Doctor Who: Let’s Kill Craig

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And there I was, getting all emotionally wrecked about them killing Craig off (yeah, he's kind of a doofus, but he's a likable fellow all the same), and then they save him in a contrived and silly manner. Now all I'm left thinking is, "well this is kind of stupid." Not the way you want your audience to react. It would be like in Titanic (sorry, first movie to pop into my head about this subject - also spoilers), where Jack's dying at the end, only instead of sinking to his death, he pop's back up and says "JK! The water's actually quite pleasant." It ruins any emotional connection you had going on.

Also, love that you're doing a Doctor Who column, Susan, though you're a little late for this season. Not that there's anything wrong with looking at older episodes.

Navvan:

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.

Oh, lawd, go back and watch some classic Who if you want to see some helpless (and/or useless) companions. Mel, in particular.

they should have killed off the baby just think about it! the doctor would be devestated for the failure to protect an inocent child since he speaks baby the babys last words can be something meaningfull that we wont understand that will give the big twist to the finalle...

Can somebody please explain to me the point of TV show reviews? You can't use them to tell if you should watch an episode because they usually have spoilers. And TV shows don't cost you anything, so worst case scenario it's an hour of your life down the drain. So it's basically, "Here's how good that thing you already saw is." This isn't a personal attack on Susan Arendt, whose work I respect, but I just don't get it.

Susan Arendt:

Navvan:

Susan Arendt:

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.

Oh, lawd, go back and watch some classic Who if you want to see some helpless (and/or useless) companions. Mel, in particular.

I definitely do need to watch the older episodes. I've only been watching Dr. Who for about 4 months now (caught up with everyone since the revival). From my perspective though they seem relatively helpless compared to the other major companions. Still I was happy to see the companion finally save the day again. Even if it was extremely cheesy. I must be forgetting some point where Amy and Rory save the day, I'm sure there has been one. I just can't think of it. The closest I can think of is the previous season's finale.

Crimson_Dragoon:
And there I was, getting all emotionally wrecked about them killing Craig off (yeah, he's kind of a doofus, but he's a likable fellow all the same), and then they save him in a contrived and silly manner. Now all I'm left thinking is, "well this is kind of stupid." Not the way you want your audience to react. It would be like in Titanic (sorry, first movie to pop into my head about this subject - also spoilers), where Jack's dying at the end, only instead of sinking to his death, he pop's back up and says "JK! The water's actually quite pleasant." It ruins any emotional connection you had going on.

Also, love that you're doing a Doctor Who column, Susan, though you're a little late for this season. Not that there's anything wrong with looking at older episodes.

I know, I've been hemming and hawing about it for ages now. Should've gotten started on it sooner. But there's loads to talk about, and look on the bright side - the column can keep us going until the new season starts up. :)

Nice article, though it's a pity you choose to start with the weakest series since the show was resurrected. The Tennant era had it's cheesy moments (lighting the Olympic torch?) but at least they were consistent with the overall tone. This series has run like a sequence of non-sequiturs: Rory & Amy have been put through a serious mindfuck character arc, yet in the "non-arc" episodes they act as if it never happened. It's as if they wrote all the episodes, threw them in the air and aired them in the order they landed.

I disagree completely, first The Lodger was a great episode, two if Craig died it would of been just another in a long line of tragic episodes, which I'm tired of, and humans have taken over the Cybermen before look at Mercy Hartigan in "The Next Doctor".

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

Was the Dalek's master plan to become a gumball machine?

Vuirneen:
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.

Well, to be fair, in the Torchwood Cyberwoman episode, it's explained that in cases of extreme desperation, the cybermen will settle for partial conversion in order to get more troops in the field. They were extremely weak, salvaging spare parts. It's quite likely they'd have resorted to the same measure. And, as has been mentioned above, a cyber controller needs a living brain and nervous system.

i would read a weekly column about Dr. Who. also agreed Craig should have died. Would have made Amy's appearance in the episode a bit more memorable and fitting seeing as how he left Rory and her in the previous episode.

