Doctor Who: Let’s Kill Craig

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Doctor Who: Let's Kill Craig

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

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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!

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.

TimeLord:
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.

While there have been cases of people retaining some vestiges of their personality after the transformation ("I did my duty, for queen and country"), 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.

You really should do a regular Doctor Who column Susan. It's about time we had some official articles about the show, especially considering you guys did 2 of them for each episode of Game of Thrones. Not that I think that was bad thing obviously.

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

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.

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.

I agree wholeheartedly with this column and every word printed herein!

Susan Arendt:
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.

Susan Arendt:

TimeLord:
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:
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.

Ser Imp:
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?

Susan Arendt:
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:
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.

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.

Plinglebob:

Ser Imp:
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?

Easy!
Love is a Battlefield, but Friendship is MAGIC :D

Formica Archonis:
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;

image
They were coloured before! Long before!

Formica Archonis:

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.

TimeLord:

Proverbial Jon:
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.

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

image
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.

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.

Formica Archonis:

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

image
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.

Roganzar:
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.

My point exactly! I'm really quite fond of Craig, and seeing him get welded into that helmet hit me very hard...and then poof, suddenly all was well, hoorah! It was lame storytelling, plain and simple. The potential for a very emotional moment was there, and they squandered it.

I kind of liked the gold thing, but I don't think it would work in New Who, which spends so much time on Earth. Out in the 'verse, gold isn't all that commonplace, but are you really going to be afraid of the Cybermen when a quick trip to the pawn shop gets you all the ammo you need?

Formica Archonis:
Dude. Cushing movies. Dude. Slightly more canon than Nation's Yarvelling-Dalek comics and I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek.

True, you are quite correct. Although are you really telling me that the new coloured Daleks are worse than stuff like this? I never laughed so much at a Who episode than when I was watching this come on screen.

image

I can see where you're coming from, but I still liked the episode, and the same with The Lodger, and I think it's reasonable that Craig survived when he did. To start, Craig wasn't just being converted, he was being converted into the cybercontroller, which is why he actually could overload them with emotion - they were to obey his every command, and when the internal surge came, they couldn't cope and they overloaded. A little cheesy, yes, but believable. Also, if you want to be technical about it, Craig did it by some means the Doctor was trying to explain, but was too complicated for his simple human mind to grasp, and so he gave up trying to explain and instead just said "Yes, love" because that was easier than trying to explain nuclear physics to a sloth.

I think Craig dying would have been an interesting thing, but would have been lost on the vast majority of the audience, keeping in mind that it is a family show, so the nuances of poor Craig dying would have been a bit bleak for the eight-year-olds in the viewership. What would have been interesting however, would have been if Craig had been converted in all but mind, keeping his human mind in a cybercontroller body, with some deus ex machina getting rid of all those pesky cybermen. Having to care for your child without ever being able to hug it without electrocuting it or crushing it to death would be interesting.

I'd rather have a forgettable episode than Eleven turing into the same kind of whiny 'i couldn't saves the dalaks'* emo Ten became near his death. The reason I prefer Eleven to Ten is because Eleven doesn't angst about his situation. It's not a crime to have a happy ending once in a while. Espicially after the God Complex, where Eleven dumped Amy and Rory after lots of people died.

Also, if Craig had died, I'm sure you'd be complaining about it because it would be 'shoehorned it to add emotional impact' or something.

*Not a real quote.

Nerd powers! Activate!

They weren't just turning him into a garden variety cyberman, they were trying to turn him into a cyber-controller, sort of a cross between an officer and a wireless router. Cyber-controllers need a living brain (unlike normal cybermen, who can function even after what remains of their former bodies have rotted away). For reasons that are beyond me if Cybermen feel emotions their heads blow up, and since the controller has a direct link to all subordinate cybermen...

Though I will agree the "Craig" character should have died. He committed the unforgivable crime of being James Cordon! Though I wouldn't expect anyone who hasn't been subjected to this... individual's... antics to understand =\

Susan Arendt:



TimeLord:

Formica Archonis:
Dude. Cushing movies. Dude. Slightly more canon than Nation's Yarvelling-Dalek comics and I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek.

True, you are quite correct. Although are you really telling me that the new coloured Daleks are worse than stuff like this? I never laughed so much at a Who episode than when I was watching this come on screen.

image

Okay, you got me there. Air freshener Dalek was incredibly stupid as well. (Also a Terry Nation idea but they can't all be gems.)

I disagree, personally. This is the episode before the Doctor goes to his death, and he has to do it willingly. In a sense its supposed to be the Doctor's last hurrah. Its a feel-good doofy episode because the Doctor wants to feel good. Helping out one last time because, well, its what he does. To have another death, another broken family right before he goes to Lake Silencio wouldn't have made sense.

