Review of Doctor Who ‘Closing Time’

Neela Debnath

Doctor 5 300x194 Review of Doctor Who ‘Closing Time’SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 12, series 6/32 of Doctor Who

After taking leave of Amy and Rory last week, the Doctor continued on his farewell tour by re-visiting Craig Owens (James Corden). The last time we saw Craig was in ‘The Lodger’. Since then Craig and Sophie (Daisy Haggard) have moved to Colchester and have had a baby called Alfie, who prefers to be known as Stormageddon: Dark Lord of All (“Stormy” for short).

The Doctor isn’t seen much with children as his companions are usually adults, so this was an interesting change of pace. The way in which the Doctor interacted with the children in the toy shop and Alfie was enjoyable, particularly when he translates Alfie’s critique of Craig’s parenting skills.

Compared to the dark and depressing note that the ‘The God Complex’ ended on, the humour levels surged this week. There were some great comic moments and there was a brilliant chemistry between the Doctor and Craig. Corden’s performance in ‘The Lodger’ was average however, in ‘Closing Time’ he excelled himself. He played it well as a young father who is uncertain of himself.

Craig’s lack of confidence was mirrored by the Doctor’s own lack of self-belief and so they helped each other. The Doctor believes in Craig and that he can be a good father, while Craig believes in the Doctor to save the day. In some ways it felt that the Doctor’s faith in himself was at least partially restored but he was still aware of just how dangerous his lifestyle can be.

Despite the more uplifting tone this week, right at the end of the episode, things became sinister as the series came closer to the end and the Doctor’s death. Even though Melody/River’s timeline was altered so that she grew up with her parents and she saw that the Doctor is good, she is still ultimately forced to do Kovarian’s bidding. The final scenes of the episode were classic Doctor Who: terrifying yet fascinating to behold.

‘Closing Time’ was a lovely story which focused on human issues. Like ‘Night Terrors’, it was based on earth with a parent-child relationship at its core, while the Cybermen seemed merely incidental to the plot. The script was very tight and witty, never failing to miss a beat with the comedy. Corden and Smith were a dynamic duo, bouncing off each other – the former with his one-liners and the latter with his quirkiness.

Next week’s teaser revealed just how eventful things are going to get. There was a Viking of sorts, The Silence are back, Churchill is going to be there and a Dalek, even though they were supposed to be retired for a year according to Steven Moffat. There was also a game of chess. Could this be significant, with the Doctor playing for his life? And will The Silence fall again when the question is asked?

Image credit: BBC

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  • Guest

    I thought it was a really good episode, particularly the scene with the Cyber-converter, and the scene when Craig was investigating in the shops, whilst knocking over the all the clothing.

  • Emmitt Morgans

    The first two-thirds of the episode were a chuckle, guffaw or super-wide grin every few seconds along with a few damp eyes during a cameo from a couple of (not so) old friends that we could potentially never see again.  The last third was definitely no slouch, either. 

    I must say this may be one of the best episodes (if not THE best) of NuWho yet! (the last time I felt that way was during The Eleventh Hour, if I remember correctly)  It was decidedly better than all of Torchwood: Miracle Day… which isn’t saying much.

  • Somdeb Ghose

    “I must say this may be one of the best episodes (if not THE best) of NuWho yet!”

    COMPLETELY agree with you! The Doctor is going to die, and he is walking off into the sunset with a sense of fatality that no one has seen before. Completely unlike the 10th. Brilliant!

  • JaneJH

    I always remember older episodes of Dr Who, particularly the storyline of the politicians that peeled their faces off revealing reptilians underneath. A new take on the brilliant film ”They Live” of the 1980s 

  • ConanTheBrightonian

    It was very well done, but ultimately I thought it was a poor episode. There has always been an element of humour in Doctor Who, but usually it’s quite understated; this episode sounded like they were trying to imitate the Marx Brothers.

    And as for cybermen being ‘killed by love’, well d’oh! Why didn’t anybody think of that before? How many human-to-cyber conversions could have been prevented in the past if only the parents and children had loved each other? It reminded me of one of the older Who series (pre the re-birth) where an entire invading cyber army was wiped out by a single girl armed only with a catapault.

    Ah well, back to the serious stuff next week, although I have to say I won’t be sorry to see the end of this series which I think (classics like “The Doctor’s Wife” aside) has probably been the weakest of the ‘new’ Who.

  • reverend61

    “Like ‘Night Terrors’, it was based on earth with a parent-child relationship at its core, while the Cybermen seemed merely incidental to the plot.”

    You mean “Like Night Terrors, The Curse of the Black Spot, the father / son dancing in The Almost People…”. It’s a bit of a recurring theme this season, and that can’t be by accident. This is all coming back to River, Amy and Rory.

    I did like Corden. I feel like I shouldn’t, but his chemistry with Smith was great.

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