I suppose it's fitting that the episode that finally makes me a Matt Smith convert is also the funniest of the season so far. "The Lodger" finally makes good use of Smith's gangly, awkward physicality and comic timing. And he acquitted himself quite well on the soccer pitch, too!
What a joy it is to see James Corden--Smithy from Gavin & Stacey--in a Doctor Who episode! As Craig, the Doctor's flatmate, Corden's own inimitable comic timing is in top form. Especially during the headbutt-telepathy scene. It may have been a ridiculous plot device, but it was funny as hell and worked for me. James Corden is always welcome on my TV screen. Next they should bring in Ruth Jones, but keep her as Nessa!
(Also, the house is on Aickman Road. A nod to 20th century supernatural fiction author Robert Aickman? Even if it's not, I'll take it!)
Once again Amy is pretty much relegated to the background, stuck on the TARDIS during the entire episode and only able to speak to the Doctor through his earpiece, but she has some great lines and you can tell she's much more comfortable in the role now than when she started, which in turn makes me a lot more comfortable with her presence. Plus, it looks like the two-part season finale that follows "The Lodger" will give her much more to do. (Can't wait to see what happens with Rory's engagement ring!)
If I have any complaints about "The Lodger" it's only that the "love stops the space ship" climax was a bit eye-rolling, but the comedic tone of the episode pulled me through it nicely. The new Who has always been far more sentimental than the classic series anyway.
The second half of this season has been a definite improvement over the first, in my opinion. If this keeps up, the two-part finale should be crackerjack!