Before the eagerly awaited finale, Doctor Who needs a break, so James Corden pops in to reprise his character from last year’s pre-climax comedy episode. However, this year they are faced with a terrifying new nemesis: Stormageddon.
The Cybermen are also in it. So, is the Doctor’s 2011 Essex holiday as funny as before?
The Lodger II – Lodge Harder
To be honest, I could cut and paste heavily from my review of The Lodger, last year’s Craig Owens episode: light relief, cultural mix-ups, Corden good in his part, Matt Smith also excellent at this sort of thing. So I suppose the real question is: did they do enough new to justify going back to the Owens well?
I think they did, actually. There are two pivotal differences here: firstly, the enemy isn’t a complete non-entity. This is still the sitcom episode, so the Cybermen are often played for laughs rather than pants-wetting terror, but there’s momentum to the threat. That won’t be much compensation to Cyberman fans who want to see them become top-level villains; sorry, guys.
Secondly, a role-reversal. Yes, the Doctor helps Craig again, but this time the big guy gets to return the favour. It’s genuinely sweet, and I also like the chance to see Matt Smith playing off a companion other than the long-running Ponds.
And yes, they whipped that “I speak baby” joke from A Good Man Goes To War until it cried, but I don’t care, it was funny.
The Last Five Minutes
And then we hit the final minutes, and the inevitable pre-amble for next week’s mega-ending. After some strong standalone episodes, I’m wary of returning to the quagmire of River Song /Silence continuity, but much like the Doctor and his death, we have to face it eventually.
At least we only had one scene of the Ponds and they didn’t say anything, so we reviewers can’t moan that they didn’t mention the damn baby. I was also expecting a reference to the apparent Silence spaceship from The Lodger, since Craig was back, but it seems that was yet another feint.
For now, much like last year, this was a fun diversion, with added drama as our two heroes mature towards their destiny. If they could persuade James Corden to come back for a longer stint on the TARDIS, in Catherine Tate style, I’d actually be pleased to hear it. File that under “Things I Never Expected To Type”.
So, did you think this episode lived up to The Lodger? What lunacy are you expecting next week? Watch it on iPlayer if necessary, and let us know below.