Dr Who Review: Closing Time
The now companion-less Doctor decides to visit old roommate Craig (The Lodger) as he gets ready to meet his death. However, strange things are afoot that only the Doctor can investigate.
Best Moment: I loved that the Doctor could speak baby. How cool a name is Stormageddon?! Also loved having James Corden back as Craig. This was a great way to show the Doctor how he has affected his companions lives in a positive and mostly non-alien way.
Verdict: This was an odd episode. It has been one of a string of bottle-episodes this season, and seemed a very odd penultimate episode. Even so, there were some nice touches. With James Corden around, there was plenty of humour, especially with him being a new father, and everyone believing him and the Doctor are a “couple.” It was fun to see the Doctor working in a shop, in the toy department no less, what better place for the Doctor than that! There were also some nice in-jokes, including a reference to Star Trek and a reference to The Three Doctors: “You’ve redecorated. I don’t like it.”
The episode also saw the return of the Cybermen and the Cybermat. I’ve appreciated the fact that Stephen Moffat hasn’t trotted out the Daleks and Cybermen as often as RTD. Having said that, after this episode, I’m sure many would agree that maybe the Cybermen should stay in the BBC vaults for a little longer next time. The Cybermen, once an extremely menacing villain seemed rather ineffectual in this episode. It doesn’t really help that Craig manages to not only stop the Cyber-conversion but infect the other Cybermen, solely by hearing the cry of baby Stormy. It’s an interesting idea, and yet I’m not convinced about how well it worked as a plot device.
Still, it provided a nice arc for the Doctor. The Doctor was instrumental in helping Craig get the life he has now, and I can see why this would be the last stop for him. I loved that he used up his last moments in order to travel back in time and tidy up the house for Craig. It shows that the Doctor is more than just some selfish, crazy man with a box. It was also cool to see Craig giving the Doctor his stetson, which the Doctor of course wears to his death.
But then the episode did a weird and slightly unnecessary jump forward in time to show River Song, re-captured by Madame Kovorian and forced into the spacesuit so she can fulfill her fate of murdering the Doctor. The thing is, I think most of us worked out the part about River Song being the one in the suit, so in itself, it wasn’t especially clever. I imagine things will get much more complicated and timey-wimey in the next episode. But mostly, I really hope they don’t spend so much time cleverly explaining everything to viewers, that they forget the emotional punches, which, so far, this half of the season has been grossly lacking.
Overall, I think Closing Time was an enjoyable episode, even if the Cybermen were dispatched with a little too easily. For those eagerly awaiting next week’s episode, check out this prequel to the season finale.