After last week’s slightly tame resumption of the seventh season, The Doctor returned with a more sci-fi heavy episode, reveling in off-world exploits, a massive amount of special effects, and some rather moving (if saccharine) moments.
First off, the basic plot was a little cloying, and I will admit that I detested the singing and the music used. That said, it did bring about a pretty nifty debate on destiny whether it’s created from traditional myth or self-determination, with The Doctor taking on the big bad of the episode, a parasitic planet that was feasting on the souls of the inhabitants around it.
There were however a lot of nice touches that made this episode sing for me (pun intended). First off, the special effects were great this episode, complete with a massive number of different aliens seen in all of the crowd scenes and a bevy of impressive special effects shots. Additionally, I loved the idea that in this culture which sacrificed people’s memories the economics of the culture were based on the emotional value an object had. Finally, both Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman were fantastic in this episode. And I will admit that I had a fanboy tingle of glee when the Doctor referred to his grandaughter.
Speaking of referring to things in the past, let’s talk about the opening of this episode, where we get a capsule review of the life of the modern day Clara Oswald (not Oswin Oswald, junior entertainment officer of the ship Alaska; nor Clara Oswin Oswald, barmaid and governess in Victorian England). It showed the meeting of David Oswald taking a leaf to the face (the very leaf that was the first page in Clara’s book 101 Places To See) and Ellie Ravenwood, who rescued him from an oncoming car. They fell in love, had a daughter Clara and then Ellie would die on March 5, 2005 (whichWho fans will remember is the same day that Rose Tyler met the Ninth Doctor during the Nestene Invasion of London). All of this we see, because The Doctor is spying on Clara’s past trying to figure her out. And while I loved Clara calling out the Doctor at being at her mother’s funeral, I’m surprised she didn’t recognize him from the other two appearances in her life (when she was a kid, and when she was chatting with him in the prequel to last week’s episode). Where all of this is going, I have no clue, but like the Doctor, I am intrigued to find out.
Next Week: The Doctor and Clara basically get sandwiched into The Hunt For Red October.