Best of 11: Top Five Episodes of the Matt Smith Era of Doctor Who

mattsmithdoctorwho

by Amy Yen

I’m not sure if I am a very common Whovian. My impression is, most people have “their” Doctor & that’s it. And granted, I have only been with the series since New Who launched in 2005. But I remember feeling–even as David Tennant’s farewell tour grew outlandishly long & I was ready to just see the new guy already–that surely, Ten was the Doctor when I feel in love with Doctor Who, so Tennant would be “my” Doctor forever.

But now, as Matt Smith’s tenure draws to an end, I’m really not that sure. I have many, many, many problems with the show during his time on it (mostly dealing with showrunner Steven Moffat & his approach to mythology, character development & writing women—this isn’t the time to go into all that, but do check out this article in The Atlantic that details the problem with Moffat’s plot-over-heart writing style quite well), but Matt Smith was never one of them. In fact, he was what kept it great. I enjoy Smith’s Doctor so much, I’m willing to slog through any tired companion-slash-mystery Moffat surrounds him with in order to watch him. If you were to press me on it today & I had to make a choice, I think I would say Smith was “my” Doctor.

Now this has to do with more than just Smith over Tennant…I was never much of a Rose fan & the “specialness” of Rose was never all that interesting to me, which really colors my enjoyment of Tennant’s era since the shadow of Rose falls over almost his entire run. On the flip side, I found Amy & Rory endlessly interesting companions & a lot of what I appreciate about Eleven’s run deals with the bizarre little family unit they formed with the Doctor & River and all of the various relationships between all of them.

Additionally, while there were just as many frustratingly pointless “fun romp” type episodes as ever (pirates in space? dinosaurs in space?), Eleven’s era did feature some of the most jaw-droppingly wonderful stories in New Who. So, with Matt Smith about to hang up his bow tie, I thought I’d reminisce about my favorites. Caveat: I am going to try to pick stories with my favorite Matt Smith moments, not just overall great episodes. This significantly downgrades certain episodes, like The Girl Who Waited, which is, as I said before, one of my very favorite New Who stories, but which is ultimately more about Amy & Rory than it is about the Doctor. This list is really all about saying goodbye one last time to Eleven, Matt Smith, his bow tie & his fez, before Peter Capaldi makes his presence known.

Honorable Mentions: A Christmas Carol, The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon, The God Complex, The Angels Take Manhattan, The Girl Who Waited

5) The Day of the Doctor (50th Anniversary special)
I thought it was probably fitting that in a special within the Matt Smith era, even one anticipated so much for the return of David Tennant, that Eleven should get perhaps the more clever moments. Not that Ten or even John Hurt’s War Doctor were just on the sidelines–their banter, especially between Ten and Eleven, was the highlight of the episode–but it’s still Matt Smith’s show right now and he makes the most of it. It was also the most personal of stories, one that did a particularly good job of explaining the Doctor’s continuously youthful-trending regenerations, which also serves to highlight one of Matt Smith’s more interesting strengths: the ability to play both so young and so old at the exact same time.

4) The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone (5.4-5)
Eleven’s first meeting with River Song has its problems–Moffat’s most famous monsters, the Weeping Angels, are much less interesting in this incarnation; Moffat also reuses a plot device from his Library 2-parter in having the Angels speak to the Doctor through poor Dead Bob–but Eleven’s early interactions with River are delightful & his moment in the forest with Amy (later revealed to be a future version of the Doctor rewinding & trying to save himself from being erased from time) was devastating on a number of levels. The first episode ends on the Doctor’s famous “One Thing You Don’t Put in a Trap” speech that was featured heavily in the series 5 trailer. And if there’s one thing Matt Smith can do, it’s perform a Moffat speech.

3) The Eleventh Hour (5.1)
The Doctor says he’s not done cooking in The Eleventh Hour, but the truth is Matt Smith is so convincingly The Doctor almost immediately, it’s remarkable. In fact, it’s so much fun watching the Eleventh Doctor find himself (& watching Matt Smith find his Doctor), you almost miss the rather terrible thing that the Doctor does in this episode–that is, completely mess with a little girl’s childhood (it’s not the last time he will do this). Moffat includes a pretty fantastic tribute to the ten Doctors before this one at the climax of the monster-of-the-week portion of this episode, and Matt Smith doesn’t look at all out of place stepping out from behind David Tennant’s rather sizable shadow.

