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“Doctor Who”: “Closing Time” Review (SPOILERS)


There’s a lot to like about “Closing Time,” the twelfth episode of Series 6 of Doctor Who. There’s the return of Craig Owens (played by James Corden), a favorite from last series’ “The Lodger,” and his humorous interactions with Matt Smith’s Doctor. It also saw the return of the Cybermen, who, while not used particularly well in the new series, remain my favorite recurring villains. And it began tying things back into “The Impossible Astronaut,” and answered a number of questions regarding the Doctor’s and River’s timelines.

So many positive elements in the episode, and yet, as a whole, I found the episode strangely lacking. I can’t quite explain why.  It was enjoyable and entertaining, but after two such interesting and profound episodes as we’ve had the last couple of weeks, having an episode like this left me oddly unfulfilled. It also had an incredibly hokey and sentimental ending that is sadly becoming the standard. Series 6 is furthering the Father-Son Agenda and I don’t understand why.

The Doctor, knowing he’s reaching the end of his time, is going around visiting old friends for the last time. This sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it? He ends up at the flat of Craig Owens, who is now happily living with Sophie and has a baby son named Alfie. Craig is trying to prove to everybody that he can cope with taking care of his son on his own for a weekend, but is actually pretty rubbish at it.  Luckily the Doctor is there. “You’ve redecorated… I don’t like it.” Funny line, even funnier if you know it’s a reference to the classic serials “The Three Doctors” and “The Five Doctors,” both said by the Second Doctor.  In the former, he says it to the Third Doctor regarding the TARDIS, and in the latter he says it about UNIT headquarters. The writer of “Closing Time,” Gareth Roberts, is a massive Who fan and, like Mark Gatiss before him, puts little references to the classic series for fans to squeal over. I didn’t squeal, but I may have made a slightly audible “ooh” sound. My name is Kyle; I’m a big huge nerd.

While trying not to notice things, the Doctor notices strange power surges, and eventually tracks the source of them to a department store, where he promptly gets a job in order to investigate it. Turns out that the Cybermen are behind the power surges and are teleporting people to their ship to assimilate them. You know, standard Cybermen plot.  This time, however, they’re aided by Cybermats, small Cyber critters who do the bidding of their lumbering masters.  The Cybermats first appeared in the Second Doctor story “The Tomb of the Cybermen” all the way back in 1967, and were used up until “Revenge of the Cybermen” in 1975. My name is Kyle; I’m a big huge nerd.

Using this basic framework, Roberts creates a witty narrative where the Doctor again helps Craig with a relatively small personal problem, his insecurity as a father, and Craig helps him realize that he needs people and does, in fact, help people despite seemingly putting them in danger at the same time.  Haven’t we already done that? While overall I enjoy the direction the Moffat/Smith era is going, I’m tired of it always falling back to the Doctor not being torn about putting people in danger.  And facing his own mortality also has started to wear thin, though I do appreciate that the Eleventh Doctor is being much more graceful about his end than his predecessor was (even though we obviously know he’s not regenerating any time soon).  I think Smith strikes an excellent balance between being silly and morose, but just as a whole, I’d be happy if we moved into a period where the Doctor is just an adventurer again.

Smith and Corden play off each other quite well, and while I do hope Craig doesn’t return all the time, it is nice to see that character again.  The running joke about the two characters being gay was also pretty funny. Really, any time the Eleventh Doctor interacts with humans, it’s entertaining.  I also like that the Doctor is, apparently, the most likeable person ever, as any time he meets people, they immediately find him endearing.  And he speaks baby. Pretty funny, but I feel like that joke got a bit old toward the end of the episode.  The woman who played Val, the older lady at the department store, is Lynda Baron, who sang the Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon for the First Doctor serial “The Gunfighters” and appeared as space pirate Capt. Wrack in the Fifth Doctor serial “Enlightenment.” My name is Kyle, etc. I also liked the brief appearance by Rory and Amy and the realization that Amy is now a model for “Petrichor” perfume, which is a reference to “The Doctor’s Wife” when petrichor, or the smell of rain, was one of the keys to opening the lock. Kyle = nerd.

