***Warning this post contains spoilers about Closing Time and may refer to previous episodes of Doctor Who. If you haven’t watched the episode or don’t want to be surprised do not read further.***
This weeks episode was a welcome relief from the last one that I still haven’t decided whether I like or not. I loved seeing the interaction between Craig and the Doctor again. There were a few unexplained oddities that I’ll explain later on.
The episode opens in a shop, a very similar scene to Rose’s shop in the very first episode of the rebooted Doctor Who. Its closing time and the lights are flickering. The local city council has been having all the wiring replaced, so no one seems surprised with the power fluctuations. When the closing supervisor goes to clean up the changing room, she notices that one of the rooms is still occupied. When she makes her way to that room, she comes face to face with a Cyberman.
Meanwhile, Craig (last seen in The Lodger, season 5) is trying to convince Sophie that he will be all right and that he doesn’t need any help for the weekend. This happens to be the first weekend that Craig is watching their son all by himself. Sophie seems a bit unconvinced that Craig can handle it and has called all of the family to check up on him. Craig finally convinces her to go, when the Doctor suddenly knocks on the door. The Doctor says that he is just making a friendly social call to say hi, saying that he is on his farewell tour. He immediately notices that there is something different in Craig’s house and before Craig can stop him, the Doctor wakes the baby. There is a very cute interchange between the Doctor, Craig and the baby (named Alphie), because of course the Doctor speaks baby. Alphie prefers to be called “Stormageddon: Dark Lord of All” and he calls Craig, and the Doctor, “Not Mum” and everyone else “peasants”. Being a Mom of two young boys, this whole exchange cracked me up. The Doctor shows a couple of his best baby tricks and then tells Craig its time for him to go. As he is saying his goodbyes, he tries not to notice the flickering lights and the missing people reports. He tries. He leaves and walks straight to the TARDIS. Lights are flickering around him, and you can see that he is becoming very angry. He says, “I’m done saving you” to nobody in particular. Right before he reaches his TARDIS, you can see that he has a change of heart.
The Doctor has decided to start working in the shop, even getting a “The Doctor” name tag. The Doctor is entertaining a group of kids when Craig and Alphie show up. Craig immediately knows there is something going on when he sees that the Doctor hasn’t left town. The Doctor decides that Craig should know whats going on. They retreat to the privacy of a broken elevator. The Doctor starts to tell Craig that there have been reports of missing people and he tracked the energy fluctuations to this shop. The Doctor is certain that there is a transporter somewhere here in the shop. Just as he is explaining the transporter, he and Craig are transported to an alien ship. The Doctor is shocked and is voice raises about 3 octaves. The Doctor is trying to keep Craig’s focus on him so that Craig doesn’t freak out that they have been moved, so he tries to flirt with him. While the Doctor’s advances catch Craig off guard it ultimately fails due to the Cyberman that walks around the corner. The Doctor sonics the transporter, they return, and the transporter is dead.
Craig is more determined then ever to help the Doctor with anything that he needs. The Doctor is scared that he has put Craig and Alphie into harms way. He asks Craig if he feels safe with him. Craig says that he knows that people die when the Doctor is around, but seems to think the safest place for him (or anyone) is right next to the Doctor.
The Doctor explains that the power fluctuations are the Cybership siphoning the local power to its ship. They decide to ask some questions around the shop to see if anyone has noticed anything else out of sorts. The Doctor manages to get all of the shop gossip out of his fellow employee Val, none of which is even remotely important EXCEPT that Val has seen a small silver rat. Craig is much less successful. In trying to be sly, he comes off as very creepy and is nearly arrested by the shop security guard. The Doctor comes to rescue Craig from his awkwardness. The Doctor explains to the security guard that Craig is with him and that he is ok. Since everyone loves the Doctor they agree that Craig is ok and let them go.
