Last week was a hell of a cliffhanger and the start of a massive call to arms. This week we discover that the answer to the question “Where is the worst place in the universe to be standing?” is easily found out when you kidnap Amy Pond. A baby is born, a baby is kidnapped, a trap is sprung, some old friends return for the first time, we finally discover who River Song is, and this week on Doctor Who we discover that a battle can be lost and won simultaneously and that demons run when “A Good Man Goes To War.”
23 Thoughts About The Mid-Season Finale of Doctor Who:
1. Well, the episode certainly felt epic as shit.
2. From the opening to the middle to the very end, I am starting to think that the biggest recurring flaw to Doctor Who, at least under the current creative administration, is the constraints of television. The rules, the limitations on time and budget, the fact that you can take the spectacle and the content only so far, and not much farther than that. This is a dumb question, I know, but how tremendously awesome would a Doctor Who movie written by Steven Moffat be?
3. In that thought though is the gist of my overall feelings about “A Good Man Goes To War.” There was not enough of certain things, like general story, for example, or time to get into and play with that story. It was nice to see the Doctor and his associates take on their enemies through cunning sneakiness and ambushery, but there was a lot of elements that we just didn’t have enough time to invest in. Like the idea of the angry Doctor at war, or the characters, like the thin/fact gay married Anglican marines, or even Lorna Bucket (the Amy Pond who wasn’t).
And then there’s River Song… Always the best part of any episode she’s been in before, yet here in the episode where we get her big revelation (or one of, more on that later), she just feels sadly… kind of tacked on, you know?
I guess that means that Amy Pond is Jean Grey and Rory is Cyclops, which makes kind of sense, only with the Phoenix thing reversed for Rory as “the last centurion.” That’s some total nerditude for you.
Speaking of nerditude… For now reason at all, this:
5. Speaking of which… I love that Steven Moffat teased that Doctor/Amy coupling as the cause of the baby until the very last.
It’s fascinating (and fun, to me, I guess), but sooo verrryy Steven Moffat. A lot of what Russell T. Davies wrote had, at its heart, a goofy or a very sweet core. Moffat can do that too, but a lot of where his stories and characters come from seems to be rooted in sex. In something very naughty and very human, and I like it.
6. A moment ago I mentioned the first of River Song’s revelations, the biggest of course being who she is? But that’s kind of splintered into a second question of what she is? A la is she the Doctor’s future girlfriend/wife? Or, other wife?
7. Also, during the ending there, was I the only one who felt for a moment there like they were implying that she was the Doctor from the future? What, with the Gallifreyan writing on the crib, his crib, that is supposed to reveal who she was, and his shock at the kissy kissy they’ve made in the past, and the question about how he looks. I mean, right? Who would make a better mirror for you other than yourself from the future?
I wonder if they’re going to suggest that at some point the Doctor has to have a hand in raising young River Song…
8. “Flesh Avatar.” That just sounds like a porn version of the Jame Cameron film.
9. Good news: The show is definitely coming back for a seventh series/season and so is Matt Smith as the Doctor.
11. And them leaving does kind of make sense, regardless of what happens with the Melody Pond/River Song situation. Once you’ve gotten married, traveled through space and experienced everything that ever happened or ever will happen, then died a bunch of times, then lived for two millennium as a Roman centurion made of plastic, then had a baby in captivity that was fashioned as a weapon against your best friend, and then met that same child when they’re a badass doctor of archaeology… well, there’s not too many higher levels you can take it to from there, I’m guessing.
12. I guess, going back to questions/queries/complaints about this episode, that one of the bigger of those three things is who these villains are? Presumably this is the same militarized Church that we heard about in “The Time Of Angels,” and the Headless Monks were also mentioned first in that episode, I believe. And then there’s Madame Kovarian, whom we didn’t get too much info about, but who are these people, really?
Even though I felt like they didn’t do nearly enough with it, the alliance of baddies seen there at the end of “The Pandorica Opens” made sense. They were all recognizable villains and the cause for joining in together to take down the Doctor made sense from a certain perspective.
And how do the the Silence fit into all this (if at all)?
13. I’m a simple guy, but…
Also, interesting that a nurse finally died in this episode, just not the one we were expecting.
14. Now, again, while I felt like it was odd to put the thin/fat married gay Anglican marines in the episode for a bit of exposition and then a tragic death that you didn’t have much time to ponder over, nor car about, on the other hand, the gay couple that I did fall in love with this episode was…
And no, it wasn’t just because everyone likes fictional lesbian power couples. At least, I don’t think so. But come on, just imagine a spinoff about an interspecies lesbian couple that hunts Jack The Ripper with swords in Victorian times. That would blow Torchwood out of the fucking water.
15. I read somewhere that Captain Jack Harkness was intended to make a cameo if nothing else in this episode but it couldn’t be worked out because of Torchwood now filming in America. Too bad considering that Captain Jack is always better back at home in Doctor Who.
16. Also, Fuck Yeah Catrin Stewart!
When they released a picture of her character in “A Good Man Goes To War” a while back and listed the character’s name as Jenny, people just freaked out. The return of the Doctor’s daughter! But recast! Had that been the case, though a highly unlikely case though it would’ve been, it would’ve made a little bit sense since I believe that Georgia Moffett is currently super pregnant, right?
Also, concerning Catrin Stewart: I think I’m in love with a girl who will never like me back. Equal parts that she is probably gay and also because she is fictional. Sigh. Isn’t that how it always goes? People are always telling me that I should watch Misfits and I think I heard she was in an episode, so maybe that’ll happen now.
18. It’s River Song’s birthday. And the day she was born!
19. Running, both in fear and in excitement, makes a recurrence yet again, but so does the idea of a separate war between the head and the heart.
Also: this. If, for nothing else, for the musical choice.
22. Maybe I’m weird, but I’m always fascinated at the teasing of the Doctor’s dark side. Especially this season I’m always curious to see more from him than the excited manchild adventurer. I think Matt Smith does that very well but I guess I just like seeing him take it darker or playing the character as the demented old man that he really is. Its’ a rare thing.
So I was especially intrigued by that brief moment when River Song did finally show up at the end of the episode and he tore into her. No “Spoilers!” and no “Hello, sweetie,” just anger and reality checks. It was certainly a lot more raw than what we saw him give Colonel Runaway earlier in the episode. For an episode about the Doctor finally unleashing and going after his enemies for a change, I think it’s surprising that, as one reviewer of the show already put it online, David Tennant’s Doctor already got angrier most weeks, and usually with even less in the way of provocation.
I like the idea of Matt Smith sticking around for a while, but it makes me laugh to think that perhaps the next Doctor could have some ferocity to him, like a young Ray Winstone or Ian McShane, that kind of quality. I’d like to see a Doctor who could terrorize the paint off of walls with just the sound of his voice, I think.
22A. I mentioned the RTD era earlier, and he did correctly posit that the Doctor turns people into weapons as he needs them, whether intentionally or unintentionally. I think a lot of people really wanted Moffat to just throw out so much of what Davies did previously but I think he actually did the smarter thing: He built on a lot of those concepts and followed them to their next stages.
23. I watched this episode last Saturday, but have just kind of let this post slide til now, unfortunately. Partly because of a busy personal life, whatever that is, but honestly also because I’ve not been entirely sure what to say, or at least in the sense of focusing down to some key points. Only seven episodes into this season and it’s already been a wild ride and the several months between us and the rest of the season could not expire fast enough as far as I’m concerned. In fact, if I did have a time machine, I’d already be in the middle of episode 8. I guess I’ll see you there.
Next time: See you again in a couple months’ time and then “Let’s Kill Hitler!”