by Catriona Mills

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Six: "Closing Time"

Posted 3 October 2011 in by Catriona

Back to your previously scheduled Monday-night, slightly delayed live-blogging. I really must come up with a more permanent solution for next season: I’m thinking about the options as we speak.

Well, no: not as we speak. But at other moments, when I’m not distracted by slightly delayed live-blogging.

We open outside a shop called Sanderson and Granger, where mysterious flickerings are occurring in the lights, and the sales assistant is whinging that her telly went off in the middle of Top Model last night. But she’s sent off to meet her boyfriend while her manager does the changing rooms.

Elsewhere, Sophie (from “The Lodger”) is being sent off to have a bit of a well-deserved rest, while Craig tells her she doesn’t need to label the food.

The changing rooms are a mess, which is no surprise.

Craig rings his mother to tell her that he can cope perfectly well without Sophie. But it seems a good thing that the Doctor has just turned up on his doorstep. He tells Craig that he doesn’t like the way they’ve redecorated (it’s a new house) and then freaks out that Craig isn’t on his own as he said he was.

Craig tries desperately to stop the Doctor opening a door.

The manager worries about mysterious noises in the changing rooms.

The Doctor wakes Craig’s baby—and hands up who saw that coming?

The manager is eaten by a Cyberman (well, sort of), and hands up who saw that coming? Okay, that’s a lie: I didn’t see that coming.


Craig’s baby is rather adorable. And Craig is completely freaking out, because he can’t cope with the baby. But the Doctor can (he has, after all, been a father and a grandfather), and Craig wants to be taught how to cope with babies.

DOCTOR: What did you call him? Will I blush?
CRAIG: No, we didn’t call him ‘The Doctor’.

The baby calls himself Stormaggedon, Dark Lord of All.

You may call me that from now on. I’ll settle for “Stormy”. Actually, no: we have an awesome administrative officer called Stormy. I wonder if her full name is Stormageddon?

There’s some babbling about how the Doctor is being social and having a laugh, but, of course, as Craig points out, the Doctor has his “noticing face” on. But he doesn’t want to notice things, because he’s on his “farewell tour”. He shushes Craig (it’s a cute conceit, and I missed the first example of it), kisses Stormageddon, and leaves.

Next thing you know, he’s working in a toy shop, and being a big hit with the kiddies, including losing control of a toy helicopter.

It’s true: adults love lamps.

Well, I love lamps. And I’m adult. Chronologically, anyway.

DOCTOR: I’m the Doctor. I work in a shop now, and I’m here to help.

He introduces Craig to Yappy the robot dog (“Not as much fun as I remember”) and then a Cybermat runs across the floor. We don’t know it’s a Cybermat yet, but that doesn’t count as a spoiler, because it’s Monday.

It’s definitely a Cybermat.

And some people have been disappearing, though they’ve been bumped off the front page by a local girl who’s been kicked out off Britain’s Got Talent.

DOCTOR: But no one’s noticed yet, because they’re all too excited about Nina’s emotional journey, which, in all fairness, is quite inspiring.

There’s also lift-based banter (and, remember, lifts aren’t funny. George the cuckoo taught us that), and then Craig and the Doctor are in a mysteriously dark place, which the Doctor tries desperately to stop Craig from noticing.

DOCTOR: Because I love you.
CRAIG: You love me?
DOCTOR: Yes, Craig, it’s you. It’s always been you.

Then he offers to kiss Craig (“I’m a bit out of practice, but I’ve had some wonderful feedback”), but that’s not enough to stop Craig from noticing the Cybermen.

The Doctor wants Craig to leave, but Craig says that last time, people died, people who didn’t know the Doctor. He says the safest place to be is right next to the Doctor.

CRAIG: You always win.
DOCTOR: Those were the days.

But Craig’s faith is charming, despite the Doctor’s deliberate undercutting of Amy’s faith in him last episode, and the two of them head back into the shop to investigate, where they’re immediately mistaken for a couple by one of the Doctor’s co-workers.

DOCTOR: Partner. Yes. I like it. Is it better than companion?
SHOP ASSISTANT: Companion? Sounds a bit old-fashioned. No need to be coy these days.

The Doctor hears about the silver rat-thing (Cybermat!) and Craig gets mistaken for a pervert by asking a young shop assistant about lady’s wear.

Surely he can’t be that naive? Or can he?

