close menu

“A Good Man Goes To War” Review [SPOILERS!!!!!]

For an episode where a lot was going on, nothing really happened until the last few minutes.  “A Good Man Goes to War,” the mid-series finale of Doctor Who, was full of action and cool new characters, but there wasn’t, strictly speaking, a “plot.” Yet this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The whole episode was leading to the big reveal at the end, indeed a game-changer like Moffat had been saying all along, which worked well, I think.  Truth be told, this episode did not need to be about a grand plot or a timey-wimey event. This episode was all about characters and how characters relate to and perceive the Doctor, and how he perceives himself.  To do an episode like that as the midseason finale was a bold choice, especially for Steven Moffat, whose whole bag has been complex plots and stuff. And still, questions ARE answered in a satisfactory way.

At the beginning of the episode, we know Amy and child, called Melody, are being held by Eye Patch Lady, who is leading the Clerics, militarized Anglicans whom we last saw in “Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone.” The Eye Patch Lady’s name is “Madame Kovarian,” but I’m going to keep calling her Eye Patch Lady.  There’s a moment in the prologue, while Amy is telling Melody they’ll all be okay because her father is coming to save them, that we think yet again she’s talking about the Doctor, but, of course, it’s Rory.  Rory, The Last Centurion.  Moffat loves creating heroes, real proper superheroes, and I think it’s really great that Rory went from a sad sack, a pushover, to literally being awesome enough to stand up to a fleet of Cybermen. Also, the fact that Cybermen are in this episode simply as a way for Rory to look badass is pretty cool. I like Rory.

The Clerics have a whole army waiting for the Doctor, and they’ve even brought in the Headless Monks, who are basically Jedi with no heads. They don’t make sense.  Are we supposed to believe that their faith is so strong they can exist without heads? If that’s the case, how do their hoods stay up? Don’t say “the Force,” because that’s your answer for everything. We’re also introduced to Lorna Bucket, a cleric who has met the Doctor before when she was a child.  She doesn’t want the Doctor to be harmed, but this is the only way she can think of to see him again.  Kind of a dumb plan if you ask me, but it works.  Lorna is another in a long line of companions who never were.

While they wait impatiently, the Doctor is compiling his own army, comprised of people who owe him a debt.  I feel like the Doctor wouldn’t collect debts because he wouldn’t keep track of them.  “Favors for favors” doesn’t seem to be his bag, but it’s really just a means of getting more cool characters together.  How else would we get a Silurian samurai from the 1880s and her human life partner and a helpful Sontaran in the same place at the same time?  He also recruits Dorium Maldovar, the big, bald, blue guy whom River barters with briefly in “The Pandorica Opens.”  He definitely does not want to go fight, but he does, evidently because he also owes the Doctor something.

And what about River?  Rory goes to collect her, on her birthday *wink wink*, right after the Doctor had taken her to the early 1800s and had Stevie Wonder sing to her.  River is visibly stunned to see Rory and tells him she can’t go with him, because this is the day the Doctor finds out who she is. More on that later. Spoilers.

I like and have always liked the idea of teams of good guys and moreover the idea of recruiting them.  This episode really felt like Doctor Who’s answer to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the book, of course, not the abomination of a film they made).  The Doctor himself doesn’t actually appear for 19 minutes, and he does with a boom.  The Eleventh Doctor has an interesting way of dealing with large threats which is to act like he doesn’t give a shit.  He’s supremely confident and doesn’t need to bluster or shout (until later). Maybe slightly too confident? He almost immediately makes the Clerics look like fools, despite their persistent assurances that they are not, and his “army” takes control of Demons Run in 3min 42sec.

While I can totally buy and enjoy the fact that the Doctor can gather a Silurian samurai and a Sontaran nurse, I have a hard time believing he’d be able to mobilize an entire legion of Silurian warriors and Judoon officers just like that. It’s a cool visual, but the logistics of it are a bit off. I liked the small throwback to “The Curse of the Black Spot” with the quick shot of Captain Avery and Toby implying that his ship of space pirates has taken control of Eye Patch Lady’s ship.  I did NOT appreciate the return of the Spitfires in space from “Victory of the Daleks.”  I can maybe, MAYBE, understand Spitfires in space in the context of that episode because they’re pretty close to Earth, but here they’re light years away and hundreds of years in the future. Did the Doctor fit both of those Spitfires in the TARDIS? And where do they go once they’ve blown up the communications array? Anyway, hairs split.

