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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ blogging: “Closing Time”

Doctor Who Closing Time Matt Smith TARDIS

(all spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode! this is a love fest only — all complaints and bitching must come from a place of love / previous: “The God Complex”)
I honestly thought that with the title “Closing Time,” this episode was going to be set in a pub. I know this is allegedly a kids’ show and all, but still: Doctor Who needs an episode set in a pub.

Cybermen invading a department store and killing all the black employees? This I was not expecting.

The Doctor dropping by on a “social call” to a former companion, which was to consist of saying hi and leaving until he was distracted by an infant? This I was not expecting. At this point, the Doctor being able to communicate verbally with a baby was hardly a surprise, having been a brief joke in a previous episode… but really: babies don’t have the cognitive function to make themselves understood on that level. They certainly don’t have the mental capacity to prefer to be called “Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All.” As a one-off joke it was pretty bad. As an extended joke running through an entire episode, it was downright ridiculous. Does Doctor Who really want to descend to the level of Look Who’s Talking?

Daleks and Slitheen are more plausible than “I speak baby.”

So, after the strained setup, we get a good two hours — it felt like it, anyway — of running around a department store asking people if anything weird is going on and busting in on women in changing rooms. Exciting! Not! How can there be room for a filler episode in this death-of-the-Doctor arc? Steven Moffat couldn’t come up with enough story to fill 13 episodes with the Silence and the Doctor’s murder and the history of River Song and Amy and Rory having a baby and all the other stuff? We need to tread water for an entire episode?

My goodness, even the bit at the end with River Song was filler!

Doctor Who Closing Time River Song is the impossible astronaut

So, River is in the astronaut suit when she kills the Doctor for no reason at all except that we’ve already seen her in the astronaut suit so she has to be in the astronaut suit. Eyepatch Lady could have dressed her in a gorilla suit and it all would be otherwise exactly the same. *grrr*

Likewise with the Doctor’s Stetson. Craig gives it to him at the last minute? Just because? I thought he’d be having adventures in the American West or something. Come on, people! What a shocking lack of imagination for such an imaginative show. Or… wait… the hat was so that River could know, from her research in the 51st century, which “eyewitness reports” of the Doctor related to the time of his death. Though how she could know that is ridiculous. There must be thousands of “eyewitness reports” of the Doctor throughout Earth history, and of course they’d be from all over his own timeline, and not chronological compared to Earth history. And anyway, what’s the point of this “eyewitness reports”? Who’s gathering them? River? Why?

“They made you a doctor today,” Eyepatch Lady says to River. Has all of River’s life and work been about researching the Doctor? That’s so disappointing. Everything we’ve learned about River this year has worked to diminish her. She was this awesome babe who traveled the universe — traveled through time, too — having her own adventures. And now she’s just some crazy mutant chick obsessed with the Doctor.

It’s best not to think too much about the ostensible plot of this episode. Really? No one else before Craig loved someone enough to resist cyber conversion? Really?

The Cybermen, they blew up. I blew ’em up with love. –Craig

No, that’s impossible, and also grossly sentimental and over simplistic. –the Doctor


Are we sure this isn’t the episode the schoolkids wrote?

If we can’t think too much about that, we’re left with pulling apart the timey-wimey-ness. “Been knockin’ around on my own for a bit,” the Doctor says, which if we’re to believe the age he will give Amy, Rory, and River in “The Impossible Astronaut”, is two hundred years or so. And yet just because the Doctor knows the Earth date of his death, how can he know where it falls in his personal timeline? How can he know that “tomorrow” — presumably in his own personal timeline — is the day?

It cannot be “tomorrow” in the relative timeline of Earth, because the Doctor has not yet sent the invitations in the blue envelopes to Rory, Amy, and River — and Amy and Rory, at least, need some time to actually travel to Utah for the event: without the TARDIS, they’ll have to resort to a long airline flight. (River clearly has access to some sort of time travel, because she needs to come from the future.) And we know the Doctor can’t bounce around in time so that he can ensure the letters are delivered in enough time to allow for traveling in time for “tomorrow,” because he just “used up” his “hours” (??) cleaning up Craig’s house.

But wait! The Doctor sees Amy and Rory in the department store! (Amy’s modeling-career-outta-nowhere explains how they have that nice flat we see in “The Impossible Astronaut.”)

Doctor Who Closing Time Amy signs an autograph

Why doesn’t he just take them with him to Utah? Or could this be after they’ve already experienced those events? After he dumped them in “The God Complex”?

I suspect the answer isn’t going to be anything interesting or satisfying.

Random thoughts on “Closing Time”:

• “The Alignment of Exedor” makes me think of this:

Mork and Mindy Mork and Exidor

This episode was practically a sitcom anyway.

• The Doctor tells a bunch of kids that vegetables are boring. So much for my idea to have Matt Smith say Broccoli is cool.

But he works in a shop now. I guess shops are cool.

• “Yappy the Robot Dog. Not as much fun as I remember.”

Doctor Who Closing Time Yappy the Robot Dog

Okay, that’s funny.

• The Doctor watches crap telly like Britain’s Got Talent? I personally see him more interested in Bugs Bunny cartoons and the Marx Brothers…

• “A teleport? Like a beam-me-up teleport like you see in Star Trek?” So now Star Trek has been established as fictional in the Doctor Who universe. Which means we can never have a crossover. Damn. I really would have liked to see the TARDIS on the bridge of the Enterprise.

Also: the Doctor said “Star Trek.” I think my brain exploded a little at that moment.

• It’s nice that Craig doesn’t freak at the Doctor’s pretend romantic overture…

Doctor Who Closing Time Matt Smith and James Corden

…just says “I can’t, I’m taken.”

• The Doctor with a baby? Very fan-fiction-y.

Doctor Who Closing Time Matt Smith and baby

“When I was little like you, I dreamt of the stars. I think it’s fair to say in the language of your age that I lived my dream. I owned the stage, gave it a hundred and ten percent. I hope you have as much fun as I did…” It sure does sound like the Doctor has given up, that he does not have a plan for his own rescue.

• Great quotes:

“Coincidence. It’s what the universe does for fun.” –the Doctor

“You’ve got a lot to look forward to, you know: a normal human life on Earth. Mortgage repayments, the nine-to-five, a persistent nagging sense of spiritual emptiness. Save the tears for later…” –the Doctor to baby Alfie

“Why is there a sinister beeping coming from behind me?” –the Doctor

“I am a stupid, selfish man, always have been.” –the Doctor

“It’s nice for babies to have two daddies who love each other.” –Val

(next: “The Wedding of River Song”)

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