After knocking over a rack of bras, Craig is rescued by the Doctor, who fortuitously hears about the missing supervisor, and they’re off to the changing room.

CRAIG: How do you do that? It’s a power, isn’t it? An alien power. I bet you exude some sort of weird alien gas that makes everyone love you.

After opening every possible curtain (“Sorry, madam! I’d try that in red if I were you!”), they find where Shona was snatched by a Cyberman, and then plan to stake out the shop to try and catch a Cybermat. But, first, they need to have a bit of a tiff, and Craig storms off while the Doctor rants about coincidence—just before turning round and seeing Amy (Rory trailing behind carrying the bags) giving a little girl an autograph.

Amy, it seems, is the new face of a perfume called “Petrichor” (“For the Girl Who’s Tired of Waiting”). That sounds like a nice scent to me, but then I’m currently wearing a perfume that smells like woodsmoke on my skin, so the smell of dust after rain seems quite appealing, and well suited to a Brisbane spring.

CRAIG: Can’t you put that on quiet?
DOCTOR: No. It’s a sonic screwdriver. Sonic means sound!

While I was ranting about perfume, the Doctor and Craig caught themselves a Cybermat, there was some moderately distasteful banter about Stormaggedon wanting a hot babysitter, and George was eaten by a Cyberman.

Well, not eaten, actually. Just killed and left on the floor.

And the Doctor takes a blow to the head, but is fortuitously rescued by George. No, not George. George is dead. Craig. He’s rescued by Craig.

He’s lucky to be alive (The Doctor, not George. He’s dead. And what’s with all the Georges in this show?), but the Cyberman’s arm was damaged and, since the Doctor’s not compatible, they’ve just left him on the floor and dragged George away.

Back at the base (Craig’s house), Craig nips down the shops and Stormaggedon starts crying. So the Doctor nips in to be completely adorable with him, thereby radically increasing Matt Smith’s female fan base.

DOCTOR: That was crabby. No, that was old. But I am old, Stormy. I am so old. So near the end. But you, Alfie Owens, you are so young. Aren’t you? And you know, right now, everything’s ahead of you. You could be anything. You could walk among the stars.

And then he turns Stormy’s star-light nursery decoration into a wonderful swirl of nebulas and real stars.

Seriously, that shot of the Doctor kissing Stormy will probably end up pinned to bedroom walls somewhere. And I say that as a woman who’s not particularly sentimental about babies. But it’s so damn sweet.

And then the Cybermat attacks.

The Doctor legs it out the back door with Stormy as Craig comes in the front door with the milk and it immediately attacked by the Cybermat.

So the Doctor sticks Alfie in the seat on the back patio and then throws himself through the glass kitchen doors, to the rising strains of the Doctor’s theme.

There’s much grappling with the Cybermat and some opportune jokes (“Don’t worry, I have an app for that”), and then the Cybermat is dead. This time, it’s definitely dead, whereas before it was playing possum.

You know, that baby’s awfully cute. Maybe that’s why the Doctor’s really beating himself up over the danger he’s just put them in.

DOCTOR: I am a stupid, selfish man. Always have been.

Craig tries to point out that the whole planet would have been fried without the Doctor, but the Doctor tells him that he’s going to die. The Doctor, not Craig. Tomorrow. The Doctor’s going to die tomorrow.

But Craig falls asleep in the middle of the Doctor’s soliloquy. And when he wakes up, the Doctor’s left a note on the fridge saying that he’s gone to stop the Cyberman.

Craig’s not thrilled about this, so he straps Stormy into his papoose and heads off after the Doctor, how’s currently trying out all his theories on himself, while randomly pressing walls until he finds the Cybermen’s ship.

Remind me not to try on any clothes in the changing room, just in case there’s a Cyberman behind the mirror.

Ooh, nice distance shot of the Cybership. And, of course, the Doctor lets himself right in. It’s a bit of a mess, though—I’ll have to remember that, in case Cybermen come in and tell me my house is a bit cluttered.

Craig leaves Stormy with the Doctor’s chatty co-worker, and dashes off into the changing room to help the Doctor.

Apparently, the ship has been re-awakened by the council’s plan to lay new power cables. Now that just goes to prove that the council shouldn’t bother doing any practical works at all. Just leave everything as it is, in case you wake up a Cybership.