One of my favorite scenes happens when the Doctor tells Col. Manton to leave, in what has come to be known as “The Col. Runaway Speech.”  Matt Smith is truly wonderful in this moment and it displays this Doctor’s short temper quite nicely.  I am, however, growing slightly tired of him always saying “That’s new,” after he experiences some emotion. He’s not Data, he can emote once in a while.  It worked in “The Doctor’s Wife” because he truly didn’t know what to do which he surely never felt before, but he’s angry ALL THE TIME, why would he be surprised at being angry?

It’s been hinted at a lot lately that the Doctor, above and beyond being a time-traveling do-gooder, is the most feared thing in the universe.  Last year’s “The Pandorica Opens” illustrated this beautifully, with a combined group of all of the Doctor’s worst foes banding together to stop him.  Now, it seems, it goes beyond his stable of monsters.  The Clerics and Eye Patch Lady seemingly have no reason to fear the Doctor other than that he is something to be feared.  There’s a moment when Lorna mentions that to her people, the word “Doctor” means “Great Warrior” because of their brief time with him.  He has to come to grips with the fact that, while he always tries to do good from his and our point of view, he’s universally known as a threat.  It’s like Richard Matheson’s original novel I Am Legend, where (SPOILERS) at the end the lead character is captured by the vampire people and accepts execution because, to them, HE is the monster. The Doctor is being forced to accept the same thing.  To the Daleks, Cybermen, and, I guess, the Clerics, he is the monster. I think he’ll start to make amends for this soon.

Everything seems fine very quickly and Amy and Rory are reunited with their daughter Melody Pond. There’s a very funny exchange with the Doctor where we learn that he speaks baby (of course he does), and he gives them his cot from when he was a baby.  They won! The Doctor begins to learn what they’d been doing to Melody.  Apparently, because Melody was conceived on the TARDIS, she was born with some sort of strange time-energy in her DNA, which it seems the Eye Patch Lady has been enhancing for quite some time.  So the child is partially Time Lord, which makes sense in context, but we never knew it could happen. Of course, there’s no precedent for it. To our knowledge, no child has ever been conceived on the TARDIS.  It lends to the theory that not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords.  It’s an enhancement they’ve done to themselves through “billions of years” being exposed to the Time Vortex and the Untempered Schism.  I think that stuff is super fascinating and I’m excited to see where Moffat goes with it.

But, of course, Eye Patch Lady has another trick up her sleeve, and, once she is long gone, the Headless Monks attack the small remaining heroes. EPL tells the Doctor that they plan to use Melody as a weapon against the Doctor.  She also informs the Doctor that he’s been fooled a second time, leading to the horrible realization that the baby Amy has been cradling is actually a Flesh duplicate. It’s one of the most heartbreaking reveals the show has ever created and Amy is understandably despondent afterwards. The Monks are eventually defeated, but Dorium, Lorna,  and Sontaran nurse Strax are killed in the process. As Strax dies, he tells Rory that while he looked like a warrior, he was just a nurse, something that hits Rory like a punch in the sternum.

And then River arrives. She’s finally here to tell the Doctor, and us, who she is.  The answer lies in the cot. For a moment we, or at least I, thought she was going to say she was the Doctor’s mother, but that would have been gross and ridiculous.  The Doctor realizes the truth and sort of cheerfully heads to the TARDIS.  Amy is still totally unaware and River calmly explains it by showing the whatever-that-thing-is that Lorna had sewn. It’s Melody’s name in the language of her people. They don’t know the word for Pond, because the only water in the forest is the River.  YES! River Song is actually Melody Pond. She is Amy and Rory’s daughter!

I think that was a wonderful reveal, personally. I sort of saw it coming, but at this point it’s nice not to have to speculate.  Why would she be some kind of strange third-party character when the most poignant and pertinent thing would be that she is the child of the Ponds (Williamses)? So the little girl we saw in the space suit is likely River Song and she can regenerate.  But, there are a few questions that need answering and things that don’t quite add up yet.

1)      If the little girl we saw in the suit and regenerating is River, why wouldn’t River have remembered it while she was investigating it? Unless she’s just “spoilers”-ing again.

2)      I don’t think River is the one in the space suit that kills the Doctor in “The Impossible Astronaut,” BECAUSE grown-up River looks genuinely shocked and sad when the Doctor dies. However, this could just be her lying again, or it could be the Silence making her forget. I just think it’s someone else entirely we haven’t met yet.

