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Recap / Doctor Who S32 E12 "Closing Time"

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Just a little pit stop on the farewell tour...

"You've noticed something. You've got your noticing face on. I have nightmares about that face."
Craig Owens

Original air date: September 24, 2011

Production code: 2.12


Written by Gareth Roberts. The penultimate episode of the 2011 Doctor Who season. It is a Sequel Episode to the 2010 episode "The Lodger", bringing back Craig and Sophie.

Staff close up a contemporary department store at night, complaining of brief power flickers in the lights. One woman enters the changing rooms, appalled at the mess, but discovers someone still in one of the cubicles. She goes to open the door, telling them the store is closing up, but soon lets out a scream...

Craig now lives in a nice big house with his girlfriend Sophie and their baby boy Alfie. Sophie is not present for the weekend, leaving the baby with Craig. And although Craig insists he can be responsible, several of Sophie's friends and family call to check up on him, leaving him feeling quite unsure of himself as a father.

Someone knocks on his door, and Craig is surprised to find the Doctor there. He immediately suspects the Doctor is investigating something alien.note  The Doctor refutes this, and is only there to drop by and say hello. Why? No reason. He's just making a normal social call in Craig's normal house. That's what normal people do. After speaking to little Alfie and learning that the boy really wants to be called "Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All", the Doctor turns to leave as suddenly as he arrived.

Outside, the Doctor notices a brief flicker in the street lights. He tells himself he shouldn't investigate: he has spent the last two hundred years saying goodbye to friends and allies, knowing that he is destined to permanently die tomorrow in his relative timeline. But the lure of the mystery is too much for the Time Lord...

Craig takes Alfie with him shopping at the department store the next day, and is shocked to find the Doctor there, working in (where else?) the toy department. The kids love him. He's got a name badge and everything (just in case he forgets). The Doctor takes Craig aside, explaining that he's traced power fluctuations to the store, and has heard rumours of a "silver rat". While they investigate, Craig tries the same methods that the Doctor always uses: be bold, be confident, talk to everyone. He's immediately mistaken for a pervert. The baby doesn't help either, even though the Doctor claims that carrying a baby makes everyone act nice towards you. In fact, that's why he always takes a human along. The Doctor has to bail Craig out of a very awkward talk with the store's security guard, and everyone breathes a sigh of relief when they realise that Craig isn't a pervert — he's obviously just the Doctor's boyfriend.

As the two step into a lift, they quite suddenly find themselves transmatted onto a spaceship — one built by Cybermen hands. The Doctor's first instinct is to distract Craig from the approaching Cybermen by wrapping himself around Craig, declaring his passionate love for him and attempting to kiss him to prove it, all the while configuring his screwdriver behind Craig's back. Craig is just extremely confused and dodges, reminding the Doctor that he's already taken. With the Doctor's plan failing quite spectacularly, Craig inevitably notices where they are.

The Doctor quickly reverses the transmat before they are discovered, and disables the device. As Craig departs, the Doctor spots a familiar couple in the department store: Amy and Rory. He stops himself from going to see them and instead hides himself behind some underwear. The two are doing well: Amy has become a famous model for a line of perfume called Petrichor, a scent for "the girl who is tired of waiting".

That night, the Doctor and Craig sneak into the store after hours to track the "silver rat": a Cybermat. Though they capture it, the Doctor is set on by a poorly-functioning Cyberman in the store's basement, but he is quick to disable it. However, the Doctor is curious as to how it got into the store with the transmat disabled.

The Doctor and Craig return to Craig's home, and the Doctor starts to investigate and reprogram the Cybermat to locate the Cybermen. Craig has to go out to get milk. The Doctor checks on the baby, where he learns the child has very little respect for his father. The Doctor tells "Stormageddon" that Craig is trying really hard to be a good dad. And that Stormy is so, so young. He's got his whole life ahead of him. The Doctor doesn't, now being 1103 years old and very, very tired. However, during all this, the Cybermat has become active in the kitchen, and by the time the Doctor returns, it has started moving on its own. The Doctor and Alfie get locked out, and when Craig returns he smashes through the kitchen window to stop the Cybermat in time, leaving the place a mess.

