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...CLOSING TIME
by Gareth Roberts
Directed by Steve HughesCraig 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 above it. 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 REPORT James 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 Episodes. THE MONSTER FILES - One of The Doctor's eldest enemies, The Cybermen were 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 rain. 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 Three Doctors." "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 for... "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 pursuers. "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 can't. 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 "tomorrow." 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) the 21st. 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 The Forty Year-Old Fanboy contains words and phrases in series, for the intent of providing entertainment. Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!