3)      The scene in Stormcage at the beginning of this episode where River looks really surprised and wistful about seeing Rory. This is what I think: River, at that point in her life, hadn’t seen Rory in a very long time and I believe that’s because Rory is the “Good Man” whom River kills. She says she kills “The best man she’s ever known,” and that HAS to be her dad, the Last Friggin’ Centurion. The whole series has been making us think someone’s talking about the Doctor but are actually talking about Rory. It only stands to reason that this is just the last instance of it. While I don’t want to see Rory get killed, it will probably be in some heroic fashion and it will inform River’s whole life and relationship with the Doctor and Amy.

4)      Who blew up the TARDIS? I know this is an old question, but the TARDIS exploded in “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,” and we still don’t know who caused it or why. What does it have to do with the Silence falling?

Now we have a good few months to wait and watch Torchwood while we mull over these and other important questions.  Boy, for an episode I claimed didn’t have much plot, there was a whole lot to talk about.

Later this week, I’m going to be featured on an episode of the excellent podcast, Two-Minute Time Lord, with two other fantastic bloggers/critics talking about Series 6. Follow me on TWITTER and I’ll link you once it plops.

Until next time, Whovians!

-Kanderson speaks nerd.

Hear a-ha's Gorgeous Acoustic Version of

Hear a-ha's Gorgeous Acoustic Version of "Take On Me"

A Guide to Stephen King's Lovecraftian Gods

A Guide to Stephen King's Lovecraftian Gods

Could Kylo Ren Really Be Rey's Brother?

Could Kylo Ren Really Be Rey's Brother?



  1. KaleighElms says:

    I have to say i was confused bye the Silurian/human lesbian relationship!
    She came in and the girl was like you killed Jack the Ripper, which I thought was kickass for the greenlady, but, i thought she was her adopted mom or something since she called her “Mum” when she came home
    The thing I thought was funny was when she said Jack was “stringy, yet tasteful was when I realized she meant that she ate the Ripper

  2. Trenton says:

    How did the doctor know how river was based on the writing on the crib? Did it say river song/melody pond? If so, then how? How come I know nothing about this Forest and everyone else does? How is the little girl strong enough to break free? Did someone else break her out? Why is she dying? It seems like she would always be dying for some reason. Why did the silence bring Amy aboard the ship? Has she done some stuff after that could have been the result of post-hypnotic suggestion? And I’m pretty sure river could be the one who kills the doctor, even if it is obvious. Also couldn’t the suit pilot itself? Eh?? Think about it. Also! It might be a different or ganger doctor. Why do we all accept Canton III’s testimony that it’s the real doctor? Answer me whovians!!

  3. JJ says:

    OK, here’s a point in favor of it being Rory that River kills. She was jailed because she killed a good man – and the people that jailed her wanted the doctor dead, so they wouldn’t have jailed her for that – they would have been happy about it, wouldn’t they?

    anyway… Team Rory here as well. Love that character.

  4. Zach says:

    One of the things I love about Doctor Who is the fan theories. So many of them are just loony or grasping at vapors, but I think it’s great that it is a show that gets into people’s heads.

  5. Gabriel says:


    I thought about that at work. The reason that the Doctor didn’t remember her was because he hadn’t met her. Also we go back to the Doctor’s wife. Weren’t her dying words “The only water in the forest is the river?”

    This battle of the boofyem forest hasn’t happened for this Doctor yet.

    I still don’t see how the Time Child can be River.

    But then again I didn’t think that River would be Amy and Rory’s daughter. And I wasn’t even sure that Amy was pregnant.

  6. Robin Burks says:

    I was really disappointed with the reveal (yes, I just FINALLY got caught up) because it was predictable. We’d already guessed it. And the reveal at the end of the episode was spoiled by the name Melody Pond alone.

    I still like my theory about her being the Rani better. I think that would have been so much more interesting. And it would have been nice to see that classic Who character make a come back.

  7. jenny says:

    It totally makes sense now that they’ve been calling her Doctor River Song. Loved it!!

  8. Dharma1521 says:

    I very much enjoy these wrap ups, almost as much as I enjoy watching the show itself.

    I am excited at the possibly plot lines that this has opened (River being a time lord):
    She may know the doctor’s true name, not because she is his wife but because she knows gallifreyan…
    When she perishes back with David Tennant she may have regenerated…
    Also, the Doctor having a time lord as a wife (if you ignore my first point) seems more satisfying to me than the thought of the Doctor losing her to human mortality.

