Well, fellow Whovians, we are now one episode closer to saying good bye to the companions and what a wonderful way to honor Amy and Rory than by having an episode focus on what life is like when the Doctor has to adapt to their lifestyle instead of vice versa.
(Since this is a recap, there are spoilers so be forewarned!)
The episode opens with a voice over of Amy taking about the time of the slow invasion when small black cubes began appearing all around the world… the world of Earth, that is. Of course what’s an invasion without the Doctor? As the Doctor sets up a make shift lab in their kitchen, he finds it surprising that Amy and Rory actually have a life with jobs when he’s not with them. He just thought they just did a lot of kissing when he’s not around.
All of the sudden UNIT charges into the Pond-Williams home catching Rory while he’s changing into his scrubs (and they call Amy “legs”!). The head of Scientific Research comes in and introduces herself as Kate Stewart. She recognizes the Doctor (it was the bow tie that gave him away…that and the fact that she scanned him and saw the two hearts)
She informs the Doctor of the tests that UNIT has done with the cubes and that they still know nothing about them. The Doctor deduces that the cubes want to be observed so observe them they will!
Four days later and nothing happens. The Doctor is at the end of his rope. Four days of no travelling, of time actually moving at its normal pace without him being able to fast forward to see the ending is like fingernails on a chalkboard for the Time Lord. Of course he’s not the only one suffering as Amy is unable to stand his complaining any longer. Like a parent to a child she tells him to go be busy while she and Rory watch the cubes.
The Doctor takes off like a student going to recess early. He paints the fence, plays with a soccer ball, fixes (okay more like tinkers) with their car, vacuums the house, weed whacks the lawn finding anything to pass the time. He returns to the couch… an hour later.
Unable to take the fact that real time passes slowly, he needs to restore his sanity with a quick jaunt in the TARDIS. He invites Amy and Rory to join him but they pass, opting to stay and live their “real life.” A bit taken aback and disappointed, he tells them that he’ll be back while they observe the cubes.
Life continues on… weeks go by with no action from the cubes and the companions realize they have started to commit to living a “normal” life with Rory accepting a full time position at the hospital and Amy committing to be a friend’s bridesmaid.
Meanwhile, Rory’s dad, Brian, has been watching and recording the cubes as the Doctor has requested and e-mails the results to UNIT to keep them in the loop. Rory is mildly impressed but Brian tells him not to mock the log.
Two more months have passed and it’s still nothing from the cubes. They have now infiltrated into everyone’s everyday life and are seen everywhere: as paperweights, in the trash, even as putting areas. They seem to be the next big chachkas/knickknack with everyone having to have one (almost like iPhones…hm….).
At the hospital, Rory is working away while a young child is in the waiting room holding one of the cubes in her hand, her eyes and the cube briefly turn a mysterious glowing blue. In another room, two orderlies check on a patient who is waiting for a prescription. The patient tell them he doesn’t need their help but once he pulls down their face masks, he realizes they are not human and screams.
Six months later (we’re now in June) and still nothing from the cubes. Amy and Rory are having a BBQ anniversary party. She’s on the phone leaving a message for the Doctor a little upset that he’s not there to celebrate with them but in true Doctor form, he comes in with a surprise!
As an anniversary gift, he takes them to the 19th century where they spend their anniversary at the Savoy. And in true Doctor form, there was a Zygon ship under the hotel with half its staff are imposters but the three of them were able to save the day (even it they couldn’t save the Savoy!)
Instead of going home, the Doctor decides to take Amy and Rory to the wedding of King Henry VIII where Amy inadvertently has married the King. Luckily they were able to get back to their anniversary party without anyone realizing they were gone… except for Brian who has noticed that his son and daughter-in-law are wearing different clothes.
He asks the Doctor how long they have gone and the Doctor replied 7 weeks. Brian asks what has happened to the other people that have travelled with the Doctor and he replies that they have either left him, been left behind and in a moment of pure honesty, told him that some died. But the Doctor assures him that that won’t happen to Amy and Rory.
After the party, the Doctor asks Amy if he could stay with them for a while. Continuing on his honesty kick, he tells her that he misses her.
It’s now almost a year since the cubes arrived and they now begin to come alive. Brian’s cube moved, Rory saw one that opened up, Amy had it spike her and reveal her pulse and one shot laser beams at the Doctor. The cubes are causing havoc around the world and Rory gets a call from the hospital that they need his help as people are coming in after being attacked by the cubes. Brian goes with Rory to help and the Doctor gets a message to head to the Tower of London on his psychic paper.
Amy and the Doctor meet Kate at the secret headquarters of UNIT located beneath the Tower. She tells them that the cubes each behave differently with no distinct patterns. Nations around the world are looking to UNIT for an explanation and she is at a loss to what to tell them. The Doctor tells her not to despair as her dad never did.
