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Doctor Who - Under the Lake receives mostly praise in the press with many reviewers welcoming the move to a more traditional type of Doctor Who story.
The Independent enjoys the variety that Doctor Who offers, with this weeks episode being very different than last week's Dalek battle. Under the Lake neatly pulls off one of the tried-and-tested tricks of Who’s elastic format by gleefully mashing together genres and expectations. It has rarely been done with such palpable tension and slow-burning dread..
The Telegraph thought the episode enjoyably old-fashioned saying This rollicking, hair-raising romp demonstrated that the sci-fi franchise still has the power to thrill and chill in equal measure.
The Express found the story terrifying If you weren't given the willies by Under the Lake - even just a little bit, then you could well be the bravest member of the audience. Doctor Who really did put the frights on this week with a scary episode that left most shuddering.
The return to roots idea was also noticed by Stuff.co.nz. The story ends with a cliff hanger, a device used in every classic Doctor Who story but seldom in new Who, tying something old to something new. And it's a cliff hanger which is bound to have audiences tuning in to next week's episode, Before The Flood, in droves
Online Den of Geek described the episode as a cracking slice of old-style Doctor Who, praising the Director Daniel O'Hara. He had never directed an episode of Doctor Who before this one, but it can’t just be me hoping he gets many repeat calls. He makes full use of the claustrophobia afforded by the base setting, using time honoured tricks such as relaying scale on computer screens and shooting from different angles to make everything appear far bigger on the inside. It works.
O'Hara also won plaudits from Metro praising both him and the writer Toby Whithouse who produce a taut, claustrophobic atmosphere which ramps up the tension beautifully. The physical sets add to that, as does the CGI used to realise the ghosts.
Radio Times is not convinced saying With a tweak and a fiddle, it can remain fresh, and maybe Under the Lake does appear fresh to younger viewers, but this time, to me, it does not. It feels derivative, even by Doctor Who’s standards. They do however praise the casting of Sophie Stone, the first deaf woman to have studied at Rada.
Digital Spy found the story atmospheric but flawed. It's refreshing to have our heroes simply stumble upon a crisis and resolve to fix it. It's the set-up for a good old-fashioned Doctor Who adventure, and spared another of the Doctor's personal crises., while TV.com thought it was better than the season premiere and enjoyed the premise of the episode. As the Doctor said, death was the one thing that united every creature in the universe and the idea of it no longer being a boundary made him giddier than a school girl. More curious than afraid, he had several questions for the ghosts, like whether or not they missed being alive and what death was like.
TV Fanatic feels frustrated by the two part nature of this season. Yeah, I'm a Netflix guy and rather than build anticipation for the second part, waiting a week (with other shows in-between) simply frustrates me. Can't you already tell the juicy stuff is coming in the second half?
Meanwhile Mashable, while being unsure about some of the dialogue, enjoyed the cue cards. I loved the idea that Clara has trained the Time Lord to carry around index cards with little scripts for situations where his emotional cluelessness gets him into trouble. Longtime fans will be punching the air to see a card marked "I'm sorry, I thought you lived in Aberdeen.". Finally IGN welcomes the direction change after the four part Missy story. Under the Lake feels like a bit of a throttle down for Doctor Who with its fairly ordinary tale of just plain old, oh, you know… ghosts!.
You can read the Doctor Who News review in our reviews section.