Mark ACTUALLY Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S06E07 – A Good Man Goes To War

In the seventh episode of the sixth series of Doctor Who, the Doctor assembles allies across space and time to enact a bloodless coup in order to get Amy Pond back. And then what the hell is going on. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finally review the mid-season finale of Doctor Who.

Well, that’s certainly the longest I’ve gone between watching something and then reviewing it, right? It’s now been twelve days since I totally broke US law in order to watch “A Good Man Goes To War” in my hotel room before I managed to get a poor amount of sleep prior to the start of my AIDS/LifeCycle ride. It didn’t help that I had a poor stream with out-of-sync sound and the wi-fi connection was a total bust, so I had to watch it in two painful sittings. And of course, that final scene had me squirming and shouting like a fool and I almost fell off the bed because apparently I am that ridiculous when watching shit these days.

In those twelve long days, I’ve had a chance to not only think long and hard about the events of this mind-melting episode, but I did watch a proper LEGAL version from my iTunes season pass to help me sort out all of the thoughts buzzing through my head.

Dear Watchers: It did not help.

I have never seen an episode of television that made me feel so….not smart. Not good at comprehension. As if I’m watching an episode in a language I do not speak. No, not even that. As if I’m watching something that takes place 40 billion years in the future when virtually everything we know has changed and mere gestures I am familiar with have been eradicated from human society.

Ok, I’m exaggerating. But, like “The Rebel Flesh,” there’s a part of me that doesn’t feel quite that satisfied with everything because we are seeing just one tiny part of the whole. (That’s actually an important thought I’ll return to.) And I’m not sure that’s a bad thing at all. We’re not being told a full story, so I’m inclined to wait it out before I start whining or cheering to the heavens.

In the meantime, the unbelievably complicated ramifications of that end reveal….i just can’t. I cannot figure it out.

So let’s start with the battle of Demon’s Run. Let’s start with what I (and other’s) do know. We get that fantastic opening monologue from Amy as she speaks boldly to her newborn daughter, Melody, assuring her that her father is coming to save them. There’s a nice misdirect that made me believe for just a few seconds that Amy meant the Doctor, but, of course, she’s referring to the Last Centurion. And OH RORY. You are such a gorgeous BAMF in this scene, speaking to the group of Cybermen (WHERE THE HELL DID THEY COME FROM AND WHY ARE THEY NEVER SEEN AGAIN) as the other ships explode and you demand to know where your wife is. RORY, PLEASE NEVER CHANGE.

The Doctor assembles so many of the people we’ve come across since Eleven started his run and I loved that it wasn’t just characters from series six, as both Dorium and a Silurian return to the screen. On top of that, I felt it was a neat dynamic that it was all beings that owed the Doctor in some way or another and, thinking about what River tells the Doctor later in the episode, it fits with the direction his character is headed. I even enjoyed that the Doctor himself never even appeared on screen until the big reveal during Colonel Runaway’s huge speech. (You can’t stop me from calling him that it is his name gosh.)

And this whole set-up certainly is something that’s a tad familiar. Obviously, it was a different context, but “The Pandorica Opens” also had a gathering of past Doctor Who villains and characters. For a second, I thought to myself, “DON’T REPEAT YOURSELF MOFFAT,” and then wonderfully he seemed to obey my command as if it was sent through time.

There are a few reasons why this was so pleasantly different than “The Pandorica Opens,” and the main reason is that Moffat actually spent time developing these side characters. We’d seen bits of Dorium back in series five when River Song interacted with him, but Commander Strax, Lorna Bucket, Madame Vestra, and Jenny are all given enough time for us to appreciate that these people have much fuller stories than some past supporting characters on the show.

And look, I have to say it, but ever since RTD left the show, it’s been decidedly less queer than it was during his reign. I was very surprised and happy to get TWO homosexual pairings in one episode, one fairly over-the-top and the other much more touching and nuanced. (Seriously, someone write me a fic with Madame Vestra and Jenny having badass adventures in London I WOULD READ THE SHIT OUT OF THAT.) And it truly didn’t feel like a creepy, tokenized thing either. Also, seriously, Who fandom. Get on that. Vestra/Jenny fic. Now.

But River Song steals the show. Doesn’t she always? She’s probably the best reoccurring character this show has ever had (I’LL FIGHT YOU FOR THAT) (JACK HARKNESS DOESN’T COUNT SINCE HE HAS HIS OWN SHOW) (that being said this mid-season finale needed more of that man) (what is wrong with me), and her tease in the opening of “A Good Man Goes To War” certainly makes her a whole lot interesting. It wasn’t surprising, per se, since we all sort of knew one way or another that this was going to be the episode where we found out who she was. I was actually far more interested in her claim that this would be when the Doctor would fall further than ever before. what does that mean river. Oh god, what if it was literal. Well, she would have used farther in that case but still maybe he falls into space.

somedays my thoughts should remain in my head.

But on that note, River tells Rory she can’t go with him. She has to wait until the end. Is this because of her rigid spoiler policy? (Oh my god we are twin spoiler brigades.) But then I know that even asking that question at this point is completely futile: We are being given half of the story. Or a third. Or a fourth. Hell, maybe even less of that. (And now my brain is going to explode because we still haven’t had the huge mystery from “The Impossible Astronaut” answered yet either.)

That frustration can be good. It fuels our discussion. It fuels our interest in this show. It’s fun. And it can also get in the way of enjoying a show or an episode for what it is, too.

Thankfully, despite that I do feel impossibly frustrated, there’s a lot that I can like about “A Good Man Goes To War,” and when the narrative at Demon’s Run kicks into high gear, this is unmistakably an episode of Doctor Who. The pacing and the staging is grandiose and over-the-top in precisely that manner that I really like about this show. We have an entire army base on an asteroid preparing to launch an attack on the Doctor, but he has already infiltrated your base. And seriously, bravo timing on that reveal, because the whole “Hey-the-headless-monks-are-actually-headless-and-really-creepy-and-also-they-sort-of-look-like-jedis-and-Jawas” thing was both confusing and totally frightening and my conflicted heart nearly exploded but OH MY GOD THE DOCTOR WAS ON STAGE ALREADY. And look at that joyous face of his. I like Matt Smith’s joyous face, okay? There is nothing wrong with that. As I said, this plot is very much what the Doctor does: He finds ways to use that big ol’ brain of his to trick and manipulate the worst parts of people to get exactly what he wants. In the name of doing good? Well, I mean, I can’t imagine rescuing Amy and Melody Pond as anything but good, but that’s not really the point of this story here, is it? This is about methodology, the means to the end, not the end of it all.

Which is why River’s warning that this is the Doctor’s darkest day hangs over every bit of what happens here. The Doctor certainly is clever, and he can certainly trick everyone, even that creepy Madame Kovarian to an extent (OH GOD BUT NOT ALL THE WAY OH MY GOD). He uses the fear of the Headless Monks and a switch of the lights to cause chaos and in just minutes, Commander Strax, the Silurians, the Judoon, and Vestra/Jenny have successfully infiltrated the base and taken it over. just like that doctor you are so brilliant.

The tenderness arrives and it is much-needed. After the horrifying conclusion to “The Almost People,” the “reunion” of Amy and Rory (and the introduction of Melody to Rory!!!!) is just SO FANTASTIC. Seeing Rory walk in all majestically, adorned in that Roman outfit once more, is honestly one of the best of series six. I believe this is the first married couple that’s ever traveled with the Doctor and had a child? And it works SO PERFECTLY WELL! The Doctor waltzes in after being ordered by Rory (ew KISSING AND CRYING ew), claims to speak baby, calls the baby Melody Pond, and basically everything is perfect forever.

Until Madame Vestra arrives to tell the Doctor that the retreat is a success, not a drop of blood has been shed, and that he has never risen higher. Gosh, watching this scene again and paying special attention to Rory’s face….Arthur Darvill, your expressions are brilliant. It’s such a subtle realization of River’s words and you can see the fear spread across his face.

It seemed too quick, didn’t it? And I don’t just mean that I was thinking of River’s words. This was about the speed and the ease with which this all went down. Dorium even spells it out at one point: Wasn’t this too easy? It’s at this point that the pace of “A Good Man Goes To War” becomes incredibly strange. I don’t know if this is a full-formed criticism yet, but before the River reveal, this episode is just strange. The Demon’s Run “battle” is very, very Who, but it’s started and over in perhaps…twenty-five minutes? And maybe I’m just being selfish here, but I felt that “A Good Man Goes To War” could have been at least twice as long as it ended up being. The plot in the final third feels incredibly compacted and there’s no time to breath.

What saves it from being a loss, though, is that we learn just how badly we’ve all been trolled by Moffat for like….jesus christ. Two years? Three years? Certainly since the last episode, definitely since Matt started, and I’m counting River Song’s introduction in 2008, too. Is this the longest con ever perpetrated like this?? (Actually…..oh god, I cannot even talk about it, but I think there’s technically a reveal in LOST that is five years in the making that might beat this.)

While I had a fleeting thought who River was a while ago (and dismissed it out of absurdity), I can say with certainty that there was not a thought in my brain that figured out even the tiniest detail of Madame Kovarian’s trap for the Doctor. I did not anticipate that Melody Pond would be PART TIME LORD. And I never imagined that the two parter “The Rebel Flesh” / “The Almost People” would be so important to this episode:

“Oh, Doctor, fooling you once was a joy. But fooling you twice, the same way, it’s a privilege.”

MELTY POND BABY. ARE YOU KIDDING ME HOW. HOW. HOW. oh my god the tragedy. OH GOD RORY JUST GOT TO SEE HER and she got taken away.

And what was once a victorious story about a bloodless success turns into an unimaginable terror, a future guaranteed to be full of that much more conflict and struggle. How does this group heal from this moment? The Doctor was tricked, Amy and Rory just lost their child, and in the chaos below, as the Headless Monks attack everyone, we lose Commander Strax and Lorna Bucket. Is Commander Strax the best Sontaran character of all time. YES. YES HE IS. Oh god, and how brilliant is it that he is NURSE. LIKE RORY.

I’m not sure I fully understand Lorna Bucket’s character enough to feel bad that she died. Well, ok, that makes me sound heartless, because it’s clearly sad that she died. But I mean that…I think Lorna’s death is a huge hint that River’s words about the Doctor’s downfall have not happened yet. We have just met her and all we know is that she met the Doctor as a child in the Gamma Forests, and there was running? LOOK I DON’T KNOW. Here’s my guess: The Gamma Forests are going to play HEAVILY into whatever comes next. River’s words to the Doctor when she finally appears are about how his name has a different connotation to those in the Gamma Forests. To me, that is when we will see the Doctor fall further than he ever has before. This, what we’ve just seen in “A Good Man Goes To War,” is merely a setback. Well, shit, that sounds like I’m trivializing the fact that people died and the Ponds’ child was just stolen from them, and I don’t want to do that!

But then….shit, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a plot twist like what happens at the end of “A Good Man Goes To War.” Even though I now know many folks figured out who River Song was from clues in the series (I DIDN’T LOL), the twist is still surprising because of what it means for this new focus in the story. What could have just been a shocking, mind-melting reveal now acts as a sign of assurance: Amy and Rory, your child is perfectly fine.


It is going to take a while for me not only to adjust to the idea (WHICH I DO LOVE), but to revisit River Song’s previous appearances with this knowledge. What does this do to everything? How does this recontextualize the series in a new light? HOW THE HELL WHAT THE FUCK OH MY GOD A;SLDKFJASD;LKFJA;SDLKFJA;SLDKFJA;SLDKJF;ASLKDJF A;SDKFL AS;DL AS; ;ADKF ;A KLSDFJKDFSA;S ;AOISERJ ;KLVMJ

I liked “A Good Man Goes To War” a great deal, but I’m left waiting for the other shoe to drop. Series six is far more serialized than anything we’ve seen in the past and I don’t like judging it as a whole when I haven’t seen the whole. But I know that shit is so real and we are all unprepared and god i am so in love with Rory as a character and River please be my friend

just holy hell. what an episode.


  • “We’re the thin fat gay married Anglican marines. Why would we need names as well?” YES. YES. YES.
  • “But what’s he like? The Doctor.” “He said, “Run.” “Just ‘Run’?” “He said it a lot.” HE DOES SAY THAT A LOT.
  • “How did you find him?” “Stringy, but tasty all the same. I shan’t be needing dinner.” GOD HOW ARE THEY SO PERFECT
  • “Captain Harcourt, I hope some day to meet you in the glory of battle, when I will crush the life from your worthless human form. Try and get some rest.” BEST SONTARAN EVER.
  • The idea that Melody Pond also told the Doctor that his bow tie was ridiculous is just….I love it.
  • “I have gene-spliced myself for all nursing duties. I can produce magnificent quantities of lactic fluid!” No, seriously best Sontaran to ever exist.
  • “Well, how would I know? That’s all human and private stuff. It just sort of goes on. They don’t put up a balloon or anything.”

