After dropping off Amy and Rory last week, it's no surprise that the Doctor would seek out another old friend in this week's "Closing Time." But as we edge ever closer to the Doctor's demise, it's no surprise that we've got five questions about last night's episode...
What's With All The Children?
There's been a very obvious uptick in the number of stories over the last couple of seasons centering around children, hasn't there? Not just episodes like this one, "Night Terrors," "A Christmas Carol" or "The Beast Below," but the entire Amy/Rory/Melody arc. At first I presumed it was then-new showrunner Steven Moffat getting back in touch with the show's roots as a kids' show, but at this point, I can't help wondering if it's something else. As the series has gotten noticably darker, I'm beginning to suspect that we're supposed to be paying more attention to the way children view the Doctor, and view the world. Think about the future reports we overheard as the Doctor said goodbye... Is there something about the simplicity of a child's view? Given Craig's idea that the Doctor always saves the day, and that beside him is the best place to be... Is that actually what this season is all about (Remember, Amy has that childlike belief in him too, even after last week's episode)? An admittedly long-winded way of proving that simple belief to be true?
What Kind Of War Was The Silence Waging?
We've seen armies prepare to wage war - and lose - and we've seen the Silence inspire an intergalactic pact between all of the Doctor's enemies to try and save reality, but what if both of those were just diversions from what they were really up to? What if the Silence's true objective was to manipulate the Doctor into the frame of mind that he's in now, that he is dangerous, and deadly to those around him, and that he should not only be alone, but allow himself to be killed? What if the only way the Doctor can be killed is by being convinced that there's no reason to think of a way out of it?
I said it last week, and I'll say it again: There's a marked difference in this Doctor's attitude towards potential death than there was the previous incarnation's, at the end of "The End of Time." Maybe the only way to kill the Doctor is to make him think that he deserves to die.
What if the Silence's true war was always a psychological one, and the Doctor was too arrogant to ever see it coming?
When Did This Episode Take Place?
The Doctor has been on a "farewell tour" since leaving Amy and Rory last week, and given that he's become convinced that he's going to die "tomorrow," then that tour must have taken up the thousands of years he'd apparently aged by the time he died in "The Impossible Astronaut." But why does he die "tomorrow" - Does this episode take place on July 21st 2011, and he's being literal? Did the Doctor know what his exact age was when he died, and it's going on his own internal chronometer? What does "tomorrow" actually mean, here? And also...
Amy Is A Famous Model? What?
The revelation that Amy was apparently a famous model seemed to come out of nowhere, and the tagline for her perfume ad ("For The Girl Who's Tired of Waiting") seemed weirdly coincidental, considering the rest of her history. This all feels like it's very important, but I have no idea what any of it means. And, getting back to my last question: If this episode takes place the literal day before the Doctor was murdered, does that mean Amy's been a famous model during this entire season? Even considering this being a time travel show, unless the Doctor returned her to the day after she got in the Tardis in "The Impossible Astronaut," wouldn't someone have missed her by now, if she was a celebrity?
Where Is The Twist?
The closing of this episode set up "The Impossible Astronaut" too well: We saw where the Doctor got the hat and the envelopes - but not, importantly, why he invited everyone to meet up with him... unless it's part of his "farewell tour," or simply to complete a timeloop - and also saw River revealed, finally, as the Impossible Astronaut. But... something else is going on, and it's in plain sight, but I can't work out what it is. It's connected to the Doctor's "final trip" in the Tardis, I get that, and more importantly, related to the Doctor getting his mojo back from his experience in Craig, which reaffirmed not only his love for humanity, and his belief in the power of love - Sentimental, like he said, but important, especially in this show - but, far, far most important of all, his belief in himself. I don't believe that the Doctor at the end of this episode was resigned to his death in the same way that he was at the start. And I think that will end up making all the difference in the end.
I just can't work out how.
Next week: All will be revealed, including how the Doctor can avoid death. Theories? Ideas? It's your last chance to guess how everything will end in the comments below!