The Doctor gives them a chance to deactivate themselves before he deactivates them, but he’s quickly over-powered (though fortunately not compatible for upgrade). Unfortunately, Craig (who has just burst into the Cybership) is compatible for conversion, and the Doctor’s best chance of stopping it has just been crushed by a Cyberman.

The Doctor talks frantically about his belief (in “all of you”—all humans or all people or all his companions?), but it looks as though the conversion is going ahead. And it is, until Alfie starts weeping and the noise comes through on the shop security cameras (though which, I assume, the Cybermen are looking for potential victims). And that noise triggers the emotion centres of Craig’s brain, which is only midway through the conversion process), and the Doctor does something clever and difficult to type, which basically means that the Cybermen and their ship are all destroyed by a baby’s screaming.

Well, we’ve all been there.

CRAIG: I blew them up with love.
DOCTOR: No, that’s impossible. And also grossly sentimental and over-simplified.

After a bit of casual shopping, Craig manages to accidentally use the Doctor’s staff discount.

SHOP ASSISTANT: It’s nice for baby to have two daddies who love each other.

Damn straight.

And then the Doctor disappears again, but only far enough to do all Craig’s house-cleaning for him, and also to repair the window that he’d smashed through.

DOCTOR: Even with time travel, getting glaziers on a Sunday—tricky.

After a bit of baby-related banter, the Doctor steps into his stoic persona, nicks Sophie’s familiar-looking, dark-blue stationery, and heads off to America, but only after Craig gives him a cowboy hat.

As Sophie knocks on the front door (she forgot her keys), the Doctor steps out the back door.

Just in time to miss Alfie’s first word (“Doctor”).

DOCTOR: Well then, old girl, one last trip, eh?

But he looks over from the TARDIS, and sees some kids. He heads over to them.

DOCTOR: Hey. I’m the Doctor. I was here to help. And you are very, very welcome.

He tips his hat, and he’s off.

And we’re with River, who’s wearing academic robes and reading accounts of the Doctor from the small children to whom he just tipped his hat. But she’s interrupted by the eyepatch-wearing woman from Demon’s Run, who congratulates River on her Ph.D (hence the robes) and tells her the story of the Doctor’s death. Because that story begins here, as we see as they force River into as astronaut’s suit, despite her struggles, and throw her into Lake Silencio to the sound of the eyepatch-wearing woman’s doggerel nursery rhyme.

Oh, well. That can’t possibly go wrong.

Can it?

Share your thoughts [17]


Matt wrote at Oct 3, 11:35 am

That was a pretty cute episode. I liked the idea of having the cybermen invade a shopping centre / mall and having baby Alfie / Stormaggedon along added to the juxtaposition. I thought it played on the way shopping centres have the facade of bright lights and happy bustling customer service, but behind it all are dark corridors, musty storerooms and dirty loading docks full of evil lurking cybermen. I can’t help but remember that the last few cybermen episodes involved a lot more carnage but in their debilitated state, these ones were ridiculously easy to beat (although the “think happy thoughts to defeat the bad guys” trope is getting a bit old)


Catriona wrote at Oct 3, 01:18 pm

I’m not a fan of “think happy thoughts to defeat the bad guys” and this ending also had a certain “just this once, Rose, everybody lives!” kind of feel to it, in the way the Doctor was urging Craig on. But it had some sweet moments and I did enjoy it overall.


Nick wrote at Oct 4, 11:24 pm

I may have retweeted this anecdote, but for those who don’t follow me, a funny note from the director of the episode:

The Cybermat was performed by the guy who played Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi. On the last day of shooting, he shouted “It’s a wrap!”

Oh, the lulz.


Tim wrote at Oct 5, 05:53 am

A light but very fun episode, let down by another ‘power of love’ ending (which was used for Craig’s first appearance too). And back to cheeriness despite Shona or George having died.

I know it’s a callback to ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, but Petrichor strikes me as a lousy name for a perfume (or a perfume company).

> The Cybermat was performed by the guy who played Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi.

He must be quite short.


Catriona wrote at Oct 5, 06:10 am

“Petrichor” is one of those things I could go either way on. Full disclosure: today I’m wearing a perfume called Terrestre (smells like woodsmoke). Yesterday’s perfume was called Page 47 (jasmine and vanilla). And last week’s perfume of choice was called Sierra Solid Gold, for no reason that I can tell, since it smells of frankincense and fir trees. So I might be a bit biased on perfume names, but I don’t mind Petrichor.

