Doctor Who: 612 “Closing Time” Review
The God Complex took Doctor Who to some dark and strange places, so it’s not really surprising that things are dialed down a notch this week before we head into the big finale. Despite the presence of the Cybermen, Closing Time is a fun and light-hearted romp, for the most part.
200 years have passed since the conclusion of the last episode and the Doctor’s time is running out. He decides to pay an old friend a visit as part of his ‘farewell tour’. That friend is his one-time flat mate Craig Owens (James Corden). Since their last encounter, Craig has moved into a new place with Sophie (Daisy Haggard) and is a now a father to their baby, Alfie, aka Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All.
The Doctor notices something strange is going on with the town’s electricity and, try as he might, he can’t help but look into it. The Time Lord ends up going undercover in a toy shop when he finds out that workers are mysteriously disappearing and there are reports of a ‘silver rat’ on the loose. It’s not long before the Doctor discovers the real reason behind it all and stumbles upon the Cybermen’s latest scheme to convert the population of earth.
It’s safe to say, if you liked The Lodger, then you are going to enjoy this episode. If not, you are unlikely to be converted, if you’ll excuse the pun. Matt Smith and James Corden had great chemistry together before and it is replicated here again. Gareth Roberts script is very funny and there are plenty of laugh out loud moments. From the duo’s banter, to the Doctor translating baby speak; to Craig getting into a pickle in the ladies underwear store.
Linda Baron is also fun as Val, another store assistant. Her character gets the wrong end of the stick when the Doctor debates if Craig is his companion or partner, leading to some humourous moments later on. Daisy Haggard returns as Sophie, but sadly only appears briefly and doesn’t have much to do here. After her great turn in The Lodger, this is disappointing.
The main threat comes in the form of the Cybermen though, truth be told, they don’t feature for that long. The Doctor’s old foes are kept to the background for most of the episode whilst the antics of Craig and The Doctor take most of the screen time. They remain a creepy presence lurking in the shadows until they reveal themselves at the end. You can’t help but wish they had more of a focus though given their status in the Whoniverse.
It has to be said that the resolution to the episode is definitely one of the weaker points. Without going in to detail, this particular solution has been overused lately and something more inventive would have been nice this time.
Making up for that somewhat, the episode ends with a couple of incredible scenes that will have you wishing you had a TARDIS to skip forward a week. A big lingering question that was asked in The Impossible Astronaut is finally answered and enemies put their plans into the final phase…
This episode certainly won’t be for everyone and is sure to divide opinion, but perhaps it’s just the breather that was needed before things get serious in the mind-bending finale.