This item Contains Plot Spoilers
Press reaction to Doctor Who: Before the Flood is in, with the Guardian admiring the timey wimey structure of the story, finding it mind-boggling in its ingenuity, its time-hopping central premise enough to leave you scratching your head for days". They loved the the main protagonist, "I’m not one to scare easily, but found the realisation of the Fisher King difficult to look at, putting this old fanboy in mind of the Destroyer from 1989’s Battlefield (surely a design classic).".
The Telegraph felt the fisher king was underused. "The scares were fewer this week – though there was certainly tension to be found in a deaf woman being followed by a ghost wielding an axe. And the much-hyped Fisher King was sadly little seen....Given that the character’s voice was performed by the talented Peter Serafinowicz (Star Wars’ Darth Maul) it was a shame he didn’t get a bit more dialogue".
The Express got very confused over timey wimey nature of the story. "When it comes to trying to understand time travel and paradoxes on Doctor Who, just don’t. Put any efforts to one side, just go with it and take it at face value. If the 10-year-old sitting in front of you can do it, so can you. Once you manage to bypass the timey wimey chaos ensuing in front of your eyes, it’s quite a pleasurable way to spend a Saturday evening in front of the television."
The Metro found the events on the Drum underwhelming, but loved the realisation of the Ghosts. Without uttering even a word of dialogue, the ghosts are one of the scariest and most effective creations seen in modern Who.
Digital Spy thought the episode scary and smart and praised Paul Kay, who played the Tivolian Prentis, "Kaye is terrific as Prentis - it's just a shame his screen-time is so brief as to relegate the one-time Dennis Pennis to little more than a glorified cameo". Den of Geek saved its main praise for The Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi. "We're four episodes into his second series in the TARDIS, and it just feels like he utterly belongs there. His performance continues to mix grumpiness, friendliness, intelligence and a large dose of alien. Leading the detective work across this particular two parter, he's been on excellent, excellent form".
Radio Times was again not convinced by the episode. "I have to be frank and say that while I find Before the Flood marginally more intriguing than Under the Lake, as a brace of episodes they do little to float my boat, buzz my sonic or activate my time rotor". The reviewer points out his ten year old nephew loved the story. "Perhaps I need to reconnect with my inner ten-year-old to evaluate Doctor Who in 2015"
The Register enjoyed the introduction of the bootstrap paradox. "We've seen this device used a few times in the rebooted version of Doctor Who; such as 2005's Father's Day and Blink, which was first broadcast in 2007. And, of course, loopy paradoxes paradoxically loop their way through the TV drama's 52-year-long history", however TV.Com felt the detailed explanations of the difficulties of time travel were unnecessary and were spoon feeding the audience."I love that feeling of being slightly out of control as my mind tries to bend the story to fit what my brain thinks is logical. But I also really love it when I'm allowed to reach the conclusion on my own without being nudged toward it or, in this case, having it bronzed, mounted in a glass case, and then put under a giant spotlight".
Mashable loved the way the episode opened, with The Doctor talking directly into camera. "Not only did it break the fourth wall, not only did it spin a neat little self-contained tall tale that suggests the Doctor may actually be Beethoven, it also basically gave the plot of the episode away, which unless you're really paying attention, you only realize in retrospect"
For IGN the highlight came at the end of the story. "It thrilled me so. I’m referring to the last 30 seconds or so, where the Doctor breaks down the bootstrap paradox of it all for Clara. Her wow moment of realization as the Doctor says, “When did I first have those ideas, Clara?" followed by “Who composed Beethoven's 5th?" followed by his looking down at the camera, at us, and just ever so slightly shrugging. Man, it gave me goosebumps!"
You can read the Doctor Who News review in our reviews section.