Mon
Sep 26 2011 11:42am

Doctor Who S6, Ep 12: “Closing Time”

Russell T. Davies seems to have started a trend! Suddenly, fashion dictates that before any sitting Doctor can leave, they have to take a Farewell Tour and say goodbye to old friends. Thankfully, in the case of this week’s episode, “Closing Time,” The Doctor made only one stop.

And don’t worry. The above statement really isn’t a spoiler. Mostly because the next episode is the last of the season, and I still have no idea what the hell’s really going on.

Two Lodgers and a Baby

This season benefited from the return of one of the best new characters from Matt Smith’s tenure, the wonderful Craig Owens, played by the almost criminally sweet James Corden. It’s the day before The Doctor is supposed to be killed in (and by) “The Impossible Astronaut,” and The Doctor, having said goodbye to Amy and Rory, is looking to connect with another human who means something to him. Meanwhile, Craig is now married to Sophie, the love of his life with whom he first got together in “The Lodger” last season. They now have a baby son, Alfie, and Craig is being left alone with Alfie for the first time when Sophie decides to give them bonding time and go away for the weekend. However, neither Sophie, nor his mother, nor Craig are very sure that Craig can handle dealing with the baby on his own. Enter The Doctor, with his magical shushing powers, who translates Baby and tells Craig that Alfie prefers to be called Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All and would really rather his father wear him in a baby carrier, because Not Mum is way too slow when he’s summoned.

It was a wonderful choice to continue the progression of Craig’s increasing confidence in himself by following him to the next stage of his life. He’s already gotten past his insecurities enough to get the girl, now he must get past them again and realize that he is capable of being a good dad. However, I wish that writer Gareth Roberts didn’t simply recycle “The Lodger” in order to make it happen. Instead of aliens with a time engine accidentally crashing and getting stuck, it’s Cybermen, but the result is the same. Craig defeats them with love. I know that Gareth Roberts has other stories in him. I just wish he had more stories for this character.

 

Bromance

Recycling aside, the episode contains hilarious and heartwarming moments that make the stale plot worth it. All the bits with the baby were amazing, and Matt Smith proves once again how wonderful he is with children. He also shows us The Doctor’s sensitive side as he confesses to a sleeping Craig the fact that he’s supposed to die the next day. And of course, there was the moment when The Doctor distracted Craig from looking at the Cybermen’s ship by pretending to profess his love and go in for a kiss. The truly wonderful thing about that moment? Craig doesn’t respond by saying “But I’m straight!” He says, “But I’m taken!” A subtle, but meaningful difference that made that moment, as well as the partner/companion jokes throughout, funny for the right reasons.

The chemistry between Matt Smith and James Corden is magic, and it’s fun to watch The Doctor have a male best friend in Craig. He is able to be more laid back and loose around him than he can be around anyone else, and he pals around with him in a way he never could with Rory. Having Craig be the one who gives The Doctor his Stetson before he heads of to the U.S. was a lovely touch.

 

A Complicated Melody

I didn’t have a huge problem with this episode. However, since this is the last one before the season finale, the fact that we still know so little about what Melody Pond’s purpose actually is, despite her scene at the end, has me very concerned. I mean, yes, she’s supposed to kill The Doctor, and yes I figured the little girl — who was Melody — was in the spacesuit. But why does it have to be her? Can only Time Lords kill other Time Lords? Why does it have to be older Melody and not the little girl? And why go through this convoluted plan in the first place?

Madame Kovarian and her plan to kill The Doctor is starting to remind me of this:

Also, is it me, or was superimposing Alex Kingston’s face on the space helmet really creepy? Steven Moffat came through for me last season with “The Pandorica Opens” and “The Big Bang.” I still believe that all can be revealed in the next episode, but at this point it had better be good. The Doctor deserves more than the kind of plan that is the stuff of Disney comedy.

 

Doctor Who airs Saturdays at 9PM ET on BBC America.


