieter too, which I find is a good contrast.

    The bit about the star whale being exploited by the people reminded me a bit of Planet of the Ood, but I like that this time it was merely out of sad ignorance rather than explicit racism and greed. It was also nice to see Amy find the solution. It’s nice to know she’s observing and learning already. I like a companion who can make clever leaps just like the Doctor.

    The last bit I like about this episode is how Moffat is keeping past continuity in mind. The Doctor talking about humanity abandoning Earth because of solar flares in the 29th century directly links up with the Tom Baker classic “The Ark in Space”. There’s not always a lot of this in Doctor Who after nearly 50 years, so it’s good to see when a story that established some future bit of history is referenced again.

  3. Jane
    April 11th, 2010 at 7.56am | #3

    I was a bit scary, when the Doctor was gonna kill the Star whale, and yes it reminded me “Meat”, but i was happy that Amy saved everyone, she’s great!!!

  4. Jay
    April 11th, 2010 at 9.27am | #4

    I’m pleased others enjoyed this episode. My previous posts were slightly negative. I’m going to watch the BBC3 repeat tonight; I’m sure I’ll change my mind about what felt like a slow episode. Next week’s ‘Victory of the Daleks’ looks great though and it’s written by Mark Gatiss, a superb writer.

  5. Jay
    April 11th, 2010 at 9.50am | #5

    Just a couple more points: is anyone else fond of Matt Smith’s ‘Ha-Ha!’s? I like those knowing laughs. Less keen on the BBC ruining end credits. I think they played the extended Murray Gold theme tune at the end last night but I couldn’t hear it because of the continuity announcer going on about ‘Over the Rainbow’!

  6. Ruby
    April 11th, 2010 at 12.07pm | #6

    I thought the episode was so much better than The Eleventh Hour, I enjoyed it so much more! The storyline wasnt perfect, never really got how/why Amy recorded a message to herself but Matt and Karen made up for it! Amy really shined in this episode and I loved Matt’s performance when he had to choose between the whale and humans! Wonderful, and hopefully next weeks will be just as good!

  7. Tom Beasley
    April 11th, 2010 at 1.32pm | #7

    I have majorly mixed feelings on that episode.

    The whole premise of the Protest/Forget thing is very good and I loved the internal struggle of Liz 10 when she found out what the truth was.

    I also loved Amy being able to work it out in the end. It showed that she is going to be a proactive and worthwhile companion who is not streets behind the Doctor intellectually like Rose was. It seems she’s closer to Donna and will actually challenge the Doctor at times.

    Speaking of challenging the Doctor, I loved his angry moment towards the end. It really tugged at me to see him displaying such emotion and that is definitely something that reflects well on Smithy as an actor. He is shaping up to be very good as the Doctor and, dare I say it, even better than Tennant.

    However, I do think that parts of the plot were a bit flimsy and I also think that they wasted the Smilers. They were an excellent creation and were shaping up to be really creepy, but then they just sort of stopped appearing and their purpose was never properly explained. This was a waste as they did seem like one of those monsters that Moffat writes so well.

    So yes, it was a good episode and definitely shows that Moffat is taking Doctor Who in the right direction. I look forward to seeing how he tackles the Daleks next week.

  8. TWWL
    April 11th, 2010 at 3.06pm | #8

    A good story, that I think will need a second viewing to properly appreciate.

    It wasn’t the smash of episode one, but I think some of that is down to cramming too much into the timeframe; basically this story needed more time to breathe.

    Creepy, full of some pretty bonkers ideas, a good second episode.

  9. Jay
    April 11th, 2010 at 9.48pm | #9

    OK, I eat my words. Have just watched ‘The Beast Below’ again on BBC Three and enjoyed it a great deal more second-time around. Moffat’s script was quite beautiful, actually!

  10. Richard in Florida
    April 16th, 2010 at 2.09pm | #10

    In the Beast Below, when Amy is scanned by the Starship UK’s computer, it states that her name is Amelia Jessica Pond and that she is 1306 years old.
    The show’s notes state that the time of this episode is during the year 3925.
    When Amy and the Doctor leave in the tardis, at the end of the 11th Hour Episode, Amy is 26 (?) years old.

    3925 -1306 = 2619

    2619 – 26 = 2593

    When the Doctor first meets Amelia, she is 12 (correct?), and he tells her he will be back in 5 minutes.
    She tells him when he is handcuffed to the radiator that Amelia has been gone for 6 months, but after he licks the new shed, we learn that it was actually 12 years.
    At the end of the episode, he races off to the moon to break in the tardis, and we find out that more years have passed. So, Amy is actually 26 years old?

    2619 – 26 = 2593.

    Was Amelia Jessica Pond born in 2593?


    So, did the
    told by the ship computer

  11. Gordon
    April 21st, 2010 at 1.10am | #11

    @ Richard – you got the digits mixed up.
    It’s not 3295 — it’s 3925.

    Beast Below:
    1. the solar flares occurred in the 29th century ie circa 2800 AD.
    2. the ship has been away from earth for at least 300 years.

    Eleventh Hour:
    1. Amy is 7 when she first meets the Doctor.
    2. At the end he tells her she’s waited 14 years.

    2010 – 21 = 1989.
    1989 + 1306 = 3295.

    Glad I could help!

  12. Gordon
    April 21st, 2010 at 1.11am | #12

    I meant the other way round.
    Beast Below takes place in 3295.

    Good luck next time.

  13. The9th10th11th12thDoctor
    April 29th, 2010 at 1.45pm | #13

    Interesting that all you guys are sitting down and working out the dates, as thats just what I did too! One thing though: if the Doctor landed in England in 1989, then why do we see the London Eye, which was built for the new Millenium, in the opening sequence? Theres probably some sort of timey-wimey explanition for it which I cant really be bothered to figure out.

  14. TWWL
    April 29th, 2010 at 4.17pm | #14

    Well the Tardis was exploding and leaking, could just be that he was slipping through time as Tardis was malfunctioning.

  15. matthew hall
    April 30th, 2010 at 1.36pm | #15

    i think the beast below was a little bit rubbish. but remember when she pressed the forget button, well that is why she can’t remember the daleks. she can’t remember anything but the doc himself.

    thanks a million.

  16. Tom Versey
    June 5th, 2010 at 7.49pm | #16

    This Episode had some great twists :)

  17. Steve
    June 20th, 2010 at 6.11am | #17

    When I first watched this episode I thought it was alright…but after watching the rest and now coming back to it, its actully pretty ****, Definatly Moffats worst episode

  18. Patrick
    February 15th, 2011 at 11.38am | #18

    When I first watched this episode, I didn’t really enjoy it but after watching the repeats, I quite enjoyed it. Had some good Amy/Doctor moments and Mandy was a good character also. The only thing I was disappointed about was the Smilers/Winders as they weren’t explained enough about what they do and their purpose. But all in all a pretty good episode.

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