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Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes to War

Sunday, June 5th, 2011
Spoiler Warning - Post may contain spoilers

There were some nice things about the latest Doctor Who episode: A Good Man Goes to War.  It started very well with the Cybermen and the collection of various allies from across Time and Space.  There was the nice idea that Doctor becoming word for warrior in many cultures that have encountered him.   There was the clever twist of a villain using The Doctor’s righteous indignation and anger against him.  There were some nice lines and some nice jokes including some written just for the adults watching.

It was nice to see the appearance of The Spitfires (Victory of the Daleks) and Captain Avery and his crew (The Curse of the Black Spot).  It seems a bit of a shame the other allies couldn’t have been recurring characters or have it explained why they owed him a little better.

There is one important exception to those the Doctor has already met – Lorna Bucket.  I’m assuming the Doctor doesn’t remember because he’s not run through the Gama forests with her yet.  That suggests “The only water in the forest is the river” is not just an explanation of how River Song’s name comes about but also where the baby is being held captive or at least the next step along the road.

Lorna Bucket isn’t the only new characters who I’d like to see in future episodes: Madame Vastra and her maid Jenny seem interesting enough to deserve another appearance.

Then there was the episodes key revelations that Amy and Rory’s baby has Time Lord DNA and that River Song is Melody Pond.   So some significant dots of River’s arc are joined and two new question posed:

  • Why does she have Time Lord DNA.  Did The TARDIS tweak River Song’s DNA to add a bit of Time Lord to give the Doctor a companion of a different sort?
  • How do you make a Time Lord a weapon to kill a Time Lord?

For all its good points, answers and questions this episode has left me slightly underwhelmed.  I can’t really explain why but after two viewings I’d have to say I enjoyed the series opening and The Doctor’s Wife more.   Maybe it just didn’t feel expansive enough, the cliff hanger lacked danger and the revelations not astonishing enough after the build up?

Going back for a moment to The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People I really do hope someone explains how there comes to be highly concentrated acid to be pumped from under a 13th Century monastery on an island.  Concentrated acid is usually made at chemical works and even if there was some massive underground reserve it being under a millennium old monastery is rather odd.  Does the monastery tie into all the other religious references somehow?  Headless Monks, The Papal mainframe and militant Anglicans.

Which just leaves the much tweeted about title of the next episode.  I’m guessing but I’m wondering if Let’s Kill Hitler isn’t actually a metaphor.  A reference to the old time travel SF chestnut that if you could go back in time and Kill Hitler and so stop the evil of the Nazis how can you know some greater evil will not happen without the lesson from history?

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