The Doctor is checking in with his friends before heading to his date with an
astronaut. But when he realizes people are disappearing in Craig Owens' neighborhood, he can't help but try and fix things one last time. And in
the future, River Song's life is about to fly out of her control again...
by Gareth Roberts
Directed by Steve Hughes
Craig Owens and Sophie, last seen in "The Lodger," have a child, Alfie,
or as The Doctor insists he refers to himself, "Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All."
The Doctor comes for a friendly visit, but he notices electrical fluctuations in
the whole neighborhood, and the local paper mentions a number of mysterious
disappearances, he chooses to remain and try to help. He discovers that a
Cyberman spaceship has started kidnapping customers from the local department
store, and Cybermats are responsible for siphoning the energy. He
eventually realizes the ship is not in space, but underground - the ship crashed
centuries ago, and was only recently revived, and is attempting to repair
itself. The Doctor, Craig and Stormageddon must find a way to defeat the
Cybermen in a way that won't destroy the fashionable shopping district directly
From the second series on, the episode before the finale has been both the
double-booked "Doctor Lite episode" and the "funny episode." Well, it's
scarcely short on The Doctor, but it's certainly funny as all get out. James Corden and Matt Smith do a great double act, and they play it expertly. The balance between the wackiness of the premise and The Doctor's knowledge that
it may be his last adventure works well.
GUEST STAR REPORTJames Corden (Craig) - Since appearing in last year's episode The
Lodger, Corden appeared in The One Ronnie, a sketch show tribute to
famous British comedian Ronnie Corbett. His animated short film The
Gruffalo was nominated for an Oscar, and he's now playing the narrator in
the cartoon series Little Charley Bear.
Daisy Haggard (Sophie) - Daisy, sadly, barely appears in the episode,
but don't feel bad, she's been quite busy. She was in the second series of
Psychoville, created and starring the membesr of the League of Gentlemen that
aren't Mark Gatiss. She provided the voice for the elevator in the Harry Potter
films, and had a semi-regular role in Matt LeBlanc's comedy series
THE MONSTER FILES -
One of The Doctor's eldest enemies, The Cybermenwere first
seen in William Hartnell's last episode, "The Tenth Planet." They were
originally from the planet Mondas, originally part of the solar system — a
twin to Earth, but torn from its orbit millennia ago. Without a sun to
warm it, the people first moved underground, then began replacing aging and
dying parts with artificial replacements, eventually becoming far more
mechanical than organic. The Doctor destroyed Mondas as it made its way
back to Earth to rob it of its energy, losing his (first) life in the process. Another planet, Telos, became their base for many more years and adventures, and
was the home of the eponymous "Tomb of the Cybermen."
The Cybermen met by The Doctor in the new series were from a parallel
universe, and were created on Earth by inventor John Lumic, as seen in "Rise
of the Cybermen." Most of the Cybermen seen since then were of this
parallel Earth-borne variety. However, the ones seen this season are
somewhat in question. They resemble the parallel universe model, but
without the Cybus "C" logo. We've seen a cyberlegion in the 51st century,
and the ship from this episode crashed centuries ago. So unless the parallel
Cybermen have access to time-travel technology, they may be our universe's
models, and the similarity between the two could be hand-waved off in the same
way they've never given us an explanation why the Klingons in the original Star
Trek didn't have that ridge the ones in the films do.
We've seen exactly one old-school Cyberman in the new series, or the head of
one, in Henry van Statten's personal horde in "Dalek."
Cybermats, the infiltrators of the Cybermen, were first seen in "Tomb
of the Cybermen," and took a number of different forms in their various
adventures. In "Revenge of the Cybermen," their bite was deadly, but in the
recent (and in continuity) videogame adventure "Blood of the Cybermen," the
bite turned people into Cyberslaves.
BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS - Trivia and production details
ARE YOU BEING SERVED? - The Doctor's first adventure in the new series
also took place around a department store — "Rose" dealt with an Auton
invasion, animating mannequins in a local shop.
PETRICHOR - FOR THE GIRL WHO'S TIRED OF WAITING - Petrichor is the
word for "The smell of dust after rain," part of the code given to Amy and Rory
back in "The Doctor's Wife." Neil Gaiman has made reference to the
scent and the phrase in American Gods. The term
was created in 1964 by two Australian scientists to describe the specific smell
after rain when plant oils, absorbed into dry ground, are released after a
At the beginning of "The Five Doctors," the companions visit The Eye of
Orion, hailed as the most tranquil spot in the universe. They comment on
the sweet smell of the air, it being like after a thunderstorm. The Doctor
attributes it not to oils in the ground, but to the high number of positive ions
in the air.
