For all that “Closing Time” was a stand-alone, companion-less episode (“filler,” as I’ve seen it called online), I really liked it. The Cybermen plotline seemed rather secondary to me, but I think it showed a great deal about the Doctor. I juxtapose it against “Waters of Mars,” which was the stand-alone, companion-less episode before the Tenth Doctor’s regeneration, and the contrast between the two is stark. In his desperation, the Tenth Doctor turns into the Time Lord Victorious; the Eleventh Doctor, though facing what he views as his final death (not just regeneration) and fighting a desire to squeeze in as much as possible before he dies, seems to be quintessentially Doctor-y: talking a thousand miles a minute, conversing with children, saving the world, caring for his friends, continually getting distracted. He is aware that he will die, and that knowledge makes him feel very old at times, but he approaches death in a way different from he has in the past.
It’s good to see that Craig and Sophie are still together! They’re very cute. The Doctor on a “social call” — he’s so lacking in the people skills department. And the Cybermen are back. Seriously? I’ve had enough of them. They always come mucking about, threatening characters I care about and trying to destroy the world (because converting everyone to Cybermen would, in my opinion, ruin the world).
Poor Craig, the self-proclaimed instinct-less Dad. “He prefers to be called ‘Stormaggeon, Dark Lord of All.” The Doctor talking to babies is hilarious: “You can’t just call him ‘Not-Mum.'” The Doctor’s still running. A little manic. He knows his end is almost here. And Craig has clearly spent time with the Doctor: “You’ve got your noticing face on. I have nightmares about that face.”
“Can you do that shushing thing again?” “It only works once, and only on lifeforms with underdeveloped brains.” The best part is that it works on non-babies. I wish I could do that. And then the Doctor arguing with himself, trying not to save the world, and it’s so obvious that he’s not going to leave.
The Doctor entertaining the children is adorable. Then Craig standing up to the Doctor, trying to protect his baby. And the Doctor is surprisingly endearing without the jacket. It makes him look especially skinny, and the suspenders stand out even more.
“Craig, take Alfie and go.”
“No. I remember, from last time, people got killed. People who didn’t know you. I know where is safest for me and Alfie, and that’s right next to you.”
“Is that so?”
“You always win! You always survive.”
“Those were the days.”
“People like it when you’re with a baby. Babies are sweet. People talk to you. That’s why I usually take a human with me.” “So I’m your baby?” “You’re my baby.” Oh, the Doctor is ridiculous. And the way the co-worker thinks the Doctor and Craig are together, and he doesn’t realize it, so he debates “partner” versus “companion.”
Poor Craig is so painfully awkward as he tries to get information. Then the Doctor to the rescue. And the shush once again. “Stormie thinks you should believe in yourself more.” Then Amy and Rory appear, and I feel so terrible for the Doctor. The gorgeous photo of Amy and the line “for the girl who’s tired of waiting.” They’ve really done well for themselves in the Doctor’s absence. As much as they love the Doctor, they seem to actually be connected to non-Doctor-related Earth in a way that the other companions haven’t been. Perhaps it’s partly because this regeneration of the Doctor doesn’t have as many connections to people?
“It’s a sonic screwdriver! Sonic equals sound.” Good point. And then the Cyber mat, which of course the Doctor thinks is cute . . . until it turns out to have huge teeth, and Craig flips out. Not that I blame him, especially since his baby is so close to it.
“Save the tears for later, boyo.” The Doctor trying to comfort Stormie by telling him everything he has to look forward to (mortgage repayments and a nine-to-five) . . . and then it fails a little. The Doctor with the baby is so sweet. And then he changes the stars, and it looks so cool. “Alfie, why is there a sinister beeping behind me?” And the Doctor tells Alfie to run, even as he runs with Alfie (seriously, I think he just likes saying “run”). “Don’t worry, I have an app for that.”
The Doctor being so bitter and old, so self-loathing. And Craig trying to tell him how ridiculous that is. Then the Doctor almost tells Craig that he will die tomorrow, but Craig is asleep. Poor Doctor, he so rarely has anyone to really listen to him. My heart goes out to him.
“He needs someone. He always needs someone: he just won’t admit it.” Right in one. The Doctor does not do well by himself.
“Oh, please, just give me this.” (“Everybody lives,” anyone?) And Craig hears Alfie and manages to fight off the Cybermen. Once again, love and emotion win out. Like in the Churchill episode with the Daleks. And the Doctor uses his time to restore the house so that Craig isn’t in trouble with Sophie, which is sweet, especially with Craig’s reaction. People always have been the most important to the Doctor. The Doctor goes to his execution. And Craig is left better than before — the house is spotless, and Alfie is proud of his father . . . and Alfie’s first word is “Doctor.”
River studying the Doctor (is this the youngest we’ve seen of her?). Madame Kovarian and the Silence capture her, on the day she becomes a Doctor. Oh, River.