by Catriona Mills

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Six: "A Good Man Goes To War"

Posted 11 June 2011 in by Catriona

In this cold little side dimension in which Doctor Who doesn’t clash with a birthday party, Nick and I and our entire peanut gallery are all set to live-blog the last episode of Doctor Who for this mini-season.

Heather’s doing an Izzy Stradlin-style guitar solo at the moment, without the guitar. But we’ll start, shall we?

HEATHER: Are we going to have that really [redacted] intro? Because I hate that.

Previously, Amy is not Amy. That’s really the only important thing.

Elsewhere, at Demon’s Run, Amy has an adorable baby girl, called Melody Pond. She tells Melody that this isn’t a time for lies.

HEATHER: It’s a time for breastfeeding.

Amy tells Melody to be very very brave, but not as brave as they’ll need to be, because there’s someone coming.

Elsewhere, the Cybermen are not happy.

AMY: There’s a man who’s never going to let us down. And not even an army can get in his way.

But an army comes for Melody right then.

The Cybermen are still not happy.

AMY: He’s the last of his kind. He looks young, but he’s lived for hundreds and hundreds of years. And whereever they take you, Melody, however scared you are, I promise you, you won’t ever be alone. Because this man is your father. He has a name, but the people of our world know him better as the Last Centurion.

Rory confronts the Cybermen, saying he has a message from the Doctor and a question from him.

The question?

RORY: Where is my wife?

The Cybermen want to know what the Doctor’s message is, and some cyber-ships blow up.

RORY: Do you want me to repeat the question?
HEATHER: He’s a little bit sexy when he does that.
ME: So it’s not just me!
HEATHER: Oh no. Lesbian peanut gallery gives the thumbs up to Rory.

Elsewhere, two members of the waiting army are praising the Doctor and wondering about the creepy headless monks. A cute girl Marine from the Gamma forests can explain that, though. Apparently, the monks believe the head is the seat of doubt and the heart is the seat of faith, so they follow their hearts. That’s all “headless” means.

The Marines all introduce themselves.

MARINE: We’re the thin-fat, gay-married Anglican Marines. Why would we need names as well?

The fat Marine has to head off for his conversion training with the monks, while the thin Marine asks how the Gamma-girl Marine knew the Doctor already.

FAT MARINE: What’s in the little boxes?

The boxes are about the right side for a head.

HEATHER: He’s gay, honey. He has to die.
MICHELLE: The gay ones always die.

Elsewhere (again), we’re in Victorian London, where someone has just killed Jack the Ripper.

MAID: How did you find him?
SILURIAN: Stringy. But tasty all the same. I won’t be needing dinner.

Silurian-Victorian female detective? Awesome.

Of course, she has a TARDIS in her drawing room, which doesn’t come as the shock to her it would be to me. Then again, I don’t have a drawing room.

Elsewhere elsewhere, there’s a Sontaran nurse (a nurse? Really?) helping in the American Revolutionary War of the future.

Or something.

Apparently, his working as a nurse is a penance imposed by the Doctor. So when the TARDIS arrives, he leaves happily.

In Stormcage, River is coming back to her cell, in what looks like Victorian dress. She tells them to turn off the alarm, because she’s breaking back in. And then Rory turns up.

River says it’s her birthday, and the Doctor has taken her ice-skating on the Thames in 1814. (But that’s not particularly Regency dress. Looks like they raided the Charles Dickens adaptation wardrobe again.)

Rory says he’s come from the Doctor, too.

RIVER: Yes, but from a different point in time.
RORY: Unless there’s two of them.
RIVER: No, that’s a whole different birthday.

Rory wants River to come with him, but she says she can’t. She can’t be with the Doctor at the battle of Demon’s Run until the very end, because this is the day he finds out who she really is.

MICHELLE: Who is she?

Elsewhere elsewhere elsewhere, the blue chappie who sold River Song her time-wrist-thingy is closing up business, knowing what’s coming. The eye-patch woman says that they’ve waited a month and the Doctor’s done nothing. But the blue chappie says that the Doctor’s been calling in favours. And god help them. And the people who owe the Doctor favours.

He asks if they know why their asteroid is called Demon’s Run.

BLUE CHAPPIE: A very old saying. The oldest. “Demons run when a good man goes to war.”

And then the Doctor comes for the blue chappie, despite his protests.

The cynical army chappie whose name I don’t know is rousing his troops, while Amy watches from her prison window. As she watches, the Gamma-girl Marine comes in. She should be at the parade, but she’s brought Amy a prayer leaf, on which she’s embroidered Melody’s name.

AMY: Can I borrow your gun?
AMY: Because I’ve got a feeling you’re going to keep talking.

