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“A Good Man Goes To War” Review [SPOILERS!!!!!]

For an episode where a lot was going on, nothing really happened until the last few minutes.  “A Good Man Goes to War,” the mid-series finale of Doctor Who, was full of action and cool new characters, but there wasn’t, strictly speaking, a “plot.” Yet this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The whole episode was leading to the big reveal at the end, indeed a game-changer like Moffat had been saying all along, which worked well, I think.  Truth be told, this episode did not need to be about a grand plot or a timey-wimey event. This episode was all about characters and how characters relate to and perceive the Doctor, and how he perceives himself.  To do an episode like that as the midseason finale was a bold choice, especially for Steven Moffat, whose whole bag has been complex plots and stuff. And still, questions ARE answered in a satisfactory way.


At the beginning of the episode, we know Amy and child, called Melody, are being held by Eye Patch Lady, who is leading the Clerics, militarized Anglicans whom we last saw in “Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone.” The Eye Patch Lady’s name is “Madame Kovarian,” but I’m going to keep calling her Eye Patch Lady.  There’s a moment in the prologue, while Amy is telling Melody they’ll all be okay because her father is coming to save them, that we think yet again she’s talking about the Doctor, but, of course, it’s Rory.  Rory, The Last Centurion.  Moffat loves creating heroes, real proper superheroes, and I think it’s really great that Rory went from a sad sack, a pushover, to literally being awesome enough to stand up to a fleet of Cybermen. Also, the fact that Cybermen are in this episode simply as a way for Rory to look badass is pretty cool. I like Rory.

The Clerics have a whole army waiting for the Doctor, and they’ve even brought in the Headless Monks, who are basically Jedi with no heads. They don’t make sense.  Are we supposed to believe that their faith is so strong they can exist without heads? If that’s the case, how do their hoods stay up? Don’t say “the Force,” because that’s your answer for everything. We’re also introduced to Lorna Bucket, a cleric who has met the Doctor before when she was a child.  She doesn’t want the Doctor to be harmed, but this is the only way she can think of to see him again.  Kind of a dumb plan if you ask me, but it works.  Lorna is another in a long line of companions who never were.

While they wait impatiently, the Doctor is compiling his own army, comprised of people who owe him a debt.  I feel like the Doctor wouldn’t collect debts because he wouldn’t keep track of them.  “Favors for favors” doesn’t seem to be his bag, but it’s really just a means of getting more cool characters together.  How else would we get a Silurian samurai from the 1880s and her human life partner and a helpful Sontaran in the same place at the same time?  He also recruits Dorium Maldovar, the big, bald, blue guy whom River barters with briefly in “The Pandorica Opens.”  He definitely does not want to go fight, but he does, evidently because he also owes the Doctor something.

And what about River?  Rory goes to collect her, on her birthday *wink wink*, right after the Doctor had taken her to the early 1800s and had Stevie Wonder sing to her.  River is visibly stunned to see Rory and tells him she can’t go with him, because this is the day the Doctor finds out who she is. More on that later. Spoilers.

I like and have always liked the idea of teams of good guys and moreover the idea of recruiting them.  This episode really felt like Doctor Who’s answer to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the book, of course, not the abomination of a film they made).  The Doctor himself doesn’t actually appear for 19 minutes, and he does with a boom.  The Eleventh Doctor has an interesting way of dealing with large threats which is to act like he doesn’t give a shit.  He’s supremely confident and doesn’t need to bluster or shout (until later). Maybe slightly too confident? He almost immediately makes the Clerics look like fools, despite their persistent assurances that they are not, and his “army” takes control of Demons Run in 3min 42sec.

While I can totally buy and enjoy the fact that the Doctor can gather a Silurian samurai and a Sontaran nurse, I have a hard time believing he’d be able to mobilize an entire legion of Silurian warriors and Judoon officers just like that. It’s a cool visual, but the logistics of it are a bit off. I liked the small throwback to “The Curse of the Black Spot” with the quick shot of Captain Avery and Toby implying that his ship of space pirates has taken control of Eye Patch Lady’s ship.  I did NOT appreciate the return of the Spitfires in space from “Victory of the Daleks.”  I can maybe, MAYBE, understand Spitfires in space in the context of that episode because they’re pretty close to Earth, but here they’re light years away and hundreds of years in the future. Did the Doctor fit both of those Spitfires in the TARDIS? And where do they go once they’ve blown up the communications array? Anyway, hairs split.

