Doctor Who: Let?s Kill Craig

Susan Arendt

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Doctor Who: Let?s Kill Craig

One more death would've dramatically improved "Closing Time."

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TimeLord

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It would have been better for Craig to die. But would it have fitted the Doctor's faith in humanity that their emotions, determination, imagination and need to explore the universe make them in some way better than him?

They already played with the theme of "the Doctor destroys lives" by sending Amy and Rory home, and even in the beginning of this episode by trying to get him to leave him so Craig didn't get himself hurt. The ending could have worked both ways. Kill Craig to reinforce that the Doctor is dangerous, or save Craig to show that the Doctor can save everyone if given the chance. I believe the episode made the right choice. They just went about it the wrong way.

EDIT: By the by, congrads on starting this column!
 

imnot

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They where putting him as scybercontroller wearnt they? that could have soemthing to do with it I guess :s
But yeah I thought it was stupid too.
 

Susan Arendt

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TimeLord said:
It would have been better for Craig to die. But would it have fitted the Doctor's faith in humanity that their emotions, determination, imagination and need to explore the universe make them in some way better than him?

They already played with the theme of "the Doctor destroys lives" by sending Amy and Rory home, and even in the beginning of this episode by trying to get him to leave him so Craig didn't get himself hurt. The ending could have worked both ways. Kill Craig to reinforce that the Doctor is dangerous, or save Craig to show that the Doctor can save everyone if given the chance. I believe the episode made the right choice. They just went about it the wrong way.

EDIT: By the by, congrads on starting this column!
Except the Doctor didn't save Craig. He had nothing to do with Craig's salvation - it happened largely by accident.
 

Yarrow

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I did not like "Closing Time" at all. It just seemed like a waste of an episode, I would have been much more interested in watching a Doctor free episode following whatever it was River Song was up to
 

Plinglebob

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Nov 11, 2008
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No! No! No! No! This was the best way for 3 reasons.

In your article u said that this was a "Doofy Episode" and what people forget is that you need breather episodes like this one or people will just turn off. Remember Season 6 of Buffy that had about 1 light-hearted episode (and even that was a bit of a downer) and ended up being hated? We've just come from a string of dark and depressing episodes and about to go into the series finale so ts the perfect time for a break to let everyone have a bit of fun. Just because true art is angst doesn't mean everything has to be.

Also, and I'm sure I'm going to be saying this a lot, ITS A KIDS SHOW!!! If this had been Torchwood, Craig would have been killed no question, but there is no way they would change the mood from "Fun uddy Comedy" to "Tragedy" in something watched by kids.

Finally, and I'm probably readng far too much into the episode, Craig also shows another side to the Doctor in that it shows the reason why he does what he does. Despite whatever the results of his actions may be, The Doctor does it because he genuinly loves and cares about other people and, like a father, will break down anything that stands in his way if someone he cares about is in danger.
 

ewhac

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The Cyberman ship was extremely weak. They were snatching 220V 50Hz power remotely off a Cybermat which was just barely enough to keep the lights on, and that was before the Doctor destroyed it. In that severely weak state, it is remotely plausible that Craig's strong emotions could have overwhelmed the cyberconverter.

Sitting here, thinking about re-writing the episode such that Craig dies, I think it would be exceedingly hard to write. The Doctor would have to return to Craig's flat with his son, wait for his wife, tell her the dreadful news, and then skulk away. It would have been perfectly awful to watch. And the Adric Precedent prevents the Doctor from going back "after" the fact and intercepting Craig before he gets killed.

So, yeah. A fluffy episode, but I dunno how it could have been different without it being gut-wrenching.
 

Proverbial Jon

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Nov 10, 2009
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I agree wholeheartedly with this column and every word printed herein!

Susan Arendt said:
But Craig survived, and as a result the episode was yet another pointless placeholding throwaway.
I think you hit the nail on the head there with the word "placeholder". Too many episodes in this series have been fillers that simply lead us into the enevitable "grand finalle". Look at the episode "Let's kill Hitler" what a dissapointment. Hitler, possibly the most infamous dictator in human history, was confronted and shoved in a cupboard in the first 10 minutes. That is exactly what happened to the storyline, it was wrapped up hurriedly and pushed aside. Instead we get a further 40 minutes of River Song prancing gratuitously around, the Doctor painfully dying (again) and pretty much nothing else. If the title alone didn't cause dissapointment by being misleading, the shameful exposition dump that it contained surely did.

I expected great things from Stephen Moffat's tenure at the helm of Who and his first series certainly delivered. But this series is weak, perhaps because it has been split in two. I get the impression it would have worked better if the series finalle had followed directly after the mid series finalle. Instead, to bulk it out, we get these weak filler stories. Sad times.
 

TimeLord

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Susan Arendt said:
TimeLord said:
It would have been better for Craig to die. But would it have fitted the Doctor's faith in humanity that their emotions, determination, imagination and need to explore the universe make them in some way better than him?