Teresa Jusino is going to name her first child Stormageddon. She can be heard on the popular Doctor Who podcast, 2 Minute Time Lord, participating in a roundtable on Series 6.1. Her “feminist brown person” take on pop culture has been featured on websites like ChinaShopMag.com, PinkRaygun.com, Newsarama, and PopMatters.com. Her fiction has appeared in the sci-fi literary magazine, Crossed Genres; she is the editor of Beginning of Line, the Caprica fan fiction site; and her essay “Why Joss is More Important Than His ‘Verse” is included in Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon By the Women Who Love Them, which is on sale now wherever books are sold! 2012 will see Teresa’s work in two upcoming sci-fi anthologies. Get Twitterpated with Teresa,“like” her on Facebook, or visit her at The Teresa Jusino Experience.

43 comments
Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
I enjoyed the episode although, as you say. it was kind of a rehash and mostly a set up for the finale.
I'm still leaning towards the Doctor we've been watching being the "flesh" version. His enjoyment of the apple from the last episode seems to hint at that. Or, there could be some odd timey-whimey thing.
Also, presumably between the last episode where he left Amy and Rory off and when he reappeared to see Craig he spent a couple of hundred years doing something. That's the amount of time he said had passed in the first episode. One wonders what he has been doing.
Ashley Fox
2. A Fox
The cybermen pretty much confirmed that this Dr is flesh! When they were scanning him (toward end, as Craig is following him through the shop) they stated that he couldnt be used to create a cyberman, or some such, but they could use him as spare parts.

I know this is vague, i didnt have the luxory of actually watching this ep properly, but that part did catch my ear.
Tumas-Muscat
3. Tumas-Muscat
@ shalter - Your mention of the Flesh theory actually brought something else to my mind about a previous episode, Night Terrors. At the end, doesn't the Doctor say he's glad to see Amy and Rory in "the flesh"? What if he was wittingly giving an indication of further interaction with the Flesh? I think I'd just imagine the Doctor saying that so he could secretly bask in his cleverness.

I know that episode was originally to be aired previously as a run-up to The Almost People/Rebel Flesh, and so the scene may have been simply left there (still, could the effort to include a creepy children's nursery rhyme to the end of the episode mean that the scene was left there intentionally?). I also understand that the sentence may just have been referring to the fact that Amy had previously been a wooden peg doll. But still, it may be these little details which may in fact indicate something bigger. They did last season (think Flesh and Stone).
Tumas-Muscat
4. JCHicks
I too am worried about whether Moffat can pull off a satisfying finale next week. The story of River Song and the Doctor's death has, as you say, grown way too convoluted. It's like a hydra: When you chop off one head, two more grow in its place.
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
@Tumas-muscat:Yeah, there are lots of little details that can be read one way or another. Hopefully, it will all resolve into a satisfying answer.
Jenny Thrash
6. Sihaya
Okay, last night I was having trouble straightening out the timeline that was created in that final scene. I'd assumed River was a child when she was put in the astronaut suit, which of course had confused me when I saw her meeting the Doctor for the first time in "Let's Kill Hitler." I think I've got it now. Now I just have questions about a few small details in the season's opening, and of course the big question of how the Doctor will live. I'll be interested to see if any of those issues really get resolved next week. Frankly, I'm glad that we took some time off with a fairly conventional "fun" plot before the big ba-da-boom comes along. The dialogue and acting were both great, and the plot's simplicity made the resolution fairly straightforward, which is pretty surprising for Doctor Who. I mean, Who fans are smart cookies who like a good puzzle, but we can handle simple vehicles for character vignettes from time to time.

But is it just me, or are the invaders who crash land on Earth getting more and more downheel? The Zygons had the freakin' Loch Ness monster. Scaroth had the ability to shape all of human technology by existing in every time at once. The Silence had one broken, tiny ship that could camouflage itself. This group of Cybermen has one broken, tiny ship and a barely functioning crew. The next crashed invaders will have a pack of gum, a paperclip and a star chart. They'll come up with the evil version of a McGuyver plan to either get off this planet or enslave it, and the Doctor will literally foil it at the last minute - he'll block the particles from their kludged together neutrino emitting time travel array with a box of specially treated tin foil.
Ursula L
7. Ursula
The use of the cybermen here worked for me. This story was not about a particular monster, it was about the way that the Doctor deals with companions and monsters. Cybermen have enough backstory within new-Who that we could focus on that part of the story, without working to establish a new threat.

The parallel between the Doctor's insecurities about his much-younger, dependant companions and Craig's insecurities about his son worked well. The presence of a baby in the middle of adventure worked to illustrate how helpless the Doctor sees humans. It also helps explain the issues about looking for infant-Melody. She's a child in the middle of adventure, just like little Stormageddon, and they need to be very careful about if and when they try to rescue her, to avoid introducing new danger.

