Doctor Who #891: Night and the Doctor

"I do not sneak out at night to parties with River Song!" "How is she?" "Fine."
TECHNICAL SPECS: Umbrella title for a series of 5 mini-episodes released as part of the Series 6 DVD set. I offer them here because the last one is really a prologue to Closing Time.

IN THIS ONE... Four shorts revealing what the Doctor gets up to while his companions are sleeping. The fifth sketch catches up with Craig and Sophie.

REVIEW: There are really two stories here, plus a prologue for another. The first, comprised of Bad Night and Good Night, deals with Amy's sleepless nights thinking of her life - it just doesn't make sense. She doesn't get to ask her questions in Bad Night, because the Doctor is too busy trying to resolve a crazy adventure he's having with an off-screen River Song. It's just silliness like a lot of mini-episodes before it, and I sort of wish it had been the "Jim the Fish" story we've heard about (and I guess it may be). In Good Night, Amy gets her question in and gets a nonsense answer that's as much for us as it is for her. Her life DOESN'T make sense, it's just a big paradox, and because she's a time traveler, she gets to remember various versions of her life. To better explain it, the Doctor doesn't set her mind at ease. He pushes her into the deeper end of the pool, making her buy ice cream to her younger self. You can practically see the new memory forming as the Doctor hatches his plan. In other words, stop worrying about it, audience. Time can be rewritten, and that includes your favorite episodes. And guess what, they exist so long as you remember them.

First Night and Last Night refer to the more important dates the Doctor has had with River. First Night is really their first date, from her perspective, just after she's been jailed. Obviously, it's got the entertaining banter we expect from these characters, but it's basically a continuity implant, showing how the Doctor first told her how to use the diary, etc. Last Night is more interesting, and actually packs an emotional punch. The Doctor brings River to a certain planet, but another version of her, five years on, barges into the TARDIS, and then a third... It's this crazy time-tossed farce, just fun and games, until you realize the last duplicate (and a duplicate Doctor) are on the very last date, the one mentioned in Forest of the Dead. You then know she's about to meet the tenth Doctor and die.

Up All Night is really Closing Time's prologue and not included on the same disc, even if it shares Night and the Doctor's nomenclature. Maybe they thought they were being clever, but seeing as it has nothing to do with the other four's theme, and the DVD set has several other, untitled, such prologues, it just seems out of place. I chose to review it here because I made a commitment to mini-episodes with actual onscreen titles, but it's a disappointment when you realize a fun, zany five-part story is only really four. Glad to see Craig and Sophie, you understand, but I could have waited for Closing Time.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Better than the interstitial "bonus scenes" from the Series 5 set, they're amusing and fun, though only Final Night feels at all important.



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