Writer Neil Gaiman’s long delayed The Doctor’s Wife put the series back on track after last week’s mixed bag of history, pirates and killing off Rory, again.
While not connected to the season arc –though we get some references to it – this episode, none the less, is a shining example of when you put a high caliber writer at the helm. The episode is imaginative, engaging and heart breaking.
The Doctor receives a distress cube from a Time Lord (this is a throwback to the last story Patrick Troughton’s second Doctor had, The War Games), and sets the coordinates to a “bubble” universe where the TARDIS lands on a mysterious planet, a junk pile if you will. Almost immediately, the TARDIS shuts down, its matrix ripped out. Trapped, the Doctor Rory and Amy encounter two humans named Auntie and Uncle and an Ood named Nephew. They also encounter a woman named Idris , who fawns all over the Doctor. While Auntie and Uncle lock Idris up, the Doctor discovers where the Time Lord distress signals are coming from when he encounters a cabinet full of hypercubes; House, the supercomputer that they landed on, has been luring Time Lords into the “bubble” universe for eons.
The Doctor realizes that House ripped out the TARDIS matrix so he could take it over and bring himself into the real universe.
To go on would spoil what has to be one the best episodes in last two seasons of the show, a hugely satisfying “fairy tale,” wrapped in a science fiction plot with all the cast –including a brilliant performance from Suranne Jones – at their height. It's also a valentine to long time fans of the show, and will give new viewers a chance to understand the long mythology that sometimes hinder any long running show.
There is also a prophecy at the end: "The only water in the forest is the river."