One of my favorite scenes happens when the Doctor tells Col. Manton to leave, in what has come to be known as “The Col. Runaway Speech.”  Matt Smith is truly wonderful in this moment and it displays this Doctor’s short temper quite nicely.  I am, however, growing slightly tired of him always saying “That’s new,” after he experiences some emotion. He’s not Data, he can emote once in a while.  It worked in “The Doctor’s Wife” because he truly didn’t know what to do which he surely never felt before, but he’s angry ALL THE TIME, why would he be surprised at being angry?

It’s been hinted at a lot lately that the Doctor, above and beyond being a time-traveling do-gooder, is the most feared thing in the universe.  Last year’s “The Pandorica Opens” illustrated this beautifully, with a combined group of all of the Doctor’s worst foes banding together to stop him.  Now, it seems, it goes beyond his stable of monsters.  The Clerics and Eye Patch Lady seemingly have no reason to fear the Doctor other than that he is something to be feared.  There’s a moment when Lorna mentions that to her people, the word “Doctor” means “Great Warrior” because of their brief time with him.  He has to come to grips with the fact that, while he always tries to do good from his and our point of view, he’s universally known as a threat.  It’s like Richard Matheson’s original novel I Am Legend, where (SPOILERS) at the end the lead character is captured by the vampire people and accepts execution because, to them, HE is the monster. The Doctor is being forced to accept the same thing.  To the Daleks, Cybermen, and, I guess, the Clerics, he is the monster. I think he’ll start to make amends for this soon.

Everything seems fine very quickly and Amy and Rory are reunited with their daughter Melody Pond. There’s a very funny exchange with the Doctor where we learn that he speaks baby (of course he does), and he gives them his cot from when he was a baby.  They won! The Doctor begins to learn what they’d been doing to Melody.  Apparently, because Melody was conceived on the TARDIS, she was born with some sort of strange time-energy in her DNA, which it seems the Eye Patch Lady has been enhancing for quite some time.  So the child is partially Time Lord, which makes sense in context, but we never knew it could happen. Of course, there’s no precedent for it. To our knowledge, no child has ever been conceived on the TARDIS.  It lends to the theory that not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords.  It’s an enhancement they’ve done to themselves through “billions of years” being exposed to the Time Vortex and the Untempered Schism.  I think that stuff is super fascinating and I’m excited to see where Moffat goes with it.

But, of course, Eye Patch Lady has another trick up her sleeve, and, once she is long gone, the Headless Monks attack the small remaining heroes. EPL tells the Doctor that they plan to use Melody as a weapon against the Doctor.  She also informs the Doctor that he’s been fooled a second time, leading to the horrible realization that the baby Amy has been cradling is actually a Flesh duplicate. It’s one of the most heartbreaking reveals the show has ever created and Amy is understandably despondent afterwards. The Monks are eventually defeated, but Dorium, Lorna,  and Sontaran nurse Strax are killed in the process. As Strax dies, he tells Rory that while he looked like a warrior, he was just a nurse, something that hits Rory like a punch in the sternum.

And then River arrives. She’s finally here to tell the Doctor, and us, who she is.  The answer lies in the cot. For a moment we, or at least I, thought she was going to say she was the Doctor’s mother, but that would have been gross and ridiculous.  The Doctor realizes the truth and sort of cheerfully heads to the TARDIS.  Amy is still totally unaware and River calmly explains it by showing the whatever-that-thing-is that Lorna had sewn. It’s Melody’s name in the language of her people. They don’t know the word for Pond, because the only water in the forest is the River.  YES! River Song is actually Melody Pond. She is Amy and Rory’s daughter!

I think that was a wonderful reveal, personally. I sort of saw it coming, but at this point it’s nice not to have to speculate.  Why would she be some kind of strange third-party character when the most poignant and pertinent thing would be that she is the child of the Ponds (Williamses)? So the little girl we saw in the space suit is likely River Song and she can regenerate.  But, there are a few questions that need answering and things that don’t quite add up yet.

