Hello, Sweetie. Welcome to the final Doctor Who Review for this year. Each week I’ve been taking a look at the week’s episode and giving some of my thoughts on it. Seeing as this is the special, it’s the last one for a while, and while that’s sad, this was a great episode. Please do not read if you have not seen this week’s episode. There are major spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
Title: The Husbands of River Song
Written by: Stephen Moffat
When I saw that River Song was going to be in this episode, I was a little too excited. While she’s crazy and she’s a character who only pops up from time to time, she’s one of my favourite parts of Doctor Who.
The Doctor is minding his own business in his TARDIS at the beginning of this Christmas special, when Nardole (Matt Lucus) knocks on the door and asks if he’s the Doctor. The Doctor takes off his Christmas reindeer antlers, and follows Nardole to a flying saucer shaped space ship. Out of the main doors pops none other than River Song, but she doesn’t recognise the Doctor because she hasn’t met this face before. The Doctor goes along with her, and only reveals that he’s not actually a surgeon-Doctor when she tells him he needs to preform brain surgery on his husband, King Hydroflax.
After it comes to light that River isn’t actually infatuated with her husband, the King, but rather the diamond that’s lodged in his head, the Doctor and River steal his head from his cyborg body (which has a mind of it’s own apparently) and run off to the TARDIS (via bumping into River’s current husband (or Mr. at any rate, as she’s made him forget that they’re married)). River explains that the Doctor (who still remains unidentified from her point of view) might be surprised to find that it’s not all that snug in the police box, and the funniest part of the episode is when he mutters ‘finally’ and proceeds to do what all the other people who have ever set foot in the TARDIS ever have done, and shouts about exclaiming that it’s bigger on the inside, and “My entire understanding of physical space has been transformed! Three-dimensional Euclidean geometry has been torn up, thrown in the air and snogged to death! My grasp of the universal constants of physical reality has been changed forever.”
Off they fly to sell the diamond to some creepy split-head people at a flying restaurant, but are surrounded by people who realise they have the head of their adored King in a bag, and after a warm, and yet heart-breaking speech from River (see below quote) she realises who is standing right next to and boom. The fun starts to happen.
They escape both the angry mob of creatures, and the King’s metal body which now has the head of Nardole (poor guy), and then the space ship restaurant crashes down to the planet Darillium where the Doctor leaps out, leaving River unconscious from the crash on the TARDIS floor. He bumps into a young lad, gives him the diamond that River managed to acquire from the King’s head in the chaos, and tells him to build a restaurant on that spot looking out over the Singing Towers. Then he pops forward in time to the same place to make a reservation, and goes forward again on Christmas day in four years time so he can have dinner on balcony with River, over looking the towers.
And here’s where it’s sad. River’s journal full of Doctor-sitings and adventures is nearly full, and she knows that the man who gave it to her would know just how big it needed to be. Her time is coming to an end and she knows it. Not only does she know that but she knows that the last time she will truly see the Doctor is standing with him that night, listening to the Singing Towers of Darillium. She knows, and he knows that this is the last night they will have together (check out this little clip of the Library scene where we first meet River and she dies – the whole episode is connected to this moment), but then a little spark of happiness when the Doctor tells her that nights on Darillium last for 24 years.
I really liked this episode. I mean, the story line itself wasn’t great – who cares about a weird red robot thing that swaps out it’s head now and then? – but I loved River being back in the show, even if it was just for one more episode. It was so great seeing Alex Kingston and Peter Capaldi’s Doctor together, and now I just want more of them together. Right now please.
The Christmas special is usually a light-hearted one, and occasionally it introduces us to the next companion. I haven’t heard any rumours of anything yet, so I don’t think this is the case this time. But for the end of an … interesting season, The Husbands of River Song was a great way to end. It was light, but beautiful, and sad, and humours all at once, and I think Moffat actually did this episode well.
As a season on the whole, it was definitely not my favourite. I didn’t like all the double episodes at the beginning, and some of the story lines I just didn’t like at all. It did get better by the end, however, and I am happy with this the last Season 9 episode. I wonder what season 10 will bring?
River: If either of you ever use my name again, I’ll remove your organs in alphabetical order. Any questions?
The Doctor: Which alphabet?
River: When you love the Doctor, it’s like loving the stars themselves. You don’t expect a sunset to admire you back. And if I happen to find myself in danger, let me tell you, the Doctor is not stupid enough, or sentimental enough, and he is certainly not in love enough to find himself standing in it with me!
The Doctor: [whisper] Hello, sweetie.