With a newly-reprogrammed Cybermat, the Doctor leaves Craig a note and heads to the store himself. Craig finds the note and shortly follows with Alfie. The Doctor is surprised to find the Cybermat pointing to the changing room stalls, and in one discovers a tunnel leading underground. He follows the tunnel, discovering a centuries-old Cyberman ship buried in the ground. Aboard, he is caught by six Cybermen, their entire force at the time. The Cyberleader explains that they were awakened when the store was built, and are now siphoning small amounts of power to recharge themselves and to grow their army to take over the world.

Meanwhile, Craig learns where the Doctor has gone to, and leaves Alfie with one of the shop assistants. Finding the tunnel, he enters the ship and is also captured by the Cybermen. The Cybermen decide to convert Craig into a new warrior, and put him into the cybernetic transformation device. The Doctor pleads for the Cybermen to stop and to take him instead, but they refuse. As the process nears its end Alfie's cries, heard through monitors the Cybermen have in the store, echo through the ship. Craig, on hearing this, fights to be the best dad he can be, and rejects the cybernetic transformation. The emotional feedback of The Power of Love causes the other Cybermen to regain their full consciousness and sanity. As happened before, the ensuing Body Horror causes them to overload, and they die in anguish. It sends the ship into a self-destruct cycle. The Doctor and Craig safely escape while the ship explodes, the damage confined to the rocky underground chamber. Craig quickly reunites with Alfie, and the Doctor comments that Alfie now finally considers Craig to be his dad.

After a long sleep, Craig wakes up to find his home spotless and the damage from the night before cleaned up. The Doctor appears and admits he time-travelled to complete all the work in time before Sophie arrived home. He explains, with sadness and resignation, that he is now off to America. Craig gives him a Stetson hat from a mate's stag night, while the Doctor borrows four deep-blue envelopes. As Sophie arrives the Doctor vanishes, leaving Craig to explain what happened that weekend. And why Alfie's first word is "Doctor".

The Doctor walks slowly to his TARDIS, a slow, purposeful stride in his step. Three children watch him enter the TARDIS, and suddenly we're hearing their voices, as adults, commenting on how sad the Doctor looked that day.

Dr. River Song, in the 51st century, has earned her degree in archaeology, specialising in the Doctor's history. Now studying the last days of the Doctor, she reads the testimonies of those children. She is surprised when Madame Kovarian enters her room with two of the Silents. Her childhood memories have been quite thoroughly wiped, and she doesn't remember anything about the Silence from her first regeneration. Kovarian tells River that there was no place for her to hide, and that the Silence still have a use for her. They grab her, and soon we see River, trapped in an astronaut's suit, sinking to the bottom of Lake Silencio to wait for the Doctor's arrival.


