Reaction: Doctor Who – Closing Time

Aside from Vincent and the Doctor, The Lodger was easily one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes of season five. Aside from being totally unorthodox in the way it was structured, it was almost like a buddy comedy. I felt that it was one of the better episodes solely based on the face that it showed The Doctor totally at odds with how to act in modern society; it truly brought out his alien nature. Simple mistakes like paying rent with a huge bag of cash may seem like a good idea to The Doctor, but would raise more than a few eyebrows. When it was officially announced that Craig (played by James Corden of Gavin & Stacy fame) would be returning as a “fill-in” companion this year, I was pretty stoked. Not only would a character I liked return, but it was revealed to be a Cybermen episode. And not a Russell T. Davies era “stomping around saying catchphrases Cybermen” episode, but a proper one, complete with Cybermats!

While there are some emotionless metal guys running around, the majority of the episode is centered on The Doctor and his one last attempt at saving the world. It seems that despite knowing that he will die in mere hours, he stops by Craig’s old haunt on some sort of a “farewell tour”. There is an ulterior motive of course, in that he has found some kind of power fluctuations in the area, so the Doctor uses this as an excuse to investigate a bit. What we see is a man on his last legs presumably 200 years after he dropped off Amy and Rory (in his time), trying to cope with his imminent death, and stop the death of one of his friends. Knowing that he basically endangers all that come near him, the Doctor wants Craig to stay away, but seems to only draw him in more.

This episode was very good for what it was: the fluffy episode towards the series finale that keeps one optimistic before their soul is crushed by the bleak ending we all know we will have. This has been seen in Boom Town, Love & Monsters, and finally The Lodger. I know that all of these episodes are somewhat “love it or hate it” affairs, but I think that Closing Time is one of the better ones. My personal favorite thing about the episode was the Doctor’s revelation that Craig’s son calls himself “Stormageddon” in baby language; I give it weeks before someone actually names their kid that. In the grand scheme of things Closing Time does nothing for the larger picture save a scene with River Song at the very end, but that wasn’t what it was there to do. It was the “palette cleanser” right before the main course, the episode that will hopefully blow us away and finish up some stuff we’ve been getting worked up about for 2 full seasons.

spoiler for next week:

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Fragmentary Thoughts on Questions Still Left to Unanswered In Doctor Who

Since the end of Doctor Who’s fifth season I have been milling around a bag full of questions that were seemingly left unanswered. I assume that some of this will be touched on in the final episode of season six, but if it doesn’t can it all be explained away by saying “the silence did it?” Most of these appeared in the penultimate and final episodes last season, The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang. Most of these seem to point towards somebody or something “messing with” Amy at various points in time, and all stem from one big question:

Why was the TARDIS taken back to June 26, 2010? –

“Space and time isn’t safe yet. The Tardis exploded for a reason. Something drew the Tardis to this particular date and blew it up. Why, and why now?”

- The Doctor at the end of The Big Bang

It has been speculated upon that this is a dangling plot thread left unanswered. At this point I wonder if we’ll actually see the real reason for this unveiled this season, but one thing does come to mind. Assuming that Amy and Rory “got it on” right after their wedding date, could the significance be that this was River Song’s conception date? This brings two possible options:

Was somebody trying to stop her existence? Going back to the conception date thing, we can assume that River does not fulfill her goals set aside by the silence, so maybe they are trying to kill her before she even is born…Maybe she is the one that actually stops their evil plans. Here are examples of how River was supposed to get over-written Terminator style, only to have the Doctor goof it up:

Somebody tried to kill Amy by somehow turning Rory into an Auton – this failed because of the Doctor.

Somebody broke into Amy’s house before her wedding day, but she wasn’t there…

Since this approach was bungled up, maybe the “big bad” went to plan B.

What if she was actually brought there to actually cause the explosion… With what we know about River in the latter half of this season, she was set up to be a weapon to kill the Doctor by the Silence. What if she has been brainwashed to destroy the TARDIS, most likely by the post-hypnotic suggestion from the silence? What if she actually did her job by destroying the universe only to have the Doctor undo it completely?

This also could explain why The TARDIS materialized in rock, maybe the TARDIS itself was trying to protect everything from River, and put her in a time-loop.

This does sort of paint the Silence and the “villain alliance” in series 5 as heroes of some sort, but what if that is true. What if they know of something The Doctor doesn’t know about – something that is truly evil, and the REAL villain in this whole thing? Something the Doctor unwittingly causes. I honestly think that there is an evil renegade Timelord out there causing this whole mess, Omega, Rassilon, The Rani, The Master etc…

What if “Silence falling” is a bad thing