Last night, the penultimate episode of Amy and Rory’s story with the Doctor aired. As this has quite a lot to do with the Ponds’ story arc, I’ll go through some more important plot points and tell you what I thought.
The story starts with Amy saying that this was the year of the slow invasion, and that the Doctor came to stay. I thought that the idea of a year-long invasion was awesome and it was funny to see the Doctor try to cope with everyday life. All in all the idea of this week’s episode was pretty solid.
The episode begins with Rory’s father, Brian, calling upon the Ponds to tell them that black cubes had fallen overnight over the whole world. They all then find the Doctor and he tells them he wants to stay over to investigate the cubes. The house is soon invaded by armed men and a woman from UNIT. This woman is revealed to be Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s daughter. I am a New Who fan, but I have seen a couple of old episodes and I liked this homage to the Brigadier, especially since his actor’s death last year.
Back to the story. UNIT subjects the cubes to rigourous testing, and the Doctor does some testing of his own. After four days of waiting for something to happen, the Doctor proclaims, ‘Patience is for wimps!’ and takes off. So the Ponds’ life continues as normal. Rory gets a full-time nursing job and Amy agrees to be a bridesmaid for a future wedding. By doing these things, they have finally commited themselves to life on Earth.
Mid-year, at the Ponds’ anniversary, the Doctor takes them away for seven weeks for a honeymoon. When they return, no one realises they were gone except for Brian, who express concern for the Ponds’ safety. The Doctor, guilty, decides to stay with them. As the Ponds continue on with their lives, the Doctor manages to entertain himself. Brian diligently keeps a daily log of the cubes’ behaviour.
Finally, on day 361 of the cubes’ arrival, every cube in the world activates in different ways. Brian’s one moves around, Amy’s pricks her and takes her pulse, and Rory’s scans the vicinity. There is a funny moment when the Doctor is vigourously playing Wii and his cube starts shooting laser beams at him. They decide that Rory and Brian should go to the hospital to help victims, and Amy and the Doctor are called upon to go to the Tower of London to meet with UNIT.
Suddenly, all the cubes display the number seven and begin to count down. (There is a humourous moment when the Doctor claims that the number seven is significant because a cube has seven sides – counting the in-side!). At the hospital, Brian is tricked into entering a portal to an alien spaceship, and Rory follows.
When the cubes reach zero, everyone in close proximity of a cube dies of cardiac arrest. The Doctor survives, because he has two hearts, and realises that the cubes were there to scan the limits of human technological power and now the alien power knows all their weaknesses. The Doctor gets to Rory’s hospital and gets defillibrated by Amy. They then find the spaceship, which is revealed to belong to the Shakri, some sort of universe pest-controller.
This is where the brilliant episode goes downhill. The Shakri has a speech about extinguishing the human race before they get into space. He says that he is planning another wave of cubes, then disappears. The Doctor then, with deus ex machina, uses his screwdriver to reverse the cubes’ shock, then escapes the ship before it explodes. Finally, Brian gives Amy and Rory permission to go with the Doctor, realising how wonderful the adventures are.
I thought the episode was amazing (very like the old Tennant earth invasion ones), if it had been longer. The pace of the story was more that of a two-parter, and had they ended with the cardiac arrest, and then had the whole second episode to develop the Shakri’s plans, it would have been much more sinister and scary. The Shakri could have been extremely terrifying, but as we only saw him for two minutes at the end, there just wasn’t time to develop his character.
In conclusion, I would definitely say this was the best episode in the series so far, but I really don’t like this new no-two-parter format. Asylum of the Daleks could have been great if it were a two-parter, and so could this episode. This would have Amy and Rory departing closer to halfway through the series and we would have more character development (like the sort we got in this story) before their farewell.
What did you think of the episode? Do you agree with my opinions? Tell us in the comments!