Doctor Who Season 5, Episode 2: "The Beast Below" Review

If there's one thing you can't fault with 'The Beast Below', the second episode of Doctor Who following the series' all-star re-shuffle, it's the sheer breadth of imagination on display. With Smilers, Winders, Liz 10, a terrible secret, plus the entire population of the United Kingdom (sans Scotland) floating through space on the back of a giant starship, there were more brilliant ideas shoved into the episode's scant 42-minute run-time (the first 'normal' length episode since 2008's 'Midnight', if you can believe it) than most other shows can muster in an entire season.

Curiously though, despite an overarching sense of wonder that looks to be Stephen Moffat's stock-in-trade approach to Doctor Who this year, 'The Beast Below' never quite brought its cacophony of ideas together to form a satisfying whole. Things started well with a particularly sinister pre-credit tease featuring the deliciously eerie multi-faced Smilers sending a pre-teen underachiever plunging to his fiery doom, and all the pieces were in place for another creepy Moffat tour-de-force.

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