An okay episode, even if it's just an extended version of Pond Life. And yes, I am aware that this was written and filmed before Pond Life, but the two are basically the same concept. Except they traded the Ood butler with the cubes.
I like the parts of this episode that are a character piece for the Doctor and the Ponds, and for once this season there was a good reason for Amy and Rory to be there. But unfortunately, the episode seemed rather unfocused on its subplots. The cubes which turn out to be connected to mysterious aliens at the hospital just seem to be on the periphery the whole time and then suddenly out of nowhere we're on a starship that happens to belong to a race previously believed to be mythological by the Time Lords. Then we have UNIT mixed in which we learn they're adopting a more scientific approach to things though this isn't really explored much beyond a few lines of dialogue. And we're introduced to a new character who happens to be the Brigadier's daughter, though this is largely ignored.
Really, it felt like there was too much crammed into this episode. Amy and Rory's out of TARDIS life could have been its own episode, and UNIT dealing with the cubes could have been another, and both storied could have been improved as a result.
Aren't they being a bit too complicated about why the Doctor feels so attached to Amy because she was the first one he saw after regenerating? Never mind the Doctor has never been too attached to people just because they were the first he met as a particular incarnation, wouldn't the far simpler explanation that he's her son-in-law work much better?
So, why didn't they use the UNIT theme music from the RTD era in this episode? I know since Moffat took over they haven't really bothered with the music from RTD's run. But the Cybermen have the same theme music under Moffat as they did under RTD, and the UNIT theme was even used on SJA, so why didn't they use it here.
Also on the music front, I noticed in the scenes set in December there was a Christmas song playing that was also heard in The Runaway Bride and Turn Left. Is this an actual song, or just something recorded for specifically for the show?
Just why were there all those lens flares in all the scenes set in the hospital? I don't watch hospital dramas, do a lot of them have lens flares and this show was trying to parody that like they parodied Trek XI's lens flares with the starship bridge in A Christmas Carol?
I was going to comment that it would have made more sense to place A Town Called Mercy after this episode, since that would explain why the Ponds are travelling with the Doctor, and this episode even featured a visit with Henry VIII which was mentioned last week. But I see some are suggesting A Town Called Mercy could have happened during the anniversary celebration the Doctor took the Ponds on, and I agree that is the perfect solution to that continuity hiccup.
So, from Amy's perspective it's been ten years since she first started travelling with the Doctor. Meaning she's now 31 and the year is 2020. No, I'm not trying to make a point, just making the observation.