It’s the last of this particular type of two-parter; the next ones I see will be 45 minutes apiece, starting pretty damn soon. It’s strange to see one deployed so early in a season; they often act as little breathers in amongst the bigger stories, but given that the opening story was so crap, a two-parter here just makes it feel like this season hasn’t got going yet, which is irritating as I know that a damn fine Doctor will be gone before it’s even over.
But this was perfectly fine for what it was, if unspectacular. The location work was absolutely lovely; reminiscent of The Daemons, as was a significant chunk of the plot. The nature of the war games could have done with being explored more; the ringleader, Sir Denis Lill-in-a-wig, was under alien influence, but we didn’t see much of the other villagers’ perspective on the whole thing, perhaps due to the lack of time for more than one dissenting voice to be heard. It was odd that this insanely out of control roleplay was just accepted, with everyone happy to arrest, lock up and/or kill innocent bystanders.
The giant face poking through the wall was incredibly effective, and certainly both original and memorable, which is no mean feat at this stage of JNT’s reign. This was the first serial for ages to not feature a returning villain or two, and it made a nice change. Again, it could have benefited from a bit more time to explore, but it did the job nicely.
Having read that they were considering making Will a companion, I can see why everyone found him so loveable, and the actor is strangely fascinating, but I can also see why they didn’t bother. They’ve already tried and failed to do that sort of thing with Katarina, and the TARDIS is already crowded enough, as evidenced by the fact that Kamelion remains nowhere to be seen. I watched the deleted scene with him afterwards. It was crap.
There’s very little else to say, other than “ooh, a purple border on the text in the closing credits”. Like I say, it was fine, but no more than that. At least it’s halted the run of stories either being amazing or shit.