    I do agree that when River says that she killed a good man, that it is likely to be Rory. Who has turned into the man who is a match for Amelia Pond.

  9. rune says:

    @Lokey- In that episode she made the statement it would even kill a time lord, which is why she didnt want to doctor to do. So Her body did die, but her consciousness didnt.

  10. Lokey says:

    If River can regenerate, did she really die in the library?? Also if River is Amy’s and Rory’s daughter…how come she was always so smitten with seeing The Doctor, but didn’t really show any emotion towards Amy and Rory. Spoilers and all that, I know, but you’d think going back into the past and seeing your mother and father would pull at the heart strings enough to create some kind of emotion.

  11. Stephen Perry says:

    Here’s a thought that may be wrong may be right. Amy and Rory’s daughter is named Melody Pond and it translates to River Song the character we’ve known for a while. They said the the people of that forest don’t have a word for Pond because they only have rivers which seems to be where her name “River Song” comes from.

    The girl they just chose to toss in there for what seems like no real reason that sewed that Prayer Leaf is from that forest where River Song gets her name from. This girl also has met The Doctor before but he doesn’t remember her even though he remembers everyone which leads me to believe he hasn’t met her….yet.

    Now I’m not saying how this could be explained but could it be possible that the girl who sewed the prayer leaf from that forest is River Song. Maybe River can regenerate but not exactly how The Doctor regenerates because she’s not a complete Time Lord.

    If that’s not the case maybe at least The Doctor, River, and the girl know each other and have some type of relationship. The Doctor did say he knew exactly where to find Amy and Rory’s daughter before he leapt into the TARDIS alone.

  12. Gabriel says:


    I don’t know what was cut but some of the commenters who have seen the uncut episode say that there was stuff going on at the River Song/Melody Pond reveal was cut.

  13. MorseCod says:

    Just a thought: An Unearthly Child.


  14. Matt says:

    I know “how do their hoods stay up” was probably a rhetorical witicism in regards to the monks but when their hoods are pulled down on stage you can see the wire contraption on the shoulders that does the shaping. Considering the production could have just removed these things for the reveal we are given a little insight in to the monks on how they present themselves to the world. They build their robes to at least appear humanistic.

  15. Sean says:

    And dammit BBC America, quit editing the shows down. You need to edit something for time gut BSG.

    What did they cut out in the American version?


  16. Gabriel says:

    Really good episode. I watched it 4 times over the weekend. I don’t think river is the Time Child that regenerated in the alleyway. That child was much to old to forget everything that had happened to her.

    I’m not that distressed about River killing Rory. They have killed Rory in every second episode since he was introduced. So it wouldn’t be unprecedented to kill him and then bring him back.

    I would really like to see a spin off of the Silurian Lesbian Victorian Crime Fighters.

    I am guessing the Moffat didn’t tell anyone that River was Amy and Rory’s daughter. I watch the earlier episode and she didn’t act like she knew and was hiding it.

    I am really looking forward to the end of the season. I want to know how it all comes out in the end.

    And dammit BBC America, quit editing the shows down. You need to edit something for time gut BSG.

  17. jackfan12 says:

    I am team Rory now.

  18. Sean says:

    Overall, good episode. And a good review as well. But… I do have a few quibbles.

    I think this episode suffers from the “Where’s Waldo” syndrome: Moffat throws so many characters into the episode that he’s forced give short shrift to them. I’m thinking particularly of the Thin Fat Gay Married Anglican Marines. (Who talks like that?) Their storyline ends abruptly BEFORE the Thin One confirms his fears about his husband’s demise.

    Also, did anyone else catch the major makeup failure when Dorium was brushing the cleric’s machine-guns aside, as he was closing his bar? When he lifts his arms, you can clearly see his white skin under his Kimono.

    That said, bad-ass adorkable Rory is now my hero.


  19. Liz says:

    It can both make sense if River is the one who killed the Doctor, and who isn’t.

    If she did kill the Doctor while in that spacesuit, then she would have killed a good man.

    Also, she could very well be lying or forgot. If she is part timelady, then she would be the child that regenerates in the street and the end of Day of the Moon. So she was the child in the spacesuit. So she had to be faking confusion there, or had it erased from her memory by the silence or whatever.