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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290 Responses to Mark ACTUALLY Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S06E07 – A Good Man Goes To War

  1. My birthday is in September! MAYBE I WILL GET AMY POND FOR MY BIRTHDAY. I mean, a new episode of Doctor Who.

  2. prosodi says:

    OH GOOD, I can finally rec one of my favorite fanfic writers on the internet now. is gloriously pitch perfect Jenny and Madame Vashta fic that is short, punchy, and ridiculously smart with the choices it makes. AND IS JUST DELIGHTFUL.

  3. Dragonsong12 says:

    I was actually spoiled on the River Song thing. Apparently that information leaked right after the first episode, and someone thought it'd be hilarious to post on a popular community I follow with no cut and no warning. So I've known from the start (through no cleverness of my own.) Still, I think it was told well, and it was kind of fun to lead up to this moment knowing that that was the answer. When Amy said her name was Melody, I was like, "Well, THAT confirms the spoiler…"

    Vestra and Jenny were hands down my favorite parts and I wanted to see more of them. Especially since I had such an intense dislike of the Silurian episodes in series 5. I was really happy to find a character of that species to really like. I would love a spinoff of those two. What adventures they must have!

  4. kartikeya200 says:

    <3 <3 <3

    To save myself quoting the entire episode (again) before I go off on reams and reams of random question asking, I'll just put this here:

    "Colonel Manton, you will give the order for your men to withdraw–"

    "No. Colonel Manton, I want you to tell your men to run away."


    "Those words. Run away. I want you to be famous for those exact words. I want people to call you 'Colonel Run Away', I want children laughing outside your door because they've found the house of Colonel Run Away, and when people come to you and ask if trying to get to me through the people I love is in any way a good idea, I want you to tell them your name. …Oh look, I'm angry. That's new. I'm really not sure what's going to happen now."

    "The anger of a good man is not a problem. They have too many rules."

    "Good men don't need rules. *pause* Today is not the day to find out why I have so many."

  5. blue-monarch says:

    For me, the most awesome thing that the reveal about River sets up is that RORY IS BASICALLY THE DOCTOR'S FATHER-IN-LAW. JUST THINK ABOUT IT, MARK. IT'S MAGICAL.

    • burritosaurus says:

      SO MAGICAL!!!!

      OMG and they are both very old and very kind and the very last….Rory is a Starwhale!!!

    • fantasylover120 says:

      I seriously can't wait for the Doctor to meet up with Rory and Amy when he gets back. Going to be super awkward and probably hilarious. I keep picturing Rory being in serious father mode while Amy and the Doctor trade jokes back and forth to hide how awkward they now feel.

  6. echinodermata says:

    Okay, so here's a link to the "vastra/jenny" tag on delicious.

    And here's a gif.
    <img src=""&gt;(source)

  7. burritosaurus says:

    Because I didn't get to participate the first time around (I waited to watch on BBCA) I HAVE A LOT OF THOUGHTS NOW OK.

    First of all, I have to add my two cents to the Doctor/River thing. I have noticed that, since finding out that River is Amy and Rory’s daughter, a lot more people find it weird that the Doctor and River *smoochy face* than did when they just had backwards timelines. Or maybe I just didn’t notice that opinion until after the “big reveal.” Regardless, I personally don’t understand why River’s parentage would have any bearing on her relationship with the Doctor. In a way, I think it’s kind of cool that Amy’s daughter gets to snog Amy’s best friend who is kind of like the alien brother of Amy’s husband. I won’t deny that it’s weird, but that doesn’t make it creepy.

    Pushing that aspect aside, though….I wholeheartedly disagree with the comparisons to Twilight or the suggestion that the Doctor is now grooming River to be his ideal sexy thing. First of all, I’m not sure I think the Doctor is capable of consciously grooming anyone to be anything–we all saw how shocked he was to realize that he had turned his companions into warriors–but more to it, I don’t think having a girlfriend is high enough on his radar that it would put grooming on the map. That’s just me. I won’t discount that the sheer fact of being her friend when she’s young could ultimately make adult-River into the perfect companion for the younger-Doctor, but I don’t think it’s the same thing. River has already mentioned previous dating history, so it’s not like Time Traveler’s Wife where she’s just sitting around waiting to meet the guy at the right time, and both the Doctor and River have lives totally separate from each other, so it’s not like imprinting where you can’t go five minutes without being with your ~true love.~ At this point, we have no idea when the Doctor will see Melody again, if she will be an infant or a teenager or what, so I think it’s jumping the gun to assume it’s going to go down that very dark and creepy road.
    (continued in comments)

    • burritosaurus says:

      Looking at it from a different angle: When the Doctor met River for his first time, in the Library, she had already had her relationship with him. If he abandons that or keeps it from happening, it’s possible that adult River will never go to the Library or won’t call the Doctor there or wouldn’t keep him from killing himself there. So, it seems like the Doctor has to have a relationship with River. It doesn’t have to be romantic, but to her it already was (DotM) even though the Doctor hadn’t met her as a baby, yet, which (I think) implies that it has to become romantic or it’s a paradox. From that perspective, I think someone could make the argument that River groomed the Doctor to be her boyfriend, just retroactively.

      Criss-crossing timelines are a hard thing for me to really wrap my head around, but because of the way River and the Doctor meet each other, it’s more or less like neither one gives the other a choice about their relationship together. I imagine that if the Doctor really didn’t like her after the Library or crash of the Byzantium, he could have just said “Fuck it. Paradox time.” and ignored her calls, but he didn’t. Likewise, as a child (who probably doesn’t care about paradoxes at all) River could have decided that the Madman with a Box was too mad for her to spend time with or been terrified that he knew her future, but she didn’t. In their own ways, they both came to this.

      Um….I didn’t realize until now that I had so many words to say on that subject, but apparently I have ~strong feelings~

      • burritosaurus says:

        On to other things: THEORIES ABOUND!

        So I’ve been wondering why the Clerics and Headless Monks are waging a war with the Doctor, and more importantly, why doesn’t the Doctor know about it yet? I think it might have something to do with future!Doctor, the one we meet in IA who invites himself to his death. Future!Doctor probably has a reason for going back and tampering with his own timeline, and it might have something to do with how he’s becoming a kind of Doctor he doesn’t want to be. I’m wondering if, in their attempt to raise a weapon against the Doctor, Eyepatch Lady and the Clerics went further back than they meant to when they kidnapped Amy or if they didn’t realize where she was in the Doctor’s timeline. I’m assuming that, since the Doctor didn’t recognize Lorna Bucket, he hasn’t gone to the Gamma Forest yet (in his timeline) so he might not understand why for them, the word Doctor means “great warrior.” I think it’s possible that he wants to change that and keep himself from becoming that Doctor, so he invited himself to his funeral to get him to go back to 1969 to presumably do something he didn’t do the first time around (or did wrong) which ultimately gets him to Demon’s Run where River calls him out which will in turn help him NOT be the person the Clerics are fighting (even though they already are?) and will somehow change their plot to raise Melody to kill the Doctor which will keep him from being shot by the astronaut…..which would create a paradox, which I have no idea how to get around.

        I was actually far more interested in her claim that this would be when the Doctor would fall further than ever before. what does that mean river. Oh god, what if it was literal. Well, she would have used farther in that case but still maybe he falls into space.

        Mark, please don't change. Ever.

      • t09yavorski says:

        The Byzantium is not the first time after the Library the Doctor sees River. I was watching the ep (as a filler for saturday) and, when River is looking backwards in the diary to find when the Doctor is she mentions the Byzantium. But when he doesnt recognize it she goes on and asks about a picnic at Asgard, Which means that Ten hung out with River more than that one time.

        About the Time Travelers Wife comparison, when I noticed those in the liveblog I had meant to say something about how, if it was comparable, than River had the part of Henry. She is the one who pops into the Doctor's timeline unexpectedly and while that might change later she is also the one who initiated their connection.

        (On another note I dont really find the Time Travelers Wife all that creepy. It involves cosmic events that neither party are in control of so neither one really is choosing to force a relationship.)

        • burritosaurus says:

          I was just thinking in terms of when we see River and the Doctor. I wish we had seen Ten meet her again (I heard Moff wrote the episode, but it didn't get made 🙁 ).

          I hadn't really thought of River being Henry, but now that you mention it, you're totally right. I actually really enjoyed the book, but when I thought about it afterwards, I thought it was a little weird to think about a grown naked man popping into existence in front of a kid, but as you said, cosmic events. It didn't bother me too much, and I wouldn't have brought it up, but I did see a few comparisons in various other reviews, so I had thoughts about it.

      • Joeldi says:


        I don't think the Doctor WILL know River as a child. Part of the 'falling further than ever before" will involve not getting the baby back. River's raised by someone in the Gamma forest (which is why she's River and not Melody) and Amy and Rory don't see their kid (as a kid) for a very long time, except those moments when they /almost/ catch up to her, or where they do find her, but she's happy with her adoptive parents and it would be cruel to take her away.

        (Well, they will see her,

        • onlysatellites says:


          I've got a really similar theory, except that if we follow the strong, strong inference that River is the regenerating girl in the astronaut suit, she spent the first six to eight years of her life raised by a batshit crazy dude in a creepy orphanage… AND THE SILENCE. No wonder she might have memory issues.

          But then my theory is that since those events have already happened in the timeline of Amy, Rory and The Doctor, the Doctor cannot rescue her at any age younger than the one we saw her as. So after she regenerates in New York, the Doctor finds her, picks her up, tells her who she is and to keep a diary, and fosters her in the neutral Gamma Forest. Hence nameswitch.

  8. Aimee says:


    I really do think that Rory is going to die. All things point to it.

    1. The Doctor is not the "good man" mentioned in the title–he said so himself.
    2. River kills a good man.. the best she's ever known… who else could it be if not the Doctor? Plus that is far too obvious and not Moffatty. But then I saw River's reveal coming since the first 5 minutes of the episode… so..
    3. The scene where River speaks to Rory at the beginning of the episode, when she first sees him in the light and realizes who she is… the look on her face broke my heart and I didn't even know why. She definitely hesitated before recognizing that she knows him.
    4. If it's not the Doctor then it makes sense that the best man she's ever known is her father?

    Also, I'm trying to envision socks on doors in TARDIS's for when the baby-conceiving is happening and laughing myself silly.

    • nomadicvignette says:

      When I first watched this episode, the scene when River firsts speaks to Rory definitely screamed out to me "how are you here?! I accidentally killed you!"…or something to that effect, lol. Very sad, very astonished. I don't think the fact that he's her father and she's sad about him not recognizing her quite explains the look.

      • Aimee says:

        Yeah. This didn't actually occur to me until the second watching.. but the first time I WAS wondering why she was looking at him like that and the second time, I still didn't think it's cos he's her father.

      • rumantic says:

        Yes, it was definitely a "But I just saw you die" look tinged with guilt, or regret at least. Reminded me of Amy's expression when the doctor turns up in the diner with his special straw.

    • sarasingsout says:

      I absolutely agree re: Rory. I mean, Moffat is setting us up with all the fakeout deaths so that we will be ALL THE MORE blown the fuck away when Rory actually dies. I mean, you see him die enough times, and it gets to be a joke–"ha ha, Rory's dead, but he'll be on his feet again in a a sec."

      At some point we'll all be sitting there, thinking "oh, Rory's dead again, ho hum… … … …wait. Why isn't he getting up? OH MY GOD WHY ISN'T RORY GETTING UP?!"

      • Aimee says:

        Yes. When I was saying this based on the fact that he was dying so often, no one took me serious but I feel like given the latest episode it's definitely being set up that way.

    • @ConStar24 says:

      i completely agree and am completely terrified for Rory. =( I hope the reason he's been dying so much is so that when River kills him, we think he wont survive (b/c you can only escape death so many times) but then he will come back because moffat knows we love Rory so much…

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      I really am thinking that Rory is this good man. Firstly, did you see the look on River's face when she first saw Rory in that prison? That was an expression of pure shock. I'm now really afraid that she'll kill Rory (maybe permanently this time, oh please no) and it will be tragedy forever.

