Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song
Directed: Douglas Mackinnon
Written: Steven Moffat
Synopsis: When a crashed spaceship calls upon the doctor for help, he finds himself recruited into River Song’s squad and hurled into a chase across the galaxy.
Oh the sweet blissful feeling of over whelming nostalgia! It’s no surprise when the Doctor finds himself on a planet on Christmas day with snow falling and Christmas music playing. The episode starts with a man named Nardole wandering through the town looking for a surgeon for a medical emergency. Of course the Doctor agrees that he is this "surgeon" and follows Nardole to a flying saucer where they are greeted by a hooded figure. Thus within 3 minutes of the show starting it happens, the character we have all be waiting for, River Song is there with every bit of attitude as ever! It is made clear very quickly she has never seen this face of the Doctor, which counts for some very fun dialogue between the Doctor and River through out a majority of the episode.
River, who is up to no good, has hired a surgeon to remove her husband’s head in order to get a diamond that is lodged inside it. Don’t worry though, seems River has a few husbands in this episode. The husband with the most valuable diamond in the universe in his head is the evil and vicious King Hydroflax. Rivers plan is discovered and ruined when Hydroflax interrupts her and the Doctor as they discuss stealing the king’s head. After some confrontation River and the Doctor escape danger with Hydroflax’s head in a bag, the escape made possible with the help of Rivers husband, Ramone. The special is really living up to its name, three husbands! River you bad girl!
There are many nostalgic moments, for true Who fans, in this special one is when the Doctor gets to express how he feels people should react when stepping into the T.A.R.D.I.S. for the first time, his own “it’s bigger on the inside” speech if you will. Shortly after arriving at the T.A.R.D.I.S. though, River and the Doctor are located by Nardole and Ramone, unfortunately it is after they are beheaded by the robot body of King Hydroflax, both of their heads are used for information to track River down. Suddenly the T.A.R.D.I.S., with everyone inside, ends up on the Starship Harmony and Redemption, which as River describes it is “where genocide comes to kick back and relax.” River hopes while on the Starship she can sell the diamond, yes while it is still in Hydroflax head.
The sell goes terribly wrong in Doctor Who fashion though when the buyers turn out to be big supporters on King Hydroflax. River and the Doctor must come up with a creative way to save their lives as the enemies close in. All while this is going on the dialogue between River and the Doctor is constant through the whole special, both bouncing off each other as if River never left, even though she doesn’t recognize him as the Doctor. Constantly the Doctor keeps trying to tell River he is the Doctor, but she just won't listen to what he is saying. Now with both River and the Doctor as hostages, Flemming (one of the employees on the starship) has some fun teasing River by reading some of her diary out loud with a few comments of his own. This pen points where we are in Rivers time line she was just in Manhattan. River of course is not happy with Flemming reading her diary and makes a few threats of her own in true River fashion. It is made aware that River will be used as bait to trap the Doctor so the robot body of King Hydroflax can take the Doctors head to replace the previous head that the body destroyed once established that the previous head would not survive the diamond lodged in his brain. River goes off on an unforgettable and heartbreaking rant of how she does love the Doctor, but believes that the Doctor does not lover her. All of this was said right in front of the Doctor, which is of course when she notices that he is in fact her Doctor as he utters “Hello, Sweetie.” Insert little girl scream now!
As the starship crashes from a meteor shower hitting the ship, a familiar planet is mentioned… Darillium. The moment all River/Doctor fans have been waiting for, the moment when they go to see the singing towers. It all starts to fall into place; the starship crashes near the towers, the doctor gets someone to build a restaurant and then the date happens. River and the Doctor have their moment together. River gets to finally have the date she always wanted and the Doctor has to face the reality of Rivers fate. The moment that makes it all so real is when the Doctor gives River the sonic screwdriver she uses in the Library episodes when we were all introduced to River. It’s as if Moffat knew what we were all waiting for, when River asks if the stories were true, if Darillium is the last place her and the Doctor see each other and of course there is only one word the Doctor can respond with “Spoilers.”
Steven Moffat did it again, while this was a stand alone special, the lessons the Doctor had to learn from Season 9 seem to carry over into the Christmas special as well. The dialogue between River and the Doctor more than compensate for the obvious lack of budget when it comes to special effects. Some of these special effects during the special almost made me feel like I was watching an episode from season 1 or 2. Alex Kingston was fantastic as always as River Song and her chemistry with Peter Capaldi was just as electric as her chemistry with Matt Smith and David Tennant. If this is the last we see of River Song it was a great send off as Moffat seemed to touch on everything we love about the character. How many more amazing goodbyes can Moffat give us for the River Song Character? Now all we need to know is who will be the next companion? And now for one of the biggest questions of Doctor Who fans everywhere, when will season 10 start?
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