    But of course, it makes sense that she didn’t kill the Doctor, and instead killed Rory.

    All these theories are leaving my brain Moffucked.

  20. Joyce J says:

    I’m not sure if anyone said this, but don’t you think the girl that is regererating is the “Flesh Doctor”, and that is who is killed on the beach? They said he could come back.

  21. Hils says:

    I enjoyed this episode, though I’m really starting to miss comprehensive, self-contained episodes that I can follow without having to watch a second time. Matt Smith’s face as he processed River’s identity was amazing.

    Rory as the Good Man certainly makes sense, but it makes me wonder about River. Patricide is a pretty major action to bounce back from with such vim, isn’t it?

    @commonperson and @Scott S: Didn’t Leela stay on Gallifrey and marry a Gallifreyan guard? That bothers me when I think about the planet being sealed off from time.

  22. Maggie says:

    I’m not sure why everyone is convinced that the girl in the space suit is River. (It may be visual storytelling when they show the flashback, but it in no way concludes anything. It’s just showing the Doctor’s deduction, that doesn’t mean it’s a real answer. )There is this one important factor that I think keeps getting overlooked. The girl in the space suit is American. At least, that is what all of her voiced parts indicate. Would this not lead us to believe she is a different little girl?
    Also, I believe that the Doctor that the girl met in the Gamma Forrest was not the real Doctor. He remembers EVERYONE. He’s never forgotten someone before, and to have him not have any idea who she was screams to me that it wasn’t him she met. Which opens up the possibility of another Doctor, one that dies in the first episode after trying to escape for so long, one that travels with River Song during those 200 years. And I think the Doctor killed him. He doesn’t seem surprised at all when Amy reveals she saw him die. Also it would explain why the “Doctor” who died did not have a TARDIS. I don’t think he was time traveling through history when Amy and Rory saw him on TV and read about him. I think he was the Ganger, stuck on the slow path there. Okay….I know everyone’s got a theory. I guess this one’s mine, holes and all. 🙂

  23. Dean says:

    Jenny didn’t regenerate, it was the terraforming gas stuff that brought her back to life.

  24. emily says:

    Possibly splitting hairs here (like we do), but I thought Strax brought up that he was a nurse because he said he was going to die and Rory tried to console him. It was more like “I know I’m going to die, I’m a nurse” instead of him not being able to fight *just because* he’s a nurse. It’s an inflection thing.

    And I’m happy to see Moffat et al. picking away at the Oncoming Storm aspect of the Doctor.

  25. Chris says:

    Excellent. Simply excellent. Why is no one bringing up “the doctors daughter”, the episode where the tenth doctors DNA and creates Jenny, who does have the ability to regenerate. Does Moffat write the season from first episode to end of the season? It almost seems like he wrote himself into a hole. What would be amazing is if they put out a special in between the two halves of the seasons. Tie up the first half of the series and go on to start the second half as if it’s starting clean.

  26. Rachael C says:

    What an episode!!!!!!!!! It’s days later and my family and I are still dissecting it.

    Couple of thoughts we have had:

    We also think the “good man” that River kills is Rory – since River was so visibly shaken by seeing him. And they have started to make all these references to a Good Man. And the cleric in Flesh and Stone talks about him being a “hero to many”.

    We have been thinking that maybe it is Amy Pond in the astronaut suit who kills the Dr. I’ll try to write out this logic: who is the most distraught over the Dr’s death, who wants to tell him, who feels like they have to do anything to stop it – Amy. Now think to that moment after Melody is taken and the Dr tries to console Amy and she pulls away from him. She has to be told “it’s not the Dr’s fault”. What if somehow EPL or the Silence or someone uses Amy’s distress over losing Melody and now possible Rory to convince her to kill the Dr. If you go back to the first episode and watch the death scene, the Dr tells them to stay away (not wanting them to see who it is), he tells the astronaut how sorry he is, and then stands there as the astronaut shoots him. Who else would he just stand there for? It would be so Moffat to have it be Amy.

    Another thought, are they setting up River Song as the next Dr? If she can regenerate, fly the Tardis, knows Gallifreyan, use a sonic etc – isn’t she basically groomed to be the next Dr? And she is DR Song. Many thoughts have been floated about will there ever be a female Dr – maybe they have decided there will be…again so Moffat. I know Matt Smith has signed on for Season 7 – but after?

