Under the Lake
Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Daniel O’Hara
“It’s impossible! It’s evil! I hate it! It’s astonishing! I want to KISS IT TO DEATH.”
Under a lake, in the dripping gloom of an underwater base, stands a gleaming black space ship, recovered from the lake bed. Nothing is inside – but when the base crew start dying, they make a terrible discovery: ghosts are real! And their friends are refusing to stay dead! The Doctor and Clara arrive to find a base under siege from beyond the grave. But how can the dead be walking? What has brought them back? When the Doctor discovers the truth, it is more terrifying than any simple ghost story.
In a underwater mining facility based in Scotland, 2119 called The Drum, the captain, Moran, is adding a log to his journal. Moran says that the team has found a small spacecraft mysteriously located on the bank, and he and the crew will investigate.
A crew member named Tim Lunn interprets the sign language from Cass, which says that they simply found the craft buried in the sands of the lake. Another crew member named Pritchard says that they should talk to whoever owns the spaceship, before Moran tells everybody to stop calling it a spaceship, and that they don’t know what it is.
The crew talk about this before Moran notices something inside the craft, and asks Lunn to hand him a torch. Lunn does so, but notices a ghostly figure in the glass. He reluctantly hands Moran the torch. Moran investigates strange markings on the wall, before Lunn complains about not being able to go inside to see the markings. They bicker about this, before Pritchard is attacked by the ghost, who accidentally starts the engines. Moran pushes Cass out of the way of the engines’ fire, forcing the crew to retreat, leaving Moran behind.
O’Donnell, a crew member, tries to go back for Moran, but is Stopped by the crew. She yells at Pritchard for messing with the controls, before Cass screams as she sees Moran, now a ghost in front of her. The ghostly man appears, and begin to attack the remaining crew members.
The Doctor and Clara arrive at the base days later, which now appears abandoned. They encounter the apparitions, which lead them to the ship. They examine it and discover the same markings. The apparitions then attack and chase them to a Faraday cage, where the rest of the crew have been hiding out since the ghosts cannot pass through its walls. The crew, now led by a deaf woman named Cass, relates what happened before, but have no idea what’s causing any of it. The Doctor identifies the other ghost as being an alien from Tivoli (“The God Complex”), a cowardly species more likely to surrender than attack. The base then shifts back into ‘day’ mode, making it safe to leave the chamber; for some reason, the ghosts can only appear and operate during the ‘night’ mode.
At first dismissive of the idea of ghosts, the Doctor soon warms to the possibility, and even becomes excited by it. Suddenly, the base prematurely switches to ‘night’ mode, the ghosts having taken over the base’s functions so they can operate whenever they wish. They then murder Pritchard, the operation’s corporate representative, who had gone off alone looking for a profit angle. He is transformed into another ghost that attempts to attack the others before another crew member manages to switch the base back to ‘day’ mode. Cass opts to have her crew abandon the base and has a rescue sub called for, only to find that one is already in route. Much to the crew’s annoyance, the Doctor cancels the sub’s arrival, meaning they are now on their own, but the Doctor points out that whatever reason the ghosts had to call a rescue sub couldn’t have been good.
To get answers, the Doctor and the others lure and trap the ghosts inside the Faraday chamber. The ghosts all mouth words which become more distinct each time another is added to their ranks. Cass lip-reads them and relates that they are repeating the same phrases: “the dark, the sword, the forsaken, the temple”. The Doctor determines that they are co-ordinates; the ghosts are, in reality, transmitters
signaling the co-ordinates to an unknown extraterrestrial destination, the signal getting stronger with each new ghost. The co-ordinates ultimately lead to a locked stasis pod located inside a church within the flooded town. The crew retrieve it with a remote sub, but cannot open it. The Doctor then deduces that the symbols on the inside of the ship are the co-ordinates in written form. They also re-wire the synapses of anyone who reads them, so that the ghosts can then kill them and make others like themselves to boost the signal.
The Doctor concludes that he needs to travel back to when the ship originally crashed in the town, before it was flooded, to find out what is in the pod and the true meaning behind the signal. The base then begins flooding due to the ghosts’ tampering, and the group is forced to run to the TARDIS before they are sealed inside. However, on the way, the Doctor is separated from Clara by automated isolation doors. Clara must stay in the base with Cass and Lunn, her translator. The TARDIS can’t be used to rescue them; due to the ghosts, the TARDIS cannot get close enough. While the Doctor goes to the TARDIS with crew members O’Donnell and Bennet, Clara and the others wait for them in a dining hall. The episode ends with them spotting a new ghost through the window: the Doctor.