I can completely buy the Doctor choosing to die-for-real, to avoid putting infant-Melody in danger of being harmed by a botched rescue.

This episode also serves to remind the Doctor that there are ways to defeat threats other than grandstanding, intimidation and violence. The last time we saw Cybermen, the Doctor blew up an entire legion just to make a point. Is it any wonder that people see the Doctor as a being as destructive and capricious as a natural disaster?

In this adventure, the Doctor defeats the enemy by discovering the threat before it can grow out of control. He's nearly invisible in the defeat. Instead, the solution is in allowing his companion's true nature to have its full effect.
Daniel Goss
8. Beren
Ok, possible timey-wimey question here, but . . .

The Doctor says that he is going to die "tomorrow." Does he mean, actual, earth-time tomorrow? Because if so . . . he saw Amy and Rory in the shop, and he saw the perfume ad on the wall with the subtitle something like 'for the girl who's tired of waiting.' This seems to say that the Amy and Rory he saw there are the ones he dropped off last episide, and it must have been quite a while ago for Amy to already have gotten a job as a model for a perfume company (or even have started her own, which makes more sense considering the slogan.)

Now, previous Amy and Rory presumably just came from their home straight to America with no time-travel involved. If that is the case, are they then the Amy and Rory that the Doctor saw in the shop? Or did the Doctor drop off the Williams family at a point after his 'death?' It just seems that there may be some crossing of time-streams here. Or a gaping plot hole for the sake of a cameo. You know, one or the other.

-Beren
Tumas-Muscat
9. Puff the Magic Commenter
I like Craig, too. Can someone clue me in, though, why the British audience (or at least the ones who comment on Doctor Who recaps) seems to have it in for James Corden? Lotta griping about him this weekend. Is he like the English Kevin James or something?

This was my number one favorite episode this season. I like the Doctor on present-day Earth the best, I think.

Regarding Amy: I don't believe many models get to name the product they're posing with. I took it that she's an entrepreneur. A 21st century Anita Roddick, maybe.

Regarding River and her prospects: I'm telling you -- she's going to be replaced by a Teselecta astronaut. Mark my words.* She'll go to prison for a crime she didn't commit.

*And forget them if I'm wrong.
Tumas-Muscat
10. Pendard
I have a very off the wall prediction for next week that I want to throw out there -- a guess at what the first question and its answer are. The Silence think silence will fall when the answer to the first question is spoken, which means that this is something that has never been spoken aloud before. So, what's the first question in the Doctor Who universe? It's "Doctor who?" And what does River Song know that has never been spoken aloud? The Doctor's name. Could the Doctor's name be what the Silence need to end the universe?
Joseph Kingsmill
11. JFKingsmill16
@10 - River shouldn't know the Doctor's real name at this point in her time line. But otherwise you may be onto something in regards to his name.
Tumas-Muscat
12. a-j
Puff the Magic Commentator@9
There is a dislike of James Corden in the UK as for a while a couple of years back he never seemed to be off the TV. He had been in a highly successful sit com, the title of which I forget, Stacey & Geoff I think, and then a disastrous sketch show and a pundit for the soccer world cup coverage. He also gave some interviews where it was perceived that he was rather full of himself. Thus his unpopularity. There was also, for older fans of Dr Who, the alarming memory of the stunt casting that took place in the last few seasons of the show (comdians, personalities etc) so that alarms were raised.
fwiw, I think he's great as Craig.
Tumas-Muscat
13. ron smith
I liked this episode, but mainly because I really like the character of Craig. What I like most about him is that, even though he was inside the Doctor's head in "The Lodger", and thus really knows more about him than any other companion ever has, he is still amazed, startled, and frieghtened when appropriate by all the weird events surrounding a visit by the Doctor. This makes a very nice contrast to the way so many other characters, companions or not, seem to be little phased, if at all, by encountering aliens, monsters, etc. This tendency is not as bad this season as it was in previous, but I still find it annoying.

Now, as to what is happening next week, I think I have it worked out, in fact I am so sure that I am not going to say what my theory is because it would be complete spoilers if I am right.
I will say that "The Girl Who Waited" is the key episode in explaining what happens. That and the Doctor's age.