1)      If the little girl we saw in the suit and regenerating is River, why wouldn’t River have remembered it while she was investigating it? Unless she’s just “spoilers”-ing again.

2)      I don’t think River is the one in the space suit that kills the Doctor in “The Impossible Astronaut,” BECAUSE grown-up River looks genuinely shocked and sad when the Doctor dies. However, this could just be her lying again, or it could be the Silence making her forget. I just think it’s someone else entirely we haven’t met yet.

3)      The scene in Stormcage at the beginning of this episode where River looks really surprised and wistful about seeing Rory. This is what I think: River, at that point in her life, hadn’t seen Rory in a very long time and I believe that’s because Rory is the “Good Man” whom River kills. She says she kills “The best man she’s ever known,” and that HAS to be her dad, the Last Friggin’ Centurion. The whole series has been making us think someone’s talking about the Doctor but are actually talking about Rory. It only stands to reason that this is just the last instance of it. While I don’t want to see Rory get killed, it will probably be in some heroic fashion and it will inform River’s whole life and relationship with the Doctor and Amy.

4)      Who blew up the TARDIS? I know this is an old question, but the TARDIS exploded in “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,” and we still don’t know who caused it or why. What does it have to do with the Silence falling?

Now we have a good few months to wait and watch Torchwood while we mull over these and other important questions.  Boy, for an episode I claimed didn’t have much plot, there was a whole lot to talk about.

Later this week, I’m going to be featured on an episode of the excellent podcast, Two-Minute Time Lord, with two other fantastic bloggers/critics talking about Series 6. Follow me on TWITTER and I’ll link you once it plops.

Until next time, Whovians!

-Kanderson speaks nerd.

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71 comments

  • Are we really going to be concerned about Rory dying? With his track record, he’ll probably just come back anyways. Or maybe they’ll actually KEEP him dead for a twist.

  • What if Moffat’s been continually pulling the Doctor/Rory bait-and-switch so we start to think River means she killed Rory, but she really DID kill the Doctor instead. It would be a brilliant misdirect. (I really don’t want Rory to die; can you tell?)

  • That’s really brilliant the theory about Rory being the “good man” River kills. I hadn’t thought about it too much. I did the obvious thing and thought the Doctor but you’re right when you think about how Moffat has been revealing that 99.9% of the time it’s Rory he’s talking about, it makes a ridiculous amount of sense. <3 I think I love you o_O

  • Definitely agree on Rory’s character. As far as wimp-to-somewhat-badass character’s go he reminds me a lot of Wesley from Buffy and Angel later on. It’s nice to see character development done on such a high level again, which is another testament to moffat’s writing skills. I’m curious to see if we learn more about the two thousand years he spent guarding the pandorica or how it affected him at least.

  • @Trenton — My own theory is that the little girl didn’t break out of the astronaut suit, but regenerated at some point while inside the suit blowing it to pieces.

  • I don’t know if the person in the Spacesuit is River or not, but I must say that she has repeatedly proven herself as having precise marksmanship when shooting at an enemy – so she suddenly misses every shot as she is shooting at the Spaceperson when they slowly descended into the lake? And then she says “No, of course” (or similar) to herself after the round is over… it’s suspicious to me.

    As for the final episode, your reviews are great and the episode was fantastic. Matt Smith portrays the emotions of the Doctor in such a great way, he really deserves to be the Doctor.

  • KaleighElms, I could see your confusion. She didn’t call her mum, like “mom”, she called her “ma’am.” It comes out sounding a bit like “mum” when the Brits say it. :)

  • @Joey – The Ganger Buzzer that Cleaves kills didn’t melt when he died. She stopped his heart. The Doctor was very upset about that, and emphasized that it was a real human. Ganger Buzzer’s body was still there. Gangers that are still hooked up to the real person definitely melt (Amy, Melody), but the independent ones, effected by the solar radiation, only melted when the Doctor used the sonic on them (himself and Cleaves). But he also said that exposure to the TARDIS stabilized them (end of the episode). So it’s possible Ganger Doc is picked up by Real Doc in the TARDIS and made stable.

