No sooner as it came back to us we must shortly bid farewell to series 6. The last couple of episodes have a lot in common with the Tennant specials. The Doctor knows he is going to die, so he embarks on a farewell tour.
Whilst on this victory lap The Doctor drops in on old friend Craig Owens. Now living with Sophie raising their baby, Craig is about to spend his first weekend alone with his son while Sophie has a much-needed break.
As soon as Sophie out of the door, The Doctor arrives. I’ll say this now, the Cybermen are a mere distraction from playful banter between Craig and our favorite time lord. This is more about The Doctor facing his impending death. Nothing new for the doctor there, but we don’t get served up a simple rehash of former stories.
The Doctor wants to see a friendly face, somebody whose life he has yet to complicate beyond all measure. It’s great to have Corden back; they certainly bounce off each other well. This is an odd choice for a penultimate episode – they are usually sweeping two-part stories. We have known from the start where the finale would be set, so a last adventure with a friend fits in nicely.
Part of what has worked so well for the sixth run is the last few minutes of each episode. Anchoring the core story back in and pushing it forward just a nudge. Moffat said some time ago that he was keen to retire some of the older villains, so it was a little frustrating to see the Cybermen reappear, as their purpose for being there wasn’t strong enough. They are not given an awful lot to do other than prove predictable and quite easy to defeat.
There were, as usual, inspired touches throughout; Amy and Rory make a cameo and Amy is now a famous model. While it was nice to see them, I was just a bit unsure why we saw them. Amy has moved on, living a successful and happy Doctor free life. When The Doctor sees them all his doubts about leaving them went away. He was sad but ultimately proud they were living a normal life. And The Doctor conversing with Craig’s infant son, genius and hilarious
The origin of the Stetson hat finally revealed, it was a neat way to cue in the finale. What I did find eerie was the look on The Doctor’s face as he got in the TARDIS for one final trip. The tenth Doctor had that same sorrow filled look as he took his final journey.
We know Matt Smith is back at Christmas and next year, so obviously a way around a fixed point is going to be found. Masterfully Moffat and Co have done a great job in not letting on just how that’s going to be possible. Ordinarily this episode would have been my least favorite so far, but the nice touches, the last few minutes and Corden just about save it. From the closing minutes of the episode we see River sent on her way, to wait for the Doctor and the trailer for the finale looks stunning.
Check back here next week for the review of The Wedding of River Song, a little bit of gossip about the Christmas special and my season full series round-up.
There will also be a brand new Doctor Who Podcast Special next week, but in the meantime here’s the link for the latest one.