I agree killing Craig would have had a fair greater emotional resonance but ultimately it was not one of THOSE episodes as other people have stated. I am inherently conflicted with Dr Who because on some levels I think it's great, especially in regards to the quality of actors who have played the Doctor. However, it will ultimately always disappoint because Dr Who, is at the end of the day, a children's/family programme and as such will never really be able to explore the darker/gritter elements that are without doubt present within the Doctor Who universe. This is also why peril is used so often in Dr Who, oh god so much peril and jeopardy...........hence all the running.

That is of course why Torchwood was created, that and the fact that Captain Jack is Russell T Davies' mega Mary-Sue character. But I can forgive that because Cap'n Harkness is awesome(his coat alone is more awesome than many actual sentient characters in Dr Who) and injected a dose of shooty, fatalistic realism into the Dr Who mythos. Dare I say it, he even contributed a little bit of grimdark here and there. Except now Torchwood is starting to get all science-fantasy like Doctor Who with the driving force behind miracle day's 10 hours of story essentially being explained as 'a wizard did it'. *Sigh*. Now I'm just rambling and I honestly can't remember what the point I am supposed to be making is.

Errrrr......... Ok here we go. Doctor Who is shown pre-watershed and thus it will never be the program that many people, my self included, would like it to. Or perhaps more generously it will never explore certain themes or take certain directions in its story that many people would like it to. You know what? I honestly think that is actually a good thing in the grand scheme of things. Not sure why, but I'm pretty sure it is.

I dunno. I think killing Craig may have been better for the overall theme of this season but...Wouldn't it be better if he just stayed a cyberman instead? I mean assume instead of all dieing cyber-craig shows some sign of emotion but then escapes with a few other cybermen.

this way the main theme of the Doctor screwing up families remains in tact. Also, it opens a way for the Doctor to develop more for the better next season...giving him a mission he is determined to accomplish and a chance to redeem himself in the future by saving Craig from the cybermen and curing him of it (again assuming its the scrappy kind of transformation that CAN be reversed like what it seemed in Closing Time). Hell get an adult Alfie/Stormageddon as a new companion.

I just think outright killing Craig would have been wasted potential. Besides, knowing he was turned into a Cybermen would have been way more of an emotional hit then him simply being dead.

Earthshock was the first classic Who i ever saw and it remains my favorite Peter Davison Era serial (That I saw so far). EVERYONE should watch it.

ALSO: <3 Doctor Who Column. Going to need something to fill the Who void since Series 7 wont start until a FULL YEAR from now. Only the Xmas special to look forward to. =(

Well, usually when "love" saves the day (like Craig's first episode) I hate it. But this time I didn't mind quite as much because it made a bit of sense. All the Cybermen blew up because Craig was being made a Cyberleader, and was plugged into all the ship's systems. So he opened his own suit, it didn't happen by "magic".

And I think Craig's death would require a retooling of the entire episode to work, since the tonal shift from "goofy and lighthearted" to "tragic" would cause emotional whiplash, especially in children. If they made the whole episode a bit darker, then it would have worked very well.

The thing about the episode that bugs me is that a fairly major plot point(the ship was derelict and underground, not in orbit) was given away in DAMN PREVIEW.

Much as I do like the angle of the Doctor being more of a hindrance than a helper, I still can't help but feel that it's all as simple as this:

Doctor shows up, a few people die and/or get traumatised.

Doctor buggers off, everyone dies and/or gets traumatised.

Slightly more OT: Craig dying would've made it better, Craig being saved in some other, less stupid way would've made it better still.

ZeoAssassin:
Earthshock was the first classic Who i ever saw and it remains my favorite Peter Davison Era serial (That I saw so far). EVERYONE should watch it.

Then you clearly need to see, "The Caves of Androzani," Davison's last and arguably best episode.

Firstly, I believe they weren't actually married. That's why Craig said the line about it just being a piece of paper to the woman who thought him and The Doctor were a couple. Pedantic I know =)

Second of all, the Cybermen blowing up. I don't think it was ever Craig's emotional response killing them. I think in one of the Doctor's technobabble speeches he explained that Craig's overwhelming emotional to help his son blew out the emotional containment unit for ALL the Cybermen, causing them to explode. In it's purest form, yes, Craig beat the Cybermen with love. But technically, he opened up the Cybermen to their own repressed emotions, causing them to die.

