Most disappointingly it starts so well. The opening five minutes showing how Clara's parents met were beautiful. This was followed by Doctor Who's valiant attempt at a Star Wars Cantina scene, which really showed off how good costumes and CGI can be on a (reduced) TV budget. Sadly all the imagination and care that went into the visuals were wasted on a bland, pedestrian episode with a nonsensical dull plot.
As I mentioned before, the episode looked amazing. The costumes were of a high-standard and gave the feel of a vibrant alien world - one of the biggest complaints against Who is that its alien worlds are often rather sparsely populated. Here it felt like they'd actually left planet Earth. The CGI was also very good even if the (extremely) big bad guy looked like the offspring of the Boogie Man from Nightmare Before Christmas and the sun from the Teletubbies planet.
However, as I've said the plot was nonsensical. Nothing that happened made any real sense. The Doctor vanished for most of the episode, there was a whole bunch of pointless scenes where they tried renting Flash Gordon's old bike, despite the fact that (as The Doctor mentioned on several occasions) the TARDIS is a fully function spaceship...
the steam-punk style soldiers...may as well not have been in the episode...hardly enough time to give the kids nightmares
And was the ultimate enemy seriously defeated by the Doctor rambling on how great he was and Clara's magic leaf? Their dialogue could have been the most moving, beautiful speech ever, but sadly Iâll never know - it was utterly drowned out by all the bloody singing!
Letâs hope that Mark Gatiss's episode next week, featuring the long awaited (by me at least) return of the Ice Warriors (my favourite villain ever), helps get things back on track.
On reflection though, the episode lived up to Moffat's description of it as a "blockbuster movie episode" - it looked amazing, had a couple of nice action scenes and a plot so bland and poorly written that it'll be largely forgotten in a year or two...