One thing I wonder is: does Craig know the Doctor's real name as a result of their 'mind-meld' in "The Lodger"?
Tumas-Muscat
14. Puff the Magic Commenter
a-j@12: Ah. Omnipresense + egotism. Gotcha. So he's kind of like the British Ricky Gervais. :-D
Tumas-Muscat
16. Pendard
I definitely agree with Teresa's review -- this episode's plot was a little too much like "The Lodger" and I didn't buy the Love Conquers All ending nearly as much in this episode as I did in "The Lodger." It isn't unprecedented that certain people have strong enough minds to overcome Cyber conversion, I just don't think Craig is one of them.

Regarding the Doctor being Flesh... I'm sure that Flesh will play into this somehow (why else leave the door open to the Flesh Doctor returning) but I doubt the Doctor who was killed was Flesh. First of all, could a Flesh Doctor regenerate? Second, the Flesh Doctor doesn't know that he is destined to die on the beach -- Amy only told the real Doctor that. Third, Canton specifically ruled out the possibility that this Doctor could be a duplicate in "The Impossible Astronaut." Ultimately, it would be a massive cop out for the Doctor who dies to be a Flesh duplicate, and I think Steven Moffat is a good enough writer to realize it.

@shalter (#1): I was surprised that there wasn't more of a mention of what the Doctor has been doing in the 194 years since he dropped off Amy and Rory (assuming that he was telling the truth about being 1103 years old in the beginning of "The Impossible Astronaut"). Presumably the adventure with the Cavaliers and the Nazi prison camp escape happened during that period, not to mention a few more adventures with River ("Easter Island" and "Jim the Fish"). But that's not a lot to go on.

@Shihaya (#6): I don't think the Silence needs adult River who kills the Doctor -- she's programmed to kill him on sight, she just hasn't succeeded yet. She tried both times she saw him -- as a child (she reached out her arm to shoot him but Amy fired a gun at her) and as a "teenager" (in "Let's Kill Hitler") so they're trying again now.

@Beren (#8): I don't think the Doctor's death could be the next day for Craig -- it's just the next day for the Doctor. I believe "The Lodger" was set in 2010 because the Van Gogh exhibit in "Vincent and the Doctor" was in 2010 and you can see a flyer for it on Craig's fridge in "The Lodger." A few years must have passed since then for Craig, during which he dated Sophie, got engaged, moved, got married and had a kid that is at least a few months old. It's probably been at least a year or two since the Doctor dropped Amy and Rory off (their time). And he probably dropped them off at the end of the summer of 2011 since they said they had been waiting all summer in their own time for him to find Melody in "Let's Kill Hitler."

@ron smith (#13): Now I'm curious what your theory is! And, no, I don't think Craig could learn the Doctor's name from the mind meld, since Madame de Pompadour couldn't learn it from a mind meld in "The Girl in the Fireplace."
Daniel Goss
17. Beren
Obligatory Douglas Adams reference:
I seem to remember there being something in the Hitchhiker's Guide about "if the Ultimate Question and the Ultimate Answer are ever both know, the universe will be destroyed and replaced with something even more inexplicable." I also seem to remember that there are those who believe this has already happened. More than once.
-Beren
Tumas-Muscat
18. ron smith
WARNING: Possible Spoilers

MY THEORY:
In "The Girl Who Waited" an older Amy dies so the younger Amy can continue her life, which results in the older Amy never existing. But still in some timey-wimey sense she must have existed or younger Amy would not have escaped.
So I think Moffit is going to do basically the same thing for the Doctor. An older Doctor will die at Lake Silencio so younger Doctor can go on about his business, which will result in older Doctor never having existed in a conventional sense, though he did in a timey-wimey sense.

If I am right I find this a little disapointing, I can see better ways it could have been done, but all the clues I have seen have led me to think this is what Moffit is going to do.

End of Spoilers
Sky Thibedeau
19. SkylarkThibedeau
Well one is 42 and the other is what is the meaning of life the Universe and everything. I guess the Doctor will meet his predecessor and Romana in 'The City of Death'.
Tumas-Muscat
20. Pendard
@ron smith (#18): I like your theory, and I wouldn't be disappointed by that.

