The other side of the episode is the whole plot about the invading cubes, which is a very cool idea for a Doctor Who story. By keeping us waiting just like the Ponds, the tension was built up very nicely and halfway through I just wanted to know what it was all about. Matt Smith’s comedic talents were once again put to great use especially in the scenes where The Doctor was forced to be patient and wait. Incorporating Smith’s real life soccer talent was a nice touch.
Ultimately though, the climax of the story fell a bit flat. Not only was the entire Shakri story rushed through, but the entire problem was fixed through the flick of the sonic screwdriver. For now it seems like the Shakri story is not over and will come back in some way before the end of the series. Whether it’ll be part of an underlying story arc remains to be seen. Once again this series, we see a spaceship/planet blow up to pieces. Intentional? I can’t see why it would be, but if there’s one thing I learned about Doctor Who, never rule anything out.
You’d think that all this would be enough to fill an episode, but no. There’s yet another side story that plays our rather well. We got to see the return of UNIT, which was pretty cool considering we haven’t seen them since the Eleventh Doctor showed up. The person in charge, Kate Stewart, turned out to be the daughter of The Brigadier. For an episode that already had a number of references to the past, this was an incredibly wonderful little touch. Everything since the Eleventh Doctor has felt mostly contained and so different from what’s come before that there’s almost this invisible line between them. Ironically, the one episode that focused on the relationship between the three core characters was the one that felt like it had crossed that line in many number of ways. There was even a mention of K-9.
I am rather impressed with how cohesive this series feels. It seems they have noticed and improved upon the mistakes they made last series. Never did any of the episodes feel like they were misplaced or out of order. I was especially glad to see them celebrate the Ponds’ wedding anniversary when it turned June. Nice attention to detail. Their visit to Henry VIII seems to support the theory that the Doctor is indeed traveling backwards, seeing as how they mentioned this visit last episode. If they are going that way, they better have it all planned perfectly because I can already think of a couple of discrepancies that would pop up.
Murray Gold was brilliant as always but didn’t have any outstanding moments like in the last three episodes. Hopefully this will be rectified next week.
On a side note, I loved the new title sequence, even if it was just for this episode. The past three episodes they’ve gotten darker, almost signifying the dark turn of the Doctor in each one. But this time though, it’s a whole different color as it becomes more of a purple-ish blue. There’s also more effects with the thunder and I thought it was extremely refreshing and cool to see. Of course, this could also signify the Doctor’s darkness, or lack thereof, in this episode.
Overall, I was extremely pleased with this episode and am of the opinion that this might be the best one yet this series. Chris Chibnall has won me over with his witty dialogue, humorous situations and poignant character moments. I especially got a kick out of watching The Doctor play the Wii. While the ending was disappointing, I do hope the Shakri story is expanded upon at some point. As I predicted (in my head), it seems like whatever the Ponds’ decided in this episode has no bearing on how they leave next week. With the return of the Weeping Angels and the enigmatic River Song, the only thing we can expect is the unpredictable.
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