    After that episode, my family and I are going to be going all the way back to Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead and Season 5 and watching all again with fresh eyes and ears.

  27. LOVED IT. I’ve already watched the episode 3 times, and even though I kind of suspected it, I still get excited over the big reveal. :’) something I had not even thought about until mentioned in the comments was that Rory is the man River kills, which freaking sucks. I love Rory. But DAMNIT, it does make a lot of sense.. :/

    And now, knowing who River Song is makes me really, really want to go back and watch all episodes involving River and Amy (and later on Rory).. 🙂

  28. Jess says:

    I have been waiting for someone to bring these continuity wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey questions up, and no one has yet, so I guess I will.
    1) If Amy’s been locked up in the birthing tube by Eye-Patch Lady since post-honeymoon or after the trip to America, does she have the memories her Flesh Ganger made during that trip?
    2) And, um, what about all the newlywed sex Rory and “Amy” had all over the TARDIS? Wouldn’t Rory be a little upset about that, not just that his wife was pregnant and having a baby somewhere else?
    3) so Amy was nursing a flesh-clone baby? who was taking care of her real baby then?
    Still LOVE Rory and think that y’all are right about him being the Good Man who River takes out later (or sooner, on her timeline). The Sontaran nurse Strax warrior-nurse line to Rory was very poignant, and will, I think, come into play again later.
    On the line of Victorian Inter-species Lesbian Adventurers (would totally watch that spin-off, BBC Wales!), did you also notice the Gay Married Anglican Clerics? I feel like Moffat clubs you over the head with those plot pieces in a way that RTD never did. It felt more organic in RTD scripts, not “look how advanced we are in the future, see!” like it does in Moffat scripts.

  29. Kyle Anderson says:

    We have no proof, except that we’re explicitly told it. The flashbacks we get during the episode create a visual connection between the girl and grown up River. If it wasn’t meant to be her, they wouldn’t have done that. It’s visual storytelling.

    No she’s not. She’s a different actress entirely plus the Adipose lady died in that episode.

    It’s all kind of explained in later episodes, but basically River meets the Doctor out of order, thanks to time travel. So the Library episodes were the last time she meets him, but the first time he meets her.

  30. blair says:

    just watched “rune’s” youtube link for the teaser trailer. What is going on here, I wonder? Seems like a pretty big thing to leave out BBCA!

  31. Scott S says:

    @commonperson I remember people being outside of the Timelords’ city in old episodes, too, I can’t remember if they were supposed to be regular people, who can’t regenerate, or just that they were outside.

  32. SHOGUN says:

    Not sure why I clicked on this as where I just got done with season 4 and am probably spoiling myself here, but how does The Doctor meet River Song if she’s stuck in that matrix-like world called CAL? Was she an archeologist from the future? Maybe I missed that part.

  33. Jamie says:

    Great synopsis. Good comments, but you missed one thing don’t know if it’s important or not. The Eye patch lady is the Adipose(?) nurse from a previous episode. She was a hireling to wetnurse alien babies. just saying

  34. Horacio G. says:

    Has anybody memorized the “A Good Man Goes To War” poem?

  35. Bahamut says:

    What really pissed me off was how BBC America fast forwarded parts of the episode to make it fit in the time slot. And worst of all, they did it at the f-ing climax of the episode. It kind of ruined the effect of the big reveal a bit. I wanted to wring the neck of whoever made that decision. I mean, with Being Human, every episode went a little past the hour, but they can’t do the same with the season finale of their biggest show? Why, so the brand spanking new Battlestar Galactica could start on time? Ridiculous, especially after putting us a week behind for the last episode.

  36. Don says:

    Very nice review, so I’m guessing that I was the only one who was horrified for a few agonizing seconds when they were at the cot? The Doctor looks down at the writing and it says his true name in Gallifreyan on the front. I was silently freaking out that River was a future regeneration of The Doctor, until my mind kicked in and remembered the ‘water in the forest’ line.

  37. Josh says:

    1) When the episode started and Amy gives her speech to her little girl about how Rory is going to come for them, followed by Rory boarding Cybermen fleet and being bad ass I knew the title “A Good Man Goes to War” was in reference to Rory and not the Doctor, which made me apprehensive about River killing “A Good Man.” Now I want to rewatch the last series and see how many times they say “A Good Man” knowing it references Rory. w

  38. Brian E. says:

    I loved this so much I can’t even begin where.