Really, everything in the episode was going along fine until the end of the Cyberman plot. Craig comes to the Doctor’s rescue in the Cybership, buried beneath the mall.  They decide to make him the Cyber Controller, given his obvious aptitude, and begin the process of converting him into a Cyberman. Then, he hears Alfie crying from inside the mall, and his love for his son brings him back from the brink of Cyberdom and his influx of emotion causes the other Cybermen’s heads to explode and the ship to blow up as well.  Hokum City.  First of all, that’s almost exactly the same ending as “The Lodger,” where Craig’s emotions save the day. Second, are we to believe that every other person who became a Cybermen could have staved off conversion by just hearing the sound of their child crying? Third, why would the Cybermen’s heads all explode just because he had emotions? Cybermen aren’t hive-minds. Even though they say things like “assimilate,” they aren’t the Borg. Fourth, why would the Cybermen exploding cause the entire Cybership to explode also? Fifth, the explosion of a ship buried deep beneath the Earth would surely affect the mall sitting on top of it. Even if you have the Doctor say at the end “Oh, the bedrock is fine,” that doesn’t mean it should be.

Really, it was just dumb. There’s a strange number of father-son relationships this series. First there was Henry and Toby Avery in “The Curse of the Black Spot,” then there was Jimmy and his son in the hologram in “The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People,” then Alex and George in “Night Terrors,” and now Craig and Alfie in “Closing Time.”  In all cases, they focus on the fathers being distant or somehow removed from their sons, either physically or emotionally, and it is the reconciliation that is the denouement of the stories.  I do not understand why so much emphasis is being put on this theme, especially considering one would assume they’d try to emphasize mother-daughter relationships to tie into the altogether unexplored Amy and Melody arc.  It doth make no sense.  I can’t imagine there’s to be some big reveal in the next episode that will make sense of all of it.

Speaking of the very end, which I wasn’t, things now start to make sense.  The Doctor gets the blue paper and envelopes as well as the Stetson from Craig and we now know that “Closing Time” takes place the day before the very beginning of “The Impossible Astronaut.”  This means that this Doctor, the Doctor in the story, is 200 years older than the Doctor from the last few weeks. Perhaps. We don’t actually know when the Doctor’s lost years began. It may well have occurred some other time.  We also see Madame Kovarian and the Silents recapture River Song, now a doctor herself, and put her into the astronaut suit and put her in Lake Silencio.  I really was hoping it would be more complicated than simply “It was River,” but it seems I was mistaken.  It’s also fairly clear now that the eye patches are used to allow people to remember the Silents all the time.  So if we solve the River Song conundrum and find out how and why the Doctor allowed himself to die, then we still need to figure out why the TARDIS exploded in “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang.”  Come on, Moffat; give us an answer!

All in all, “Closing Time” had a lot going for it, but was unfortunately less than the sum of its parts. Lots to like, but I wasn’t particularly moved or thrilled by it.

Next week’s episode, the series finale, “The Wedding of River Song,” looks crazy-go-nuts.  Please enjoy the prequel and the trailer for it.

What the hell is Churchill doing there!?!?!? Tick tock goes the clock, bitches!

-Kanderson is named Kyle and is a big huge nerd who loves to be followed on TWITTER

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50 comments

  • I agree Kyle. There were some good ol’ Doctor-y moments, but it was not as exciting as I would have hoped for the Second to last episode of this series.

    My eyes did widen when I saw the Blue envelopes and the cowboy hat. I still have faith that Next week’s episode will kick ass.

  • These Cybermen were weak and were working with spare earth parts, so they wouldn’t be up to strength. At least that’s what I tell myself. Also, I prefer episodes like this, without the whole story arc (which I’m not a big fan of) of River killing The Doctor. I just like to see The Doctor go after aliens and investigate things. There have been far too few episodes like this. Matt Smith is brilliant in these episodes, but we just don’t get to see that often as his companions seem to be running the show most of the time.