  9. kartikeya200 says:

    What is the Gamma Forest and what is it neutral from? Why are various planets choosing sides? Is a literal war going on? Is a literal war going on with the Doctor? Presumably a future Doctor? The episode's called A Good Man Goes to War, are we witnessing the opening shots, or just one more battle?

    Are Kovarian and company responding to what we've seen this Doctor do, or are they responding to a future Doctor's actions? River hints that if the Doctor isn't careful, he's going to be someone known as a mighty warrior rather than a healer and a wise man. …And if this is the case, is everyone stuck in one ginormous timey wimey paradox? Because if Kovarian's responding to a 'war' with the future Doctor, literal or figurative, by stealing the child of his companions, and the present Doctor is responding to this by 'going to war' with Kovarian and her supporters…

    • kartikeya200 says:

      Are the Headless Monks a direct response to the Doctor? It seems awfully convenient that their strengths are that they cannot be persuaded, frightened, or (possibly) surprised. That's pretty much the Doctor's exact M.O. isn't it? If not, how the fuck did that get started and how do they even work aggh.

      How did Kovarian and company know about Amy and Amy and Rory's baby in the first place? How did they know she would be special in this particular way? It sounds like they snatched Amy while she and Rory were just hanging out at home, which means they knew what time period they were from and exactly where they lived, and they clearly have access to time travel themselves. Is this the entire reason future!Doctor from The Impossible Astronaut decided to 'stop running' and thus set into motion the events that would lead to all of this?

      • kartikeya200 says:

        Who IS Kovarian and why does it seem like her beef with the Doctor is really personal? She does an awful lot of stuff that seems designed specifically to piss him off, even if it furthers other goals. She calls him up, possibly to distract him from the fact that the Headless Monks are murdering his friends and allies (which again seems designed to hurt/anger him, because she knows exactly where he is, he's even entirely alone at that point, and yet they don't attack him at all), but also to rub the fact that she's got a weapon against him and she's fooled him again in his face. Replacing Melody with a duplicate means the Doctor thinks he's won and she can get far away with the real Melody…but she could have kept that deception up for who knows how long and she didn't. Instead she decided to traumatize the fuck out of the Doctor's companion. I mean, not that this wouldn't have traumatized Amy at any point, but having your newborn baby melt in your arms while people are dying all around you and your husband may be one of them is pretty much THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME EVER.

        • kartikeya200 says:

          Let's talk about the Silents/Silence. How the fuck do they factor in? I was expecting them to come into play here, but there's nary a Silent to be seen (that we know of *spooky music*), every antagonist is apparently human. How do we get from 'the baby is a weapon to be used against the Doctor' to the utter destruction of the universe? That seems a rather unhelpful escalation, doesn't it? Are the Silents working with Kovarian? If they are, why and how? If they are, why would they tell Amy to tell the Doctor what he must know and what he must never know (which would seem to mean 'her pregnancy' and 'his death', but there's no direct answer to that either, is there?). Isn't the mention of her pregnancy what gets him thinking about her being a replacement in the first place? How do the Silents of 1969 know anything about the Doctor's death OR Amy anyway? They were trying to build a TARDIS in the Lodger, which suggests they don't have time travel. Did they get this by reading her mind or whatever it was that happened when Joy was murderfaced?

          • kartikeya200 says:

            If they're working with Kovarian, why kidnap Amy at all? How does Amy 'bring the Silence'? But if they're not working with Kovarian, how do they have the girl in the spacesuit? Is that River? All signs point to yes (and really, how many mysterious children with the possible ability to regenerate are likely to show up?) Why give her a spacesuit? What does 'Silence will fall' mean? The Silent they actually talk to says that 'We are the Silents, and Silence will fall'. This would seem to mean the TARDIS blowing up and taking the whole universe with it, and why would anyone want this to happen I don't even .

            Also, why is the little girl dying six months after the events of Day of the Moon? If it was right after, I'd have thought that Amy actually did shoot her, but six months later?

            • kartikeya200 says:

              If the little girl is River, that means that she pretty much has to be away from her parents for years, doesn't it? It's a paradox if the Doctor tries to get her back as a baby when her actions as a six year old are what sparked everything after, right? That's what he means by 'it's already too late'. River, WHY IS YOUR LIFE SO ENDLESSLY TRAGIC IN ALL DIRECTIONS

              • kartikeya200 says:

                Okay, so this may be my only mostly formed theory. If Amy will bring the Silence, and River is a weapon against the Doctor, it's awfully convenient that the TARDIS decides to go haywire and blow up when River is the only one there, isn't it? And pretty strange that it would do so not only on the date of her parents' wedding, but also the possible date of her own conception. River seems genuinely confused and alarmed at what's going on, and there's no reason for her to be acting when she's alone in the TARDIS, but you know, we and the Doctor only have her word that the TARDIS was hijacked. Was it actually hijacked, or is River some kind of Manchurian Candidate actively blowing up the TARDIS when she thinks that she's trying to stop it?


                • nomadicvignette says:

                  ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS ARE MY QUESTIONS. Thank you for outlining the ENDLESS MYSTERIES so clearly.

            • nanceoir says:

              In regards to the little girl dying six months later, I kind of got the impression that it had something to do with her being out of the suit? Or maybe that her breaking out of the suit hurt her in a way that, not properly seen to, caused her to die months later, perhaps exacerbated by the whole being a homeless kid wandering from Florida to New York City thing? Or… something. I DON'T KNOW WHY ARE YOU SO EVIL MOFFAT GAH

              • Reddi says:

                We don't know when baby was put into the space suit (assuming Melody/River is the child in the spacesuit), but I figured she had been protected from all contaminants in the space suit- so out of it, she got sick and (almost) died.

            • @ConStar24 says:

              i love all these questions! but to try to answer one: i think the little girl was dying in NYC 6 months later, not from the shot but from starvation or something related to wandering alone as a child w/no food or money or shelter. but that raises questions as to what she'd been doing, why her apparent super human strength didnt help her, and how she got to new york in the first place.

        • burritosaurus says:

          My head aches with all of your questions!! Not that I have any actual answers, but I am also really curious about this giant war. I think it has to do with the Future Doctor, and I think that Kovarian and Co. have access to time travel but not necessarily the historical knowledge to go with it, so when they kidnapped Amy at the right time in regards to her pregnancy, it was the wrong time in regards to the Doctor…so it's like they accidentally started the war they need Melody to win.

          I think this is a very timey-wimey season that is going to ruin my brain once I can watch the whole thing all at once!

          • kartikeya200 says:

            More brain hurting!

            Let's assume for a moment the future!Doctor thing is true, and it's probably safe to assume that this all has SOMETHING to do with the events of the last series. Doesn't this basically mean that we have, River-like, been moving mostly backwards through this story? That we're seeing all the events before the actual causes of said events? First we get all the cracks in time, evidence of the universe being destroyed, caused by the exploding TARDIS, caused by, seemingly, a creepy voice invoking 'Silence will fall', then the Doctor dies, then we meet the Silents, which have something in some way to do with assholes that kidnapped Amy's kid, which they did to fight the Doctor, who they're at war with, who may have gone to war with them for the kidnapping, and and and…

            • Avit says:

              BRAIN. ASLPODE.

            • burritosaurus says:

              I am in love with this idea. YOUR BRAIN IS MAGICAL. No, really, I hope that's what's happening. And that would be a valid reason for the Doctor to want to change–if he's experiencing the events backwards (and us, through his eyes) when he finally realizes what started everything on the other end, if it's all his fault, he would want to fix it. Right?

              What if the Silents are to blame for all of this? What if the Doctor meets them again, in the future, and they're super pissed that the Doctor kicked them out of America so they fight him. Or they get the Clerics to fight him. What if they've convinced all these people that the Doctor is the universe's greatest enemy??

            • @ConStar24 says:

              this is absolutely brilliant.

      • Burnie says:

        For that matter, why did the Alliance target Amy's memories in The Pandorica Opens? How did they even know who she was? The last time we saw a coanin targeted like this was Martha, but the Master met her in the future. In this situation, why Amy? It's been bugging me for a year.

    • Aimee says:

      The gay Anglicans state that the Gammas are heaven-neutral.. so I'm guessing religion neutral?

      • onlysatellites says:

        Well, it's been clearly established that religion=military, and I think in this case, different religions are LITERALLY warring factions, much like nations. So I think heaven-neutral is the same as politically neutral.

  10. Kraznit says:

    I loved seeing Captain Avery and Dnny Boy again, even if it was just briefly. That's all I've got to say.

  11. arctic_hare says:

    I wasn't sure what to feel about it all, particularly the reveal of River's identity, at first either. Well, aside from loving the hell out of Madame Vastra and Jenny, and Strax. They are epic. I wasn't sure I liked it. But after some rumination and reexamination of earlier scenes… I love it. It really does recontextualize so much, in so many ways, and it's an amazing experience watching stuff knowing this fact, knowing what River has known all along and kept secret. It even makes some scenes – like certain ones in Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone – more touching and emotional for me, and I can't argue with that. I just can't.

    I know I'm only getting part of the story here, and there's so much more left untold, and strangely that makes it better for me, I know better than to judge it based on what's not cleared up yet (lol, I never would've made it through Lost if I were in the habit of doing that). I'm okay with having to wait for answers, it just makes me more excited. But then, I'm weird, never mind me. 😀

    • Arctic_hare I keep reading your comments here on Watches and I have one thing to say to you. Be my friend? Please? Because OMG you're awesome! We'd go to Libraries and geek out about Lost and Doctor Who and ATLA! It'd be fun!

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      It took me a while to digest it too. (Partly because I totally lost a bet about this to a friend XD). But I'm really liking it now. Firstly, it makes many of the scenes with just Amy or Rory together with River so sweet. It explains why River shared so much in 'The Impossible Astronaut'. How caring she was when Amy was terrified in the forest. And the way River babbles to Rory in this very episode; its like a little girl excidetly telling her daddy about her play date. Its adorable.

      Also, think about how River's fear is the Doctor not recognizing her. Think of all the times she's had to interact with her parents not knowing who she is, and it makes way more sense.

  12. NB2000 says:

    Most of my thoughts for this episode went into the other discussion post and I don't really have much else to add , so a few quick thoughts:

    Madame Vastra are still awesome and I still want them to have a spin-off of their own. It would be the greatest thing ever.

    Thinking more about it, River's life has basically sucked from birth. Born in captivity, replaced by a ganger (you KNOW suddenly waking up away from Big Milk Thing must have been terrifying for her), kept in that oprhanage of nightmares from Day of the Moon, raised by her kidnappers to be a weapon, have to interact with the people she loves when they don't know her…and on and on. Seriously can I just give her a massive hug?

    Is this because of her rigid spoiler policy?

    I thought it was because it would have meant crossing over with her younger self, which we learnt in Father's Day can lead to VERY BAD THINGS.

    NO SERIOUSLY IS IT AUTUMN YET? I will gladly skip over my birthday in August if it means September gets here sooner!

    • Avit says:

      Waelllll Doctor Who has been pretty lax with the self-timestream-crossing prohibition, so I'd really rather it not be because of that. A plot hole I can abide; a plot hole which is haphazardly referenced now and then at writerly convenience is less ignorable.

  13. itssciencefriction says:

    <img src="; />

    (except I don't have ovaries, being a cisgender man :P)

    • Avit says:

      I think the analogous set of organs in typical XY configuration is the testes, but "exploding testes" doesn't really have quite the same ring.

      • breesquared says:

        I personally have never quite understood the exploding ovaries line. My ovaries have never been particular involved in any of my sexual arousal lol. At least the testes actively do something…

        • trash_addict says:

          Haha for me it's that my immediate thought is 'have my babies please'. And that would invovle my ovaries.

    • Kirby_T says:


  14. knut_knut says:

    Why do we have to wait until the fall? Whose grand idea was it to split the season? I hate them.
    At first, I wasn’t completely on board with the way this episode was going. Why is Rory dressed like a Roman…again (still kind of weirded out/confused about that)? Why is the Doctor’s message to blow things up? As much as I love Eleven, I really hate how cocky and downright mean he can be. I’m SO glad he was called out on those things in this episode, even though it cost him dearly and broke my cold, little heart L When Eleven gets cocky and angry he becomes this bully, almost, and it was so so so heartbreaking to see him realize that. To see Amy backing away from him…ALL THE TEARS D:
    So River being Amy and Rory’s child wasn’t as super mind-blowing a reveal as I expected, but the way it was done- KEYBOARD SMASH AND TEARS FOREVER
    Even though I wasn’t on board at first, oh my god this episode was amazing I’m sorry I ever doubted you, DW Team.