  • Accidental Pervert: Craig comes off this way in the lingerie department, resulting in Kelly calling security on him. The Doctor accidentally opens the curtain on an occupied stall in the changing room, and then recommends she choose the red one.
  • The Ace: Once again, the Doctor shows up and handles everything wonderfully and everyone loves him and Craig can barely manage.
  • Actor Allusion: Karen Gillan was a model in real life.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Aliens in Colchester. Again.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The origins of the Cybermen in this episode are completely unexplored. Like the Twelfth Cyber-Legion shown earlier in Series 6, they reuse the 2006 "Pete's World" props but lack the Cybus logo on their chests. With the much later revelation that Cybermen have multiple origins among countless civilisations thanks to parallel evolution plus the fact that the Cybermen are not the main focus of the episode, it's likely not too important to worry about.
  • Ascended Fan Girl: River, working on her degree in archaeology, has been researching the Doctor.
  • Assimilation Plot: The Cybermen are upgrading again.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Craig's baby, Alfie, prefers "Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All".
  • Baby's First Words: Alfie's first word is "Doctor".
  • Baby Language: The Doctor speaks it.
    The Doctor: It's not his fault he doesn't have mammary glands... No, neither do I.
  • Big Bad: The Cybermen.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The first two innocent deaths are black people; Shona and George.
  • Bottle Episode: This episode takes place mostly in an entirely pedestrian, modern-day department store and Craig's house.
  • Breather Episode: Quite light and fluffy in comparison to the last two episodes. The breather ends before the episode itself ends, however.
  • Brick Joke: When the Doctor first shows up at Craig's house, Craig sarcastically asks if there are aliens hiding in his fridge. At the end of the episode, the Doctor checks the fridge just to make sure.
  • Bumbling Dad: Craig starts out panicking over whether or not he can raise a child on his own. He ends up a Papa Wolf.
  • Call-Back: Amy's perfume being advertised in the store is called "Petrichor" — for the girl who's tired of waiting.
  • Call-Forward: We see how the Doctor got the Stetson and envelopes he used in "The Impossible Astronaut". It Was a Gift from Craig.
  • The Cameo: The extent of Amy and Rory's involvement in this episode, although it still manages to be heart-wrenching.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Come along, Bitey."
    • "I'm the Doctor, here to help."
  • Charm Person: Craig is certain the Doctor has this power because everyone loves him, thinking it's pheromones or something. Specifically, telling anyone to hush and them doing it.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Even though he tries to tell himself that he's done saving humanity, the Doctor can't help himself.
    The Doctor: Not noticing, just going! Not noticing, just going! Not noticing, just going!
  • Comforting Comforter: The Doctor pulls a blanket over Craig and Alfie.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: In "A Good Man Goes to War", the Doctor and Rory are able to destroy the whole of the Twelfth Cyber Legion in the first five minutes. In this episode, six Cybermen are able to almost defeat the Doctor, kill Craig and assimilate the whole planet — and are given the full forty minutes to do it. However, in the earlier story, the Cybermen were not expecting the Doctor and Rory to ambush them. The Cybermen in this episode have had ages to prepare for the assimilation of Earth. More to the point, the Doctor didn't have any time to prepare. Undoubtedly he went into the Cyber Legion with all his resources amassed and a plan in hand; this time he was, as is more usual, working on the fly.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    The Doctor: It's a coincidence! It happens; it's what the universe does for... [sees Rory and Amy shopping] ... fun.
  • Cool Car: The Doctor leans over a Lamborghini Gallardo toy while looking for the Cybermat.
  • Cute Creature, Creepy Mouth: Craig actually considers the Cybermat to be sort of cute... until it reveals its sharp, organic fangs.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Not even the Doctor is immune to babies. Of course, being the Doctor, his inanity is still more profound than most.
  • Dangerous Key Fumble: The Doctor manages to lock himself outside of Craig's house when the Cybermat attacks him, by dropping his sonic screwdriver right as the door closes.
  • Darkest Hour: The Doctor is forced to watch helplessly as Craig, struggling and screaming for help, is sealed into a Cyberman suit, with his face going calm as his emotions are deleted right before the mask closes... and then he hears Alfie crying over the monitor.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: Meet Craig's infant son: Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All. Also known as Alfie.
