|The penultimate episode of Series 6 featured the return of one of the great Doctor-companion teams that never happened. Matt Smith and James Corden, so perfectly matched in 2010’s “The Lodger”, reunited to amuse and delight in Gareth Roberts’s wonderful follow-up “Closing Time”, a story about which the Three Who Rule were unanimous in their opinion. The Cybermen also returned and were promptly dispensed with, but who cares about them, really? Also discussed in this podcast: the inevitable rapid-fire stats, new toys, favourite Doctors, rampant pluggery and more. Radio Free Skaro, here to help!|
The outright magic potions of several years ago still stings a bit. Lots of folks readily point out that there’s been plenty of things like it in the show’s history (The Daemons, The Time Monster to some extent, Shakespeare Code, the flying house elf Doctor of the series 3 finale, so many wretched McCoy era stories, etc.) but I’m not crazy about those instances either and this week we get exploding Cybermen by way of love.
It’s really a shame because aside from the weak resolution of the Cybermen plot thread, which isn’t even the main focus, the episode is great! Alas it slides down in my estimation to just darned good as a result.
The ending could have used some quality techno-babble. I know techno-babble gets a bad reputation for being largely meaningless and hard to follow but good techno-babble is the opposite of that.
“I’ve reversed the neutron flow” is great techno-babble because it gets the concept across clearly with vague specifics that sound as if it might make sense if we understood the machinery the Doctor is tampering with. Apparently there’s a flow of neutrons and now it goes the opposite way than intended, that might blow the thing up or deactivate it or something. It’s easy to relate that action to things we’re familiar with like short circuiting electronics or reversing cogs or changing the pressure in pipes. This week Craig’s love for his baby unwelded a metal seam and made the heads literally explode. That’s a bit more difficult to relate to how anything works in real life. It’s made worse by the fact that it’s the main source for fear of the Cybermen that’s being defeated, the conversion into one of them. Wouldn’t lots of people feel strong emotions of the kind Craig feels when they are converted? Gah! The poetry of emotionless automatons being defeated by Craig’s love for his child wouldn’t have lessened if it had simply stalled the machine due to lack of power and abundance of substandard parts and thus let him go before completion with the stalled machine causing an exploding overload or something, but it would have made more sense.
Goodness. You’d think I didn’t like the episode after all. I really do. It is still a solidly good episode, despite the completely unnecessary flaw stuck on the end of the McGuffin. It’s funny and it’s exciting. It marries very lighthearted comedic moments with somber and sometimes very dark ones and does so well. Mostly great but in the end not quite.
And on a completely separate note: I can hardly believe that we’ve gone almost a complete series without any bleeping Daleks. What a relief! If they show up again in series 7 I might actually be excited to see them for once.
Henrik – don’t forget the *headdesk* moment of less than stellar writing when the Cyberman say they’d make Craig like them and remove emotions… yet they’ve got emotional inhibitors which overload because of Craig’s love for Alfie. Why, if they have no emotions, do they need something to inhibit these things which they do not have?
Also, Daleks in the series finale. Well, at least one, anyway. It’s seen in the trailer.
Stop saying Legos. It’s Lego >: (
This was actually the second mention of Star Trek. In The Impossible Astronaut when Joy sees a Silent in the bathroom of the White House she asks if it’s one of her coworkers wearing a Star Trek mask.
Rose asks The Doctor to give her some Spock in The Empty Child and later introduces The Doctor to Jack as Spock; Trek was first referenced years ago now, though the show’s title wasn’t used at that time.
Loved the episode, which is why I’m hoping someone can show me a reason why I’m wrong with this:
It was established in NuWho in The Christmas Invasion that by travelling with the Doctor or being around the Tardis it is possible to understand other languages – the Tardis translates for you.
The Pandorica Opens and A Good Man Goes to War confirmed this effect is still in place with Amy.
If Amy can understand languages through the Tardis’ mechanisms and “Baby” is an established language with full communicative possibilities then why can’t Amy (and for that matter Rory) understand Baby in A Good Man Goes to War?
Please someone show me I’m wrong!
You’re not wrong, it’s an inconsistency. But that’s just Who.
To be proper, it was established in The Christmas Invasion that the TARDIS and Doctor were both required for the translation “gift” (to borrow the Fourth Doctor’s phrase) to work. Remove one element (in that case The Doctor) and it doesn’t work. Also it established there was no lingering effect (Rose had been traveling with The Doctor for a while but was still out in the cold, translation-wise, in TCI) to the gift.
In A Good Man Goes To War, Amy sees the prayer leaf translation *after* both The Doctor and the TARDIS have left. She, based on what was previously established, shouldn’t have had the prayer leaf translated. I mused aloud about that on twitter some months ago and had Moffat reply to me about it, effectively saying it’s a dramatic device. Which it is.
Who is replete with examples of going against established continuity in order to drive home a dramatic plot point or the like. It’s damned annoying from the perspective of people who notice and care about such things but we’re in a minority I expect. So bottom line, IMO anyway, you’re sorta right but it doesn’t matter one lick, and we have to just learn to deal with such things. 🙂
First off, this episode was good fun, but definitely a placeholder for what it to come. if it’s anything like the cliffhangers and finales that have already taken place in Moffat-land, then it will be fast paced and info overload (in a very good way). This may have been a nice little last hurrah for the viewer and the “dying Doctor” before the craziness that I am sure will take place in The Wedding of River Song. The comedy (Stormageddon) was hilarious and I love the chemistry between the Doctor and Craig. It was a shame to have the Cybermen blown off (or blown up) after only a few brief scenes, but again, it’s episode 12, not 13.
As far as the gift of translation, I agree, that (among numerous other things) is very confusing when you try to establish firm rules and continuity. There were holes that you mentioned above, but one reason why Amy at least couldn’t understand “baby” is due to the fact that she hadn’t actually traveled in the TARDIS for quite some time, it was Ganger Amy that would more than likely have had the gift. As for Rory, I have no clue.
This rollercoaster has been fun, it just seems so damn short. The break helps lengthen the staying power of the episodes, but when I sit and think about it, having only 7 or 6 at a time goes by all too quick. Would a series with little to no story arc feel quite as good? If I am not trying to pull back info from April or even the last series, this rapid release of 6 show bursts may go by even faster. After a nice summer break, our favorite show is over by the first week of October. 😦
The one issue that bugs me is that no one in this episode knows what a cyberman is. I thought one of the bravest moves of the RTD era was to have aliens appear to the world, something that other shows always snuck around as it could change society too much (X-Files, Stargate, etc).
I know there was a mention in Matt Smith’s first season of Amy not knowing what a Dalek is, but it still hasn’t been addressed and I really hope they are not going to brush everything under the covers.
However it would bring “Dalek” back into continuity (no one knew what a Dalek was then and it was in the near future), which would make me happy. 🙂
I think the whole thing about Amy not knowing what a Dalek is was due to the crack in time and that was corrected at the end of last series.
Regarding The Timelord’s Gift of knowing languages, it has been inconsistent pretty much throughout the show’s history. Even with Amy, since she wasn’t actually on the TARDIS when the Ganger was there, then she shouldn’t have been able to understand anyone since it seems unlikely that people in the future still speak our kind of English.
Also, think about the companions who have decided to leave the Doctor and stay behind on some alien planet. They fall in love or whatever and then the minute the TARDIS and the Doctor leave they stop being able to understand what anyone is saying?