  • A couple of things Kyle. Well, 1st off Great review as always.
    “Petrichor” is actually “The smell of DUST after rain” Hi, my name is Greg and I’m a bigger geek.
    The Father son thing seems to just be something that Moffat seems to be working out through his writing. As a Father myself, I get his fascination. I know for me it’s a constant theme in my relationship with my Father, and my son and his Father with his Father and so on, etc, etc.
    As to how it will actually relate to the show or if it’s proper to work out possible personal issues in your writing of a hit TV series I’m sure we and others could debate about that forever. I will say that so far and mostly I don’t see The Moffat do much for no reason whatsoever.
    I think you may have been a bit harsh on it, but I Love a lot of stuff people seem to have a problems with, so that’s no news to me.
    The thing I had a real problem with was the Stetson thing actually, as 1st viewed in the Premier this season, The Stetson shooting is a cute, funny quirky call back to the “Fez” shooting. And I Loved it. NOW, However it’s her arbitrarily shooting a hat off his head that was a present for one of his best mates just before he goes off to die by the very person that is going to kill him in like an hour.(Which maybe she knows at that point, maybe not, the “Of course line puts some doubt there) And to quote the Doctor here “Apart from anything, that’s just rude.” and Joke Ruined.

  • While your assertions may have some validity Kyle, I have to disagree.

    I felt “Closing Time” gave us a much needed respite from the past few episode’s darkness and drama and what must inevitably come in the season finale next week.

    I enjoy the relationship Craig and The Doctor have. Its light and fun. Sometime we need that. While the Cybermen weren’t as menacing as we’ve seen them in the past, I think they weren’t meant to be. And as for Craig’s defeat of the transformation because he heard the cry of his son, so what? I don’t think it was meant to answer any questions of the past, but to give us some small clues into the future.

    We all know that this doctor (Matt Smith) will be back next year but I think the most interesting thing will be how he survives or maybe what he becomes.

    Either way, I think this season has been great and I loved this episode. And more importantly, I can’t wait until next week.

  • I kinda liked that this was a lighthearted episode. When’s the last time we saw one of those? I thought it was a really nice breather before the big finale. Plus I’ve always loved the Doctor/Craig dynamic. They make one of the funniest double acts of any Doctor and companion duo.

  • I kinda liked that this was a lighthearted episode. When’s the last time we saw one of those? I thought it was a really nice breather before the big finale. Plus I’ve always loved the Doctor/Craig dynamic. They make one of the funniest double acts of any Doctor and companion duo.

    I have a feeling this is an episode that will grow on you over time.

  • As far as the emotions-making-cyber-heads-explode, the Doctor did have one little line in there about how he did something-or-other to create a feedback loop which made the cybermen experience the emotions. Now that may not satisfactorily explain why their heads exploded (or maybe it does, I don’t know), it’s a little more complicated than their heads exploded simply ’cause Craig had emotions.

  • I wasn’t “moved or thrilled” when I watched it the first time, but after I watched it a few more times I started picking up on certain things. And in particular, that moment where he randomly saw Amy and Rory. It kind of melted my heart a bit, being that close to the people you love and avoiding them. Especially when a more dramatic version of Amy’s theme started playing. Agh! Anyway, the eye patch thing totally makes sense now, and the next episode is going to be epic. Can’t wait!

  • Loved the review! You’re right; it was good until it fell apart right at the end when everything was saved with love. again. *groans*

    I will be really ticked off if it all turns out to really be river song in the spacesuit shooting the doctor.

    I was totally enjoying the past several weeks of The Doctor Show (Doctor finds prob, solves, everyone is ok sort of, repeat) and now we’re back to The Williams-Pond Show. I’m eager to see how in under an hour everything is going to supposedly get wrapped up. Or not. Which means waiting a year for more unanswered questions. Or not.

  • @Erika – the Cybermen state they’re going to make Craig like them and strip his emotions. Him hearing Alfie cry and coming back from the brink is what caused the Cybermen’s emotional inhibitors to overload and blow ‘em all up. So, yeah… they’re stripped of emotions… but have emotional inhibitors. Why do they have something to inhibit that which they don’t have in the first place? A bit of a logical flaw in my books.

    All in all an enjoyable enough episode despite the McGuffin of the Cybermen (though it’s hardly the first time that was done) and, as was pointed out above, some much-needed levity before the finale. Just as we had last series with The Lodger. The calm before the Stormageddon, as it were.

  • Well, I do agree with you , Kyle. Wasn’t bad, could’ve been better.