I don't think Craig needed to die. The episode wasn't really about Craig, it was about the Doctor's relationship with people. Some people he destroys, but others he actually makes their lives better, as demonstrated by this episode. Craig forged a relationship with his son and is better for it. It's just showing the opposite side of the argument.

Oh c'mon? Asking for a turn to the dark side? It's primary role is as a kids show, that's the reason the British populace have paid for it for so long, it's a kids show which adults enjoy, and James Corden is on every fundraising event and family show on the Beeb, if you have this character who is virtually the James Corden we see on Comic Relief and a little one as young as 5 sees this all round good guy have all his emotions taken away? That's not gonna bode well for 'em.

Don't you understand the fact that it's target audience is young 'uns from 5 - 13? it may have a Cult status, but there's no use in trying to please the Cult fans because then they wouldn't be pleasing the taxpayers.

TL;DR: WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?! It is afterall, not actually made for anyone who can operate a computer.

ewhac:

ZeoAssassin:
Earthshock was the first classic Who i ever saw and it remains my favorite Peter Davison Era serial (That I saw so far). EVERYONE should watch it.

Then you clearly need to see, "The Caves of Androzani," Davison's last and arguably best episode.

yeah saw that one too and while it was really good and its a worthy send off to Davison, i still kind of like Earthshock more.

then again i also kind of like Battlefield more than Remembrance of the Deleks from the Sylvester McCoy Era so...yeah

Susan Arendt:
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.

Just some thoughts on your article (including your above clarifications), Susan. Am I right in saying you're not beating on the character of Craig but rather you're peeved that this situation presented the actions of the Cybermen as 'out of character'? I wouldn't get so tied down to instances like this as there are numerous 'fluff' options to explain away their anomalous behaviour- they were tired, underpowered, any possible recruit that demonstrated initiative looked promising to them at that point...etc. While this scenario was disappointing for veteran viewers such as yourself, the real danger [1] is the 'Cyberman character' precedent is sets for new/younger viewers. I suppose we can only hope for better writing as a solution to that problem.

"But it's gone to dark places before, and been the stronger for it". When I read those lines in connection with the point you raised about this season's emphasis on the "Doctor as Saviour vs. Menace" angle I couldn't help but think of another Dr Who penultimate-season-episode (there's gotta be a better word for that).

Remember The Waters of Mars?

He's definately a "destroyer of families", all right, but I struggle to see how Craig's death would have further jepordized the Doctor's integrity. Certainly the circumstances are more heart-wrenching, but all sorts of people have sacrificed themselves for the Doctor's 'preferred outcome' before. If Craig's hypothetical sacrifice was unsuccessful in neutralising the Cybermen, or companions openly defy the Doctor's wishes as in TWofM and refuse his version of events, then we finally see the Doctor's feet of clay. Davros was right when he said the Doctor turns his companions into weapons and hopefully River Song will give this Doctor a taste of his own medicine.

[1] And I have a suspicion this might have been one of the deciding factors in you biting the bullet and starting this article series; to make new viewers aware of the vast stories and legacies surrounding their new-found series and ensure they're on the right track to appreciate all that Dr Who means and symbolises to people and what they can experience themselves. I mean, referencing 'Earthshock'? You got it bad; you're a 'lifer'. ;)

My complaint is not that he survived, but that they ever placed him in such a contrived situation in the first place. It wasn't needed for the overall tone of the episode, and a simple gag involving the teleport sending them to a lift on some random space warship would've made for a far more effective, satisfying, and in-keeping ending.
But yes, I hope they wrap up this story-line properly and do it well.


/Rant

Roll on Saturday I say!

I think it WOULD have been interesting...but only if it had be the episode before this one.

That way there was an episode where The Doctor was thinking about Craigs' death, living with it.

Then an episode follow it could have been one lighter in tone, maybe finding out his daughter - Jenny - was still alive.

Thus forcing him to be conflicted - does he challenge the timeline, like Waters of Mars, or does he let himself die.

