Monday, 6 June 2011

Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes To War ( review with spoilers )


"I wish I could tell you that you'll be loved. That you'll be safe and cared for and protected. But this isn't the time for lies....."

Poor Amy. The last time she was "pregnant" she was attacked by alien pensioners, watched her husband turn to dust, and was harassed by a smarmy figment of the Doctor's id. And then it all turned out to be a dream of the "psychic pollen" variety. Don't you just hate those?
This time Amy's "real" life was the dream. While a Ganger/flesh avatar was taking her place on board the Tardis, Amy was actually in the clutches of midwife-from-hell Eyepatch Woman, imprisoned on Demon's Run, an asteroid guarded by more of Steven Moffatt's soldier-clerics.

Now a terrified Amy has given birth to her daughter, Melody, knowing that the two of them are just pawns in a cosmic game of cat-and-mouse. Amy's holding out for a hero.....


Rory Williams, the Last Centurion, is on his way to save his new family, facing down Cybermen with a snarl of
"Where. Is. My. Wife?!"
Meanwhile, the Doctor, somewhere in the background, is quietly raising an army to fight the Battle Of Demon's Run.....

This mid-season finale certainly packs a lot into its 50 minutes: a crime-fighting Victorian Silurian and her maid, the Headless Monks, the ( semi-ironic ) return of The Gay Agenda, a Sontaran doing penance as a battlefield nurse, armies of Judoon and Silurians, the Doctor's cot (!) and the revelation of River Song's true identity.
Amongst all this we are again asked to ponder the consequences of the Doctor's actions. Has he ( as in The Waters Of Mars ) gone too far this time? His almost casual tricking and defeat of whole armies is seen as further inspiring his enemies to create even more armies and traps to defeat him. And the effect of the ongoing Doctor Myth is shown to not necessarily be a good thing as, yet again, a human whose life has been touched by the Doc ( newly-introduced character Lorna Bucket ) dies in his name. Matt Smith is, as ever, fantastic in the scenes where he flips from self-righteous rage to disbelief at the effects his extraordinary life has on ordinary people.


Smith also demonstrates his comic side as he finally figures out who River Song really is. He's at his most Troughton-esque as the mighty Time Lord turns into a giddy schoolboy and retreats into his Tardis, to again pursue Melody's kidnappers.


Of course the major revelation of the episode, and the season, is that ( MAJOR SPOILER! )
River Song is Amy's and Rory's child. But, all growed-up like. Melody Pond = River Song.
This does seem quite fitting really, and Alex Kingston's sincere performance goes a long way in selling the concept. To mangle my metaphors ( ouch! ) - now that the cat's out of the bag, it opens a whole new can of worms. How long has River known this? Why does she have to tell them now? And what was that "regeneration" all about?

Maybe we'll find out in the Autumn, when the Doctor returns in Let's Kill Hitler ( coming after all those emotional scenes, that title earned itself a big laugh in this household )

Four And A Half Bow Ties Out Of Five

14 comments:

M. D. Jackson said...

I did not see that coming. Steve (over at STEVE DOES DOCTOR WHO) said that he thought River Song's identity was obvious and my daughter did a little dance and sang "I called it! I called it!" (which she did) but it took me completely by surprise.

Great episode!

Steve W. said...

I wouldn't be so immodest as to claim I'd worked out who River Song was but I'd decided there were only a small set of possibilities that made sense in context of what we knew, and her being Amy's daughter was one of those possibilities, therefore it didn't come as a shock.

I did worry at one point in last Saturday's show that they were going to reveal she was the Doctor's mother which, bearing in mind the kissing and flirting of earlier stories would've been a very strange development.

I suppose our next mystery is trying to work out who the Big Bad behind it all is, as I assume Madam Kovarian's just a lackey. I have my suspicions but only time will tell.

On other matters, my big wish for the future is that when the Doctor next regenerates, he regenerates into a Scottish lesbian Silurian.

Mickey Glitter said...

Wait...what? I read on someone's Twitter feed (I think it was) that River Song was the love child of Harry Sullivan and Mel Bush.

That's not who she really is?

Curses. =)

Mickey Glitter said...

That would explain her hair, that's for damn sure. GOD I LOVE THAT WOMAN'S HAIR.

Sorry, it's too early for me to be so damn shouty, but it's too early for me to perusing the internet. Damn worrying about bills...

cerebus660 said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. When she debuted back in 2008 who would have thought River Song would become one of the most talked-about characters in the show's history?

On the subject of Alex Kingston's hair, my wife went into a long, unprovoked rant the other day about how Alex's hair belongs in the 1980s...
I wisely said nothing...

Steve W. said...

I'm afraid I'm with Mrs Cerebus when it comes to Alex Kingston's hair.

Argh! I was re-watching the episode this afternoon and I suddenly realised there's a scene where Moffat's hitting us over the head with who the bad guys are working for.

Happily, it's who I thought it was.

Not so happily is the fact I missed it before. It's so obvious once you spot it. He's actually got the name of the villain on screen, left right and centre in virtually every shot of that scene.

Then again, he could be just trying to mislead us.

cerebus660 said...

Is it Simon Cowell?

Steve W. said...

Similar but less evil.

Steve W. said...

PS. Word verification word; "dicsick". There are times when I could go off Blogger.

cerebus660 said...

...makes my eyes water just reading the word...

Mickey Glitter said...

As a victim of pin-straight hair, I am naturally jealous of anyone who has any type of body to their hair. ;-)

Steve W. said...

I'm just jealous of anyone who's got hair.

phantom_tiger said...

Finally caught up with the rest of the universe, I've been a week behind. I did figure out who River was with reasonable certainty, though near the end I thought they might make a weird switch to some Timelord relative but no. Sadly, I found the episode way too full of everything and not enough time for simple character relationships. I want more time to see Matt Smith do his thing, and less of the 68 planets. As a friend said, it was like the Pandorica episode over again but this time not as good.

cerebus660 said...

Hi, p_t! Moffatt's compressed storytelling isn't for everyone, I suppose. We've got another 6 episodes to go in the Autumn: maybe you'll find something there more to your liking. Thanks for the comment!

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