I find it a little bit strange that Moffat would spend several years mystifying us with the identity and nuances of River Song only to dump her entire history in our lap in one episode. That makes me a tad bit suspicious. I’m also a little sorry that he didn’t think of it sooner, because collectively it would have been more powerful to have known “Mels” all along… you know?
It took me two go-arounds with this episode before I could think coherently enough to write about it. Overall, I enjoyed it immensely and in my opinion it incorporates everything that makes Doctor Who so successful — humor (did anyone not die laughing at River’s speech about the Third Reich being rubbish?), sarcasm, self-importance, timing, perilous and usually creepy villains (in this case, robotic creatures with tentacles… ugh), and of course an emotional aspect … and yeah, I did get a little choked up when Melody / River realized what she had to do and did it, in spite of not knowing who she will become or what she will mean to the Doctor. I think her entire brilliant and slightly naughty scene of attempting to kill the Doctor was marvelous, even if it did rely primarily on flashbacks.
Opening the episode with Rory and Amy carving out crop circles in a field to catch his attention was just brilliant. I really love how those two have developed — as a romantic couple, as a married couple, and as a team — throughout this arc of episodes. Rory is the unsung hero of the last two seasons in many respects, the Last Centurion — and he’s not afraid to clock Hitler if he needs to. (Sorry, Captain America, Rory just beat you to the punch. Haha.) The comedic reaction to them “saving” Hitler was priceless, as was the entire interaction with Mels. That, people, is the kind of budding romance that doesn’t make me gag — the Doctor and River are full of sexual tension, wit, and humor, unlike the soppy, sodden mess that earlier seasons provided in the romance department. (Me? Still bitter? Absolutely.)
Mel’s habit of blaming the Doctor for everything (… the Titanic sank because the Doctor was not there to save it… WWII happened because the Doctor didn’t stop Hitler…) made me smile a little bit, since it kind of reminded me of the article I wrote about the Doctor for the last issue of Charity’s Tude, and how the Doctor in many respects reminds me of God. Time is meaningless to him, something to play with, since he knows the beginning and the end. He could intervene but doesn’t, because he knows the outcome. This go-around, his arc with Melody reminds me of Christ — the sinner who kills the man she should love, but only finds repentance in the aftermath, is very much an image of our tainted, self-destructive hearts. Melody should be “given hell” for her “crime” of killing the most important man in the galaxy, but instead the Doctor begs for lenience on her behalf, since he cares about her so much to dismiss her murder of him and grant her absolution. That has tremendous impact on Melody’s heart and she sacrifices her regenerations to undo what she has done — the perfect picture of repentance and salvation.
Yes, my brain does work that way. I seem to be hard-wired to find symbolism in everything. I think that is how God communicates with me most of the time. I sometimes wish I were normal, that I could watch a show and just see the show, but on the other hand, looking at the world through God-tinted lenses isn’t bad either.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a women’s Bible Study to go to in which none of them have probably ever even heard of the Doctor, poor things. Or Sherlock, either, for that matter… but they will after today, since I suspect my Sherlock “Consulting Detective” t-shirt may earn some questions. 😉