    In this last episode, the Doctor says it’s possible for Melody to regenerate. So I don’t think it’s completely impossible for River to have regenerated. And she’s not a typical partial Time Lord. She’s human, but exposed to the Time Vortex, and then EPL enhances that. So maybe she’s got special circumstances? Who knows. We’ll see. ::shrug::

    Anybody else wondering why, in The Impossible Astronaut, both Amy AND River feel sick? Amy could be explained by her Ganger feeling Real Amy’s morning sickness (since she also felt the contractions later). But then why was River feeling sick? The Silence don’t make anyone else sick, even though they’re exposed to them the same amount of time, if not longer, than Amy and River, so it’s not them. Hmm..

  • First of all, the girl in the suit could not be River, because she regenerated. According to “Journey’s End,” half Time Lords do not regenerate. Also, the Doctor purposely blew up the TARDIS which was not related to the fall. As mentioned in “Doctor Who in America,” what was thought to be “Silence will fall,” was actually “Silents will fall.” which occured in episode 6.1.2. The Doctor on the beach could not have been a ganger, because he did not melt like every other dead ganger.
    Nitpicking Alert: I do not understand how Rory could still have been the last Centurian since Big Bang 2 corrected time.
    Do not argue against my theories about River due to her hair color. She probably just had the condition that I had where one goes bald and grows a different color of hair as a baby.

  • @Nichelle – Yeah, Ganger Doctor melted, but Real Doctor told him it might not be the end of him:
    Ganger: “My death arrives I suppose.”
    Real: “But this one we’re not invited to.”
    Ganger: “What?”
    Real: “Nothing… Your molecular memory can survive this, you know. This may not be… the end.”
    Ganger: “Yeah, well if I turn up to lick all your biscuits, you’ll know you were right, won’t you?”

    So I’m really hoping it was the Ganger at the lake. He’s fully Time Lord too, because he’s like the other guy who Cleaves killed, who had a heart. So independent Ganger Doctor must have the same bodily structure as Real Doctor, so he’d have two hearts that died. Thus when River scans his vitals he registers as dead Time Lord, and not as solidified goo. And that’s why he still has to be burned. Because he is a Time Lord body, even if it’s not THE original Doctor.

  • At the end of The Big Bang, I genuinely thought the villain for this season would be revealed to be the 12th Doctor who is supposed to be evil. I’m still really curious how they’re going to work that in to the story when the time comes!

  • wasn’t the ganger doctor melted at the end of “almost people”, though? [although i hope not; i’d love for that to have been a fake Doctor that died in utah…) lol

  • I have to say, this episode was beyond epic. While I’d already guessed at the River reveal before I watched it, it still was crazy good. Matt’s acting has always been insanely good, but I think he reached a whole new level with this one. Unbelievable! The Doctor and Rory were both seriously badass. I would hate to ever get on the Doctor’s bad side. Dang! I loved the Col. Runaway speech, and the blowing up of the Cybermen fleet just to make a point. Phwew! Don’t ever piss off the Doctor! While I also thought it was a bit of a stretch for the Spitfires to be able to fly out to an asteroid, I still liked that they showed up in this, no matter how unfeasible it is. One of my favorite moments was when the Doctor does the arm spin like an airplane. What a rock star!

    @KaleighElms — The human was saying “Ma’am”, but in the British pronunciation it sounds a bit like “mum” to us Americans.

    I also have my own theories/questions to posit:

    - I think it’s almost certain (or at least highly possible) that the girl in the spacesuit is indeed River. When Amy goes to the orphanage and ends up in the girl’s bedroom, she finds a picture of her (Amy) with Melody, among the spacesuit girl’s other photos. Madame Vastra says that the baddies (EPL, etc) likely sent the girl to Earth to raise her in the right environment, and the Doctor replied “Yes. They did.”, referring to the spacesuit girl. So I think Eye Patch Lady (eventually) sends Melody to Earth to be looked after by The Silence, and perhaps they put her in the self-sustaining, life-support suit because they can’t really take care of a little kid. They’re massive, extremely long-fingered monsters. I doubt they can watch over a toddler. And the fact that she has an American accent…. she could lose that once she regenerates. As to why River seems to not know who the spacesuit girl is could be explained later (if she is the spacesuit girl) by some event, maybe the Silence doing something (prolonged exposure to them messes with your memory), or… she could just be a really good actress and is purposefully acting like she doesn’t know because, since she’s going in the opposite direction, she knows that the Doctor finds out about her the next time he sees her (in her past), so she can’t mess with history and tell him ahead of time (to his point of view). Don’t know if that makes sense. Hard to explain that. But that’s just one of a bagillion theories in my head about that.

