Its heart was in the right place, and I don't begrudge Doctor Who giving us a sentimental comedy, but episodes like "Closing Time" just aren't my cup of tea. They tend to turn The Doctor (Matt Smith) into too much of a jester for my taste (communicating with babies?), and writer Gareth Roberts isn't particularly good at crafting jokes or situations that make me laugh. This penultimate hour offered us some levity before next week's finale (which is all about deception and death), but most of it washed over me and felt like a waste of time. I'm almost certain next week's episode will be brimming with story, so it's a shame there has to be a budget-saving preamble when a proper two-part conclusion would have served audiences best.
I appreciated Roberts' many nods to the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton's a notable influence on Smith's performance)—particularly with the recycled line "you've redecorate; I don't like it" from "The Three Doctors", and the return of the cybermats that mostly appeared in '60s episodes--but it was a story that felt like bits and pieces thrown together. Some ingredients worked (The Doctor spotting Amy in the shop and realizing she's since become a famous model was lovely), some didn't (the razor-toothed cybermat attack), but the overall effect was watching an episode with practically no story having to rely on the antics of Smith and Corden to sustain it. By the by, should we now consider Corden the Catherine Tate of Steven Moffat's reign?
Overall, "Closing Time" didn't work for me, but I can totally understand some people will be more tolerant of its sugary tone, and perhaps even enjoy a throwback to Russell T. Davies' era (even the sonic screwdriver was back to being a get-out clause for every situation imaginable—even distracting babies!) I'm sure most children under-8 won't be complaining, as this episode was great deal simpler than every other story's been this year, and it had a certain daffy energy that's hard to deny. But, for me, it just didn't appeal.
- There was a fun allusion to K-9 between The Doctor and a toy ("robot dog—not as much fun as I remember").
- Having Craig be the one to give The Doctor his stetson (which we saw him wearing in the premiere) was a really nice way to pinch Series 6 together in your mind.