    That Cyberman thing really threw me off, too. But what I think was the biggest issue there is the following: every episode (that I can remember) in which Cybermen “produced” more Cybermen, the conversion process was depicted as awfully brutal (saw blades and a multitude of different “eviscerating utensils” come to mind). And now that process all of a sudden is something that doesn’t even leave a scratch on your body? C’mon. You can’t explain that with Cyberman having to use spare parts or anything. just doesn’t really make sense.

    Don’t get me wrong though: I still love all things Who. But when the writers choose the easy way out to resolve some issues with the plot (or create more drama) it just isn’t living up to all it’s potential. (just like – for example – channeling all the world’s population’s thoughts on something to magically make it work) It’s too convenient. It’s too cheesy.

    In comparison, “The Girl Who Waited” didn’t hook me at first, but completely turned it around at the end.

    At least Stormageddon was really funny and cute :D

  • @Chris – Just because they don’t experience emotions doesn’t necessarily mean they no longer have the neural capacity to do so does it? Perhaps the amygdala and other emotion-centers in the brain are “wiped clean” (or something), but then the Cybermen need the inhibitors to ensure that the emotions don’t start “growing back.” The brain is pretty amazing when it comes to compensating for ills done to it. Remove the inhibitors, and who’s to say they wouldn’t be capable of emotions again?

    Of course that would open up a whole new can of worms–if emotions can “grow back” then is it really ok to kill a Cyberman? Couldn’t they be saved instead? Maybe just ignore everything I said here…

  • Stormageddon- reminds me of “the oncoming storm”
    Petrichor – rain (tears) hiting dust (ashes of the burnt body)?

    Speaking of what happened to Jenny… what about the Symbiant of the Doctor? I will be disappointed if he is the escape clause out of the death.

    As to the episode, I enjoyed it until the end. It seemed like a cheap way out of the crisis. I like Craig – love Stormy. The “Shh” trick is great (mother of a 3 month old here.) I enjoyed the tumbling plot until it came time for it to pay off. Matt Smith is more likable when out of the Pond shadow (I adore the Ponds, but he does tend to take a backseat)

    So, if he has had 200 years,and at the diner he and River are comparing diaries, does this mean they have been running around this whole time between this episode and the previous one? Why would River forget she had killed The Doctor? She sure as heck looks surprised when he is shot! If she had been imprisoned for “killing a good man,” wouldn’t she “legally” have to be aware of whom she killed? I am still very unclear as to her timeline. Especially about her intro in The Library. She sees the 10th Doctor and is surprised he doesn’t know her… yet, that iteration never encounters her again, right? She would know that, wouldn’t she? Plus, she is still there in the memory banks… waiting for The Doctor to figure out who to reincorporate her, literally! Maybe she can be a Symbiant…

  • I’m very dissappointed in you Who fans! Very cross with the lot of you for not noticing this:

    “Oh you’ve redecorated!”

    (beat)

    “I don’t like it.”

    is the EXACT same thing the 2nd Doctor said when he vivisted the Brig in “The Five Doctors”. Virtually the same delivery too. No way that was a coincidence. LOL. Amazing touch. :)

    I quite liked this ep. I LOVE the Doctor & Craig’s friendship. He’s so delightfully awkward around him. The cheek/air kisses return here.

  • @ Brian E, Kyle did notice…”“You’ve redecorated… I don’t like it.” Funny line, even funnier if you know it’s a reference to the classic serials “The Three Doctors” and “The Five Doctors,” both said by the Second Doctor. In the former, he says it to the Third Doctor regarding the TARDIS, and in the latter he says it about UNIT headquarters. ”

    I am glad the Pond-Williamses were only in it for a second, their drama is wearing thin (although Rory is still kind of my hero). I love The Doctor and Craig…it was much needed relief. And really, I know we are all big nerds here, but the Cybermen have always been easily and weirdly defeated, what’s different now? In fact, I believe I remember another episode where the 10th doctor used the feedback loop to emote at least one to death. Nerds? Anybody else remember that one?

  • Kyle,

    Great review! Really enjoyed this episode but am also interested in the Father/Son dynamic that keeps showing itself. Really looking forward to how many loose ends are tied up next week, and can we PLEASE get rid of the pre-credits “when I was a little girl” intro?!? Ugh! Annoying!