2) The Doctor’s Wife (6.4)
The Doctor goes through such a range of emotions in this episode, from devastating hope that there might be another time lord still alive to righteous anger when he finds out the truth to unbridled joy at realizing what Idris really is. But the best is the moment he realizes he’s about to lose the TARDIS & Amy & Rory along with it. “I…really don’t know what to do,” he says. But then, even in the middle of his panic, he takes a second to bask. “That’s a new feeling.” That moment is so very Doctor Who. The other moment I love is at the end, when Amy & Rory are safely in their new room & the Doctor can dare to say aloud the question he’s dying to ask. “Are you there?” And yes, the TARDIS is always there & the music swells & the Doctor dances around the console & it will always be him & her, long after everyone else is gone.

1) The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang (5.12-13)
The best thing about Matt Smith in this story is that he gets to do it all. He is clearly having a blast with Moffat’s timey-wimey-est plot since Blink. He takes another tiny step forward with River. He gets to make his greatest, most bad-ass Moffat speech ever (“Remember every black day I ever stopped you!”). And he gets the quiet moment, so clever without us even realizing, telling a bedtime story to little Amelia Pond. “You’ll dream about that box. It’ll never leave you. Big and little at the same time. Brand new and ancient. And the bluest. Blue. Ever.” Matt Smith is great through all of it. He’s mesmerizing & he makes you believe. At the end of his first series, he’s The Doctor so completely, it’s hard to remember he was ever anyone else.

Of course, I’m sure in a few years, we’ll be saying the same thing about Peter Capaldi. Matt Smith’s final Doctor Who, The Time of the Doctor, airs Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25 at 9pm ET on BBC America.

Thoughts on Doctor Who Series 6 Finale The Wedding of River Song

by Amy Yen

“I got too big, Dorium. Too noisy. Time to step back into the shadows.”

It’s because of that line I can’t completely dislike “The Wedding of River Song,” the series 6 finale of Doctor Who. It’s the same thing I liked about “A Good Man Goes to War,” although that story was infinitely more satisfying. It’s gotten increasingly uncomfortable, in Steven Moffat’s Who, that the Doctor is so universally known, so feared & more disturbingly, that he doesn’t mind it. Like I’ve said before, it’s fun to watch Matt Smith show off, to yell at the skies, “Remember every black day I ever stopped you!” But that isn’t the Doctor, not really. And so, it’s nice to see him realize that.

It’s also fitting that it’s River calls him out that first time, that she realizes it too. I liked the way the wedding played out, the meta nods to the endless speculation about who River Song was. “The woman who marries him or the woman who kills him.” Although, honestly, it’s still a little off to have the Doctor, so long removed from all romantic entanglements, be so overtly committed. And anyway, I always found the fun in the Doctor & River’s interaction to be more in the mystery & promise than the melodrama (“I can’t let you die without knowing by so many & so much, and none more than me”).

A lot of my dissatisfaction with the episode comes from the solution to the Doctor’s death. There was a lot of speculation that it would turn out to be a flesh Doctor & when the Teselecta reappeared early in this episode, I even momentarily thought this might be what it was, but I think maybe I was expecting, or hoping, for something just a little more clever than that from Moffat. It seemed like the easy way out. Maybe that’s unfair. But I also think if that was the solution all along, they should have planted more clues. When we saw the Teselecta Amy in “Let’s Kill Hitler,” the robot clearly didn’t act like Amy. It acted like a robot. But when we see the Doctor through this episode &, even more significantly, in “The Impossible Astronaut,” he is clearly acting like the Doctor. Even in the tiny nuances & the moments where no one else is looking, it’s clearly the Doctor. I mean, we’re talking a straight-up legit looking beginning of a regeneration. Could the Teselecta really be that good, even with the Doctor inside? In a way, it would actually make more sense if it had been a flesh Doctor, since at least then it’s already been established the flesh is basically just like the real thing.

Finally, we get the Question, the oldest question in the universe, hiding in plain sight. “Doctor Who?” Yeah, I don’t understand. I mean, I get it, it’s obviously the question. What else could it be? But how it is oldest question? Obviously the Doctor is old, but the universe is much older, so how can the oldest question possibly be related only to him? And why will silence fall if it’s answered? I’m guessing the whole “fall of the Eleventh” thing means we won’t get the answer until Matt Smith turns in his bow tie.