    - I think it’s possible that the Doctor at the lake was the Ganger Doctor (as I’m sure many of you are considering). Now that The Doctor knows about what is to happen to him in the future (because Amy told him), he sends the Ganger in his place, maybe? AND, if you look closely (helps to pause the screen), there is another person there at the lake, over by the shed. While it is totally possible this is an Oops and some guy from on set accidentally got in shot, it is also … possible .. that someone else was there. The Real Doctor maybe? Or someone else who is supposed to witness The Doctor’s death – as verification that whoever is in the spacesuit carried out their ‘orders’ to kill him. Or.. something?

    - There are tons of possibilities of who could be in that suit. But do find the “Of course not.” line from River to be very intriguing. And it must be someone the Doctor knows, or will come to know. Perhaps the Doctor learns that River is to kill him (she is being raised as a weapon, after all) and in order to save her from actually killing him, sends his Ganger in so that it looks like she carried out her order to whoever ordered his killing, but doesn’t actually kill him. She’s constantly saying that she has a “promise” to keep by staying in/returning to prison. So what’s the “promise”? But, knowing Steven Moffat, whoever is actually in the suit is gonna be completely unexpected.

    - While it is certainly possible that Rory is the “good man” River kills (and I’ve been thinking about that possibility even before I figured out he was her father, since the only man we’d been presented with as an alternative to the Doctor as a ‘good man’ is Rory), I don’t think we should be too quick to eliminate the Doctor just yet. Because, while Rory is definitely a good man, in this episode the phrase “A Good Man” is constantly being used to refer to the Doctor. By Maldovar, when he’s speaking with EPL, telling her to watch out who she’s pissed off and ‘Demons Run when a good man goes to war’, referring to the Doctor. Then during the Col. Runaway speech, EPL talks about the Doctor’s anger as the anger of a ‘Good Man’, and ‘Good Men’ have rules, etc. So.. I think Moffat’s keeping it ambiguous as to whether Rory or The Doctor is THE “good man”… and then, just for kicks, will throw in a 3rd man.. or something.

    - When River has the Doctor read to figure out who she is, is he just reading the prayer leaf inside the cot? Or the Gallifreyan writing on the outside? Because I wonder (if he was reading the outside Gallifreyan writing) if it says something about River/Melody being his wife or has their kid’s name on it, or something to that extent? He also knows where to go to get her after reading it, so maybe it has info on that on there too, somehow? I mean, it’s totally possible he’s only reacting to the news that River is Melody and thus part-Time Lord (meaning he only read the leaf) and knows where to go based on that info, but it seems like there might’ve been more he figured out than just that (meaning he read something interesting on the cot).

    - As to where the Doctor took off to at the end, I think it’s possible he went to A) the Gamma Forest, B) the orphanage, or, of course C) somewhere else entirely.
    A) There must be a reason why River goes by the Gamma name River Song and not her given name, Melody Pond. So perhaps she is raised at some point in the Gamma Forest (she seems to know the language and a lot about it)? So maybe the Doctor heads there, and that’s when he meets Lorna Bucket (though I’m not sure how the timeline works for that), because I feel like Lorna may have more to her than just being a minor character in one episode.
    B) The little girl in the space suit was able to break out of it. Maybe the Doctor is the one who tears her out? (or do semi-Time Lords have super strength?) Since he knows where/who she is now, he goes back there and gets her out? And then gets thwarted so she has to run on her own, ending up in NYC 6 months later?

    Gah! I cannot wait until September!!

  • Just because River looks genuinely shocked when the Doctor dies doesn’t mean that she couldn’t be the person who killed him.

    It could be that the River who was called to the lake along with Rory and Amy hasn’t experienced any of this in her timeline yet.

  • @trenton

    The Doctor was looking at the prayer leaf, not the crib. They just didn’t show it so that the reveal would work.
    The TARDIS translated it.

    That’s all, rewatch the rest.