All of the sudden, the cubes all shut down. The Doctor goes to get some air to figure it out and Amy joins him. While outside, he and Amy have a little chat and the Doctor explains why he continues to come back to them throughout the years – she’s the first face he saw as this incarnation and he keeps coming back before they fade from him.
At that moment, he realizes that the cubes got what they wanted: information about the Earth and its inhabitants. As he tells Kate his theory, the lights all go out and the cubes begin to show a countdown. The Doctor tells Kate to send out a call to have everyone get away from the cubes as quickly as possible.
At the hospital, Rory and the staff are quickly getting rid of the cubes. Rory sends his dad to get some tape for dressings. As he tries to get to the supply cupboard, Brian runs into the same two orderlies who “attended” to the last patient. They advance towards him.
Rory notices his dad has not returned and goes to look for him. He sees the two orderlies pushing his dad away in a gurney and head to the elevator. Rory chases after them but the door close before he gets there. He manages to open the elevator door but no one is there. As he walks in, he notices one of the walls looks odd and when he touches it, it shimmers. He steps through and finds himself on an alien ship.
The cubes continue to countdown so the Doctor decides to confront a cube and sees what happens when the cube reaches 0. At first nothing happens. Then all of the sudden, people around the world begin to have heart attacks. The Doctor then begins to clutch his heart too! The cubes have targeted the nearest human heart by sending out an electrical surge. He manages to locate one of the transmitter locations and Amy sees that it is at the hospital Rory works at.
When they get there, the Doctor manages to shut down the droid is responsible for transmitting the signal but is unable to go on due to his heart failure. Desperate, Amy takes a defibrillator and shocks the Doctor’s heart back to life.
They find the wormhole and go through. They see Rory and Brian unconscious on gurnies and revive them. As Amy, Brian and Rory escape, the Doctor takes a closer look at who has been trying to kill the humans.
The Doctor is shocked to come face to face with a Shakri. He thought they were just myths to keep the children of Gallifrey in line. The Shakri tells the Doctor they exist in all of time, and in none, and that they are serving the Word of the Tali. They are to eradicate the whole of humanity before they colonize space. The Doctor tells the Shakri that humanity will prevail but the Shakri tells the Doctor that a second wave will hit and that he is too late. With that he disappears.
The Doctor quickly works to reverse the cubes and instead of sending an electrical pulse to stop the heart, he sends one that will restart the ones already stopped. Unfortunately the wave will ricochet back to the spaceship so they better run!
The plan worked and people are revived. Kate tells the Doctor he is as remarkable as her dad as described.
After dinner with Amy, Rory and Brian, the Doctor makes his leave and tells his companions he understands why they may not want to travel with him and give up their normal lives. Brian tells the Doctor it’s him they can’t give up and tells his son and daughter-in-law they should go with the Doctor and save every world they can. After all, who else has that chance? The Doctor also invites Brian but he says that he will stay as someone has to water the plants. All he asks is that the Doctor brings them back safe.
And so ends the tale of the slow invasion and the time the Doctor came to stay with the Ponds.
* Loved, loved, loved the Classic Who nod to the Brigadier. It brought a tear to my eye to see that they had his daughter as head of Scientific Research at UNIT and the way they honored the Brigadier’s memory. The references to K-9 and the Zygons were a nice throw in also.
* It was wonderful to see Rory’s father again. He reminded me of a young Wilfred when he told Amy and Rory to go with the Doctor.
* Don’t know if the three of them were really eating fish fingers and custard but it was a nice nostalgic nod to their first episode together.
* Is it just me or did this episode imply that the Doctor is part human as the electrical surge only affected one of his hearts and not both? Especially after saying that the electrical current targeted the nearest human heart?
* Is the introduction of the Tali an indication of what to expect for the 50th anniversary episode? After all, Judgment Day/day of Reckoning would be a great way to have all the past Doctor’s incarnations appear in pseudo flash backs on how he observed the uniqueness of humanity throughout the history of time while they are on trial.
* The scene where the Doctor and Amy are out on a ledge talking was ever more heartbreaking knowing what is to come. It reveals a lot about the Doctor and perhaps a foreshadowing of what is to come?
*It seems we have not been watching the Ponds-Williams adventures in order. In this episode, Amy marries King Henry and the event was alluded to in the last episode. So it makes me wonder where the episode of ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ comes in. Do the events of their farewell episode occur first and what we have been seeing is the Doctor going back and rewriting time for his companions? Would that explain the forlorn looks we’ve been seeing in the last few episodes and the moments of honesty seen in this one?
I’d love to hear what your thoughts are! And if you missed the last episode, you can catch up by reading the recap for ‘A Town Called Mercy.’