Except … it’s not the most euphonious name, and I suspect you’d have to know what it means to find it appealing.

I can’t make myself grieve for Shona, because she was just the Guy of the episode. I didn’t bond with her. But I quite liked George, and I was surprised by how little people seemed to care that he was dead—though, admittedly, the Doctor was not his usual self in this episode, and was even thinking of walking away from everything at one point, regardless of any possible deaths. Of course, he couldn’t do that in the end, but perhaps he was a little numbed by the inevitability of his death.

I’m thinking of suggesting to the BBC that they should do a charitable calendar of Matt Smith holding various babies, though.


Matt wrote at Oct 5, 06:50 am

Yeah, I thought Petrichor was a lead balloon too but I’d bet all the good names for perfume are taken. I was intrigued by that little snatch of the future Ms Williams ne Pond (or whatever she’s called now). Is she an actor now? Why did the little girl want her autograph? Maybe she’s in a hit TV series playing the part of a companion to a time traveling alien. Maybe they are going to do one of those Star Gate 100th episode plots where SG-1 had to investigate a TV show about a Star Gate that was almost identical to the “real” Star Gate.


Nick wrote at Oct 5, 06:57 am

I sometimes think the Doctor has to concentrate really hard to care about the random extras who get caught in the cross-fire when he turns up. The fourth Doctor could barely manage it at times, though the tenth was pretty good, though you could see the gears grinding when he did so.

Yeah, the power of TEH LOVEZ ending was a little tiresome, but I forgave them for it when the Doctor tried to contextualise it scientifically, then gave up.


Catriona wrote at Oct 6, 06:21 am

Oh, Matt: I imagine Amy is a model rather than an actress. She could be an actress, but then the reveal of the perfume ad. would be a bit of a letdown—they’d be better off showing us a film poster or a TV magazine. So I’m thinking model.


Nick wrote at Oct 6, 09:52 am

Oh! I think the implication is meant to be that she’s the creator of the perfume.


Catriona wrote at Oct 6, 11:00 am

That’s a good point. That option hadn’t even occurred to me. Oh, dear: what a bad feminist I am.


Tim wrote at Oct 6, 03:34 pm

I’m not a feminist, but I’d say the implication Nick draws is not the one most viewers would draw. I know I didn’t.


Catriona wrote at Oct 6, 08:33 pm

I suppose it is rather open-ended: Nick’s thinking of it in a kind of Karl Lagerfield way (he says: I couldn’t pick Karl Lagerfield out of a line-up), where the creator is also the face of the perfume. I assumed it was the more traditional form of advertising, where the pretty girl in the picture isn’t otherwise connected to the product.

But, in Nick’s defense, I will say that the name of the perfume and the advertising tagline do tend to support his reading rather than mine.


Tim wrote at Oct 8, 03:29 am

Well, I think the name and tagline provide more support for it being a quick, poorly-thought-through referential gag than either of the above readings. But that said, given that the name is a real word, and that the corresponding scent has been used in real perfumes, I think it’s more likely that Amy got a modelling gig with an existing product and maybe suggested a tagline that a marketing exec ran with than that she has created her own brand and company. (Perhaps she saw a call for models and thought ‘Petrichor! I know that word. That’s an appealing coincidence.’) As far as I can recall, we haven’t seen any evidence before that she has a strong background in either chemistry, commerce or marketing — I’m not sure we even know what she was studying, if anything.


Catriona wrote at Oct 8, 03:50 am

It being a quick, poorly-thought-through referential gag doesn’t actually negate our readings, though, since former is (for want of a better word) extradiegetic and the latter interdiegetic. Even if it’s a poor joke, we can still interpret it in light of the world of the show and the context of the episode.

I admit, I made the same comment to Nick about Amy seeming an unlikely perfumier, since it’s not exactly the world’s simplest hobby, but he tells me that he has some sort of external source from which he’s drawing his conclusion. I have no idea what that is, though.


Tim wrote at Oct 8, 06:56 am

I didn’t say it negated the readings.


Nick wrote at Oct 8, 07:01 am

My source is from Moffat’s Twitter account, where he indirectly contradicted a fan’s assumption that Amy was simply modelling for a campaign.


Catriona wrote at Oct 8, 07:02 am

My poor word choice, perhaps. I was merely thinking that it was more a situation of “both” than “either/or” (i.e., the tagline is clearly meant to work in-show as indicative of something and not just as a joke for the viewers).

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