The Lodger was brilliant, easily Gareth Roberts' best contribution to the series up to that point and one of my favorite episodes. So, when I heard about a "sequel" story involving Craig and written by Roberts, I was excited. When I learned it had Cybermen in it, well... Cybermen don't have the best track record, but I trusted Roberts to deliver a pretty good Cybermen story.

And he did. In fact, 'pretty good' is a very appropriate adjectival phrase for the episode. It wasn't brilliant. It doesn't risk dislodging The Lodger as Roberts' best episode. But it was a fun, light-hearted romp involving Cybermen with some very interesting moments. I was particularly amused by the Doctor's conversations with Stormageddon, and the return of the Cybermat.

But there's not a whole lot more to say about the episode itself. Well, maybe a few things. What made The Lodger work so well was the way it thrust the Doctor into an ordinary life and watched his reaction to it; we see the Doctor trying to be (and thoroughly enjoying the idea of being) a regular bloke. He plays football, he has his own room in a flat, he interjects himself into the drama of Craig and Sophie. At times it feels like the Doctor has been dropped into the wrong show, and at other times it feels like he has fallen out of the Mediasphere altogether and landed in a day in someone's life. And the Doctor in these situations creates a wonderful, postmodern story about a mythic figure interacting with the ordinary world, and which highlights the advantages and wonder that can be found in mundane life.

And Closing Time tries to replicate that feeling, with the Doctor emphasizing that he's just there for a visit, and later with his getting a job at a department store. But it doesn't pan out; I'm not certain if it is because his motives are too clearly otherwise, or simply because the tone of the story isn't quite right, but the Doctor doesn't feel convincingly a part of everyday life this time.

Aside from that, the pacing in this episode is interesting. At first it felt like the pacing was off - like the story was progressing too slowly. But by the end of the episode, I realized that the slow pacing was, if not intentional, then well-chosen; along with more classic-feeling Cybermen (see the Cybermat) we get a classic series sense of pacing condensed into 45 minutes. The result is quite enjoyable, and a nice bit of a breather after the intense episodes we've had so far since the series picked back up. It feels like the calm before the storm.

Speaking of the storm... it's time for

The Wedding of River Song Speculation



I have to apologize to Night Terrors. I didn't realize the creepy rhyme the dolls sing was actually tied into the overall arc, rather than shoehorned in as a last-minute arc connection. I definitely have to give the episode a bit more credit in retrospect for weaving that bit in.

So, let's have a look at that rhyme. Kovarian has given us the end of the first stanza, so the dolls' version goes something like this:


Tick tock goes the clock
And what now shall we play?
Tick tock goes the clock
Now summer's gone away

Tick tock goes the clock
And what then shall we see?
Tick tock until the day
That thou shalt marry me

Tick tock goes the clock
And all the years they fly
Tick tock and all too soon
You and I must die

Tick tock goes the clock
We laughed at fate and mourned her
Tick tock goes the clock
Even for the Doctor

Tick tock goes the clock
He cradled her and he rocked her
Tick tock goes the clock
Even for the Doctor


The first stanza is a little vague, although it's easy enough to see a metaphor between summer and youth - neither the Doctor nor River are particularly young any more. After that, though, the parallels to the Doctor and River are pretty straightforward. I wouldn't normally do this line by line, but I'm in the mood to be thorough. So...

'Thou shalt marry me' is an obvious reference to the finale, given its title.
'You and I must die' - well, we know that River dies in the library, while the Doctor (presumably) dies at Lake Silencio in, well, the series opener and probably again in the finale.
'We laughed at fate and mourned her' again calls to mind Silence in the Library, where the Doctor laughs at fate by saving River's life (sort of) while still mourning her. Although, it could be a foreshadowing instead (see my budding theory/observation further down)
'He cradled and he rocked her'... well, we know about the cradle. And while I may have an especially dirty mind, I think that 'he rocked her' might be exactly what it (euphemistically) sounds like.


Now, Madame Kovarian's version (plus the sing-song stanza added at the very end of Closing Time) gives us a bit more:


Tick tock goes the clock
And what then shall we play?
Tick tock goes the clock
Now summer's gone away

Tick tock goes the clock
And all the years they fly
Tick tock and all too soon
Your love will surely die

Tick tock goes the clock
He cradled her and he rocked her
Tick tock goes the clock
'Till River kills the Doctor


Which gives us the new lines 'Your love will surely die' and 'till River kills the Doctor'. Now, one thing that I find interesting about these rhymes is that none of them preclude the possibility of 'the Doctor' being River Song. In fact, at the end of Closing Time Madame Kovarian even makes a big deal of pointing out that 'they made [River] a doctor today'. Now, practically speaking we know River doesn't die in the next episode (because she dies in the Library), but it's a fun theory because it very nearly fits the poem. And River could very well die and be revived, much like the Doctor seems to have done in Let's Kill Hitler.

I don't in any way expect this theory to pan out. Also, I appear to have been wrong about River killing Rory, which is a shame, because I liked the misdirection that would have been at play if it were true. Oh well.

Oh, and finally, the prequel for the Wedding of River Song gives us:


Doctor, brave and good
He turned away from violence
When he understood
the fooling of the Silence


This rhyme is interesting. The combination of the Doctor 'turning away from violence' and the Silence being fooled implies that the Silence are pawns in someone else's game (Madame Kovarian is certainly a good contender). So, we'll see where that leads; I really like the idea of the Doctor working *with* the Silence; that image is striking and appropriately mythic, somehow.

Oh, and one more note: even Kovarian's recited legend can be made to fit my River-kills-herself theory:


By Silencio Lake, on the plain of size
An impossible astronaut will rise from the deep
And strike the Time Lord dead


Since River is somewhat analogous to a 'Time Lord', as per both the Doctor's comments and our observations of River.

Still, this is all admittedly and intentionally far-fetched, and I don't care to do a lot of actual prediction for The Wedding of River Song. I want this one to just surprise me, and to sit back and enjoy the ride. And from the trailer, it looks like it will be a fairly light-hearted action-filled ride instead of a dark, scary, tense story like the opener was.