I only wrote my review of The Lodger ten days ago.
I feel this constrains me somewhat in writing something fresh about The Lodger Part 2: Killing In The Name of Love…oh, sorry, I mean Closing Time
But I’ll try my best.
Doctor Who – Closing Time Review: What’s This One About
With only a day to live, The Doctor decides to go to visit a bloke he spent less than a week with a couple of hundred years earlier.
And it just so happens there are Cybermen hanging around nearby too.
Thoughts – Same Again
Much like The Lodger, Closing Time works on the strength of The Doctor’s relationship with Craig, and being put in a domestic situation.
The addition of the baby gave it a slightly new twist, but it’s essentially the same type of story again.
And I’ve got no problem with that.
The Lodger was good, and so is this, but it does leave me stuck for a massive amount to say.
So, assuming you know why I like it and how I think Smith & Corden (and this time Lynda Baron too) work well together and bring some good comedy to proceedings, I’ll just move on to what’s wrong with it.
The Cybermen Are Pathetic
This season of Doctor Who has essentially destroyed the credibility of The Cybermen,
Hell, the modern era of Doctor Who has destroyed their credibility.
While The Daleks get treated like the greatest and strongest of all threats, The Cybermen have made dynamic appearances in the following stories.
Army of Ghosts: Jobbed out to the Daleks to the point where they ended up being back-up to the humans
The Next Doctor: Servants of Dervla Kerwin
The Pandorica Opens: A Cyberman worked as an easily disposed of guard
A Good Man Goes To War: They get intimidated by Rory and have their ships blown up for no good reason, making them look fragile and pitiful.
Closing Time: They are reduced to having any old sod become their new Controller and their heads blow up because of the power of love.
Essentially, the Cybermen’s aura has lowered to the point where they are now bit-part characters at best, unable to carry a story on their own.
There was a time when that happened in the 1960s of course; The Invasion reduced them to henchmen of Tobias Vaughn with barely any lines.
The only way they managed to recover a bit was by making them into comedy figures in Revenge of the Cybermen (which was great) and then reinvent them as emotional blokes led by David Banks (which also had its moments)
These current ones are just crappy robots who say “Delete” and have that same bit of god-awful incidental music played over them whenever they appear.
They can no longer carry a story on the back of their own threat or menace, but even if they could before Closing Time, it’s doubtful they would after.
I mean, come on; killed by love? That’s just pathetic.
So now, the least threatening supervillains in the world can add love to the likes of Radiation, Gravity and Gold in their list of terminal weaknesses.
There was no point in having them in this story at all, and I think it would have worked better for not just this story, but Doctor Who going forward, if Gareth Roberts had found some other threat in their place.
The Final Scene
And just when we all thought it would be another story that could survive on its own merits, Steven Moffat jumps in at the end with a crappy River Song scene.
You can just imagine Steven Moffat thinking “Wow, this will blow the viewers minds” as we see River Song end up in the Space Suit in the lake in Utah.
Were you surprised?
I know I wasn’t.
In fairness, a scene to set up the finale was probably a good idea but it was the way it was done that bugged me.
Why would those three children a) know it was the Doctor when asked years into the future and b) why would anyone interview them about it?
But that’s what we’ve come to expect from this storyline.
- The comedy surrounding Lynda Baron thinking they were a gay couple was mildly amusing.
- Similarly, the stuff with The Doctor being able to understand babies was good, although perhaps it came too soon after the joke was done in A Good Man Goes To War.
- Shouldn’t everyone on Earth know who Cybermen are by this point? As they said in almost every Doctor Who story of the 60s, “There were Cybermen; every child knows that”. And how do they know that? The Mondas Incident of 1986.
- But here, not only has nobody heard of them still (which doesn’t really make much sense, even allowing for The Crack In Time), but these Cybermen also come from a ship that crash landed 350 years earlier. Apparently the Cybermen are time travelling for the sake of it these days.
- The lesson Craig should learn from this whole affair is not to keep his phone on silent.
- Why is it The Doctor wants to visit Craig, of all people, on his second last day?
- And how come Amy is a supermodel all of a sudden? What? How?
- I’m surprised they found a Cyberman head to fit James Corden.
- To be fair, they did do a good set up job, with the Doctor getting his cowboy hat and the materials for sending out his invitations from Craig.
- DWM Mighty 200 Ranking: N/A
Doctor Who – Closing Time Review
I like it for many of the same reasons as I liked The Lodger.
But this one had more problems.
Well…they are problems if you think destroying the last pitiful vestiges of the Cybermen’s aura counts.
If you don’t, then it’s fine.