Doctor Who: Closing Time
Airdate: September 24th 2011. UK. BBC1
Warning: Timey wimey spoilers.
Ok, so that wasn’t a bad episode then. Was looking forward to it quite a bit more than I enjoyed it, to be fair (yeah, set myself up for a fall there) but I think part of the problem for me was... in an episode which guested James Corden (Craig) and was a sequel to last season’s The Lodger, I was hoping to see at lot more of Daisy Haggard as his partner Sophie than just a couple of bookends to the main storyline this week.
However, it really was a nice piece of writing in spite of this... Craig being left with the baby and the comedy antics of The Doctor playing against the two of them was all very welcome and it was also nice to see Linda Baron returning to Doctor Who for the third time (I think it counts as three, at least in terms of "television" appearances in the show, even though her first appearance opposite William Hartnell was actually just her voice singing a song). I always used to fancy her in Open All Hours when I was a kid... gave me a completely different spin on that show’s title in my adolescent brain. Here, though, she was just as lovely as ever, even when she was literally “left holding the baby” at one point towards the end of the show.
So what we seem to have here is an excuse for a cyberman story and, if truth be told, that seemed to be all it was... an excuse for a cyberman story. For a little while there, from its facial damage and the fact that it had an arm replaced, I thought it was exactly the same cyberman that featured in The Pandorica Opens season from last year... but I’ve had a closer look at the images now and it doesn’t look like it’s the same character... which is a shame. Would have been nice to have a stonehenge connection!
So... nice little episode, big on broad comedy, not so good maybe on the little details? Couldn’t help but notice that the cyber-conversion process, as it took hold of Craig, was a lot less bloody and quick than we’d previously been led to believe by the show's more recent incarnation. Frankly, I really hate it when they change well established details of a substantial historical legacy like this purely in favour of giving the audience a dramatic moment. It totally didn’t work for me and what could have been a great and powerful TV moment, Craig’s death and the orphaning of his son purely because he “knows” The Doctor... was snatched from us by a not terribly well done piece of... oh... “TV magic”?
Also not good that The Silence weren't acknowledged until the end... when River was nabbed by... well if the trailers were anything to go by, either a future or past version of herself... which I sincerely believe is what Steven Moffat probably wants us to think, so I’m almost ruling that one out in my head because, honestly, it’s too obvious isn't it?
And we’re also meant to think it was River Song in that lake (yeah, that was kinda obvious from day 1 on this series) but again, we’ve only caught a glimpse of her in a water tank and so far nobody has mentioned the little girl (or whoever) regenerating.
So will she regenerate into the eyepatch lady or, indeed, regenerate into The Doctor... or both? I have no idea and I’ve stopped caring about the details and specifics of next weeks double revelation... as long as everything makes sense and we reach our final solution largely entertained then I’ll be happy with it.
Couple of really good things happen in this one though. Amy and Rory, for example, make a totally unexpected appearance (Woohoo... I love it when this show can actually surprise me for once) and it was also nice to see where The Doctor got his cowboy hat seen in the opening episode of this series from (I’m not telling you that one, go and watch it to find out). And there was also a quick reminder, towards the end of the episode, about “the question being asked”.
Well then... “the question is asked” is it? What question is that then, do we think? Could it possibly be... “Will You marry Me?” Is all this action and destruction just an elaborate set up to get The Doctor to ask for River Song’s hand in marriage? Perhaps. Like I said before... I’m not going to sweat the details. For alll I know, after all, Matt Smith has not signed on for another season and River Song is the new Doctor. Bit of a stretch I know but... stranger things have happened.
And that’s about all I can say about this weeks episode really... good solid entertainment if, perhaps, lacking in certain areas where logic and “producer’s bravery” could have been paid better heed to. Never mind though... it was still a pretty good episode in terms of being an entertaining time... so looking forward to next week's offering big time. Bet it will be a tad more than just a little fast paced is my guess. They’ve got a lot to cover (and hopefully not make amends for).