  • I have to say i was confused bye the Silurian/human lesbian relationship!
    She came in and the girl was like you killed Jack the Ripper, which I thought was kickass for the greenlady, but, i thought she was her adopted mom or something since she called her “Mum” when she came home
    The thing I thought was funny was when she said Jack was “stringy, yet tasteful was when I realized she meant that she ate the Ripper

  • How did the doctor know how river was based on the writing on the crib? Did it say river song/melody pond? If so, then how? How come I know nothing about this Forest and everyone else does? How is the little girl strong enough to break free? Did someone else break her out? Why is she dying? It seems like she would always be dying for some reason. Why did the silence bring Amy aboard the ship? Has she done some stuff after that could have been the result of post-hypnotic suggestion? And I’m pretty sure river could be the one who kills the doctor, even if it is obvious. Also couldn’t the suit pilot itself? Eh?? Think about it. Also! It might be a different or ganger doctor. Why do we all accept Canton III’s testimony that it’s the real doctor? Answer me whovians!!

  • OK, here’s a point in favor of it being Rory that River kills. She was jailed because she killed a good man – and the people that jailed her wanted the doctor dead, so they wouldn’t have jailed her for that – they would have been happy about it, wouldn’t they?

    anyway… Team Rory here as well. Love that character.

  • One of the things I love about Doctor Who is the fan theories. So many of them are just loony or grasping at vapors, but I think it’s great that it is a show that gets into people’s heads.

  • Stephen,

    I thought about that at work. The reason that the Doctor didn’t remember her was because he hadn’t met her. Also we go back to the Doctor’s wife. Weren’t her dying words “The only water in the forest is the river?”

    This battle of the boofyem forest hasn’t happened for this Doctor yet.

    I still don’t see how the Time Child can be River.

    But then again I didn’t think that River would be Amy and Rory’s daughter. And I wasn’t even sure that Amy was pregnant.

  • I was really disappointed with the reveal (yes, I just FINALLY got caught up) because it was predictable. We’d already guessed it. And the reveal at the end of the episode was spoiled by the name Melody Pond alone.

    I still like my theory about her being the Rani better. I think that would have been so much more interesting. And it would have been nice to see that classic Who character make a come back.

  • I very much enjoy these wrap ups, almost as much as I enjoy watching the show itself.

    I am excited at the possibly plot lines that this has opened (River being a time lord):
    She may know the doctor’s true name, not because she is his wife but because she knows gallifreyan…
    When she perishes back with David Tennant she may have regenerated…
    Also, the Doctor having a time lord as a wife (if you ignore my first point) seems more satisfying to me than the thought of the Doctor losing her to human mortality.

    I do agree that when River says that she killed a good man, that it is likely to be Rory. Who has turned into the man who is a match for Amelia Pond.

  • @Lokey- In that episode she made the statement it would even kill a time lord, which is why she didnt want to doctor to do. So Her body did die, but her consciousness didnt.

  • If River can regenerate, did she really die in the library?? Also if River is Amy’s and Rory’s daughter…how come she was always so smitten with seeing The Doctor, but didn’t really show any emotion towards Amy and Rory. Spoilers and all that, I know, but you’d think going back into the past and seeing your mother and father would pull at the heart strings enough to create some kind of emotion.

  • Here’s a thought that may be wrong may be right. Amy and Rory’s daughter is named Melody Pond and it translates to River Song the character we’ve known for a while. They said the the people of that forest don’t have a word for Pond because they only have rivers which seems to be where her name “River Song” comes from.

    The girl they just chose to toss in there for what seems like no real reason that sewed that Prayer Leaf is from that forest where River Song gets her name from. This girl also has met The Doctor before but he doesn’t remember her even though he remembers everyone which leads me to believe he hasn’t met her….yet.

    Now I’m not saying how this could be explained but could it be possible that the girl who sewed the prayer leaf from that forest is River Song. Maybe River can regenerate but not exactly how The Doctor regenerates because she’s not a complete Time Lord.

    If that’s not the case maybe at least The Doctor, River, and the girl know each other and have some type of relationship. The Doctor did say he knew exactly where to find Amy and Rory’s daughter before he leapt into the TARDIS alone.

  • Sean,

    I don’t know what was cut but some of the commenters who have seen the uncut episode say that there was stuff going on at the River Song/Melody Pond reveal was cut.