I thought killing Craig off would've completely broke The Doctor. I think the episode was kinda dark and depressing just because The Doctor was obviously completely off his game; The Doctor was not responsible for saving Craig or defeating the Cybermen, which was kinda big. The Doctor really came off as like an old security guard trying to stop a bunch of punk teenagers, and the teenagers beat him up. The Doctor had issues with the power sucking little metal rat let alone stopping a single Cyberman.

Does no one remember "The Next Doctor" What happened in this episode has precedence people. Remember when that woman was hooked up as the control module of the Cyberking. The She used her heightened emotional state and mind to overwhelm the Cybermen in that situation.

Also he wasn't converted he was in the process of being converted they never finished They hooked him up but hadn't gotten to the cut cut stuff yet.

Craig's uncertainty in fatherhood was a metaphor for Doctor's ability to face his almost certain destiny. Had Craig died, then the doctor would not have able to accept what is coming and would have certainly been killed. Now there is a chance for him.

The weirdest thing is that I read this, come to terms with the whole feedback loop thing and think:

Yvonne Hartman.

Anyone remember her? Sealed in a Cybersuit and STILL managed to break through the programming to blast away for Queen and country. So yeah, strong emotions DO override, but if you're being stuffed into a metal cage, you're probably going to be confused, overcome with fear (which can override a lot of natural impulses - fight or flight, for example) and panicking in general.

Alfie is/was an outside stimulus. It's possible. The logistics for these Cybermen are in play. I'm not saying I AGREE with it, but that it is possible given past events.

I think that one of the major themes of the newer Doctors is being missed by this analysis:

Human emotion (usually manifested through latent psychic force) is POWERFUL.

Every time the Daleks or Cybermen have come onto the scene, it has been to either give the Doctor a few moments of "and that's how I won" awesomeness, or to show that the Doctor is not humanity's salvation-- humanity (which is to say, our emotions) is. Thus, Craig saving himself this way makes sense.

The newest series isn't about us doubting the Doctor's ability to save the day, or even to make us think he isn't worth it. The series is about the fact that the Doctor wins, for us, at ANY cost. And he himself is beginning to wonder if that cost is worth it (as 10 often did toward the end of his times with a given companion). The series is about the Doctor's evaluation of himself, not our evaluation of him. We know he is going to save the day. He doesn't know that he wants to or even should. And that makes episodes like this necessary to foreshadow that when the Doctor is gone (if he actually dies-- I still have my doubts) humanity will have to take up the reins of its own salvation, and it will probably even succeed in that endeavor (see: Torchwood).

As for this:

Susan Arendt:
The writers apparently want us to believe that at no point during any of the previous encounters with the Cybermen, when humans were being scooped up and converted in droves, did anyone lament for their loved ones. No fathers feared for their sons, no wives longed for their husbands. Brothers didn't worry about sisters, grammas didn't give a toss about that nice boy down the lane who always shovels the walk when it gets snowy. Nobody ever felt sufficient emotion - be it love, fear, anger, or anything else - to create the feedback loop that saved Craig's life. Not once.

Eleven Doctors in, and NOW we're going to start hating episodes because of plot holes? Come on dude, wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff. These probably aren't even that version of the Cybermen anyhow. There have been many different versions of every recurring Big Bad in Who, and during every appearance the rules have changed ever so slightly.

Great article, Susan, and would love to see this become a periodic column. As for the episode, it really could have gone both ways. They kill him, to reinforce the decision for the Doctor to go to his own end, to save everyone he loves and cares for from himself, and the hundreds of different kinds of dangers that he attracts, or they save him, to remind him that just because danger is present doesn't mean it can't be overcome. While the show is a bit too family oriented to hopelessly kill off a comic relief like that (usually, from my experience), there did not need to be a magic physics-breaking crack that appeared in the helmet.

We've played with the idea that an emotional surge through their metal shells can destroy the Cybermen before, and perhaps the Cybercontroller doing some kind of feedback loop into all of them would cause them to die, so I can buy that. But no amount of a primal urge to defend one's own offspring, or 'love', as they called it, can rend apart two bits of steel that appear to have been welded together. Now, had the Doctor run to him, still in the suit, sonic'd the helmet to get it off, found him unconscious, near death, and had to be carried out, to be unconscious on the floor before his son, the Doctor frantically trying not to lose someone else, reinforcing that same menace/salvation idea...that might carry the appropriate emotional weight the show is known to occasionally have. But him just springing up, being perfectly fine, and making the episode close with the emotional seriousness of a joke was not the buildup to his own death that it could have been.