More random thoughts on “The Wedding of River Song”:

  • So I guess we do still have to see the Doctor tell River his name, otherwise what did she tell Ten in “Forest of the Dead“? I was trying to think if it would make sense for River to tell him that she knew he didn’t die at Lake Silencio, but it hadn’t happened to the Doctor yet. Plus, we still have to see him give her the screwdriver, so we know this isn’t the last we’ll see of River.
  • Cute callbacks to Rose Tyler & Jack Harkness in this episode, but the loveliest moment is the nod to Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart, as a goodbye to Nicholas Courtney.
  • “I’m his wife.” “And I’m his…mother-in-law.” HA!
  • “And Doctor Song? Imprisoned all her days?” “Her days, yes. Her nights, well. That’s between her & me, eh?” I can’t tell you how much I want to see about 3-6 more episodes about the Doctor coming to whisk River away from the stormcage to go on random adventures together. I wonder how many of these we were cheated out of seeing in the 200 years between “The God Complex” & “Closing Time.”
  • I would totally go to a live chess tournament.
  • “I can remember it. So it happened. So I did it.” On one hand, I’ve never been a big fan of the unwritten timeline, when something is solved by making it so that it never happened. But I like that the show doesn’t usually ignore that the characters are still affected by it, even when it technically didn’t happen. Like Martha & the Year That Never Was, or Rory’s 2000 years as the Lone Centurian. Amy would feel conflicted about Madame Kovarian, even if it was an awesome move. I also like that it calls back to River killing the Dalek in “The Big Bang.” “River Song didn’t get it all from you, sweetie.”
  • So, the Doctor really did send those envelopes just so he wouldn’t die alone? That’s kind of messed up. Or is it just because of the time paradox that exists because the Doctor knows he & the others receive the envelopes so he knows later on that he has to send them?
  • I love the idea of River visiting her parents after her adventures (although, didn’t she go straight back to jail after the Byzantium? not that that’s stopped her before). River says explicitly to Amy this episode that she has had to pretend she didn’t know she was her mother, that she didn’t recognize the spacesuit. But all that still feels like lazy retcon for the lack of continuality. Supposedly Steven Moffat told Alex Kingston who River was long before anyone else. If they knew, I don’t really see what the excuse was not to plant more clues earlier on. Or maybe Moffat should tell more people what the plan is so they don’t have to retroactively explain things away. Just saying.
  • “You took my baby from me & hurt her. And now she’s all grown up & she’s fine. But I’ll never see my baby again.” Well. I guess that answers that question. On one hand, it’s not like I was ever clamoring to have a baby on board the TARDIS. That would have seriously put a clamp on all the life-risking adventures. On the other hand, I remain completely underwhelmed by the lack of exploration they’ve done on how losing their baby affected Amy & Rory emotionally. Besides “Let’s Kill Hitler,” they’ve basically acted like they’re totally cool with the fact that they were robbed out of raising their child (& “raising” Mels doesn’t count, come on). I think it’s one of the big failures of this series.
  • I’ve read several reviews that suggest most people liked the finale more than I did, but I want to point out this one from io9, which does a particularly excellent job of laying out the major flaws in River Song’s story, including many disturbing bits from this episode that I’d somehow forgotten about. (“You embarrass me.” I can’t believe that was a real line of dialogue.) It also has an interesting analysis of how Moffat plays with time & where the whole Question storyline might be going. Highly recommended read.

Thoughts on Doctor Who – A Christmas Carol

by Amy Yen

By definition, a Christmas special, especially for a family show, is going to be centered on moral lessons & warm, fuzzy feelings about generosity & love & family & good will toward men. Rarely will you even have anything as substantial as Community’s excellent “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas.”

Steven Moffat’s first Doctor Who Christmas special, “A Christmas Carol,” is no different, although it does manage to get in some of Moffat’s trademark dark themes (daddy issues & domestic abuse abound!) & timey-wimey goodness to boot. Overall, it was a satisfying episode, to tide us hungry Whovians over until series 6 finally rolls around, & the moral cheesiness & fake CGI shark-powered sleigh rides can be forgiven. After all, it’s Christmas.

