Doctor Who recap: Shops of the Cybermen!

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“Closing Time” is the latest episode of Doctor Who, and it’s a title that refers both to the Doctor’s numbered days and the terror that haunts a suburban shopping mall …

  • Cybermen! Since the trailers all give away the presence of the classic Doctor Who monsters these days, don’t you wish sometimes that they’d just revert to the old “[Noun] of the Cybermen” naming convention? In “Closing Time,” the Doctor’s longtime foes aren’t at their best — but then neither is he. The desperate condition of the Cybermem echoes the Time Lord’s view of his own declining influence. Until an old friend gives him some perspective …
  • Everyman Craig Owens (comic actor James Corden) once served as a contrast to the Doctor when he first appeared last season in “The Lodger,” but now he’s there to ground the Time Lord as he marches toward his doom at Silencio Lake.
  • Of course one of the last things the Doctor would do before his predestined end would be to work in a toy shop!
  • The “cameo” of series regulars Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill is beautifully painful for the Doctor, who dropped them off at home to lead normal lives at the end of last week’s episode, “The God Complex.” The wonders of such a “normal life” are described to Craig’s infant son in a moment that sees the Doctor again feeling the weight of his years pressing down upon him. Speaking of which …
  • Stormageddon, aka “Stormy,” aka Baby Alfie has no lines except for baby gibberish and maybe “Doctor” at the very end — but he’s easily the best guest character this season. It’s great to see the Doctor expand on his throwaway line “I speak Baby” from “A Good Man Goes to War,” even if he is making it all up. Probably.
  • Love truly does conquer all. Except …
  • River Song becomes a doctor and an astronaut all on the same day when Madame Kovarian comes to collect her due. I must admit I’m at the show’s complete mercy when it comes to River’s timeline. I just trust they know what they’re doing.

Next week: a half-seasonal marathon on BBC America leading up to the season finale, “The Wedding of River Song”:

In this all new episode, the Doctor makes his final journey to the shores of Lake Silencio in Utah, knowing only one thing can keep the universe safe — his own death.

But has he reckoned on the love of a good woman?

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