I was seriously dreading this episode. Supposedly a big cliffhanger, a game-changer some have said. I don’t know. So far I have not gelled with this series as I would have liked, so the normal trust I put in Moffat over big moments like this has been shaken.
It started out well enough. I was glad we didn’t have to see Amy in labour. She put her baby, Melody Pond, in a little basket/tub thing and it reminded me very much of Superman being sent off to Earth to keep him safe.
Rory’s question and the Doctor’s message was excellent, but then we started jumping around in time a lot, grabbing people from the Doctor’s history. This happened at the end of the previous series and at the beginning of this. Have we overused the time-jumping thing yet? The pirates, Sontaran, Silurians, the big, fat, blue man - who didn’t want to come because he’s big and fat and blue.
All gathered together, this army of misfits then took control of wherever the other army was, only to find out it was all a big trap. The pacing of this episode left so much to be desired. Far too long spent listening to them waffle on about headless monks, looking on as Rory and Amy were reconciled, watching the Doctor hug Amy over and over again. Then glimpses of action that were gone before they began. The Doctor didn’t even show up until twenty minutes in.
It started to get interesting when they analysed the DNA of the baby and started to work out that although she clearly is the offspring of Amy and Rory, some timey wimey stuff has intervened. The eyepatch lady wants the baby as a weapon. This is curious.
The big reveal, then, is that River Song is Melody Pond. Given that the names are the same albeit for the sake of a thesaurus, and that this has been one of the much-discussed theories so far this series, then it wasn’t too much of a surprise. I was slightly confused that the Doctor disappeared off to save the baby, when she was clearly standing right there relatively unscathed. Perhaps this is what he had to do though.
Is that a cliffhanger then? It confuses me. The times that River Song and Amy discussed the Doctor like they were new wife and ex-wife. Isn’t that weird? Did River know then? Has she always known? Her backwards timeline started out as a cute little opposite to the Doctor, but now that it has a real point, that these moments could be vital to understanding everything that’s gone on with River, it’s mind-boggling.
Ultimately, the episode left me disappointed. A fifty minute slot left the story strung out for that final five minute reveal, which really did not do much to satisfy. It was always going to be tough to make River’s identity something awesome, and sadly, for me, this was not it.
I won’t go over the same things I did in the last post, but these first seven episodes have worn me out. The Doctor has had his brilliant moments, his funny one-liners, but he’s also not at all the same man that he was last year. Angry, misguided, tricksy, I don’t feel as warm to him as I did before. He’s left behind fishfingers and custard, and it’s not a very endearing place that he has gone to.
I am left with a feeling that I don’t really want to see the rest of the series. But that is now. Maybe by Autumn I’ll feel different.