Usual spoilers warnings apply…flee ye who have not seen any episodes and are avoiding knowing your own viewing future!
The mad man is alone in his box. Having dropped Amy and Rory back on Earth, gifting them with a car and a nice flat, he decides to drop in on his old flat mate, Craig Owens, from last year’s episode, The Lodger. Again we are treated to how awkward yet sweet the Gallifreyan is with customs of human interaction. When he senses trouble is afoot, he tries desperately to ignore it, but 700 years of knocking around the universe have sharpened his monster-detecting senses to a level that cannot be ignored. Thus he is drawn back into Craig’s world, now occupied by his wife Sophie and his baby boy Stormageddon.
Wait…Stormageddon??? Did I say that right? Yes, well, it helps when the Doctor speaks “baby” and Craig can finally get the true name of his offspring straight from the little fiend, er, tyke’s mouth, right? Most of the great humor is split between the translations of what the Alfie/”Stormy” is saying and how the doctor interacts with people in the department store – ground zero for the bad portents that send his Time Lord, Monster-Hunter senses all a tingle. Even the bits on the confidential tied to this episode are priceless as Matt Smith and James Corden stay up way too late due to filming schedules in the department store and get punch-drunk silly – a state that every convention-going fan knows all too well. With a little professionally added 11th Doctor theme music thrown in by Confidential, we are treated to Matt and James playing with Dalek figurines and crooning the Doctor Who theme at the top of their lungs, laughing like the overgrown fan boys we have all come to adore so. Ahhh…one of my favorite Time Lords is just a big kid. Life is good.
Another part I almost forgot to mention was the whole “companion” agenda. Russel T. Davies was always accused of having his “gay agenda” – inserting scenes and references here and there, making it a legitimate part of the Doctor Who universe. Heck, he even had the first ever occurence of a man kissing the Time Lord in the form of gorgeous Captain Jack Harkness! Steven Moffat continues this, but in more casual ways…the “fat, thin, gay, anglican marines” reference in “A Good Man Goes to War” and now the firty distraction tactic the Doctor uses on Craig when they first find themselves in the lair of the Cybermen and department store lady who keeps referring to them as a couple when she misunderstands Craig’s reference to being the Doctor’s companion. Pricelessly funny!
Now, for those who tour the ‘net and dare to trowel the turbulent waters of over-critical fandom have seen the pissing and moaning about how “lame” it seemed that the Cybermen got their butts handed to them by the power of “love”. Being a huge fan of the Cybermen, I personally saw no problem with this…they have been defeated by strong emotions before. I point you dear readers to their awesome-tacular return to the new series in Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel circa Tennant’s era. Once the emotion-inhibiting chip was removed, they freaked out at their own sorry state and their heads literally exploded then, too. So what is the problem with Craig overloading their emotion chips in this one? He was designated “Cyber Controller”…he would have had the power to do it!
Despite the humor and the nostalgic squee-fest at seeing the Cybermen again – and a Cybermat – we are again reminded of the Doctor’s date with death and destiny as he waxes morosely on Craig’s couch. Bless Craig – he bolsters the Time Lord up by giving him a pep talk and we at the audience agree with everything he says. The other squees come when the Doctor nicks some Tardis-blue envelopes and Craig gives him a Stetson hat as a parting gift. The stage is set for what we are dreading yet also dying to see – whether the Doctor really, truly dies or not.
As a side ending, we catch up with River Song who is now an official “Doctor” of archaeology. Madam Eye Patch/Kovarian comes a calling with her Silent following, creepy thugs, boasting that the Child of the Tardis always has been and always will be theirs to do their bidding. They encase her in that dreaded, now iconic spacesuit and sink her to the bottom of Lake Silencio to away the coming of the Doctor.
And thus it is left for us to wait another week – just another week to solve a 9-month (for us) long mystery of how our favorite Gallifreyan is going to get out of this.