  • Demoted to Extra: An interesting example with Craig's girlfriend Sophie. Sure, she wasn't in all of "The Lodger", but she was at least a major plot point. This time, she just appears at the beginning to hand off Alfie to Craig and reappears at the end in time for her son's first word.
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: Madame Kovarian revealing that the Silence have always known where River was.
    Madame Kovarian: You never escaped us, Melody Pond...
  • Double-Meaning Title: The Cybermen take people from the shop after closing time; the Doctor dies tomorrow.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The buried Cybership.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The Doctor wears a jeweller's loupe.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: The Doctor tries one with Craig. Craig dodges. In a inverted twist, the one the Doctor was trying to fake out was Craig, to keep him from looking around and seeing a Cyberman.
  • Flat "What": The Doctor's response when told about the "silver rat thing", A.K.A. a Cybermat.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Doctor calls the reprogrammed Cybermat "Bitey".
  • Foil: The Doctor to baby Alfie/Stormageddon. One's just been born, and has his whole life ahead; the other is about to face his death.
  • Friend to All Children: The Doctor is a big hit in the toy department because all the kids love him.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: The Doctor uses a saucepan in an attempt to batter the Cybermat off of Craig, but winds up hitting Craig instead.
  • Funny Background Event: During Craig's Accidental Pervert incident described above, a man can be seen looking up, alarmed, when Kelly calls security on Craig.
  • Genre Blindness:
  • Goomba Stomp: The Cyberman stepping on Bitey the Cybermat.
  • Happily Married: Craig and Sophie are a strange case. From all appearances (loving relationship, living together, raising a child) they are married, but they're not officially married. They talked about it and decided it was "just a piece of paper".
  • Henpecked Husband: Rory and Amy are only in the episode for a handful of seconds, and he still manages to be this by carrying her many, many bags of clothes.
  • Hidden Depths: Craig, Bumbling Dad and chubby First Girl Wins, is immediately chosen as the new Cyber-Controller. He immediately destroys the Cybermen through The Power of Love.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: The Doctor and Craig being Mistaken for Gay is a running plot thread.
  • Impairment Shot: Used when the Doctor regains consciousness after being knocked out by a Cyberman, and then when Madame Kovarian and the Silence knock out River Song.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: "Tick Tock Goes the Clock" is reprised to chilling effect:
    Tick tock goes the clock
    And all the years they fly
    Tick tock and all too soon
    Your love will surely die
    Tick tock goes the clock
    He cradled her and he rocked her
    Tick tock goes the clock
    Till River kills the Doctor...
  • Kick the Dog:
    • A Cyberman destroys the Doctor's reprogrammed Cybermat by stomping on it.
    • The Doctor snaps at Craig for literally kicking a dog. A robot dog, admittedly not as awesome as his last dog.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Cybermat is tiny and cute and has real metal teeth! It's also strong.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The Doctor is, once again, explaining everything for the audience to a random shop girl.
    Kelly: Why are you telling me this?
    The Doctor: I don't know.
  • Large Ham:
    • It would appear Madame Kovarian had been holding back on us a bit before, eh? That's quite the villainous and creepy entrance.
    • If the Doctor's translation is accurate, "Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All" would also be a good candidate.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Kovarian implies the Silence have erased River's memories of her past with them, explaining why she doesn't recognise the woman who trained her to be an assassin.
  • The Last Dance: The Doctor is on a "farewell tour" since it is the day before his prophesied death.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Craig insists on helping the Doctor for two reasons, and this is one of them. He doesn't need a Morality Chain; he needs a friend.
  • Made of Explodium: The cybership blows up as soon as Craig "loves" the Cybermen to death.
  • Madness Mantra: A smaller example than usual. "Metal rat! Real mouth! Metal rat! Real mouth!"
  • Meaningful Echo: "I'm the Doctor. I was here to help."
  • Men Can't Keep House: Played with. The beginning of the episode has Craig trying to reassure Sophie and his family that he can cope if she leaves for a couple of days, and it seems at first that it is this trope being invoked. Then it is revealed that "coping" involves taking care of a baby, something for which two people is not too much.
  • Mistaken for Gay: The Doctor and Craig. "There's no need to be coy these days." Val has more reason than most do for this trope, what with the way Craig and the Doctor act throughout the episode. She sees them hug, and overhears the Doctor telling Craig he's his baby.
