Overall, this was a fun romp of an episode. Perhaps the lightheartedness Moffat claimed to want to bring to his run of Doctor Who (which his episodes under Rusty T. Davies’ leadership lacked). Of course, this was written by Gareth Roberts, who wrote a lot of my favorite New Doctor Who episodes and some great Sarah Jane Adventures ones as well.
Matt Smith is much better at delivering physical comedy than verbal comedy, and this episode nicely played to that strength. I’ve also heard he’s a good footballer, which making the Doctor joining the team also work well. I think it’s great when writers play to the actor’s strengths. I thought the various wacky roommate scenes were just spot-on.
The Doctor would be a bizarre and off-putting roommate, who you’d really like, but he’d just be so weird. The Doctor would totally build machines, wrapped himself up in cords, and ruin your dates. But make up for it by cooking some amazing food. (Though as a vegetarian and a healthy foodie, that omelet made me a little queasy. Again with the food humor this season.)
However, I found the showering/running around in a towel scene a little excessive. I know lots of fangirls and fanboys were squeeing over Matt Smith lacking clothing, so Roberts did well with writing fan-service. It wasn’t horrible as it played into the Doctor as the forgetful professor, just a little long.
I’m also continuing to love the exploration of Doctor as inspiration this season. He inspires Amy with a life-long obsession to travel to the stars, Rory to chase after the girl, Nasreen to become a peacemaker and go to the future, Vincent to go on a painting streak, and in this episode, Sophie to work with animals and Craig to finally admit his feelings. I feel like both Ten and Eleven touched on this, but besides their main companions being inspired (as that’s what happens to companions), I felt they were a little too dark to reach bit characters.
The whole TARDIS-lite on the roof was a little mind-bogglingly. Some science, who needs science in sci-fi, plotting. Old School fans, have we run into other TARDIS’ before that weren’t driven by Time Lords?
My biggest beef with this plot — and a lot of this season — is the constant putting Amy and, in this episode, Sophie in the places of the Damsel in Distress. The Doctor and Craig must save them. Amy’s trapped on the TARDIS; though it seems to me the Doctor should be a little more worried, not just that Amy’s going to fall into some time abyss, but that he’ll never be able to set foot on his beloved ship again. Amy’s cleaver on her own and we’re told this; however, we just don’t see it enough. I rather agree with this post about Season 5’s sexism.
That said, I’m highly looking forward to the return of River Song. The woman who’s the exception to the Damsel in Distress. And maybe we’ll finally figure out just what those silly cracks are all about. A mystery about a big box is always fun.