Saturday, June 4, 2011

Doctor Who Midseason Finale Reaction

*Giant Humongous Spoilers. As if I could write this without giving anything away.*

After a two-parter that takes place in a castle factory making Flesh doppelgangers, I can't tell you how nice it is to love Doctor Who again. The midseason finale, "A Good Man Goes To War" aired tonight, and it was a doozy. Perhaps not as good as Gaiman's episode (Stephen Moffat better get him to write more) but as far as continuity and things that are actually directly relevant to the characters we love, it was fantastic.

As revealed at the end of last week, Amy has been a Flesh doppelganger since before the season began. Meanwhile her actual body has been kept in Demons Run by the evil eye-patch lady until she comes to term and gives birth to her baby. The Doctor calls in old debts, assembling a mini-army force consisting of a Silurian (who has been paying her debt to the Doctor by living in late 1800s London solving murder mysteries), said Silurian's human warrior housekeeper, a Sontaran (whose penance has been working as a Nurse in future Earth history) and that fat blue guy who trades in intelligence and weapons. Together they storm Demons Run to rescue Amy, easily subduing the 'papal army' assembled under evil eye-patch lady's command.

But in truth the story is River Song. We met her when David Tennant was still the Doctor, and back then we watched her die. In Moffat's reign, however, she has become a bonafide companion, knowing him far better than he knows her (they never meet up in a linear fashion) despite the intense mystery that surrounds her. You see, The Doctor has never really known who she is. She claims they are married, they are lovers, sharers of intimate secrets (she knows his true name for God's sake) but we never learn her true identity. Until now.

She is the daughter of Amy Pond and Rory Williams. Conceived on the night of their wedding (the last series finale) aboard the TARDIS, and growing inside Amy surrounded by the time vortex. So what does this mean?

-Is River Song part Timelord? And as a member of his species, can they procreate?

-Was the little girl in the American two-part premiere her, as hinted by the flashback showing the girls' inhuman strength?

-If so, why didn't River remember being there, let alone killing the Doctor on the beach?

-The Doctor definitely snogged his mother-in-law last year.

-River Song got to go to her parents' wedding!

-Obviously the Doctor knows that he will save the baby, since River Song is alive and well and grows up to become his wife, but how does he know where to go and find her?

-River Song is in jail for 'killing the best man' she ever knew. Is that the Doctor then? As a child, in the spacesuit? But she's as surprised and grief-stricken as Rory and Amy when it happens.

-If young River Song(/Pond) has the ability to regenerate, what does she regenerate into? And why didn't she regenerate in the Forest of the Dead? Does this mean River's story can continue after that apparent death?

God I hope so. Every actor performed wonderfully---Amy's grief and love, Rory's dedication, River's strength and secrets, even the Silurian's wisdom and humanity---and for the most part it felt more like a story about the Doctor's friends than the Doctor himself.

It was exciting and emotional and not as dissatisfying a cliffhanger as I expected, considering it won't return until the Autumn to wrap up this storyline. True, it left more questions (see above, as well as who evil eye-patch lady is and what War she is waging against the Doctor) but it answered one that's been hanging over the Doctor Who universe for years now.

And now matter how many people predicted it, it was still surprising. I can hardly wait to see the completely altered dynamic between Rory and Amy and their much older daughter who is sleeping with the Doctor. I can hardly wait to see why River was so distraught about revealing the truth, when it seems to have made things clearer. I can hardly wait to discover new identities, follow the Doctor's continuing mission, and get to the mystery of his supposed death.

Bang up job, Mr. Moffat. Thank you kindly.

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