They already played with the theme of "the Doctor destroys lives" by sending Amy and Rory home, and even in the beginning of this episode by trying to get him to leave him so Craig didn't get himself hurt. The ending could have worked both ways. Kill Craig to reinforce that the Doctor is dangerous, or save Craig to show that the Doctor can save everyone if given the chance. I believe the episode made the right choice. They just went about it the wrong way.

EDIT: By the by, congrads on starting this column!
Except the Doctor didn't save Craig. He had nothing to do with Craig's salvation - it happened largely by accident.
True, but in the majority of the new-Who (and that one Torchwood) Cybermen episodes, as you said in your article, they've played on the Cybermen's emotions as a weakness, which they again used here. Not necessarily because of the Doctor, or by any action of the Doctor, but it reinforces the Doctor's faith that the emotions of humanity are better and superior in every way than the Cybermen's lack of. Yeah it's a little (ok very) cliche that "emotions triumph over all" but isn't that the case at the very end? We never questioned the series one episode 'Dalek' for having the Dalek "infected" by Rose Tyler's humanity. Changing it into something else. The Doctor obviously realised that humanity was bad for a Dalek. He says so. But humanity caused the Dalek to spare Van Statten instead of blindly killing him and eventually killing itself. Showing again that human emotions can win out (to an extent) over hate and anger.
As I said, they went about saving Craig the wrong way. It was way too obvious.

Proverbial Jon said:
But this series is weak, perhaps because it has been split in two. I get the impression it would have worked better if the series finalle had followed directly after the mid series finalle. Instead, to bulk it out, we get these weak filler stories. Sad times.
Agreed, keep 'Let's Kill Hitler' just as the episode that explains River Song. But after that it could have jumped straight to episode 13 and we would have missed nothing.
 

Plinglebob

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Ser Imp said:
It is INCREDIBLY cheesy to have this ONE person be able to completely reject the process purely through the power of love. If he had used the power of FRIENDSHIP on the other hand, I totally would have bought it.
And if it had been because his wife was in danger I'd probably agree, but the emotional connection between a parent and offspring is one of the strongest there is so its a damn sight more belivable. Aso, whats the difference between Love and Friendship other then the target and strength of the emotion?
 

Chrono212

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Susan Arendt said:
One more death...
A Doctor Who column?

Two things this episode missed, mainly due to budget and time constraints in all probability, was including
*spoilerspoilerspoiler*
Cybermen with organic parts, a la The Girl in the Fireplace, for 'ew!' factor and, as you say, having a more drawn out 'awakening' moment for the Cybermen.

I was writing this to argue against your point, but now having read the second page, I find that I have to agree with you.
It would have been one of the more unexpected moves on the part of the writers but definitely something that the overarching story of this series has been trying to allude to.
If one were to look at George the security guards death, that could have been an attempt at showing 'not everyone gets out in time' but lost due to the lack of screen time of that particular character.
It was also snubbed, if ever thought of, due to the real world constraints of the time slot and BBC but, as a reason, or excuse, that one is a particularly flimsy one.

(From a directorial point of view, I wouldn't have used the helmet to cover James Cordon's face as he is a great actor, one who can play on the 'every-man' character like it was the highest Shakespearian prose, allowing the inhumanity of the Cybermen to creep through him.)

Susan Arendt said:
It's not hyperbolic grandstanding when I say that I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for the Doctor, but I wasn't sure how I should begin writing about something that I find so meaningful.
If I may be so bold, your article on reading X-Men comics and their impact on your youth was fascinating. I, for one, would be very interested to read how the Doctor may have done the same.
As well as commentating on the current season.
Along side all your other roles and jobs.
And cooking the perfect turkey. Please.
 

Formica Archonis

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The idea that you could destroy Cybermen with love is not only insulting to their legacy, but to the viewers' intelligence.
Remember what happened with gold on the original series? After seeing that go from credible weakness (gold dust clogged their respirators) to magic spell (toss a gold coin with barely enough force to bruise a human, watch chest plate explode), I've really given up on any kind of legacy for those guys. But that's a side effect of being a long-running villain on Doctor Who: After getting beaten a dozen times by some silly man and cute girl in a blue box, it's hard for even the writers to take 'em seriously. Look at the Daleks since the revival. From genuine nightmare in Dalek to Power Rangers wannabes in... whatever that episode was called.

It was a fluff sequel to a fluff episode and starred a baby, something mindless to be used as a light lead-in to what we assume is going to be a dark finale episode, given the bad guy loadout. I fully expected the body count to be limited to unknowns.

Susan Arendt wants everyone to go watch "Earthshock," another Cyberman episode.
Oh, man, I'd better spoiler this.
Unfortunately your point is slightly undermined in that it's the Wesley Crusher of the Whoniverse that bites it at the end of that episode. Might hold up as a standalone, but we didn't exactly lose a beloved character when Adric died.
 

