(Was that it?)³
I don’t know quite how to react to this episode. The idea of the cube invasion was interesting, and the picture of the Doctor moving in with the Ponds was entertaining. Overall, however, the whole episode fell a bit flat. So many loose ends weren’t wrapped up or explained, such that you felt as if the writer had lost interest halfway through. Once again, a lot of the sparkle was missing from the dialogue, and the relationship between the Doctor and the Ponds felt weird and changeable.
The Doctor seemed somewhat dismissive of the Ponds’ real lives, just as they seemed to have embraced them. Then, suddenly, they were missing life with the Doctor and couldn’t let go of that life despite Amy admitting that they had been thinking of stopping. It all felt a bit awkward and strange, which is a pity, because it’s almost making me want to get to the end of the Pond storyline despite the fact that I think they’re usually a lot of fun.
I thought the introduction of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s daughter as the head of UNIT was a nice touch and I loved the cameos from various famous people, particularly the one by Professor Brian Cox. Plus, I’m loving the themed title, but I definitely think it comes under the heading of damning with faint praise when that’s one of the main good things I have to say about the episode. This isn’t to say that I actively disliked it, and I did enjoy a number of moments in it (such as Rory in his pants), but neither did it leave me feeling that I want to watch it all over again.
Mainly, I felt let down by the ending. The cubes were so mysterious and then they turn out to be human mouse traps, essentially. Fair enough, that’s not a bad premise, and yet so many things were left unexplained: who were the cube-mouth twins and why were they kidnapping people when the cubes could gather all the information they needed? What was the point of the droid girl, and why did no one notice a little girl sitting on her own in a hospital waiting room for nine months? Why did the countdown go from seven? Why were the Shakri so intent on preventing the spread of humanity? Won’t they come to check up on progress when their ships don’t return? Indeed, how did the Doctor disconnect their ships from their earthly entrances when he was going to reverse the effect of the cubes first and that caused the ship to blow up? Overall, the whole plot was depressingly easy to defeat – I almost couldn’t believe it when they didn’t have to do anything else after landing back in the hospital lift.
I almost feel bad for being disappointed with it, because the actors do so well with what they’re given – Matt Smith is an absolute joy to watch in the little moments, like when he greets the return of his left heart or plays Wii tennis. Even so, I felt the story needed more attention to detail and the whole episode needed pepping up. For all that it was about cubes, it felt rather square: flat and lacking depth.