    • knut_knut says:

      Question Time!
      1. Do we know when and how the Doctor realized Amy was a Ganger? Why couldn’t he tell Melody was one too? Too much joy? Perhaps…
      2. Hasn’t the Doctor had children? I mean, he did travel with his granddaughter. And poor Jenny! I know she’s a weird clone thing but I thought we established he sees her as a daughter?
      3. Did the Doctor really not remember Lorna? All my creys T_T

      • thefireandthehearth says:

        2. Hasn’t the Doctor had children? I mean, he did travel with his granddaughter. And poor Jenny! I know she’s a weird clone thing but I thought we established he sees her as a daughter?

        Concerning his granddaughter, Susan: when the show was originally conceived, Susan wasn't actually the Doctor's grandchild. Somewhere in the planning stages, someone realize that an older man travelling with a fifteen-year-old girl was a bit suspect. Futhermore, Word of God tends to be a bit wishy-washy on whether or not Susan's actually his biological granddaughter. But really, I think the Doctor didn't confirm whether or not he had children because he tries to keep all his secrets from Amy and Rory. It's hard to be Space Gandalf when you've got some progeny running around.

        • majere616 says:

          "Space Gandalf"? The Doctor is pretty awesome but he's not THAT awesome. Not by a looooooooooooooong shot.

          • thefireandthehearth says:

            "Space Gandalf" is actually a term the Doctor uses for himself. I think it's in one of the deleted scenes on the box sets. It just makes me giggle. Space Gandalf. Doctor, you cannot add the word "space" to everything and make it be related to space-and-time travel.

            • majere616 says:

              Ah that would be one of those examples of him being cocky.
              <img src="; border="0"/>

              • giishu says:

                Well… he sort of comes back from the dead a lot…

                I'd argue that if anyone is Space Gandalf, it's Yoda. Though I'm sure there are fanfics of Gandalf in space. Space Gandalf! (No, sorry, just love that phrase. Will not stop using it!)

                Space Gandalfs of the universe, unite!

                • nanceoir says:

                  I'm pretty sure in the scene, the Doctor says that he's like "Space Gandalf," which he follows with, "Or the little green one from Star Wars". Then he spins around like he's holding a light saber and makes the little wawm noise that you'd hear as the light saber moves.

                  So… the Doctor would agree with your assessment? Or something.

              • Claire says:


        • knut_knut says:

          ooooo, I didn't know that! But yea, it didn't really seem like the time to be HAHA! BACKSTORY! INFO DUMP!

      • Hyatt says:

        A common fan theory about the Doctor not remembering Lorna is that he hasn't met her yet from his perspective, but obviously he doesn't want to tell a dying woman that, and he probably won't want to tell a little girl that he saw her die when she meets him for the first time.

        • onlysatellites says:

          Yeah, I think this has definitely happened to him before. So I think if someone says they've met him, he trusts they've met him.

    • anobium says:

      Whose grand idea was it to split the season? I hate them.

      That would be the Moff. He says it's so that when the season ends the children (won't somebody think of the children!) don't have to wait most of a year for their next hit.

      • onlysatellites says:

        I also heard budget & timing, in that they realized they wouldn't be able to have a full season ready for spring. But "The children won't have to wait as long" sounds better than "Whoops, we messed up a bit."

    • Burnie says:

      I think Rory was push to be the Centurion for a few reasons. 1) he told the Doctor he doesn't like to enter the room in his mind that was the 2000 years protecting the Pandorica, but that is where his Roman military training is. He needed to tap into that to stay strong and focused. 2) the Centurion armor is more intimidating than his typical plaid or polos. 3) these Big Baddies all seem to know the name Pond but don't know Williams. I think making Rory be The Centurion protects him and eventually Amy will have to be Mrs. Williams as part of a Future Alien Protection Program or something.

  15. Violets are Blue says:

    See, I was watching this last weekend with my guy who, at the time, had only seen half of season five, The Rebel Flesh, and The Almost People. He told me when the family was united that the baby was a Ganger. I didn't believe him and told him they wouldn't do it.

    Then it happened.

    I will never understand how he figured that out after seeing only 2 previous episodes.


  16. Sophi says:

    I feel at base much the same way–I have some complaints about this episode, but they are massively overshadowed by Madame Vastra and Jenny, by the reveal, by quite simply how gorgeous this episode was.

    Also, I was very surprised by the Colonel Runaway scene. I've now seen the Doctor be openly vindictive for no reason. He's meting out his suffering on this man in front of him in a very calm, very measured way that makes it even more profound. By god Matt Smith you act that scene, you act it, sir.

    Ah! It's the same way I react when I'm angry; cold, measured spite. That's why it got me. I think it's interesting that that part of the character's personality and my own–usually playful people who can be very cruel when pushed, perhaps are playful and affable and silly to stifle that deep cold anger that disappears just as quickly as it appears. Ah, Doctor Who <3 You push me to thinking about myself and emotion in general. Please keep doing this.

    • majere616 says:

      I rather respect Colonel Manton, the way he managed to avert what could have been a massacre between the Clerics and the Headless Monks was brilliant. The Doctor's treatment of him was understandable, but it also struck me as remarkably petty and mean-spirited.

      • celestineangel1 says:

        As a random note, speaking of the Clerics, I couldn't help thinking…. I wonder if there's a connection between these Clerics and the ones who run Stormcage….

      • Sophi says:

        Further expands, I suppose–I manage my temper most of the time, but when I lose control of it I am really not a nice person. I am petty and nasty. The situations are immensely different, however; I then have to deal with the people that I have fucked over and my pride takes a beating because I have to apologise or everything is going to be awkward as shit and I also feel immensely ashamed for having treated people who, if I don't actually care about, don't really deserve that treatment at the very least.

        The Doctor will never have to apologise to Colonel Manton–he simply gets the nasty little kick out of dominating him and basically smushing him (I can haz word) so in a way he never really gets the beating that says "this is bad bad things come of doing this to people". That's when the Doctor becomes frightening, I think. When time after time, he has all the power and expects to be able to dominate utterly and be a little petty, which then grows and grows into a lot petty (I still can haz word. and sentence structure) and then you have a Time Lord Victorious holy shit holy shit.

        • majere616 says:

          Its a shame that There Are No Therapists because otherwise he could have something done about his survivor guilt and megalomania.

          • Avit says:

            As I understand it, therapy can't always help.

          • Sophi says:

            Listening to a song called Destroy Everything You Touch was surprisingly appropriate during this conversation. (anything that may delay you, may just save you)

            I watched Utopia and the Sound of Drums today and there's that line about the Doctor running; never stopping running. He runs away from himself a lot of the time only to get slapped in the face with what he's become when he wasn't looking. I think it's wound right into him at this point; he really can't bear to look at what he is for too long. He needs a companion, or an enemy, or a slug or something to tell him stop.

  17. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Heh, it seems like everyone got the big twist before me. I had pretty much no clue about the whole River=Melody thing. Even the name similarity slipped by me.
    The first time I even had my suspicions was when River said it was her birthday when Rory met her at the beginning.
    I was all "Hey! River will have the same birthday as Amy's baby…WAIT A MINUTE."

    On a random note, wasb't the music for the big reveal scene absolutely gorgeous?? I can't wait 'til the OST comes out for this season.

    • Avit says:

      Wow, somehow I missed the birthday thing completely. Then again, was Rory visiting River on the same timestream-point as her actual birth? TARDIS complicates things…

      • I was about to say the same thing myself. "I can surely be forgiven for not noticing that River's birthday was Amy's baby's birthday, because TIME TRAVEL! SPACE! How the hell do you even NOTICE two days being the same day when A) neither Stormcage nor Demons Run are planets orbiting a sun, and B) you get between Stormcage and Demons Run by TARDIS?!"

        Oh look, I said it anyway. Hell, don't we all want to have our say?

    • kartikeya200 says:

      I've said it before but it bears repeating, I need the soundtrack to this series like breathing. I've watched that scene so many times at this point, and easily half of them are just because the music and emotional buildup is just so good. I'm a sucker for a good soundtrack.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        I've got all the DW soundtracks so far and I swear Murray Gold just gets better with each season. I always listen to 'A Pressing Need To Save The World' when I have to run for the train. It makes running easier. 😛

        The other night I was out walking late when it was utterly silent with not another living soul to be seen. And I was walking along the streets in the dark and the sky was so clear and just FULL of stars. So I played 'Life Among The Distant Stars' on my iPod and gazed at the sky as I walked home and I swear to god I almost had an emotional moment. Very un-British of me. I usually hate being outside as well, but that evening…I can't even describe how beautiful that experience was.

        Sorry, totally off topic gush there. But this is why I love soundtracks! Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica are my favourites, they're the ones I listen to most. Some of the tracks are just sublime.

    • Michelle says:

      The birthday thing didn't click with me, but that's mostly because of the nature of the show. I never assume that things in different cut scenes are happening in the same day, so I kind of assumed that Rory and the Doctor gathering up people took some time, and Rory just happened to find River on her birthday.

  18. Karen says:

    So after having a couple of weeks to let this episode percolate in my head, I'm still not feeling it. I don't know if I can articulate it, but this entire first half of series 6 (with the very notable exception of The Doctor's Wife) just did not do it for me.

    The pirate episode was not that great. Other than Rory the clones episodes were thoroughly mediocre. And I hated the resolution to the opening two parter. I think that the characters just aren't nuanced or interesting enough (to me) to keep my attention and make episodes enjoyable for me when the writing and the plot is weak. For example, I enjoy episodes like The Idiot's Lantern where the plot is really not that great just because I find the Doctor and Rose to be a joy to watch in that episode. But for me at least, there wasn't the character development here to keep me interested when the writing felt so weak to me.

    Meh. I'm not going to copy pasta all my tl;dr thoughts specific to this episode, but if you care, you can click on my name and go to my Intense Debate page where they're still up from the last post.

    • Avit says:

      I agree about the pirates episode; the clones were an interesting idea that might have been executed better (though I greatly enjoyed the ~twist~). I don't tend to love every episode of the shows I watch though, so I dunno!

      What was it you hated about the resolution of the Silents thing?

      • Karen says:

        I hated that the Doctor brainwashed humanity and it was portrayed as something that was completely A-OK. No grey area. Nothing. Just some rousing music and yay the Doctor saved the day! Yes, the Doctor brainwashed humanity ~for their own good~ or whatever. But it just rubs me the completely wrong way. Especially because he brainwashes them to KILL people. Sure, if the Silents are smart, they will stay away from humanity, so it's really more to serve as a threat. But UGH. I just hate that taken away people's free will is no big deal, apparently.

        • arctic_hare says:

          I… saw it as the reverse, as him freeing humanity from what was actually brainwashing them and manipulating their entire history, by giving them the tools to fight back against an insidious force that was stealing their free will. The fact that the Silence said that at all re: killing them on sight implies pretty heavily that they're responsible for a lot of nasty stuff in Earth's history and that what they've been doing is not good for humanity.

          • Karen says:

            It's an "ends justifies the means" type thing which never sits well with me. Yes, he's freeing them from being under the Silence's control… by putting them under his for what he deems to be humanity's own good. He's still taking choice away from humanity. And I could understand it more if the text showed us how evil the Silence were, but we didn't get that. Ooooh them made us go to the moon! How awful! I mean, we can infer things, but I'd rather the text make it a bit more explicit, so I KNOW that the Doctor needs to do this. And even better would be if the Doctor appeared at all conflicted about brainwashing humanity, but knowing he was doing what had to be done even though it was awful. But one of these possible complexities were explored. To me at least, it seemed to be this very black and quite, unequivocally good and right thing the Doctor did when I didn't see it that way at all.

            • enigmaticagentscully says:

              Interesting point that's sort of relevant – do you think the wording makes it any different/better? Because the Silent says 'You SHOULD kill us all on sight' not just 'Kill us all on sight'.
              So maybe you could interpret that as the human race realising that the creature they see poses a threat and should be dealt with, but not actually being forced to do the deed?

              I don't know, it's a bit of a stretch but worth mentioning, I thought.

              • Karen says:

                Eh… I'm not sure. I mean, that's POSSIBLE but idk it also seems to me that a brainwashed person would do what they SHOULD do, you know. It's a bit frustrating that in order to make this ending palatable to me, I'm being forced to really nitpick.

