Before the Flood Recap

The Doctor talks about time travel and the Bootstrap paradox, and a man who goes back to meet Beethoven. No one has heard of Beethoven, and the composer doesn’t exist. The time traveler copied all of Beethoven’s music, copied it, and posed as Beethoven to release it. The question is, who originally created the music?

The Doctor, O’Donnell, and Bennett arrive at the village in 1980. O’Donnell explains that she knows about the Doctor because she used to be in military intelligence. The village is made up as a Russian village so that the military can train to fight the Russians. The spaceship is standing nearby and the trio goes inside. A large body is wrapped up inside, and the Doctor says that the spaceship is a hearse. Bennett confirms that the power cell and the suspended animation cell is still there, and there are no markings on the wall.

The alien who will eventually become one of the ghosts, Albar Prentis, comes over and welcomes them. He explains that he’s a funeral director and the corpse is the Fisher King, who invaded Prentis’ planet Trivoli for ten years. He’s come to bury the Fisher King per the customs of the new invaders. The Doctor explains how he sends a special signal in the future, but Prentis has no idea what he’s talking about. The Doctor tells the others that he’s heading back to the future to talk to Clara.

On the sea base, Cass looks at the Doctor’s ghost outside. Lunn asks Clara what she’s said to people who are scared, so he knows what to say to her. Cass lip-reads the Doctor’s ghost and says that he’s saying something different than the others: the names of the other ghosts... and then the names of himself, Prentis, O’Donnell, Clara, and the surviving base crew. The Doctor calls Clara on her cell phone and explains what he’s discovered, and she tells him that his ghost has appeared. He warns that it’s already happened and it’s the future, and they can’t change it. Clara insists that he can’t leave her, and the Doctor talks to her privately. He tells her that they all have to die eventually, but Clara refuses accept it. After a moment, the Doctor says that he’ll do what he can, but they’ve met Prentis and he’s still alive.

Prentis boards the ship and discovers that the Fisher King’s body is gone. There’s writing on the wall and it imprints itself on his brain. The alien then turns as something looms over him, growling.

Clara tells the Doctor what his ghost looks like, and realizes that the right shoulder of his coat is torn. She tells him what the ghost is saying, just as the ghost passes through the portal and then goes to the control panel. It turns off the Faraday cage containing the other three ghosts, and the Doctor says that he needs to talk to his ghost. Clara sets up the phone and the Doctor asks why it’s there. It says different words: “The chamber will open tonight.” The Doctor tells Clara and the others to enter the Faraday cage. Since the signal won’t reach her cell phone, he tells Clara t to set it outside the porthole and come out when he rings that it’s safe. The Doctor promises that he’ll come back for Clara, and she hangs up.

The Doctor tells O’Donnell to stay in the TARDIS, but she refuses to stay behind and goes out to the village with them. They find Prentis’ corpse in the spaceship and the writing on the wall, and the Doctor figures that the Fisher King did it himself. They see the drag marks showing that the Fisher King dragged the suspended-animation chamber to the church. Something roars in the distance, and the Doctor says that they have to get back to the TARDIS. They split up and O’Donnell goes one direction while the Doctor and Bennett go the other

The Fisher King goes past the room where the Doctor and Bennett are hiding... and finds O’Donnell. Bennett runs to find her and discovers her dying on the floor. She tells him not to die and then dies herself. The Doctor arrives and Bennett asks who is next on the list to die. He realizes that the list the Doctor’s ghost was reciting was the order in which people were dying. Bennett points out that the Doctor didn’t try to save O’Donnell very hard, as if he wanted to test his theory. He confirms that Clara is next on the list and figures that the Doctor will try to save her to see if he can save himself. The Doctor says that he’s a dead man walking and he’s changing history to save Clara.

Clara, Lunn, and Cass are waiting in the Faraday cage when O’Donnell’s ghost appears in the hallway. She sees Clara’s phone nearby and walks away with it.

Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor takes the TARDIS back to the base and says that he’s going to ignore the rulebook and save Clara. The Cloister Bell rings and the TARDIS refuses to dematerialize. The two men go outside and the Doctor discovers that they’ve moved half an hour backward. The Doctor, O’Donnell, and Bennett are emerging from the other TARDIS, and the Doctor warns that the TARDIS won’t let him leave. They spot Prentis and the Doctor says that they can’t save the alien because they can’t change time. The Doctor and Bennett watch as Prentis talks to their past selves. Bennett tries to go over and warn O’Donnell, and the Doctor tackles him before she can see them.

