Months of anticipation meant I had come to expect a lot from this episode and – unlike many in the online community – I’m pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed.
That’s not to say the episode was perfect or that there aren’t individual elements which I’m uncritical of but I found the episode as a whole unashamedly good fun and entertaining – which at the end of the day is the whole point of the show.
David Tennant came across as very confident and displayed the same vibrancy which drew my eye to him in Casanova. However, whilst his portrayal of the Cassandra possessed Doctor was a fun turn and deliciously camp it’s a shame the season opener didn’t allow the audience to see him solely as the Doctor for the whole episode – especially considering how little screen time he got in The Christmas Invasion.
Zoe Wanamaker’s return as Cassandra was welcome but far too short although her ‘full body’ appearance at the end was a nice treat.
Fittingly in an episode written for her the undeniable star of the story was Billie Piper – funny, unquestionably sexy, and totally at ease in the role of Rose her performance confirmed the pivotal role she plays in the ongoing success of the show.
The Face of Boe’s decision not to reveal his secret felt a bit of a cheat but at the same time this gave the feeling of a show further creating its own mythology rather than relying on the classic series alone for a back story.
Visually I thought the episode was stunning. Having rewatched it several times I’ve been unable to find the flaws in the CGI which some fans take such delight in pointing out and the cat makeup really impressed.
Overall an enjoyable start to the series which, whilst not the strongest episode to date, holds out the promise of 12 entertaining weeks to come.