I enjoyed this, certainly, and found myself moved, even, as the hideous elderly man embraced the beautiful young love-of-his-life and the first snow started falling. I've no idea why that should strike me as quite so touching. Perhaps my wife has some notion as to why. Anyway, this Stephen Moffat-scripted episode was an ingenious retooling of Dickens's Christmas Carol, smart, sometimes funny and sometimes touching. Here's the plot-summary from Wikipedia:
Amy and Rory, celebrating their honeymoon, are aboard a space liner with 4000 other passengers, flying out of control into a colonized planet shrouded by a cloud system controlled by a spire on the planet. The Doctor, alerted by Amy's distress call, lands on the planet in the TARDIS and tries to convince the miser Kazran Sardick to turn off the cloud controls, which are biologically locked to Kazran, but is unable to do so. Kazran, like his father, considers the rest of the population of the planet as cattle and has little care for the lives aboard the liner. When the Doctor arrives, Kazran refuses to release a young girl, Abigail, from cryogenic storage to her sister's family. Recognizing that Kazran's father has had a significant effect on Kazran's life, the Doctor devises a scheme based on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol to improve Kazran in the past and present so that he will help turn off the spire and allow the liner to land safely.The notion of Abigail in stasis, with only a few days of life left to her and being taken out for very occasional special moments, is a metaphorically potent one -- although Moffat stole it from K W Jeter's Blade Runner sequel, The Edge of Human (1995) (where it makes more sense: Jeter's Rachel is a replicant with a built-in expiry date: Abigal only has some mysterious 'illness' that will keep her perfectly beautiful and then kill her after a set countdown. What? What-what? Couldn't the Doctor cure her? Anyway). Sometimes the plot creaked: I found it hard to swallow that a giant space liner could plummet through the atmosphere at re-entry speed for an hour -- (the clock chimes 11pm with the spacecraft in mid-plummet, and the Doctor notes 'we've only got an hour left!') -- without hitting the ground: for comparison, the Space Shuttle reentry speed is 25,000 mph: are we to believe this planet has an atmosphere 25,000 miles thick?* Also, I didn't buy the 'I can no-longer operate the Bio-locked controls, even though they were specifically designed to respond to my bio-signature, because the Doctor has turned me from miser to nicer' moment. Does the Bio-lock only work if the operator is in a bad mood? But niggles aside, this was fun.
*This looks like a more footling objection than I intend. The problem was not with the physics of re-entry, but with the fact that the crashing spaceship, introduced only to act as a narrative-tension-mcguffin, was over-prolonged with consequent diminution of its dramatic effectiveness.