TimeLord

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Formica Archonis said:
But that's a side effect of being a long-running villain on Doctor Who: After getting beaten a dozen times by some silly man and cute girl in a blue box, it's hard for even the writers to take 'em seriously. Look at the Daleks since the revival. From genuine nightmare in Dalek to Power Rangers wannabes in... whatever that episode was called.
But the Daleks were made hilarious long before that. Pushing them down mine shafts, into each other, off ledges etc.
Sontarans. One weakness. So many times it had to be exploited with so many items. Tennis balls, mallets, an arrow!

Also, I hate the Dalek Power Ranger argument;


They were coloured before! Long before!
 

Susan Arendt

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Formica Archonis said:
The idea that you could destroy Cybermen with love is not only insulting to their legacy, but to the viewers' intelligence.
Remember what happened with gold on the original series? After seeing that go from credible weakness (gold dust clogged their respirators) to magic spell (toss a gold coin with barely enough force to bruise a human, watch chest plate explode), I've really given up on any kind of legacy for those guys. But that's a side effect of being a long-running villain on Doctor Who: After getting beaten a dozen times by some silly man and cute girl in a blue box, it's hard for even the writers to take 'em seriously. Look at the Daleks since the revival. From genuine nightmare in Dalek to Power Rangers wannabes in... whatever that episode was called.

It was a fluff sequel to a fluff episode and starred a baby, something mindless to be used as a light lead-in to what we assume is going to be a dark finale episode, given the bad guy loadout. I fully expected the body count to be limited to unknowns.

Susan Arendt wants everyone to go watch "Earthshock," another Cyberman episode.
Oh, man, I'd better spoiler this.
Unfortunately your point is slightly undermined in that it's the Wesley Crusher of the Whoniverse that bites it at the end of that episode. Might hold up as a standalone, but we didn't exactly lose a beloved character when Adric died.
Oh, now, I wouldn't put him in Wesley Crusher territory. That's more Turlough, don't you think?
 

jez29

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TimeLord said:
Proverbial Jon said:
But this series is weak, perhaps because it has been split in two. I get the impression it would have worked better if the series finalle had followed directly after the mid series finalle. Instead, to bulk it out, we get these weak filler stories. Sad times.
Agreed, keep 'Let's Kill Hitler' just as the episode that explains River Song. But after that it could have jumped straight to episode 13 and we would have missed nothing.
I'd agree with that. Moffat's first series was pretty much everything I hoped it would be (the set-up for the Doctor and Amy in The Eleventh Hour is easily my favourite introduction of a new companion), whereas in this one I haven't been so impressed. There have been some great ideas, but it's been the strength of Moffat's plotting, rather than the actual drama itself, that has impressed me. The way he is going about joining the dots together, throwing in plot thread after plot thread, spanning both of his series, is really quite impressive just from a technical standpoint (although I get the feeling there will be endless plot holes if you look hard enough).

From the point of view of creating emotive drama, though, the only episode that has really hit me was The Doctor's Wife. It just summed up the sheer delight of the universe, where there is comedy and tragedy but in the end simple happiness at the premise of adventuring across time and space. I'm guessing, though, that some people might not have enjoyed the fact that it was essentially an episode given over to fan service.
 

Formica Archonis

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TimeLord said:
But the Daleks were made hilarious long before that. Pushing them down mine shafts, into each other, off ledges etc.
Like I said, long running. They got an extension when they started playing second fiddle to Davros.

TimeLord said:
Also, I hate the Dalek Power Ranger argument;


They were coloured before! Long before!
Dude. Cushing movies. Dude. Slightly more canon than Nation's Yarvelling-Dalek comics and I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek.
 

Roganzar

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Jun 13, 2009
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Good article Susan. I like Craig, then again I can relate to his character, sad as that may sound. I've watched the cybermen through all their incarnations and the "emotional inhibitor" thing was a better choice than gold, as mentioned above. This wasn't their best effort by a long shot and the possibility that Craig might have been "upgraded" had real emotional impact for me while I was watching.

Mixed feeling about the second half of this season. My biggest desire for the new shows is to try to get back to the roots and have some more TARDIS lands some place 'cuz the Doctor is needed, not some over arcing save-the-universe plot.
 

Roganzar

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Formica Archonis said:
TimeLord said:
But the Daleks were made hilarious long before that. Pushing them down mine shafts, into each other, off ledges etc.
Like I said, long running. They got an extension when they started playing second fiddle to Davros.

TimeLord said:
Also, I hate the Dalek Power Ranger argument;


They were coloured before! Long before!
Dude. Cushing movies. Dude. Slightly more canon than Nation's Yarvelling-Dalek comics and I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek.
As my wife constantly points out they're attacking people with plungers and paint-rollers.
Ahhh, 60's BBC sci-fi budget.