It’s been quite a year so far for the Doctor. First thing he did was die, and its only got more exciting from there.
We heard the Silence with Richard Nixon, swashbuckled with pirates, and was seen “in the flesh” so to speak. And now that a good man has gone to war, we know who River Song is. (For the Americans out there who have managed to avoid the spoilers due to the 1 week delay that came about from the Memorial Day weekend break I will be nice and not actually spoil it for you here.)
It really didn’t surprise me that much. If you haven’t figured it out yet, well you should before the big reveal at the end of the episode. Episode 7, “A Good Man Goes to War” serves as midseason finale, bringing together threads from this season together in a climax. Like Davies did before him, Moffat likes to set up story arcs. Bad Wolf, Torchwood, Saxon, the cracks in the universe, and the Silence. This year has been more subtle, but it all of these season had been building up to this episode. The gangers of the “Rebel Flesh” and “Almost Human”. Other things also begin to make sense, the last words of Idris, the mysterious woman appearing to Amy through walls, and Amy’s phantom pregnancy. Like the Siren in “Curse of the Black Spot”, nothing is what it seems to be.
Of course the season is only half over, so there are still some things left to reveal Let’s not forget about this season’s biggest mystery. The little girl in the astronaut suit and her apparent regeneration at the end of The Day of the Moon. Some of these things may seem to be resolved, but like I just said – Nothing is necessarily what it seems.
With guest appearances aplenty from some of Doctor Who’s more famous monsters, “Good Man” feels like it season finale. Thankfully, this season’s Dalek embargo seems to be sticking, and the much ballyhooed Cybermen appearance actually turned out to be barely a cameo, (But a great moment for Rory, a/k/a the Last Centurion) and instead we get Silurians (this time actually referred to as such) and a lone Sontaran, and oddly enough neither are the villains of the story, rather they answer the Doctor’s call for assistance to pay off old debts owed him. It was an interesting choice, these are both Doctor Who monsters with long histories but little is really known about them. (Both Silurians and Sontarans first appeared alongside Jon Pertwee’s Doctor in the 1970’s. These are also monsters with character and (as often the case with Moffat) humor. A Sontaran soldier doing penance as a nurse (a wet nurse even) informing patients that they will recover and then saying how he looks forward to crushing them in the field of battle and a lesbian Silurian living in Victorian London with her human maid/assistant/lover. Of course if the monsters are helping the Doctor, who is he fighting? Well as it turns out, it’s the humans. Though it’s never really clear why the future clerics are after the Doctor. What did the Doctor do to them? Or what will he do? Who is Madame Kovarian? Why is she after the Doctor? How long has she been at war against the Doctor? Could she be fighting the Valeyard? (The potential dark version of the Doctor that could come about sometime between his 12th and final regenerations?) Or is she simply afraid of what the Doctor may be, what the Doctor could do someday, like River suggests? What does she have in store for the child of Rory and Amy Pond? And what exactly is Melody Pond? Not who, but what? These are all things we will find out, but not until this fall.
Stephen Moffat decided this year that it would be a good idea to split the 13 episode run of Doctor Who’s 6th series (what we call seasons here in the US) into 2 parts, airing the first half in it’s traditional spring run (This past year beginning in April) and then coming back with the back 6 in the autumn. While I appreciate the idea that this means there will be New Doctor Who in the fall, this was clearly not a decision made to help the series in here in the US. Didn’t he see what happened to shows like V and The Event?
Ok I kid, Doctor Who is not like those aforementioned series. But a mid season hiatus is still a downer. The show only does 13 episodes a year, I hope if they continue this experiment, that they up the episode count a little. I don’t see them do an American 22 episode run, but how about 16? That’s 8 episodes on each end, plus the now traditional Christmas special (which should expand to 90 minutes)