In the Faraday cage, Clara works out that Lunn was surprised when they found out what the ghosts were saying. He explains that Cass never let him go into the spaceship and he never saw the writing. The ghosts didn’t hurt him earlier because the message isn’t in him... and he can get the phone back. Lunn reluctantly agrees over Cass’ objections, but Cass wonders if Clara has changed by traveling with the Doctor... and she’s willing to put other people’s lives at risk. Clara says that she’s learned to do what has to be done, opens the door, and lets Lunn out.

After their past-selves leave, the Doctor realizes that he’s torn his shoulder. He says that he has to face the Fisher King now and orders Bennett to the TARDIS.

Clara and Cass watch Lunn go to find the ghosts.

The Doctor braces himself and enters the church, and finds the suspended-animation cell. The Fisher King is in the shadows and asks what the Doctor has seen, and the Doctor says that he has created ghosts. When he learns that, the Fisher King is satisfied that his ghosts will create enough ghosts to create an armada, which will come and awake him from h is sleep.

On the base, the cell starts to open.

Lunn finds the five ghosts in the hallway and they advance on him. They’re unable to do anything to him, and after a minute they step back.

The Fisher King approaches and tells the Doctor that when his people arrive, they will enslave humanity. When the Doctor says that he protects Earth, the Fisher King dismisses him as one man, lost in time.

Lunn enters the mess room and spots the cell phone. The door locks behind him and a ghost walks by.

The Fisher King says that the humans will die, the message will be sent, and his people will come. It steps out of the shadows to confront the Doctor.

Cass starts to open the cage door, but Clara stops her and insists that Lunn will be fine. When she realizes that Cass won’t relent, Clara goes with her.

The Fisher King says that the Doctor is willing to die rather than change the future.

Cass wanders off on her own, unaware that Moran is following her with an axe.

The Doctor tells the Fisher King that he is a coward and will do anything to survive. He figures that a ghastly future is better than any future at all, and tells the Future King that he bent the rules of life and death... so he is putting things straight.

Cass kneels and feels the vibrations of Moran dragging the axe on the floor. She ducks out of the way just in time and runs, finding Clara.

The Fisher King aims his gun at the Doctor and says that there’s nothing he can do. The Doctor tells the alien that he already has: he’s gotten rid of the words. The future he saw has changed and no one will die, and no one is coming to save the Fisher King. The Fisher King shoves him aside and walks away.

Cass and Clara find Lunn and open the door, and he warns that it’s a trap. The ghosts emerge from the walls and Clara leads the others back to the Faraday cage.

The Fisher King goes to Prentis’ spaceship and confirms that the writing is on the wall... and the power cell is gone. As he leaves the ship, the power cell blows up next to the dam. The dam cracks and the water from the lake pours down, flooding the village.

In the TARDIS, a hologram of the Doctor appears to tell Bennett to prepare for departure.

The ghosts cut Clara and the others off and they run into the hangar. The cell continues opening.

The Fisher King screams in frustration as the waters sweep over him.

The cell opens and... the Doctor emerges. He leads the others to the control room and plays the call of the Fisher King over the loudspeakers. The ghosts follow the sound into the Faraday cage and the Doctor remote-seals the door. The Doctor explains that his “ghost” was a hologram loaded with prerecorded phrases and a bit of artificial intelligence. He erases the memory of the writing using the sonic sunglasses and they find Bennett looking into the ghost O’Donnell. The Doctor says that UNIT will take the cage into space and let them dissipate, and destroy the spaceship so that no one else is infected. Bennett wonders what he’ll do now, and Clara says that she knows from personal experience that he has to go on with his life. Bennett tells Lunn to sign to Cass that Lunn is in love with her and always has been, and there’s no point in wasting time... and he wishes someone had given him that advice. Lunn does so and Cass kisses Lunn.

In the TARDIS, Clara points out that the Doctor did change the future. He says that the alien was dead for 150 years and when he went back, he became a part of events. Hearing Clara’s name inspired him to confront the Fisher King, and the message about the chamber opening was for him, not her. Everything else was him reverse-engineering what he had already seen. The Doctor wonders when he first had the idea, and asks who composed Beethoven’s 5th.

Written by Gadfly on Oct 11, 2015