And when you go back and re-watch the episode, you'll realize that there's a dirty great banner on the front of the store for the scent as well, mostly
hidden in shadow.
"You've redecorated... I don't like it" - It's what the Second Doctor
said to the Third when he saw the new look of the TARDIS control room in "The
"The alignment of Exidor" - Aside from the character on Mork and
Mindy. it's also very close to "Exit Door," which is also what he's heading
"I checked upstairs when we moved in, it's real" - In "The Lodger,"
Craig's last home had an upper floor that was a spaceship, one that turned out
to be identical to the one used by The Silence.
"I am through saving them" - There's a lot of bookending to "The
Impossible Astronaut" here — there, after spitting out the wine, he says, "I
thought I'd never be through saving you."
"In case I forget who I am. Very thoughtful, as that does happen" -
Regeneration is a typical time of memory lapse. The Seventh Doctor
suffered from temporary amnesia (with the help of a drug from The Rani) after
his regeneration in "Time and the Rani," and naturally after his next
regeneration in the Fox TV movie. The whole crew of the TARDIS got amnesia
back in "The Edge of Destruction." And in "Human Nature," he used the
Chameleon Arch to erase and replace his memories as a way to hide from his
"The robot dog... not as much fun as I remember." -
Oh, do I really have to say?"Why is none of this on the front page?" Two very interesting things
are, however — one, note the date of the paper: April 19th, 2011, three days
before The Doctor is to die. Two, next to the headline, a smaller
unrelated story about a railway terminal, titled "End of the line"?
"I know where it's safest, and it's right next to you" - Craig has yet
to see The Doctor fail, and so his devotion to, and trust in him is that of a
new Companion, still dazzled by what he's seen, and the rush of his first save.
"He always needs someone, he just can't admit it" - Different
Companions (Partners?) seem to have a different opinion of The Doctor and their
relationship with him. Donna Noble saw herself as "Someone to Stop" The
Doctor, to keep him from going too far — she brought him around to give the
Racnoss mercy, and to save just one family from Vesuvius. Rory's mindset
has been more cynical, from his earlier observation that his companions try to
"impress" the Doctor, to his most recent comments that he's trying to force
impossible choices on him, "Turning me into you." The Doctor's own opinion
this season has been even more cynical, bordering on self loathing. Craig
tries to get him to give himself a break, but at this point, The Doctor simply
BIG BAD REPORT /CLEVER THEORY DEPARTMENT -
There's an absolute issue with dates in this story that need some analysis. The paper on Craig's table is from the 19th, two days pass during the course of
the story, ending on the 21st, when The Doctor clearly states that he will die
The Doctor sees Amy and Rory in a shop on what must be April 20th two days
before he is to die. At first glance, one must assume that this is the Amy
and Rory from before the events of this season; after the events of "The Big
Bang," but before "The Impossible Astronaut." We know that the
pair hadn't heard from The Doctor for two months by that time - whether or not
that means their wedding, or includes any later pops by to visit we don't know.
So it's entirely possible enough time would have passed to invent and market a
scent that has become popular enough to warrant getting her autograph.
Small problem — the Amy from before the events of this season is not
acquainted with the term "Petrichor." If she was, she'd have recognized
it when Idiris used it.
Now there's no issue with The Doctor going back a day or two to get the
letters in the post in time for them to arrive a day or two ago. Heck, he got
one to Canton in America, one to River on Stormcage and himself on the TARDIS,
so that's scarcely a problem. However, by the 20th, Amy and Rory should
have already gotten his letter and be heading off to meet him (as seen in "The
Impossible Astronaut"). So they shouldn't even be here.
The only possible explanation (based on the information we have) is that this
is the Amy and Rory from after the recent series' events, who were brought back
to Earth a fair period of time before they left for America, which may also
explain why The Doctor bought them a new house and car; to keep themselves out
of their own way. My initial guess from last week was that he brought them
back after the time of his death seems to be losing ground.
Of course, there's also the fact that Sophie is meant to be away for "the
weekend", but the story takes place between (Tuesday) April 19 and (Thursday)
In "The Impossible Astronaut," The Doctor claimed he was 1103 years old,
a little under two centuries older than the age the not dead Doctor says he is. Like David Tennant's last few episodes, we have no idea how much time, indeed
how many years, have passed between last episode and this one for him.
NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO -
And it all comes to this. "The Wedding of River Song" on Oct. 1.
Vinnie Bartilucci would have taken a more powerful and frightening
name as a baby, but can't think of a more power and frightening name than
"Vinnie Bartilucci".. His blog
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