My hope, since the beginning of the season, is that the Doctor does in fact die on the beach and his body is really burned but because of the circumstances it isn't the end of his existence. The Doctor has occasionally traveled into metaphysical realms outside space and time (in "The Mind Robber," for example). Maybe to solve this particular problem, the story requires the Doctor to travel beyond death, and he's so clever that it isn't necessarily a one-way trip. Maybe there's a way to really die and survive anyway, other than hitting the time travel "reset button" or having the Doctor turn out to be a duplicate. I live in hope.
Tumas-Muscat
21. Drachasor
The only big problem I had with this episode was the ending of the episode's plot. The "killed them with love" thing was really, really contrived. They even tried to hang a lantern on it and be funny, but that felt really flat to me. It just struck me as a complete Deus Ex Machina.

As for the complicated plot to kill the Doctor. Well, killing him obviously isn't easy. Sticking a friend in some complicated suit doesn't strike me as an insane idea -- it is extra distracting -- and maybe the suit is enhanced by River's bits of Time Lord DNA. There are lots of other good ideas about the psychology of the whole operation too. In the end, Moffat is pretty good at this stuff, so I think he can pull it off well. Time will tell.
Tumas-Muscat
22. Pendard
@Drachasor (#21): Agreed, about the end of the episode -- it seemed contrived. More than anything, it felt like they were trying to replicate the ending of "The Lodger." But in that case it made sense that Craig's love for Sophie could save the day. This time, not so much.
Teresa Jusino
23. TeresaJusino
I love all the theories popping up! Pendard and ron smith have some awesome ideas! :)

Also, ron smith @13, I hadn't even thought of Craig knowing the Doctor's name because of the mind-meld, but it's quite possible! Pendard @16 mentions Madame de Pompadour, but who's to say she didn't know his name? She never had a reason to use it, nor did she know that it was something that other people didn't know. If you're given a whole bunch of info through a mind meld, the person's name with whom you're melding would be a seemingly obvious and meaningless piece of information.

And The Doctor has said that there's only one way in which he could've told River his name. What if his name can only be revealed through a mind-meld? Just a totally half-baked theory, but what if once you assume your mantle as a Time Lord (The Doctor, The Master, etc), your name/identity gets pushed back into your subconscious, and the only way to reveal your name is to mind meld with someone. If that's the case, only a couple of people (including Reinette and Craig) know his name. With all his lives/regenerations, what if the only way The Doctor can remember his own name is when someone reminds him of it, which could be what River did in "Silence in the Library."

THE NAME TAG! I just thought of this, but The Doctor, when he gets that job in the toy store, points to the tag and says something like "they gave me this to remind me of my name in case I forget it. Which happens sometimes." He needs reminding of his name sometimes. That might not have just been a joke.

I guess we'll find out if River mind melds with The Doctor somehow in the next episode! :)
Tumas-Muscat
24. Pendard
@TeresaJusino (#23): Actually, Madame de Pompadour does make a reference to the Doctor's name suggesting she hasn't learned it in the mind meld: "Doctor. Doctor who? It's more than just a secret, isn't it?"
Teresa Jusino
25. TeresaJusino
Pendard @24 - Ah. I need to watch that scene again. It's been a while.

In any case, the thing you bring up about his name being central to all of this seems to be proving more and more true. The name tag bit seems like a moment similar to the moment in "Flesh and Stone" when The Doctor returns to Amy wearing a different jacket. A small thing that's indicative of a larger thing.
Stephanie Padilla
26. DN10
I've got a completely different theory as to how the Doctor's going to survive. It's pure speculation, so no clue how likely it is.

