This episode was written by the fantasy author Neil Gaiman and is the fourth in the first half of the season. So, there’s only two more to go before the mid-season interval. As usual, spoilers abound.
Another filler episode, albeit more substantial, if less lovely, than the Siren. It was definitely darker than the previous episode, less swashbuckling and grimmer. I do like darker episodes, but certain parts of the episode irked me.
The Corsair is a cool name for a Time Lord. However, we didn’t get to see him [well, except for a harvested forearm] or any other Time Lord because, once again, it was just a teensy tease with no payoff. Can’t really fault Gaiman for this, as the restoration of the Time Lords would be a huge storyline and not something for a single episode, but it does annoy me that the Time Lords are often alluded to and sometimes half-come back only to disappear once again.
Stop messing about, and bring them back. Given the daleks are properly returned, it should only be a matter of time (ahem). Well, I hope so.
I very much enjoyed the psychopathic House and his mental torture of Amy in the TARDIS, plus it was nice to see everybody’s favourite tentacle-faced telepaths, the Ood, return. They’re almost like the red-uniformed expendable chaps from Star Trek now.
The storyline of a distress call summoning Time Lords to House (essentially a sentient planet beyond the universe) who then ate their TARDISes and used their bodies as spare parts for his minions is pretty cunning. Then the Doctor used the human-TARDIS (the TARDIS’ matrix was stored in a human body so House could occupy the TARDIS itself) and various parts of previously destroyed TARDISes to make a new one. Hmm. Lots of TARDISey references there.
Quite liked the interaction between human-TARDIS and the Doctor, but I think the emotional parts (most obviously when the shell died and the TARDIS matrix returned to the TARDIS and slew House) was unnecessary and overdone. I’m not a fan of melodrama, and although it’s been less pronounced with Moffat at the helm it’s one facet of New Who of which I am not fond.
I think that the next episode is also a stand-alone one, and then we have the first of a two-parter which will be separated by the three month mid-season interval. I’ll write more on that later, but a few potential storylines present themselves:
- Amy’s Schrodinger’s Cat pregnancy comes to fruition
- River Song does her incredibly horrid thing (murdering the Doctor?)
- The Time Lords return (wishful thinking)
Given that the human-TARDIS told the Doctor that “The only water in the forest is the River” it seems likely that the mid-season two-parter will involve River Song heavily.