            • Karen says:

              OMG. SO MANY TYPOS IN THIS COMMENT. lol. Whoops. Hopefully it is still readable.

            • arctic_hare says:

              I agree with what enigmaticagentscully said, I think the phrasing is very important here: "You SHOULD kill us on sight". Not something they're being forced to do, but something they should do. Doesn't mean everyone will want to, or even be able to – goodness knows if I were to turn round right now and see one standing over me, I wouldn't have anything on hand to give it so much as a broken bone! I think all it's going to do is force the Silence into hiding, with some of them dying as a lesson not to fuck with humanity any more, and I think after what we've seen of them – like killing Joy in the bathroom, and it's very possible, as burritosaurus said, that they were responsible for the TARDIS blowing up too – that that's acceptable.

              For me, implication of their misdeeds is enough, but then, I think I would've found a scene where one of them rattles off every horrible thing in human history that they influenced to happen extremely hokey and cheesy. I've always hated that sort of thing, and it would've made me cringe. As always, mileage varies.

          • burritosaurus says:

            I was also totally OK with the Doctor's means of resolution for all the reasons mentioned by arctic hare, but also because there is a very high probability that they're the ones who blew up the TARDIS and destroyed the whole universe. So, yeah. I'd want them off my planet and preferably out of my universe.

  19. Anseflans says:

    I got spoiled about River's identiry literally ten seconds before I went to see the episode :'(


  20. celestineangel1 says:

    So if River and the Doctor ARE married, that makes Amy and Rory the Doctor's in-laws. Heeeeeeeee.

    (I was sort of 95% sure River was Amy and Rory's daughter since "Day of the Moon," but almost dismissed it because some things didn't make sense BUT I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN MOFFATT WOULD FIX THAT.)

    (Also… so… does this mean Astronaut Girl is past River? AND THAT RIVER GOES TO STORMCAGE AS A CHILD FOR KILLING THE DOCTOR??? WHAT IS THIS???)

    (Or maybe it's a different half-Time Lord girl? River has a twin? Maybe Amy really gave birth to twins but somehow they kept it from her? I DON'T KNOW. I sort of don't want to believe the girl from "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon" is past River, for a lot of reasons. MAYBE SHE'S RIVER'S GANGER OMGs.)

    • majere616 says:

      If that's the answer Moffat chooses to go with I will be extremely disappointed. Its just too obvious.

  21. Generation Coax says:

    River tells Rory she can’t go with him. She has to wait until the end. Is this because of her rigid spoiler policy?
    Or how about because last time someone traveled through time and came into contact with a baby version of themselves, a dragon appeared and ate the Doctor? Hmmmm? I would really really like to think that this is a callback to established canon and not something new, because it would make me feel more secure as a viewer.

    What could have just been a shocking, mind-melting reveal now acts as a sign of assurance: Amy and Rory, your child is perfectly fine.
    I hate this. I mean, not so much what the reveal is, but that the fact of it completely and totally destroys all tension they had built up. Here is an entire, multi-episode story arc just waiting to happen, completely and totally derailed because we know the good guys win. Which is not necessarily true of Doctor Who. THERE COULD HAVE BEEN TENSION.

    But I think my biggest complaint about this episode is it feels like we've done it before. The Doctor was all war-crazy, and then Rose healed him. And then the Doctor-Donna committed genocide and the Doctor gave him to Rose to heal again to redeem him for her murderous ways. And it would be fine if 1) this were acknowledged. Maybe this is a constant struggle, the real reason for the companions, and it's always new and different. But that can only be true if you acknowledge the path, instead of treating each fork like you've never seen a fork in the road before and can't possibly decide which way to go. THIS fork has to be different from previous forks. And I'm not seeing that. And 2) could we maybe see some of the build-up? They're talking about how he's this great warrior who has waged war across the universe and fought in the Gamma forests and inspired people with his ferocity except… we haven't gotten to see any of that. ANY of it. It's like telling us he's suddenly a serious alcoholic when we haven't seen him take a drink in YEARS.

    They can still fix it. The rest of this season could make all of these complaints go away. But it'll take some mighty genius writing.

    • kartikeya200 says:

      Ah, but is she okay? I mean, she's alive and in front of them. But she's also being raised by strangers as a weapon, without her parents or anyone likely to give her genuine care as a person. Part of this may involve being carted around by creepy aliens that you forget about the instant they're not in your line of sight, cared for by a man who has lost so much of his memory he doesn't realize two years have passed, and being stuck in a spacesuit that may be able to walk around by itself in which she wouldn't even need to be actively fed. And eventually she's going to kill 'the best man she's ever known', then end up in prison.

      And that's just what we know so far. I'm not sure Melody Pond is fine. I'm not sure Melody Pond will ever be fully 'fine'. Her entire life may have just been turned inside out, with no way to prevent it without horrible paradoxes. I'm not sure how the good guys can actually 'win', given that, even if they all survive.

      • Generation Coax says:

        She's fine enough to stand in front of them and tell them she's fine. And we know she's a BAMF. We've seen it. So yes, we can hear "River killed the best man she's ever known" and say "OMG what did she do?" but I don't think we can hear "What made River the totally messed-up person she is?" and not give the quizzical head-tilt made famous by dogs. It just doesn't fit.

      • kartikeya200 says:

        You know, and I just babbled all over, but I actually agree with your initial point that it does kill a lot of the tension. I guess most of my worries hinge over 'well sure Melody will be River, but wtf is going to happen in the meantime and does this mean the Ponds have pretty much lost their kid for good regardless?' sorta things, rather than whether or not Melody was going to get killed. I figured that was a danger of the narrative, but not a danger of her being held by Kavarian, seeing as she obviously wants the kid alive.

    • under_the_el says:

      I just posted a comment that made a similar point before reading yours, sorry. I agree about how we’ve seen some of this before. We remember 10’s anger, and the look in 9’s eyes when he told someone he was going to get them.

      • Generation Coax says:

        No worries – great minds think alike! I think a part of my frustration is that I really don't trust Moffat to clean it up. I think Davies would have this feel more like a spiral, leading to the mind-blowing conclusion that the Doctor travels with companions because he HAS to, because that's how he doesn't destroy the universe and become one of the bad guys he's always fighting, because the truth is even if someone else is bad, they have a right to exist and he knows it, even if he doesn't want to believe it. But it wouldn't be revealed until the series finale, and it would be done in a way that let you know the whole journey was worth it. But I haven't really experienced Moffat blowing my mind like that, so this feels more like circles that don't have a conclusion because, "well, they keep giving me money, so I'll keep making a TV show."

        • Generation Coax says:

          To put the conclusion in a slightly different way: the Time Lords had to be destroyed because they became all-powerful and on the wrong side and obsessed with destroying their enemies at any cost JUST LIKE THE DOCTOR OMG and then the series ends and I'd cry and cry and cry…

          I just don't trust Moffat to do that. Or something as good. Or better. But I am a cynic.

  22. shoroko says:

    I also felt like a lot of this was sort of leading into something else. I don't know, maybe this is all just supposed to be him as he is now, and it certainly seems to be going in that direction at least, but my impression from Madame Kovarian was that some of the villains in this, like her, may also be speaking from a future experience of the Doctor, which I guess can happen if everyone's traveling around in time and fucking with everything.

    I didn't really mind that things happened quickly or were left open, though, as I felt like the point of the what was going on wasn't really that the Doctor was a badass and can Do Anything or whatever (I actually thought "Colonel Runaway" came off less as a product of righteous anger and more petty vengeance, but I'm going to call him that anyway/I don't care), but was more about watching everything entirely blow up in the Doctor's face. Yes, he had reason to be angry, but apparently his entire approach to dealing with what happened to Amy was exactly what drove his enemies to take this action in the first place – making himself this great, nameless, terrible thing. I felt like it wasn't that the Doctor was Righteously Angry and made one critical mistake and we all have to feel bad for him now, but that this entire way of building himself up and being that kind of person was ultimately the problem (hence how I didn't need to see more of it, or higher stakes or anything – apart that it would have necessitated less time with Amy, I'm not sure how the narrative would have worked if it got us all invested in the Doctor being a badass and finished it up with River telling us what a bad thing that all was). In the end, in the face of an actually mucked up battleground and not some successfully tricky ploy or scheme, the Doctor denies that he wanted any of it, while Rivers snaps the opposite. "This was all you. All of this. All of it." So I guess my point is I think this really required to viewer to be okay with seeing the Doctor, rather than great and/or heroic even if a little scary, be kind of a fuck up. And I am okay with that! But there you go.

    On the other hand, I really didn't want Amy to be pregnant or her story to be about her being pregnant, and while I'm glad she got some nice lines in, I'm expecting her to have more to do next season (half of this season, whatever). I'm glad to see Rory's character grow, I love Rory and I loved what he got to do in this episode, but I don't want that to come at the expense of Amy. So I'm crossing my fingers that she'll be given more of an active plot in the next half of this season. At the same time, once I was… over some of my issues with this (I will admit I was mostly just glad this was her pregnancy, in that it ultimately occurred because of her and Rory and, you know, bunk bed ladders in the TARDIS, and not because some aliens kidnapped her because she is Capable Of Incubating Alien Babies) and sort of just accepting the whole Amy-and-Rory-are-immediately-cool-with-being-parents-thing, I liked what the three of them did with it and how they all handled everything (e.g. "I was going to be cool!"; "She doesn't like the TARDIS noise. I asked him to turn something off, but it was all 'I don't want to punch a hole in the space-time continuum!'").

    While I'd seen the River-as-someone's-future kid thing guessed and was meh on it, I did end up liking it here, partly because she manage to be Rory and Amy's real child and part-Time Lord (seriously how much awesome can you pack into one package oh right it's River-fucking-Song never mind), and what is now apparently her back story (conceived on the TARDIS born to parents from 2010 but on some asteroid in like 5100sish? and raised by aliens and/or Eye Patch Lady who want to turn her into a weapon) basically hits all of my 'ohmygoshawesome' narrative buttons. I am hoping the Doctor doesn't see her a whole lot when she's particularly young, because that could get kind of meh, but I don't mind him spending a few minutes with baby!Melody in this episode. From a Time Lord perspective, it just doesn't seem like that big a deal.

    And yeah, the side characters were all awesome and there needs to be more Jenny and Vestra. SOMEHOW.

  23. Niyalune says:

    Mark, I've been following your Doctor Who reviews and some of your stuff on Mark Reads for a while, and I'm finally delurking ^^ First, let me tell you that I love to read your reviews; both your insightful comments and your endless enthusiasm make reading you a pleasure 🙂 Thanks for being so awesome !

    I totally agree with everything you said. Strax was awesome, I never expected to like a Sontaran so much.

    You want Vastra/Jenny fanfic ? Check out this community on LJ :

    My personnal favorite is this one : , it even involves Jack ^^

    About River=Melody : I wasn't shocked because I had heard this theory before but I still couldn't believe it when it was actually revealed ^^ It's wonderful and has SO MUCH POTENTIAL for drama OMG. I wonder if Amy and Rory'll get to rise Melody before she becomes River but I fear they won't.

    (on a fandom related topic – this reveal has made my fondness for Amy/Rory/Doctor fanfics painfully awkward. Oh well. I can still ship Doctor/River) By the way, I found the Doctor's reaction to River telling him who she was EXTREMELY cute. He was squeeing ! I have rewatched this bit at least 5 times !

    • Stephen_M says:

      Oh god, the fandom thing… I was picturing the reactions of all those who'd written Amy/River slashfic… it was as if a million Who geeks cried out in squick and were suddenly showering furiously.

      • Niyalune says:

        Yes, I thought about that too. Thank god it was never my thing ! Talk about being traumatized for life… It's a bit like Luke/Leia in Star Wars, except worse.

  24. Anon says:

    I think i read somewhere Captain Jack was supposed to be in this episode but they couldn't get Barrowman because he was filming the new season of Torchwood.

  25. arctic_hare says:

    Ah-ha! 😀

    V pna gryy sebz gur tvsf gung gung vf vaqrrq gur orfg Qenphyn rire. V zhfg frr guvf rcvfbqr abj.

  26. Shiyiya says:

    Forest Of The Dead is THE SADDEST now.

    (And I want to know why River didn't regenerate when she died there.)

    • Avit says:

      Other 'watchers have mentioned River mentioning that the Doctor himself wouldn't have been able to survive it, for Various Phlebotinic Reasons.

      • Which means she was as much talking to herself as to him when she said, "Don't think you'll be able to regenerate your way out of it, either." That plot hole was closed (by however much phlebotinum) before it even had potential to be a plot hole. I only appreciate that episode all the more, now.