One of the promos for this half of the season was of the Doctor's dead, skeletal hand with his screwdriver signalling slowly. Perhaps he told River -- older River -- his River -- to find his remains, and explained to her how to go about resurrecting other Time Lords. That would solve Moffat's problem -- and the problem of the fixed point in time -- since the Doctor would genuinely be dead. It just wouldn't be a permanent death. It also might explain why future -- well, now present -- Doctor hasn't got his TARDIS with him. He might have given/lent it to older River, so she could save him. I'm guessing it would be necessary to use the TARDIS' medical facilities in order to resurrect him successfully.
Tumas-Muscat
27. Pendard
@DN10 (#26): That's a possibility! The Doctor does talk to River for a relatively long time on the beach before she kills him. The Doctor has Canton bring gasoline so his companions can burn his body. The Master's body was burned in "Last of the Time Lords," and he was resurrected in "The End of Time." The Master has to absorb the lives of his followers to make it possible, but the Doctor has already absorbed all of River's lives so maybe that qualifies. In fact, this theory seems very possible...
Tumas-Muscat
28. AlBrown
A good episode, I like the more lighthearted episodes. And I especially love it when Doctor Who speaks 'baby' and what they come up with. (Stormageddon, brilliant!)
Once again, though, an episode with a short 'story arc' segment grafted onto the end, rather artificially in my opinion. I wish they would either integrate the story arc more naturally into the episodes, or just let the episodes stand by themselves a bit more.
Looks like they want to pack quite a bit into the next episode, what with Romans and pyramids and steam trains and Winston Churchill, and Silents, and universal eyepatch wearing and all. Kind of an 'everything but the kitchen sink' episode like "A Good Man Goes to War," I guess, and if they handle it all as well as they did in that episode, it will be fun!
Chris Meadows
29. Robotech_Master
I wonder if the eyepatch is the key to remembering you've seen the Silence? Something about the image not being seen directly with the optic nerve that's covered, but the information still getting to the brain somehow? Or something like that?

That would be why Kovarian wears it, and might be why River wears it in the next episode.
Bernadette Durbin
30. dexlives
Robotech_Master: I've also seen it postulated that the eyepatch has a continual image of the Silence on it so you can't look away.

Also, somebody mentioned that "Stormaggedon" could also be a pun on "Oncoming Storm", so maybe that baby knows who HE wants to be like when he grown up.
marian moore
31. mariesdaughter
I like the theories of #18 and #26. In the interviews that I've seen, Moffet is very definite in saying that the Doctor himself was shot--not a facsilme. The only other idea that I could come up with is that we go forward from here with a "flesh" Doctor. And while, Amy was shamed by her bias against "the flesh", I don't think that the audience will accept a "flesh" Doctor--even if they are essentially the same.

I have a question about the timeline. The River Song at the end has just gotten her doctorate. Wasn't there an episode where she had not received it as yet? I remember Amy or Rory letting that out and she coo'ed "Oh, I'm going to be a professor." In which case, has that River Song already had her affair with the Doctor and we missed the entire thing because this show jumped us 200 years forward? (If so, bummer) The thing is--this River Song did not appear to have the brass of the one that we met in earlier episodes. She behaves more like a perpetual student who remained in the 51st century at that college we saw her at earlier. Is this an alternative River Song?
Tumas-Muscat
32. Pendard
@mariesdaughter (#31): She was called Professor River Song in "Silence in the Library," so the Doctor introduces her to Amy as a professor in "The Time of Angels." At that point in her timeline she's already a doctor and not a professor, so she gets excited. However, we haven't seen her before she was a doctor yet, except in "Let's Kill Hitler."
Tumas-Muscat
33. sofrina
@2 - isn't the cybermen's scan confirmation that the doctor is not human? isn't he incompatible because he's gallifreyan? i thought he actually mentioned that to craig. the inventor of cybermen was a dying human.
Kristen Templet
34. SF_Fangirl
A Fox@2. Great point. I noticed the Cybermen said that but I thought it was because he was a Time Lord. It makes more sense that he's flesh that could suddenly become a liquid mess on the floor if whatever connection that maintains his self image is lost.

I did wonder if being flesh is why he knows he's dying tomorrow. He's has a time machine; he can delay these things. Has the flesh reached the end of its lifetime and will die anyway so he's choosing to do it in the way history/time/fate decrees possibly in place of the non-flesh Doctor?
Kristen Templet
35. SF_Fangirl
So ... I found this a funny episode, but it had too little plot. "Stormageddon" and the Doctor's replies to "Stormy" were great. But 25 minutes in (the normal end point for a sitcom!) I took a look at the clock and wondered if the episode was almost over.

Also beating the Cybermen with parental love was okay, but they were way too lucky. It could have been improved if the Doctor had caused Craig to hear his son's cries, but the fact the Craig/they were almost killed by barely competent Cybermen except for the luck of a security camera was pretty lame. The Doctor was completely incompetent in saving the day against four or five very weak Cybermen.