  • I know “how do their hoods stay up” was probably a rhetorical witicism in regards to the monks but when their hoods are pulled down on stage you can see the wire contraption on the shoulders that does the shaping. Considering the production could have just removed these things for the reveal we are given a little insight in to the monks on how they present themselves to the world. They build their robes to at least appear humanistic.

  • Really good episode. I watched it 4 times over the weekend. I don’t think river is the Time Child that regenerated in the alleyway. That child was much to old to forget everything that had happened to her.

    I’m not that distressed about River killing Rory. They have killed Rory in every second episode since he was introduced. So it wouldn’t be unprecedented to kill him and then bring him back.

    I would really like to see a spin off of the Silurian Lesbian Victorian Crime Fighters.

    I am guessing the Moffat didn’t tell anyone that River was Amy and Rory’s daughter. I watch the earlier episode and she didn’t act like she knew and was hiding it.

    I am really looking forward to the end of the season. I want to know how it all comes out in the end.

    And dammit BBC America, quit editing the shows down. You need to edit something for time gut BSG.

  • Overall, good episode. And a good review as well. But… I do have a few quibbles.

    I think this episode suffers from the “Where’s Waldo” syndrome: Moffat throws so many characters into the episode that he’s forced give short shrift to them. I’m thinking particularly of the Thin Fat Gay Married Anglican Marines. (Who talks like that?) Their storyline ends abruptly BEFORE the Thin One confirms his fears about his husband’s demise.

    Also, did anyone else catch the major makeup failure when Dorium was brushing the cleric’s machine-guns aside, as he was closing his bar? When he lifts his arms, you can clearly see his white skin under his Kimono.

    That said, bad-ass adorkable Rory is now my hero.

    -S

  • It can both make sense if River is the one who killed the Doctor, and who isn’t.

    If she did kill the Doctor while in that spacesuit, then she would have killed a good man.

    Also, she could very well be lying or forgot. If she is part timelady, then she would be the child that regenerates in the street and the end of Day of the Moon. So she was the child in the spacesuit. So she had to be faking confusion there, or had it erased from her memory by the silence or whatever.

    But of course, it makes sense that she didn’t kill the Doctor, and instead killed Rory.

    All these theories are leaving my brain Moffucked.

  • I’m not sure if anyone said this, but don’t you think the girl that is regererating is the “Flesh Doctor”, and that is who is killed on the beach? They said he could come back.

  • I enjoyed this episode, though I’m really starting to miss comprehensive, self-contained episodes that I can follow without having to watch a second time. Matt Smith’s face as he processed River’s identity was amazing.

    Rory as the Good Man certainly makes sense, but it makes me wonder about River. Patricide is a pretty major action to bounce back from with such vim, isn’t it?

    @commonperson and @Scott S: Didn’t Leela stay on Gallifrey and marry a Gallifreyan guard? That bothers me when I think about the planet being sealed off from time.

  • I’m not sure why everyone is convinced that the girl in the space suit is River. (It may be visual storytelling when they show the flashback, but it in no way concludes anything. It’s just showing the Doctor’s deduction, that doesn’t mean it’s a real answer. )There is this one important factor that I think keeps getting overlooked. The girl in the space suit is American. At least, that is what all of her voiced parts indicate. Would this not lead us to believe she is a different little girl?
    Also, I believe that the Doctor that the girl met in the Gamma Forrest was not the real Doctor. He remembers EVERYONE. He’s never forgotten someone before, and to have him not have any idea who she was screams to me that it wasn’t him she met. Which opens up the possibility of another Doctor, one that dies in the first episode after trying to escape for so long, one that travels with River Song during those 200 years. And I think the Doctor killed him. He doesn’t seem surprised at all when Amy reveals she saw him die. Also it would explain why the “Doctor” who died did not have a TARDIS. I don’t think he was time traveling through history when Amy and Rory saw him on TV and read about him. I think he was the Ganger, stuck on the slow path there. Okay….I know everyone’s got a theory. I guess this one’s mine, holes and all. :)

  • Possibly splitting hairs here (like we do), but I thought Strax brought up that he was a nurse because he said he was going to die and Rory tried to console him. It was more like “I know I’m going to die, I’m a nurse” instead of him not being able to fight *just because* he’s a nurse. It’s an inflection thing.

