I know most of you haven't seen it yet, but I just watched it and wanted to put some thoughts out before I got to bed. The O-Deck piece about it sums up a lot of my opinions as well.
- I liked the idea of the Doctor just hanging out being a friendly old grandpa in one town for a few hundred years.
- The death of Handles was a really touching moment.
- Amy's cameo (even if it was only in his mind) was really sweet, especially after the parallels between "the girl who waited" and the redheaded boy (Barnable?)
- Moffat tied up a lot of loose ends. Like, a lot of loose ends. Like, basically all the loose ends I could think of.
- Clara got a little more development, sort of. At the very least, she got a family.
- The nudity bits at the beginning were unnecessary and stupid and reminded me of the idiotic ball jokes in "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship". Nope.
- Mother Superior was fine, but I didn't like the Doctor's interactions with her. Unprovoked kissing (again)? "Now that's a real woman"? Getting her to snap out of being a Dalek by insulting her? Get your act together, Moffat.
- There was a lot going on here. I know we had a lot of loose ends to tie up, but they were kind of thrown together. It's like Moffat said "Well, we need to answer these questions. And it should be Christmassy. And villains! Everybody likes villains. How can we put a whole bunch of villains in there?" and all of those things went into his little plot machine and this thing shot out. If you need a regular voice-over to make your plot work, it's not a very good plot. (Seriously, what was the point behind the Weeping Angels showing up, other than because Moff wanted to put them in the trailer?)
- Clara's development basically involved her character description going from "cute and quirky" to "cute, quirky, and totally infatuated with the Doctor". For heaven's sake, her first scene in this episode involved her cooking a turkey and telling the Doctor she needed him to be her boyfriend. That's not what he's there for, Clara.
- The whole ending felt very deus ex machina to me (and, it seems, to a lot of folks on the O-Deck). Of course! We should have known that if only we asked nicely, the Time Lords would go away and save the Doctor in the process. [eye roll]
On the whole, then: an acceptable episode, but certainly not my favorite. Mostly I'm just excited for next season.
Oh, and Merry Christmas to all the GTers who care about such things, and Happy Wednesday to those who don't celebrate/would rather not celebrate!