Susan Arendt:
Doctor Who: Let's Kill Craig

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

Read Full Article

Looks like I'm again on the opposite end of most Doctor Who fans. First off I'll say that I loved everything about this episode(except them shoehorning in a scene with Amy and Rory). I will definitely remember it, as I fully remember "The Lodger" episode. I liked "The Lodger" so much, the first Doctor Who gif I made for my avatar was from that episode. Because of this article, I've decided to take off my "Day of the Moon" gif and bring "The Lodger" gif back.

Now about Craig:

If they killed Craig, I would have considered not watching the show for a long while. I have been really unhappy with the show in general since Steven Moffat took over. Well, he had things going good through series 5, until what I consider the worst two part finale of the new series' run.

I haven't liked this story arch that has been beating up on The Doctor and making him doubt himself. I hate the whole menace thing. Since they have been playing heavily on that, it was a good thing they threw in an episode that cuts that arch apart. I very much see "Closing Time" as a redemption type of episode. The Doctor was feeling down, especially with the idea of dieing again, and he was doubting his position of taking a companion along on his journeys. We see in this episode that he is reluctant to bring Craig along. Even though Craig almost died, something wonderful came of the adventure: Craig and his son became closer, and he feels more confidence at being a father, while The Doctor has seen and realized that good does come from people being around him. It brought The Doctor out of a dark moment just in time to make him ready for what's to come.

"Closing Time" is actually one of my favorite episodes of this series. There were a couple good episodes in the first half of this series, but as for this second half, I have been really hating the episodes. For one thing, I really hate Amy and Rory. I find them really annoying, whiny, and they blame The Doctor for everything that happens to them, even though everything that has happened to them is their fault or the fault of people The Doctor has no control over. This is why I was glad that I saw they were leaving for at least one episode this season(though as I said, they had to ruin it by wasting two good minutes to show them in the mall). Plus the first three episodes of this half, they had more air time than The Doctor. I watch Doctor Who for The Doctor and the things he has to overcome. The companions are just side characters; they are their to keep The Doctor level headed, another mind to see things differently. Though, most of the time Amy and Rory are running off and getting themselves into trouble more than any other companions.

I seriously hope this series finale is good, because if it is another drivel-fest like the last one, I'm going to seriously contemplate on whether to watch series 7. Moffat already shot holes in the River Song story arch by making her Amy and Rory's child, I never saw that coming, because it wasn't even an option in my mind. I didn't think they would create some new bull crap thing like two humans conceiving a child in the TARDIS makes a Time Lord baby. It makes absolutely no sense.

I might end up just going back when I can and buy up more DVDs of the old series. You recommended "Earthshock", and that is actually one of the ones I have on DVD in my small collection of Old Series DVDs.

TimeLord:

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 disagree, but only because "The girl who waited" is my favourite episode of the second half of the series.

I think the problem with this (for me at least) is that it concentrated so much on the finale that I was in a rush to get to it. In older seasons they didn't concentrate on the upcoming finales as much and so I was able to enjoy the episodes rather than wonder how long before the show reached the final episode and I think that is one of the reasons Series 6.2 has suffered (the other being it isn't as good as 6.1)

Sonic Doctor:

Moffat already shot holes in the River Song story arch by making her Amy and Rory's child, I never saw that coming, because it wasn't even an option in my mind.

Really? I thought it became pretty obvious who she was when she regenerated at the end of the second episode.

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!

Am I the only one who liked it? Though I agree with what you are saying I like to stress the point that it was "love" not love that saved the day. That the Doctor disagreed with the idea of love but rather an instinctual to save ones genetic line (I am paraphrasing)that saved the day.

AVATAR_RAGE:

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!

Am I the only one who liked it? Though I agree with what you are saying I like to stress the point that it was "love" not love that saved the day. That the Doctor disagreed with the idea of love but rather an instinctual to save ones genetic line (I am paraphrasing)that saved the day.