    And I’m happy to see Moffat et al. picking away at the Oncoming Storm aspect of the Doctor.

  • Excellent. Simply excellent. Why is no one bringing up “the doctors daughter”, the episode where the tenth doctors DNA and creates Jenny, who does have the ability to regenerate. Does Moffat write the season from first episode to end of the season? It almost seems like he wrote himself into a hole. What would be amazing is if they put out a special in between the two halves of the seasons. Tie up the first half of the series and go on to start the second half as if it’s starting clean.

  • What an episode!!!!!!!!! It’s days later and my family and I are still dissecting it.

    Couple of thoughts we have had:

    We also think the “good man” that River kills is Rory – since River was so visibly shaken by seeing him. And they have started to make all these references to a Good Man. And the cleric in Flesh and Stone talks about him being a “hero to many”.

    We have been thinking that maybe it is Amy Pond in the astronaut suit who kills the Dr. I’ll try to write out this logic: who is the most distraught over the Dr’s death, who wants to tell him, who feels like they have to do anything to stop it – Amy. Now think to that moment after Melody is taken and the Dr tries to console Amy and she pulls away from him. She has to be told “it’s not the Dr’s fault”. What if somehow EPL or the Silence or someone uses Amy’s distress over losing Melody and now possible Rory to convince her to kill the Dr. If you go back to the first episode and watch the death scene, the Dr tells them to stay away (not wanting them to see who it is), he tells the astronaut how sorry he is, and then stands there as the astronaut shoots him. Who else would he just stand there for? It would be so Moffat to have it be Amy.

    Another thought, are they setting up River Song as the next Dr? If she can regenerate, fly the Tardis, knows Gallifreyan, use a sonic etc – isn’t she basically groomed to be the next Dr? And she is DR Song. Many thoughts have been floated about will there ever be a female Dr – maybe they have decided there will be…again so Moffat. I know Matt Smith has signed on for Season 7 – but after?

    After that episode, my family and I are going to be going all the way back to Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead and Season 5 and watching all again with fresh eyes and ears.

  • LOVED IT. I’ve already watched the episode 3 times, and even though I kind of suspected it, I still get excited over the big reveal. :’) something I had not even thought about until mentioned in the comments was that Rory is the man River kills, which freaking sucks. I love Rory. But DAMNIT, it does make a lot of sense.. :/

    And now, knowing who River Song is makes me really, really want to go back and watch all episodes involving River and Amy (and later on Rory).. :)

  • I have been waiting for someone to bring these continuity wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey questions up, and no one has yet, so I guess I will.
    1) If Amy’s been locked up in the birthing tube by Eye-Patch Lady since post-honeymoon or after the trip to America, does she have the memories her Flesh Ganger made during that trip?
    2) And, um, what about all the newlywed sex Rory and “Amy” had all over the TARDIS? Wouldn’t Rory be a little upset about that, not just that his wife was pregnant and having a baby somewhere else?
    3) so Amy was nursing a flesh-clone baby? who was taking care of her real baby then?
    Still LOVE Rory and think that y’all are right about him being the Good Man who River takes out later (or sooner, on her timeline). The Sontaran nurse Strax warrior-nurse line to Rory was very poignant, and will, I think, come into play again later.
    On the line of Victorian Inter-species Lesbian Adventurers (would totally watch that spin-off, BBC Wales!), did you also notice the Gay Married Anglican Clerics? I feel like Moffat clubs you over the head with those plot pieces in a way that RTD never did. It felt more organic in RTD scripts, not “look how advanced we are in the future, see!” like it does in Moffat scripts.

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    @Becca
    We have no proof, except that we’re explicitly told it. The flashbacks we get during the episode create a visual connection between the girl and grown up River. If it wasn’t meant to be her, they wouldn’t have done that. It’s visual storytelling.

    @Jamie
    No she’s not. She’s a different actress entirely plus the Adipose lady died in that episode.

    @SHOGUN
    It’s all kind of explained in later episodes, but basically River meets the Doctor out of order, thanks to time travel. So the Library episodes were the last time she meets him, but the first time he meets her.