  • Good review, Kyle. I hadn’t even noticed the reoccurring father/son dynamics since they didn’t show up in a noticeable fashion. It IS kinda peculiar now that you bring it up. And I agree with the people that said this was a much needed respite from the “heavy drama” Doctor episodes we’ve been getting a lot of lately. Honestly, I think we need another one or two before we even get to the final episode of this serial but I understand the limits.

    Also, I’m surprised no one’s seemed to mention the Flesh Doctor from “The Rebel Flesh” two-parter. Then again, maybe that’s too obvious an out for all of this.

  • @Cate – recently rewatched the Age of Steel, and yes the Doctor does emote the Cybermen to death.

    I liked this episode generally, but it left me questioning River’s timeline & how she could possibly not know that she killed the Doctor, in Impossible Astronaut. And how is it that she knows she’s Amy & Rory’s daughter but she doesn’t know that she’s that little girl in the astronaut suit? I’m guessing it all comes down to the Silence making her forget some things and not others…

    My bf thinks the Doctor dies in the next episode and the next several series will be about those 200 years before he dies. Horrid thought, but completely possible.

    I love this show so damn much, but Moffat’s giving me a headache.

  • Great review! I look forward to these after the episodes – quite frankly given the last five-10 minutes of some of these episodes you need it!

    I thought the Wiki on this brought up an interesting geeky point when it mentioned that these Cybermen didn’t have the Cybus Industry logo on them. Considering that I believe it was said the ship was down there for awhile it would make sense that these were the classic tin cans and not just more of the alternate universe ones that for some reason keep getting loose (also makes sense that we would be seeing cybermats at all).

    River’s storyline still blows my mind, and I think you have to give props that we’re talking about a storyline arc that goes back to 2008’s ‘Silence in the Library.’

    I love it -even though we’re up against a major season ender, that the show can have a laugh at itself with an episode like this.

    As a DW fan from waayy back, this just keeps getting better and better.

    BTW, loved the Nerdist TV pilot having Matt Smith. Hope you get to make more!

  • Honestly — Matt and Arthur are brilliant, the Christmas Special, the Gaiman episode, and the “God Complex” were fantastic — but otherwise, this is the worst season of NuWHO since the reboot in 2005. And I don’t see a whole lot that could happen in the last episode to change my opinion on that. I used to adore River, and now I cringe every time she comes on screen. All the “timey-wimey” stuff seems like a desperate attempt to seem clever-er than RTD, and it just doesn’t work for me anymore. I’ve been a Doctor Who fan since 1983, but this season has just been kind of depressing.

  • I loved this episode, funny as hell. The cybermen are awesome, but the episode is totally not about them, they are just a side plot to keep the Doctor there. One of my favorites this season.

  • Wow, this guy Kyle really summed it up nicely. I love doctor who but I’ve been feeling that the second half of this series just lacks something undefinable that was in previous series. I think maybe it’s the endings and how lame the explanations were, or how high my expectations were. I also noticed the father/son theme, though I forgot the rebel flesh one, and I just don’t know how it will play out. All in all good review.

  • Does no one else sing Semisonic’s “Closing Time” when they hear this title or is just me? Anyone? Oookkkk then…moving on.

    I liked the episode and while I do not like sad Doctor, I love how Smith plays sad Doctor. Now, I loves me some Ten and I’ve TRAVELLED to see Mr. Tennant, but I love how he plays him so quietly sad and not overly angsty. I do agree that it did turn overly sentimental at the end but I think it’s kind of saved by Eleven trying a scientific explanation and then going “yeah, it was love…” but it was a bit eh. I wondered the same thing about the emotional inhibitors and I think I just kind of went with it possibly being an offshoot of one or two Cybermen creating new CyberPeeps (A new easter candy!)in a different manner. That the inhibitors were kind of connected at that point. But more, I was really relieved about Craig.

    I liked the episode aside from that. And I like how it kind of gentles you into the season finale. And it gives you a bit of a wallop at the end with River.

    And yeah, that. I suspected it but was hoping it was more complicated. I still hope there’s more to the story than yeah, it’s River.

