DOCTOR WHO “A Good Man Goes To War” Review

DOCTOR WHO A Good Man Goes to War (14)

DOCTOR WHO “A Good Man Goes To War” Season 6 Episode 7 – I have somewhat mixed feelings about this mid-season finale of Doctor Who. On the whole, I loved the episode and there really wasn’t a dull moment. Still, with all the big talk leading up to this showdown, it felt like there was so much squeezed into a single episode, which made this battle of epic proportions feel a little less momentous than I would have liked.

Amy describes to her baby, Melody, a great man who was thousands of years old and the last of his kind. A man who would find her no matter where she was in the universe. The description seems to point clearly at The Doctor, but Amy was actually talking about Rory, the Last Centurion. It was a clever misdirection since we’ve come to expect that dialogue like that is usually directed towards The Doctor, and it helped to set up a great scene with a courageous Rory facing down the Cyber Legion in his Last Centurion garb. Throughout this season, we’ve often heard Amy adulate someone we assume is The Doctor, only to find out she is talking about Rory. I get the feeling that this frequent intentional confusion between descriptions of The Doctor and Rory will probably work its way back into the plot in a much bigger way down the line.

River explained that this moment would have The Doctor calling in all his debts, and while I quite enjoyed the scenes where the TARDIS arrived to pick up some of these familiar faces, I was surprised that the collection of his debts amounted to a smattering of some of his more recent encounters. The Doctor’s A-Team was built around Dorium Maldovar, Commander Strax (as a hilarious Sontaran nurse) and the Silurian, Vastra, with her housemaid, Jenny as sword swinging crime fighters. Even if we did get a glimpse at a Silurian army, Judoon troopers, Captain Avery’s pirate crew and some of Winston Churchill’s spitfires, their involvement ended up being much smaller than I wanted. The battle at Demon’s Run seemed over as quickly as it began and I have to wonder if maybe it would have been more satisfying to have the events on Demon’s Run split into two episodes so that we could see all these old characters put to use as more than visual cameos.

The big reveal of the night, of course, was River’s true identity. For many speculating Doctor Who fans, it ended up not being a very big reveal at all. Sure, it’s nice to be right about a theory, but as a viewer, it’s almost always more exciting to be proven totally wrong. When River disclosed that she was in fact, Amy and Rory’s daughter it was a nice confirmation of suspicions, but it didn’t feel like a totally game changing reveal. What did get me excited, however, was the revelation that due to the exposure to the Time Vortex during her conception, River’s DNA is both human and Time Lord. This opens up a whole realm of possibilities for her time with The Doctor, and while I had previously dismissed the idea that River was a Time Lord herself, I never really considered the possibility that she would be an entirely new mutation and a human child of the Time Vortex. It’s a pretty brilliant development.

It was nice to have confirmation about River being Melody Pond, but even that started up a new list of questions. I’m happy to wait for the answers to all my Doctor Who questions, provided they are all addressed at some point this season. I do worry that the mystery will get too big to wrap up satisfactorily (and that I’ll wind up feeling the same way I did when Lost ended and I had no answers to the questions I actually wanted answers for) but for now I’m putting my trust in Steven Moffatt and hoping that he’s not going lead us to questions that will never have answers.

As I’ve always said, I enjoy the mystery and the way Doctor Who forces my mind into mental acrobatics. While I really loved this mid-season finale of Doctor Who, you could say my biggest gripe was simply that I still want much more of everything we saw. I suppose that feeling is exactly what makes this a successful cliffhanger. In any case, I’ll have the summer to re-watch all of River’s interactions with Amy, Rory and The Doctor in an entirely new light and prepare myself for what is bound to be a thrilling follow up in “Let’s Kill Hitler.”