Other random thoughts on “A Christmas Carol”:

  • Although the “big idea” behind the episode, the Doctor’s version of the famous Ghost of Christmas Past, Present & Future tale—the Doctor literally inserting himself into Kazran’s timeline & rewriting his past to change who he is—is quite clever, it does seem slightly irresponsible on the Doctor’s part. It seems the further we get from the RTD era, the less we hear about fixed points in time, not messing too much with things that have already happened, & the more we hear about how time can be rewritten. Of course, there are consequences, both the machine no longer responding to Kazran’s touch & the tragic romance of Kazran & Abigail. I like that the Doctor didn’t try to fix Abigail, realizing that this is how it has to be.
  • It happens that I just bought Steven Moffat’s version of Sherlock on DVD for my dad for Christmas. Matt Smith’s monologue, where he explains to Kazran the significance of him not hitting the boy, sounded exactly like one of Sherlock’s explanations when he has to explain the 14 logical steps he’s taken in his head, faster than everyone else in the room can get through one of them, to get to the conclusion he’s just presented.
  • “Fish that can swim in fog. I love new planets.” I love that the Doctor can always take the time to smell the roses & revel in the marvelousness of the universe.
  • Little Kazran Sardick cries for the dying shark that just tried to eat him. This is how you know Kazran is inherently good. The Doctor doesn’t change him that much. It’s also exactly the kind of thing I think will earn you the Doctor’s undying love.
  • Kazran has seemingly known the Doctor his whole life. Just like Amy.
  • “Santa Claus. Or as I’ve always known him, Jeff.” The Doctor really did have some fantastic lines in this episode.
  • “Eyes off the skirt.” Heh! PS: Yay for Arthur Darvill making the credit sequence!
  • I love that the Doctor is still possibly married to Marilyn Monroe.
  • “Like we’re saying, well done, everyone. We’re halfway out of the dark. Back on Earth, we call this Christmas.” Halfway out of the dark… Sometimes I can’t even believe how good Steven Moffat is with words.

And finally, for your viewing pleasure, the series 6 trailer:

Happy Holidays, everyone! (PS: Remember, stetsons are cool.)

Thoughts on Doctor Who Series 5 Finale The Big Bang

by Amy Yen

Spoiler Alert: This review includes spoilers for the US/Canada airing of “The Pandorica Opens” & “The Big Bang,” the 2-part finale of Doctor Who series 5. These episodes will (presumably) air on BBC America on July 10 & July 17.

“Big and little, at the same time. Brand new and ancient. And the Bluest. Blue. Ever.” This Doctor likes to talk, doesn’t he? He likes to works things out, out loud, to himself, to his companions, to us. He likes to muse, he likes to wax nostalgic & he likes to tells bedtime stories to little girls with red hair. He likes the fairy tale — the girl who waited for the raggedy doctor, the boy who waited for the girl, the daft old man who stole a magic box.

It’s poetic that the Doctor chooses to skip the rest of the tour down memory lane (“I hate repeats,” he says) & limits his attempts to save his memory to Amy & Amy alone. It’s like he wants to pretend his past started that night, with that body, when he met little Amelia Pond. It’s a little meta, with Matt Smith finishing off his first series, firmly solidified as The Doctor, with as brilliant a performance as we’ve come to expect of him, & best of all, Steven Moffat topping off what has at times been an unevenly written series with the type of finale that, in the RTD era, we would have expected to get blown out of proportion. But Moffat shows terrific restraint & produces a finale that is large enough in scale to be a real threat (the universe is literally collapsing) but at the same time still feels tight & focused on the characters that matter to us. The Doctor & his companions & really, no one else. There’s no huge fleets of enemies — just a lone Dalek, awesomely dealt with by River Song — & a mess that the Doctor must figure out how to clean up.

Better still, with the exploding TARDIS mystery & the cracks in space & time, Moffat’s major arc this season feels wonderfully personal to both the Doctor & Amy. It’s very neat that the mystery is not over, that there will be some carry-through to series 6. The actual resolution of the problem, the Doctor creating Big Bang 2 to bring back the universe, but being trapped behind the crack & erased by history in the process, and needing Amy to remember him to bring him back, seemed to come about too easily, but I found that I didn’t really care. I didn’t even mind how easily & quickly the Doctor escaped the cliffhanger from the end of “The Pandorica Opens,” when he is trapped by all his enemies in the inescapable box. To be honest, I watch Doctor Who for the Doctor, to see him have adventures & save the world. Nobody wants to see him taken out of the game for too long. I actually thought the time travel aspects of the episode were all really fun & clever. I particularly liked seeing the logistics play out of him going to see Rory to tell him how to get past-him out of the Pandorica (with the cue from Rory involving the ridiculous fez & mop & the Doctor realizing he’s missing his sonic screwdriver now because he gave it to Rory 2000 years ago & thus going back to give the instruction to put it in Amy’s pocket so it’d be there in the future).

