In Which: The Doctor attempts to pass himself off as a normal human being, while Amy is stuck in the TARDIS...
What did I think?: Strangely (being as I have an irrational hatred of James Corden) I really enjoyed this episode. To me it felt like it was something different, while still being Doctor Who. I think, on the whole, I enjoyed it more than last weeks episode, but I wouldn't say it was better necessarily.
It's strange that this series has effectively delivered a companion-lite episode, for the first time in three full seasons that one hasn't been needed! (For those of you who don't understand this statement, allow me to explain. Due to the fact that the filming periods for Series' 2, 3 and 4 contained 14 episodes (including the Christmas Special each year) and they were the same amount of time as for 13 episodes, then each year had a "Doctor and Companion-Lite" episode, so that the actors were able to shoot a different episode at the same time. Series 2's was the infamous "Love and Monsters", Series 3 had "Blink" and Series 4 gave us a Doctor-Lite episode in "Turn Left" and a Companion-Lite episode in "Midnight"). However, Amy's sidelining here was good, allowing the Doctor to shine in what almost felt like a buddy-comedy episode, with him and James Cordon's Craig.
Just to be clear - even though I am filled with irrational Corden-hatred, I thought he was quite good in this, and the relationship between Craig and Sophie was well-played, understated yet believable. Plus, the fat man got the girl, which always gets a cheer from me, as I am a fat man!
The more I think back on it, the more I loved this episode. So much stuff was pitch perfect and with this and Vincent and the Doctor, I'm finally starting to feel that the Eleventh Doctor (incidentally, how cool was it that he finally confirmed, on screen and in dialogue that he was the eleventh? That's never happened in NuWho) is settling in and that scripts are tailored to him, the last of the Tennant-isms having finally departed.
And the time machine at the end was brilliant. "Someone's attempt to build a TARDIS" - I know we'll probably never refer to the mysterious person/race's attempt to build it again - but one wonders what civilisation has enough knowledge about TARDISes (Yes I know that plural looks weird, but that's because TARDIS is an acronym and you shouldn't pluralise acronyms. If it was a word would the plural be Tardii? Don't know...) to try and build their own equivalent time machine. Or maybe he just meant it in a general "complicated time/space travel ship" generalisation, rather than a specific TARDIS.
And the ending, with Amy finding the ring? What a perfect moment. (I did worry she'd find it and do the sitcom-plotline of thinking he was going to propose to her - but I'm glad that hasn't happened!)
Is it just me, however, or does it feel a little weird having these two character-based single episodes next to each other? I understand why - they need to distance themselves from the cracks/Rory events of Cold Blood by a couple of episodes before the finale (Where the cracks will re-appear, and I'm thinking maybe Rory will too...) but it seems like they could have swapped one of these with something earlier in the season maybe... but I don't know.
The Good: Performances. The believable romance. CG was nice and minimal. The new Time Machine set was lovely.
The Bad: Cordon did a few times resort to his "I'm a large laddish bloke" acting as a default. Slightly strange scheduling of these two episodes next to each other...
Next Week: The Pandorica Opens... (I don't know what it is, or what happens when it opens, but it sure sounds exciting!)