        • Shiyiya says:

          I find it kind of bullshit that she then only gets like, two regenerations (Redhead and blonde). I am going to sit here in the corner and quietly believe that she regenerated offscreen after the Doctor assumed she was dead and left. YOU CAN'T CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE. Maybe it just would have thrown off the Doctor's regeneration schedule. THIS IS MY UNVERIFIED PERSONAL CANON.

  27. thefireandthehearth says:

    It still makes me shake me head that I somehow guessed the "someone's using Amy and Rory's time-vortex-addled baby to build a Time Baby" twist, but not the "River Song = Melody Pond" twist. I mean, seriously. How does my brain even function?

    I can honestly say that, even now, I enjoyed this episode. It left a lot of questions unanswered, and we're still only getting part of the story, but that's the sort of thing I like. Provided, of course, that we get these questions answered eventually. It still feels like the first part of "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End" storyline, what with the epic story, twisty-turns, and cameos. And then cameos were probably my favorite minor part. Can we please can a spin-off with Madame Vastra and Jenny? I would watch that with all my love.

    This episode was quite visually pretty. My favorite was probably River's dress at the beginning Utterly gorgeous.

    I probably won't love this series as much as I did the previous one, but that doesn't mean it's not still interesting. Total judgement shall be reserved until the end of the ride.

    I have no idea how to get his, so have Matt Smith with even more silly hair than usual.
    <img src=""&gt;

    • giishu says:

      Dear Matt Smith

      You are not Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, so knock that off!


      PS. Fully support the Madam Vastra/Jenny spinoff.

    • sarasingsout says:


      the smile is so creepy
      and the eyes
      and the hair
      oh god the hair

    • Hotaru_hime says:

      It's like… colored Pertwee hair!

      • thefireandthehearth says:

        … it is!

        Except Pertwee was debonair enough to (mostly) pull it off. And Matt Smith looks like he's going to jump through the computer screen and rip out my throat with his teeth.

    • Jaxx_zombie says:

      Just saw this on tumblr.

  28. Shay_Guy says:

    My big question: When was that photo of Amy from "Day of the Moon" taken?

    • I was wondering the same. It doesn't seem like it was taken with Amy in hospital/prison on Demons Run, because Amy's smile looks too peaceful. (And wasn't Melody older in that photo?) But if it is taken sometime in the future when she has Melody back (however temporarily), how would that photo get into the hands of the enemy?

      I am now going to stick my fingers in my ears and proclaim myself satisfied that the photo proves Amy will get Melody back and she and Rory will actually get to raise her and be a happy family, if only for a few years before the events of "Day of the Moon" require Melody to be kidnapped away and injured and on life-support as a youngster in order to happen as we have seen. THAT'S MY STORY I'M STICKING TO IT LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU.

      • Shay_Guy says:

        I'm still going with "The little girl is River's little sister, who also has a time-head." Of course, the question of why all the photos, including that one, were in 1969 remains. Honestly, I don't think any of the questions from the premiere have been answered, except maybe why the girl regenerated.

        Was she even injured at all? Whatever it was that killed her, it happened six months later.

  29. Kaybee42 says:

    apparently everyone commented on this review four weeks ago…


  30. giishu says:

    Much more festive! 😀

  31. I watched this episode with my friend and right as they told us Amy baby's name my friend was like
    "Pond like river and Melody like song. Melody is River" I was only half paying attention so I really didn't put the peaces together till the end. She called it as always.
    I did love how the Doctor understood what Melody was saying. lol

  32. Inseriousity. says:

    Well I have a lot of things to say but I'll probably forget the majority of them and this will end up a paragraph. Okay here I go!

    a) I wasn't really a fan of the "fall so much further" line cos the end result wasn't very… new… imo. We'd already seen the Doctor's dark side addressed in many other episodes, most particularly Journey's End when Davros points out how all the people around him are turned into weapons. We've seen it in the Family of Blood two parter as well. It is nothing new River so I was a bit disappointed.

    b) HI FIVE TO WHOEVER SAID "No Ponds then?" in the comments during The Doctor's Wife. No Ponds… in the language! Very clever reveal! Looking forward to how this plays out. It really does depend on when the Doctor meets her for the first time but if it's during her childhood, I think the whole relationship thing they may/may not have would be just awkward.

    • Inseriousity. says:


      c) Did anyone else find "my love" during River's speech at the end really weirdly placed?

      d) phew nearly forgot. During the Silurian two parter, there were a lot of comments about how the female silurians were portrayed. I'm not saying 'forget about it' as they were good points I think but I'm just curious as to what those people think about Madame Vestra 🙂

    • anobium says:

      It's nothing new to us, but maybe this is the Doctor's greatest downfall that River knows about. I wouldn't be surprised if he never told her about those other times – it's not like he's going to turn to her in the middle of her birthday party and say, "Oh, by the way, did I ever tell you about the horrible things I did to the Family of Blood?"

  33. ABBryant says:

    Now that the break is on, I feel safe in airing out all of my theories… majior THEORIES ABOUND ahead!

    The red car that the Doctor reclines on from “The Impossible Astronaut” is a TARDIS
    The chameleon circuit broke in the very first serial, but who can say that it wasn’t fixed at some point after that, with all of the consoles regenerating. I don’t think that Amy even knew that there was a chameleon circuit, so when she helped reboot the universe, the Doctor’s TARDIS-that-has-a-broken-chameleon-circuit may have become Amy’s TARDIS-that-is-completely-normal-and-functional-in-every-way. There is precedent for the Doctor to keep something that he likes working on the TARDIS, when it technically isn’t supposed to work that way (i.e. the handbrake). After X-ty number of years with it as a police box, I’d probably get attached to that form as well.

    It doesn’t even have to be the Doctor’s TARDIS. There’s the Silence TARDIS and the TARDIS remains in the Bubbleverse.

    “A Good Man Goes to War”
    Who is the good man? The obvious choice is the Doctor, but he does not consider himself a good man. Who does that leave, Rory? He is a nurse, almost the perfect definition of a good man (well to a human. Sorry, Strax. You will be missed). But the real question is, does Rory have cleanly defined rules?

    Which War? “A Good Man Goes to War” had no war. It had a battle. One battle. One battle is not a war. Is the war mentioned the Doctor-vs-Kovarian war or the get-Melody-back war. They overlap but have entirely different motives behind the actions on both sides.

    What does Moffat mean by “goes to war”? Is it goes as in “travels to a place of battle”, or goes as in “wages a campaign”? We had traveling to multiple places of battle in the mid-series finale: the Battle of Zarathustra, the Slitheen Crime War, and the Battle of Demons Run. We also see the first hints of the Kovarian campaign, a great big plot thing with armies against the Doctor.

    Leap here, but what if, in true Moffetian fashion, a seemingly innocuous bit gets twisted into importance. We have the “Watch us run” voice-over from SitL/FotD. The Doctor talking about how he’s been running for a long time in Impossible Astronaut, and now the Doctor pretending to and Lorna Bucket actually reminiscing about how they ran in the Gamma Forests in GMGtW.

    River’s voiceover poem in A Good Man Goes to War is being read to CAL and the children from Silence in the Library. It’s an idea. I’m just putting it out there.

    River’s outfit
    River looks much younger than when we usually see her. I don’t know, her hair seems more shiny? But her outfit is muddy green top and poofy miniskirt and brownish leggings. That is perfect for traveling in a forest environment. She must have been in the Gamma Forests beforehand.

    Flesh!Amy command signal
    The offhand mention by Rory about how the Flesh command signal could reach inside the TARDIS from “Good Man Goes to War” will eventually come back to bite them in the butt. That carrier for the signal will be the one that was used to hijack the TARDIS in TPO.

    • onlysatellites says:

      Neat theories, particularly re: TARDIS car.

      However, River's outfit is the EXACT same one she wore at the end of DotM, so I don't know if that's necessarily related to the forest.

    • drippingmercury says:

      The Doctor told Amy about the Chameleon Circuit in the deleted scene between Eleventh Hour and Beast Below – or at least, he explained that the TARDIS is supposed to conceal itself and doesn't. I still like the idea that it's Sexy, though!

  34. Weston says:

    My money is still on the Valeyard.

    • kyrissa says:

      I would *love* that. I've been wondering if they plan on tackling that bit of timey-wimey goodness now that we are getting up in the Doctors and this would be an awesome way to reintroduce it. Also, can you imagine if we make it to the Valeyard's beginning? That would be a seriously long story arc.

  35. Avit says:

    Oracular Slugs, even? 😀

    • majere616 says:

      OMFG! You are my soulmate!

      • Avit says:

        😀 😀 😀

        Nothing wrong with the fellow that a good dose of talking animals can't fix.

        • majere616 says:

          If there's one thing I learned from His Dark Materials its that talking animals solve all of life's problems.

    • Sophi says:

      We need to email Steven Moffat right now

      This is genius at work.

      (Also can it please have a tiny hat just cocked at an angle so that it looks kind of debonair and swish? I have a mental image that demands it. It would be the best companion of all time)

  36. RobM says:

    I don't know. I'm still very "meh!" about this episode. There's just something very odd about the pacing, and the Doctor and River just feel very off somehow. Yes, there's plenty of awesome (Strax, Madame Vastra and Jenny, the Last Centurion), but it just feels like the episode is missing a central focus somehow. Like they've thrown a whole bunch of things against the wall and are waiting to see what sticks. Maybe everything'll make more sense when the whole season is put back together rather than being arbitrarily split over several months. But at the moment, standing on its own (or as the end of a half-season), it's just kind of "there" and I'm still not entirely sure how to feel about it.

  37. under_the_el says:

    I loved pretty much everything that everyone else loved. The scene where Rory walks in holding Melody almost brought me to tears. The only thing I didn’t like is that we’ve seen the Doctor angry before, and we’ve heard others criticize him about his methods and what he does to people. Its nothing new.

  38. kartikeya200 says:

    I'm the same way. I really really really do not want this to be the case. I don't want Rory to die. Of course, I don't want the Doctor to die either, but let's face it, it's Doctor Who. The Doctor is not going to stay dead. Rory, despite his many 'resurrections' and fake deaths, can easily stay dead because the show isn't called The Last Centurion (although I would watch this, oh yes.).

    • Aimee says:

      Me three. I REALLY love Rory–I think he's my favorite of the three companions of Teeam Tardis at the moment. And.. well, sigh. I would watch a show about The Last Centurion too.

      • DFM Marlink says:

        Me three! If Torchwood can get its own series, why can't The Last Centurion get its own spinoff too? I'd love to see all of Rory's adventures while he was protecting the Pandorica.

  39. arctic_hare says:

    What is this amazing gif from? I can't stop laughing at it!

    • psycicflower says:

      Minor episode spoiler for a potential future Mark Watches project so I'm going to try that rot13 *crosses fingers it works*

      Vg'f sebz na rcvfbqr bs Fhcreangheny pnyyrq Zbafgre Zbivr juvpu cbxrf sha ng gur byq pynffvp zbafgre zbivrf naq unf gur orfg Qenphyn rire.

      <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  40. Stephen_M says:

    Thanks for the review Mark, always fascinating and a great read. Just wanted to add a couple of things I've thought of since the original air date:

    1) River… oh lordy. Went back and watched the Library episodes again tonight and god it hurts to watch that knowing what's to come. She HAS to sacrifice herself otherwise she'll never be born, instant paradox and the universe gets torn a new one! So while her death was always pretty damn good turns out she really was taking the Doctor's place one last time, saving everyone and the universe to boot (and, incidently, going out in a FAR better way than ten did, yes I'm still bitter about that). Also we've now had a companion (she's a companion, no arguments please) that we've seen born (well, almost) and die on the show! And it's really only because of the timey-wimey way it's been done that they've gotten away with that… bravo all, bravo.

    2) During series 5 Moffat was getting a bit of stick for the Doctor using his reputaiton to solve things (basically… run) but I always found that odd because a) EVERY time 11 has done that it's bitten him square in the arse and b) Moffat is known to not be a fan of the 'A god am I' version of the Doctor the later RTD years gave us. Now, with this episode, we finally see where he's been going with it and, effectively, it seems to be to tear it down with the biggest "what the hell hero" speech ever. Really, when River Song is chewing you out for being too OTT you know you've got problems.

