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Doctor Who' Season 5, Episode 4 Recap: Forget, protest, or save the whale?


Episode two of Doctor Who's new season found our titular hero getting it wrong, and his new companion Amy Pond daringly saving the day - on her first outer-space adventure, no less! However you feel about that turn of events, you've got to appreciate the daring imagination of writer (and now executive producer) Steven Moffat, who's been responsible for some of the show's very best episodes ('Blink,' 'Silence in the Library,' 'Forest of the Dead').


In 'The Beast Below,' the Doctor and Amy traveled to 29th-century Britain (detached from a decimated Earth and floating through space in search of a new home planet). There, the Doctor discovered 'The impossible truth in a glass of water': The massive, floating country/spaceship had no engine, and therefore no vibrations. The intriguing twist of this episode, though, was that the force of evil didn't turn out to be the 'beast below,' which sustained itself on a diet of 'protesters and citizens of limited value,' but instead, the human beings who had enslaved and tortured said creature into serving as an intergalactic freighter. I loved how every British citizen was forced to face the truth every five years - and to vote whether to 'forget' or 'protest' what was being done to ensure their continued existence. And the addition of Liz Ten (guest star Sophie Okonedo) provided that extra splash of cheekiness ('I'm the bloody queen, mate. Basically, I rule.')/late-episode gravitas (Liz's realization of the horrible conundrum in front of her) that are hallmarks of the best Doctor Who installments.


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