I was away doing Bank Holiday Things so I didn't get to see it 'til last night. Some random observations:
So so so so much better than Unquiet Dead (which I hated almost but not quite as much as Lawrence Miles did). Though, please, Mark Gatiss, stop recycling your book plots. For they were a bit trite and predictable the first time round. Thank you.
There is obviously a gap-for-books-to-go-in between the end of Age of Steel and this one. And one day when they're allowed to write grown-up books again the Mickey!angst book will be written. Because it cannot just be that we are all still supposed to think "He's a useless idiot! Thank God he's gone!" after all that actually-quite-good character development. I console myself with the thought that Mickey and Jake are having plenty of hot sex over in the alt-verse by now.
The faceless business is clearly more inspired by the Shape from That One Sapphire and Steel That Isn't Ten Times Longer Than It Needs To Be than the Faceless Ones from the Troughton era. Though "Go talk to your daddy" is much less scary advice to the sympathetic minor character at the end of the episode than "Burn every picture of you. Never have another taken."
God, that Sapphire and Steel story was good. It kind of makes this episode look a bit lame by comparison, so it does. Are the Big Finish S&Ses worth bothering with? (Gatiss is an element, isn't he?)
Loved the crazy direction. They should just sack all the other directors and get Euros Lyn the whole time. Maybe some sort of cloning arrangement, so as to avoid burnout.
The effects for Rose's lack-of-face were noticeably better than all the other victims. But still a bit lame.
The stolen faces inside the tellies was a good bit.
"Hun-greee!" Way to waste your guest star guys. That was Maureen Lipman! Much better if we'd had her in her Joyce Grenfell mode: "Magpie, don't do that."
I h8ed on Rose much less this episode, because she was bringing it with the competent-companion "I've been hanging around with this guy long enough to do my own investigation but oh look! I will get in trouble because my script immunity is weaker than his". 'Cos she actually figured out the plot pretty much all by herself, there. Though she overdoes it with the lording it over Connelley (sp?) -- the Doctor is clearly doing it for a reason, she is just pleased with herself. That brought the h8 back on, that bit. Weird, that, 'cos Ace does that sort of thing all the time and it just makes me go all yay. Clearly I am just biased towards my childhood companion. Or maybe Sophie Aldred is a more subtle actress than Billie.
The Connelleys' domestic situation was pastede on yay and completely unsubtle, especially Tommy's Obvious Gayness and that hideously embarassing "you fought fascism, but now you have turned into a typical '50s paterfamilias fascist yourself" speech. It makes me long for Quantum Leap's nuanced take on the Inevitable Historical Victory of Liberalism, 'cos at least that generally spent a whole 45 minutes examining the domestic consequences rather than cramming it in round the edges. At least they undercut it a bit at the very end, but that was only really 'cos of Rose's endless Daddy issues.
Ten is the new Seven in every way, including Doing Shouty Bits That Really Are Not The Best. But I love Seven even in the Ghost Light gurning scene, and I love Ten too. Not so much the quiff, though. He should change that for next week. But yay for the licking.
I was all with the "Yay! Alien Planet! Black Hole!" for next week until the preview, with ... a bunch of could-just-as-well-be-from-the-present-day human scientists arguing. I would hope they are all Eaten First, except that that is the best possible outcome when you run across Cthulhu, isn't it?
In conclusion: cake. And I really must get on with writing this Fitz/Iris plot bunny.