Ha Za! The return of UNIT!
The Earth experiences a year of the slow invasion by opaque cubes.
The episode covers the “what happens to companions” angle and does a fairly good job explaining what the Ponds actually do when the Doctor is not around. The time effects on their jobs and personal lives are spell out well enough. Amy’s modeling career has turned into a travel writer and Rory continues to be a nurse even though he probably should have been fired for using too much time off.
The slow invasion is really the B plot and in doing so doesn’t really come to fruition due to the bad guy pulling the strings is nowhere near as interesting as the A plot. In the end, the Doctor sonics a console and off he and the companions run before something blows up and the world is saved.
The re-introduction of UNIT is nice to see. Having been brought on by Doctor #4, UNIT and the Brig was always nice to see since their feet were firmly on the ground. Since #9 arrived UNIT never really had a face until the Brig’s daughter, played by Vanessa Redgrave’s niece, Jemma Redgrave appears at the Ponds with the faceless SWAT team. She’s in charge of UNIT’s Science Division and hopefully will fair better than her predecessors and Torchwood.
On a whole, the invasion tries to pull off Christmas Invasion without the holiday theme and the blood cursing. The henchmen nurses play evil well but their boss isn’t really anything to write home to. But hologram bosses aren’t much to begin with. That’s really the problem for the last few episodes I think: the villains have really gotten the shaft with the exception of the Daleks and soon to be arriving Weeping Angels.
An entire year is spent in this episode and it didn’t feel like it flitted by since we really have seen much of the Pond’s normal life anyway. With Martha and Donna we had more updates so to speak than we have with the Ponds and the slice of their life brought more universe building to this episode than the iconic cubes and their attempts to electrocute people.
Rating: Three regenerations out of four.
Next Week: The Weeping Angels and River Song returns! And, then no new episodes until Christmas.