  • Mood Whiplash: The episode easily has some of the funniest moments of the series, but also features a baby in mortal danger and a nigh-immortal alien coming to terms with his imminent death. Not to mention the ending...
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The Cybermat. Real metal teeth!
  • No Name Given: The Doctor, as usual, but this makes a joke out of it by having him get a job at a shop with the name "The Doctor". He even gets a nametag, and everyone in the shop calls him "The Doctor" without question. Just like last time, Craig is left flabbergasted.
  • Oh, Crap!: "Alfie... why is there a sinister beeping coming from behind me?"
  • Papa Wolf: Craig eventually awakens those paternal instincts and destroys the Cybermen for his son.
  • Pet the Dog: The Doctor really loves his companions. He missed a once in a lifetime event just to clean Craig's house up for him.
    Craig: You used up your time for me?
    The Doctor: Of course I did.
  • The Power of Love: Craig isn't turned into a Cyberman because he hears Alfie crying. The Doctor tries to explain that's really overly sentimental; it was the Power of the Human Instinct to Protect Their Own Genes, but simplifies it to Love when he sees his explaination going over everyone's heads
  • Recognizable by Sound: The sound of his baby crying keeps Craig from full cyber-conversion into a Cyberman.
  • Red Herring: The Doctor reprograms the Cybermat to use it as a weapon. The Cybermen simply stomp on it.
  • The Reveal: The final scene solves one of the 2011 season's major ongoing mysteries by revealing the Impossible Astronaut is not River as a child, but River when she's already Dr. Song.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Craig appoints himself as a companion because the safest place is with the Doctor because the Doctor always wins. Sure enough, the Doctor is victorious, but it is due to Craig's actions. The Doctor always wins because he has people like Craig helping him.
  • Robot Buddy: Bitey the Cybermat, after he's reprogrammed by the Doctor.
  • Running Gag: The Doctor "Shhh"-ing people and Craig wanting to be taught how.
  • Shaped Like Itself: It's a sonic screwdriver; of course it doesn't have a quiet mode!
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sleep Cute: Craig falls asleep with Alfie on his belly. A chubby little man on his chubby little man.
  • Soft Glass: The Doctor jumps through a sliding glass door. Not a mark on him.
  • Staring Kid: A group of them watch the Doctor leave at the end.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye:
    • The Doctor disappears on Craig and Val as they talk in the store.
    • Sophie knocks... on her own door (she still forgets her keys) and by the time Craig has turned back, the Doctor has once again disappeared.
  • Stealth Insult: The Doctor stating that the "Shhh" trick only works on underdeveloped brains... moments before he uses it on Craig. Also, the "Shhh" trick is said to only work once on someone. The Doctor uses it numerous times on Craig.
  • Sting: When the Doctor announces that Alfie prefers to be called... Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All! the music briefly turns ominous.
  • Stout Strength: Craig, according to the Doctor — when Craig holds off the Cybermat attacking him, the Doctor notes he must be much stronger than average to have managed it, because it "should have had [Craig] easy."
  • Super Window Jump: The Doctor comes to rescue Craig from the Cybermat by leaping through a closed glass door.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • The Doctor is done noticing things. He didn't even notice that, for example. And he is not currently scanning around for electrical fluctuations.
    • Craig tells Sophie that "Nothing happened. Nothing weird."
  • Tempting Fate: Heh, you're right, Craig, the Cybermat is kinda cu— OH GOD TEETH.
  • Time Skip: Word of God states that between "The God Complex" and this episode, the Doctor spent the 200 years engaged in the wacky hijinks shown at the beginning of "The Impossible Astronaut".
  • Villain Decay: The Cybermen have taken quite a hit in terms of threat level, what with them being relegated to a Lighter and Softer Bottle Episode this time around. It's somewhat justified as they are portrayed as a remnant apparently from an unseen past invasion attempt.
  • Wham Episode: Turns into this in the last scene, with Madame Kovarian kidnapping River Song and putting her in the astronaut suit.
  • When Props Attack: In the scene where Craig is attacked by the Cybermat, James Corden is clearly mostly manipulating the suspiciously toy-like prop himself, balancing the sequence possibly deliberately between humour and horror.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Emotions prove too much for the Cybermen, as usual.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The Doctor is in a bad place right now because of the previous episode, and thinks himself a "stupid and selfish" man. Craig tells him that is far from the truth. "Without you, this place would be in absolute ruins".

Tick tock, goes the clock, he cradled and he rocked her. Tick tock goes the clock, till River kills the Doctor.