Doctor Who – A Good Man Goes To War

OK, the decent interval for spoilers has now passed, so I’ll get on with this. The prequel bits had already clued us in on where the title came from, an allegedly old saying that “Demons run when a good man goes to war”, which put me in mind of this quote from Terry Pratchett’s Men at Arms:

If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you’re going to die. So they’ll talk. They’ll gloat.

They’ll watch you squirm. They’ll put off the moment of murder like another man will put off a good cigar.

So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word.

Now, if there’s one thing that’s really going to annoy the Doctor, it’s abducting his friend, replacing her with a Flesh copy and apparently having designs on her baby. And come to think of it, Rory’s likely to get a bit cross about that as well.

But first, back to Amy. She’s given birth and named her daughter Melody Pond[1]. But the people who have her are going to take her child away, so Amy tells her about her father, how wonderful he is, how he’s lived an incredibly long time, and how he’s got a special name – the Last Centurion[2]. And talking of Rory, he’s on a mission and he’s wearing his Roman gear again. He pops in to see the twelth Cyberlegion – nicely shiny Cybermen of our universe, being bereft of the Cybus logo we’ve become used to. He wants information about Amy’s location, and brings a message from the Doctor. The message involves blowing up all their ships…

Then there’s a 19th century lesbian crime-fighting Silurian[4] and her human sidekick, who apparently owes the Doctor a favour…

And a Sontaran who’s been punished by having to be a nurse.

And Rory goes to meet River Song, who’s just breaking in to prison again. He tells her what’s happening, and she says that she can’t come until the end of the forthcoming battle[3].

Back at the Big Bad Base on an asteroid known as Demon’s Run, Eyepatch lady and a seriously dramatic colonel are plotting the downfall of the Doctor, lots of shouting and some lovely headless monks, who it turns out aren’t called headless for any symbolic or metaphoric or spiritual reason, they’ve just had their heads removed, which makes them ideal for opposing the Doctor because they can’t be persuaded to not be nasty…

But one of the headless monks does have a head. It’s the Doctor, of course, and he manages to provoke a bit of conflict between the regular soldiers, who are the same kind of religious army that we met in The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, and the monks, which leads to them all laying down their weapons, which is quite handy when the Doctor’s friends arrive and take over. Not only is there a nice bunch of Siluruans, that Sontaran and some Judoon, but the totally unexpected return of

Spitfires in Space!

But Eyepatch Lady, or Madame Kovarian as she prefers to be known is up to something much deeper. But it seems her Cunning Plan is thwarted when her ship is taken over by Captain Avery and his son from The Curse of the Black Spot.

But it’s all far from over. Melody, it turns out, has what looks like non-human elements in her DNA – Time Lord elements, which would seem to be there because she was conceived on the TARDIS. There’s some suggestion that the Time Lords got all Time-Lordy because of all that messing around in the Vortex, which is interesting…

Then of course, the monks attack, which is just a diversion, as it turns out that the Melody that Rory has rescued and returned to Amy is, who’d have thought it, a Flesh copy.

All of which leaves Amy not at all happy, the Doctor upset, and so it’s naturally at this point that River Song turns up and explains the plot everything. What with all his exploits, and all his fame, the Doctor has become a figure of legend, and for some people at least, a figure of fear. He’s dangerous, deadly, and has to be stopped, which is where all of the present unpleasantness came from. They wanted to take the baby to make their own Time Lord to be used as a weapon against the Doctor, which accounts for the little girl in the spacesuit in The Impossible Astronaut, and how she was able to regenerate in The Day of the Moon, and indeed why she shot the Doctor.

But there’s one more question, which River answers. In the language of the forest people, there is no word for “pond”. As has been mentioned in an earlier episode, the only water in the forest is the river. And well, melody, song…..

Yes, indeed. The question we’ve been asking since we first saw her in the library, and which couldn’t have been answered then, is now settled. River Song is Melody Pond, daughter of Amy and Rory, and future something or other of the Doctor.

All of which should make for a nice family reunion, but there is the matter of the actual baby Melody. The Doctor leaves River to get everyone home, and heads off in the TARDIS…

All good fun really. Some questions answered, some still hanging, with a not too cruel cliffhanger. The big question is what’s going to happen to the Doctor 200 years along his timeline? Is it the Doctor who will be, err, was, err, make up the grammar, shot by Melody, or could it be a Flesh version? Or will the whole timeline change? Or will something else altogether happen?

Well, I suppose it’s not too long to September. In the meantime, I’ve got a pile of classic DVDs to catch up on.

[1] Which was roughly when I was completely sure that my River Song theory was right
[2] The, err, Who’s the daddy gag had to be played one more time
[3] Oooh, oooh! Another hint!
[4] Still not the proper name, but it’s easier to remember