I was also hugely relieved that the story resolved with Rory alive & human & back on the TARDIS again, although it conflicts with reports that he wouldn’t be returning with Amy in the next series. Right now I’m choosing to believe the reports were wrong, because Rory is awesome. I loved the idea of the Roman centurion guarding the Pandorica for 2000 years to protect Amy. “Why do you have to be so…human?” the Doctor wonders, because, at that moment, he’s not, & the Doctor loves him for it. Rory is a hero; he is Mickey Smith, much sooner than Mickey Smith became Mickey Smith. In the end, maybe he realizes, he can have the girl and the adventure too. Because in the end, Rory also loves the Doctor.

There’s also River Song in this story, although she turns out to be much less pivotal than originally thought. The most interesting part of her remains what she will be. “You always dance at weddings, don’t you,” she teases. The Doctor remains largely baffled by her, but he’s getting better at hiding it. He hands her back her vortex manipulator with the casualness you’d never see him show with Captain Jack. He trusts her. But even she, in a roundabout way, is warning him that he maybe shouldn’t yet.

Anyway, going back to Amy, because that’s what this entire series was really about. The Doctor asks her if it was worth it. “Shut up, of course it was,” she tells him. He tells her he lied. He didn’t take her along with him because he was lonely (although that can’t be a complete lie). He chose her because her life was all wrong. Her house was too big, there are holes in her story. “Amy Pond. All alone. The girl who didn’t make sense. How could I resist?”

Amy’s story is one of the most interesting companion stories we’ve seen because the Doctor has been entwined in her entire life. He’s been actually responsible for very real emotional issues with her character. “Twelve years & four therapists,” she tells him when he first finds her again. It’s a much more grown-up, serious backstory than we’re used to for a companion. But Amy is tenacious. She doesn’t forget & when she figures it out, she interrupts her own wedding. “I remember you and you are late for my wedding!” she shouts at the Doctor who she’s always waiting for. She is messed up & complex & brilliant. How could the Doctor resist?

Additional notes on “The Pandorica Opens” & “The Big Bang”:

  • I have found Murray Gold’s score inconsistent & at times distracting throughout the series, which is odd because I used to find him very solid in the Tennant years (“Martha’s Theme” remains one of my favorite scored pieces from a TV series). But I thought the music was used very well in “Big Bang” & especially loved the Eleventh Doctor’s Theme at the very end when Amy & Rory rejoined him on the TARDIS & they left for their next adventure.
  • “I found you. I found you with words, just like you knew I would.” Did he, I wonder? It seemed very much like, in Amelia’s bedroom, that the Doctor was resigned to the fact that he couldn’t make Amy remember. But then, she’s right, why tell her the story? And he did show up in his tux.
  • Looking back on it, I wish there were one or two more plants where the Doctor tried to talk to Amy during his rewind. We don’t see her on the TARDIS (amusingly on the way to Space Florida) or dropping off the card during “The Lodger,” so it’s just the scene during “Flesh & Stone” that was our clue.
  • “Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something blue.” I especially loved all the references to the blue blue of the TARDIS. When they re-painted the TARDIS back in “The Eleventh Hour,” I found it to be almost too blue, like it looked like a toy. But it all went with the fairy tale atmosphere of the entire season. “The Bluest. Blue. Ever.” Sometimes I feel like Moffat likes to write exactly the way I like to think.

BBC America Boosts Promotion for New Doctor Who Series with Matt Smith

I was, frankly, shocked, but pleasantly so, to see this billboard advertising the new series of Doctor Who outside my office building on Wilshire in West LA. I haven’t seen any US-side non-TV advertising for Doctor Who before, not even for Tennant’s final specials. To see such prominent outdoor placement—along with online & cable support, such as during on FX’s Damages this week—is nice to see from BBC America. They are obviously pushing hard to make a splash for Matt Smith‘s debut as the Eleventh Doctor & the launch of the Steven Moffat era of the long-running show.

In addition to advertising support, BBC America flew new series stars Matt Smith & Karen Gillan (who plays new companion Amy Pond) to New York to promote the series premiere for the US this week. While Doctor Who has long been a ratings juggernaut in the UK (the series 5 premiere scored 7.66 million for the UK, or almost 37% share…a completely unheard-of percentage for US television), in the US, it remains a cult genre favorite.

I’ve seen the first two episodes for series 5, “The Eleventh Hour” & “The Beast Below,” & thought they were both excellent. Moffat’s Who feels like a new start for the series & both Matt Smith & Karen Gillan enjoy remarkably effortless introductions into their roles. With a Lost-less TV world looming, it’s great to have Doctor Who back in such great form.