    Add me to the chorus to get the Silurian and human couple their own spin-off whether it’s a one off special or a mini or what not. They were pure awesome.

  39. Stacy says:

    I also thought, after this episode, the ‘good man’ that River kills is Rory.

    The plot theme running through these first episodes does seem kind of predictable and cheesy. That could have a lot to do with how it’s setup. These stories are focused a lot more on a secret end-of-episode reveal rather than a story line, so you’re left deducing what is going to happen next. And then you feel left out because you figured it all out in the beginning.

    Seeing the characters in a personal struggle in each episode dumbs-down the characters. In previous seasons we saw a series long struggle, which made for better character development. Now we get, “The Doctor’s dead… Oh! Now he’s back in this episode.” “The Doctor has a doppleganger! Now he doesn’t… in this episode” “Amy loses her baby. Oh, now she’s back – and all grown up!… in this episode.” We only get a glimpse at how these effect the characters, and other than the plot – they’re right back where they started at the beginning of the episode.

    Sure, the plot lines may carry over to the next episode, but we never see the character development! I really hope we get that in the 2nd part of the series.

  40. rune says:

    Dont forget about the post credit scene also. It did not show for me when BBCA aired the episode in my area but i saw the BBC version so i know it was there. Here is a clip if you havent seen it yet.

  41. Matt Boyd says:

    OH you magnifincent bastard!!!!!! You who wrote one of the best cliff hangers ever. My god what an episode.

  42. blair says:

    I thought the “Col. Runaway” speech smacked of the “To the Pain” speech from Princess Bride. (One of my fav all time movie speeches. The “Good god what is that thing” line has been a go to for me since 1988 in junior high)
    At least it gave me warm fuzzies of remembering.

    Also, with my jaw dropped from the River Revealing it was nice to have a chuckle at the next episode’s title “Let’s Kill Hitler”.
    Great comedy relief!

  43. Tokkan says:

    >As Strax dies, he tells Rory that while he looked like a warrior, he was just a nurse, something that hits Rory like a punch in the sternum.

    See, I saw that part as a response to Rory telling Strax that he’ll be fine, and Strax was basically saying “Don’t give me that crap. I’m a frigging NURSE. I know I’m dying.”

    ‘Course, I figured the Strax intro scene was saying that he USED to be a normal warrior, but was forced to become a nurse as Penance for something one of his clone-brothers did.

  44. Becca says:

    We have no proof that the little girl is River. Moffat seems to want us to think that, which makes me distrust it more. What if the little girl is River and the Doctor’s daughter? We don’t know for sure that River can regenerate, but I bet the child of a human-semi-Time Lord and a Time Lord can.

    Also intriguing, we have River’s consciousness in a computer (Silence in the Library) and technology that can create bodies that are perfect replicas of living beings. Anyone up for a trip to the library?

  45. commonperson says:

    There’s kind of a precedent for not all Gallifreyans being time lords, in the earlier episodes (I’m talking Baker earlier) there’s an established under class who live outside of the cities. Kind of sets up the case for the Time Lords being kind of jerks cut off from the rest of the universe and also the fact that Time Lords are made not born. I think within the fiction of Who it all really works. Good summation of the story btw and I hope Rory isn’t killed by River but I have a sneaking suspicion (and a sinking feeling) you are on to something there.

  46. Lee says:

    I had never thought of the possibility of River killing Rory… I (like most people, I assume) figured it was the Doctor she was referring to. One reason for that being when she tries to shoot the astronaut in the lake and misses repeatedly (at a rather decent range given her prowess), she says quietly to herself, “No. Of course not.”

    Great review. 🙂

  47. Rodney says:

    It was my thought that the eye patch lady is working with the Silence. And that the patch is just a picture of them or something so that one eye always sees them and she always remembers.

    The scene I really liked and hope gets referenced later was the dying Sontaran telling Rory that he [the Sontaran] is a nurse, not a warrior.

  48. J-Rod says:

    Yeah – Victorian Inter-species Lesbian Adventurers – That’s a TV series to watch out for. Over to you BBC Executives!

  49. Moni says:

    It’s a prayer leaf, her people believed that if you kept it close to you, your child would always come home.

    If you were paying attention, you would have heard Lorna.

    Anyway…..Silurian lesbians for the win.

  50. J-Rod says:

    Thank God you Yanks have caught up and I can now talk about this brilliant episode…

    …. er I have nothing to add.

    Good Review Kyle.