They compare Doctor memories, and Amy tell the Gamma girl to make sure she’s on the right side when the Doctor gets here. Not for Amy’s sake: for the Gamma girl’s sake.

The Marines are doing that “Boo-yah!” thing that Marines do.

Their commander says that the Marines should wonder why the headless monks are called “headless.” He says it’s time to see what they’ve sacrificed for faith.

MICHELLE: Their heads?
ME: Yes, but you’re not supposed to know that.

Sure enough, they don’t have heads. That’s foul.

Except for the last one, because he’s the Doctor.

DOCTOR: Hello, everyone. Guess who? Please. Point a gun at me if it helps you relax. You’re only human.

The commander tells the Doctor to relax and the Doctor starts counting down.

DOCTOR: Amelia Pond! Get your coat!

The Doctor’s disappeared at some point while I wasn’t paying attention, and the panicked Marines start shooting the monks, who start shooting back.

The eye-patch woman thinks that this is a good time to leave.

The Silurian detective and her maidservant (Jenny) are taking control of the station’s communications.

MAIDSERVANT: Clever, isn’t he?
SILURIAN: And rather attractive.
MAIDSERVANT: You do realise he’s a man, don’t you?
SILURIAN: Mammals. They all look alike.

The commander is still trying to bring his troops under control.

COLONEL: I’m discharging my weapon pack.
HEATHER: Is that what you call it?

Meanwhile, the Marines (they’re the Clerics, actually, from the earlier episode with the stone angels, but I didn’t have time to note that) are chanting, “We are not fools.”

The Gamma-girl goes running off, only to find the Doctor’s discarded robe.

HEATHER: Oh. I was hoping she’d turn out to be the lesbian.

The jets (they’re not jets, I know) from the Winston Churchill episode turn up and shoot the asteroid. We all groan, because we hated that the first time. Then Rory stops the eye-patch woman from getting on her ship (with the help of some eighteenth-century pirates), the Gamma-girl Marine shrugs off her weapons pack, and the Doctor tells the commander to give the order to run away.

He wants people to call the commander “Colonel Runaway”, so that people know what happens when they try to get to the Doctor through the people he loves.

The eye-patch woman, escorted in by Silurians, says that the anger of good men is not a worry, because good men have too many rules.

DOCTOR: Good men don’t need rules. Today’s not the day to find out why I have so many.

Elsewhere (elsewhere elsewhere elsewhere), Rory turns up to rescue Amy, and he’s holding Melody.

Amy’s happy to see a crying Roman carrying a baby.

DOCTOR: Hello, Melody Pond.
RORY: Melody Williams.
AMY: Melody Williams is a geography teacher. Melody Pond, now she’s a super-hero.

There’s gratuitous hugging.

DOCTOR: Really, you should call her “Mummy” and not “Big Milk Thing.”
AMY: What are you doing?
DOCTOR: I speak baby.
AMY: No, you don’t.

Everyone’s happily reunited at the TARDIS, except Melody who won’t stop crying. (There’s some nice dialogue from Amy there that I didn’t have time to transcribe.)

After the Sontaran claims to produce impressive amounts of breast milk, thanks to gene splicing, the Doctor comes out with an old cradle, and Amy tries to get him to talk about his own family.

During some impressive hugging, the Doctor explains that Amy must have been taken some time before America, and that she’s been simultaneously on the TARDIS and at Demon’s Run.

After a bad fake-out about the Doctor being Melody’s father (when he means that the cradle is his old cradle), the Doctor heads off to find out what they’ve found in the computer systems.

The Silurian wants to know if Melody is human, because she has Time Lord DNA. That’s what they’ve found in the computer systems.

The Gamma-girl, who’s been captured by the Sontaran, is trying to convince them all that this is genuinely a trap.

The Doctor is surprised that Melody has Time Lord DNA, but the Silurian says that Time Lords became Time Lords after billions and billions of years’ exposure to the Time Vortex.

MICHELLE: This is so, like, queer, and polyamorous, and stuff.

The Silurian wants to know if Melody could have been conceived in flight.

DOCTOR: No, no: impossible. It’s all running-about sexy-fish-vampire stuff.

Then he remembers that the first time these two were together on the TARDIS (when Rory wasn’t dead, plastic, or in another reality) was on their wedding night.

I can’t really follow all the stuff about DNA, the Doctor, cooking your own Time Lord, and so forth. Let’s discuss it in the comments, shall we?

The eye-patch woman, coming up on the comms to speak to the Doctor from a distance, says that the child is hope: hope in the long, bitter war against the Doctor.

Did I mention that the headless monks don’t register as life-forms, so they’ve stayed behind to spring a trap?

