The task this episode had to fulfil was clearly set out from the start. Rory and Amy have been showing increased dissatisfaction with their roles as companions, and the gap between them and the Doctor has been growing week on week. One or other of them usually makes the point of saying they miss running for their lives, but we don’t quite believe them.
So, this week, we had to be convinced that the pair really do care about being with the Doctor again, otherwise next week’s final episode won’t be as emotional as the Moffat has planned and we would just be left saying, quit if you don’t want to do it anymore! To get right to the heart of what is going on with them, the action returns to Earth with mysterious boxes falling from the sky.
There is a great premise here somewhere – boxes that don’t do anything until the humans get used to them. Unfortunately, the intrigue fizzled out somewhat as the story unfolded. There was a girl at the hospital with flashing blue eyes, that we never did quite find out the purpose of. There was a lift at the hospital that went into another dimension or was a portal to somewhere, and there were two bods extracting patients for no clear reason. Oh, and there was the hologram of a scary chap who didn’t explain anything about what the boxes were for.
They gave everyone heart attacks, and they kidnapped a few humans but they didn’t protect what they were doing. The Doctor just came along and zapped it all back with a wave of the sonic screwdriver. The boxes disappeared, the spaceship exploded and everyone came back to life. Problem solved.
It wouldn’t be so bad that the story was light and unfulfilling if the other half, the Rory and Amy half, made up for it. but it didn’t. The best bit of the entire episode was Brian Pond being so happy to sit and watch the box when the Doctor couldn’t sit still for more than an hour.
Amy was narrating the episode as though it was a memory, something in the past to look back on, and she went on to say that they were looking at ten years with the Doctor. It didn’t feel quite right, this time jump on that side of the TARDIS. The Doctor is allowed to jump around time at will, but I’ve always felt the companion was plodding along at a more sedate pace along with us.
Not only had we taken a big leap forwards in time, but there were months spinning by, as the episode spanned a year. We also went on a brief anniversary interlude with the Doctor, where he planned one night away for the happy couple that turned into seven weeks. It was a nice idea, but all the jumping about made it really hard to follow.
It also made me ponder something. Amy and Rory’s big problem with travelling in the TARDIS, is they are missing out big chunks of their real life. But, of course, it’s a time machine, so why can’t the Doctor bring them back moments after taking them? Well, we’ve seen that this version of the Doctor is always late, and we know that Amy is the girl who waited for him. Again and again. This time, though, when it was convenient, he was able to bring the couple back to the same party they left with the only noticeable change being a different set of clothes.
And that is the crux of what was wrong with this episode. Niggly little things that didn’t quite add up and took you out of the story. At the end, it all came together too quickly and too conveniently to be satisfying, and I felt as though the need to get Amy and Rory back on the team over-rode what could have been a really good story.
Hopefully, it will all be building to something more epic next week, the Weeping Angels normally deliver.