Doesn't mean I don't think it couldn't have been done better though. I know they tried to explain it away with technobabble, but saving things with the power of love in sci-fi has always rankled with me. And we had the 'father-saving-son-by-manning-up' thing a few episodes ago in Night terrors, this was a bit repetitive

Susan Arendt:
My point exactly! I'm really quite fond of Craig, and seeing him get welded into that helmet hit me very hard...and then poof, suddenly all was well, hoorah! It was lame storytelling, plain and simple. The potential for a very emotional moment was there, and they squandered it.

No, they just went for a different emotion in that moment. Instead of sadness, they went with joy and love which, in a kids program, is much better resolution. Maybe its because I'm still a kid at hart, or maye its due to me havng serious daddy issues, but I would have been pissed if they had killed him.

In the first next gen Cyberman episode, conversion was accompanied with saws, whirring and screams; there's no way that could be undone. The version in this episode was to stick a man in an armoured suit.

I liked "The Lodger", there were a lot of good elements in "Closing Time", but I think the writer ran into a deadline, couldn't figure out a way to save the Doctor, and had to use Craig.

It's possible that they wanted Craig to save the Doctor, to kick him up the arse and remind him why he travels with people - it's not just the company. Also, as a counterpoint to Amelia's loss of faith it the Doctor, it'd be nice if the Doctor regained some faith in himself.

I don't like James Cordan but I still think it worked well that he didn't die.
It's also a rule of this sort of thing that if a child is introduced and the other parent is absent that they will survive. It's like a law or something.
There are definitely exceptions but not for a family show like Doctor Who(or at least none come to mind).

Hyperme:
I'd rather have a forgettable episode than Eleven turing into the same kind of whiny 'i couldn't saves the dalaks'* emo Ten became near his death. The reason I prefer Eleven to Ten is because Eleven doesn't angst about his situation. It's not a crime to have a happy ending once in a while. Espicially after the God Complex, where Eleven dumped Amy and Rory after lots of people died.

Also, if Craig had died, I'm sure you'd be complaining about it because it would be 'shoehorned it to add emotional impact' or something.

*Not a real quote.

But this is the internet where depression and angst must reign supreme and happiness and love are seen as lowbrow, cheesy and unrealistic. Now wipe that smile off your face and look deessed before the internet police catch you.

I agree that ending was very silly. I think Craig's death would have been very fitting, just like in "Earthshock".

Pallindromemordnillap:

Doesn't mean I don't think it couldn't have been done better though. I know they tried to explain it away with technobabble, but saving things with the power of love in sci-fi has always rankled with me. And we had the 'father-saving-son-by-manning-up' thing a few episodes ago in Night terrors, this was a bit repetitive

Oh, excellent point about the Night Terrors. But that episode was a mishmash itself of a bunch of other episodes. The wooden dollies just felt like a rehash of the robots from The Girl in the Fireplace to me, at least visually.

Also, to those pointing out that Craig was being made into a Cyber-controller - that's a good clarification. So the issue then becomes not that love saving the day is stupid, but that we got Cybermen so bloody dumb that they thought Craig should be in charge. Not much better that way, really.

And, yeah, I do recognize the problems inherent in doing something so grim on what is still, by and large, considered a "family" show. But it's gone to dark places before, and been the stronger for it.

Hyperme:
I'd rather have a forgettable episode than Eleven turing into the same kind of whiny 'i couldn't saves the dalaks'* emo Ten became near his death. The reason I prefer Eleven to Ten is because Eleven doesn't angst about his situation. It's not a crime to have a happy ending once in a while. Espicially after the God Complex, where Eleven dumped Amy and Rory after lots of people died.

Also, if Craig had died, I'm sure you'd be complaining about it because it would be 'shoehorned it to add emotional impact' or something.

*Not a real quote.

Really? You're sure I'd be complaining about it? Based on what, exactly? Or does that 'you' not actually refer to me, and more a generic 'you'?

You're right, it would have made sense to kill Craig to demonstrate the "the Doctor is not always a savoir" story of the current series, but it would have darkened an episode that was obviously intended for nothing more than light laughs.

Also, to be fair, this idea of emotion saving people has gotten ridiculous. I mean, in "Victory of the Daleks" Amy and the Doctor manage to disarm the bomb inside Bracewell simply by making him think he's human. Which he was not.

It's frustrating and a little insulting, but necessary if we want the show to remain as lighthearted and fun as it is.

Susan Arendt:

TimeLord:
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.

I interpreted this episode of the manifestation of the recent relationship between the doctor had with his companions and reintroducing what it use to be. While the doctor would like to save everyone he can't. He feels its entirely his responsibility to take care of his companions and shares none of that responsibility with the companions themselves (not recently anyway). Amy and Rory were largely what I would call babysitting companions. They caused many more problems than they helped solve, and those they helped solve were usually of their own making. Sometimes its up to the companions to save themselves and independently solve problems rather than relying on the doctor to do all the heavy lifting. I think that is something this episode reintroduced.

Of course I may be biased, but to me it seems like Rory and Amy need a lot more saving than any of the prior companions ever did.

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