But, I'm okay with that. Also, was thoroughly pleased with this episode (I have decided to ignore a big chunk of fandom, because I am entirely enjoying this season so far.)
Anyway, on with the spoilers.
[Seared onto my hearts]To get the obvious criticism out of the way: Yes the ending was a bit of a cop-out, and could have been better. I mostly don't care, since that wasn't really what this episode was about at all (namely, Doctor-Companion relationships in general and his with the Ponds in specific), and also because I feel like the Shakri is being set up to return again - we only dealt here with a hologram on the spaceship, so I imagine at some point we'll meet him for real.
The companion stuff was what made this episode - so how fitting really, that this was the episode when we meet Kate (Lethbridge) Stewart, daughter of a past companion
The Ponds were utterly lovely, both in how they were torn between their two lives, and how it was a genuine conflict there because they liked their normal lives. The whole "Ordinary lives suck" thing that popped up a bit with RTDs companions rather soured me on some of them, not to mention got out some nasty parts of fandom. So seeing that averted was nice, plus it made the choice for the Ponds to travel at the end more meaningful. They chose that because it was good, not because the ordinary life was bad. As with the complete non-judgement of Brian staying at home. (Also, good on him for wanting to know what happened to past companion, and good on the Doctor for being straight with him.)
The real heart-breaker was the Doctor's speech to Amy, about how she is seared onto his heart, and how it's about not running away, but running towards things before they flare and fade away. I teared up a bit there. (I think next week will genuinely wreck me, both with the sad and with Moffat deciding to feed off my nightmares.)
One thing that got me about that speech, aside from that line being rather lovely, was how it reminded me of a lot of poetic lines about light - burning out and fading away - which struck me as a lovely metaphor. And then reminded me of the whole flickering light thing that some people have noticed this season and the discussion about if it's a plot point or a red herring (or possibly a metaphor, now). Maybe, maybe not, though it'd be a bit fitting - the Angels like to put light, don't they.
...And now I want this half-season (or maybe even the Pond and Doctor era as a whole) to be vidded to No Light, No Light by Florence + the Machine.
Also, fic that needs to be written: Sarah Jane gets Amy started into journalism; Kate meets up with other UNIT characters (including Martha); Kate and River as companions children; other alive companions dealing with the cubes.
Shout out to Chicken Dance cube, because LOL.
And that would be that.
Also, I found me some icons.