I'm going to say to say what we've all been thinking. I like how Doctor Who is going this series. After a lack-luster premiere, every week has been consistantly brilliant and this week is no different. It's a classic Who set-up. The Tardis crew get trapped somewhere creepy with a group of others who are also trapped and they have to get away before a mysterious menace gets them. There's one of these practically every series, which it all the better that this episode feels wholly new and exciting.
Right so, lets go through what works. Plot. Compelling mystery, the minotaur's motivation makes the story more than just a monster of the week affair, idea of the rooms and the way they're used, very effective, the twists and turns good, and the photos at the start very intreguing. Again this week not everything is revealed until the end and it being hidden makes the story far more engaging and the conclusion wasn't a let down either. The episode is well directed and has a very unnerving atmosphere to it, which draws greatly from the setting in the 80s hotel, which is just far away from the norm to make it worrying but not over the top. The main cast bring their a-games with hilarious and heartbreaking performances throughout and the supporting actors are also impressive especially David Walliams as the hilarious Gibbis and Amara Karan as Rita who made me really care about her, so much I was truly upset when she died.
But I think we all know what brought this episode up from just a great story to one of the best of the season. The last 15 minutes involve the Doctor having to make Amy lose her faith in him, and it's just horrifying to see her finally accept him as just a flawed man when the whole time she's worshipped him as a hero. The disappointment in her eyes is so real, and she finally sees what Rory has seen in the Doctor all along. Then comes the ending. The Doctor and his companions part ways. And the heartbreaking thing is it's not because of them being forced or reaching a point where they have to leave, just the Doctor can't bring himself to put them in danger any more. Amy doesn't want to leave and the Doctor doesn't want to leave her either, but he knows if she stays with him, she'll die one day. The lead actors are brilliant in this scene and you can really see the torture in Matt Smith's eyes. It's done with such subtly as well, in contrast to the overblown exits of Rose, Martha and Donna, and I know Amy and Rory will be back, but if this had been the last time we saw them, I'd be glad because their exit is done with such class that it was hard not to enjoy it, but be devastated at the same time.
So, any flaws? None that I can think of. I'm sure if I really tried I could think of something, but I'd need to try, on a casual viewing this seems like a perfect Doctor Who experiance. It's funny, scary, unnerving and heart breaking and I can't think of what more to ask for. Let's just hope this streak of classic stories continues.