  • I’m still not sure whether they are the Silence, or the Silents. I only bring it up because of the way “Silence(or Silents) will fall when the question is asked.” has been drilled into my mind. Could the Doctor have one more big trick up his sleeve using Moffat word play as a cover? I know there has been talk of the ganger Doctor…

    There is also a huge piece of the River puzzle missing. If I remember correctly, when the Doctor first meets River she earns his immediate trust by telling the Doctor his name. If they are together in this plan somehow they would need to trust each other completely. But what could River offer the Doctor for this information? Isn’t she the only non-timelord to know his name?

    Anyway, great episode, great review. Can’t wait to see how all the loose ends are tied into one great big knot for everyone to disagree about.

  • I did some quick calculations of the Matt Smith era endings into 4 categories. Technical, action, emotional, and mixed. And the last 5 episodes have been mostly emotions solving the problem.

    Changing the way of thinking or try really hard at emoting and the problems solved all magically and the like. That is why I am annoyed and not satisfied with the second half, there is no techy or actiony plot bits at all in the second half. Sure there is action, and technical jargon, but none of it is really involve heavily in the plot, mostly just as filler scenes or to explain some alien gizmo.

    Well that’s my take on it anyway, also, not a lot of suspense. They have drama galore and tons of thrills, but adding those together does not make suspense.

  • Ok. This needs to be said. First and Foremost this show is a childrens show. One that’s fun for all ages and has fans from 5 to 115. And it can be brilliant sci-fi at times and quality television and that’s why we adults love the show. But it’s a children’s show. Shown at 7pm on a Saturday and then the kids get scared and can’t sleep and they love being scared and can’t wait for next week. . Kids are scared about monsters, yes but also losing their caregivers. Kids involvment has always been a part of the show (The Next Doctor and His Son for a non-6th Season example.)

    And I think all that kinda gets lost on American viewers and reviewers. Because it’s not viewed in that way over your side of the pond. And you never hid behind the sofa because of The Zygons when you were 8 . The shows success over in the USA is a bonus for the creators but the stories and plot points have to take care of their primary audience – British Children.

    We adults need to keep this in mind when commenting/reviewing the show.

  • So while most people seem to be happy that the end of the episode linked everything up to The Impossible Astronaut, I was not thrilled at all. Questions:

    1. Yeah, where ARE those extra 200 years?

    2. If you go from this episode to TIA, there’s no seam at all. So when, exactly, does the Doctor marry River Song? (And yes, I know next week’s ep is called the Marriage etc, but I refuse to believe it’s that simple.) As it stands now, there is no marriage to her–time has finished coming around. So where’s the rest of time?

    3. How many times can we have a moment where River of a later point in history is at an earlier point and does nothing about it? I know, “Spoilers”, but this time it’s bugging the hell out of me. River of a later time stands there and lets River of an earlier time kill her husband? REALLY?

    4. You can make the argument that the doctor sends invitations to Rory, Amy and River because Amy accidentally told him that they saw him die. And he can send an invitation to himself because he remembers he was at the diner.

    But why send the invitations AT ALL? What purpose does it serve? Is it really JUST to make certain time remains constant? The Doctor, for all his claims otherwise, breaks that rule all the time–especially THIS Doctor.

    5. I hate, hate, hate the idea the answer to the spacesuit could be just “It’s River.”

    The Doctor IS NOT the Good Man who went to war. That was Rory (The Doctor stated flat out he was -not- a Good Man.)

    River killed a Good Man–the best Man she’s ever known. Now that we know Rory is her father, wouldn’t the BEST man she’d ever known be RORY?

    If there is ANYONE who I can see, currently, killing the Doctor, it would be RORY–and doing so either to save his wife, his daughter, or time itself. Because Rory didn’t want to do the Tardis thing anymore, spoke in the past tense AND told the Doctor he was making Rory into the Doctor. So…if time gets screwed up, RORY is the one who would–regardless of anything else–do what was necessary to fix it. As he’s done throughout time–inc. his 2,000 years as a Centurion.

    6. If you’re a Time Lord and you know the day you die, can’t you just NEVER GO TO THAT DAY?

    And even if you DO go there, how does that become ‘tomorrow’? It’s just the next place in time you go. So why does Craig appear to be correct when he tells the Doctor that he’d spent the last few hours fixing Craig’s flat? The Doctor -chooses- to go to Lake Silencio just after this time…but again, that’s not ‘tomorrow’.