    3) It's the little details that sell the whole River thing and make me adore both cast and writer. Example: the big River reveal with Matt doing the kissy face. Delighted Look! Turns to Amy and Rory… gets very worried look… back to River and delighted…. back to Amy and Rory… worried…. runs the hell away for the explanation part. Which is understandable considering Rory had pointed out he had a sword when the Doctor just wanted to hug Amy, probably best not to be around when Rory gets over the shock and figures out who his daughter has been dating. It's wonderful acting from everyone and works so well because the audience is ahead of the characters here, not by much but it's enough to let us in on the joke.

    4) Danny Boy to the Doctor = fist pump. Someone on Deviantart do a TARDIS /Spitfires in formation pleeeeeeease.

    5) As some wise person on Tumbler pointed out: Amy, River and Rory, The BAMF Family. Because "Pond" and "BAMF" are most definately interchangable!

  41. t09yavorski says:

    I have a question about apologies. When the TARDIS blows up in The Pandorica Opens River says "I'm sorry my love" and in (I believe) in the Imposible Astronaut the Doctor says "I'm sorry" before the Astronaut shoots hime (maybe, right? I cant really remember).

    My question is: Why? Why exactly did River feel the need to apologize? Was it because the TARDIS was gonna explode? Because she caused it? For some other reason? And why would to Doctor need to apologize before getting shot? Because he is about to traumatize his friends? Because he is putting things in to motion?

    I can't think up any definate answers that explain these apologies.

    • Avit says:

      I always assumed the former was a sort of "I'm sorry for failing you". Course in light of S6, that may not be it after all.

    • redonthefly says:

      Well, at the end of season 5 we never do figure out why the TARDIS exploded in the first place, or why it exploded when it did: Amy and Rory's wedding day.

      Now that we know River was conceived that night, well, maybe there's a connection?

      Then again, the universe sort of rebooted there in the middle, so you know, this theory is probably way off. 😉

  42. blackrose says:


    Could we possibly see a reappearance of Jenny from "The Doctor's Daughter" at some point? Since she's part time lord too. And isn't "The Doctor's Daughter" where that line about "a whole lot of running" comes from? I don't know, it's not much of a theory, but I just think it would be really interesting for lots of thematic reasons if the Doctor met Jenny again. And the fact that there's a character in "A Good Man Goes to War" named Jenny also made me think of it.

    • hummingbrdheart says:


    • aleja23t says:

      You know, now that I think of it, there might be something more to this. I don't think that there has ever such a blatant repeat of a name, especially for a show that gave us Raxicoricofallapatorius, Canton Delaware Everett III and Judoon (on the moon sorry I can't say their name without ending it with that! >.< )

      Jenny is fairly unoriginal and still fresh in our minds. What if it is the same Blonde!Jenny and they have somehow changed her memory (Helloooo Silence) in order to trap the Doctor somehow. Blonde!Jenny is part Time-Lord and they could've tried to capture her first to use her as a weapon.

      As for Jenny Bucket's death, the Doctor is not one to just let someone die for him. He will most likely try to avenge her death or at least send his condolences to her family which can lead to said trap (GAMMA FOREST ADVENTURE anyone?) and then well, I'm guessing shit will get real.

      Basically, the ending of this mid-season finale left me a bit uninflated and I am just hoping that Moffat has a lot more up his sleeve.

  43. Danielle says:

    My favourite thing about this whole episode is when the Doctor realises that River is Melody, and then realises that he's been/going to be snogging Amy and Rory's daughter, and he looks back at them with a guilty "Oooh…"

  44. Phthonus says:

    So I've been watching all the old new DW episodes start to finish (just finished Tennant's last episode. Eyes filled with tears). Anyway, I was watching Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead in a whole new light. Not only because of the big reveal in this episode, but because I realised that I had totally forgotten that that episode, that was the time that River told Amy about. The time when The Doctor would look at her, and would have no idea who she is, and it would break her heart. It was so much more sad now that I knew more about her.

    Honestly, I never held much love for River, but the combination of these 3 particular episodes turned all that around.

    • So you've rewatched that more recently than I. I don't recall River appearing all that broken-hearted when she realized the Doctor didn't recognize her; I only remember her being amused by his confusion and by how "young" he looked. It's a major reason why I've rejected the notion that they meet in perfectly reversed chronology (the other reason being, it's too simplistic and would make it unnecessary for her to ask him "Have we done X yet?", or at least quite as often as she does). But it's been about a year since I last watched that episode; maybe I misremember. Was it that tragic? I don't remember anything that compared to her expression upon realizing that the kiss she'd just shared with the Doctor would be her last in "Day of the Moon."

      • Niyalune says:

        She says something like " please Doctor tell me you know who I am" , her smile fades and she looks sad. She realises he has never seen her after she marvels at his youth. When the Doctor asks her "who are you", I think she looks quite devastated

      • Phthonus says:

        Oh yeah. Throughout the episodes she gets noticably more upset as it dawns on her that this Doctor actually has no idea who she is. If you recall, it ends with her handcuffing the Doctor so he can't sacrifice himself, instead taking his place, realising that this means that he has always known how she was going to die. She is practically in tears. Finally meeting the Doctor that doesn't know her literally kills her.

  45. Patrick721 says:

    It would've been interesting to see Jack interact with everyone else. Especially since he hasn't seen the Doctor in his current form.

    • arctic_hare says:

      "It would've been interesting to see Jack flirt with everyone else."

      Fixed that for you.

      • Avit says:

        I started trying to figure out which "interactions" I'd most look forward to, then gave up when I realized that — no matter what — where Jack goes, orgies follow.

  46. Neet says:

    Something's been bothering me and I don't think I've seen anyone else mention it. If River couldn't go with Rory in the beginning because she couldn't interfere with her own timeline and had to wait until Melody was gone, then if she was the girl in the spacesuit, why was River willing to go back to 1969 and help the Doctor find her?

    OK, when she got the original invitation she didn't know when and where she'd end up, but unless she doesn't have memories of her childhood, she should have known Florida 1969 was a place to avoid. If she has lost all her memories, why did older Doctor invite her, as he presumably knows who she is and therefore that she can't interfere with her own timeline?

    • @smartcync says:

      That is one of the million questions Moffat has left open and will eventually solve.

    • jackiep says:

      Well, with timelines, it does seem that a Timelords can cross timelines with earlier incarnations of themselves but actively avoid crossing timelines in the same incarnation.

  47. Niyalune says:

    It's not directly related to the episode, but I wanted to share this hilariously cracky fanvid I saw on LJ a few days ago. I watched it at least five times, it still makes me laugh ^^

    Team TARDIS to Katy Perry's Last Friday Night :

  48. kartikeya200 says:

    Plus, well. River lies. By necessity, River lies, or hides, pretty much everything about herself in every single appearance she's had. Watch the reveal scene really carefully, and pay attention to her expression when she says who she is (which she's had to hide from her own parents for quite a while now). Should be a relief, right? But she looks very 'I have no idea how you are going to react to learning that I am your kid, or the implications of same'. Like she's trying to school her expression still, because she just doesn't know, and she's a bit scared.

    This isn't to imply River's totes a total tragic woobie and she spends her time in prison writing 'my life is an endless road of tragedy and tears' in her livejournal, but I think there's a big difference between 'I've learned to deal and I've made something for myself' and 'I'm totally sunshine and rainbows okay'. Stuff like what seems to be implied is going to happen to her doesn't just blow over or cease affecting a person just because circumstances have changed for the better.

    • kartikeya200 says:

      Of course, they could totally be like 'no really, River is sunshine and rainbows and glitter and has NO problems' in the first episode of the next season. This is just me speculating in a different direction. (also, screw yoooou, tiny posting limit size).

  49. Patrick721 says:

    I don't have too much to say about this episode…wait, yes I do.
    -Anyone else think it was weird that Commander Runaway was calling the Headless Monks "these guys"? Just seemed a little too informal.
    -Madam Vastra and Jenny FTW.
    -STRAX. I love how everyone was so accepting of him saying that he wants to kill them. And I love everything else about him.
    -The Doctor speaks Baby. That was the most adorable thing ever, seriously.
    -"Where. Is. My. Wife?" *BOOOOM* "Would you like me to repeat the question?" So badass, all I can think of is that someone needs to make a fanvid or something that combines Rory and a Queen song. Probably "Princes of the Universe". Or some other music that is just as badass.
    -Seriously, what is this "Endless, bitter war"?
    -"Let's Kill Hitler"…You know what, I'm totally ok with this. Mostly because of how nonchalant the title is. It's like they're all sitting around, bored, and then Rory just says, "Hey, why don't we go and kill Hitler?" And everyone else just shrugs and says Ok, and then we have ADVENTURE!

    • anobium says:

      My speculation about "Let's Kill Hitler" is that it's a metaphor.

      Like, Amy and/or Rory suggests that, now they know what happened to baby Melody they could go back in time and fix it, and the Doctor and/or River explains that time doesn't work like that. "Every second person who invents a time machine immediately goes 'What shall we do? I know! Let's kill Hitler!' but it never works out. Fixing history isn't that simple."

      A pause.

      "What the hell. Let's do it."

  50. ArrogantSage says:

    Who has gone back to watch River's encounter with Rory in this episode? How lovely is the acting in that scene?! Watch it again, knowing that she knows this is her father. She immediately starts gushing to him just like a little girl trying to impress her dad. It was soo sweet.

    • Niyalune says:

      I did ! I love this scene 🙂 Also, I kinda want to see Eleven ice skating now ^^ But it makes me anxious too because I wonder why she was so surprised to see him…

  51. Michelle says:

    After watching this twice through I went back and watched River's first appearance in season 4 and WEPT. AGH SO GOOD!

  52. rewritten says:

    FEAR NOT – I will refrain from re-posting my ridiculous, gif-ridden, extravaganza post again here.

    But GEE. THANKS A LOT MARK. I just HAD to put it on again as I was reading your review, so now I'll be watching the last 10 minutes over and over again until my keyboard becomes my pillow. THANKS MARK. That started off as sarcasm, but this is also my idea of heaven so… I don't even know anymore.

    Just some quick bits then :'(((((
    • I'm sorry but as evil as Madame Kovarian is, I LOVE HER VOICE. That scene where the girl in the spacesuit is going through the Doctor's mind and then we just here "I see you've accessed our files. Do you understand yet?" Oh I can't explain, it'll just sound like babble but BRAVO FRANCES BARBER.
    • Flesh Baby – EVERY. FREAKING. TIME. What are you doing to my heart Moffat?!?!?! I managed to get my family to watch AGMGTW recently and my sister nearly choked on her dinner at this part.

    UMM SIDE NOTE HERE OR SOMETHING. When watching it with my family, I was shaking uncontrollably. Is that normal? This would've been about the 8th time I'd seen it, but it was sort of internal shaking. Probably just excitement and stuff but damn, it was odd.

    • OK I have to re-post this one bit:
    "This was exactly you, all this, all of it. You make them so afraid. When you began all those years ago, sailing off to see the universe, did you ever think you'd become this? The man who can turn an army around at the mention of his name. Doctor, the word for healer and wise man throughout the universe. We get that word from you you know. But if you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean? To the people of the gamma forests, the word doctor means mighty warrior. How far you've come. And now they've taken a child. The child of your best friend's. And they're going to turn her into a weapon just to bring you down. And all this, my love, in fear of you." – I NEED THE MUSIC THAT ACCOMPANIES THIS SCENE RIGHT NOW.

    EURGH FAVOURITE BIT. Sorry for all these caps but I'm reliving the whole thing again! Amy just pulled the gun on River. "It's ok Rory, she's fine, she's good." I wonder how difficult it was for Moffat not to reveal River's identity with the "are you my mummy" line.

    I'm just ranting now, sorry. This episode makes me so happy. If Moffat doesn't deliver on the Gamma Forests story though… <img src=""&gt;

  53. Pingback: The War You Dont See » S06E07 – A Good Man Goes To War – Mark Watches

  54. Hotaru_hime says:

    My whole reaction was this:


    September you guysssssssssssssss. Waiting for this and Fringe is going to kill me.

    • kartikeya200 says:

      I've come to the conclusion that this summer exists solely to keep me from things I'm desperately anticipating. Doctor Who. Skyrim. Mass Effect 3 (okay, it's not just the summer that's in the way there). Possibly TOR? Agh.

  55. Mark, one of the things I enjoy so much about your reviews is that you're not afraid to say so when you're genuinely ambivalent and reserving judgment. You don't hold back in the slightest when you're passionate about loving an episode, or hating it either (FEAR HER FEAR HER), and that's always fun to watch — but you also don't feel the need to Have An Opinion when you're really not sure how you feel about something, and I respect and appreciate that as well.

