The episode starts out with a comparison between life with The Doctor (containing some pretty short but funky music) and real life.
"Every time we flew away with The Doctor, we just became a part of his life. But he never stood still long enough to be part of ours."It serves as a great explanation of the episode in case no one has seen the trailer, but besides that, the pre-titles sequence is rather pointless.
Having said that, the episode picks up straight after the titles again, which could be considered a bit of a disappointment again (at least for us males this time), by having Brian return to inform the Ponds of the "invasion of the very small cubes", where we are comforted by The Doctor being on top of a children's playground. Brians return doesn't just seem as trivial as that, where he actually begins of help, if only for a bit of humour early on.
Skipping on a few minutes, We are shortly introduced to the idea of the cubes all being the exact same, something which I find to be astonishingly hard to do. Billions of cubes, all being "not a molecule different" from each other. How impossible is that! After this though, we get the magnificent return of UNIT.
UNIT's return is, for some, long long overdue. Especially because, if for no other reason, we'd like to see how 11 would react to them. And he reacts beautifully. Given the return of UNIT, we also need a leader for them. This takes place in the form of Kate Stewart. Stewart is a character I'm sure we've all been waiting for, especially the classic fans.
One of the main problems with doing a story like this is making the boring bits interesting. We have a few cameos that I rather enjoyed here, such as the return of BBC News (I know, odd but a joyous feeling that), and celebs like the Alan Sugar and Professor Cox. This story does the "filling in" rather well, even if it does feel a little blank or possibly repeated from things such as Pond Life. The Doctor's restlessness is something that is once again featured, more prominently this time showing how much he can do and how bored he can get with normal life in just an hour. And his ability to keep track of the number of "keepy ups" helps with the argument about him not knowing his age.
Of course, The plot does pick up soon after this though. And his "This planet, these people are very precious to me." short speech definitely gives us that "Here we go" feeling, though I'm not sure it's as epic as we first imagined it when we saw the trailer. The way the cubes are handled and acts are brilliant, even adding a little bit of humour.
The actual plot of the episode is very much brilliant. Or would be very much brilliant if there were more things explained. For example, we have a new villain introduced to us, that The Doctor already knows of. I personally like things to be explained to us, but I feel they skimped out on a few things this episode. Fairly similar to the Toglafane.
The build-up to the end is rather magnificent. A lot of mystery and danger. But having said that, I find the ending solution feeling a tad rushed and short, probably another downside to only having 42 minutes rather than a full hour.
Having said that, this episode also has a clear purpose, and that is setting up for the finale of The Ponds, especially from a few magnificent scenes between the duo, trio and the "quadruple-o" that show off the joy they have for each other, despite the difficulties.
Acting wise, the episode is as great as ever, though the enemy of the episode feels very underused. Matt Smith carries his usual insanity, while Amy and Rory are their ever lovable selves. The only real new character we must see is Kate Stewart. Played by Emma Redgrave, she does given the impression of a very likeable leader, though one or two of her lines didn't help her.