The episode itself I liked. I love most Who episodes that deviate from the established, like bringing in one-off companions like Craig, Idris, Mickey, Jack, Jackie etc. They normally add a sense of humour to the sometimes serious side of the show. The episode would have been excellent if they had focused more on the Cybermen rather than Craig and the Doctor's own mortality.

I guess it would've been better if Craig had died but it's wouldn't be totally impossible for Craig to resist the Cyber conversion.

You are right, all those other men and women being converted would have been thinking about their loved ones, but because Craig could actually hear his son crying at to him, it spurred him on to resist the cyber conversion while all those other men and women have been converted in a cold, dank conversion unit all alone trying desperately to hold on but with no one actually reaching out to them.

Yeah, the finer points of the plot are a bit iffy. But not totally unbelievable.

I couldn't disagree with you more. Moffat's default plot device nowadays is to kill off any character that is even remotely likable.

The tone of the show has changed entirely. Don't get me wrong, I loved Steven Moffat's episodes in the earlier seasons (most of my favourite episodes are his) but he's become predictable now and I miss the days where Ardal O' Hanlon would show up as a cat driving a car in space. I still enjoy the show and I prefer Matt Smith to David Tennant in a lot of ways but I'm tired of the show taking itself so seriously.

I think it may have been the last straw for me if they had killed off Craig. I sat down to watch the episode with low expectations but was pleasantly surprised but the light-hearted nature of the episode and Stormageddon. It would have ruined the entire tone to kill of Craig and Steven Moffat's body count is becoming slightly ridiculous.

IndianaJonny:

Susan Arendt:
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.

Just some thoughts on your article (including your above clarifications), Susan. Am I right in saying you're not beating on the character of Craig but rather you're peeved that this situation presented the actions of the Cybermen as 'out of character'? I wouldn't get so tied down to instances like this as there are numerous 'fluff' options to explain away their anomalous behaviour- they were tired, underpowered, any possible recruit that demonstrated initiative looked promising to them at that point...etc. While this scenario was disappointing for veteran viewers such as yourself, the real danger [1] is the 'Cyberman character' precedent is sets for new/younger viewers. I suppose we can only hope for better writing as a solution to that problem.

"But it's gone to dark places before, and been the stronger for it". When I read those lines in connection with the point you raised about this season's emphasis on the "Doctor as Saviour vs. Menace" angle I couldn't help but think of another Dr Who penultimate-season-episode (there's gotta be a better word for that).

Remember The Waters of Mars?

He's definately a "destroyer of families", all right, but I struggle to see how Craig's death would have further jepordized the Doctor's integrity. Certainly the circumstances are more heart-wrenching, but all sorts of people have sacrificed themselves for the Doctor's 'preferred outcome' before. If Craig's hypothetical sacrifice was unsuccessful in neutralising the Cybermen, or companions openly defy the Doctor's wishes as in TWofM and refuse his version of events, then we finally see the Doctor's feet of clay. Davros was right when he said the Doctor turns his companions into weapons and hopefully River Song will give this Doctor a taste of his own medicine.

Yes, you're right, I am coming from a place of seeing Who as one long mythology, and while I don't mind updating mythologies to make them fit better in a modern setting, some things just don't really fit. That was part of the problem here - you could've actually dropped in *any* random villain using people for spare parts and it wouldn't have made any substantive difference. The whole episode was just slapdash and sloppy - it felt like someone's first attempt at writing a script, really.

Loved Waters of Mars, actually, thought that was a brilliant episode.

Cody Holden:

Eleven Doctors in, and NOW we're going to start hating episodes because of plot holes? Come on dude, wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff. These probably aren't even that version of the Cybermen anyhow. There have been many different versions of every recurring Big Bad in Who, and during every appearance the rules have changed ever so slightly.

Yeah, ok, that's fair. :)

[1] And I have a suspicion this might have been one of the deciding factors in you biting the bullet and starting this article series; to make new viewers aware of the vast stories and legacies surrounding their new-found series and ensure they're on the right track to appreciate all that Dr Who means and symbolises to people and what they can experience themselves. I mean, referencing 'Earthshock'? You got it bad; you're a 'lifer'. ;)

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