Doctor Who series 5 premieres on BBC America this Saturday, April 17 at 9pm ET. Be sure to check out my review for the premiere episode, “The Eleventh Hour” also (spoiler warning remains in effect until the premiere though!).

-Amy Yen

A Mad Man With a Box: The Matt Smith+Steven Moffat Era of Doctor Who Begins

-by Amy Yen

It begins with a blue box, crashing through the night sky over London, past the London Eye, where Rose Tyler had to point out to Nine where the Nestene Consciousness hid, past Big Ben, where Captain Jack Harkness parked his stolen Chula spaceship, landing finally in the garden of little Amelia Pond. Amelia Pond, with her red hair & red jacket, who finds magic in her garden. It’s a fairy tale, you see, & it’s irresistible.

After the never-ending indulgence that was David Tennant’s exit from Doctor Who, “The Eleventh Hour,” the series 5 premiere & first full adventure with Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor & Steven Moffat running the show, was a breath of fresh air. It was funny & it was scary, it was dark & it was touching. It was magical & wonderful in the way that Doctor Who is when it’s at its best.

What was brilliant about Matt Smith’s performance in this story is there are just enough moments where Eleven sounds like Ten, like you can actually hear David Tennant speaking those words, & it reassures you that this is the Doctor we know & love (love the little “What? What?? WHAT?!?” & even the “Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey” callbacks). At the same time, Moffat clearly took great pains to make sure he was different, a new man, & this was infinitely helped by the fact that, unlike “The Christmas Invasion,” the Doctor was up & about through his entire regeneration cycle, with only minimal reminders that he’s “still cooking.”

I loved that Steven Moffat obviously wanted to pay homage to the history of the show with this, his reinvention of it. What a fantastic extended sequence at the end, detailing the Doctor’s long, intimate involvement with Planet Earth, cleverly disguised in a plot device that also conveniently shows what kind of man Eleven is (answer: a confident one, & a righteous one), as well as paying tribute to Doctors One through Ten that came before him.

It can’t be said enough how impressive it is to introduce both a new Doctor & a new companion in the same episode. And yes, I loved Amy Pond. I loved her story, I love that she & the Doctor have this history that goes back almost her whole life (it reminded me a lot of Madame de Pompadour in “The Girl in the Fireplace“). I loved her spirit & her skepticism. I loved that she instantly loved the Doctor. I think from the moment he bent down to meet her eye & told her she  could trust him, she loved him. Then of course, he didn’t come back for 12 years & I imagine she hated him, but it didn’t last. I like the twist with her wedding.

Other notes from “The Eleventh Hour”:

  • With all that’s been made of it, I find Amy Pond’s profession pretty inconsequential. All that you can say about it is it’s not a career, she won’t be missing anything from it by leaving, she is not Doctor Martha Jones. I think it’s interesting that Moffat made her almost purposely unattached, with no family, really, except for Rory. I think Ten’s companions’ families were hit or miss & while it’s interesting to flesh out the companion’s connections to Earth, it’s not, in the end, what the story is supposed to be about.
  • Rory, of course, is the other crucial difference between Amy Pond & Ten’s companions. I love that they made Rory kind of awesome & involved in the action. He was certainly not Mickey Smith as we first met him, a fool who took two series to become a hero. If you’ve heard anything about this series, you know Rory may end up in the TARDIS yet, which is really intriguing to me.
  • Liked the new opening credits, it was same enough…but a little grown up.
  • Eleven’s Rules for Being a Good Companion: “Do everything I tell you, don’t ask stupid questions & don’t wander off.” Yeah, good luck with that.
  • The food craving sequence was funny, but it was also probably my least favorite part of the episode. I thought it went on way too long & more importantly, it was too early in the episode to be wasting time like that.
  • I thought it was very smart to make the monster of the week, Prisoner Zero, genuinely creepy. There’s something so unsettling about the multi-forms the monster took, the man+the dog, the woman+the two little girls, just flat out CREEPY. And little Amelia Pond & the Doctor? Just wrong, that was. The giant eyeball was creepy also, although the creepiest part was when the eyeball was darting in the TV set in the background of the scene. Inexplicable why it’s a human eyeball, but I’ll let that slide.
  • “The final score: no TARDIS, no screwdriver, two minutes to spare…who the man??!” HA!