    So, here is my call–and if I’m right, you all owe me doughnuts (And you, Nerdist, should put me on your show as clearly I need to be writing for Moffat!):

    A. The Real Doctor hasn’t been seen since episode 6. Moffat’s pulled an Amy/Ganger a 2nd time.
    B. The Doctor we’ve seen since Hitler started is the Ganger.
    C. When River gives him the regeneration energy, it brings him back to life…for a while.
    D. The Ganger Doc finds out about the death of the Doctor from the robot in Let’s Kill Hitler. He figures out what’s supposed to happen that day.
    E. Then he begins to die–for real–as he’s NOT a Time Lord, even if he looks/thinks/feels like one. So he begins to break down.
    F. Realizing this, he -chooses- to go to Lake Silencio and take the place of the real Doctor (thereby letting history say that ‘The Doctor Dies’ AND keeping the REAL Doctor around).
    G. The death we see, then, in the Impossible Astronaut is the death of the Ganger Doctor.
    H. We’ll see another shot next week where the Doctor is burning–and then suddenly he’ll turn to sludge after the others turn away.
    I. Meanwhile, REAL Doctor has been in Area 52 all along. River will rescue him (with the help of Amy and Rory, post perfume girl) in order to stop the Silence forever.
    J. Screwed up timeline in the next episode is because that’s the only place to keep the Real Doctor–outside of normal time/space so that the rest of the universe thinks it was the real Doctor all along.
    K. Real Doctor will save the universe. Amy will decide to go along once more and Rory will say no. Amy will waver, and the Doctor will do/say something that pushes Rory to the edge. Accidentally, River will kill Rory–and will take the blame for killing “the Doctor” because the REAL penance she’s hoping to atone for is killing her father.
    L. And that’s why ‘Father issues’ keep coming up–because River is about to kill her dad.

    That’s my call. Hopefully the episode will be AT LEAST that interesting. If it’s just “River did it”, I’ll be seriously, seriously disappointed.

  • Am I the only one thinking that the Doctor is going to send off River to Silence in the library after this episode. River became Dr.Song from Silence in the library. They took her from the school already and put her in the suit from the Impossible Astronaunt.
    Dr.Kevorian did say the doctor will die. But you’re forgetting that River is a Doctor and Timelord too. The song could be the end of River Song and the Silence misinterpeted the prophecy and brought their own demise.
    I’m sorry but I know Moffat is gonna bring a huge mind**** in this episode and I’m just laying out all the possibilities
    Sorry I’m Deneis and I’m a major geek

  • I don’t know why people are disgruntled by the whole “I killed them with love” explanation when the Doctor clearly tells Craig that it wasn’t the case at all. However, in typical Doctor fashion, as he starts explaining all the intricacies of what actually defeated the Cybermen, he remembered that Craig wouldn’t and couldn’t understand, so he left it at, “Yes, you killed them with love.” Kind of like the times when a companion tries to make an overly simple metaphor to explain a situation and the Doctor says “Yes, its just like that, except its nothing like that at all.” The Cybermen weren’t beaten because Craig loves his son, there was much more to it than that, but the Doctor couldn’t explain it to Craig in a way that he would understand. So, instead of making Craig feel defeated in thinking his love won the day, the Doctor lets him believe in himself and his love for his son.

    Loved the episode, looking forward to the next, not looking forward to the crazy twist that has to be coming at the very end of the episode driving me nuts for months until Doctor Who airs again.

  • Great review, and I certainly agree. The Cybermen wrap-up was just weird. It made no sense, which is a shame because I otherwise really enjoyed the return of Craig. As for the final few minutes- anyone with half a brain had already figured out that River is the astronaut, so no shocker there. I just hope they’re able to give a decent explanation for it next week, and give us the emotional punch that seems to have been lacking all along. One thing I will say is that it was refreshing to have a non-cocky River Song as she was ambushed by Madame. Kovorian.
    http://igp-scifi.com/2011/09/dr-who-review-closing-time/

  • I thought we’d seen the Cybermats during the Fifth Doctor’s time, but I must be wrong. It seems like it was more recently than 75, though.

    I was thinking this episode seemed a bit more kiddy, too, along with several others this season. The 45 minute format gives a different feel to the the show than the hour and a half or so stories from the original show.