They’re singing the “attack prayer”.

HEATHER: See, they are Enigma!

Melody and Amy go into hiding, while centurion-Rory heads out to fight. The blue chappie thinks he can talk some reason into the headless monks, but that noise definitely sounded like someone’s head being struck off with a sword.

The Doctor, still speaking to the eye-patch woman, says that he’ll never let her get near Melody again.

But the eye-patch woman says that fooling the Doctor once was a joy, but fooling him twice, in exactly the same way, is a privilege.

Over a furious battle, River’s voice recounts the old proverb about Demon’s Run, and Melody collapses into flesh.

She was an avatar all along.

By the time the Doctor bursts in to reveal this, the battle is over, and not everyone is still standing. The Sontaran, for example, is dying.

SONTARAN: It’s all right. I had a good life. I’m nearly twelve.

Amy is nearly catatonic, and the Doctor has no idea how to apologise for this. Amy knows it’s not his fault, but she’s still devastated.

And elsewhere, the cute Gamma-girl Marine, Lorna (don’t correct my spelling: it was that Silurian’s pronunciation), is also dying.

The Doctor thanks her for helping his friends.

She sys they’ve met before, but he probably doesn’t remember.

DOCTOR: Of course I remember. I remember everyone. Hey: we ran. You and me. Didn’t we run, Lorna?

She dies.

DOCTOR: Who was she?
SILURIAN: I don’t know. But she was very brave.
DOCTOR: They’re always brave. They’re always brave.

And then River turns up.

But the Doctor is furious.

DOCTOR: Where the hell were you? Every time you’ve asked me for help, I was there. Where the hell were you today?

But River’s having none of it. She tells the Doctor that he’s become something that he should never have become. And she comes back to a nice point that I missed earlier, where Lorna could only understand the word “Doctor” to mean “mighty warrior.” It’s a good point.

(There’s also the question of whether this contradicts River’s rapturous description of “her” Doctor in her original two-parter, where she thought the Tenth Doctor was but a pale imitation. Or was that perhaps not quite so rapturous as I remember?)

But River comes back to the idea that all this is coming out of fear of the Doctor.

HEATHER: Everything’s so intense!
MICHELLE: And thanks for the info-dump. That was really useful.

River’s distracted by the cot, but the Doctor wants to know who she is. And she says she’s telling him, but we can’t see what she’s showing him. He seems quite delighted by it, though, in a gangly schoolboy way.

(Seriously, I can’t even imagine being married to the Doctor—as I assume River is—when he’s in this kind of mode. It would be like marrying a first-form Etonian schoolboy.)

He heads off in the TARDIS, telling River to get them all home.

And Amy’s furious to be kept out of the loop. She wants to know—at gunpoint, if necessary—what River told the Doctor.

River says that the TARDIS translation circuits take a while with written text, which is why we’re only now seeing that the prayer leaf reads, in the language of the Gamma Forest, “River Song.”

Because they don’t have a word for “pond.”

Because the only water in the forest is the river, just as the TARDIS told us back in “The Doctor’s Wife.”

And that’s it for three months. Have at it in the comments!

Share your thoughts [4]


richard wrote at Jun 11, 11:08 am

I’m so fickle! I now completely love everything about this ep* and trust Mr Moffat completely with the complexities of the relationships he’s created.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say, later!

* Other than ridiculous Danny Boy and Captain Avery & Son, obviously. I mean, you raise such awesome armies the universe trembles in fear, then squander your warrior reputation on the galaxy’s lamest airforce and navy… Pah!


Catriona wrote at Jun 11, 03:04 pm

I’m just going to agree with what you said on Twitter, rather than on here, Richard, and say that I totally heart Rory as the Last Centurion. He’s really a delightful, complex character, and it’s a tribute to Arthur Darvill, I think, that the whole concept of the Last Centurion isn’t completely ridiculous.


Melissa wrote at Jun 14, 03:47 am

I was on holiday in the Simpson, so I had no idea what was going on with Doctor Who since the episode with the pirates. I dragged myself into my hotel room at Townsville, flopped over on the bed, flicked on the TV, and caught just the last part of this episode from the point where River was handing the embroidered cloth over to Amy. I was pretty much just lying there saying: WHAT.


Catriona wrote at Jun 14, 10:00 pm

It sort of snuck up on me, too, in a way. I mean, I’d been watching all the episodes and so on, but it wasn’t until the week before this aired, when people started saying, “So, are you excited about finding out who River Song is?”, that I remembered that was the big mystery of the season. I blame myself for that, though, not Moffat: I think I got too excited about the Neil Gaiman episode and then forgot that it was attached to a bigger show.

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