The Doctor and Craig manage to find the silver rat and capture it. Its actually pretty docile and cute till it opens its mouth and has a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. A quick flick of the sonic screwdriver and it shuts down. They return to Craig’s house where the Doctor explains that it is a Cybermat and he plans to do some modifications to turn it agains the Cybermen in the ship. Craig leaves the Doctor with Alfie while he pops out to grab some more milk. The Cybermat reactivates and attacks the Doctor and Alfie. The Doctor retreats to the back yard with Alfie, while trying to call Craig to warn him of the Cybermat inside the house. No answer. Blissfully unaware, Craig returns home and is attacked by the Cybermat. The Doctor puts Alfie in a safe place and busts through the glass window. He knocks the Cybermat off Craig and is then attacked himself. The Doctor throws it off and Craig traps it with a cookie sheet. After a very short moment, the Doctor figures out how to break the Cyber connection and sonics the Cybermat. He starts feeling very guilty for putting Craig and Alfie into harms way.
The Doctor sneaks out that night and back into the shop. He finds an entrance to a tunnel through a wall in the changing room. The Doctor finds the security guards badge at the bottom of the tunnel, he has been killed. Turns out that the Cybermen weren’t in space, but below the ground. The Cybermen hit the Doctor, but he is only stunned. The Doctor realizes that this Cyber ship crashed centuries ago and the work that the city council is doing to the lines has woken them up. They are looking for power for their ship and people to convert or use as spare parts to repair themselves.
The Cybermen are looking for a leader as they are in need of direction. The Doctor is incompatible because of his two hearts, so all is well, right? Wrong, Craig figured out what the Doctor was doing and where he went and followed him down into the tunnel and pops out just in time for the Cybermen to turn on him. The Cybermen take no effort in starting Craig’s conversion. I have to say I was really sad at this point, you knew Alfie was just upstairs in the shop, but here is Craig getting converted. Its a very sad end to Craig. The Doctor begs Craig to fight it, he can’t bear to loose another friend. Craig is overcome and sealed into the suit. It isn’t until Craig hears Alfie crying that anything seems to change. Craig breaks the emotion inhibitor because of his desperate need for his son. Craig is free and he and the Doctor run to freedom as the Cybermen are thrown into chaos. The emotional feedback causes all of the other Cybermen to explode, also destroying their ship in the process.
The ending is happy after all, the Doctor defeated the Cybermen, Craig lived, learned what it meant to be a dad and Alfie (as he is ready to be called) now calls Craig “Dad”. The Doctor disappears, only to be found moments later having tidied up Craig entire house before Sophie returned. The Doctor explains to Craig that it is time for him to die and that he has to leave. Craig gives him a Stetson and wishes him well. The Doctor in turn asks if he can have some of Sophie’s TARDIS blue stationary. They say their goodbyes and he is back to the TARDIS, looking genuinely happy. He stops just as he is about to enter the TARDIS and turns to three children. He tells them he saved them and “Your Welcome”. They just look confused.
The next scene is River Song reading personal account records from each of those three children. She is still trying to find the Doctor. She is dressed in Doctorate robes having just been made a Doctor of Archeology earlier that day. Madame Kovarian (eye patch lady from earlier in the season) enters with the Silence. River has no idea who she is, which is interesting since Madame Kovarian raised Melody to kill the Doctor. River asks who the Silence is, Madame Kovarian tells her that they are her owners. Madame Kovarian tells her that the date, time and place written in her journal is indeed the specific information of the Doctor’s death. River still thinks that its just a tale. Madame Kovarian tells her that this is where the tale begins. River is sedated, imprisoned in an astronaut suit and wakes up under water.
One additional out of place scene in this episode is a quick cameo by Amy and Rory. They happen to be walking through the same shop that the Doctor is working at. Rory is carrying Amy’s bags. Amy has become quite a celebrity and a child runs up to her asking for her autograph. She is the face of a new perfume called “Petrichor” the perfume for “The Girl Who Is Done Waiting”. There is no contact between the Doctor and his previous companions. The scene a bit out of place and just makes the Doctor look sad and lonely.
I have to say I’m really looking forward to tonights episode. I can’t wait to see if they will resolve the Doctor’s death or if we will be left to wait till next season. Based on the preview for “The Wedding of River Song” I’ve come up with several theories about what we are going to see in tonights episode. What are your theories?