For me, it’s been a rocky start to the series so far. Nothing so bad I’d stop watching, but that unsettling feeling that this series is not quite what I signed up for.
Thankfully, this episode puts us right back on track. I’m impressed, really, because the sneak peek at the end of the last one wasn’t that inspiring to me.
I can only begin by saying how much I love Suranne Jones. I wasn’t that keen on her Corrie character but people raved about her, and it’s easy to see why. She was great in that thing where David Tennant cried a lot, and she also managed to bring to life the Mona Lisa in an episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures.
I love her and she was brilliant. What a difficult part to play. The actual TARDIS. So much knowledge, all cooped up inside one tiny little body. A genius idea. And the interaction between her/it and the Doctor, just indescribable.
I wanted more, wanted to gobble up all their dialogue, arguments over which way the doors should open, and what her name should be. In the end, the TARDIS was stuck inside a failing squishy human and it couldn’t last forever.
I appear to have skipped over a lot of the story here though. Firstly, the Doctor just suddenly decides he can leave the Universe? Why hasn’t he done that before? It seemed pretty easy to do. Also, if you’re going outside the universe, the writers suddenly have a lot more of time and space to play with, as if they didn’t have enough already.
We had a brief moment of believing there were some Time Lords pottering about on the planet (some kind of sea urchin?), and having seen that girl regenerate, I suppose we were fooled into thinking that would happen. It was all a trick though, to get our Doctor and his TARDIS to the planet so they could suck up the energy. Or something.
That bit didn’t seem so important. There was a random Ood there, that didn’t seem to matter either. Aunt, Uncle, Nephew. Why wasn’t the girl Niece?
The Doctor was keen to get rid of Amy and Rory, sending them back to the TARDIS and locking them in. I know Moffat said that this series had a lot of basis in them being a married couple and the Doctor sort of outstaying his welcome. But surely, if they are in his way a lot, why doesn’t he just leave them somewhere? He has previous on that front.
Locked inside the TARDIS, and subjected to the sea urchin trying to consume them/it, Rory and Amy run around quite a lot, while the urchin messes with their heads. We see time passing, Rory as a skeleton, things that are really quite disturbing to watch. Rory’s yelling as an old man was really dark, a bit much in my opinion. I was also disappointed with how quickly Amy fell for it all, considering she had already warned Rory that they were being played with. She didn’t seem to remember that fact for very long.
It was interesting, but I don’t want to see more of the TARDIS than the control room. I don’t want to see the corridors or the swimming pool or the bedrooms. It’s one of those things that I prefer to be a mystery. It may just be me, and I’ll admit that the bunk bed thing was funny, but I’m so glad they didn’t answer the question of whether the Doctor had a bedroom. It shouldn’t even be asked!
Equally, when we did see the corridors, they looked terrible, like they had been pulled out of storage from the rickety old sets of the original series. Disappointing.
Eventually, after building a fake TARDIS and sending messages to the couple inside the original one (I think I might start all greetings with “hello pretty!”), a bit of jiggery pokery, and everyone is safe back in the control room. It’s time to say goodbye to Idris, but such a beautiful moment when she doesn’t say goodbye. She says hello. Amazing. Worth any of the negative points in this episode.
With regards to the ongoing arc, we didn’t see the lady with the eye patch, and although Rory and Amy mention the Doctor dying business, they still don’t seem particularly keen to do anything about it.
Next week, something to do with scary faces, and the woman from Teachers. I must say, I’m finding the “next week” trailers to be substandard so far. I thought the process was meant to make you want to watch, make you eager for the next seven days to pass quickly. They appear to have too much going on, and not enough intrigue.
Thankfully, I want to watch regardless!