  • You guys seem to have short memories.

    The Cybermen’s head exploding from emotional feedback overload is not a plothole – it was established back in the Tennent episodes.

    In the first Tennent 2-parter that reintroduced the Cybermen, The 10th Doctor was able to remove the inhibitors in the programming of a dying Cyberman to reveal the terror of a woman as she fade away.

    In Tennent’s last Christmas Special, Davies’ script showed that the Cybermen get hive-mind orders and thoughts from the Cyberleader, and when she lost her mind from the horror, they were affected too. Craig’s desperation over his son did the same to them here.

    Moffat and episode writer Gareth Roberts had thought all this through.

  • I felt this episode was lacking too! And my friend almost hit me when I told her. XD I was really excited to see Craig again but like you said, there was just something about this episode that didn’t grab me. VERY excited/worried about next week. ^_^

  • I’m thinking the father/son theme will come into play in the last episode. Either the doctor’s “son” (ganger) is the one who gets killed, or he creates a “son” and is able to live on through him, and somehow switch his sonic screwdriver to make the ganger indestructible and the new real doctor. That’s why he sent himself and invite for his own death. To get ready for it. Of course he has a plan.

  • I generally agree about the cybermen and the episode. I also feel they missed a great chance in the “The Next Doctor” episode to make that evil woman who hijacked the CyberKing ship a reoccurring character. Robots that crave uniformity? Pretty good. Crazy evil robots that crave uniformity? Even better.

    Also, I can explain where the 200 years went incredibly easily, with pinpoint precision, using basic logic (at least i think so)

    Who told us the doctors age at lake silencio? The Doctor.

    What’s the number one rule? The Doctor Lies.

  • NotErikBlair:

    1. You see glimpses of them at the beginning of The Impossible Astronaut, eg him attempting to help Allied POWs escape from a prison camp, his shenanigans in the court of Charles II, his appearance in a Laurel & Hardy film. Besides since when has the show shown EVERYTHING the Doctor ever gets up to? It doesn’t. There have been God knows how many noodle incidents over the years, and it’s pretty much been spellt out that the Doctor has spent 200 years procrasinating. That’s the bare minimum that’s actually relevant.

    2. Jumping the gun here, unless you happen to have seen the episode before 99.999999999999999999999999999999999% of people in the world.

    3. A couple of things here:
    – She doesn’t just stand there… or did I just imagine the part where she starts firing her gun like a mad thing at the astronaut?
    – Who said she knows nothing? Her reaction to the Doctor’s death (after she stops firing) is one that can definitely be construed as her realising what’s happening.
    – So what if she doesn’t actually remember? It was mentioned in Let’s Kill Hitler that she’d been brainwashed, and as it appears she was still in the custody of Kovarian/The Silence at this point whatever else may have happened to her mind is up in the air.
    Jumping the gun again.

    4. I dunno… to invite them? That’s what invitations are usually for.

    And I’m not sure but you seem to be going back and forth between having a go at characters for messing with time and asking why they don’t. That’s kind of having it both ways.

    5. OK. Speculation. That’s nice.

    6. Because the Doctor’s personal timeline =/= the timeline of the universe as a whole. Timey wimey ball, Time Lords being more perceptive in regards to when things are supposed to happen, and all that stuff.

  • The cybermen thing didn’t bother me, he wasn’t even fully transformed. And as to the transformation not being brutal- in Torchwood, they give you cyber lingerie. Hope that clears things up. I do agree it was a little bland, but the shows usually are when the doctor doesn’t have a companion. I don’t understand how he is going to die tomorrow if the show returns fall 2012.

  • The scene I love the most about Closing Time is when The Doctor’s monologue while he was holding Alfie. I especially love the fact that it is set when The doctor knows he’s about to die, and was trying to delay it.

    To me The Doctor passes the metaphorical torch to Alfie in this scene.
    And I like the contrasting elements as well, Alfie: so young and his life is barely started, The Doctor: so old and (thinks that) his life is nearing it’s end.

    This episode could do without the Cybermen actually. But without those Cybermen, they’re running the risk of making the episode seems like a soap opera.

    In the end, however, the “passing-of-the-torch” and The Doctor seeing Amy and Rory at the mall are the two scenes that holds up the entire episodes for me.