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Review: Doctor Who: "Closing Time" (Episode 12 Season 6)

Matt McGloin Posted: 09/24/2011 - 17:57 COMMENT

picTick tock goes the clock, it's nearly time for the Doctor to pop his clogs! But not quite yet! The old Galifreyan just has enough time to make a house call and see old friend Craig Owens and his new addition to the family, Alfie, or as he prefers Stormageddon, Dark Lord Of All!  A little reunion before the Doctor goes to die; except, what's with the flickering lights across town and who is teleporting innocent shoppers from a department store? 

Originally conceived as "Cyberman and a Baby" (seriously, that was the working title), "Closing Time" is a comedy of errors that most viewers will forget quickly except for the last bit. Mainly done for laughs with some genuine howlers, such as the Doctor doing baby talk with Alfie, using a very good method to "shhush" people - and not realizing some think he and Craig are a couple! 
Literally beneath the sweet gurgle of baby talk, nappy changing, bad housekeeping, and Craig trying his utmost to be a dad, is a sub-plot featuirng Cybermen well past their sell-by date converting victims. Have to say it was very nostalgic to see a Cybermat crop up - last time was back in "Revenge of the Cybermen" in 1974! Ironically, the first story I ever saw! The Cyber sequences were quite chilling and dark for a Gareth Roberts script - and he certainally used the classic Troughton (Second Doctor) Cyber bible to convey their menace well. YOU WILL BE LIKE US. I now know Cyber Suits come in Xtra Xtra Xtra Large. I just wish it had been more scary, rustly Cybermen, and less James Corden who was my problem with "The Lodger" last time. If the story had been more focused in the store, it would have worked better without him. 
The echo of this being the Eleventh's Doctor's farewell tour was well handled, especially the bit where Matt Smith holds Alfie beneath the stars - and having BORROWED his four blue envelopes to post to Amy, Rory, Melody and his earlier self, setting the stage for his date with destiny at Lake Silencio. The best bit of "Closing Time" was, in irony, the last five minutes: Scary as River Song gets encased in that Astronaut suit beneath the lake with the fleeting memory of the Silence and Eye Patch Lady hanging behind her subconsciousness. 
Silly yes. A major dip in quality from the recent trio of excellent stories, "Closing Time" will mostly be referred to as the calm and gurgle before the storm. But do I want to see Craig again? No. Please No. And for that you are very welcome!