    Really, to me it's just as interesting when you explore your mixed feelings about an episode or book than when you're listing off all the things you love or hate about it. Sometimes even more so, because it invites discussion and honesty in the comments, instead of polarization and argument.

    And then I found this GIF and it made me laugh several times over, so I share it here for your delectation. (And hope that nobody's shared it already.)

    <img src=""&gt;
    <a href="” target=”_blank”>

  56. burritosaurus says:

    I just full-on for-real totally LOLed at work LOUDLY. And I still can't stop giggling. This gif is pure magic.

  57. daisysparrow says:


  58. arctic_hare says:

    I'm on that team too, I WILL FOREVER BE GRUMPY ABOUT THAT LINE (and EoT in general).

  59. bookling says:

    I feel the same way about waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think the titular "war" is only beginning. Madame Kovarian said that she's been fighting a long, bitter war against the Doctor, and I think in a way he just started it. But then he's going to go back in time (probably to the Gamma Forests when Lorna was a little girl) to the "beginning" of the war. TIMEY WIMEY WIBBLY WOBBLY. I also got the impression that River might have been raised in the Gamma Forests, the way she spoke about their language and because of the fact that she took on the name River Song rather than Melody Pond. So maybe that's where Kovarian took her, or where she ended up after escaping the Silence?

    But I've seen a lot of people hating on this episode (and the season in general), and I just don't think we can judge it yet because it's clearly just a piece of the puzzle. I think making this a mid-season finale might have hurt the show, because people might have been expecting more closure.

    And my favorite line?

    <img src=""&gt;


  60. Vicki_Louise says:

    Oh noes, I'm late to the party 🙁 And I haven't had time to watch the episode again. Fail.
    I have a good excuse though, I've been making an Amy/Rory video, which I am so in love with! is that vain to say I'm in love with my own video?

    Anyway. I still don't know how I feel about this episode, I'm pretty sure I liked it, I think. The Saturday night after the episode aired I was trying to think of a word to sum up how I felt about it and Sunday morning it came to me…..disorientated. It made me feel disorientated. There were so many different plots/characters/revelations all going on at once, it was like they were all screaming for my (very limited) attention span and because of all that I couldn't get in to the episode like I normally would. (Though I'm certain that once I've seen the rest of the series I'll really like this episode.)

    But, but, but. There were moments of absolute brilliance!

    Amy, Rory and Melody's reunion was perfect in every way. I love Amy and Rory so much, they're perfect for each other. If the Moff doesn't give them a happy ending then I shall buy a pitchfork and hunt him down. Or I'll write a very strongly worded letter. Whichever one's easier and cheaper.

    “Captain Harcourt, I hope some day to meet you in the glory of battle, when I will crush the life from your worthless human form. Try and get some rest.” This made me laugh so much I actually snorted! 😀
    “I have gene-spliced myself for all nursing duties. I can produce magnificent quantities of lactic fluid!” My second snort of the night. It's no wonder I'm still single.
    It would be a crime if we never saw Commander Starx again. He needs to come back. MOFF MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

    Madame Vestra and Jenny need their own series. MOFF MAKE THIS ALSO HAPPEN.

    This may sound weird, but, one of my favourite moments in the episode was when the Doctor went to hug Amy and she backed away from him. After everything she's been through and eveything she's lost, even her own child, it feels right that there would be some tension between her and the Doctor. I really hope the Moff carries that on to the second half of the series, as difficult as that would be to watch, it feels like the right thing to happen. Amy's feelings for the Doctor would be like a drop in the ocean compared to her love for her daughter, and the Doctor has inadvertantly put Melody's life in danger. (even though the elder version of Melody is alive and standing right in front of them. Oh Moff, you and your confusing wibbley wobbley timey wimey shizz!)

    I loved the "Captain Runaway" speech. Matt Smith is incredible in that bit especially when he says "oh look, I'm angry now." When eleven gets emotional or angry that's when Matt Smith overtakes David Tennant as my favourite Doctor, which is something I never thought I'd say!

    The moment when Amy's baby melts in her arms is so horrifying. Amy's scream of "RORY" is so heartbreaking, it rips at my insides! How Karen manages to get so much emotion and pain into two syllables i will never know. I saw a GIF the other day that perfectly described my feelings at that moment in the episode, it was of a guy putting his fist through a computer screen that had the Moff's face on it, but I can't find it. 🙁

    I loved Lorna. Totes did not want her to die. I hope we'll see her again in the Gamma Forests (whatever those are).

    The more I learn about River Song the more tragic she becomes which just makes me love her even more.

    Melody being part Time Lord because she was conceived in the TARDIS, not sure about that one. Weren't there Time Lords before time travel?

    And now I've gone and forgotten everything else I wanted to say. Curse you Silence!

    • @ladylately says:

      I think maybe the Time Lords/Time travel thing could be explained as, like, perhaps on Gallifrey there's a natural opening into the vortex, which, over billions of years, had an effect on the local population, and eventually led to the discovery of time travel and the birth of the Time Lords? Can't be a Time Lord without time travel, after all.

      Perhaps the super-fast effect on Melody/River's DNA is because she was conceived inside a TARDIS–as in, it's not a natural rift with sporadic bursts of time energy, but a refined technology with a steady amount of energy in a refined form. Like how House wants to eat TARDISes because the rift energy is then 'cooked food', yeah?

    • kartikeya200 says:

      This may sound weird, but, one of my favourite moments in the episode was when the Doctor went to hug Amy and she backed away from him.

      This scene was so painful to watch, and yet yes, it feels right. In a completely wrong way? I don't know! In fact, that entire interaction between the Doctor and Amy. Time and time again, the Doctor has been able to, if not fully comfort Amy, then at least do something to try and help. When he walks up and she says "It was all for nothing," I got this overwhelming impression that he was about to disagree, he was about to say 'no, we managed this' or 'no, this happened', a la Vincent and the Doctor. …But what comes out of his mouth is an apology. He has nothing, no words of comfort for her, and I think a small part of her was looking, hoping for that for that.

      And then he tries to hug her, because really, he's got nothing else, and she's been through so much that she just can't. She can't find any comfort from the Doctor at that point.

  61. Minish says:

    By the way, this is merely what Moffat has planned for just HALF of the MID-series finale.

    So… yeah. Think about that.

  62. @ladylately says:


    RORY IS AN OVARY EXPLOSION (and…something that doesn't sound incredibly painful for the XY counterpart?)
    ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE REBEL FLESH/THE ALMOST PEOPLE (except Ganger Jenny. she's awful and creepy and…weirdly moist) ARE QUITE ATTRACTIVE

  63. It looks disquietingly like Daryl Hall to me.

  64. @smartcync says:

    Moffat is the definition of long-term planning. The whole concept that the very meaning of the word "Doctor" actually originates with The Doctor is one Moffat came up with in a fan forum in like 1992 or something. Dude has skills and will make us wait for everything

  65. kartikeya200 says:

    You know, if you take into account the likelihood that River is the girl in the astronaut suit, and then couple it with the brilliant observation that someone posted in the discussion post (sorry, I don't remember who you were, but it was the best thing) that 'does Doctor Song mean Melody, the great warrior?' THIS clip takes on an entirely different context, doesn't it?

  66. pica_scribit says:

    Has the word "recontextualize" ever been used more appropriately? I don't think so. I did get the Melody Pond/River Song thing about halfway through the episode and had to pause it for several minutes while I freaked out. Well, at least we have time to go back and rewatch everything from Silence in the Library onwards and watch how River interacts with EVERY CHARACTER EVER. I need to hear all her dialogue and everything ever said about her again.

    I could say THEORIES ABOUND, but I feel like everyone else has probably already thought of what I'm thinking about how this all plays out, with the young girl in the space suit. But I don't think Moffat would ever do anything that simple and obvious. He's going to blow our minds on this one.

  67. anobium says:

    I've been thinking about this, and I'm not sure I want Rory to come back if River kills him.

    Obviously, I'd be happy if he didn't get killed at all, but.

    I don't want it to happen that River kills him, and gets sent to jail, and it turns out that he's not dead after all – because that means River spends the rest of her life being sad and guilty for nothing.

    (This goes for whoever the Good Man turns out to be, even if it isn't Rory.)

    • doesntsparkle says:

      Good point. The best option would no death for anyone. I was trying to be flippant when I mention Rory always coming back from the dead, if he dies for real(knocking on all the wood) I'm not sure how I'll handle it. I'll always expect him to come back from it.

  68. masakochan says:

    – The episode feels like it's leading somewhere since it's the first half of a two episode story. (At least that's what I've seen on TVtropes, so *shrugs*).

    – I know one thing I enjoyed is all the jokes that can be made now. Like the one where someone posted the song "Hey, girl, where'd you get your body from? – I got it from my momma-" xD

    – The images:
    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

  69. Janine says:

    River could have changed her time stream at any time she wanted. She could have not given her parents the diary on their wedding day, thus ensuring that Amy wouldn't have remembered the Doctor and she wouldn't have been conceived in the TARDIS, meaning that she would be fully human. She could have told them at any time and warn them to save herself. She wouldn't be a weapon. She could have spent her entire life with her family, safe and human, and no Doctor, or maybe just Doctor later.

    But she didn't.

    And THAT is why she is my favorite female character on TV right now. Because she is a badass who is willing to sacrifice herself so her family can live.

  70. nomadicvignette says:

    Oh poop, I thought my comment had posted but it looks like my internet timed out. Ok, THEORIES ABOUND.

    After the Doctor took off, after the Big Reveal, the TARDIS translation circuit was still working to translate River's name….but the TARDIS was gone. The Doctor also told River to 'get them all home,' referencing Amy and Rory. I'm wondering if this means that River has her own TARDIS. It would also explain how River can magically show up where the Doctor & Co are without getting picked up, and it would also give a possible explanation for what happened to the proto-TARDIS (somewhere down the line, I'm sure we still have to deal with that in Rory/Amy's future, but this would put it in River's past). Thoughts?

    • drippingmercury says:

      I think River has a vortex manipulator. There's a lightning effect when she arrives similar to what we see in The Big Bang when 11 is zapping with one (which he had borrowed from River).

      • nomadicvignette says:

        Now that I'm thinking about it, I think she did mention having a Vortex Manipulator last season…well, there goes my theory! 🙂

    • Bobcat says:

      Re: TARDIS translation. Pretty sure that Moffat said that the effects linger for a while.

      Which they do! Look at all the episodes where the TARDIS disappears and they can still speak the language. Concise answer, makes perfect sense. Happy with it.

  71. whyilovebrian says:


  72. drippingmercury says:

    Maybe Kovarian is acting on behalf of the Silents in some fashion and the "endless, bitter war" started with the Moon Landing "you should kill us all on sight" thing? IDEK.

  73. Marcell says:

    While at this late hour (for me) I don’t dare add to any of the lovely and well-thought out ideas people have as far as plot and character developments to come.

    However, something occurs: while time, as it was explained in ‘Blink’, is not [necessarily] a strict progression from cause to effect, doesn’t the lack of linear progression, if this is something that has been happening to the Doctor for the better part of a millenium, ultimately hurt the Doctor, indeed all of the Time Lords potentially, as men and women?

    While cause-and-effect may not be necessary to events unfolding, isn’t it really integral to an individual’s development of character/empathy/personality? Because without seeing how the things you do affect others and ultimately the universe at large, how would you ever learn even a modicum of what is right or wrong?

  74. AndiBlac says:

    Omg I have been waiting for this review, and I'm glad I'm not the only one that was going. YAY!..wait.. what?!
    Between a sexy crying Centurion who is the baddest of the badasses, the Doctor's BAMF entrance, awesome gay Anglican marines, feisty inter species lesbians, lactating fluid, the horror of the Doctor being fooled, everything seemingly falling to pieces and then NOPE GUESS WHAT MOFFAT MIND FUCKED YOU! River Song is your *~daughter~* (and a superhero).
    Between all that, my favorite part is tied between Amy's speech and:
    Amy: (hears someone at the door) Who's that? Who's there? You watch it, because I am armed and really dangerous, and… cross.
    Rory: Like I don't know that.
    IMO, best episode.


  75. Meadow says:

    Or Jack/River would have been hilarious. Poor Doctor.(Wonder how Amy and Rory would react!)

  76. Ashley says:

    Are you going to watch any more classic Who, Mark?

  77. Satan says:

    and, of course river song was locked up for murder, she killed the doctor in the impossible astronaut

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