I find myself concerned for next week. I sure hope the finale can live up to the hype, but there's a lot of loose ends to tie up. I fear that it will be too much to handle in an hour, but I do want most of them cleared up by the end of the episode. I hate for it to end without answers to most of our questions.
Tumas-Muscat
36. AI
I just can not express to you all how happy I am to listen to you all and all your well considered thoughts. I have been dedicated to The Flesh idea but thought it too obvious for Moffet. I like some of your ideas so much better.

Thanks
Ashe Armstrong
37. AsheSaoirse
I had a discussion about this episode and a current trend in New Who with a fellow fan last night on a message board I frequent. He posited that this whole "the answer is FEELINGS" thing needs to go and that, aside from season six of Buffy (where it was actually quite appropriate), you NEVER saw that while the Slayer was slaying. What happened to reversing the polarity of the neutron flow? When he brought this point up, I realized I wasn't being as critical as the episodes as I should. I wouldn't have put up with that in Buffy but Matt Smith just charms me to no end, ESPECIALLY if children are involved. Damn it, Eleven, stop making me ignore big flaws because you're charming and eccentric!

Also, I'm as worried as everyone else about how this will all play out. Furthermore, things with River just got awful. I've been hesitant to say so but they really did get bad this season. Nonsensical even. And top that off, the Doctor joins back up with Amy and Rory after LOSING baby Melody and you can hardly tell there had even been a child. I'm disappointed. Course, I'm disappointed that River really did go to prison for killing the Doctor and was the little girl the whole time. I blame you guys for that haha.
F Shelley
38. FSS
One item I noticed tonight while rewatching...the name of the perfume in Amy's ad is "petrichore" (sp?). Perhaps Amy isn't as over the Doctor as her pertrayal in last week's show and her perfume's tagline suggest. After all, her scent is the smell of dust after rain...
Dave Bell
39. DaveBell
I think we need to take into account both The Impossible Astronaut and Let's Kill Hitler in any solution. Both involve The Doctor dying, killed by Melody/River. The previous meetings (in show-time) don't put River into killer mode. so something must have switched that off.

We could assume that the different physical form of the Doctor has that effect, and there is also the possibility of a different regeneration, but River Song has seen the current version of the Doctor before. Perhaps The Silence are a glitch in the re-booted universe.

And then there is the curious incident of the Doctor in Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails. There he is dying, and he wastes personal time on that costume change.

I reckon the Flesh Doctor is involved. We know that two time-separated versions of Amy cannot be sustained, but the Flesh Doctor is a different sort of duplicate person. That rather dazzling move/counter-move sequence between the Doctor and River could be explained by the Flesh Doctor acting as a messenger through time.

And maybe the Top Hat Doctor is the Flesh Doctor, who is no longer a Flesh Doctor once he receives River's Regeneration Energy. Which gives us the potential for two Doctors, with different personal histories, and that's really going to complicate River's timeline.
Ashe Armstrong
40. AsheSaoirse
My problem with the Flesh Doctor explanation is that the Flesh Doctor disappated himself along with the other ganger to kill the ganger monster. Or did I miswatch that scene?
Ashley Fox
41. A Fox
:O The Flesh theories just keep on growing! There is now a Flesh air hostess in the rather bizarre ad for Virgin airways. LMAO
Andrew Love
42. Andy Love
Craig and Sophie are not married - Craig tells the store clerk that they thought about it, but decided against it. Although, at first it appears that Craig is going along with the store clerk's misapprehension that he and the Doctor are a couple, but it becomes clear that he isn't, so he must be talking about himself and Sophie.
Ursula L
43. Ursula
Teresa wrote:

THE NAME TAG! I just thought of this, but The Doctor, when he gets that job in the toy store, points to the tag and says something like "they gave me this to remind me of my name in case I forget it. Which happens sometimes." He needs reminding of his name sometimes. That might not have just been a joke.

The name tag didn't just say "The Doctor."

It said "The Doctor. Here to help." Intended by the store, no doubt to establish that the staff are to help customers.

But the Doctor is not merely being reminded that he's the Doctor. He's being reminded that he's here to help.

At the beginning of the episode, he's been running, and he's trying desperately not to help, but to run away and have exciting, distracting, glorious fun.

But he can't help himself. He's the Doctor, and he's here to help. And he needed to reconnect with that part of his identity, in order for the story arc to move to this season's conclusion.

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